Lots of New Content at Iowans for Romney

Lots of new content over at Iowans for Romney!

Co-Blogger Keith Steurer (also a County Co-Chair for Romney) gives his take on the Huckabee stunt earlier today as well as some photos and commentary on a recent Romney event.

Recently added Co-Blgger “Big Jay” also chimes in with some recent posts (here & here.

And a Iowa Romney supporter sent me an e-mail with why he supports Romney. Pretty convincing stuff!

Jeff Fuller

Lots of New Content at Iowans for Romney

Lots of new content over at Iowans for Romney!

Co-Blogger Keith Steurer (also a County Co-Chair for Romney) gives his take on the Huckabee stunt earlier today as well as some photos and commentary on a recent Romney event.

Recently added Co-Blgger “Big Jay” also chimes in with some recent posts (here & here.

And a Iowa Romney supporter sent me an e-mail with why he supports Romney. Pretty convincing stuff!

Jeff Fuller

Huck’s Bizarro Press Conference

There is an adage which warns against kicking a man when he’s down, but what is one to do when that man paints a target on himself and begs for it?

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee today gave what can only be termed as the most bizarre press conference of 2007. Given that today is New Year’s Eve, that’s quite an accomplishment.

To believe Huck, you have to believe that he spent a chunk of cash (which is no doubt in short supply) creating a “negative ad” with which he was planning on pummeling Mitt today starting at noon. Then – and one can only venture a guess as to why – Huck had an epiphany this morning and decided to keep his campaign on a “positive” track rather than stooping to mudslinging.

This would all be fine and good with the glaring exception of his Bizarro Press Conference where he showed his negative ad to a room packed with reporters. The ad basically accuses Mitt of being a bold faced liar. If ever there was a case of the pot calling the kettle black, this is it. The New York Times link has video I’m sure will be plastered across the net. You’ll note the raucous laughter of the reporters as Huck tells the story of his epiphany.

No, Huck, they aren’t laughing with you. Neither am I. I’m laughing at you.

You see, I don’t buy Huck’s story. Not in the least. I think he’s being disingenuous. In short, I think he’s lying.

Political ads don’t just grow on trees. They take time to make and cost a wad of cash to generate. I don’t know the full extent of Huck’s finances, but I think it’s a safe bet he doesn’t have cash to throw down the rat hole by creating hit ads he’s never going to use. In my not so humble opinion, Huck’s Bizzaro Press Conference was part of a seriously flawed strategy that has now blown up in his face.

Huck wanted to throw down a hit ad on Mitt and still come away smelling like a rose. He wanted the people of Iowa specifically, and Americans in general, to believe he had Mitt lined up in his sights and his finger on the proverbial trigger and then at the last moment decided to be merciful and positive. The only problem with his plan is the number of people who believe his epiphany story can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Iowans know hypocrisy when they see it, and right now they see it personified by Mike Huckabee.

Huck has spent the better part of the past two days whining about comparison ads run by Mitt in Iowa and New Hampshire. Methinks the Gov doth protest far too much. Mitt’s ad barrage is devastatingly accurate and Huck knows this. He also knows he doesn’t have the resources (or the record) to go toe to toe with Mitt in the last few days leading up to the Hawkeye Cauci. Huck knows if he loses Iowa people will be chasing him down trying to jab him in the hindquarters with a huge fork because he’ll be way past done.

While Huck’s Bizarro Press Conference won’t eclipse Howard Dean’s spectacular Iowa implosion, I’m beginning to think it might come in as a close second.

Huckabee going negative…

…or is he not? Apparently Huckabee is trying to have it both ways. Here are the reports:

Jonathan Martin: “Claiming that he changed his mind this morning, Huckabee told reporters gathered in anticipation of seeing the spots that he would no longer attack Romney off the air, either, and would run a positive campaign in the final days before the caucuses.

But Huckabee still aired the ad he cut yesterday in which he criticized Romney on fiscal matters, gun control, law and order, and abortion.

Additionally, Huckabee spoke surrounded by five placards on easels leveling the same attacks in print on Romney.

Stephen F. Hayes at the Campaign Standard: “Hmmmm. It’s an old campaign ploy–to share attacks on your opponent with journalists in the hope that they include them in their reporting. The politics of paralipsis again: Here are the negative charges I’m not going to air. The Huckabee camp is probably hoping not only to give life to his attacks on Romney, sort of a political bank shot, but to get credit for staying positive.

But let’s assume Huckabee is telling the truth. Why was he even considering running these ads? He promised nearly two weeks ago that he would not run negative ads against Romney and, indeed, said he was betting his campaign on it.”

Rich Lowry at the Corner: “To me, Huckabee seems a little like McCain near the end in 2000, when he got absolutely obsessed with process and the ads and phone calls that were being run and made against him. In the end, most voters don’t care. Maybe people in Iowa are obsessed enough with “positive” campaigning that all this will work for Huckabee, but at the very least it’s gotten him off message.”

Marc Ambinder: “The Dallas Morning News seems to buy the Huckabee spin:
In a news conference Monday designed to launch an all out assault against Mr. Romney, Mr. Huckabee said he would instead remain positive. “At some point we have to decide can we change politics and the level of discourse?” he said.

Most reporters did not.

They started to laugh.”

Joe Klein at Time: “That sound you hear rumbling out of Des Moines appears to be a monumental implosion.”

Romney right on McCain’s Immigration position

Mickey Kaus and Ramesh Ponuru (who is a McCain supporter) both say that Romney got the immigration position of McCain right in the contrast ad he’s aired. Kaus says:

Santora [of the NY Times] has to be wrong. … [pause for Googling] … He is. Under McCain’s bill, legal immigrants wouldn’t collect Social Security “only after they are citizens.” They would collect Social Security after they had become legal. In fact, legal immigrants apparently don’t even have to become citizens now, under current law–if they’re legalized, they can collect Social Security, even for work they performed here when they were illegal.

The distinction between “citizen” and “legal” is important, because it’s easier to become a legal worker than it is to “wait” and become a full-fledged citizen. And McCain’s “comprehensive immigration reform” would have legalized millions of current illegals fairly quickly. Hence, it would … how to put it? … “allow illegals to collect Social Security.” Romney’s charge seems basically accurate.

Ponuru adds:

I agree with Mickey Kaus that the media fact-checkers in this debate are distorting it more than the actual participants.

Contrast v. Attack ads

Is there a difference? Marc Ambinder thinks so:

I’ve always tried to keep a distinction between negative ads and contrast ads.

Maybe it’s a losing cause, as voters don’t seem to appreciate the difference, and if they don’t, than those of who cover politics probably shouldn’t either. But to me, an ad is “negative” when it attacks someone’s personal character. John McCain uses the Concord Monitor to call Romney a “phony.” That’s negative.

When Romney runs an arguably misleading ad that tries to draw a contrast between himself and McCain on a matter of public policy, he’s not resorting to an ad hominem attack.

But maybe I’m being too strict.

Why I Support Mitt Romney for President: A Matter of Character

One may find it ironic that when Bill Clinton was running for President in 1992, former President Nixon lamented the fact that if Clinton was elected, it would mean that moral values would no longer be part of the Presidential criteria for the majority of the country. Well, Bill Clinton was elected President of the United States; America endured scandal after scandal and became desensitized towards immoral actions that occurred in the “personal life” of the President of the United States. Nixon was right and even though one may choose to find it specious that the statement came from Nixon, it doesn’t take away from its accuracy.

Remember, in 1988, Democrat Gary Hart’s campaign was derailed because he was found out to have had an extra-marital affair. By virtue of his election and re-election in 1992 and 1996, Bill Clinton and his famous lifestyle opened the doors (and windows) for those with questionable personal moral values to aspire to the Presidency.

The idea that one’s personal moral values can be separated from one’s governing style has seeped into the Republican Party. It has never been clearer than in this election. For many Republicans, their support for one candidate or another is based on their misguided notion that since a particular candidate is the only candidate that can beat Hillary Clinton, moral character won’t affect their vote. Even though they disagree with the past immoral actions of said candidate, they rationalize that moral behavior and public political identity are two distinctly separate things. Immorality has now been termed “past mistakes” and the fact that “nobody’s perfect” is used to excuse politicians from their deeds. This is wrong, plain and simple.

The President of the United States may not be America’s Priest, Pastor, or Rabbi, but the President represents the face of America to the rest of the world. Let’s face it, whether we like it or not, the President represents the face of America to us as well. If our leader is immoral, whether we consciously think it or not, we assume the rest of the country is as well. Or, at the very least, we assume that all politicians and political figures are similar in nature. Our leader’s moral values play a part in how we perceive America. Under Reagan, we felt that America is a shining city on a hill. Under Clinton, we felt that America’s light was hidden under a bushel.

Whether one supports Mitt Romney or not, one must admit that there hasn’t been a hint of immorality or ethical problems associated with his character. His character is unassailable. His fruits are evident, for all to see. One can see how his children turned out. One can see it in his relationship with his wife.

It has also been clear that his morals are not separate from his professional life. While at Bain Capital, an employee’s daughter went missing in New York; Romney shut down firm operations and took the entire firm to New York to look for her.

Governor Romney has been maligned and labeled a “Flip-Flopper” because he changed his stance on important issues, such as abortion. To some, it does not matter that he realized his error and embraced the correct view of a particular issue. What is most telling about him is that he freely admits he was wrong on an issue like abortion. In the history of politics, it has been extremely rare for a political figure to freely admit they were incorrect about an issue. To me, it shows strength of character to admit to being wrong about an issue. Typical politicians try to justify or qualify past opinions while at the same time espousing a new one. Mitt Romney does not do that and instead, tells it like it is.

Republicans have lionized Ronald Reagan for a variety of reasons, but I wonder if some forget the central part of him, his moral character. Those that were diametrically opposed to his political beliefs respected his character and convictions. Liberals and Conservatives alike were proud of him because he stuck to his principles, no matter the situations. The elite media and Democratic political machine tried to destroy him, but it didn’t stick because his character was respected by the average American, no matter their political ideology. Mitt Romney has the moral character of Ronald Reagan. He’s demonstrated this in all aspects of his life, both public and private.

Americans live in a time where moral character is not nearly as prized as it should be. America needs a President to lead us into the future and demonstrate that being the President of the United States does not preclude having moral character. As President, Mitt Romney will demonstrate this and perhaps bring moral character back into political vogue.

The average American needs to become proud of being an American again. We need a return to the time of when character was king. In the 2008 Presidential Election, Mitt Romney is the only person that can aide in that quest.

Why I Support Mitt Romney for President: General Election Strategy

What do the 1976, 1980, 1992, and 2000 Presidential elections have in common? In the General Election, the candidates that were most able to position themselves as the candidate of change won the Presidency.

In 1976, there was still the Watergate hangover and Americans were upset with Gerald Ford over the Nixon pardon. Jimmy Carter promised change and won an extremely close election partially due to his use of the misery index. The misery index was created by adding inflation numbers with the unemployment numbers. Carter promised to lower the misery index and bring positive change to the Presidency. Unfortunately for him, the only change he brought was for the worse.

In 1980, Ronald Reagan positioned himself as the candidate for positive change. Fortunately for us, he was the real deal. His message and policies of “Peace Through Strength” won the Cold War and changed the world for the better. It was “Morning Again in America”. He was rewarded with a landslide victory in 1984.

1992 was probably the most interesting of these elections because you had two candidates that successfully positioned themselves as the candidates of change, Perot and Clinton. Perot was successful at that because he was simply far different than any candidate the American public had seen in recent memory. Clinton was ultimately successful because he hammered Bush “It’s the Economy, Stupid”, implying that he would change the emphasis from foreign affairs to the economy, marking a change from the previous administration. Having two candidates for change created insurmountable odd for Bush, who clearly was not the candidate for change, to overcome. (Bush had won the 1988 election because exhaustion with eight years of Reagan/Bush had not yet overtaken the general public and Mike Dukakis ran a horrendous campaign. Public exhaustion clearly existed in 1992 and it cost Bush the election.)

2000 is a little different story, because the true results of the election were muddled as a result of the various TV networks decision to call Florida before the polls actually closed. My thinking is that Bush’s victory would have been significantly larger, because it has been reported that many intending Bush voters went home in the Florida panhandle and in other parts of the country because it seemed that their votes would not matter as Florida, a key state had been one by Gore. Nevertheless, Bush won significantly more states than Gore mostly due to his exploitation of the electorate’s natural desire for change after having the same administration in power for eight years. Part of Bush’s message was an argument for tax cuts and an end to nation building. He also vowed to return dignity to the Oval Office. He won because he marked a departure from the past eight years.

2008 is no different in the fact that the person who wins the General Election will be the candidate that most positions his/herself as the candidate for change. On the Democratic side, Barack Obama can make the easiest case that he is the candidate for change. He is a fresh face and not much is known about him. There is no widespread dislike for him. Furthermore, he is a black man and would be the first Black President of the United States. While he is a senator, he has not been in Washington long enough to be labeled a Washington insider. These factors make him tougher to beat than Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton can conceivably campaign as the candidate of change simply because she is a woman and is not President Bush. However, she is seen as a Washington insider and the case can be made against her that a Bush then a Clinton then a Bush and then a Clinton again is not change. The public either is tired of the Clintons or can be brought to be. Furthermore, she has a long-standing hatred of her by both Conservatives and Liberals.

On the Republican side, John McCain cannot be the candidate for change in the general election as he is simply not the maverick he once was. He is seen as a staunch supporter of the Iraq War and the Democratic candidate could paint him as simply four more years of the Bush Administration.

Rudy Giuliani could be seen as a new kind of Republican, liberal on social issues and conservative on economics and national security. However, on national security, he too could be painted by the Democratic candidate as four more years. Also, because of his long-standing notoriety, he is perceived, whether it be true or not, as a part of the Republican establishment.

Mike Huckabee could paint himself as the candidate for change, were he to suddenly raise millions of dollars almost overnight and build an organization in the coming states, thus surviving the primary. His problem is that his resources are truly limited, the party base does not like him, his ideals relating to certain key policy areas are not different than his Democratic opponent’s, and as has been seen by his recent numerous gaffe’s, he is not up to campaigning against the Democrat machine.

Remember, no matter who our candidate or theirs is, Republicans have to overcome the stranglehold the Democrats/Liberals have in the media and the schools. Our message has to break through those barriers and reach the average American. Huckabee has the wrong message AND does not possess the ability to break through the barrier. He would be beaten in a landslide. (My unsolicited advice to Huckabee is to drop out soon, so he can run for Senate in Arkansas, which is a race he could actually win.)

This leaves Governor Mitt Romney. He cannot be painted as a Washington insider as there is nothing to suggest on his resume or record that he is one. He is not a lifetime politician and cannot be painted as part of the Republican Party establishment. In the General Election, instead of having to defend and layout his Conservative credentials, he will be able to highlight his record of turnarounds. He will be able to demonstrate that he is the only candidate that has actually brought change to his environment, instead of simply talking about it. He will be able to highlight the change he brought to the business world at Bain & Company and Bain Capital. He will be able to show how he changed the course of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, which greatly improved the spirits of Americans after 9/11. He will be able to contrast himself against Clinton and will be a fresh face to the American people compared with her. His face is still relatively fresh to the average American non-primary voter. Against Clinton, he has advantage in that scenario. An Obama/Romney match-up is a little trickier and the mechanics of the campaign, (I.e. the ads, debates, written articles, and speeches) will be vastly more important as both candidates could credibly argue that they are the respective candidate of change. However, Governor Romney still has the advantage of having a record of change, while Obama, also being the potentially first Black President, only has rhetoric of change. On paper, those factors give Governor Romney the edge.

The FBI teaches its new agents that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. We all understand that if we do not learn from history then we are doomed to repeat it. History has shown us that, whether for correct or incorrect reasons, that an exhaustion factor arises after two-term, scandalous, and/or controversial Presidencies. The American public craves for something new. If the Republican candidate does not embrace the general public’s desire for change, then the Democratic candidate will. Strategically and in reality, Mitt Romney is the Republican candidate that is best positioned to position himself as the candidate for change, as he has not only rhetoric on his side, but a record of change as well.

As he has said so many times already, change begins with us. God help us all if that change winds up being the change of Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. Let us learn from history and embrace the concept of change, before it is taken from us and th
e opportunity is lost.

News out today

Here’s some of stories out today:

Romney claws back to lead in Iowa polls (Wall Street Journal): “Mike Huckabee’s surge in Iowa showed signs of retreat as three new polls found rival Mitt Romney, who has attacked Mr. Huckabee by land and by air, climbing back. In response, the former Arkansas governor called Mr. Romney dishonest and prepared to begin airing his first TV ad directly attacking him starting today.”

McCain’s Unlikely ties to K Street (Washington Post): “But private schmooze sessions such as the gathering in Utah pose a particular dilemma for McCain, who has spent a long career decrying “special interests” and politicians who offer special access to them in order to raise money. As a presidential candidate this year, McCain has found himself assiduously courting both lobbyists and their wealthy clients, offering them private audiences as part of his fundraising. He also counts more than 30 lobbyists among his chief fundraisers, more than any other presidential contender.”

Republican Worst Case Scenario (National Review): “A Huck-Rudy showdown would be a primary fight between two candidates with almost nothing in common. It would polarize and tear apart the Republican party just as the national electorate is currently polarized.”

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