Posts Tagged ‘Michele Bachmann’

Iowa Caucus: Wild Night for Santorum, Network News, Pickup Trucks, and Sweater Vests

In ELECTION 2012 on January 4, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Republican presidential candidate former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum shakes hands during a meet and greet campaign stop in Iowa. | AP Photo

Last night, the Iowa Caucus held on to its reputation as an electoral circus with wildly unpredictable results, while politicos throughout the nation were captivated by its demonstration of rural backwardness bringing ever stranger results.

Until the last percent was counted, all national news networks were delayed in waiting for 2 precincts to report their result. This was done, according to Bret Baier and the Fox News team (later denied by the Iowa GOP) by having some farmer drive them over in his truck to have them counted, instead of just calling them in. Read the rest of this entry »


Why Not Newt?

In ELECTION 2012 on November 9, 2011 at 1:16 pm


Despite many of my readers accusations, I am not working for, nor have decided to support one Republican primary candidate over another. GOP candidates have been flying at the electorate like rounds in a revolver, hitting their mark, only to bounce off the Kevlar armor of the overly critical voters that await to see whether the next round out of the barrel will be the piercing shot of conservatism they think they  felt under President Ronald Reagan. I admit there is fault in this analogy. What would Mitt Romney be?

The voters have seen so many rising stars: Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and now Herman Cain, all who seemed unable to withstand the increased media scrutiny that is afforded to the frontrunner.

If Herman Cain is reasonably upset at the media’s scrutiny of sexual harassment allegations, most significant of which coming from the tenacious Gloria Allred’s client Sharon Bailek, who provided graphic details of her alleged encounter with Cain 14 years ago – the first one of four accusers to reveal herself to the public – then he greatly underestimates the inhumanity American politics.

So far, the Cain campaign has handled the situation with embarrassing ineptitude, underscoring his self proclamation  that he is not a politician. Even so, he has sounded incredibly similar to a politician in recent weeks in the way he has been dodging pointed questions from the media until yesterday afternoon’s press conference. Is he now realizing why it takes a politician to be good at politics?

Nobody can claim that they know for certain whether the allegations against Cain are true or not, but there isn’t any question that his campaign will not survive this disaster. Some are already beginning to make him a martyr, claiming that this is usually the way that  media treats prominent black conservatives. But when you have paperwork as evidence of payoffs, some accusing and Cain unequivocally denying, doubts will certainly arise.

Most of the public may agree that these allegations could be false or frivolous, but the uncertainty to the details will no doubt drive supporters away, as evidenced by the latest polls showing Cain quickly losing favorability and his lead among the candidates. Voters do not want a bad feeling in their stomach about their candidate. Furthermore, false accusations levied by Cain Chief-of-Staff Mark Block against former staffer Curt Anderson and former POLITICO reporter Josh Kraushaar, are scuttling gains achieved by Cain’s strong denial of even knowing Bailek.

These allegations, are not Cain’s only problem. Last Saturday’s Lincoln-Douglass debate, between Cain and Speaker Newt Gingrich, exposed a much more troubling problem that politicos everywhere would rather focus on: Cain’s lack of  policy knowledge, the kind that politicians, especially Newt Gingrich, are familiar with. It is doubtless that when Cain agreed to debate Gingrich, he did not consider that he was going to be scrutinized as a frontrunner, believing that little attention would be focused on the debate. Otherwise, it shows hubris to think he can face a seasoned professional and academic like Gingrich. Despite the amicable disposition of the event, viewers saw a clear discrepancy between the two candidates. The enthusiasm the audience payed Gingrich’s answers were not matched for Cain. Cain also asked to pass and let Gingrich go first on two questions that were initially addressed to him, prompting some observers to tweet, “Is that allowed in a debate?” Yes, it was in this amicable debate, nevertheless, Cain’s weakness was exposed.

This is not a good sign for his supporters. Cain needs to further refine his knowledge – even though it is much better than when he began – but will be nearly impossible if he has to handle his harassment scandal. How can a poor debater be pitted against an incumbent with Barack Obama’s eloquence?

Voters may now be forced to make a jump to another candidate in this campaign cycle that many have compared to speed dating. Though some blame “liberal media” for fueling allegations against Cain, he is most likely correct about its origin in Rick Perry’s camp. But if Perry’s staff thinks that Cain’s declining poll numbers will mean that voters will come back to Perry, they have made a serious miscalculation. It is never good to have your candidate appear as the one who purposely smeared  another in your own party.

Until now, the electorate has been picking a new candidate every time they fall out of love with a front runner, I do not see why this will be any different this time around, and it seems that Gingrich has positioned himself to be next out of the barrel.

As hard as I try, I see no reason why Gingrich should not be the frontrunner, or the nominee. It seems that many conservatives are asking themselves the same question, and so far there is no outstanding reason why he shouldn’t be.

Bachmann can already be considered gone from contention. Perry has shown himself to be the weakest candidate intellectually, despite having plenty of campaign cash on hand from when he was the frontrunner. Santorum, Paul, and the others stand no real chance of winning a real caucus or primary. If Gingrich continues to rise in the polls and further shows himself to be the smart and mature candidate – keeping himself well above the bickering among other candidates –  he could soon take the lead among the “Not-Romneys.” Just in time, with Iowa coming in January, Gingrich’s timing could not be more perfect. As comfortable as Mitt Romney’s position is in the polls, I can’t help but feel that his inevitability will encourage the always contrarian and traditional conservative Iowans to reject him in favor of someone with more credible conservative bona fides, having exhausted many other candidates, the currently third place Gingrich would not seem like a bad choice. Especially since Gingrich has received overwhelmingly favorable responses at every event he participated in Iowa.

Gingrich’s private life may not be that clean for a traditional presidential candidate – many voters calling him “undisciplined” – his long career in politics may mean that we may already know everything there is to know in order not to have any Cain-like surprises. Dependability seems to be what Republican voters are craving right about now. His supporters can only hope that his early statements on climate change and calling Paul Ryan’s budget plan “conservative social engineering” will not come back to haunt him.

Follow me on Twitter: @dmitriyshapiro

Perry Passes Peak, Begins Decline in Polls

In ELECTION 2012 on September 21, 2011 at 2:08 pm

By Dmitriy Shapiro     Twitter: @dmitriyshapiro

Texas Governor Rick Perry, a star competitor for the Republican nomination, may have recently reached the summit of the favorable poll results he has been receiving, according to Real Clear Politics average.

Political commentators have been widely debating whether Perry’s extraordinary ascent to a significant lead against other GOP hopefuls would continue on its meteoric rise, or begin to decline from media overexposure; now it seems the latter is almost certain.

It is hard to make claims over such results yet. Unless Mitt Romney makes a significant campaign blunder, it is most likely that Perry’s poll numbers will begin to approach those of other candidates as time passes without any candidate dropping from the field.

It isn’t that Gov. Perry is a bad candidate, he is still and will be, the most prominent candidate whose views follow the traditional republican mindset, but his sliding numbers are most likely caused by not meeting the unrealistic expectations of being the perfect candidate, awaited by discontent and divided republican voters before Perry entered the race.

Perry’s performance thus far has been standard; coming off as natural and direct, but not faultless, as demonstrated by the controversy stirred up when he said that Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke “would be treated pretty ugly” in Texas if he continued his inflationary policies. Statements like these may look bad to liberals and in the media, but it does nothing but strengthen his grassroots and Tea Party support.

Perry’s real struggle has been distinguishing himself in the televised debates, where primary voters first get a good glimpse of their slew of candidates. In the two debates that Perry has so far appeared – the MSNBC/Politico Reagan Library and CNN/Tea Party debates – he disappointingly did not come off as the legendary, Chuck Norris-like figure that so many have joked about and hoped for. Dreaming aside, Perry seems unable to find the sweet spot between long-winded political explanations and simplistic sound bites that are not catching on as well as those by his biggest Tea Party rival, Michele Bachmann.

The RCP Average line graph shows that Perry reached his peak on the 12th of September, polling a double digit lead over Mitt Romney.  Until then, his supporters hoped that he would perform better in that night’s CNN/Tea Party debate, but in the following days, it seems that some of Perry’s supporters have lost hope. As of now, the CBS News/New York TimesUSA Today/Gallup, and Rasmussen Reports polls span the interval following the last televised debate, but I would suspect that further poll announcements will show Perry’s lead over the rest of the field, especially Mitt Romney, shrink.

In the CNN/Tea Party debate, Bachmann, Romney and the rest of the field successfully pinned the “big government” Republican label on Perry, which he appeared unable to shake. Bachmann gained sympathy points saying that having “12-year-old girls be forced to have a government injection through an executive order is just wrong…” Bachmann and her campaign quickly capitalized and coined “Perrycare.” Other times, Perry’s unconventional stance on Latino immigration was criticized by all. In the eyes of primary voters, these are serious blemishes on what they hoped would be a perfect conservative record.

Thursday’s Fox New/Google debate will be crucial to the Perry campaign. It will be imperative for Perry to competently deflect all attacks to be expected from Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney to his left, and Michele Bachmann to his right. He needs to makes certain that the talking points he prepares are clever enough to grab the attention and approval of the primary electorate and media while keeping his renegade conservative image intact. But Perry should also aim for balance. There is a group of conservatives that had hoped for an alternative to Romney, but less socially conservative than Bachmann, this has initially boosted Perry’s numbers, although some seem to be going back to Romney; probably a result of the controversial pronouncement Perry has made on issues like climate change.

Perry campaign’s straddling of the divide between mainstream and Tea Party republicans and drying up funding for slightly more conservative candidates could bring some comfort soon, since it puts him in the best position to receive the supporters of Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, and Rick Santorum if they run out of funds. Bachmann, being all but invisible in the MSNBC/Politico debate, makes me curious to know where she receives her campaign money from, and how long will it last? Where is Newt Gingrich in all of this? My guess is as good as yours.

Ames Straw Poll Prediction: 2:18PM (Twitter) 8/13/2011

In ELECTION 2012 on August 13, 2011 at 4:48 pm
Official photo of Congresswoman Michele Bachma...

Image via Wikipedia

By Dmitriy Shapiro

As I watch C-SPAN’s coverage of the Ames Straw Poll, a spectacle that reminds me of 19th century vote buying, I cannot help but entertain myself by attempting to predict – to the best of my ability – the complete lineup of the candidates in the results of today’s poll. I first sent the list through my Twitter account at 2:18PM, and it has been unchanged since. I have only added write-ups of my opinion of each candidate. It only reflects my gut feeling about the results based solely on my stereotype of Iowa voters. It is not scientific by any means. First, I will present my prediction and why; then I will compare it to results that I’ve found made by others… Scratch that, so far I cannot find any comprehensive lineup (other than top three) anywhere on the web. But since I have nothing to lose, here is my attempt, let’s see how close I can get:

  1. Michele BachmannBachmann already had more than a few things going for her. Although she can often come off as too simple and no doubt kowtows to the Tea Party activist belying her intelligence. Her energy and attractiveness are great assets to her campaign, but more importantly in Iowa, her religious dialogue is sure to impress. Bachmann’s impressive performance in the recent Fox News debate showed her to be cool under fire, after Tim Pawlenty’s attacks, and most likely made her a sympathetic figure especially among women voters.
  2. Ron Paul– Truly polarizing, Ron Paul’s extreme libertarian views are often at odds with other traditional GOP candidates and voters, but his ability to motivate masses of disillusioned and unemployed young people, ensure that he will have a rabid support base that is motivated to win any poll in existence. The presentation of his message, the Ron Paul Revolution – and his followers’ ability to quote every word he has ever said or written – makes him more similar to the communist leaders like Lenin and Mao, than an American politician. There is no doubt that Ron Paul-ites will be streaming from all corners of Iowa to show their allegiance to Grandfather Paul.
  3. Rick Santorum-Until the FNC debate, little has been heard or said about Rick Santorum. By all appearances, he is the very model of a Republican. Although, he had been overshadowed by the other candidates, he effectively pointed out the media’s disinterest in him at the debate; forcing the moderators to give him his fair share of the time; while evoking sympathy from viewers. He became the underdog. After grabbing everyone’s attention, he made his opinions clear, and challenged Ron Paul to rapturous applause from traditional Republicans and boos from Paul supporters – creating many of the most interesting moments in the debate. Finally, Santorum’s dependable and uncompromising stances on all traditional Republican issues, has made him a safe choice for the increasingly ignored “social conservatives” and the “Anti-Gay” vote. I think Santorum will be the surprise of the day.
  4. Mitt Romney– Mitt Romney has largely kept himself above the fray. If Bob Beckel of Fox New’s “The Five” was able to call the Republican contenders “munchkins,” Mitt is the exception, and Romney probably agrees with Beckel. Anything that happens in Iowa will never affect his campaign.
  5. Tim Pawlenty- Pawlenty, as the media agrees, has the most to lose in Iowa. Having entered the running for President off of the rush of support he received from the last two American Conservative Union’s CPAC events, he had not anticipated new entrants who possessed more charisma and media skills than he has ever been able to muster. He appeared weak and awkward in CNN’s debate, backing down when confronted with his own words against Mitt Romney. In the FNC debate, his performance remained awkward and scripted. Worse, his over the top attempts to attack Michele Bachmann made him look as if he is beating up on a poor defenseless lady. Conservative voters, never big on feminism, will feel that Pawlenty is a bully and will need to be punished for this ungentlemanly act.  Anybody supporting Pawlenty’s campaign should realize that the window of opportunity has already closed, and the question will be: How many nails after Iowa will Pawlenty need in his coffin?
  6. Rick Perry (write-in)- To truly describe what Rick Perry means for the Republican Party and the 2012 Election, would require me to write an article solely on him. His entry into the race gives traditional GOP voters a guaranteed candidate who will be one of the final two in competition for the Republican Party nomination against a more moderate candidate such as Mitt Romney. Basically, anyone who is not Romney, Huntsman or Paul; fear him.
  7. Herman Cain– Tea Party star Herman Cain, is undoubtedly a very able man. His business abilities exemplify this – but unlike he and many of his supporters would like to believe, being a Washington outsider does not necessarily make one a good Washington insider (President). Being a businessman does not make one a good lawmaker – a major part of a President’s job – or that not being any of these makes you have any foreign policy intellect. Cain made a point in his straw poll speech that President Obama had little foreign policy experience when he took office either, but at least he had been a Senator. Furthermore, having been in the running for a good amount of time, Cain should have taken the time to be properly instructed on issues by experts. Lack of knowledge, seen clearly in the debates, raise questions about his natural curiosity.
  8. Newt Gingrich– For all intents and purposes, Newt Gingrich has been a candidate for years. But ever since his announcement, his campaign has done nothing other than spiral downward out of control. Nevertheless, the obviously scripted and what I believe tongue in cheek posturing actually gave Newt a surprisingly good showing in the debate. He seemed relaxed, experienced and professional, in contrast with the squirming neophytes – and though I feel he was disingenuous, he showed he could stand his own ground.
  9. Sarah Palin (write-in)- I doubt she will jump into the race now, since Rick Perry has made Bachmann not threatening to any candidate. Palin, as a write in, will nevertheless inspire some who will write her name in the blank.
  10. Jon Huntsman-Coming Soon
  11. Thaddeus McCotter-Coming Soon

Actual Results (Update 7:30PM):

Place Candidate Votes Percentage
1 Michele Bachmann 4,823 28.5%
2 Ron Paul 4,671 27.6%
3 Tim Pawlenty 2,293 13.6%
4 Rick Santorum 1,657 9.8%
5 Herman Cain 1,456 8.6%
6 Rick Perry (write-in) 718 4.3%
7 Mitt Romney 567 3.4%
8 Newt Gingrich 385 2.3%
9 Jon Huntsman 69 0.4%
10 Thaddeus McCotter 35 0.2%
Scattering 162 1.0%