Beyond the Cusp

March 15, 2012

Santorum Wins, Newt Soldiers On, Romney Still in the Lead

The first report I heard this morning on last night’s primaries in Alabama and Mississippi along with caucuses in Hawaii and American Samoa just had to mention Mitt Romney after referencing any of the other candidates. It went something like this; Santorum won both southern primaries in Mississippi and Alabama while Romney came in a competitive third also coming in behind Gingrich. Romney swept the caucuses in Hawaii and American Samoa. Santorum will pick up around forty delegates while Romney will garner fifty. Gingrich coming in second will add over thirty delegates to his count leaving Romney still comfortably in the lead.

 

The main themes of the news last night appeared to be that despite winning both primaries, Rick Santorum was still going to lose ground because of the delegates being assigned in the Pacific Islands. It was further pointed out that Rick Santorum can only win should Newt Gingrich leave the race and that possibility was hashed out until after Gingrich spoke showing all indications of continuing to the bitter end. This slid the conversation to how Mitt Romney winning the nomination was now guaranteed and an overly long string of attempts to rationalize the reasoning behind Newt Gingrich remaining in the race. I thought maybe I might share my insights on the rest of the Republican delegate race heading for the Convention.

 

I have a little difference of opinion with the so-called experts and pundits about Gingrich remaining in the race will solely work to thwart any chance for Rick Santorum to win the nomination outright. The reasoning for this line of thinking is based upon the primary belief that almost every vote won by Gingrich would have otherwise been a vote for Rick Santorum. I find this a difficult point to swallow. While I will grant that very likely three fourths of the Gingrich support is diverted from Santorum with fifteen to twenty percent are taken from Romney, the remainder very probably would have sat out the primaries. Some of my thinking has been due to the fact that in many states the numbers of votes being cast in the Republican Primaries have been higher than the average as the race is tighter and more competitive and thus stirring up increased participation. The real question is what is Newt Gingrich thinking which has him believing that he can actually win the nomination?

 

My theory has it that Newt Gingrich does not believe he is going to win the nomination any more than does Ron Paul. Newt also resembles Ron Paul in that he believes he is the only candidate representing his views which is a vitally necessary message which must be professed no matter what the consequences. I suspect Gingrich has another reason to remain to the bitter end, and that is because he believes that he and Santorum together can garner sufficient delegates to prevent a first round nomination of Mitt Romney thus leading to that mystical political state, a bartered convention. Should the Republican Convention end up unable to give any of the candidates over fifty percent of the vote, then the bartering and maneuvering begins. If the divide is such that Romney has less than fifty percent, say forty-five percent, with Santorum a close second at say thirty-nine percent and Gingrich holding fourteen percent with Ron Paul holding the remaining 2 percent, insufficient for Ron Paul to put anybody over the top. This places Newt Gingrich in the spot of king-maker as whoever he backs would easily win with their delegates added together. My suspicion is even more absurd as I can easily envision Newt Gingrich presenting himself to the Convention as the sole candidate not destroyed by the process as both Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney had focused their aim on each other leaving Newt safely on the sidelines away from the mud-slinging.

 

For those who claim that the only result that can come out of Newt Gingrich remaining in the race taking most, but not all, of his votes and delegates from supporting Rick Santorum thus keeping him from winning outright have overlooked a small matter. My thought is that when Mitt Romney falls short of the necessary delegate count we will find that this will be due to the small but still measurable number of votes and delegates stolen away by Newt Gingrich and simply having the votes he took away from Santorum being insufficient to have put him over the top anyways. So, it is possible that it will be better for Santorum to have Gingrich in the thick of things instead of dropping out of the race. Finally, should we end up with a brokered convention, actually a convention that goes past the first vote casting before reaching a nomination, it is more likely that Rick Santorum would be able to enlist the support from Newt Gingrich than would Mitt Romney. The drawback would be that after a certain number of ballots have been held, some states release their delegates from their elected obligations allowing them to vote for whoever they choose. This would very likely lead to the so-called Republican elites making the decision on who would be the candidate. Even if this was not the real reason for a Romney win, it would be suspected should he not have reached the magic number of delegates through the primary process and a perceived back-room deal appeared responsible for a Romney candidacy. Such a perception would weaken Mitt Romney’s campaign from the outset which might affect the outcome of the national election in November. The best result for the Republican Party is for one candidate, whichever one is less important than the manner, to win the nomination outright through the primary votes and not reliant on super delegates or other non-elected delegates being the deciders.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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March 7, 2012

Super Tuesday and My Opinion for What it’s Worth

We are looking at a night where the presumed authorities all said that the only primary which counted was Ohio as all the others were preordained by early predictions. So, what does the virtual tie which will split the delegates almost right down the middle mean in the long look at the race? We learned that you can buy a victory, something I am personally very familiar with from my one dip in the wading pool of national politics. My third party candidacy for the House of Representatives, the one in Washington DC, I lost in the vote count but won if you determined number of votes per dollar spent on the campaign. My friends tell me even getting on the ballot was a victory which is more comforting today than back then. But after comparing that my two opponents spent a combined amount in excess of $5,000,000.00 against my huge outlay of $33,000 you find my spending was a less than 0.75% of what was spent. Somehow I received just over 3% of the vote, kind of embarrassing but I can still claim to have gotten more votes for my dollar. Granted, Mitt Romney is outspending Rick Santorum and the rest of the candidates by somewhat less than my opponents outspent my campaign, but over 10 to 1 is a significant difference for such a minor victory. Romney does not have much to crow about.

 

The real story so far in this primary campaign season has been the coverage of the race more than the races themselves and the trial of using proportional representation in many states in assigning their delegates. The proportional delegate assignments is going to be a real plus should this be continued as it will force closer races to actually be represented as such instead of the race being done on super Tuesday. Tonight the talking heads are trying to make the slight Romney win as a sign of the end of the race making him the odds on favorite if not already nominated Republican candidate. The delegate count is nowhere near at a point where anybody is even within sight of the needed count to win the nomination on the first ballot. Yet, I keep listening to these talking heads telling me to go to bed and not bother with the election until November. The only thing I can relate is it is not over and the fat lady has not even been out on the stage as of yet. Should Romney continue and actually win the nomination solely dependent on his deep pockets and disproportional spending and still only manage squeakers splitting the delegates almost sown the middle, how can he expect to beat President Obama who will easily outspend the Republican candidate similarly to Romney’s primary strategy. Considering the investment one would expect Mitt Romney to easily be winning 65% or even 75% of the votes and thus winning entire delegate counts from these states, not sharing evenly with a candidate that was all but unheard from just a few weeks ago. The talk at the front end of these primaries generated questions as to why Rick Santorum had not simply taken the hint and gone home, yet now we are discussing Rick Santorum as making a race out of these primaries and there may still be a few more surprises in store for the talking heads. Much may depend on whether or not Newt Gingrich continues on through to the very end. To be fair, the other way to stop Mitt Romney might be for Santorum to drop out giving his delegates to Newt Gingrich, or they could both drop out and give their delegates to Ron Paul. I think we all know that Ron Paul is in the race to the very bitter end. My hope is that the race soon becomes a three candidate race though I will not hold my breath.

 

The most important singular item is the proportional assignment of delegates which is going to prolong this race well beyond this week. Without this change we would not even be discussing the Republican primaries as it really would be just about all over. By going to a more representative delegate system the Republicans have very likely stretch out the campaign and will thus achieve exactly what was the aim, more people having their say count and the race going much deeper into the primaries. The talk about a bartered Republican Convention was all the talk early on and predicted to be a definite possibility. This prediction was assessed back before even the Iowa caucuses and has proven to have been a premature fear that is no longer likely. The assignment of delegates has run fairly even between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum with Newt Gingrich holding a small share of delegates. Well, guess now all we can do is wait and watch. With any luck it will continue to be, if nothing else, informative and anything but boring. So far it has been anything but predictable as we have watched a parade in which we went through every candidate as the non-Romney and only time will tell if any more grand changes in the tides of battle are in the future.

 

The last item from Super Tuesday came from the caucus in North Dakota. Mitt Romney was predicted to take that caucus by many due to his greater sized organization. Something went horribly wrong according to the reports I heard and Rick Santorum was chosen in the North Dakota caucus. The race continues and sooner or later we will know who will be chosen to be the Republican candidate to run against President Obama this fall. The final win count for Super Tuesday was Romney with 5, Santorum with 3, and Gingrich with 1. As close as those numbers are, the delegate counts will, once all has settled out and been computed, be even closer between the two leaders, Santorum and Romney. At least it has not been a clean sweep as last primary cycle otherwise I would have one less subject to write about.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

February 24, 2012

Santorum, a Different Kind of Candidate

The one item I read and heard the most about from the Arizona Republican Debate was Rick Santorum making the worst possible mistake any candidate could make, admission of fallibility. Personally, I thought Rick Santorum admitting that his vote for George W. Bush’s signature legislation, No Child Left Behind, due to the reasoning that party loyalty sometimes forces one to make poor choices. Rick Santorum admitted that given his own views he would have voted against the No Child Left Behind legislation but when your own party’s President requests you support what he regards as one of the pillars of his Presidency, you vote with the President and bite the bullet this one time. But almost all those who decide right and wrong, also known as the mainstream press, claimed Mr. Santorum had made a cardinal mistake. These are the same wonderful deciders of political fates who have time and again stated how if some politician had just come out and admitted to making an error, a misjudgment, a poor choice and simply apologized, then they could have avoided recriminations galore before finally admitting their wrongdoing. Now, when a candidate finally does exactly this, they claim he has made the worst case scenario in judgment possible and may have ruined any hope he had of winning. I really wish they would make up their mind and have a consistent opinion and not simply take the opposing side of every choice simply to appear all-knowing and wise.

 

Now, let us look a little deeper and into rick Santorum’s past and see if this is a fatal flaw of his, this telling the truth. As it turns out, it actually is a chink in his armor (am I allowed to use this phrase still?). One of the other shortcomings listed in the mainstream press critique on Santorum is the fact that after serving two terms as a Senator for Pennsylvania he lost his bid for reelection. What they refuse to inform us about is why and how he lost. Oh, they give you the wide percentage and refer to it as if it was the worst loss in political history, they must have forgotten a few Presidential races like McGovern, Dole and others, but never bother to say why he lost a seat he had won easily before. It was very simple; he refused to compromise on his principles and stuck to his guns even knowing it made his winning reelection highly difficult if not impossible. And what were these principles he refused to sacrifice, or at least lie about and deceive the public? Rick Santorum stuck to his support of President Bush’s efforts in Iraq and called for the United States to do more to prevent either North Korea or Iran from becoming nuclear armed nations. He was adamant that stopping Iran from attaining nuclear weapon status should be paramount and at the top of the agenda for the United States. I wonder why they refuse to inform the public that these were the issues that Rick Santorum once before stood by when doing so was difficult and ended up costing him an election. The reason the press hides this is simple; the word is integrity, something Rick Santorum has an abundance of.

 

There is another issue that has been utilized to club Rick Santorum ceaselessly, and that is pork. Let’s get the one defender against pork spending out of the way right up front. Everybody will jump up and claim that Ron Paul is virtually a saint who crusades against pork barrel spending in shining armor astride of a white stallion. Well, here is the dirty little secret; despite voting against even pork for his own district, how do you think such spending got into some of the most popular and necessary legislation for Ron Paul to vote against pork even for his own district? Yep, Ron Paul attaches riders to legislation he is assured will pass sending pork spending to his district and records show he is among the most guilty of this practice. Then, after inserting the pork spending he votes against the bill and proudly proclaims that despite this legislation being so wonderful and having pork spending for his own district, Ron Paul, the ever-on-the-job watchdog of the Constitution, destroyer of pork, defender of the tax payers has once again valiantly, but unsuccessfully, attempted with his Nay vote to slay the pork monster.

 

But the most disingenuous part of the debate was Mitt Romney taking the high road and accusing Rick Santorum of pork barrel spending. What Mitt Romney would like us all to believe is that he only requested pork spending for the Olympics and for his state of Massachusetts while Governor was because it was his noble duty to request Federal funding for the most pure of reasons while any pork spending procured for Pennsylvania by Rick Santorum, being merely a Senator and not a holy state’s Governor, was mucking in the mire of stealing funding for his home state from the Federal coffers. So, in the world according to Mitt, a Governor pushing for and receiving Federal monies for his state is a noble pursuit and part of the job description and to be lauded while a Senator representing his State and pushing for the same exact funding for his state is the lowest of actions and discredits the holder of political power to abuse that power thusly. Governors are allowed to represent their State and procure funding for same while Senators representing their State and procuring the same funding are scurrilous. Sorry Mr. Romney, but that is the same act and is actually considered part of the job for both Senators and Governors as both positions are representatives of their State and are to pursue the best favors they are able to win for their State. The only real difference between a Senator and a Governor is States have one Governor and two Senators and the Governor goes to Washington solely to win pork while the Senator also accomplishes other work while in Washington. Rick Santorum was doing the exact same as Romney when it came to finding favorable funding for their home States and either both were accomplishing their tasks which are vital to their work and function in their respective offices or both were scoundrels, but there is no difference when either received funding for projects within their home States.

 

Finally, I want to add the reason I support Rick Santorum and had told friends back when he lost the Senate in 2006 that I still held out hope he would one day become President of the United States. In Rick Santorum we have a rare breed of human, one that has honor and holds the truth paramount, even when holding to the truth is painful and counterproductive. Rick Santorum is that rare man who as a politician will actually state that he does not know the answer to every problem and that on some things he will need to look into them and gain knowledge rather than just blow smoke and hope to hide behind a barrage of words. I find it noble and so very refreshing to have a man of character and integrity who I can trust means what he says and says what he means. So often in politics you hear people bemoaning the fact that they are all scoundrels and that you cannot trust a single one of them. Not Rick Santorum, he actually holds the truth above his pursuit of position. Rick Santorum will follow through on that which he promises and will treat the Presidency of the United States with honor and dignity. Wouldn’t that be a refreshing change? If I had to pick a fault with Rick Santorum it would be that despite his efforts to live and act humbly, you can tell he is a proud man who worries more about his reputation and honor than his position. To be honest, I supported Rick Santorum for the position of President since when I first took a look at him after the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon and heard his response and saw a man who would not back away from defending the United States or her people. I saw a man of deep convictions who was also reliable and somebody I would be honored to have as a friend. Who knows, maybe someday I will meet him and that could become a reality, though it is doubtful. I fully support and pray that Rick Santorum will win the nomination and then the Presidency as America needs a man of his character in these perilous and needful times.

 

My disclaimer: I am not a member of Rick Santorum’s campaign and seriously doubt such will ever be the case. My one run for office was enough of a view into the guts and slime of what passes for political electioneering in the United States. It actually amazes me that anybody would enter into such a viscous and demeaning environment as is our election process once they have seen it from the inside. Any man or woman willing to put themselves through such a wringer and retain their humanity and integrity is indeed a rare person to be praised. It is my honest contention that Rick Santorum is one such person. I just want to repeat, though I will continue to appear to campaign for Mr. Santorum, I hold no position nor plan to volunteer to work officially for his campaign despite doing what I am able to assist his efforts to win the Presidency of the United States independent of his campaign. Thank you for reading my thoughts on this subject.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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