Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Defense of Richard Dawkins

One of the Four Horseman of  the Apocalypse is a man named Richard Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist and well-known atheist (or anti-theist, depending).  He's the author of several books, not the least of which is The God Delusion, which many atheists cite as the book that "converted" them.

The man loves his fossils.

He's a darling of the nonbelievers, up there with Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens.  He's debated the pious and always come out ahead and, more pertinently, he's defended the theory of evolution and natural law with such grace and beauty as to command assent.

So why then would the atheist community look to tear him down?

Well, to get an idea, you would have to know who Rebecca Watson is.  I've been an observer in atheist/skeptic circles for a quite a while and I had never heard of her before (which doesn't mean that she's not the "big deal" that she is purported to be, just to give you  perspective.)  While at a conference in Dublin, Ireland, she was heading back to her hotel room at 4am when a guy got on an elevator with her.  He said that he was "interested" in her and asked if she would join him back at his hotel room for coffee.  She said No.  She left the elevator.  That was it.

So, far, it seems to me like a lame come-on and nothing more.  Hell, I've had more embarrassing scenarios asking women out while completely sober and what this woman went through (sorry: "went through") was a dream.  That having been said, I think that when she said that she didn't like it, that it made her feel uncomfortable, Ms. Watson was justified and had every right to share that point of view via video.

In that video, she complained that being a member of the skeptic feminist movement has "sexualized" her.  Um... if you say so...

Enter Richard Dawkins (a person that you don't have to be a white, skeptical feminist to know about).  While responding to something completely different, Dawkins compared the incident in the elevator (never referring to Watson directly) to the plight of Muslim women who's clitoris can be hacked away with daggers or sharp stones, who aren't allowed to drive or be seen without a man.  Specifically, Dawkins was sarcastically saying that Watson's situation was more important than any Muslim woman's problem or issue.

Naturally, Watson and those who do not live in, say Saudi Arabia or North Africa, protested, saying that regardless as to the evil abroad, we should still fight the evil at home.

The evil at home?  I do not think that those who feebly ask women to coffee at 4 o'clock in the morning constitute evil.  The vague potential?  Well, maybe, but it's a potential that rests on the idea that literally anything can happen.  There is a difference between forcing a female circumcision, raping a woman and asking a woman to coffee at 4 AM.  There just is.  It's pretty simple.

However, given the response against Dawkins, he responded by asking very simply and plainly what he said he did wrong?  Watson has said that she is going to stop supporting Dawkins (OH NO!) and is calling for a boycott of his books.

He's capable of making more controversial statements than that.  I'm just saying.

This blogger thinks that this has gotten entirely out of hand and had Dawkins not referred to this incident at all, I would still not know who Watson is.  However, because a famous person said something vague about her, she's grabbed it and railed against it.  It's the way that many people try to become famous (or infamous); that way they don't have to work on the merit of their own talents or their arguments.  Why do all that hard work when all you have to do is call down the thunder from someone more talented and more successful than yourself.

It would also seem that the atheist/skeptic community would have more important things to debate and go back and forth than the misunderstanding and misconstruing of one of the movement's important figures.  Instead of debating whether or not Dawkins is a misogynistic pig, maybe the discussion should be the teaching of intelligent design in the English-speaking world's biology classrooms?  Or preventing the election of politicians and leaders who believe that the end of the world will happen in their lifetime?  Or anything else?

I think that not only Dawkins is deliberately portrayed as a chauvinistic bastard but also thin-skinned:  he's criticized as to not having a backbone and not having to deal with being called a variety of racial and sexual epithets.  Really?  Do you think he's never angered Christians before?  You think that he's not been called every hateful name in the book?  If you don't think that, you're not being skeptical in the proper way.

Richard Dawkins will walk away from this and the true taint of the incident will be Rebecca Watson, a person who tried to make a mountain out a molehill and by doing so has done enormous damage not only to herself but to the "skeptical feminist" community.

Watson seen here reading about the reaction to the Elevator Incident.


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Normally, I blog about the 2012 Election and you can expect more of that in the future.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Who's Next?

This morning it was reported that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) is not going to run for President this year.  He's a favorite in the GOP, especially in the House, for heading up the so-called Ryan Proposal, a budget that the Republicans backed earlier this year that would have destroyed Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security while leaving unnecessary Defense spending totally unharmed.

This announcement came as a result of the last few weeks of media speculation as to who was next to enter the race.  After all, about ten candidates vying for national attention and big bucks from donors is completely and totally unsatisfactory for campaign coverage, with still more than a year before election day in 2012.

I'm not saying he hates the poor and the elderly, but maybe he just really loves guns.

The other name that's floated for a possible run is Republican Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey.  Christie got in the governor's mansion in 2009 and has also been a favorite of his party.  I'm not entirely sure why.  Things haven't gone better for the state since he took office over a year ago.  He had to declare a state of "fiscal emergency" and NJ lost out on a grant from the federal government to the tune of $400 million.  Christie, being the calm and reasonable man that he is, immediately blamed President Obama for bureaucracy that had gone out of control.  He did this, until it was discovered that it was actually his education commissioner that was ultimately responsible.  To his credit, Christie did turn around and focus the attention on the commissioner, but I guess the GOP likes him because he blamed Obama before doing anything else, like trying to find out what happened.

He doesn't love doughnuts as much as the doughnuts love him.

Former Gov. Sarah Palin is frequently touted as well and its possible that she'll make an announcement later on this week.  Her Super PAC, however, said that any speculation on the matter was "wrong and misleading".  It's interesting because Karl Rove, a master of GOP campaigns, is the loudest voice in the last few days to say that she is going to run.  This may show a riff or miscommunication within the GOP.  I don't agree with Karl Rove (politically and tactically) but I have to acknowledge that he knows what he's talking about.  I think that she and her PAC are disowning the knowledge in an attempt to draw attention to her as an entity and to show, if and when she does announce, that they are in control of their own campaign (by showing that they are capable of stomping out rumors and unsourced information) and are capable of manipulating the media.

I, for one, think that the current field of candidates is about what the GOP can expect to going forward.  The only serious consideration would be Sarah Palin; beyond that, there's not going to be a person that is going to enter the race that's going to become a game-changer.

Kissing goodbye reality... it's a shame, they never knew each other.

One last word on Sarah Palin:  in the interview with Lou Dobbs that I linked over, she said that it was about time that the government backed off and let the private sector create jobs.  

I wonder if she's talking about the same private sector of the financial market that nearly destroyed the economy for complete lack of regulation (or as conservatives call it "self-regulation").  I also wonder if she's thinking about the Bush Tax Cuts that have contributed more to the deficit over a period of time than any stimulus package that Obama signed off on.

If the Bush Tax Cuts were supposed to spur on the economy, then why haven't they done so in the last seven years?  Why has everything come to a halt?  In spite of it?  Or because of it?

Hopefully, she'll get the nerve to answer questions like these on a campaign trail so that the American People  can see what a phony she actually is.  However, this blogger doesn't believe that there is a journalist out there with the nerve to hold her to task.  Lou Dobbs isn't.

Are ya, tubby?


You can follow me on Twitter @truthissoap

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sunday's On the Phone to Monday: August 20th and 21st

I read the news over the weekend so you don't have to!

Huntsman Starts Yelling So People Notice Him

As this blog has noted on several occasions, former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman would be an ideal GOP candidate but he wouldn't have the chance to pierce through the media attention that is surrounding Romney, Bachmann, Perry or the made up campaigns of Palin and Giuliani.

So on ABC's This Week, he said that his GOP rivals were too far to the right and didn't have a chance of going up against President Barack Obama and winning.  He went on to say that he's going to play up his campaign in New Hampshire and South Carolina and then "Bring it home in Florida"

As I've stated elsewhere, the chances of Huntsman getting the name out involves getting the attention of the media.  Those who know him, like him but he's too much of a moderate to win the nomination.  That having been said, he's throwing some mud now to try and get the aforementioned attention.  Mud is a good way of doing it, but he's also playing up the positives of the campaign and by saying that he's a "center-right candidate for a center-right country" is getting closer to a good catchphrase.  However, it's a little too intellectual for a rallying phrase.  Maybe if the campaign survives long enough, he'll be able to come up with something.

Karl Rove Believes Sarah Palin is Going To Announce This Week Whether or Not She'll Run

I guess Karl Rove has nothing better to do than to look at pretty women and know when and where they will be at all times.  He said that he's looked at the schedule behind the Palin SuperPAC and believes that Sarah Palin will make the announcement sometime this coming week whether or not she will run for president.

Given the current field of candidates, it might be easy to make a lot of headway.  However, to enter now, she'll have to play catch up in some places, more so than the others.  Her entrance would mean that those like Herman Cain and Thad McCotter would have to exit the race, knowing that they would never get the full media attention that they would have gotten otherwise.

Whether Palin should run is something else entirely.  In my opinion, this could go either way.  Reason being is that, while she is a very shrewd politician, it doesn't make a lot of sense to build all this suspense and then not capitalize on it  by declining the chance to run.  However, the last few months could have been a greater experiment as to see how things would go in a 2016 scenario.  So, like the rest of the country, we'll have to wait and see.

Ron Paul Wins the New Hampshire Straw Poll...  There's a New Hampshire Straw Poll?!

Turns out, there is.  Technically, it's the Young Republican Straw Poll, which has as much weight to it as the Ames Straw Poll.  Ron Paul took the poll, beating out candidates like Romney, Perry and Bachmann.  Ron Paul wasn't there, but did have a representative say a few words in Paul's stead.

What does this mean for Ron Paul?  Well, the event does cite a few things:  first, he did win a straw poll and this wasn't covered or played up nearly as much as Ames was.  The fact that it wasn't plays into the narrative that Ron Paul is supposed to be a fringe candidate and not the mainstream candidate that he should be.  Again, I don't agree with Ron Paul, but let's get serious about what he can bring to the GOP table.

Also, the fact that he appeals to young voters in NH is going to be a strength later on.  If my generation or younger is more drawn to a 75 year old Texan, that's going to have play all over the country, instead of just one place like NH.

Here's hoping that Ron Paul gets the attention that he deserves.  One day, but not today.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

GOP Candidate Breakdown #10: Gary Johnson

There's really nothing wrong with former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson.  He seems like a nice enough guy, he's honest and principled.  The main problem with him almost has nothing to do with him: he has zero name recognition beyond his home state of New Mexico.  Beyond that state, voters may remember his name but it's a long way from Albuquerque to Iowa and even further from the White House.
A lot of the accomplishments listed on his website (link above) tout that he was a principled conservative in the face of Democratic majorities and that he continued to hold those principles dear throughout his tenure.  More than likely there was a bit of compromise involved and there's nothing wrong with that (unless you are trying to get the GOP nomination.)

Normally, I'd go through the poll numbers, attempting to read the tea leaves about what the latest batch means for one contender or another, how the affect of a primary or caucus will play out on a particular candidate.  The unfortunate truth of the matter is that Gary Johnson doesn't appear in any of them.  This either means that his name isn't mentioned by the pollsters (and if they are, people don't know or support him) or if the pollsters are asking for candidates that the voter supports, they still don't mention this to him.

Is the media to blame for this?  Yes and no.  The media has had an insatiable appetite for GOP candidates.  The moment that Rick Perry entered the race, they were already looking at each other with wide eyes and salivating mouths wondering if Rep. Paul Ryan was going to enter the race.  Rudy Giuliani is still floated as a possible entrant into the competition and almost any other Republican that has a modicum of respect in the party or one that has conservative appeal is mentioned (Sen. Marco Rubio.)

At the same time, however, Johnson has done little or nothing to stand out as a candidate in the current field.  He can give great answers to debate questions, his appeal is good (not great) and his character is without question.  But when you got a crazy lady like Rep. Michele Bachmann running for president, how's a reasonable guy supposed to get any respect around here?  He's a little to the left of someone like, say Ron Paul, but Johnson still believes that the drug war is bullshit and that the government shouldn't spend the kind of money on it that it has been spending.  And what does that get you?  Well, ask Ron Paul.

In the research that I've done for Gary Johnson, the fact of the matter is that wherever he is, he's starting from square one.  He declared that he was running back in April of this year but if had waited until last month, it would have been better for him.  He would have entered the race and there would have been a flurry of media attention and speculation.  With that, he could have established himself as candidate to be dealt with, got his message out and thereby establishing a foothold in any of the states.

So what are the odds that Johnson is going to make headway? Well, a few of the candidates are going to have to drop out.  Not the top tier, mind you, but the lower tier.  Santorum, Gingrich and Cain would have to quit the race and Johnson would have to stick around (I don't know what would cause them to drop out, but this is a hypothetical, right?)  Then, by being the only bottom tier candidate that is still sticking around, he would get more attention not just from the media but from anybody.  The Campaign That Lived, kind of thing.

If Johnson survives to the actual primary season, he could do well in NH and NV, but he would get decimated in IA and SC (where religion and social issues are more important.  Johnson himself just made a blog post about how social issues were not going to win the White House.  By the way, somebody should tell Santorum that.)

I'm not writing the campaign obituary yet because, again, anything can happen in the campaign, but the chances are beyond dim, they're just plain dark.

Sorry, bud.


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Thursday, August 18, 2011

GOP Candidate Breakdown #9: Herman Cain

I lived in Atlanta, Georgia for several years.  Some of my favorite times were in the year 2008.  I don't have a sports team that I follow, no real religion to speak of, so it was replaced by the 2008 campaign.  I watched CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News all the time, I was constantly reading the Drudge Report; it's safe to say that I knew everything that was going on in the campaign, I knew the journalists and the broadcasters who was with what campaign and the latest poll numbers.

In Atlanta, there's a talk radio station, WSB 750 that hosted people like Neal Boortz (who I don't mind as much as I used to), Clark Howard (there's nothing wrong with Clark Howard) and Sean Hannity (who I despise.)  Late in the evening, about 8pm, they'd play the Michael Savage show.  For those of you who don't know who Savage is, I would say that you lead normal and well-adjusted lives.  I know this because the moment that Savage enters your life, everything will fall into chaos and disarray.

I was leaving work late one night and turned on the radio.  I listened to WSB because I like listening to points of view and opinion that radically differ from my own.  But one evening instead of listening to the harsh and crass Brooklyn-accented voice of Savage, came a clear, concise Southern elegance, the kind that you'd expect a Baptist preacher from Georgia to execute without flaw.  It was Herman Cain.  He replaced Michael Savage because (according to talking with someone at WSB), they had to push Savage back to get the "nutjobs" to stop calling during the "regular" hours.

So my first full-on exposure to Herman Cain wasn't as quick as others.  He is known of course to be the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza and for having turned the company around (with the exception of the one up the street from my house.)  He also ran in 2004 for the Georgia Senate Seat that was being vacated by Zell Miller and would be taken by Johnny Isakson (R).  But with this radio show, he was going to get a chance to speak to the Atlanta audience and who-knows-where-else and explain his message.

He's still in the race despite poll numbers and general lack of knowing what the hell he's doing.  So, let's get to it.

Age: 65.  He's in good health and shows his age a little, but there's polish in there.  Thats to say that Herman Cain looks wise not just... well, old.

Hometown:  He was born in Tennessee, but his home for the last several years has been Atlanta, GA.  He's usually described of as Georgian or from Georgia, which is well-enough.

It should be noted that he's the only candidate so far that doesn't have a political office under his belt.  Outside of radio broadcaster and CEO, his other credential is Chariman of the Federal Bank in Kansas City.  He's never been elected to office before, despite his campaigns.

Place in the Republican Party:  He's likable to the Tea Party movement and Fox News likes him as well, more because they like conservative minorities and not really because of who Herman Cain is or what he stands for.  Because he's never held an elected office before and hasn't won a campaign before, he's considered more of a fringe candidate than Ron Paul.

He's okay with fundraising, but will have a long way to go to match Perry, Bachmann or Romney.


Nationally, he's in the back of the pack.  If someone like Palin enters the race, like Ron Paul, Herman Cain should consider cutting his loses.  His voice would be lost in the media shitstorm that would ensue.

In a head-to-head match up with Obama, Cain loses by an average of 14 points.  That number is born out of two points:  Cain has a hard time getting his name and message out among the other candidates (a problem that Obama doesn't have) and while Obama is slipping in popularity, people prefer the Devil they know to the Devil they don't.  The other point is this:  what little information about Cain that has gotten out into the public knowledge has been his strong opposition against Muslims.  Not Muslim extremists, just Muslims.   More about that later on in this post.

Iowa:  He's towards the back in the poll averages, however, this is going to be worse once Perry is included in all the polling.  A black conservative businessman isn't going to have the same sort of appeal that a white Southern farmer is going to.  This blogger also wonders how Cain's religion and church (here's a link to the website of the church he's a minister that he attends) is going to play out should he advance in the nomination process.

New Hampshire: Again, not doing so hot in New Hampshire.  The more libertarian-minded populace of the state should prove to be something of an advantage to Cain, but it's harder for him to get his name out in the media (in a good way).

South Carolina:  He does better here.  However, Perry isn't put into the mix and, again, if Palin enters, a lot of attention will be taken from Cain.  As I've written before, SC does like it's crazy politicians and in the South, smart-mouthed politicians can get a little bit further.  If his campaign survives long enough, he could stand to do well here, but it's hard to imagine him getting by far enough.  At least at this point.

Florida:  More bad news. He gets shoved back, even with a hypothetical Palin campaign and there's no reason to think that he would do well in Florida.  If he can somehow position himself as a favorite in the Tea Party and still appear as a loyal Republican, he might do well.  But it's hard to tell and a little bit of a long shot.

Nevada:  Herman who?

As I wrote earlier, there are two main problems with Cain's campaign:  name recognition and bad name recognition.

Not a lot of people know who Herman Cain is and sometimes he just comes across as a bad imitation of Alan Keyes.  He's never held an elected position anywhere and, while he has a strength in a business background, there's a larger question as to whether or not that is necessary to get the country running in the right direction again.  He has to make both arguments at the same time;  that's double the work that he has to put into the campaign.

The other problem, and maybe the bigger problem, is that when Herman Cain does get on television, it's about some horrible and disgraceful thing that he has said about Muslims.  He's vocal that he wouldn't nominate a Muslim to his cabinet, he's said that Sharia law is trying to take over the country and that he's supportive of communities that want to ostracize Muslims and prevent the construct of mosques anywhere.  As these links demonstrate, it's not just that he's wrong, but that he's gone back and said that he didn't say these things.  Which makes him a liar and an opportunist.

While there is something refreshing about his bluntness and his frank speaking manner (something I always appreciate), it has to be made clear that someone that he is bigoted in private and lies about it in public.  Does he not remember that he says these things?  And if Muslims are a problem domestically, how would this play out in diplomatic relations in Pakistan and Indonesia and other predominately Muslim nations?

I don't think that Herman Cain is a bad person, but he should stop and ask himself why he's running for president.  It comes across to me as a vanity project.  It's why he took the radio gig, it's why he's a commentator on Fox News and Fox Business and why he says half the things that he does.  He's disingenuous, insincere and is a waste of everyone's time.


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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hillary Clinton for VP? Let's Get Real...

In a post made on Real Clear Politics (the website I use to site poll numbers in my GOP Candidate Breakdown series), writer Richard Benedetto makes the case that the administration should drop VP Joe Biden and pick up Sec. of State Hillary Clinton for the VP spot.  He begins the article as thus:

"If by early next year President Obama's re-election chances are looking as dicey as they do now, there is likely to be a growing clamor inside Democratic circles to drop Joe Biden from the ticket and replace him with Hillary Clinton."

The first thing to mention is that while Obama doesn't do well against "generic GOP candidate", he does do very well against any named candidate.  So unless the GOP is talking about not running anyone against Obama, his chances aren't that dicey.

Also, there hasn't been the hint of discussion of replacing Biden with anyone, much less Clinton.  This kind of talk usually happens when an incumbent is running for re-election.  They did the same thing in 2004 with Dick Cheney and it was Democrats that was talking about how they were thinking about doing that, not Republicans.  Chances are this is something that is mentioned because the GOP want to cause such a shift to happen.

It wouldn't be to the administration's benefit to switch out the VP.  Reason being is that it is synonymous with instability.  I need only mention President. Nixon and the list of VP's that he has showed that the administration was coming apart (also showed that it was coming apart because it actually was coming apart).

"Clinton would add some much-needed pizazz to a tough campaign that Biden does not."

What pizzaz are you talking about?  Does Hillary have a tap dance number and sequined outfits that she didn't break out during her run in '08?

"Moreover, with the growing possibility that a woman -- Rep. Michele Bachmann -- could be on the Republican ticket either in the first or second slot (more likely the latter), Clinton would provide a formidable counter that an all-male ticket would not. Democrats would love to pit Clinton’s political and experiential skills against those of Bachmann."

This is a description of the current moment, not something that is necessarily going to be true in a year (you know, the moment when this sort of talk would actually matter).  It's being super-generous to Michele Bachmann and makes the same sexist assumptions that put Sarah Palin in the national spotlight.  Here, we see the GOP talking and thinking in the same mindset that they were about three and a half years ago.  As long as we have a pretty woman on the ticket, we'll get those liberals where it hurts!

Now, let's look at it from the political career perspective of Clinton.  Right now, she's got foreign policy experience coming out of her ears, something that Biden already had in spades.  But, because he's the VP and the VP position is a marginalized one, he hasn't been able to run around in the same manner as Clinton.

Switch her out to the VP and she's just as stuck as Biden is now.  When 2016 rolls around, all the foreign policy experience is for naught.  

She should stay where she is.  It's the best position for her and really for the country.  If the nation is going to be persuaded by an artificial change of who the Vice-President is, Obama could probably make a deeper impact by doing something more substantial.


You can also follow me on Twitter @truthissoap

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

GOP Candidate Breakdown #8: Ron Paul

The internet sensation of Rep. Ron Paul is well known and well documented.  In spite of his age and demeanor (he seems the type that would yell at kids for getting off of his yard), he's someone that has appealed to the younger generation.  Personally, I have nothing against Ron Paul.  I think that he's principled and strong-headed, which could also be interpreted as narrow-minded and stubborn.

The problem with Paul is that he's an ideologue and not a practical politician or leader.  It's hard to have someone running everything that believes that he shouldn't be running everything, not out of a sense of psychosis but because they believe that it would be wrong for the president to do something.

This past weekend, Ron Paul made a strong showing at the Ames Straw Poll, nearly beating the winner of the contest, Michele Bachmann.  He was campaigning for it but didn't have the do-or-die approach that Tim Pawlenty had.  For some reasons, he hasn't gotten the appropriate amount of media attention for this win.  Rick Santorum is seen as the "other" winner of the straw poll, even though he didn't poll nearly as well.

So, why Ron Paul?  While this blogger doesn't support the Ron Paul campaign nor does this blogger think that President Ron Paul is a good idea, there is something to be said about his appeal.  I will at least acknowledge his stature in the campaign for president.

Age: 75.  He has this grandpa-type feel to him.  Maybe not always mean.  He's capable of being fired up (the debate last Thursday was a good sign of that) without coming across like a demagogue (learn something Zell Miller!)  However, if age is going to be the unspoken issue of the McCain campaign, I can't imagine that it wouldn't be ignored for a man that's a year older than McCain.

Hometown:  Born in Pennsylvania, but has spent the last forty-some odd years living in Texas.  He got into politics back in the late-70's, inspired to action by President Nixon completing the removal of the gold standard from the US economy.

Place in the Republican Party:  Pariah.  The fact of the matter is that Ron Paul is emblematic of most Tea Party issues, the main difference is that he started spouting the nonsense back in the 1970's while the Tea Party waited for a Democrat (and a black guy) to get elected president before they started kvetching about government spending.  Again, Paul is consistent and principled, which is the real reason why he won't get the nomination.

The other being that his foreign policy would make Pat Buchanan blush.  Paul is the most vocal member in the halls of Congress that advocates the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.  He's always held this position, regardless as to whether or not it was politically popular to do so.  Readers will remember that back in 2008, he had cross-party appeal because of this position.  Whether or not he'll be able to pull liberals away from Obama remains to be seen.


Throughout all the polls, Paul usually falls in fifth place.  Technically, he can't be considered a front runner at this point.  However, some of these polls have not been updated since the Ames Straw Poll, so these figures could change rather quickly.

Nationally, he's behind established candidates like Romney, Perry and Bachmann but is also behind hypothetical Sarah Palin.  Whether she announces or not will have an impact on Ron Paul as to whether or not the media pays any more attention to him.  They barely pay enough attention to him now.  The Daily Show had a good bit about that the other night.

When he's matched against President Obama, like any other current Republican candidate, Obama wins hands down.  In this instance, he wins by over ten points.

Iowa:  While he ranks behind a lot of candidates, the poll is a little outdated: it includes Tim Pawlenty who dropped out of the race on Sunday.  It'll be interesting to see who his supporters go towards (probably someone like Romney) but Paul could gain a couple of supporters.

New Hampshire: Ron Paul does very well here.  The state has a libertarian streak in it and that might have a little more pull here than elsewhere.  Paul might do better in a primary voting system as opposed to a caucus system, but with the other candidates in the mix, it's hard to tell.  One thing is for sure, he could do well here.

South Carolina: This might be the strangest poll possible.  There's not enough to create a consistent average, but it might be safe to say that Paul might not do well here.  At the same time, though, South Carolina does gravitate to candidates that they think would win (John McCain, George W.) but they also like weird, weird politicians.  This is another state where Paul could do well and maybe even an upset.

Nevada:  Again, Romney is probably going to take this caucus without much of a struggle.  Paul is falling to fifth here, but that is including Palin in the polls.  If she were removed, some of the TP's that are supporting her would either gravitate towards Bachmann or Paul.  Either way, it's a win for Paul.

Florida:  While it's not one of the "first in the nation" primary/caucus or even first in the region, it's still an important state to show how one would do in the national election.  Now, I will include it in the profiles.  Here, we see Romney doing strong, as well as Perry and Palin.  Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul are making the second tier.

Quote me on this: If Florida is going to be vital in the general election (and there's no flippin' way that it's not going to be important), then the nomination for the GOP in Florida is going to be the bellwether of what the Republicans should do.  As of right now, Romney is leading, the one person in the race that could beat Obama and lead a bipartisan government. Next is Perry and Palin, who are more Republican operatives than dyed-in-the-wool Tea Party conservatives.

Also, remember that the current Tea Party Governor of Florida (R), Rick Scott is looking at less than 40% approval rating.  While I'm not saying that the more moderate the candidate the better (however true that may be), the key to victory in Florida is demonstrating how much of an average Republican the candidate can be.  Ron Paul will struggle here, even if he has victories in other states.

Gov. Rick Scott made significant changes after previous polls.

This is what you look like when you make bargains with Skeletor.

Right now, in mid-August of 2011 in the campaign, I would say that Rep Ron Paul of Texas is a long shot.  He was a long shot in 2008 and he's a long shot now.  The reason why he's a long-shot is simple:  he actually believes in the ideals that form the modern Republican Party.  He's a man of principle, rarely wavering.  And it's for this reason that the GOP will more than likely not nominate him.

As a liberal, this strikes me as odd.  After all, he's the perfect candidate.  But he also doesn't kneel at the altars that he should: he doesn't go on and on about how great Ronald Reagan was for one.  He's a guy that speaks his mind and sticks to his guns even if it means crashing on the ground in flames.

I would be pleasantly surprised at Ron Paul doing better in the campaigns than most.  He's probably going to spend more time on the Presidential campaign this time around (he's not running for re-election in his Texas district, which is fine, he can always come back in a couple of years and pick it back up.  He's done it before.)  Whether or not Paul does well remains to be seen.  One thing is for sure, he doesn't have the most important political factor on his side:  Fox News.

They report on the candidates that you can decide on later.  

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sunday's On the Phone to Monday: Aug 13th and 14th

It was the first big weekend of the campaign between the Fox News Debate on Thursday, the Straw Poll on Saturday, the entrance of Gov. Rick Perry and the exit of Gov. Tim Pawlenty.  I've already reviewed the prospects of Perry and the perils of Pawlenty, but let's review the results of the weekend.

Rep. Michele Bachmann Wins Ames Straw Poll

As I have previously written and in regards to what else has been said on the matter, the Ames Straw Poll is important for two kinds of people:  the people who win and the people who say that they have to win it.  Michele Bachmann falls in the former category.  She's allowed to take a victory lap for it as long as she likes, as long as she realizes that it doesn't amount to a hill of beans in the end.  Mitt Romney can tell her all about that.

But the straw poll had more than just the effect of boosting the ego and campaign of the craziest woman running for President.  Certainly worth-noting is that Rep. Ron Paul placed second and a close second at that.  Does this mean that Ron Paul might be able to walk away with a shot at the nomination.

Well, no.  For the same reason that the straw poll doesn't mean that Bachmann is within the nomination by any means, the perception that Ron Paul placed second somehow means something is faulty.  How could Bachmann winning first mean nothing but Paul winning second (which means that he lost, by the way) mean something?

Gov. Rick Perry had announced that he was running for President that day and still managed to pull in more votes than Mitt Romney, but you know who doesn't care?  Mitt Romney.  He hasn't taken a blow in the polls (maybe for the "corporations are people, too" comment, but not for a lack of will at the straw poll) and his campaign is still going strong.  Romney (and others) treated the straw poll for what it is: a nonbinding popularity contest for a group of Iowans.  This isn't the race for the President of Iowa but for the United States and Bachmann and others have yet to really demonstrate the strength beyond the borders of a sparsely populated state.

Oh, dear God...

Gov. Rick Perry Is In Despite Of Everything That He Has Ever Said

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have been Rick-roll'd.

I'm not going into too much about Rick Perry himself;  I've covered that here.

But, in the strict sense of commenting on the announcement itself, the following points should be made about Gov. Perry.

1- When interviewed in December of 2010 (that was about 9 months ago), Governor Rick Perry said, quote "I don't want to be President of the United States.  I'm not going to run for the Presidency of the United States."  By this past Saturday, he changed his mind.  What changed his mind?  Well, either God told him to run (which is conflicting issue because I'm sure that He told Michele Bachmann to run as well) or because he thought that he could win.  I believe he was told the latter.

2-  He was a strong support of then Sen. Al Gore's run for President back in 1992.  If that's not the GOP equivalent of "palling around with terrorists", then it doesn't exist.

3-  In 1989, then Democratic State Rep. Rick Perry introduced an amendment to the Texas constitution that would require that any elected official that is running for another, different elected office would be forced to automatically resign from their current post.  That is to say 1989 Rick Perry would insist that since 2011 Rick Perry is running for President, 2011 Rick Perry should resign immediately.

If the GOP are going to hold Obama to something that Rev. Wright said ten years ago, then doesn't it follow that we should hold politicians to what they actually said themselves?

Ex-Gov. Tim Pawlenty Forgets Why He Got Into this Race To Begin With and Quits

You can read more about my thoughts of this doomed campaign here.  One of the points that I make is that he got into the race almost a full year before the first votes were to be cast in Iowa and then spent the majority of his time in Iowa.  There wasn't a particular issue that he was running on, and, as has been observed elsewhere, because he is at his heart a reasonable person, he wasn't ready to give out the red meat that other candidates (Bachmann).  Overexposure to sheer boredom leads people only one option:  change the channel.

Now, why would he get into the race about 11 months before the first votes would be cast in the state that he campaigned so heavily in?  Because that's the nomination system that we have concocted for ourselves.

Were the entire process streamlined, a moderate voice like Pawlenty would have a chance of surviving the race and having it heard, instead of having it fall to the wayside not six months into campaigning.  He has to withdraw from the race after a popularity contest that (and I cannot stress this enough) doesn't mean anything.

I suppose in the end, it's just as well that he does withdraw, under the circumstances.  If Pawlenty's campaign cannot get past the fact that Ames Straw Poll doesn't mean anything, if they have the foolish perception, like so many in Iowa do, that the Poll actually gives a sustainable moment and produces actual results, then clearly Pawlenty is not fit to hold the highest office in the country.  Good for him.

Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, left, at Thursday's debate in Ames, Iowa, with Jon M. Huntsman Jr. and Newt Gingrich.

Tim who?


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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Presidential Campaign Obituary #1: Tim Pawlenty

I feel responsible for this recent defeat of former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.  If I had the time, I could have written another GOP Candidate Breakdown of him and it would have garnered all sorts of attention.  Then, Pawlenty would have exited the race much, much earlier, instead of wasting all of his money on the pointless, fruitless Ames Straw Poll.

Should Pawlenty have dropped out of the race?  I think the better question why was he in the race to begin with.

Good for him.

Tim Pawlenty entered the race for 2012 because 1) he was floated as a possible VP candidate back in 2008 and the resulting chatter also speculated that he might make a bid in 2012 or 2016 and 2) he was originally seen as a reasonable guy that was capable of bridging the gap between the GOP and Democrats (he was elected Republican governor of a "blue" state.)

However, Pawlenty fell victim to a number of causes, most of which were preventable.

First, he got in the race to begin with entirely too early.  He declared back in March 2011, which meant that he had five months to get the message out.  Good for him.  But by jumping in so early, it allowed people to get bored with him so quickly and realize that he was the milquetoast candidate.  It wasn't until the end of his campaign that he realized that he had to distinguish himself.  What's more, he declared that he was running for President and then more or less stayed in one place the entire time, which leads me to...

Second, he put entirely too much emphasis on the Ames Straw Poll and the State of Iowa.  Watch this bite Michele Bachmann in the ass.  The Ames Straw Poll is important to two groups of people: the person who wins and the person who's banking on winning and then loses.  It proved to be catastrophic for Pawlenty for the simple reason that he made it so important.  Look at Newt Gingrich.  He wasn't doing nearly as well as Pawlenty and he's not a quitter!  I mean, he should quit, but that's not the point.  These things are only as important as you make them out to be.  Look at Romney:  he couldn't give a shit that he didn't win and he came in behind someone that had announced their candidacy that day (Gov. Rick Perry).  He's still going strong.

Boo hoo, Michele Bachmann is liked more in a corn wasteland than Pawlenty.  
That's like being the King of Turd Mountain.  

Third, he tried to break away from the pack too late.  The most significant point of the campaign before his withdrawal was actually within the last week when he was debating Michele Bachmann, among others.  He showed fire, he showed strength and he showed that he could be as snide and snippy as Rep. Bachmann.  But it was too little too late.  You don't try to out-sass the Sass Queen.  What's more, you have to establish that as your character a while ago.  Otherwise, you look desperate and out of control.

So, what does the future hold for someone like Pawlenty.  As was suggested back in 2008, he would make a good VP for the eventual nominee.  He's agreeable and capable of reaching across the aisle in order to solve issues.  He also would be good for balancing the ticket, not geographically but ideologically.  This would allow the Prez Nominee to be a little further to the right than they normally would be.

He should be on a short list, but it wouldn't surprise this blogger if Pawlenty were to go the way of Tommy Thompson and eventually take up a national level seat in Congress to represent Minnesota.  There might be a chair vacant for Minnesota's 6th District in November 2012.

I won't be using it!


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Saturday, August 13, 2011

GOP Candidate Breakdown #7: Rick Perry

On August 13th, ahead of the Ames Straw Poll and after months of speculation, Texas Governor Rick Perry announced his bid to run for President of the United States.

"That's why with the support of my family and an unwavering belief in the goodness of America, I declare to you today my candidacy for president of the United States."

I'm Rick Perry and I have a finger.

Like many of the candidates that have declared in the past, the idea didn't come from the candidate him or herself, but rather came from the speculation as to who was going to run and not run.  It didn't matter that Rick Perry himself said that he had no interest in running for president.

But then the current field of candidates came around.  I can't help but think that he's running not because there are good enough candidates in the field but for other ulterior motives.  Romney's a good choice for the nomination, however, he is... well, he's a Mormon.  And while Fred Karger has campaigned on the Anti-Romney concept, he's not a feasible alternative.

With Perry, we have a man that doesn't care about the separation of Church and Statewho has a good records on creating minimum wage jobs at Wal-Mart and Carl's Jr. and shamelessly flirted with the idea that Texas was permitted to leave the Union whenever it felt that it was prudent to do.

What more could the Republican Party or the Tea Party want?

While I was planning on writing a profile breakdown for Perry well before he announced his candidacy, the announcement today has forced my hand.

Look at this picture and tell me that he's not saying "Hee-yuck" to himself.

Age: 61.  A pretty healthy guy, in regards to his physical health.  Mental health issues have not been released or discussed at length and they should.

Hometown:  He's the first candidate that I've profiled that represents the same state that he was born in:  Texas.  I guess that's one difference between him and George W. Bush (but one of the few differences).

Place in the Republican Party:  Conservatives have a hard-on for Southern politicians.  He's a good-looking guy and doesn't make up words like W. Bush, but is a little gaffe-prone.  For further proof, here's his report card from Politifact: it's a little worse than his college transcripts.

Perry appeals to those Republicans and conservatives that think a) no one remembers George W. Bush and/or b) actually miss George W. Bush.  He's shown to be a fiscal conservative, but if he gets the nomination, the argument may very well become his social conservatism.  

He's also considered a Washington Outsider (like Obama campaigned on, but this may also describe Romney, Huntsman and Palin.)  Why this is considered a good thing is beyond me.  Obama ran on that platform and it's shown to be extremely difficult trying to become part of the beast that you are trying to reform.


Nationally, Perry enters the race consistently second, behind Romney.  It's going to be interesting to see the dynamic but Romney is really just one "He's not really a Christian" remark away from being shoved out of the race.  Romney also made the gaffe that 'corporations are people too', and while legally this is true, it's hard to sympathize with "people" that have teams of lawyers to get them out of paying taxes.  Are we all supposed to have lawyers like that?

It's also interesting to note that, as of this writing, polls show that Obama is vulnerable to nearly any generic GOP candidate that he may run against.  However, when a specific person is named, he tends to do better.  With Perry, such is the case, consistently beating him by double digits.  

Perry demonstrates his chances again Obama, pictured here.

Iowa:  Perry doesn't appear in enough polls to create a sufficient average.  However, Perry does appear in one where he places third.  What's significant about that polling is that it creates for Michele Bachmann a significant problem.  He pulls her supporters away.  In the polling where he doesn't appear, she can get support as much as 30%.  When Perry appears, she's down to 22%.  Clearly, he's going to take the Evangelical Christian vote away from her and that just leaves her with the Crazies.

New Hampshire:  Perry polls 6th here.  You might say that it's because it's only until today that he's established a campaign.  To that I say included in this same poll would be Palin and Giulinani, a figure who is sometimes mentioned, but by no means is seriously floated as a contender for the nomination.  Perry ranks behind them.  Maybe as time wears on (and he's had a chance to show his face in NH), he'll gain more support, but assuming that Perry gets as far as the NH primary, it'll be surprising if he takes it.  After all, Bush the Second did not.

South Carolina:  No polls include Perry.

Nevada: There's not a strong average of the poll numbers in the Silver State, however, he does make a better showing in a single poll than the more established candidates.  One prediction I'm willing to float at present:  now that Perry is in the race it'll make the Nevada Caucus a little more irrelevant than it was before.  That's not to say that this particular caucus has done anything to sway the race one way or another (Romney won back in 2008 to no avail) but if Romney cannot establish moment in either Iowa or NH, any winning in NV would prove to be fruitless in the long haul.

Ricky Perry's political experience is completely isolated to the Texan stage.  He doesn't have experience in the national arena (a point that may be considered an advantage, after all not being in DC or being familiar with it is a "good" thing).  He's already started to make trails for the campaigning that he'll have to do in four states but he's going to have to play catch up with any number of candidates.  

There's going to be an initial novelty at his entrance to the race.  Even more established candidates are going to have to step aside from the behemoth of media attention.  However, at some point, we are going to have to look at everything he has said and done more closely.

Remember, back in 2008, amid a flurry of media speculation and attention, former Senator from Tennessee  Fred Thompson entered the race.  He polled well and then started talking.  Then, the novelty wore off and he exited before the first votes were cast for the nomination.  It's a footnote in the race but it does come into play here; we have another candidate who seems like he would do well and it's distinctly possible that nothing will come in the campaign in the long term.

Does anybody remember me?  

I cite that as a possibility.  As a politician, Perry has a lot more going for him than Thompson did in '08.  But when he has to account for statements that he's made in the past (I refer you to the beginning of the article), I would be so bold as to predict that he'll make a strong showing between now and when the first votes are cast, but whether the entire campaign survives is something else entirely.


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