2012 Republican Race

January 5, 2012

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Here we are 5 days into the New Year. I’m still struggling with hangover #1 for the year. This New Year I had the joy of discovering a new scotch. I actually discovered scotch last fall on a business trip, but have been “acquiring” the taste for it. I now have fully bought and paid for that appreciation for scotch. This New Year I appreciated Highland Park 15 year old which every scotch drinker will enjoy.

Politics

Iowa caucus results were Romney #1, Santorum #2 down by a mere 8 votes and then the whack job Ron Paul came in at #3. I understand the votes for Romney and Santorum as they both have qualities that make them electable and they are both on the conservative side of Obama. Ron Paul though? That really causes me to question the rationale of 26,129 Iowa voters. Let me just say…WHACK JOB.

What is going to happen with the GOP?

Romney is an excellent debater and has a great chance of beating Obama. He’s the most liberal of the GOP candidates and conservatives are left feeling funny endorsing Romney with many of the views that he has had. It’s difficult for people to go along with candidates that flip flop. It’s difficult for conservatives to endorse a candidate that has voted against the 2nd amendment, endorse homosexual unions and put through a state health care plan similar to Obamacare. Romney will probably pull more TRUE centrists though. His experience with business/economy and limited time in government is his greatest assets. In a debate, he’ll eat Obama for lunch.

Ron Paul is a serious whack job that will not be strong enough on defense for conservatives. There is no way he can walk away with the Republican candidacy. If Paul were to debate Obama I think he’d struggle. I only hope that Ron Paul doesn’t try a 3rd party run, the only thing he will do is be a spoiler.

Santorum is a core conservative that will excite the conservative base. He’s strong on defense, 2nd amendment rights, Christian values and family. He is not a strong debater and I question if he’ll gain the endorsement of TRUE centrists. I think we’ll see Santorum gain momentum as more caucuses and elections take place. I believe he has a chance of stealing the nomination from Romney although Santorum is the underdog with limited funding compared to Romney. I don’t believe that Santorum’s chances of taking the nomination are great though.

  • Gingrich says he’s still in the race, but I don’t think that will last long.
  • Cain was my favorite candidate, but has become unelectable after thinking too much with his little head.
  • Bachmann has suspended her campaign after disappointing results.
  • Perry is going back to Texas to consider his next move.

Other news

In other significant headlines, Iran is threatening to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, a much needed path to ship oil through. The US has an aircraft carrier in the area and Iran went on to threaten that if the aircraft carrier moves into that region, they will attack. My thoughts on this:

  1. The military won’t be pushed around by Iran
  2. We need to eliminate this need for oil from the Middle East.

Meanwhile, CBS is reporting that $5 gallon gas can be expected this summer due to all the problems happening with Iran. Need more reasons to expand US drilling on and off shore?

Nobama???

How could I neglect to include one of the most earth shattering news stories of the year! A Mexican “Grand Warlock”…pardon me, THE Mexican Grand Warlock (Brujo Mayor) has made a very pleasing prediction for 2012. He has announced that Obama will lose the election this year. I have a few questions that I’d love to run past the Warlock, I wonder if he’s available.

Have a Happy New Year and if I didn’t have the chance to tell you earlier, Merry Christmas!

Squeaky…

Analysis of the Iowa Caucus Results

January 4, 2012

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It was an interesting night in my home state of Iowa last night.  In the Republican caucus, Mitt Romney eked out an eight vote win over Rick Santorum.  The order of finish was:

  1. Romney
  2. Santorum
  3. Paul
  4. Gingrich
  5. Perry
  6. Bachmann
  7. Huntsman
  8. Cain

I correctly predicted the 1-6 order of finish yesterday on another site of mine, Donkey and Elephant Show (I didn’t bother including Huntsman and Cain, as it was apparent that they would do very poorly).

Romney, Paul, and Santorum each had more than 20% of the vote and emerge as the front-runners.  Huntsman decided to skip Iowa entirely and focus on New Hampshire.  This ensured him of a poor showing in Iowa, but might endear him to the voters of New Hampshire.

Perry’s going home to think about things and figure out if there is a path forward.  Considering the fact that he made a huge media buy in Iowa and still couldn’t crack the top 4, I’m guessing that there’s not a path forward.

Michele Bachmann seems willing to hang in for a bit longer.  I don’t see how she’s a viable candidate.  She represents a neighboring state (Minnesota) in congress, was born in Iowa, won the Ames Straw poll, spent a ton of time in the state over the past fews months, and despite all these advantages, still managed just 5% of the vote.

Many observers felt that Santorum picked up support from the anybody-but-Romney crowd.  He doesn’t have a lot of money, and it will be interesting to see if he can raise funds to be competitive in other states.  It will also be interesting to see if he can weather the storm of attack ads that is sure to be coming.  He peaked so late in Iowa that he wasn’t the target of many attack ads.

I’m sure that Paul’s third place finish comes as a shock to many of his supporters.  Crunchy had her own predictions on Yahoo yesterday, and one commenter left this doozy of a response (excerpt)

only about 90% of those who post comments and rate them online support Ron Paul. Romney is met with disdain and Santorum, derision. While the demographics are no doubt skewed here towards thinking people as opposed to sheeple, you can’t change 90% into third place without fixing it

Unfortunately, the number of vocal online supporters a candidate has doesn’t necessarily translate into the number of voters they will get.  While it’s important to have devoted followers, they are only one part of the mix.  You also need to get votes from people who silently support a candidate – the silent majority.

What should we expect in New Hampshire?  It’s probably that Romney will pickup a win in his back yard, but it’s possible that Huntsman could pull off  a surprise.  However, if some members of the GOP are unwilling to vote for Romney because he’s a Mormon,  then a protest vote for Hunstman wouldn’t make much sense, since he’s also Mormon. 

If Romney can consistently finish in the top 2 in the next batch of primaries and have his opponents split the time in the other spot, he should be in good shape for the nomination.  A large field works in Romney’s interest, and it splinters the anti-Romney vote in a few directions and makes it harder for any one candidate to surpass his vote total.

New Year’s Pot Luck

January 2, 2012

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I was travelling to visit relatives most of the last week.  This article is a hodge-podge of topics I discussed with my college age children during a combined 24 hours of car travel.

Politics

I live in Iowa and will be participating in the Caucus.  All of the voting age people in my house will be going participating as well.  Our participation is more to understand what the positions of the candidates are and what the major issues that will be championed by the party will be.  Yes we get to be part of the first in the nation guidance for the primary season, but that is secondary to learning as much as possible.  My father lives in Texas and will call shortly after the caucus to tell me if Iowa chose correctly or not.  Last time he was correct for both parties, as far as who the final nominees were.  Crunchy’s article about the caucuses matches my experience, except she left out the part about the cookies that are provided.  Ok, I guess that is not really important

Sports – College Bowl Games

The college football bowl season is moving along nicely.  We only have about thirty bowls to go (just kidding).  I have watched several of the bowls.  Most of them have been competitive.  Most of them have also had what appears to be low attendance.  This may be because of the venues (Yankee Stadium is not the best for football viewing and using professional stadiums that hold 100,000 people for a bowl that traditionally has 50,000 spectators will make it appear empty).  The best games are still to come, although my personal opinion is that the championship game is sort of a waste.  Why would you ever have a bowl with two teams from the same conference?  If Alabama wins, will they really be the champions or will it be shared with LSU since they would each have beaten the other once?

Sports – Professional Football

The playoffs are set.  I think it was great that the final week of the season actually meant something this year.  There was positioning as well as qualifying at stake, even in the last game late Sunday night.  The match-ups look good with some rematches.  Tim Tebow will be there, at least the first round, to keep the story line of the religious quarterback going.  Just a note, most football players have a strong and public faith life.  This comes from the fact that on any play, they can be injured and could be prevented from playing the game they love (and their livelihood).

In some ways it is the same teams in the playoffs again; New England, Baltimore, Pittsburg, Green Bay, New Orleans and New York have all been to the Super Bowl or at least conference championships over the last few years.  The notable new comers are the Houston Texas – congratulations on you first playoff appearance.  The notable missing team are the Indianapolis Colts – what a difference a quarterback makes.

Writing

I have been writing while I have been off for the holidays, but not nearly enough.  I am challenging myself to actually get my first book into the various electronic formats and out for the world to consider.  I am also challenging myself to actually complete my second book.  Then I have to actually work on my third effort, the one I failed to even get 50,000 words written for NaNoWriMo this year.  For Christmas, I received a short book on how to write and publish by an English Professor.  Although it was interesting to read his ideas, I would recommend Kosmo’s guide.  The main difference is that Kosmo provides actual advice, the professional drops of names and brags about his own publishing record, but provides little concrete help.

Productive Hobbies

A couple of articles ago, I commented that I was crocheting in my spare time.  I am happy to report that I have (almost) completed a afghan for my daughter to take back to college with her.  My next effort will have to be a little more complex to help me grow in my capabilities.  I have found that crocheting while watching TV has actually helped me in my quest to lose weight.  My hands are occupied and the urge to grab a snack or even sip a soft drink is really reduced.  So to sum up, Politics, Football, Football, Writing and keeping busy.

How Do The Iowa Caucuses Work?

December 29, 2011

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It’s not like a regular primary. You don’t go to your normal polling location. It’s not something you can do before or after work. It’s quite different.

I can speak for the Republican caucus because I’ve been the Chair for my location. As far as the Democrats go, well, I only have to go off of what I’ve been told from my dad. Yes, my parents were registered Democrats. I was raised a Democrat. I turned them.

From what I understand of the Democrat caucus (when it is contested), you go to your caucus location and break into groups of the candidate you support. There’s a percentage your candidate must reach in order to be considered “viable”. When there is a group that isn’t a “viable” group, the other groups try to coerce the “un-viable” candidates to their group. It all just sounds a little too shady to me.

As far as the Republicans go, you go to your caucus location, listen to speakers, either the actual candidates or those who’ve been chosen to speak on behalf of the candidate, pass the “buck bucket” as a fundraiser for the party and then vote. Each person gets one slip of paper (usually colored paper to prevent fraud) and you write your choice. The votes are tallied (usually as more people speak) and the winner is announced. One person, one vote. Sounds fair to me.

It can take anywhere from 1 to 3 hours, depending on the speakers, the size of the precinct, and the questions (usually from Dems who have switched sides).

It may sound complex but the GOP event really is straight forward. Have fun, good luck and enjoy the process and blessing that we, as Iowans, get.