Political Critic Archives - December 2007

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Monday, December 31, 2007 - 2:45pm

Uncertainty Rules in Iowa

With only three days left until the Iowa caucuses, not even the political pundits know who is going to win in either election.  On the Republican side, Mitt Romney has closed the gap on Mike Huckabee in what looks to be a two-way race.  John Edwards, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton are locked in a three way race for the Democratic nod.  In addition, there is an X-factor in Iowa by the name of Ron Paul.

 

While Romney and Huckleberry are expected to finish 1-2, the race is on for third place and Congressman Paul could very well pull it out.  He is currently tied for fifth with Rudy Giuliani, but is within striking distance of third.  His backers are extremely passionate and no other Republican candidate can say that.  If some voters decide to stay home on Thursday because of the weather or to watch the Kansas/Virginia Tech football game, Ron Paul's supporters won't be among them.

 

It's a complete toss-up for the Democrats.  John Edwards had been lagging in third place all year, but has recently surged to a slim lead in the latest Mason-Dixon poll.  Barack Obama's poll numbers are slipping just a tad, but he also enjoys a strong get-out-the-vote infrastructure.  Hillary holds a narrow lead in most polls, but she lags a distant third in voters' second choice. 

 

In a caucus, a candidate must achieve at least 15% to be viable.  If a candidate does not attain 15%, they must cast their vote for someone who has.  This means that people backing Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd, Joseph Biden, and Dennis Kucinich may need to vote for one of the top three.  Combining the undecideds still remaining, it amounts to nearly 20% of the electorate.  This factor could bump Hillary from the top spot and push her down to second or even third place.

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Thursday, December 27, 2007 - 7:45pm

Does Joe Biden Have a Chance?

With the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan this morning, the debate here at home has turned to foreign policy.  Most of the top tier presidential candidates have scant little experience in foreign matters.  However, one candidate by the name of Joseph Biden  has more than thirty years of foreign policy experience.  That is more than Barack, Hillary, and Edwards combined.

 

 Senator Biden is currently Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and has been on the committee since the 1970's.  He often speaks of the complex situation in Pakistan as he did in this Face the Nation interview. 

 

In a recent presidential debate, Biden spoke of Pakistan and Iran and the differences between the two countries.  Senator Biden correctly pointed out (although nobody was listening) that Pakistan was the greater threat to the safety and security of the United States.  Pakistan already has nuclear weapons and Iran does not.  Pakistan has a more volatile government, while Iran's is somewhat more stable.

 

Biden has also developed a viable plan in Iraq which involves separating the country into three federations that function on their own.  This would allow the Sunni and Shia to focus on their own country and not on killing each other.  It would also take many U.S. soldiers out of harm's way, as their focus would shift to controlling newly established borders.

 

Although Joseph Biden (D-DE) is considered a 'second-tier' candidate in this presidential race, he has been a United States Senator since January 3, 1973.  He was sworn into office at the bedside of his two sons, who were seriously hurt in a car accident that also took his wife and infant daughter.  Only 30 years old at the time, he became the fifth youngest Senator in U.S. history.  Thirty five years later, Joe Biden has distinguished himself as being an expert on international matters.

 

Obama, Clinton, and Edwards have been the frontrunners on the Democratic side of the ledger, but Senator Joe Biden could surprise a lot of folks with a strong showing in the early states.  With only a week to go before the Iowa caucus, he probably will not win, but I do believe he will comfortably exceed expectations and finish a strong fourth.

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Sunday, December 23, 2007 - 12:30pm

With Elections Approaching, It's Anybody's Game

On Meet The Press this morning, political pundit Chuck Todd mentioned that as many as six candidates could still win the Presidency, even though the Iowa caucus is less than two weeks away.  I assume his six potential Presidents are Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Rudy Giuliani, Mick Huckabee, Mitt Romney, and John McCain.  However, I believe there are up to eleven people that could become President.

 

INSERT DESCRIPTIONLet's start with the Democrats first.  In addition to Clinton and Obama, I believe John Edwards clearly has a shot to win.  Even though he is a distant third in the national polls, Edwards is in a very close race in Iowa.  There are many that believe John Edwards will win Iowa, as his support is extremely strong.  If he wins in Iowa, he would get a significant boost in New Hampshire and has a chance to win there.

 

On the Republican side, you must include Fred Thompson and Ron Paul.  It was only a few months ago that Fred Thompson was near the top of the polls.  He has a chance for a resurgence if he puts the time and energy into the race.  It's not likely, but is still feasible.

 

In Ron Paul, you have a candidate who is leading all GOP candidates in the money race for the fourth quarter.  This means he can stay in the race as long as he wants.  His supporters are also far more passionate than any candidates.  In addition, Dr. Paul can also run as a Libertarian candidate if he does not receive the Republican nomination.

 

Beyond the Democrats and Republicans, there are two additional men that could run as third-party candidates.  Al Gore and Michael Bloomberg are extremely viable contenders.  Former Vice President Al Gore has a strong following around this country.  In his time away from politics, he has won an Oscar, a Nobel Peace Prize, and brought the issue of global warming to the forefront in the world.

 

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is a self-made billionaire and could finance a presidential run in a way no other third-party candidate has ever done.  Unlike other wealthy third-party candidates before him, Bloomberg has run for office before and is politically savvy.  Steve Forbes and Ross Perot had the money, but not the skill in the political arena.

 

My money is on Michael Bloomberg bankrolling an Al Gore presidential run with Bloomberg as the VP.  Together, they can beat both the Democratic and Republican nominee.  If Ron Paul runs as a Libertarian to create a four-way race, Gore and Bloomberg could win with only 35-40% of the vote.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007 - 7:45pm

Can Ron Paul Win in Iowa?

Texas Congressman Ron Paul hauled in over $6 million this past Sunday to set the one day record for online fundraising.  The so-called second tier candidate is now expected to be the GOP frontrunner in terms of money for the fourth quarter.  With his new cash, Dr. Paul is expected to run television and radio ads in many early states.  He has also stated that he will put more people on the ground in those states to help the campaign.

 

 The question is whether Ron Paul can translate cash into votes.  Mike Huckabee has risen to the top of the polls after being in the single digits, but that was primarily due to the mainstream media's fascination with him.  Governor Huckabee would never have moved up to challenge Romney had the media ignored him the way they do Ron Paul.

 

Since the MSM ignores Dr. Paul, he is forced to get his message out by himself.  However, he does have a lot of help.  He has millions of followers throughout the nation that are doing everything possible to help the cause.

 

Ron Paul supporters have been able to obtain the names and addresses of every Independent voter in Iowa.  Together, they have written letters by hand to each and every one of them to express their support for the Congressman.  In addition to telling these Independents why they should vote for Ron Paul, they also explain that they are allowed to register for the GOP caucus when they arrive at their polling location.

The best test case of Ron Paul's chances comes from the Iowa straw poll.  He received 9.1%, which was good enough for fifth place.  A decent showing, but not great, right?  Well, consider that he was polling at less than 1% at the time.  He now polls at least five times higher.  Also consider that he had no money at the time to get voters to the poll like Mitt Romney and other "leading" candidates did.

Only about 110,000 Iowans are expected to vote in the GOP caucus and the votes will be split up between six different candidates.  It may only take 25,000 votes to win the Iowa caucus.  Considering that Iowa is a state of 2.9 million people, it's not hard to imagine an underdog taking the prize by getting the vote out.   Ron Paul's supporters are so dedicated, they may be able to pull this off.

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Saturday, December 15, 2007 - 3:15pm

Despite Sliding in Polls, Hillary Still Frontrunner

The Hillary Clinton camp has been backsliding for six weeks now, ever since her poor debate performance.  Senator Barack Obama has taken the lead in Iowa and has narrowed the gap in New Hampshire and South Carolina.  However, with only nineteen days to go before the Iowa caucus, Senator Hillary is still leading by double-digits nationally, is leading in Florida by a commanding thirty percent, and is still holding her own in the early states.

 

 As much as folks would like to declare Barack Obama the frontrunner, the fact is that Hillary is still the woman to beat.  Barack Obama could win in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina and still lose the nomination.  Senator Obama's numbers would clearly improve if he sweeps those early state elections, but it may not be enough to surpass the Clintonistas.

 

The Florida primary is being held on January 29th and has 185 delegates at stake, far more than any other early state.  In four recent polls, Hillary is leading in Florida by 28%, 30%, 30%, and 36%.  Those numbers are nearly insurmountable, even with early wins.  Florida is clearly the real firewall for Clinton.

 

Super Tuesday comes February 5th as many states hold primaries that day.  If Hillary has righted the ship by winning Florida, she could very easily win most of the states on Super Tuesday and win the Democratic nomination.

 

There are other factors involved, including the withdrawal of the other Democratic candidates.  The conventional wisdom is that when Biden, Richardson, and Edwards drop out, most of their support will go to Obama.  Whether that will be enough to challenge Hillary on a national level remains to be seen.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 1:40pm

How Scary is Mike Huckabee?

When you hear him speak, he seems like a nice guy.  He talks plainly and honestly, unlike many of the other frontrunners.  It is refreshing and part of why Mike Huckabee has risen to the top of the polls.  However, we're quickly finding out that former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is one scary dude.

 

First came the revelation that he pressured the Arkansas parole board into releasing a convicted murderer, then there was his comments in 1992 about wanting AIDS patients separated from society.  He has also taken cracks at gays and lesbians.  Now Huckabee is taking swipes at Mitt Romney's religion. 

 

Mike Huckabee recently asked a reporter if Mormon's believe that Jesus and Satan are brothers.  He acted innocently when he asked, but knew full well that the quote would be pushed out to the mainstream media.

 

This religious intolerance displayed by Mike Huckabee is completely unacceptable!  He may be an honest man, but his truthfulness has shown him to be a bigot.

 

What we have in Mike Huckabee is a divisive figure intent on forcing his Christian religion on everyone.  He is intolerant of others that don't believe what he believes.  Perhaps he is unfamiliar with how this country was established.  Our founding fathers escaped religious persecution from lunatics in England.  From all indications, Huckabee wants to go back to that.

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Sunday, December 9, 2007 - 10:30pm

OprahPalooza Gives Obama a Boost

It started in Iowa yesterday to the tune of 8,500 people, then to a football stadium in South Carolina this morning, and later to New Hampshire.  The incomparable Oprah Winfrey is stumping for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and she is making quite an impression.

 

An estimated 29,000 folks attended the rally at the University of South Carolina's football stadium.  Oprah Winfrey called Senator Obama someone that the country needs and that he is "the one" to lead.  She also stated that she was sick of politics as usual, that she had voted for as many Democrats as Republicans in her lifetime, and that she had never endorsed a candidate before.

 

For his part, Barack Obama received the opportunity to speak in front of tens of thousand of potential voters.  He criticized the Bush administration and took a couple jabs at Hillary Clinton.  The speech was his standard one, but was one which most people in the audience have never heard.

 

Endorsements of presidential candidates don't typically mean anything, but Oprah Winfrey is a woman who can move the needle.  People trust her.  When Oprah tells her audience what she believes, they tend to follow her.

 

These rallies could very well propel Barack Obama to the winner's circle in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.  If he wins those three, he will likely take home the Democratic nomination.

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Thursday, December 6, 2007 - 2:00pm

Bush Bailing Out Dumb Homeowners

I thought only Democrats were interested in government intervention and subsidizing dumb people.  Regrettably, George Bush has decided to freeze mortgage rates for a select group of subprime borrowers.  For the vast majority of homeowners, we are not effected by the, um, generosity of the federal government.  Instead, only borrowers with adjustable rate mortgages (ARM) that are beginning to reset in 2008 who also have bad credit can be eligible.

 

Homeowners with good credit are not eligible.  Homeowners who actually paid attention when signing their loan documents are not eligible.  Anyone who has a 30-year fixed mortgage is also not helped.  In fact, there are 2.2 million subprime ARMs that should reset in 2008, but only 240,000 borrowers will be helped by this plan.

 

Government intervention in a free-market economy is not a good thing.  The lenders and borrowers who got into this mess should have to get out of it on their own.  Why should my taxpayer dollars pay to bail out idiots who didn't realize that the interest rate would adjust after a certain period of time?  Is it my fault that borrowers can't or didn't read the documents presented to them at close?

 

In addition, why should predatory lenders also be assisted.  While not directly a bail-out for lenders, the Bush plan functions in that regard.  It costs a lender far more money to foreclose on a home than it does to simply collect lower interest mortgage payments.

 

This bailout is completely unnecessary.  Sure, there are more foreclosures in this country, but they still represent less than 2% of all homes.  The government needs to stay out of the lives of Americans and let the market dictate the end result.  There are plenty of real estate investors who would gladly pick up a foreclosed home at a reduced price.  The homeowner who can't afford that home in the first place shouldn't even be in it.

 

The Democrats actually think this bailout doesn't go far enough.  No wonder people don't vote for them.  Perhaps they should take a few economics classes to figure out how the financial world works.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2007 - 5:15pm

Huckabee Refuses to Give Opinion of Mormons

Former Baptist minister Michael Huckabee has risen to the top of the Iowa polls as a result of touting and flaunting his Christianity.  He has done this to set himself apart from Mitt Romney, who is Mormon.  Now that Huckabee is in the limelight, he refuses to talk about what brought him to the top, namely Mormonism.

Governor Huckabee was asked whether Mormonism is a cult?  A simple 'No' would've sufficed, but Huckabee couldn't bring himself to utter those two letters.  Instead, he went off on a tangent about how other people's faith is not a role a president should have.  Of course, he has already shoved his beliefs out there for everyone else to evaluate.

A refusal to answer such a simple question is tantamount to a 'Yes' in my opinion.  Could it be that Huckabee doesn't want to offer an opinion because he doesn't care for the Mormon religion and actually does think of it as a cult?  It would follow the beliefs of many Christian evangelicals who plan to vote for him.

Mike Huckabee wants to win this election on religion.  He sure can't run on his record, which shows a history of tax-hikes and support for illegal immigration.  Those positions don't usually go over well with conservatives.

The former Arkansas Governor needs to answer this Mormon question if he wants to be President of the United States.  Organized religion has divided this country for centuries.  We don't need a leader that further divides us by refusing to address the issue.

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Monday, December 3, 2007 - 4:00pm

Obama Holding a Slim Lead in Iowa

For Senator Barack Obama to win the Democratic nomination for the Presidency, he must win in Iowa.  You will hear many commentators making this statement, but there is a specific reason why this is true.  Outside of Iowa, Barack Obama is getting destroyed by Hillary Clinton in the polls.  Historically, the winner in Iowa receives a fairly significant bump in the polls.  Obama needs that bump to topple Hillary.

 

Nationally, Senator Clinton is ahead by double-digits.  In the latest Reuters/Zogby poll, Hillary is leading Barack by 11%.  The good news for Obama is that he was trailing by 21% in mid-October.

 

In the early primary state of New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton is also comfortably ahead.  The American Research Group (ARG) puts her lead at 11% and the AP-Pew poll gives her a 19% advantage.  In South Carolina, again Senator Clinton is the frontrunner with a 24% lead according to ARG.

 

What works in Barack Obama's favor is that Hillary Clinton is not the second choice of many voters.  That means when lower-tier candidates drop out of the race, those votes would go predominantly to Barack Obama. 

 

It is expected that some candidates will remove themselves from contention after the Iowa caucus on January 3rd.  Even John Edwards could close up shop if he does not do well.  He is currently running third and has said that he needs to win to stay in.

 

Therefore, if Senator Obama wins in Iowa, he could receive a boost from the actual victory and from the field narrowing to less candidates.

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Sunday, December 2, 2007 - 5:10pm

Clinton Would Give Citizenship to Illegals

Hillary Clinton was booed yesterday at a forum in Iowa after responding to a question about immigration.  She was asked if she would "give undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship" in her first 100 days as President.  Here is her startling response.

"I have been favoring a plan for citizenship for years.  I voted for it in the Senate.  I have spoken out about it around Iowa and the country and in my campaign and as president, comprehensive immigration reform will be a high priority for me."

The crowd booed mightily at Senator Clinton's response.  That answer alone could doom her bid for the presidency.  Giving citizenship to illegal aliens is among the worst things a president can do.  A path to citizenship would only encourage more illegals to cross the border into the United States.  It would also further cripple our education and health care systems.

 

What Hillary and the other Democrats fail to realize is how important this issue is to Americans.  The American people do not want Amnesty for illegals.  Unfortunately, the candidates are so concerned with upsetting Hispanic voters that they refuse to take a stand against the illegal immigrants.

 

Senator Clinton's lead in the polls is beginning to erode.  Obama is now ahead in Iowa and Hillary's double-digit lead in New Hampshire is deteriorating.  If the mainstream media takes this story and runs with it, her position as frontrunner will forever disappear.

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