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Spectre of Newt Haunts GOP

George Will thoroughly outdoes himself in language, content and snark in his December 2nd column eviscerating Newt Gingrich.  There is no more deserving object of scorn, and  I can hardly contain my admiration and enthusiasm for Will’s words:

Gingrich, however, embodies the vanity and rapacity that make modern Washington repulsive. And there is his anti-conservative confidence that he has a comprehensive explanation of, and plan to perfect, everything.

GOP in panic mode!

With only five weeks before the Iowa caucuses, as Gingrich leads the polls, Will confirms that the GOP establishment is in panic mode.  If the Republican Base can resurrect Gingrich, on whom vultures have been feeding for months, what else can it do to destroy the Republican brand?

After the media devoured Paul, Bachmann, Perry and Cain and half-way swallowed Romney, the GOP leadership eye’s must finally be open.  The base is not going to give up.  Perry can’t be rehabilitated (or can he?). Huntsman’s pivot from being the ‘reasonable moderate’ to ‘the most conservative of the GOP candidates’ is too little too late.

The timid approach by the establishment GOP to these elections has been disastrous.Ronmey may be the candidate that nobody really likes but everyone seems to pick as their second choice.  So, don’t blame things on him. It’s refusal to rally around either the disliked Mitt Romney or the ‘best’ of the rest of the field (you choose) means the Newt and Romney will battle it out primary-by-primary.  And this year, the Republican primaries are delegate-based, not ‘winner take all’.

Let the primary chaos begin!

At first Newt was going for S. Carolina, but now he’s ahead in Iowa where he has no organizational presence.  Non-Newters were depending on Romney sweeping New Hampshire and riding that to S. Carolina.  But Newt could pull an Obama and ride Iowa to S. Carolina instead.

It seems as if the GOP leadership had decided they could defeat Obama with whoever the candidate was.  But now one of their own will devour the other just to stay in the race.  Let the games begin!




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Payroll Tax Cut vs. Small Business?

Supporting the payroll tax cut should be a no-brainer even for the most ideologically tilted GOP members.  But conservatives are complaining it will hurt small business.  Most politicians, from both parties, consider any legislation that hurts small business to be toxic.  Small business is as American as apple pie and motherhood.  Rightfully so.  Small business creates jobs; small business owners take huge risks and work hard to make their companies successful.

The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities

has an analysis that says most, except a tiny minority of small businesses will benefit not be hurt by President Obama’s proposal:

Some have argued that a Senate bill to extend and expand the payroll tax cut and pay for it through a surtax on incomes over $1 million would hurt small businesses and thus weaken job growth.

This claim overlooks the benefit of the payroll tax cut not only for working families but for small businesses as well.  It also greatly overstates the impact that the millionaire surtax would have on a relatively tiny number of small businesses.

The bill’s payroll tax cut would not only boost workers’ paychecks by hundreds of dollars or more in 2012 but also cut the taxes of every small business.  Employers would receive a tax holiday on fully half of their 2012 Social Security taxes on the first $5 million in payroll.  If employers create jobs, they would pay no Social Security taxes on the first $50 million in increased taxable payroll.

The millionaire surtax, in contrast, wouldn’t take effect until 2013 and would hit only a tiny fraction of small businesses.

With unemployment finally dropping, now is the time to rally around Obama’s job proposals.  Expect partisanship to intensify in relation to the economy picking up.  The Republicans are counting on the bad economy the justify their ‘refusnik’ strategy of the last three years by defeating the President in 2012.





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Jobless Rate Drops to 8.6%

The US economy added 120,000 jobs in November, as more jobs were filled in September and October than previously reported.  According to MarketWatch:

The reduction in the jobless rate, which stood at 9.0% in October, stemmed in large part from a decline in the size of the labor force. Some 315,000 people stopped looking for jobs last month, which is usually not a good sign.

Yet the decline in the labor force is belied by other evidence showing that companies continue to add workers at a modest pace. The increase in hiring in November was accompanied by revisions in the October and September data that show an additional 72,000 jobs were created.

What’s more, the labor force had increased by nearly 1 million people in the three months before November, suggesting that more jobs are available. People tend to reenter the labor force when they think they have a better chance of finding a job.


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Can Newt Win?

Polls are showing Newt catching up with Romney.  The latest Rasmussen Poll gives Newt a 6+% lead.  Newt is shoring up his campaign in Iowa, where he wants to have a good showing, but counting on South Carolina as the primary he retires Romney as a candidate.

It is certainly possible that Newt could win the Republican nomination.  The base is going for outrageous, overbearing and out-of-bounds this season, and Newt excels in each.  The media make a big thing about how Gingrich’s immigration reform position, giving illegals in the US 20 years or longer a chance for citizenship, is a type of ‘amnesty’ hated by Republicans.

So what?  Gingrich continues to throw heftier pieces of meat to the base than immigration.  War with Iran, anyone?

Newt winning would be good news for Obama.  Gingrich will sizzle like bacon in a fry-pan at any debate with Obama the Unflappable and come out with half the support of what he had going in.

Newt is pudgy, nasty, hypocritical, moronic and a boar.  His only redeeming quality is shutting up.  He could never run a disciplined campaign because he is so undisciplined himself.  He could never get up at 4 o’clock in the morning to be at a campaign stop by 6.  It would be physically impossible. And forget about the 3 am international emergency!

Nominating Newt would destroy the Republican Party.  Long live the Newt!



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Contrary to Rumors, Obama is Not…

calling it quits on the white working class.  Alec MacGillis reports on how the rumor thrived for a few days in The New Republic.

What has prompted this conclusion? Another overheard musing by Obama about “bitter” working class voters? A secret memo from Jim Messina in Chicago? No. A demographic analysis of the 2012 electorate from the Center for American Progress. Ruy Teixeira and John Halpin did not realize it, but their dense 69-page report analyzing the electorate — which notes, above all, that the electorate’s share of racial minorities and Gen-Y voters continues to grow — was so convincing that it has now been adopted as the official governing document of the Obama campaign. Leave aside that the analysis, as discussed in this space last week, makes clear that Obama is in trouble if he loses too many working class white voters below his 2008 share

Advice: distrust everything you hear between now and November, 2012.  Rule of thumb:  wait three days after any ‘shocking news’ to hear the other side, then decide which sounds more credible.  Extra step: download the entire speech/interview/press conference to make sure the (object, victim, candidate) was quoted in context.


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Can Romney Get Away with This?

The last week brought reports on the first national Romney commercial of his Presidential campaign.  In it, Romney quoted President Obama saying  “If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.”  In fact, Obama was quoting a McCain aide who used this line.  Those were McCain’s, not Obama’s words. Attributing McCain’s words to Obama is more than beyond deceitful.  It’s aggressive lying.

Tonight on PBS, David Brooks admitted that the lie was intentional.  The Romney campaign intentionally did a bait and switch on the McCain quote to cause an uproar from Democrats and the Administration so Romney could appear tough on Democrats and unafraid of taking on Obama to conservative Republican primary voters.

So this is what we can expect for the 2012 campaign.  The 2008 contest focused on personality, out-of-context quotes and events and name-calling.  Next year will be worse.





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Cain: What’s With the National Restaurant Association?

Herb Cain’s advances on women at the National Restaurant Association appear to have made them more than ‘uncomfortable’ or could be passed off as teasing’ one of the women about her height.  His absolute refusal to address the specific charges dooms whatever chance he ever had of making it out of the political minor leagues, if not his new career as a published author.
Karen Kraushaar, who quit her job over advances by Cain is the devastating finale.   I don’t know Ms. Kraushaar , but I do know that people in these types of Washington positions don’t accuse colleagues and leave jobs  over a minor incident.  Ms. Karushaar, a government relations representative for the Association, was one of two women who walked away with a settlement from the NRA.

Role of Trade Association?

Cain was the honorary President of the National Restaurant Association, and presumably a member of its board before that.   In most trade associations, the board and officers are chosen from the ranks of its members.  But day-t0-day operations are handled by a paid professional staff.

Although a bit far-fetched, it actually is possible that the executives of the National Restaurant Association sought to save Cain embarrassment and get rid of a couple of ‘problems’ without his full knowledge.  Either way, the question lingers: what culpability has the Association’s paid CEO or other executive staff?  At least one of the woman charging unfair treatment claimed the staff of the Association became hostile to her after she reported an incident with Cain.

While this is a secondary consideration in the Cain affair, by bailing him out twice, the Association points to a culture of acceptance for out-of-bounds behavior at NRA conventions and conferences where ‘wining and dining’ are plentiful.   Didn’t anyone of the other officers or legal counsel sit down with Cain and tell him to stop?

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Ornstein Rips Brooks (and a bit of Obama)

Norman Orstein, founder of the American Enterprise Institute and a Congressional scholar writes with Tomas Mann in The New Republic.  Ornstein is one of the clearest thinkers around:

In his continuing, illusive quest for the Grand Bargain, New York Times columnist David Brooks has now offered some free campaign advice to President Obama: Drop the angry and divisive populist talk; link your reelection to the Congressional supercommittee to tackle the deficit; lower the ideological temperature. Political independents now recoil from big government, Brooks argues, so Obama should be blurring, not highlighting, the differences between the two parties over the role of government.

Obama should say thanks, but no thanks for the advice. Based as it is on a series of tired and false assumptions, this strategy would doom whatever chance Obama has of winning reelection

Obama should likewise know by now that working with a supercommittee whose Republican members are under orders from their House and Senate leaders to oppose all revenue increases is a fool’s errand. And imagining that a substantial center in the American public will respond positively to such an approach is pure fantasy. What sense does it make for Obama embrace an agenda without any support on the other side of the aisle, and make nice to a party whose sole objective is to deny him reelection.

In other words, highlighting differences with Republicans is essential to a national consensus – or Obama winning reelection.

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