Both the Gingrich ads earlier this week, and now the Romney-superPAC ads appear to have been placed through Google, but it’s still pretty funny that Restore Our Future is paying to have their anti-Gingrich ad placed (a) on one of the most anti-Gingrich sites in Georgia, and (b) directly next to a story about how much Romney sucks.
Dear Yankee Pundits (And you know who y’all are), Please accept my humble apologies. I was wrong and will make a real apology. A real apology restates the offense without any euphemisms or diminishing comments or excuses. Here is my offense. A mere two days ago, in“Romney’s Southern Problem: The “M” Word”, I wrote this:
I can see Romney winning Iowa or at least finishing second in Iowa. He should win his neighboring state of New Hampshire; anything else would be a major upset. As for South Carolina – listen to me, well-meaning Yankee pundits – it’s not going to happen. It’s the “M” word.
What? “Mormon”? No, get real; you guys are far too quick to project your prejudices on others. There are members of the Church of Latter Day Saints all through the South and while they may not be ultra-active in politics, they are viewed as being good people and good neighbors. They are walking examples of the “family values” that the Republican Party endorses so heartily. Mitt Romney’s “M” word problem is Massachusetts.
I still stand by the vast majority of that statement: Romney’s projected finishes and the likelihood that non-Southerners project bizarre things upon us with little or no evidence and that Mitt Romney’s real problems are the ramifications of his successful Massachusetts elections. I can no longer honestly say; however, that Governor Romney’s religion is not an issue in the South.
A real apology also states why the statement or action was wrong. In this case, my friend and a fine writer, Jason Pye made a post on Peach Pundit entitled, “Judy Manning is ‘afraid’ of Mormons”this morning. The content of Jason’s piece means I cannot continue to issue a blanket denial that religion is not an issue in the South. Read more
Today’s Courier Herald Column:
If conventional wisdom holds, the race for the Republican presidential nomination was largely frozen last week, as voters moved from watching the evolving horse race to preparing for a five week holiday season. Coincidentally, voters in Iowa will gather in five weeks on January 3rd to hold the nation’s first caucuses on the subject. Thus, the perceived front runners who locked in their positions last week are likely to remain the front runners until those first votes are counted about the time the Sugar Bowl kicks off.
The importance of winning last week’s news cycle made the choice and timing of Newt Gingrich’s remarks on immigration in Tuesday night’s CNN debate on foreign policy a bit curious and risky. Gingrich stated in bluntly certain terms that it is not possible or even desirable to deport every immigrant currently living in the United States illegally. In doing so, some believe he’s touched a third rail of Republican primary politics.
Gingrich’s remarks made clear that he does not favor a path to citizenship, but does offer a path to legalization for those who have lived her for decades, are involved in the community, have raised children and even grandchildren here, and are paying taxes. “I’m prepared to take the heat for saying, let’s be humane in enforcing the law without giving them citizenship but by finding a way to create legality so that they are not separated from their families” he stated.
This, of course, created the usual cries of “Amnesty!” from some hard line immigration opponents. D.A. King, leader of the Georgia based Dustin Inman society and persistent critic of U.S. immigration enforcement policy, penned an Op Ed for Friday’s Marietta Daily Journal dismissing Gingrich as a possibility for his vote, stating Newt had “degraded and insulted the entire concept of legal immigration and U.S. citizenship by referring to not-yet-captured illegal aliens as ‘law-abiding citizens’.”
Yet others are willing to hear Gingrich out on the issue. The Associated Press reports that over 1,000 showed up at a Naples Florida hotel to hear Gingrich address the issue on Friday, with others turned away for lack of space. During his remarks, he reiterated his position and clarified some significant points that hit home with voters on both sides of the issue. Read more
Today’s Courier Herald Column:
Last May, on the eve of Georgia’s State GOP convention, I asked if the Newt Gingrich that would address the local faithful could demonstrate through word and action what he has learned since his exit from elected politics. There is little question that Gingrich is a bright man, and what he knows is not in question. But what he had learned from mistakes made in his public and personal life were a lingering issue. A week later, we had a preliminary answer.
Following his speech to the Georgia GOP, he began a week that included torpedoing Paul Ryan’s Medicare reform proposals on Meet The Press, was “glitter bombed” at a book signing, and asked by an Iowa voter on camera when he was going to get out of the race to quit embarrassing himself. He responded to his stumble by taking a Mediterranean cruise during which virtually his entire staff quit. It was, by any objective measure, a horrible official start to a campaign.
The result was a loss of momentum, endorsements, and fundraising. Former Governor Sonny Perdue switched his support to Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty without as much as a phone call to Gingrich. With fundraising drying up, there was not a quick move to replace staff, and the campaign soon announced debt of roughly $1 Million. Gingrich, as John McCain had done 4 years earlier, was reduced to flying commercial for campaign appearances usually without staff in tow.
As Gingrich faded to the background, Tim Pawlenty was unable to capitalize on his newfound supporters. He withdrew from the race after a dust up with Michelle Bachmann prior to the Ames Iowa straw poll which left her in the spotlight and his campaign hemorrhaging cash. On the day of the straw poll, national numbers placed Bachmann on par with Mitt Romney as the front runners in the GOP race. Less than a week later, Rick Perry was a candidate and the presumed front runner, also having poll numbers comparable to Romney. Thirty days later, Herman Cain had the same supporters, with Bachmann’s campaign on life support and Perry fighting for 4th place with Gingrich.
Anit-“Establishment” Republicans have been searching for a “Not Mitt Romney” candidate since this race began. Romney, for his part, has been dutifully bouncing between 25 and 30% in national polls. That’s enough to call him a front runner, but leaving 70% of GOP voters available for anyone else. Romney has yet to demonstrate he can attract the supporters when other candidates stumble. Read more
Today’s Courier Herald Column:
Last Saturday, the Florida Republican Party held their Presidency 5 Convention and corresponding straw poll for President. Georgia’s Herman Cain won a strong 37.1 percent of the vote, dusting the “top tier” candidates Rick Perry and Mitt Romney who managed support from 15.4 percent and 14 percent of the delegates, respectively.
Straw polls generally provide more fodder for pundits and campaigns than for serious analysis of campaign trends, but there are occasional exceptions. Presidency 5 claims to have predicted the Republican nominee since its inception in 1979. Delegates are selected at the county party level and must pay a $175 registration fee to attend.
The selection process is unlike the Ames Iowa straw poll where anyone who shows up with $30 – their money or from a candidate buying votes – can cast a ballot. Michele Bachmann won the Iowa straw poll handily, and was briefly considered by some to be a front runner. She finished 8th at the Florida gathering, with only 1.5% of votes cast. Read more
WSB-TV and Insider Advantage have released a new poll showing that Texas Gov. Rick Perry is the frontrunner among Georgia Republicans (though they included Sarah Palin, who has not determined her plans for 2012):
- Rick Perry: 24%
- Herman Cain: 15%
- Newt Gingrich: 9%
- Michele Bachmann: 8%
- Sarah Palin: 8%
- Mitt Romney: 6%
- Ron Paul: 5%
- Jon Huntsman: 1%
- Other: 4%
- No opinion/Undecided: 20%
Perry has come on strong since entering the race last weekend. The latest Rasmussen poll shows him with an 11 point lead over Romney, who had been viewed as a shaky frontrunner. Bachmann is part of the narrative, but Perry has stolen her thunder.
It’s essentially a three way race, but I wouldn’t hand Perry the nomination yet. Sean Trende at Real Clear Politics laid out a stellar case earlier this week that a prolonged race plays better for Romney.
Forgive the 007 reference contained in the headline; former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty will never be James Bond. If Pawlenty had been cast in one of the movies about Ian Fleming’s superstar spy, it would not be in the leading role, though he might have been listed in the credits as “accountant’s less interesting friend in a crowd scene”.
Pawlenty was always in a mob, never able to emerge from the throng of politicians littering the Iowa landscape the past few months. Political strategists can give you many interesting theories on why this happened, but it wasn’t complicated. Pawlenty never seized anyone’s interest and remained a somewhat unknown, somewhat distrusted, outsider in his own party.
Just as Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts governorship raises concerns for conservatives, so too does Pawlenty’s two terms as the Minnesota chief executive. When Republicans think of Minnesota politics they think of Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale and Al Franken. The blue state is not a likely origin for a GOP Presidential nominee and if a Republican is elected by that group then he is suspect. No wonder Pawlenty is an early casualty in this contest.
Pawlenty was outlasted by both Michigan Congressman Thaddeus McCotter and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson. If you could pick both McCotter and Johnson out of a police line-up then you’re likely a political insider. Yet, as of 11 PM on August 14th, they remain and Pawlenty, with much more national television exposure, has exited the political stage.
McCotter and Johnson remaining in the race could be attributed to their lesser expectations or to their superior senses of humor. They both downplayed the straw poll well in advance. Johnson chose not participating in the event, while McCotter used the occasion to meet more voters and play guitar in his family band.
Johnson, referred to by Rolling Stone Magazine as the “GOP’s Invisible Candidate,” and McCotter, the candidate I’d most like to sit down with and have a beer, are not as well known as Pawlenty. Yet, I believe that both of them will wear better on GOP voters than the former Minnesota Governor. Johnson and McCotter are both plain spoken and hold strong positions on issues, while Governor Pawlenty was “nuanced” to a high level of ineffectiveness.
Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-leaning polling firm based out of North Carolina, has put out numbers showing that President Barack Obama’s re-election bid may have life in Georgia, as recent analysis suggests:
Obama looks like a pretty viable contender in the state next year regardless of who his Republican opponent is. 47% of voters approve of the job he’s doing to 48% that disapprove. Those numbers suggest Georgia is probably the state Obama lost in 2008 that he has the best chance of flipping for 2012 because in the two states that he came closer to winning last time around- Missouri and Montana- his approval numbers are far worse at 43/52 and 41/54 respectively.
The individual match-ups can be viewed below. Favorability numbers for all potential candidates in the poll are available in the crosstabs. Take it for what it’s worth. I do think Obama will do better in Georgia in 2012, but I don’t think he will win the state.
Barack Obama v. Herman Cain
- Obama: 44%
- Cain: 39%
- Undecided: 16%
Barack Obama v. Newt Gingrich
- Obama: 46%
- Gingrich: 45%
- Undecided: 9%
Barack Obama v. Mike Huckabee
- Obama: 45%
- Huckabee: 48%
- Undecided: 7%
Barack Obama v. Sarah Palin
- Obama: 48%
- Palin: 43%
- Undecided: 9%
Barack Obama v. Mitt Romney
- Obama: 43%
- Romney: 46%
- Undecided: 11%
Now it’s on the front page, so you can quit emailing me.
And for Deal’s band of merry sock puppets, please be consistent in your approach of explaining why this out of state Governor who doesn’t know Camilla or Ocilla is relevent, but Governor’s Jan Brewer, Mitt Romney, and Sarah Palin aren’t.
Discuss. I’m going back to work.
Governor Jan Brewer, check
Governor Sarah Palin, check
Governor Mitt Romney, check
I’m not sure how many electoral votes that is for Karen Handel, but she’s getting national exposure as the front runner in the Georgia Governor’s race. Mitt Romney is the latest to back Handel:
“A successful businesswoman and public servant, Karen Handel’s blend of executive, political, and business experience is just what Georgia needs at this critical time,” Romney said in a statement Wednesday. “The leadership skills that she has honed in both the private and public sectors will enable her to make tough decisions and enact the reforms needed to get the economy back on track and foster job creation.”
Romney stayed out of the primary, an aide said, because one of the candidates, state Sen. Eric Johnson, had backed Romney during his 2008 presidential bid.
Note that last sentence. For those who think Johnson’s supporters are automatically going to Deal, I’ll suggest otherwise.
I’ll now return you to sock-puppetry while I return to work.