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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