February 15, 2008

Et Tu, Romney?

By now you have probably observed that I am a big Mitt Romney fan.  There are few things Romney could do to damage my faith in him, but he managed to find one of them; Romney endorsed John McCain.

Now, to be fair, I understand the politics of it all.  I understand that Mitt wants to preserve his political future and as a party leader he is expected to fall in line with the party politics now that the nomination is all but wrapped up.  I understand that Romney is committed to party unity and whether we like it or not, McCain is our guy.

Having said that, I still don't like it.  I'm not a fan of John McCain.  I cheered Mitt on when he fired off his attacks on McCain's leftward tendencies.  I was with him completely when he argued that we need a Conservative in the White House and that McCain is no Conservative.  I can't help but feel a little betrayed.

Look, I'm gonna vote for John McCain if he is our nominee; I won't deny that.  But I also don't want to shove the last year and a half under the rug.  I don't want to ignore the fact that our party and the Conservative movement has a major problem in John McCain.  I had hoped that the man who is in the best position to really become the next big Conservative leader, Mitt Romney would have taken a bit more of a stand on this.

Wishful thinking I suppose.

I'm writing angry, never a good idea.  I'll stop now.

February 11, 2008

Picking Through the Leftovers: McCain or Huckabee

With Romney out of the race and a few days to ponder the remaining options, I've come to a decision on whether to cheer for Huckabee or McCain.  Neither of them were my first choice, but after spending some time evaluating what I like and don't like about both candidates, I've settled on a number of things I like about each, but alot more that I don't like about McCain than Huckabee.

I've noticed a trend during the candidacy of John McCain; that he seems to think that if he says something enough, that it is true.

I first noticed it in the back-and-forth between McCain and Romney when McCain took attempted to twist a Romney quote to allege that Romney supported a timeline to withdraw from Iraq.  When it was clearly showed that Romney never said nor meant such a thing, and McCain was confronted about the attack not being "straight talk" McCain simply held to his position that the attack was true and repeated multiple times that he was just giving "straight talk."

In recent months I've become confused about the definition of "straight talk" because I'm learning that it has less and less to do with the truth.

We've heard over and over from McCain that he doesn't support amnesty for illegal immigrants, when Kennedy-McCain clearly does. 

We've heard that he is pro-life, when he supports the expansion and federal funding of embryonic stem cell research and opposes the human life amendment. 

We've heard that he supports traditional marriage when he staunchly opposed the federal marriage amendment.

We've heard that he will nominate strong judges, but not judges like Justice Alito who wear their Conservatism "on their sleeve."  (brief aside, in my opinion, Justice Alito is the best appointment to the Court since Justice Scalia.)

He tells us he is a fiscal Conservative but he opposed President Bush's tax cuts.  And while he says that he would not raise taxes publicly, there are reports that he has said the opposite privately.  Take that for what it is worth and a totally unconfirmed rumor.

Certainly, there are areas for debate and excuses that could be made for some of these, but when I find myself questioning the sincerity of a man over and over, it really makes it difficult to support his candidacy for the presidency.

Add to that the fact that he almost seems to relish crossing over the isle to not just work with Democrats, but advance their causes rather than those of the Republican Party, leaving us with gems like McCain-Finegold, and I've got some real concerns.

On the other hand, Huckabee is no knight in shining armor either.  His history of tax increases in Arkansas, his very recent conversion to strong immigration proponent and his "big government" approach on a number of issues leave me with many of the same questions.  But what I don't question is his position on social issues.  I don't question that he will nominate textualist judges.  I don't question that he will be a strong advocate for life and traditional marriage. 

I'm not totally sold on the Fair Tax idea, but I'd take almost anything as opposed to the IRS.  Though I'm also not convinced that we could get it passed.

I'm not sold on Huckabee's foreign policy credentials either, but this is an area that I see as being heavily influenced by advisors and military insiders as opposed to many of these social issues we face being a matter of personal conviction.  I believe Huckabee will stay the course in Iraq and while he doesn't have the same exposure to foreign policy that McCain does, I can't anticipate any tangible difference in the way they would handle foreign affairs.

At the end of the day, as a Conservative, I find myself with an easy choice between McCain and Huckabee; Welcome to the Huckabee wagon.  I question his history, but I don't question that he will at least attempt to do the things he says he will.  I can't say the same for McCain.

Let us not forget the "is he electable" factor, however.  I know many have gone the way of McCain based solely on the idea that he is the only one who stands a chance against Hilary or Obama.  I'm an optimist though, and I truly believe that both McCain and Huckabee could beat either of the Democrats through their respective playing to the middle (as McCain is currently doing) or playing to Conservatives (as Huckabee is doing and Bush did in 2004).  Though Huckabee also has a tough road ahead to even secure the nomination, I also believe it is still a possibility.

Though as a Floridian I'm really just on the sideline as our primary has come and gone, I still encourage those of you out there who live in, or have friends and family in states with primaries yet to pass, hop on the Huckabee wagon with me.

February 08, 2008

Thank You Mitt Romney

Though I'm disheartened by the end of Romney's campaign, he's left me several things to be thankful for.

I'm thankful that Romney reminded me what it feels like to really be excited about a candidate.  Its been quite sometime since I've seen a candidate that was the "total package" that Romney was.  In a time when we are so critical of all of our candidates and it is easier than ever to find and broadcast their faults (and certainly Romney had faults of his own) it is easy to become disenchanted with candidates and the process.  But Romney brought me out of that at least for the span of his campaign.  I'm thankful for the reminder that it is possible.

I'm thankful that Romney forced me and so many other Evangelicals to evaluate whether our faith was going to be a defining factor in our vote, over policy issues.  The decision on this wasn't unified by any means, but I believe it was important for us to be faced with that decision.

I'm thankful that he was willing to step down.  Calculations of the chance he had at winning were most definitely the driving factor here, but I'm thankful for a candidate that is not too prideful to step down before the last glimmer of possibility is gone in the name of allowing our party to go into the election stronger and unified.

I hope that this is not the last Presidential race we see Romney in.  Who knows what the future holds, but if there is a future Romney campaign, count me in.

February 02, 2008

Another Victory for Traditional Marriage

I have to be honest, when I heard that due to a reporting error tens of thousands of petitions in support of the Florida Marriage Amendment left the measure over 21,000 petitions short of the required 611,000 with less than two weeks before the deadline, I wasn't positive the amendment would be on our ballot.  I am so glad I was wrong. 

All the required signatures are in and he State Division of Elections has certified the Amendment for inclusion on the November 2008 ballot.  Now the real work begins.

January 31, 2008

Mr. Excitement McCain?

I normally really enjoy columns by Ben Shaprio; the young upstart Conservative columnist who offers a fresh perspective on politics.  But I have to say his most recent column makes me ask whether he has been paying attention to the primaries at all:

McCain won because Romney's Boring

Huh?  I'll admit, it takes a certain kind of sick person to get into politics like some of us do.  To the average person watching a concession speech by a primary candidate lands just above watching paint dry.  However, ever on the "normie" scale, I can't fathom how one would say that McCain is more energizing than a 72 year old tree stump, let alone Mitt Romney.

As I concluded in my post on the Florida primary:

"I will also say that watching the post results speeches that Romney looked more presidential and was more inspiring and energizing in defeat than McCain in victory."

As one observer noted, the only possible way to enjoy watching John McCain anymore is to play a drinking game where you take a swig every time he uses the phrase "No, that is straight talk.  No, that is straight talk.  No, that is straight talk."  Other might say the fun in watching him is waiting to see if he is going to actually try and choke a journalist

If I have to hear the term "straight talk" ten times a day for the next for years I can't promise that I won't resort to violence.

I would almost rather listen to Al Gore speak than John McCain.  At least Al Gore is hilarious.

I've sold several folks on Romney just by directing them to clips of his speeches at CPAC and the like.  It has been my experience that those folks who have actually sat down and taken the time to look at Romney's record, to hear him speak, and really look past the media hype almost without fail come out excited about his candidacy.

Let's be clear about what McCain is not: young, stylish, energizing, fair-tempered, Conservative, right on immigration, right on stem cell research, right on protecting traditional marriage, or a "straight talker."

January 30, 2008

Amendment 1 Aftermath

The Property Tax Amendment decisively made it through the voting yesterday.  We've had a bit of a debate here at PEER about what the effect will be.  Many worried that this would squelch any chance of getting any further tax relief any time soon.  I was thrilled to hear quotes from both Crist and Marco Rubio before the end of the night saying that this is just the beginning and we've got to continue to push to drive down tax rates.  Rubio is apparently already suggesting plans for the next step.

Folks, don't worry, this issue is not going away.  The only thing we need be concerned with are the democrats who are already saying that we've gotten enough tax relief.

Let's move onto the next stage of this battle.

Florida Primary Aftermath

Last night, for the first time, I was glad that only half of Florida's delegates will count.  With McCain's win he picks up not just 57 delegates, but he also now has the momentum required to win the Republican primary. 

I will try not to dwell too much on Romney's loss, but there was much screaming at the Mr. G house last night.

So where does this leave us?  There are a few things we learned on the Republican side last night:

1.  McCain can win without appealing to Conservatives.  The conventional political wisdom for a while has been that Republicans don't have to run Conservative candidates because Conservatives if pitted with the choice of voting for a non-conservative Republican vs. a democrat will normally pick the Republican.  This political strategy hasn't been put into practice often because Conservatives energize the party and make the race that much easier.  But for whatever reason, whether it is because some Conservatives are believe McCain is the most electable or because Romney and Huckabee are splitting votes, or that Conservatives just aren't energize, McCain is showing that he can get along just fine without really targeting Conservatives.

This is a pretty significant shift in Republican politics.  If McCain is able to win because of his broad appeal, it will set the standard for Republican candidates to come.  I've heard many argue that McCain is a good candidate because he will set the stage for a Conservative candidate, but I don't see that happening.  Once the party begins to go down the road towards solidifying in the middle it is going to be a tough task to get back to the right.

2.  The only chance for a Conservative to beat McCain is for Huckabee to drop out.  With Giuliani's impending endorsement of McCain, Huckabee and Romney can no longer afford to split votes.  As last night's results showed, Romney has a much broader base than Huckabee and is in a better position to win.  Huckabee has been sold as the strong pro-life and pro-family candidate.  Folks have joined him because of belief in those causes.  But it is now time for Huckabee to put those causes before his campaign.  The longer Huckabee stays in the race, the less chance a Conservative has of winning the primary.  It is time for Huckabee to take one for the team and do what is best for the causes we believe in; drop out and endorse Romney.  An exit by Huckabee after Super Tuesday may be too late.

I will also say that watching the post results speeches that Romney looked more presidential and was more inspiring and energizing in defeat than McCain in victory.



January 28, 2008

Crist Endorses McCain, America Yawns

So Charlie Crist and Mel Martinez have jumped on board with McCain.  Neither of these come as any real shock, though I'm a little disappointed.  Unlike many of my fellow bloggers and the media however, I do not expect this will have any huge effect on the Florida primary.  While both of these men are skilled politicians, I don't see them as wielding a huge amount of public influence.  With Crist, in fact, I would argue just the opposite, public opinion and polls likely have more effect on him than the other way around. 

Let me ask you this, knowing what you know about Charlie Crist, if Giuliani had remained the front funner, do you think he would still be endorsing McCain?  I digress...

As for Mel Martinez, his approval ratings will tell you how much support will come with his endorsement... not much... and this is coming from someone who approves of Martinez.

Both of these guys have performed well in their respective roles and I respect both of them for it, but let's be honest the person is few and far between who is going to be tipped in one direction or the other by a politician's endorsement unless that politician has a devoted following.  Folks like Daniel Webster may garner that kind of following, but I don't see that with either Crist or Martinez.  A Jeb endorsement would have carried some weight, though he's probably angling for a VP spot.

Yes, yes, I know, Crist has ridiculously high approval ratings, but let's be honest, the reason for this is that he has managed to to completely tick anyone off yet.  Thats what makes him a great politician, but its that same mushy middle position that will prevent his endorsement from carrying much weight.

The media and bloggers are making this into a much bigger issue than it really is.  Perhaps if the endorsement had come a month ago and Crist went stomping around Florida stumping for McCain he could have swayed some folks for McCain with some passionate speeches, but a mere endorsement won't cut it.

If John McCain pulls off the victory it will be because of John McCain, not because of Charlie Crist.

But all of this is a moot point because all of you Republicans out there are going to vote for Mitt Romney... right?   Right?

January 25, 2008

The State of Sunshine Breaks My Heart

I really want to head over to Tampa to give Jim Johnson of The State of Sunshine a hug.  He seems a little discouraged over the candidates and the state of the party as a whole.  Just a little bit.

"The Republican Party is doomed, my friends."

He is also frustrated that the candidates all seem the same.

I'll have to disagree.  First, one of the candidates has been endorsed by the New York Times.  That's a pretty significant difference which closed any possibility there was of him getting my vote.

Second, we certainly have differences among the candidates on social issues, that being Romney and Huckabee versus McCain and Giuliani.  An example of application is federal funding of embryonic stem cell research which President Bush took a strong stand on and will require further strength from our next President.  For social Conservatives like me, that is a huge issue that will have very different result based on the candidate that wins.  Tell a social Conservative that the differences on this issue are "shades of gray" and you'll get to see them do a back flip, pull all their hair out, and breathe fire.  I know, I've done it twice this week.

I understand that Jim is certainly not alone in his feelings.  But honestly, I have a hard time remembering an election where we had more qualified candidates on the Republican side.  Really, if you think about it, we have a line up of heroes.  Whether it be 9/11, Vietnam, faith, Conservatism, they've all got good qualities.  Even Ron Paul is a hero those few Republicans who have difficulty understanding the world around them.  Good for him.

Cheer up Jim, we'll make it through this together.  And come Tuesday, if you still don't know who to vote for, vote for Romney, for Mr. G.

That goes for the rest of you too.

And as for Hillary?  I'm an optimist, and honestly, I think she is very, very beatable.

Mr. G's Thoughts on the Republican Debate in Florida

I managed to catch the midnight rerun of the Republican debate in Florida on MSNBC last night.  Allow me to give you might thoughts on the performances and even a little on the status of the campaigns.  Start with the best performance of the night and move down.

1.  Mitt Romney

Even right out of the gate I thought Romney gave a dominating performance.  The commentators last night, and many in the papers today are attributing this to the fact that the candidates didn't go after each other like the democrats have been doing.  We can speculate, but it doesn't really matter.  The fact is that Romney, as has become his style, looked presidential, sounded presidential and had all the right answers.

But hey, I'm biased.

Regardless of who you believe "won" the debate, there must at least be a consensus that Romney had the line of the night when asked by Tim Russert whether he is ready to face a campaign against both Hillary and Bill Clinton stating that he "can't imagine Bill Clinton in the White House again with nothing to do..."

Romney, in my mind really established himself as the guy to beat once again, in not just Florida, but the national race as well.

Romney really got put on the spot by Russert when he was asked is he would share with Florida how much of his own money he has spent on his campaign here.  Romney explained that he wouldn't for strategy reasons as he didn't want to reveal that to his opponents just yet but would when the law requires.  I think that was a fair answer.  But then he really hit it out of the park by explaining that:
1.  He has raised more money than any of his opponents,
2.  He couldn't ask his others to donate to his campaign if he was not willing to make a substantial contribution himself, and
3.  The fact that he is his own biggest contributor means that when elected he won't owe anyone anything.

Well said.

2.  Mike Huckabee

Huckabee really gave a fantastic performance.  He was certainly the most likable of all the candidates.  He also managed to stay relevant in the debate which is important for a guy that is going to have a hard time remaining relevant in the upcoming primaries.  A few things he said concerned me though.  Huckabee really pushed the idea of the Fair Tax, which I'm not opposed to, but he made it seem like that was the end all solution to all our financial woes.  I'm sure that is not what he believes, but lets look at an example.

Huckabee was asked about problems with social security.  His solution?  The Fair Tax.  Why? because that would allow a more stable source of funding for the program.  That is not what I want to hear from a Conservative candidate.  The answer is, social security is broken and we need to find ways to begin moving away from it and replacing it with a financially stable system.  Romney was hit with a similar question right after Huckabee and responded with three viable solutions.  He also explained that these options would have to be explored with the democrats to reach an agreement on the best solution.  Romney sounded realistic.  I don't want to say Huckabee is dreaming because I think the Fair Tax is certainly a possibility, though it may be a good distance off.  Romney has solutions for us now.

Another thing that concerned me was when Huckabee was asked about whether he agreed with Chuck Norris, who endorsed him, that John McCain is too old to be president.  Huckabee responded that he was with Norris when the comment was made and that he didn't say anything because he was standing next to Chuck Norris who "can put this foot on that side of my face and there is nothing I can do about it."  He went on to explain that later he made clear that he doesn't think that McCain lacks the capacity to be president.

It was a cute answer, but the fact of the matter is that Huckabee stayed silent after the comment was made not because he was afraid of getting kicked in the face.  I realize that it was one of those in the moment experiences and he may have said something if he could go back.  However, it bothers me a little that the guy that is most vocal about other candidates changing with the polls stays silent when the comment is made, but then reveals this strong conviction about it mostly likely after a strategy meeting on how to handle it.  I'm probably making something out of nothing, but something just didn't sit right with me.

I like Huckabee, but he didn't do anything to resolve my fears about his domestic policy positions.

3.  Ron Paul
Confession: I love making Ron Paul out to be the crazy of the group, but I have to admit he is a sharp guy.  Not all of his ideas are that bad.  I thought his performance last was the best I've seen so far from him.  But his question to McCain about whether he would abolish the President's Working Group on Financial Markets confused me.  Most Americans don't know or care about the PWG and Paul wastes his one chance to really distinguish himself on trying to pin McCain to a position that no one cares about.  Paul is playing to a fringe audience in this primary, and that is why he will remain a fringe candidate. 

4.  John McCain
McCain looked comfortable, as well he should given his current poll numbers. I was a little confused by his presentation however, as he kept claiming that he is a Conservative but every chance he got he touted when he broke away from Republicans and Conservatives.  Let me assure you, McCain is no Conservative.  That said, he didn't do anything to really hurt himself last night, sat back a little, and tried to demonstrate that he's not as old as he may appear to be.  Exactly what the old guy in the lead needs to be doing.

If nothing else, the fact that the New York Times just endorsed McCain proves that McCain is no Conservative. 

5.  Rudy Giuliani
As the guy who is betting everything on Florida, Giuliani needed to have his best performance.  Instead, he looked like a man on the run.  His campaign is watching this focus on Florida strategy fail miserably as he has absolutely no momentum.  My guess is that this will be the last time we see this strategy employed.  Giuliani made the comment during the debate that he had lulled the competition into a false sense of security, which was cute. But the fact is that he doesn't decide the result of the election.  We do.  And  it is the voters have been lulled into the impression that his campaign in about to collapse.

After the race, Giuliani's campaign manager was asked about the dropping poll numbers and he responded that people are most concerned about the "issues" that the "horse race."  It is not that simple.  Voters are concerned with both.  The truth is that front-runners are attractive because people don't want to feel like they are throwing their vote away.  I was at dinner with an Evangelical family last night who asked who I though they should vote for.  They like Huckabee, but wanted to vote for someone who was electable as well to help the cause of the best candidate with the best chance.  For the Huckabee supporters out there, I didn't tell them that a vote for Huckabee was a wasted vote.  I did sell them on Romney, however...

Giuliani looked like Giuliani last night.  Great guy, great leader, but nothing to pull himself out in front of the other candidates.

January 24, 2008

Another NYT Hit on Romney

It is like clockwork, whenever there is something embarrassing going on among Democrats the media instantly starts to pump out stories trying to put Republicans in the same light.  We've spent the last couple of days waiting to see if Hillary and Bill are going to get into a fist fight with Obama and wondering why John Edwards is still hanging around.  Then today, we get this piece from the New York Times telling us that the real action is among Republicans.  Specifically, that everyone is ganging up on Romney.

The article focuses on a quote from McCain referring to mud-slinging.  But I'm trying to figure out who McCain hasn't said something nasty about at this point.  It used to be cute because I thought he was really standing up to for himself.  Now I'm realizing that he's really just a cranky old man.  Remember that old neighbor who used to sit on his porch solely so he could yell at you if you stepped on the grass or "dawdled" too long on the sidewalk?  Yeah, that's old-man McCain.

The article also references some quotes from McCain and Huckabee staff. 

NEWSFLASH:   Huckabee and McCain staff are not fans of other candidates.

So what we are left with is one candidate who is crabby to everyone making crabby comments to Romney, and then paid staff of that candidate and one other making snarky statements as well.

How is this news?  It isn't.  It is a diversion from the bickering among Democrats and just another pathetic attempt to try and break down the unstoppable Romney machine.

All you need to know is this; Mr. G likes Romney.

Now let's get back to seeing which Democrat throws the first punch.  My bet is Hillary, she's more of a man than the other two put together.

FL Conservative Pro-Family Endorse Huckabee - Mr. G is Unmoved

I received via email today this press release concerning a number of Florida's Conservative and Pro-Family Leaders who have hopped on the Huckabee Wagon.  I'm told it is because Churck Norris threatened to round-house kick the roofs off their houses.

There are a good number of people on this list who I have great respect for.  These are some sharp folks and seeing their endorsement really made me question my Romney support for a moment.  But after some thought, I found myself right back where I started impressed by the family value convictions of Mike Huckabee, but afraid of his positions on domestic issues, particularly immigration, the economy, taxes and spending.  Again, I'd happily vote for Huckabee if he ends up being the nominee (which I don't think he will), but as far as being the total package, Mitt Romney is our man.

I do have to say that I've been impressed both impressed and depressed by the conversations I've had with the Evangelicals in my life who are Huckabee supporters.

I'm impressed that so many are excited about him, especially given the lack of campaigning he's been able to do in our state. 

I'm depressed that so many have jumped to a quick decision based solely on his stances on family values issues and have not done the research on the other candidates.

If you're touting yourself as a "big Huckabee supporter" when I ask you what you think about his immigration positions or his economic positions the answer should not be "I don't know."  Take the time to learn about the candidates, folks.

I'll give you the same challenge that I've given to these folks:  I challenge you to find a candidate in this race who has reacted more consistently on major family values issues such as marriage and life than Mitt Romney. 

The truth is that Romney has had more of an opportunity to stand for major family values issues than the others.  Perhaps they would do so if the opportunity comes up.  But Romney has proven himself willing and capable to stand up to a liberal legislature for what is right, even if it means he has no chance of being able to run for a second term.  In Massachusetts of all places Romney has vetoed legislation related to the morning after pill, embryonic stem cell research, massive minimum wage hikes, state benefits for illegal immigrants, and fought in both his capacity as governor and as a private citizen for traditional marriage.  Add to that his consistent policies on the economy and his creative solutions to the near unresolvable health care crisis and you have a candidate that I'm really looking forward to voting for.

That is, unless you can convince me otherwise.  You have 5 days.

September 17, 2007

Alan Keyes for President, Again... The Benefit and the Burden

On Friday Alan Keyes filed papers with the FEC to begin his candidacy for President and made an official announcement the same day.  This will be his third go at the presidency following his 1996 and 2000 campaigns.  As we've seen in his previous campaigns, there is a tangible benefit to his candidacy as seen through the positions he relentlessly advocates.  At the same time, his candidacies, which are inevitably doomed from the beginning, present a burden for Conservatives during the election.  Let's look at both:

The Burden

As I've mentioned on numerous occasions before, I am a HUGE Keyes fan.  There is currently no other candidate I would rather vote for than Alan Keyes.  He is a man of character, conviction and brilliance as well as a tremendous communicator.  That said, I won't vote for Alan Keyes, he won't win the primary (obviously) and I don't see any time in the foreseeable future in which Keyes will be in a position to win the White House.  As in the previous 8 years, he is simply not electable and because Conservatives are already fractured over who to vote for his candidacy creates a burden for Conservatives this cycle. 

Romney, Thompson, Huckabee, Brownback are all appealing options and no one has a lock on the Conservative base.  This causes a dire problem as it is and will continue to allow a more left leaning candidate such as Giuliani to win the primary.  I am a believer in the concept that Conservatives win elections with the 2004 election being the shining example of the theory.  This is not because Conservatives necessarily vote in larger masses than others, but because Conservatives energize the Republican party and candidates.  But this cannot happen when Conservatives are divided as they are now.  The Keyes candidacy will further fracture that base.  In all probability the level of support Keyes will gather will be negligible, but with as divided as Conservatives are now that little bit of support drawn away from another candidate will become critical.

But Keyes' candidacy is not all bad...

The Benefit

Keyes campaigns are always used a platform to encourage Conservatives and our nation as a whole to draw closer towards those principles our nation is founded on.  As an incredible mind and communicator Keyes is quickly able to cut to the core of the issues and focus our attentions on what is truly important.

For example, during his announcement Keyes explained that:

"he's "unmoved" by the lack of moral courage shown by the other candidates, among whom he sees no standout who articulates the "key kernel of truth that must, with courage, be presented to our people."

He added, "The one thing I've always been called to do is to raise the standard . . . of our allegiance to God and His authority that has been the foundation stone of our nation's life"--and he decried the lack of "forthright, clear, and clarion declaration" from the other candidates concerning this issue."

He's right on the money.  While so many of the candidates are attempting to tackle the surface of the problems our nation faces, Keyes cuts to the quick an erosion of our nation's allegiance to God and His authority.  But he can articulate these hard-line positions where others cannot or will not because Keyes doesn't have a chance at winning the election.  So expect a number of rousing speeches and articles from the Keyes campaign.  Listen to them.  Read them.  I guarantee they will be inspiring and influential on your views of this election.

So what do we do with all of this?  Does the benefit of Keyes' campaign outweigh the burden?  I'll let you decide, but I implore you to do two things:

1.  Listen to Alan Keyes as he uses his campaign to lay out a vision for the future of our nation because it will be both convicting and inspiring.  Start with an incredible series of articles he has prepared for this election cycle called The Crisis of the Republic.

2.  Don't vote for Alan Keyes.  He will not win the primary, or the election and a vote for him will only serve to further the chances of Giluiani during the primary.

June 25, 2007

Florida Marriage Amendment

The 2008 election cycle promises to be nothing short of electric in Florida.  With the presidential election as well as, as of last week, a vote on a Florida constitutional amendment to give even more tax relief the political machine will be firing on all cylinders.  Add to that yet another vote which promises to be one of, if not the most hotly contested issue; the Florida Marriage Amendment. 

The amendment needs only 21,000 more signatures before February 1, 2008 and it will be on the November 2008 ballot.  Easy.

Anticipating the battle to come, the opposition is already gearing up and Equality Florida is calling on bloggers to enter the fray.  As is typical of the enemies of traditional marriage, even this initial call to arms ignores the truth in an effort to paint a picture of a nation moving towards the warm embrace of same sex marriage.  This is, of course, does not accurately reflect reality.

For regulars here at PEER Review, much of this will be a review.  We've covered this topic in detail, but Florida's liberals obviously need a refresher course.

Continue reading "Florida Marriage Amendment" »

June 13, 2007

Fred Under Attack

One dynamic to the Fred Thompson campaign I hadn't thought about until today is the fact that his opposition is already well organized.  As Thompson prepares to declare the other candidates have already developed expansive support networks.  This means that as the Thompson campaign gets rolling, he's an easy target.  The Politico has the story today.  Thompson is being questioned on everything from surveys in 1994 and 1996 in which he indicated support for abortion for any reason through the first trimester and opposition to "criminalizing" abortion.  His extensive lobbying career and work as counsel on Capitol Hill has many questioning whether the portrayal of Thompson as a D.C. outsider is accurate.  Even I was a little surprised to learn that Thompson was a paid lobbyist for deposed Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a man who many consider nothing more than a dictator.

Thompson's campaign will, of course, have a response to all of this.  But it will be interesting to see if any of it is able to cool the blazing popularity Thompson is currently enjoying.

I really just have one question.  Would Thompson today support federal action to end abortion?

June 11, 2007

Beyond the Hype: The Campaign of Fred Thompson

It has been rather impressive to watch Fred Thomspon surge.  A candidate who hasn't announced, and until a few weeks ago didn't even hint that he would run has somehow managed to gain a loyal following of almost 15 percentage points in the polls; better poll numbers than the candidate who has been one of the most successful as far as fundraising and network building (Romney).  I've found myself in an ever decreasing group of Conservatives who just doesn't see the tremendous appeal that so many others obviously do.  Don't get me wrong, I like Fred, I just don't think he's the best candidate we've got. 

Moreover, I predict that as the campaigns roll on many are going to realize that, perhaps, Fred isn't the incredible communicator they thought he was or that his record isn't as impressive as they thought or that he's not as compelling on the issues as they hoped he would be.  I'm not alone in that opinion; George Will seems to agree in a new article on the same subject.   What Mr. Will hits right on the head is the  observation that Thompson is the Republican Rorschach test and that Republicans are seeing in him what they want to see.  George Will and I just don't see the substance. 

I do understand the appeal.  Thompson comes across as a guy who will be willing to take liberals and democrats on, which is something that Republicans have desperately longed for over the last 8 years.  But I'm not convinced that Thompson will be that either.  Thompson may be played off as the outsider who won't get tangled up in the political game, but remember, Thompson was called in to "guide" Justice Roberts through the nomination process.  Why?  Because Thompson understand the political game and plays it well.  He understand appearances.  He understands the process.

The fact is that Thompson has gotten a ton of hype, but there has not been much discussion on substance and there has not been the opportunity for him to present it.  And when the hype fades and folks are forced to examine the Thompson candidacy for what it really is many are going to have to face the harsh reality that Thompson isn't the super-candidate they dreamed he would be.

Editorial Note and shameless campaign plug:  Mr. G is an unashamed evangelical fan of the Romney campaign who believes that Romney has faced and stood strong in tougher battles for the cause of Conservatism than Thompson could even dream of, so take the above with a grain of salt.

May 21, 2007

Polls, Polls, Polls and Romney

New polling data on the presidential campaigns is coming out on an almost daily basis already.  Of particular interest is that Romney is gaining traction.  In fact, the recent poll averages now have Romney in the lead in New Hampshire and two-tenths of a point behind McCain for the top spot in Iowa.

As for Florida?  Giuliani retains a commanding lead; an average of 15.5 points.

I'm also keeping a close eye on the Fred Thompson and Gingrich numbers who, combined, continue to hold onto about 17 points.  While Romney remains behind Giuliani and McCain in national averages by 17 and 10 points respectively, those leads will likely drastically dwindle if and when Fred and Newt announce that they are not running.  Those holding out for these two are likely mostly Conservatives.  And when given the choice between the top three candidates many, if not most, will side with Romney.

Rethinking Romney, Huckabee and Brownback

This weekend Mrs. G and I attended the Florida Family Policy Council Annual Awards Banquet in Orlando, Florida.  It was a great event that featured two presidential hopefuls; Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas and Sam Brownback, Senator from Kansas.  Mel Martinez, Bill McCullom, Ken Conner and a number of others added to the star power at the event, but what was most exciting for me was the hundreds of grassroots leaders in attendance.   While I was excited to get to hear from Governor Huckabee and Senator Brownback, I didn't expect to be swayed by them.  I've heard them both speak before and even though I admire them I wasn't anticipating anything that would make me jump on their 1% of the polls band-wagon.  I was wrong.

Continue reading "Rethinking Romney, Huckabee and Brownback" »

May 18, 2007

Special Interest Group Paid Signature Gatherers

Attached to the opposition to the Hometown Democracy idea, the Florida Chamber of Commerce has launched a public awareness campaign about paid petition signature gathers from outside the state.  While the the ability to amend the Florida Constitution provides for an unmatched opportunity for the people to direct government, it also provides an opportunity of out-of-state interests to push policy in Florida as a testing ground and for others to profit from the signature gathering process.  It is in these situations where the amendments become more about special interest groups, out of state interest groups none-the-less. 

The point of all this?  Don't sign a petition unless you have taken to time to research what the amendment would actually do.  Sadly, the statement that with two million dollars, you can buy an amendment to the Florida Constitution is true.  That needs to change.

The Chamber has put together a brief PSA with a great summary of what is going on and how to respond.

Yet Another Dumb Ballot Initiative

As always, there is yet another bad idea floating around the state in the form of a petition for a proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution.  This one would require local governments to hold election for the approval of comprehensive land use plans.  It is called "Hometown Democracy" and it is, to get to the point, dumb.

I support giving the little guy a voice.  On major issues like the marriage amendment or the sales tax proposal I like the idea of having an election to determine what policy stance the state will take.  But I also recognize that we have a Republican Democracy which places the responsibility of policy decisions in the hands of our elected government.  The reason for this?  Most of us don't want to go to the polls every time the Government wants to change something.

I can understand the desire to preserve as much of the natural state of Florida as we can.  I can understand some being upset about the ever increasing development of our state.  I can understand folks wanting to restrict development in some areas.  These positions should certainly be open for discussion and we have local government avenues to address these concerns.  However, an election over every major change is only going to complicate the process beyond repair.

Can you imagine the burden of having campaigns and elections over land use proposals?  It is a logistical nightmare that can only, and will cripple Florida's growth and business.

The idea is still in the petition stages, so if you are approached by an individual looking for your signature, feel free to use my description of the idea; dumb.

May 14, 2007

Hey Newt, You are Hurting America

In an ABC interview with Diane Sawyer, the inevitable question was asked, will Newt Gingrich be running for President?  Newt responded that there is a "great possibility" but when probed further about it he declined and added "I want to focus on what we have to do to make America successsful."

I argue that this attitude is doing great harm to America as we speak.

For the purposes of this argument we'll assume that having a Republican elected to the Presidency is good for America, or at least better than having a democrat elected.  With Newt out there as a continuing possibility it keeps attention on him.  This is, of course, a great business move because while everyone is wondering if he will run he gets time to promote his books and his columns and gets invitations to speak everywhere.  However, while he remains in the spotlight, he takes attention away from others.  Others who will need all the support and momentum they can get to beat Hillary or Obama.  This problem is furthered by the repeated disparaging remarks Newt is making about the current candidates. 

Newt, if you really want to "help America" make an announcement so we can either stop wasting our time, energy and money on other candidates or focus in on someone who is actually running.  Stop insulting the candidates that are in the race.  You hold a ton of influence in our party and, if you are not going to run, your attacks only lessen the chance of them gaining support.

Fred Thompson, I'm looking at you, too.

Follow Rudy's Example; No Compromise

I must say that I do admire Rudy Giuliani's "no compromise" stance on abortion, even though it has taken him months to actually acknowledge it.  On Friday Rudy made his position clear, abortion is ok.  Sure he sugar coated it the way every pro-death republican does with 'I'm personally against it,' and 'I want to see the number of abortions reduced,' and 'we should support adoption,' and 'It is not my place to make that decision for others.'  The move is a real gamble for Giuliani as he's betting that Life won't be the issue that wins the day in the primary.  We could say that recent discoveries have forced him into solidifying this position, but regardless, I am glad to see him being forthright on the issue, unlike some others in previous campaigns.

So what can we take from all of this?  I suggest that Rudy has given us an example that we should follow.  Abortion is a position that Rudy has strong enough convictions about that he is unwilling to compromise.  I challenge you to do the same.  If you are pro-life, don't put that conviction for anybody, not even Rudy himself.  Life is an issue of quintessential importance to the soul of our nation and a victory for life will require our unbending resolve.  Rudy has set a great example, this is an issue that we should not be willing to compromise on.

Now, I've already heard from the apologists who argue that Rudy says he will appoint "strict constructionalist" judges.  While I can take some solace in that, he has also said that he will not have a litmus test, which scares me, and that he won't pick judges based on their views of Roe v. Wade, which scares me even more.  Why?  Because a judges position on Roe v. Wade and it ilk will necessarily define them as a "strict constuctionalist" or not.  If a judge can in any way justify a case which relies on "penumbras and eminations" from the constitution, they are not a strict constructionalist.  I will have a hard time believing that Rudy, with as resolute as he is on abortion, and with as wishy-washy as his standard for judges seems to be, will affirmatively appoint strict constructionalists.  This is simply not a risk I am willing to take.

So follow Rudy's example, stand strong by your convictions.  Vote for a candidate who stands by you.  Pro-Lifers, vote against Rudy.

Reader Submission: It's Still the Death of Innocents, Stupid!

This reader submission comes to us from recycleroy and hits upon the core of what will undoubtedly become the hotly contested center-piece of the Republican primary; the candidates positions on life issues.

I would like a clear answer from Rudi and the rest of the presidential contenders from both sides to explain, simply what the difference between pulling the plug on Terri Schiaevo and aborting a presumed healthy baby in the womb is.  The intentional death of an innocent, is still just that. Because of our shift in language I must ask, does a brain damaged adult have the same value as a baby with a defect in the womb, by the way called a potentially unviable tissue mass?  Until these basic questions can be answered, again, simply and loudly, the murder goes on.  As Rome falls this basic cheapening of life continues with loud voices from the MSM and it's small ( < 29 % based on new polling data) pro-choice contingent.  I would suppose we need to first look at the medical community for some of this callousness. 

I can speak to both of these from personal experience. In 1986 my wife became pregnant with our 3rd child. After the normal tests and doctor visits we were notified that my son, who by the way is a healthy 20 year old, had spina bifida and should be aborted without delay at about 3 months along in her pregnancy.  Fast forward 14 years. My wife has diabetes and started having epileptic siezures. Again the good old doctors say you'll only live 5 years or less so get a DNR (Do Not Resesitate) order and load up the drugs waiting for the end. Even after a massive heart attack she's no worse for the wear, she fully recovered and that was in large part to ignoring the doctors and forcing medication changes.
 
So where does this leave us?

A trusting and mostly ignorant population, led down the garden path to our demise on this earth by societal and medical malpractice......
 

recycleroy

May 08, 2007

Giuliani Misses, Thompson Misses, Romney Scores

If you checked the Drudge Report today you likely saw a group of three articles concerning some recent discoveries on the past positions on abortion of Rudy Giluliani and Fred Thompson.

Giuliani Financially Supported Planned Parenthood

Some are already hailing this discovery as the beginning of the end for the Giuliani campaign.  I don't think it is going to do that much damage.  The fact of the matter is that if you are a adamant pro-life supporter, Rudy is not your candidate to begin with.  The folks that are siding with Rudy have already made the decision that Giuliani's ability to get elected or position on other issues outweigh his undefined stance on abortion.  Sure, this will cost him a few votes, but I doubt this will be the nail in the coffin of his campaign.

What it will do is strengthen the candidacies of Romney and the other strong pro-life candidates as their supporters will see this as making the primary that much more important.

Fred Thompson Supported First Trimester Abortion

A survey completed during Thompson's 1994 Senate campaign indicated that he supported abortions for any reason during the first trimester.  Unlike the discovery about Giluliani, this one could hurt.  I'm sure there will be an explanation about his change of heart coming soon, however, the big critique of the Conservative front-runner, Romney, is that he flip-flopped on abortion.  Should Thompson declare, he won't be able to draw much of a distinction between himself and Romney on this issue; they both changed positions.

All in all, the news today on these two candidates is bound to have a good effect on support for my man Mitt Romney.

May 07, 2007

Romney Scores, Thompson Misses

Two quick items on the Republican candidate for president front:

Romney beats everyone in New Hampshire primary poll

These poll results are certainly the exception to the rule compared to every other poll out there which has Romney at about 10%.  However, this SurveyUSA poll showing Romney at 32% is New Hampshire may be the first of many polls indicating a jump in Romney's numbers.  Romney has gotten a ton of press from his performance in the first Republican debate and this can only result in good things happening to his poll numbers.

On a side note, I will be curious to see what will happen if Thompson and Gingrich don't jump into the race.  Between the two of them they are carrying about 20% in the polls.  My guess is that much of their base, Conservatives, will shift to Romney which could automatically place Romney over McCain and neck and neck with Guiliani.  That is, of course, assuming Thompson and Gingrich don't jump in.

Thompson Speech a Yawner

Thompson gave a speech in California that I caught on C-SPAN yesterday.  The thought I had was that for all the hype he's generating, Thompson sure can be boring.  I was delighted to see that Robert Novak agrees with me.  In the speech Thompson sure did not appear to be a guy running for president, strengthening my hunch that he is not going to get into the race at all.  Again, this could only mean good things for Romney.

May 04, 2007

What Florida's New Primary Date Means for Newt and Fred

Yesterday the Florida Legislature has passed a bill to move the Florida primary to the last Tuesday in January; this much you probably already know.

What you have not heard, or heard much about, is the huge implications this bill has for two men; Newt Gingrich and Fred Thompson.

We know an average of 10% to 15% of of Republicans polled, whatever that means, are holding out waiting for Fred Thompson to jump into the race and about 8%to 9% are waiting for Gingrich.  Should either of them declare, many more supporting other campaigns would likely jump on board.  After last night's Republican debate many are claiming the winner was Fred Thompson as it only proved he needs to get into the race.  It seems like they could enter the race and quickly gather the support needed for a successful campaign.  However, campaigns, especially national campaigns take time to develop, and time just became a bigger issue than before.  I've been one of the few arguing that time is running out for these two, and that if they are going to get into the race, they need to get in now.  My case just got stronger because as soon as Governor Crist signs the bill their time table is getting much shorter. 

Campaigning in Florida is expensive.  While running a nickel and dime campaign operation in Iowa and New Hampshire for the primaries might work, it won't in Florida.  Moving the primary is going to require campaigns to spend much more money up front and have state campaigns in place much sooner than normal, obviously.  But raising money and developing campaign networks take time.  Florida's primary, once the bill is signed, will be nine months away.  Nine months is a lot of time, except for a guy who has, to date, no campaign staff, no campaign structure, raised no money and wants to run a successful primary in one of the most populous states in the Union. 

Many seem to think that Gingrich or Thompson entering the race is inevitable, but unless we have a declaration from them by the end of the month, I would be surprised to see them jump in.  Volunteers, staff and money are already being quickly dedicated to other candidates and Gingrich and Thompson, should they decide to run now have less time to pick up the scraps than they had before.

On a side note, on other individual who may be dramatically impacted by this bill is Governor Crist.  The bill would allow him to run as a VP candidate without leaving office, which makes him a much more plausible option for the front-runners.  Maybe we'll see Charlie in D.C. sooner than we thought?

May 02, 2007

Mr. G on the Candidates

Apologies of the lack of posts as of late.  The contributors have all been incredibly busy as I am sure many of you have been in preparing for the summer months.  But, at least for me, the woods are clearing and I can return to these special moments with you which I cherish oh so much.

As my coming home gift to you I present my recent thoughts on the big candidates for President:

dEMOCRATICS

Clinton:  The question is quickly becoming whether anyone on the democrat side, and the Republican side for that matter, can beat Hill-Dog.  Some are even suggesting that the smart move for Conservatives is to start examining how to benefit from a Hilary win.  I say it is madness.  It is impressive to watch scandal and attack roll off her like water off a duck's back.  If there was a hermit in Alaska who even hinted that one of the Republican candidates was guilty of some wrong doing, it would be headline news.  Yet, Clinton, despite allegations by a former donor, who apparently has video tape of federal felonies in action, remains unmoved.  What, you didn't hear about this on on your MSM news station of choice?  What a shocker.  Clinton continues to hold a steady and commanding lead in just about every poll and that is not likely to change anytime soon.

I am of the opinion that Republicans can beat Clinton, but that right now, no one on the democrat side can.  The real question in my mind is how long Clinton, Inc. is going to wait before taking the legs out from under Obama.

Obama:  Despite all the initial buzz, I've heard much criticism that Obama has leveled out too much; that he's not as compelling as he was just a few months ago.  Obama really frightened me at the outset.  Here you had a very charismatic and compelling candidate with so short of a political career that there isn't much to fodder for criticism.  I met a number of Republicans that were drawn to him just because he seemed different.  Fortunately, as Obama has moved, just a little, from all the rhetoric folks, even democrats are realizing that there is no substance.  I hope this is a trend that continues.  One recent poll had Obama at 2 points higher than Clinton giving Obama supporters hope.  But like I said before, it is only a matter of time. 

When I think of the two candidates one image comes to mind, one from the Discovery channel where they show the zebra trying to cross the river with the crocodile in it.  Well, in this match-up Obama is the one wearing the stripes and the crocodile is the one that looks like Hillary Clinton.

Edwards:  Of all the democrat candidates Edwards has surprised me the most.  Despite the fact that he really doesn't have much of a chance, he has consistently stayed in public view and continues to generate a startling amount of support.  Though Edwards won't be the party choice himself, he may very well be the defining voice once he abandons his own campaign and decides to throw his weight behind another candidate.

The other six:  Let's be honest, who really cares?

REPUBLICANS

Giuliani:  It breaks my heart that so many good Republicans, and even Conservatives have resigned themselves to the fact that Giuliani is our last best hope.  A recent article on his solid stance in opposition to Conservatives on social issues sums up pretty well how I feel about the man; he doesn't support us so I'm going to have a really hard time supporting him.  If he is the man the party picks, I'll pick him over Hilary any day of the week, but until that day, I'm holding fast to the opinion that we MUST pick someone stronger on social issues not just because they are important, but because they will be a key to victory.

McCain:  Despite the fact that McCain's campaign has pretty much lamed out, he's come out strong in a few recent polls, though the overall trend shows quick decline.  McCain will carry this on as long as he can, but I don't see him beating Giuliani.

Romney:  In my humble opinion, this is the last great hope for Republicans and Conservatives.  I know, I know, the polling is not what we want it to be, but trust me, the more people who have a chance to hear him speak, the more who are exposed to him, the more support he will have.  There are few candidates I've seen that can strike at the heart of Conservatives and re-ignite the passion of our beliefs like Mitt Romney.  Now, I'm still open to the idea of another candidate winning my heart but right now it looks like Mitt is our man.  On top of that he has demonstrated that he can raise lots of money quickly and doesn't show any sign of slowing.

Gingrich and Thompson: They're polling well, even better than my man Mitt, but they're not in the race, and with each day that passes it seems like their entrance is less and less likely.  Primaries could be starting in about 8 months and there is a lot of support and funding that has already gone to the guys who got in early.  My prediction is that neither of them get into the race, which is fine by me because their entrance would simply do more harm than good for the cause of Conservatism.  We need to begin rallying to one candidate soon  if we are going to beat Giuliani, not splitting the Conservative vote even more.

Brownback and Huckabee:  While I am thrilled that these two are coming to Orlando to speak, the question I want to ask them is when they are going to end their campaigns and hop on board with Romney.  I like these two, but neither of them have the political savvy to beat Giuliani or Clinton.  It is time to move on boys.

The others: Don't care, don't care, don't care.

April 16, 2007

I guess it's time to start learning about this Duncan Hunter guy...

When it comes to what I believe the strongest candidate for President in my party just told me to get over it.

Not possible.

So, who's going to step up and take the mantle for the GOP?

Fred Thompson? Duncan Hunter? Somebody who's not fake, tanned, trimmed, polished or liberal. Anybody?

Bueller? Bueller?

April 05, 2007

Tommy Thompson to Save the Day

Tommy Thompson, former Wisconsin Governor, former Secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services announced his campaign for President this week.  I know, you probably missed it, so did I.  In fact, there is a good chance that this post will be the last thing you read about Thompson until he drops out of the campaign.  In the meantime, I'm adding him to the list of candidates we have, though I expect him to have a short stay on that list.

Now my only question is, when is Mr. C going to announce?

Giuliani on Publicly Funded Abortions

It has been interesting to watch so many Conservatives falling all over themselves to hop on the Giuliani train.  Yes, I know he's electable.  I know he's strong on the war and national security.  I know he's a fiscal Conservative (what I call a "half breed").

Giuliani is going to be tough to beat, and that goes for the democrat candidates as well.  But while we march towards what many Conservatives are calling inevitable let's not fool ourselves about what we are getting.

On his stop here in Florida this week he reiterated his support for publicly funded abortions.  If that doesn't make a Conservative stop in their tracks I don't know what will.

"Ultimately, it's a constitutional right, and therefore if it's a constitutional right, ultimately, even if you do it on a state by state basis, you have to make sure people are protected,"

I'll hand it to him, he is consistent if nothing else.  Here's what he said in 1989. 

"There must be public funding for abortions for poor women," and "We cannot deny any woman the right to make her own decisions about abortion."

I can't blame folks for wanting to support Giuliani given the opposition we face on the other side.  But as for me, I can't get excited about a guy who has this position on what I consider to be the most important issue we face today.

March 12, 2007

Please, PLEASE Don't, Fred

So Fred Thompson is muttering about how he might run.  You know, the guy from Law and Order... no, the other guy... no, not that Law and Order, the other one... yeah, thats the one.  Did you know he used to be a Senator?  Yeah, he was also in Die Hard 2 and Baby's Day Out.

Though I would have entertained the idea 6 months ago, I'm going to have to go ahead and ask that Mr. Thompson just stop considering the idea, and stop talking about it as well.

Despite the fact that Conservatives, on the whole, are not wildly excited about the Conservative candidate field, the last thing we need is another mediocre candidate.  Don't get me wrong, I like Fred, but all his candidacy would do is further divide an already fractured Conservative base.  And he is not a candidate that Conservatives would automatically switch to in mass.  So, please Fred... please stop... just stop.

I honestly can't think of many people that I would consider it a good thing for them to jump into the race at this point.  Except for my old friend J.C. Watts from Oklahoma.  He can jump in at any time.

I'm even of the opinion that Gingrich jumping in would be a bad thing.  Again, I really like Newt.  Alot.  I think he's brilliant, but I don't see him winning the election or doing anything in the primary other than ensuring that no Conservative has a chance.  Sure, he could rally the support that Fred could not, but I doubt he can win.  Fortunately, I also highly doubt that Gingrich will run.

It is time for Conservatives to move past feeling sorry for ourselves that we don't have a perfect candidate and wishing there was someone else.  It is time to start really giving some thought to each of the candidates out there already and asking yourself who would be the better president balanced by who can actually win.

Let me assure you that neither of those questions should be answered with "Fred Thompson."

March 06, 2007

Sound Familiar?

From the American Spectator, Jeb in 2008? posted on 2/27/07

Somebody with major name ID, with access to large amounts of money and organizational might at a moment's notice, and with a solid reputation across the Republican philosophical spectrum.

Of course, Jeb Bush qualifies on all counts.

BUT WHY WOULD HE RUN when the name Bush is so unpopular these days?

From PEER Review FL, The Case for Jeb Part I, and Part II, both written way back in June 2005.

Governor Jeb Bush is the only Republican with the requisite name ID, governing experience, conservative credentials, political ties and fund raising ability to even compete with the Clintons. He is term limited out of office in 2006 giving him two years without obligation to elected office.

Read both pieces. There are some differences, namely they don't go into as much detail as PEER Review FL, but I'll let you decide where they got the main idea.

March 05, 2007

Big Week for Romney

Last week was a big week for Mitt Romney.  At the American Conservative Union's (ACU) Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in D.C. Romney and just about every other Republican primary candidate (except McCain showed up).  Two big wins for Romney:

1.  Romney won the CPAC Straw Poll.

CPAC is recognized as one of the premier Conservative gatherings in the country.  Ronald Reagan made it a point to attend every year when he was President, and all of the Republican candidates (except McCain) knew that an appearance here was critical to winning Conservative support.  Romney's win of the straw poll at this event says much about whether Conservatives are willing to put their faith in him.

Giuliani came in 2nd. 

Brownback 3rd.

2.  Romney's Speech Made Waves

Romney gave a powerful speech that, as Erick of Redstate put it "It was an excellent speech that should resolve all fears conservatives have about Romney."

For many, Romney is just a name on a page.  People are learning who he is, about his record, about the cause for concern on his past positions on issues.  But as the campaign goes on, and Romney makes more and more appearances and people are able to actually see and hear him, the conclusion is almost unanimous, the guy looks presidential.  More to the point, for Conservatives, when you hear him speak, you want to believe him and you want to vote for him.

 

The speech has generated a ton of discussion online and seems to be swaying some who didn't think Romney was the best candidate.

Take a look for yourself, here is the conclusion of his speech at CPAC (You can watch the whole speech here or read it here).

February 14, 2007

Crist to Prevent Funding of Florida Marriage Amendment?

Most of the big Florida papers had an article today about Governor Crist's statements yesterday about the idea of the state Republican Party continuing to give funding to the effort to pass the Florida Marriage Amendment.  Most of the articles made it seem as if Crist was ready to single-handedly pull the plug on the amendment. Of course, the statements Crist made and the portrayal of the statements don't match up.  I'd give you the analysis, but someone beat me to it.

Now, pay attention, because I rarely, if ever say this... Florida Politics got this one right.  Hey, even a broken clock is right twice a day  (I smirk as I type this because Florida Politics is one of the sharpest democrat bloggers in Florida).

In his daily review of the news today he explains that Crist has not said he would not allow the state GOP to fund the marriage amendment this year and, based on his past statements and actions, it seems unlikely that he would prevent such funding.  And he's right.

It is yet another example of a prediction on Crist that I made during the campaigns, that while Crist would not be an advocate for the causes of Conservatives, he would not stand in our way.  We saw this on embryonic stem cell research recently, and we will see it again here.  Crist might not be excited about the marriage amendment, but he is certainly not going to try and impede the efforts of Conservatives in

Florida.  Especially on this issue because Crist realizes this amendment will bring out Conservatives to vote and get them active in the election and campaigns.

Regardless, my prediction on the amendment is that it will pass with or without GOP money.  The amendment is just 28,000 signatures short of the 611,000 needed to get on the ballot.  We have about a year to get those remaining signatures.  The amendment has made it this far with less than a fourth of the funding that most successful ballot measures require ($400k as compared to $2+ million).  The polling data I've seen has shown support around 61 and 65% for the amendment in

Florida, with suggestion that these percentages might actually be low.  This is going to be very difficult for the anti-marriage lobby to stop.

Of course, it is far from a done deal.  One major problem might be that Conservatives may have shot themselves in the foot by pushing the amendment requiring all future amendments to pass by 60% rather than a simply majority.

But for the time being, Conservatives have little to worry about.  Crist is not going to prevent funding for the effort, and even if he directs that funding should be decreased the Conservative leadership in this state will see the effort through with your help.

February 12, 2007

2008 Presidential Primary Polls

One of the most interesting political blogs out there is Political Arithmetik by Charles Franklin, a professor of polling data at the University Wisconsin.  At Political Arithmetik he gatherings data from numerous polls and puts them into easy to read graphs and breaks down the data.  How reliable is is?  I don't know, you'll have to ask Mr. C, but for the common folk like me it is at least interesting enough to spend a few minutes pondering.

He's keeping running tabs on the presidential primary polls.  Here's how the top contenders play out:

Topreps_2

Topdems_1

Again, don't hold me to the accuracy, but I think this probably gives a fair assessment of where everyone stands in the recent polls and also shows how erratic the results from those polls can be.

There are also summaries of the candidate vs. candidate polls.

January 22, 2007

Hey Conservatives, Hold Your Horses

Brownback, Obama, Clinton... it has been a busy week and the presidential candidates list continues to grow.  All the candidates are quickly moving to secure all the support they can from other local and national leaders.  In the wake of all of the excitement that the week has brought I received an email from a Conservative leader here in our own state with what is probably the best advice on the 2008 election that I've seen so far; wait.

Continue reading "Hey Conservatives, Hold Your Horses" »

January 15, 2007

Romney Winning GOP Bloggers Poll

Last week Bob posted the GOP Bloggers 2008 Presidential candidate survey here at PEER Review along with his own encouragement to vote for Romney or Brownback.  With over 12,000 votes tallied, GOP Bloggers is reporting that Romney is winning in both the "first choice for nominee" and "acceptable nominee" categories.  McCain and Giuliani are close behind.

The poll, of course, doesn't tell us much, except for the fact that Romney is getting his message and image out and people are liking what they see.

January 12, 2007

UPDATED: Update on the 2008 Republican Candidates

News on the 2008 campaigns.  Here's what you need to know (Romney section updated with comments from Bob):

Brownback
Senator Brownback announced his opposition to the troop surge yesterday.  He is advocating that Iraq needs a "political" solution.  Brownback has argued that Iraq should be split up into 3 states between the Kurds, Shi'as and Sunnis under the umbrella of a national government.  He's also given his support for much of the Iraq Study Group Report.  These positions are going to give many Conservatives major cause for pause in supporting Brownback.  This issue could actually prevent the Brownback candidacy from ever actually taking off.  Also, I keep noticing that Brownback always looks sleepy.  When I picture him as president I always think about him taking a nap in the oval office.

Romney
Governor Romney has Iraq troubles of his own.  He released a statement on Iraq policy, and many Conservatives don't think it has enough substance.  His bigger problem though is this YouTube video with clips from his 1994 debate against Ted Kennedy and his statements about abortion, gay marriage, and other issues.  But the Romney camp is reacting very well with an immediate statement a taped appearance addressing the issues.  Discussions about Romney's health care plan in Massachusetts are also picking up steam.  So are discussions about his underwear.

From Bob:

Mitt Romney was very impressive in person. Not yet Presidential, but very impressive. He comes across as very smart, very Republican, and very likable. He was funny and personable and he did a great job espousing conservative principles and values and incorporating them into his thoughts about terrorism, immigration, education, technology and healthcare. He is doing a great job positioning himself as more conservative than McCain and Guiliani, yet he seems (to me) to maintain the cross-over appeal needed for the general election. He also has done a great job assembling a top-notch team, especially in Florida, a key state for 2008. I think his biggest threat is not the two aforementioned candidates, but others from the far right (Gingrich, Brownback.) Romney's chances will depend on how long those candidates stay in the field. But my bottom line impression is that he would be a great GOP candidate and President.

McCain
Despite numerous television appearances and an op-ed in the Washington Post on increasing troop levels I've found it interesting that McCain is not getting more time on the blogs.  Many if not most put him as the front runner, but he is getting no love from Conservatives and it seems everyone is paying attention to the other candidates.  Personally, as I've watched him there has been one thought that keeps coming to mind; McCain is really old.  I mean really, when you look at the guy do you think "presidential material" or do you think "wow... old" and "comb-over"?

Rudy
Mayor Giluliani got a bit of a press buzz when the press got their hands on a copy of his campaign strategy.  But it is not all bad news, Rudy has a supporter over at RedState, a Conservative to boot who makes a good argument.  Other than that, the general consensus seems to be that he is going to have a really hard time winning the primary with his social views and social life past.

January 09, 2007

Romney Establishes a Dominating Fundraising Lead

2008 presidential candidate Mitt Romney held a fundraiser today.  It was called the "National Call Day."  I'd expect a few more of these, from Romney and the other candidates because Romney raised over 6.5 MILLION dollars.  Unbelievable.  Estimates have McCain at 2 million and Giuliani at 1 million.  The "frontrunners" now have much work to do to show that they can keep up.

Continue reading "Romney Establishes a Dominating Fundraising Lead" »

January 04, 2007

A Thought on democrat Take Over

Today in  media outlets from the blogosphere to AM radio to television conservatives are mourning the loss of the Congress to the democrats as the new leadership is sworn in.

I submit the following for your consideration.

The day we should mourn is the day that our Republican leadership stepped away from Conservative principles of government, not the day in which we realize the consequences of such action.

December 29, 2006

Does Brownback Have What It Takes to Win the White House?

In the past week the has been a buzz over Senator Sam Brownback's decision to begin his presidential bid by spending a night in a prison in Louisiana to draw attention to the need for prison reform. Over at Red State there is a front page article on the subject where the author concludes that he must support Brownback because of his strong ideals. He ends with the statement that "politics divorced from ideals is just a really expensive game." (Note: I can't give you the link becuase I'm typing this from my phone in the Atlanta airport.)

With Brownback's entrance into the race for president I've seen a rise in this type of talk; that Brownback should be the Conservative candidate of choice becuase of his ideals. I think it is mostly a bunch of bunk.

I hate to break it to you if you feel the same as the Red State writer, but politics is a game. Yes, an expensive game. Those who suceed are the ones who learn how to play the game well. I know many really bright folks who would make great elected officials but will never be elected because they can't or won't play the game; they are not electable.

Don't get me wrong, I almost always vote for the idealist, and there is a good chance I'll vote for Brownback. After all, I was the lone ranger here pushing for Gallagher in the gubernatorial race becuase of his Conservative platform. But all of this idealist talk is a distraction from the fact that Brownback needs a major spike of charisma before he has a shot at the White House.

Brownback supporters are going to rave over his Conservative ideology. That is all well and good, but don't forget the all important electability factor. If ideology is the sole determining factor Alan Keyes would have been the Republican nominee six times by now.

Facts is facts, and Brownback just isn't the most exciting political figure. He can be right all day long, but if he can't inspire people to join his cause, he loses.

We've talked about Romney's flaws and the concerns with him. This is Brownback's biggest short-coming. Fix this and you have a stellar candidate.

Don't get me wrong, I really like Brownback. In fact, on my old blog I used to dream about having him in the White House. It would be fantastic. The problem is getting him there. I'm just not sure it can happen, especially with the characters running on the other side. But we have a long way to go, maybe we can spice him up over the next year.

We know Brownback is Conservative. We know he takes a stand on issues many others never recognize. Now we need to see if he has what it takes to win a national election over some of the toughest democrat competition we've seen in a long time at a point where many Americans are disenfranchised with Republican leadership. Right now, I'm not sure he does.

December 28, 2006

Romney's Response to Questions on His Past Positions

Last week I observed that Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney needed a strong response to the many questions about his past positions on abortion and same-sex marriage or he would already begin to lose Conservative support.  Not that I had anything to do with it, but the Romney camp appears to have crafted just such a response, which is essentially, "Look at my record."

In a Human Events Online interview released today, Romney is questioned on these two issues.  He of course explained his change of heart on abortion, but ultimately said his record speaks for itself.

On abortion:

"As governor, I’ve had several pieces of legislation reach my desk, which would have expanded abortion rights in Massachusetts. Each of those I vetoed. Every action I’ve taken as the governor that relates to the sanctity of human life, I have stood on the side of life.

  So talk is cheap, but action is real. And people can now look at my record."

On same-sex marriage:

"...I am adamantly opposed to same-sex marriage.

I’ve been to Washington to testify in favor of traditional marriage. I’ve written a letter to every U.S. senator on the topic. I’ve fought same-sex marriage in Massachusetts in every way I could within the bounds of the law."

It is an effective response and I predict it will be enough to sway many Conservatives who are typically impressed by action rather than talk.  We've learned the hard way that too many supposed Conservatives will give lip service to the issues and then do nothing to advance the cause of Conservatism once in office...  I won't name names.

The interview also addresses Romney's view of Ronald Reagan, his position on the flat tax and Fair Tax, and his thoughts on the possibility of expanding the Massachusetts health care system nation-wide.  What the interview reveals, more than anything, is Romney's sensitivity to the political pulse of the country, and his desire to fully analyze the nations problems before prescribing ill-conceived solutions.  It is this combination of political aptitude and  business-like evaluation of the issues that allowed him to achieve such success as a Conservative Republican in one of the most liberal states in the country.  Those same qualities will provide the basis for his appeal to moderates while standing firm on Conservative principles.

But there remain questions.  The most complete collection of allegations against Romney's Conservatism have been collected by Mass Resistance in The Mitt Romney Deception.  It is enough to keep Conservatives, including myself wary of Romney's past, but when you look at his record, it is tough not to like him as a candidate.

 

December 22, 2006

Democrats Raise Money For Convicted Felon

Time for a pop-quiz.  It will be self-graded, so you are on the honor system (which works with Conservatives).

1.  If a Republican government official is convicted of a felony, democrats respond by:

A.  Looking the other way.
B.  Gathering their top leadership together to host a fundraiser for his next election campaign.
C.  Stomping, screaming, shouting and demanding that this corrupt official step-down or be removed from office.

Answer:  C

2.  If a democrat government official is convicted of a felony, democrats respond by:

A.  Looking the other way.
B.  Gathering their top leadership together to host a fundraiser for his next election campaign.
C.  Stomping, screaming, shouting and demanding that this corrupt official step-down or be removed from office.

(Hint: Read the post title)

Answer: B

The invitations have been sent out for a fundraiser to help Siplin in his 2008 reelection to the Florida Senate with minority leader Steve Geller as one of the hosts.

Now, I understand that Siplin's conviction is pending appeal, and the Senate is waiting on that ruling before deciding whether to allow him to stay and so he is allowed to stay in the Senate.  But you have to wonder if a Republican would be given the same grace.  If there is any doubt, let me assure you, the answer is no.

With as much as they talk about the "culture of corruption" on the Republican side, it always amazes me that democrats are completely unwilling to hold any of their own accountable for their actions.

December 21, 2006

Romney v. Brownback

All the action in speculating who will be the 2008 Republican candidate for president seems to be swirling around Governor Mitt Romney.  I hope you, the reader, won't interpret the attention I've given him as some sort of endorsement, though I believe he is probably the best hope for Conservatives, and as I've said before, I like him as a candidate.  I like to go where the action is, and the action right now in the 2008 guessing game is on Romney's doorstep.

While the Boston Globe and others in the drive-by media have taken some weak and ineffective shots at Romney, there is a ton of substantive criticism already lining up against Romney in Conservative circles.  Over at Redstate and eyeon08.com there has been much discussion of Romney's past positions on Conservative issues; abortion in particular.  Today eyeon08.com presents that Romney was opposed to the Contract With AmericaHuman Events has an article today on Romney's criticisms of Jesse Helms in 1994.  The conclusion by many is simply that Romney is a liar and will do whatever it takes to get elected.  On top of that, the Human Events guide to the 2008 candidates explains that Romney has appointed liberals to the judiciary in his state.  That scares me.

If Romney wants to be the Conservative candidate of choice, he is going to have to do alot of explaining.  That could simply involve an "I was really wrong, but look at my recent record," but whatever it is, he needs an official statement about these issues, and fast.  These issues wouldn't be so pressing if Brownback hadn't already announced his exploratory committee, but since he has Conservatives are already choosing sides.  And we Conservatives are incredibly loyal.

Romney's past positions are going to haunt him throughout the primary, and candidates like Brownback are going to take full advantage of it.  But Romney has a perfect opportunity to address the quandary with his anticipated January announcement of his exploratory committee.  He has the chance to come out of the gates by confronting those concerns, admitting he was on the wrong side of the issues in the past, and committing himself to the core principles of Conservatives.

On the other side, Brownback needs to demonstrate that he has the energy and the passion to inspire the Republican base.  I really like Brownback, and I'm with him on most issues, but I'm just not sure he has the personality to win even the primary.  Further, put him up against Hillary and/or Obama and you've got a major problem.  His support of campaign finance reform and McCain's immigration bill will also be points of contention.

My guess at this point is that Conservatives are going to have to pick between Brownback and Romney as far as serious, legitimate candidates.  And many Conservatives are likely to make that choice in the next several months and stick to it.

As a side note, to those readers wondering about potential candidates like Tancredo and Huckabee, they have much to prove before they even have a prayer, and I just don't see them as legitimate possibilities.  Gingrich is waiting in the wings, and should he decide to run, he has the potential to give everyone a run for their money.

UPDATE:  Romney has picked up Conservative hot shot George Marx who will be a tremendous asset in selling Romney to Conservatives.

December 19, 2006

More on Mitt

A little under one month ago in my first evaluation of possible Republican candidates for President in 2008 I shared my  thoughts on why Massachussetts Governor Mitt Romney might be the best possible option.  It has been intriguing to watch the reaction of both Republicans and the media as the Mitt pre-campaign gains momentum. 

There have been many questions about Romney's apparent change of positions on various issues over the course of his political career.  As you know, for Republicans, being labeled a "flip-flopper" is the kiss of death.  The major newspapers in Boston even seem to have stepped up their normal share of anti-Romney stories, even writing a hit piece on the lawn care company which tended to Romney's home and had illegal immigrants on its staff.  Romney hired the company, the company hired illegals, therefore Romney opposes halting illegal immigration regardless of whether he knew of the illegals or not; this is the conclusion the media has tried to lead you to.  It makes perfect sense in the liberal mind where reason and logic have long been stamped out.  Sidenote: Romney recently met this criticism with a new state program to step up enforcement of immigration laws.

Some Republicans have even jumped on board.  Over on the front page of RedState there is a post calling Romney a clown, despite the fact that the author, Mark Kilmer, claims he's not a "Mitt-Basher."

It is all politics as usual and none of it is really surprising, except for the amount of attention, whether good or bad, that is being drawn to Romney.  McCain and Giuliani definitely started the process with the most name recognition, but Romney has quickly become the leading Conservative candidate, and if you've been listening to talk radio at all lately, you've probably heard him referenced as the candidate to beat.

As we begin to move into the first leg of the campaign of 2008 in January, I think you are going to find more and more conversation about Romney.  And as that conversation takes places, Conservatives are going to be excited about Romney's record on Conservative issues, and moderates impressed with his leadership ability.  Can he win?  It is too early to tell, but barring any campaign disaster it seems that Romney will be the most difficult obstacle for McCain or Giuliani. 

November 25, 2006

States with Marriage Protections Amendments

Marriageamendment1_4

States that have passed a constitutional amendment protecting marriage:

Alabama
Alaska
Arkansas
Georgia
Hawaii
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Michigan
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Texas
Utah
Idaho
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Virginia
Wisconsin
Colorado

States that have rejected a constitutional amendment protecting marriage:

Arizona

November 21, 2006

First Thoughts on the 2008 Presidential Election - Updated

This past week on FOX News I caught the end of a brief interview with Representative "Bring Back the Draft" Rangel.  The last question he was asked concerned whether he thought Senator Hillary Clinton is definitely going to run for President in 2008.  He responded how everyone, including Senator Clinton has responded to the question; with some half hearted line about being focused on the present rather than the next presidential election.  This is, of course, disingenuous at best and a bold faced lie at worst.  I don't care which side of the isle you hear it from, if a politician on the national level tells you that he's not thinking about 2008 yet, I'd be willing to bet they are lying.  I refuse to believe that our political leadership is that short-sighted.

With that said, I'm not going to lie to you.  I've been doing some serious thinking about the 2008 presidential election.  I know it is premature, and I know the field of potential candidates could change drastically within the next year.  But I can't help thinking about it, and I'll bet neither can you.  And I can practically guarantee that even though he says he is not, Representative Rangel is as well.

Read on to find out more...

Continue reading "First Thoughts on the 2008 Presidential Election - Updated" »

November 13, 2006

The End of Conservatism?

In the aftermath of the loss of both Houses of Congress, Republicans are busy trying to understand what went wrong.  Most of the conclusions I have read have centered on the idea of Conservatism; that these losses were due to either too much or too little Conservatism.  Many fiscal Republicans have alleged that the losses were due to the failure of a platform based on Conservative principles and have called for the party to move towards the center.  Most of the Republican analysis on the losses, however, has concluded that it was the failure of Republican politicos to live and govern by those principles that caused the loss.  It seems to me that the most plausible explanation is the latter for reasons I've stated numerous times before; Americans are by far a traditional people who support traditional notions of family and government and country and when Republicans advocate for those values they win.  Republicans failed, not Conservatism.  With that in mind I've looked past the fiscal Republican and liberal and drive-by-media claims of the failure of Conservatism.

However, there is a new line of criticism against Conservatism which has many Republicans questioning whether Conservative ideology is what loses elections.  An example is seen in the scathing attack on Conservatism as an ideology that was published today by Joseph Farah of Worldnetdaily.com.  In his article "Conservatism's Death Throes?" Farah argues that Conservatism as an ideology is doomed.  I've heard more and more discussion of this idea in recent days, but allow me to assure you, as long as the heart of the American people continue to defend traditional values Conservatism will continue to hold massive influence over American politics.

Read on...

Continue reading "The End of Conservatism?" »

November 10, 2006

What Liberals and the Media Aren't Telling You About the Arizona Marriage Protection Vote

If you've followed the media's coverage of the state ballot initiatives nation-wide you would think that Conservatives lost on every measure.  We've discussed the spin on the South Dakota abortion ban vote below.  We've also discussed the huge victory for marriage protection amendments but rather than acknowledge this success the media and liberals have focused on the rejection of the ban in Arizona; the first loss by such an amendment.

But you've not been told the full story.

First, there has not been much discussion of the margin.  The current margin stands at 51.4% against and 48.6% in favor; a difference of 32,226 votes.  Thats alot of votes right?

Second, we also have not heard about the fact that the driving force behind the amendment, the Center for Arizona Policy, has not acknowledged the loss.  Why?  Because as the Arizona Secretary of State estimated, there are about 350,000 ballots that have not yet been counted.

The margin will be close, but this could go either way.  It is expected that it will take about 2 weeks to finish counting the ballots.  If about 60% of those ballots are in favor of the amendment, Arizona will be State number 28 to pass a marriage amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman.  But liberals and the drive-by-media are too busy hailing this as a milestone defeat against the pro-marriage movement to be bothered by the facts.

November 09, 2006

What Liberals Don't Want You To Know About the South Dakota Abortion Ban Vote

(Note:  This post began as a comment to a posting by Mr. Hussey over at Pushing Rope.  As an aside, I think Mr. Hussey is probably the sharpest democrat on the Florida blogosphere.)

If you have been paying attention to the MSM and liberal blogs on the rejection of the South Dakota abortion ban by voters you've probably been left with the impression that this was a huge, shocking defeat for the Pro-Life movement.  After all, if the measure failed in such a staunch Conservative state as South Dakota, a state that any liberal will tell you is the toughest place in the country to get an abortion (they have one abortion clinic), how could they expect the rest of the country to support banning abortion?

As usual, the MSM and liberal gloss over the issue doesn't paint a fair picture of reality.  I submit for your consideration three factors which you likely won't hear many other places:

You know you want to read more...

Continue reading "What Liberals Don't Want You To Know About the South Dakota Abortion Ban Vote" »

November 08, 2006

Republicans Come Running Back to Conservatives

After last night's losses the Republican leadership is doing exactly what they always do in the face of loss; running back to Conservatives.  The big headline on the main GOP site today reads "Recommitting Our Party to Conservative Reform."  Chairman Ken Mehlman making the rounds on the morning news promoted his list of three post-election priorities for the party; "first and foremost" was rededicating the party to Conservative principles.  The other two were finding bipartisan common ground with democrats and clearing the taint of corruption. 

The renewed dedication to Conservatives is not a shocking move, but it is one which will be criticized by pundits of every stripe.  Conservatives have reason to be upset and to question the depth of this revitalized dedication.  "Oh, so now you come crawling back after 6 years of feeding us scraps from the table?"  There has been a renewed discussion recently about how the Republican party simply "uses" Conservatives; Evangelicals in particular.  I expect that conversation will expand even more and the common opinion will be that Republicans again just want to use Conservatives to regain control.  But before my fellow Conservatives begin to scorn this idea I'd like to ask the following question:

So what?

Read on...

Continue reading "Republicans Come Running Back to Conservatives" »

Mr. G's Election Reaction

Congratulations to the democrats on their success in gaining support of the House.  It looks like it will be a few days until we know which way the Senate goes because it will require a Virginia recount.  There ave not been any real surprises other than the fact that Britney Spears and Kevin Federline filed for divorce. Speaking of Marriage:

Get more goodness after the jump...

Continue reading "Mr. G's Election Reaction" »

November 02, 2006

democrat Gains Not so Impressive?

You know those big, impressive, potential democrat gains everyone is talking about?  Chairman Ann argues that in the light of history, those predicted gains really aren't very impressive at all.  In fact, she argues that the current numbers are further proof that the democrat party is on its way out.  Definitely a must read.

October 30, 2006

democrats Change Their Tune on Negron/Foley Notices

On Friday the First District Court of Appeal reversed the decision by a Circuit Court Judge to prohibit signs in polling placing informing voters of the Negron/Foley change.  The notices proposed by the Division of Elections may go up.  The well reasoned opinion by my friend Judge Wolf provided the comprehensive review of the Florida Election Code which the Circuit Court lacked.  But the decision isn't what I have found interesting, it has been the response by democrats.

On the Florida democratic Party website you will find this release:

"The Florida Democratic Party accepts the court's ruling, which distinguishes between the wrongful partisanship of the Secretary of State and the nonpartisan recommendation of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections.

"We thank the court for ruling on the case expediently.  We will not appeal."

The impression that democrats are now trying to leave you with is that they weren't opposed to the idea of the notices, just the first notice proposed by the Secretary of State which would only have Negron and Foley's names listed, and not the other candidates in the race.  But that simply isn't true.

The original pleading filed by the Florida democratic Party and Karen Thurman as the chair was filed two days after the Division of Elections clarified that the notices should include all of the candidates names.  Further, in the actual pleading itself they specifically cite the revised notice, including the names of all of the candidates, and claim that it is a violation of the Florida Election Code.  The first attack they made was not against the initial proposition by the Secretary of State, it was against the very notice that the First District ruled was valid.  They weren't opposed to only the proposed notice with only the Republican names, they were opposed to any notice which would allow voters to make an informed decision.

Joe Negron's opponent, Tim Mahoney now says:

"I want to have an uncontested election." and "I'm fine with the court's decision."

Really?  This is the same guy who called the Circuit Court decision a "victory for Florida voters."  Wouldn't a reversal of that "victory" be a loss for voters?

Don't be fooled by the rhetoric, the democrat party was completely opposed to those efforts aimed at informing voters of the Negron/Foley change because the status quo presented them with an advantage.  Despite the change in tune, this was never about preventing bias as Thurman claims, or protecting voters as Mahoney claimed, this was strictly about preventing people from voting for a Republican candidate.

October 28, 2006

Florida Supreme Court Justices Once Again Trample On Florida Constitution

In an opinion released yesterday Justices Lewis, Pariente and Quince once again demonstrated that they are willing to side-step that pesky Florida Constitution whenever it stands in the way of an opinion they want to release.  As I said last week, these three Justice have earned your vote against their retention on the Supreme Court.

Like the other two branches of government, the judiciary has checks on its power.  Under the Florida Constitution one of the major checks on the Florida Supreme Court's powers is that it can only review certain cases.  This prevents the Court from simply deciding whatever issue it feels like addressing on a particular day.  In fact, our state constitution is very specific in listing the types of cases the Supreme Court can review.  One type of case the Court can review is when one District Court of Appeals (the level of courts below the Florida Supreme Court) releases an opinion in conflict with another District Court or a Florida Supreme Court decision.  The case may then be appealled to the Florida Supreme Court to resolve the discrepancy.

Which leads us to the Court's decision in American Wall System, Inc. v. Madison International Group, Inc. released yesterday.  This case was appealled from the Fifth District Court of Appeal and the Florida Supreme Court wanted to reverse the lower court's decision.  There was only one problem, the case did not conflict with another District Court or Supreme Court decision and as a result, the Florida Supreme Court did not have the jurisdiction necessary to review the case.  But the Florida Constitution never stopped these judges before, so why should it now?  In order to review the case, the majority (Anstead, Lewis, Pariente and Quince) sat on the appeal for more than a half of a year until they finally released another opinion which did conflict with the case.  Suddenly, they had a conflict, created by them, which provided technical grounds for an appeal.

As Justice Cantero explains in his dissent (signed onto by Justices Bell and Wells), the majority simply manipulated the system, and as usual, ignored the language of the Florida Constitution, so that they could release the opinion they wanted to release.

Folks, this a quintessential activist judge maneuver.  A tactic that demonstrates that these judges have no respect for the role of the Courts, no respect for the sanctity of the judicial system, no respect for the limitations on their roles under the Florida Constitution and no respect for the people whose rights that Constitution was designed to protect.

Justices Anstead, Lewis, Pariente and Quince sent a clear message this week; they intend to hand down whatever opinion they want to and they are not going to let any pesky constitutional framework stand in the way of that goal.

Tell Justices Lewis, Pariente and Quince that our Constitution is too important to be trampled by activist judges who have an agenda.  Floridians deserve better. Vote No on the retention of Justices Lewis, Pariente and Quince.

October 24, 2006

Mr. G's Ballot Recommendations - Part 3 - Amendments 1, 6 and 7

Amendment 1:

The State of Sunshine has the analysis you need on Amendment 1 which revises the State planning and budget process.

I'll add to their commentary that this amendment does nothing that cannot be accomplished by the legislature without a constitutional amendment.  Further, it creates yet another government agency to perform the job of what an already existing agency (Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability - OPPAGA) should be doing.  I'm glad to see that there is an effort to get the state's finances in order and to do some long term budget planning, but more government and restricting the Legislature's ability to adapt the system in the future seems both unwise and unnecessary.

Mr. G agrees with The State of Sunshine, vote NO on Amendment 1.

And lest you think I'm lazy for simply signing onto The State of Sunshine's analysis of the amendments, I'll finish out the remaining amendments.

Amendment 4:
Amendment 4 would require 15% of Florida's Tobacco Settlement money each year to go to programs and advertising aimed at educating kids on the hazards of tobacco use.  This will be approximately $57 million dollars per year, adjusted annually for inflation.  The amendment stems from a broken promise made by legislators to provide funding for these programs, which now receive about $1 million per year.  I can understand the frustration of the anti-smoking groups and why they resorted to the amendment.  However, I also understand that government is most effective when it serves a limited role.  This amendment not only requires government to step into a role that they need not fill,  but also means that $57 million will be diverted from elsewhere in the budget.  That money should be spent on necessary government services or put towards lowering taxes.  Further, while it is certainly understandable why the anti-smoking groups would resort to a constitutional amendment to force the legislature into action, I can't support the way this measure would permanently bind the legislature to this expenditure.

The Tampa Tribune, St. Petersburg Times and Miami Herald encourage you to vote no as well.  The Palm Beach Post argues that the which would be funded are effective and would save lives.

Mr. G says vote NO on Amendment 4 and instead tell your kids they are grounded if they start smoking cigarettes.

Amendments 6 and 7:
These two amendments reduce property taxes for disabled veterans and the low-income elderly.  Amendment 6 increases the homestead exemption $50,000 for a total of $75,000 for those over 65 with a household income under $20,000.  Amendment 7 provides a property tax discount to veterans, over the age of 65, who were permanently disabled in combat and honorably discharged.  The amount of the discount would be the same percentage as the percentage of total disability of the veteran.  Amendment 6 is projected to cost local governments $36 million per year, but also requires the approval of the local government to implement.  Amendment 7 is projected to cost local governments $20 million per year and is self implementing.   

I was a little torn over these two.  I love tax cuts, but we can do better than this.  We have a major crisis with property taxes in our state right now.  Cutting taxes for select groups will mean a raise in property taxes on others.  We need a viable solution to the crisis that provides relief to the entire state.  We can begin by weeding out programs like the one proposed in Amendment 4.

The Taxation and Budget Reform Commission will review Florida's tax system within the next year, and will hopefully provide some real solutions.  Everyone needs property tax relief right now, so let's fix the bigger problem rather than trying to put a band-aid on a major wound.

The Tampa Tribune, St. Petersburg Times and Miami Herald encourage you to vote no on Amendment 6.

The Tampa Tribune, St. Petersburg Times and Miami Herald encourage you to vote no on Amendment 7.

Mr. G agrees, vote NO on Amendments 6 and 7.

For those of you keeping score at home, Mr. G recommends that you vote NO on every amendment.

October 23, 2006

Post Senate Debate Analysis

My first thought at the end of the debate was that there were no real surprises.  But then I remembered all of the media exposure Katherine Harris has gotten over the last several months.  If you've been reading the papers and the blogs the impression that we've been left with is that Harris is unhinged; that she could snap at any moment.  Those of us who have had the opportunity to meet her or see her speak know that she is articulate, collected and well presented.  And that is exactly what we saw tonight.  She was confident and composed despite tha fact that it would take a miracle for her to actually win the race.  The debate was boring, but I was impressed with the way Harris carried herself.

Mrs. G also made me promise that I would share with you my first comment at the end of Senator Nelson's closing statement:

"We really need to send that guy back into space."

Mr. G says, vote for Katherine Harris.

Mr. G's Ballot Recommendations - Part 2 - Amendments 3 and 8

In this next installment of my recommendations for your vote I was going to begin addressing the six proposed amendments to the Florida Constitution, but The State of Sunshine beat me to it.  They have done an excellent job and their analysis is a must read.  So far I agree with them:

No on Amendment 3 - Requiring Broader Support for Constitutional Amendments or Revisions.

No on Amendment 8 - Revising Eminent Domain Takings Requirements

Additionally, I recommend to you Vote Smart Florida which provides an unbiased review of each of the proposed amendments.

Mr. G Says...

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