Presidential Campaign

Presidential Campaign

Newt the Dark Horse

For all of the talk of a Palin, Huckabee, Jindal or Romney as the GOP presidential nominee in 2012, the one to watch at this point in time is former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (Ga.).

With the possible exception of former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Gingrich stands alone in terms of putting forth ideas that address the biggest issues the nation faces. Far from playing it safe, he has been boldly forthright in his approach to problems and with his targeted criticism of President Obama.

Seeing Demons in Sarah; Mitt Romney’s New House

In its greatest crisis of both cash and confidence, California seems to have been forgotten by the press this side of the Rockies. Possibly Los Angeles and San Francisco were only distant cultural provinces of Brooklyn Heights and Central Park West, like Provincetown and Vermont are, and everybody went back home. Or like Tony Soprano’s sister Janice, who headed west then out of the blue returned years later and asked to be referred to by her new West Coast name, Parvati, after the Hindu goddess. Maybe they go west to find the goddess then come back to North Jersey and be Janice again.

Romney Looking Like a Man Among Boys

I have bagged on Mitt Romney with the best of them, but I want to note for the record — in March of 2009 — that he looks quite promising for 2012. It isn't the fact that he won the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) straw poll, but what he said there and the highly favorable view of him among Republicans on Capitol Hill that make me think he is the best positioned to bring influential supporters on board next year, when all contenders will need to get their ducks in a row.

A key reason to take Romney seriously — not that he could knock off Barack Obama — among the other potential candidates is that they are just not that strong. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) is a man of many ideas who has trouble governing; Govs. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Sarah Palin of Alaska are young and don't appear ready for primetime, let alone an incumbent Obama. They would be better off maturing and taking on some other Democrat in the future.

Hillary, the Consensus Maker

On March 24, the United Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case involving a critical and uncomplimentary movie about Hillary Clinton. A hostile critique of the new secretary of State, made when she was a presidential candidate, “Hillary, The Movie” was produced by a conservative advocacy group that did to Hillary what one might expect a Michael Moore type would do to Sarah Palin or W (remember him?). Already on DVD and the Internet (what isn’t?), the movie was prevented from being shown on cable television during the past election season because the Federal Election Commission ruled it violated the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law.

How the Liberal Press’s Bashing of Sarah Palin Legitimized the State Sovereignty Movement

Variations of the state sovereignty movement have been around now for more than a dozen years, starting in the first term of Clinton’s administration. The basic idea is this: Thomas Jefferson intended the states to have the final say in public policy and saw them as a defense against malevolent overreach of federal government. I’ve interviewed and talked to most of the major scholars and lawyers involved since the beginning and used the strategy myself in opposition to the invasion of Iraq. Most of these people are considered suspicious at best, treasonous at worst. So I’ve been wondering all week how this basic idea, after being proposed in the New Hampshire Legislature two weeks ago, suddenly found legitimacy and is now being proposed in 28 states.

President Petraeus?

The Republicans’ prospects for 2012 are pretty grim. A new Rasmussen poll shows that 55 percent of them think the party should become more like Sarah Palin. Her star continues to shine brightly in Republican circles, while most of the country doesn't take her seriously.

Someone who may see a 2012 opening is Gen. David Petraeus — who, I've read, sees President Petraeus when he looks in the mirror. Petraeus is reportedly pressuring Obama on his commitment to withdraw troops from Iraq. On Jan. 21, after a meeting with Obama, the general looked "visibly unhappy when he left the Oval Office."

Analyzing North Carolina

Last week, The Washington Times published a piece I wrote after looking at the election returns in all 100 North Carolina counties this cycle and in 2004. (Sorry it took me a few days to post, I was actually in North Carolina catching up on turkey, barbecue and basketball.)

A few stats:

How Fox Helped Elect Barack Obama

Well, Barack Obama has been president-elect for just three weeks, and already something that a few times threatened to dominate the election seems to have been nearly forgotten.

Barack Obama is a black man. Yes, he is. But how quickly we’ve gotten to the place where it’s just not mattering very much. When you saw the president-elect up on the platform introducing his team of economic advisers, did you find yourself thinking, “Hmm, he’s a tad darker than the guy on his left”? Nope, I don’t think you did.

Oh, there’ll be a bit more discussion of race and culture, especially at inauguration time. But don’t expect it to go much beyond the sidebars that accompanied LBJ, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton when each of them brought his own culture and personality to the Oval Office. We just don’t have time right now for a lot of that kind of reflection.

Washington's Leak-Prone Culture

The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza has a piece detailing what has become a new phenomenon for Barack Obama — leaks.

Cillizza writes of the "culture of leaks," which may also be attributed to the culture of Washington. The Obama campaign, rightly, has been noted for being a tight, disciplined unit. This includes the dearth of leaks coming from within the campaign, especially compared to the McCain camp. Part of this comes down to location, location, location. Chicago is far removed from the D.C. chatter-circuit. The campaign's location meant that staffers had to "buy in" completely, creating its own discipline. Similarly, the 1992 Clinton campaign, headquartered in Little Rock, Ark., and the Austin-based Bush/Cheney campaign did not suffer the perennial leaking of Washington-based campaigns.