Monday, April 30, 2012

Massachusetts, Michigan, and Mitt

Mitt Romney's resident state is Massachusetts and his birth state is Michigan.  In the 2008 presidential election both Michigan and Massachusetts both voted for Barack Obama for the presidency in overwhelming fashion.  In fact, both Michigan and Massachusetts have voted for the Democratic candidate for president in every election since 1992.  Romney faces an uphill battle for those states.  He will probably not win those states unless something crazy happens from now until November.  While Michigan has had closer races in both 2004 and 2000, the Democratic candidate still received 51% of the votes in each of those elections.  It's been since 1992 that the Democratic candidate has not received at least 60% in the election in Massachusetts. 

There has not been a president who has lost both his birth and his resident state.  There have been presidents who have lost either their birth state or their resident state but none of them have ever lost both.  George W. Bush is the most recent example, he lost Connecticut in both 2000 and 2004 but won Texas both years, as well as the presidential election nationally.  George McGovern, a Democrat from South Dakota, was the last presidential candidate to lose his birth and residential state.  Granted, they were the same, but still.  You would have to go back to Adlai Stevenson in 1952 and 1956 to find a presidential candidate who had two separate states for birth and residential states that lost both of them. 

It's possible for Romney to become president while losing both his birth and residential states but it seems unlikely.  It would be the first time in history. 

Update: James Polk was elected president when he lost his birth state of North Carolina and his residential state of Tennessee.  It would be the second time in history if Mitt Romney was able to win the election despite losing both his birth and residential state.

The Western Strategy

If you watch CNN or Fox News or read The New York Times or any other national publication, you might hear about the Western Strategy for Barack Obama to win re-election to the presidency.  So let's take a look at it.  Nate Silver at the wonderful "Fivethirtyeight" blog for The New York Times provides most of the information for this post.

In this strategy, President Obama would not focus on Ohio or Virginia and instead focus on winning Arizona while holding onto New Mexico, Colorado, and the Pacific coast states.

I'll note a couple of things in this strategy.  Nate Silver has Barack Obama winning the electoral college in a close race of 279-259, with 270 being the magic number to win the presidential election. 

1. The map probably does not represent how things are right now but how Silver might project how the electoral results will happen come November if President Obama focuses on his Western Strategy.  The reason I say that is Silver mentioned that currently President Obama is leading Mitt Romney in polls by about 5%. 

2. Silver's definition of a swing state is a state that would swing the election, meaning that whoever wins that state would be able to win the election as a result.  He orders Obama's results in 2008 by biggest margin of victory to the smallest and found that in 2008 Colorado was the state that put him over the 270 electoral vote ledge.

3. Silver states that the "swingiest" states right now are the states that are polling close to the 4% that Obama leads Romney nationally.

4. Arizona currently has a tie in the state according to the polls but longer term averages have Romney ahead in Arizona by about 3%.  To put it more simply, Obama is doing worse in Arizona than he is nationally.

5. In 1996, Bill Clinton won Arizona when he won the national election by about 8%.  Similarily, President Obama could win the state if he won by the same percentage nationally.  If he did that, it's possible that he would not need the votes in Arizona to win the presidential election.

6. The Western Strategy might give Barack Obama some slack over the rest of the country to win re-election but it seems unlikely that Arizona will be a swing state in the 2012 presidential election.  The Western Strategy, while it may be talked about consistently, is probably superfluous to the re-election of Barack Obama.  If President Obama maintains his hold on the Western states and adds Arizona he would be able to win the election without having Ohio, Virginia, Iowa, among others.

 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Vice-Presidential Power Rankings Week 2

It's week 2 of our weekly installment of vice-presidential power rankings for Mitt Romney.  My goal here is to predict with some accuracy who Mitt Romney will choose as his running mate for his presidential run.  Week 1 is listed here.

1. Marco Rubio Senator from Florida.  Rubio is still the front-runner.  A columnist for the LA Times has written that Rubio will not be the choice a) because he is not ready b) his anti-immigration stances and c) that he might be too young or too charismatic and people might end up liking Rubio more so than Romney.  Additionally, Rubio might not agree with Romney on everything which could be a problem with Romney as he has tried to keep those with him in line.  He has only been a Senator since 2010.  He has a 100% score on the National Right to Life Committee and 0% score on NARAL Pro-Choice America score.  He received a score of 75% from National Journal's Conservative on Economic Policy.  He received a score of 84% on National Journal's Conservative on Foreign Policy.  He has received an A grade from the NRA and 100% from the Gun Owners of America. The Family Research Council gave him a 100% for his positions.

2. Rob Portman-  If Romney thinks that picking Portman will help him win in Ohio, he might be right.  Nate Silver on The New York Times blog "Five Thirty-Eight", Silver mentions that the vice-president nominee is typically only worth a couple of percentage points in the home state of the vice-president candidate.  In critical swing states, such as Ohio this year, the couple of percentage points might win the state.  Even more so, it might swing the election.  Ohio is one of the battleground states in this election.  Ohio might be just close enough that a couple of percentage points could swing the election.  Portman aditionally brings over some foreign policy experience which Romney lacks.  Current Vice President Joe Biden has already criticized Mitt Romney's foreign policy skills calling them outdated.  He has consistently been scoring high for pro-choice scores.  He leans slightly to the right according to the National Journal's Conservatives on Foreign Policy score. 

3. Kelly Ayotte- Apparently, she was taken by surprise by the rumors of Romney floating her name as a Vice-Presidential candidate.  She has said that she will continue to look towards running for Senate in New Hampshire.  Like I've mentioned before, some of the qualities that she brings is that she is young, she might be able to bridge the gender gap, and Romney has been an early supporter of her Senate candidacy.  The problem is that she is young and inexperienced.  Additionally, she is from New Hampshire which would provide the Republican party with an all New England ticket which might splinter the party's votes slightly.

4. Jim DeMint- DeMint is a Tea Party candidate who has been building up his political capital over the last few years.  He was elected in the Tea Party Wave of 2010 which means he does not have the experience that Romney might be looking for; however, he does have foreign policy experience.  While it is not much foreign policy experience, it is more than Romney has.  A Romney/DeMint campaign would focus on electrifying the Tea Party base of the Republican party and could bring even more activists to the Republican side.  The problem with this is that moderates would not want to vote for this ticket because it is playing up more to the Republican side. 

5. Paul Ryan- He is one of the favorites for the candidacy because according to polling numbers he is one of the highest electable vice president candidates out there.  The reason for this is that he is one of the voices of the Republican party now.  He has been out in front in the budget reform talks for the Republican party.  He is also out there as the voice for healthcare and Medicare reform.  This might be an important issue depending on what the Supreme Court rules this summer about the Affordable Health Care Act.  The Romney/Ryan ticket could talk about the issues that have the most prevalent in the last few months and even in the last year or so which is the budget talks and health care reform. The reason Ryan ranks this low is because the Democrats hae already falsely accused Ryan of ending Medicare and it seems that it would be even more tempting for the Democrats to attack Ryan on his Medicare policies and his budget policies.  Ryan could soar in these rankings, soon enough.  Additionally, he does not bring to the table any swing states or bridge the gender gap.  But he might bring some additional votes to the Romney campaign if Democrats are adamant about voting out the current Republican governor of Wisconsin.  There could be some moderates who vote for a Democrat governor but a Republican president.  They could split tickets. 

6. Bob McDonnell- McDonnell is the governor of a battleground state in Virginia.  Nate Silver noted that it is not very likely that there will be a two governor ticket.  This is because among other things, there is no foreign policy experience.  Especially in this instance.  Additionally, McDonnell who championed transvaginal ultrasounds before abortions.  There is some concern that he might lose some votes with women becuase McDonnell does not have a high favorability ratings with women. He is solidly pro-life and could energize that portion of the Republican base.

7. Michele Bachmann- I have talked extensively about Bachmann's vice-presidential qualifications.  To sum up, she might be able to bridge some of the gender gap, she has foreign policy experience, she has name recognition, and she could appeal to Tea Party and further Right voters who feel that Romney is too moderate to be an effective Republican candidate.  The problem is that she has the potential to say things that are not on the mark which might hurt Romney's campaign.  The other problem is that moderates do not particulary care about Bachmann because she is futher to the Right than Romney and is a staunch supporter of the Tea Party.

8. Jeb Bush- Bush has fallen very low in my rankings due to a couple of factors.  1. He was a governor and as previously mentioned, Nate Silver, noted it is extremely unlikely that there would be two governors running on the same ticket. 2. Bush does not seem very supportive of Mitt Romney.  In my last power rankings, I noted that Bush said that we have to come behind a candidate so that we have the best chance of taking the White House.  It doesn't sound like he really wants Romney to be the presidential candidate.  3. Bush has not been directly involved in politics for a few years. 4. Moderates and right leaning democrats will not respond kindly to having a Bush on the ticket.

9. Chris Christie- Christie might be too moderate for the Republican base.  He is a governor and it seems unlikely that Romney will choose someone who is moderate and does not have the foreign policy experience.  If Romney chooses Christie, he is essentially choosing someone just like him.  No offense to Romney, but he has enough favorability issues.

10. Nikki Haley- Haley has denied interest in the vice-presidency, she has low approval numbers as governor of South Carolina a state that Romney did not win in the Republican primary, and she also does not give any additionaly foreign policy experience.  This is consistently going to be seen as a problem.  Romney needs to show that he has foreign policy experience so he can battle what Obama/Biden is going to bring up.

That's Gay

A Nebraska coach has come out to say that homosexuality is a sin.  He essentially stated that being a Christian entails that you will have to have an anti-gay stance.  He argues further that what was a sin 2000 years ago is a sin today.  At the end of the espn.com article that I read he calmed his stance a little bit and stated that the country is entering a pro-gay agenda and he doesn't like it.  But I want to look at, if it is a sin 2000 years ago, it is a sin today and the basic rules of being a Christian.

All biblical quotes will come from the NIV translation unless otherwise specified.

We'll deal with verses in particular:

1 Corinthians 6:9- Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually imooral nor idolaters nor male prostitutes nore homosexual offenders

Leviticus 15:16-17 When a man has an emission of semen, he must bathe his whole body with water, and he will be unclean till evening.  Any clothing or leather that has semen on it  must be washed with water and it will be unclean till evening.

In case you didn't know, you aren't supposed to touch things that are unclean.  If you touch something unclean you become unclean and must atone for it by sacrifice. 

Leviticus 18:22 Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman, that is detestable.

Leviticus 20:13 If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable.  They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

I think those are pretty much the relevant bible verses that people might quote.

So, how do we, as non-homophobic people, respond?

Leviticus 20:9 If anyone curses his father or mother, he must be put to death.  He has cursed his father or his mother and his blood will be on his own head.

Leviticus 20:10 If a man commits adultery with another man's wife--with the wife of his neighbor--both the adulterer and the adultress must be put to death.

Leviticus 20:18 If a man lies with a woman during her monthly period and has sexual relations with her, he has exposed the source of her flow, and she has also uncovered it.  Both of them will be cut off from their people.

Leviticus 11:7-8 And the pig, though it has a split hoof completely divided, does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you.  You must not eat their meat or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you.

Leviticus 12- just read it.

There are others in Exodus and Leviticus that I could go through and point out but it seems like overkill at some point.

John 3:16- For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 8:7b-If any one of you is without sin sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Matthew 19:19 honor you father and mother and love your neighbor as yourself

John 15:12 My command is this lovve each other as I have loved you.

Matthew 22:35-40  "Teacher, which is the gratest commandment in the Law?"  Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your sould and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandment.s

That's all for now for my biblical response to people who do not like homosexuals.




Sunday, April 22, 2012

Article

Just read an article titled: Science: GOP voters better informed, open-minded.

A few thoughts I had before I read the article was are they just saying science proves this, as if, I can just say that's science after anything I want.  I drunkenly do that but still.

I'm about 90% sure this title says that GOP voters are better open-minded.

GOP voters are better open-minded.

Who Will Save Us Now? More Importantly Who Will Decide

In general, I try to stay away from common questions that are asked of me. I do this so that I do not have to explain myself to people who will not understand what I am saying or to people who are contrarian by nature. I have tried to steer clear of debating people on certain political debates especially among those who are uninformed or what I would more appropriately label as ill-informed. Chuck Klosterman sums it up best in Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs when he talks about how he will never have a conversation about abortion with anyone who is pro-life or pro-choice, talk about affirmative action with any unemployed people, etc. He goes so far as to say that when someone is so one sided in their thoughts, he remarks that it is interesting to him but that person will never say anything of interest to him. I feel that way constantly.

I guess I should address a fundamental question of what I hope to accomplish. There are two questions that are essentially asked of me at various points when I tell people what I want to do with my life. Those questions are why is it important to vote and/or how do you hope to accomplish an increase in voting numbers? The second one I’m not really going to deal with because it involves me reviewing quite a bit of political socialization literature and I could quote various political scientists who say what the important factors are in getting someone to vote but this answer just makes me sound like someone who is kind of a douche bag or at the very least a jackass. If you really were to press me on how I would accomplish it, I would answer and you would say does that work? I would say yes, all of the political scientists study this issue agree and you would be still left questioning me. Hence, I do not usually even address this question because the question itself is being asked by someone who will not understand the importance of the actions that will take place. I won’t have my heart in answering these questions because I understand that it’s boring to you. Or you’ll simply disagree with whatever I say, which is fine. I’m not here to change your mind.  On a side note, I work at a call center for a four star luxury hotel chain. When I tell people that I work for a hotel company, they usually assault me with their knowledge of how booking hotels work based on what they’ve read on Yahoo! and other sites that promote false travel advice. I’ve tried to educate people in the past about it but I’m still confronted with people who think that if you get to a hotel after 6pm someone will give your room away, credit cards are charged upon booking even if they don’t explicitly say it, any number of disagreements that people have had with their problems in booking hotel rooms. I do not try and argue anymore because people get defensive when you argue and if you won’t listen to what I say then we clearly have nothing to talk about.  I will move on to the fundamental question.

Why is it important to vote? Usually, when people ask me this, I start with it is our civic duty to be a participant in our democracy. It is important to participate because we are all given a voice and we can choose how we use it. There will never be a time that the President asks me directly for my advice but based on how each person votes and in particular, how I vote, it gives a chance to influence legislation and the legislative goals of our governments. If we continue to vote for the same type of people then the same type of people will continue to run. If you want to affect change in the roles of government and/or you are not satisfied with the way government is currently being run but you are not voting, you have lost your voice. You have lost your right to complain.  So, when you complain to me about how politics is corrupted or how you cannot trust any politicians, etc., I’m not going to listen if you didn’t vote. You chose to make your voice heard that you don’t care enough to complain. I’m a big believer in actions speak louder than words. I referenced choice earlier and that is the choice that is being made. You choose not to vote; you chose not to complain. Even worse, you chose not to complain when somebody would actually listen.

In David Foster Wallace’s political essay “Up, Simba”, Wallace chronicles the John McCain campaign in 2000 for the magazineRolling Stone.  Wallace has a number of poignant quotes but his best is describing the game of politics. He essentially states that the politicians of the status quo know it is in their best interests not to get more people to vote. They realize that if it is “politics as usual” more of the same people will show up to vote and the same people will continue to get elected. This is why, he believes, that politicians resort to having intensely negative ads about their opponents, why there is continuous mud slinging throughout different election cycles, why the same issues are brought up at every debate, etc. The politicians of the status quo are not stupid, he argues, they know that their stands, advertisements, etc. will not influence any new voters to come and vote for them. They are not interested in “new voters”.  They are interested in those who already vote and they try to drag it out to discourage those who do not vote to continue not to vote. They know that those who do not vote have a chance of actually creating change. So, those in charge of the status quo continue to make politics seem as ugly, corrupted, tactless, baseless, and factless as they possibly can. There is no coincidence that the same issues are brought up at every debate with the same responses. By not voting, you are giving someone else two votes that supports the status quo. If you do not support the status quo, the only logical thing for you to do is to upset the status quo. By sitting in your room on election day and griping about how you will not vote because you do not agree with the status quo, actually vote, and have that voice heard. People analyze the ballots to see voter trends. Political strategists look at what will win and what people seem to be interested in and they use to inspire their next campaign. I have given up on trying to reform candidates but if we have an electorate that will actually vote that will inspire change in the first place. If you are not satisfied with the collection of candidates that are on the ballot, put write-in candidates in. There’s space on the ballot for that.  Or if you’re feeling super patriotic you can try and start your own write-in campaign for someone. I guarantee that if 10% of a district voted for ‘Daffy Duck’ as a write-in for a Congressional seat, people would take notice. You might not see it but political strategists will realize either that a) this district does not take voting seriously or b) the candidates that are running are not intriguing. This will affect small change. 

A complaint I typically hear from people who do not vote is that they lack the knowledge about the candidates to cast a knowledgeable vote. This equates to essentially being lazy.  There are numerous sites that offer you side by side comparisons of candidates for the presidency, seats in the House, seats in Senate, ballot measures, etc. If you are not aware of any of these sites, my favorite is www.votesmart.org. They are trying something new this year so I’ll be pimping it a lot, here. Additionally, the League of Women Voters puts out a newspaper type newsletter for each election that provides voters with the answers to questions that are typically important. I found this extremely helpful in the 2010 mid-term elections when there was voting on state positions that I did not know anything about. If you are currently not voting because you are not knowledgeable about the candidates or the issues, you do not care enough to know. There is another solution that can be had regarding the knowledge issue. There are people out there who are described as ‘issues voters’. This means that in every election they vote based off a single issue. There are a lot of people out there who do this. An example of this can be found with abortions. In a Sarah Palin documentary, the filmmaker interviews the former mayor Wasila, Alaska who talked about how Sarah Palin was talking about being pro-life, separation of church and state, etc. in a city’s mayoral election. The former mayor was confused how to run against that. People have these issues that they think are the most important, many people feel like that is abortion. They will vote for any candidate who is pro-life enough. So, my advice if you don’t want to actually research different candidates and how they stack up against each other is to pick an issue that you feel is the most important and vote for the candidates who support your view on that issue. Skip over the other ones, if you want.  There is any number of websites for the various interest groups of almost every political issue that can tell you who to vote for. If you end up getting really stuck on who to vote for, I will post my research that I do in order to show how I go about choosing a candidate to vote for, here, too.

Another common response to why someone doesn’t vote is that they feel like their vote doesn’t count. I somewhat agree with this argument.  Nebraska and Maine have actually done what all states should do which is to split up their electoral votes by congressional district and the overall general popular vote of the state wins the two other electoral votes. But I digress.  There was a model of study in political science, in which they tried to prove that only the people that they considered to be politically knowledgeable or otherwise political elites votes do not actually count because of the fluctuations of the everyday voters essentially cancelling out the votes of the elites. It seems improbable on the surface that people’s votes cancel out but I assure you, this happens. This is the great equalizer in our system but too many people who could reap rewards from it do not even participate. It doesn’t matter how much money you make, your social status, or any of that, each of us is handed the ability to place one vote in an election. By choosing not to, you are allowing someone’s votes to count twice. In an average congressional district there are roughly 250,000 people. Not all 250,000 are eligible to vote.  Let’s put the number at 200,000 for those who  are eligible to vote.  While in 1/200,000 is not ideal odds, it is a hell of a lot better than 1/300,000,000 or 1/6,000,000. Your vote probably will not decide an election but it will give yourself a voice instead of giving me or the crazy soccer mom up the street two voices.

The most common answer is that I just don’t care enough to vote. That’s mainly because that is what my girlfriend tells me all the time when I go off ranting and raving about how politics or voting, in general. So how do I propose to fix apathy?  I’m reminded of a statement that I heard a long time ago that asked why do we have problems with ignorance and apathy? The answer is I don’t know and I don’t care. How am I supposed to make people care about politics? I am convinced and the political science research agrees with me that knowledge will make people more prone to voting. The highest links to voting, or the highest predictor of voting: (not in the correct order) voting in the last election, voting in your first election (meaning when you turned 18), political knowledge, close race in your district, participant (meaning that you have a bumper sticker in your car, showed up to a rally, have a sign in your yard, etc.), and political discussion. So, I am not going to battle apathy.  I can’t do it. I refuse to fight a battle that I know I can’t win. I’ll encourage people to go to different rallies, to hold political discussions, to research candidates, but I will not try to fight you if you say you don’t care. You’ve made a conscious choice not to participate in something that will affect every day of your life. The people who tend not to vote have the most to gain by voting.

I’ll leave you with this. In 2008, we had the highest turnout in a presidential election since 1960. About 60% of the country came out to vote. Barack Obama, I think, won with 52% of the vote. John McCain had 48%, I think.  I’m not looking at the data right now. I might be off.  Essentially, we have a president who barely won a majority of the slight majority of people who actually voted. Historically, the percentage of people that vote is near 45-55%. Sometimes it does not even reach 50%.  What essentially happens when we have less than half of the country vote, is we get presidents who win a little more than half of that vote wins the election. Instead of representing the majority of Americans, increasingly what happens is that the president represents a quarter or less of the people actually in the country. Let’s think through this.  We have a country of 300 million people (I’m rounding and assuming that all 300 million people, fuck off, this is a thought experiment) and 150 million of them do not vote. Most elections are decided at a Congressional level by mere thousands or less amounts of votes. I guess I shouldn’t say most but a fair amount of elections are decided by thousands of votes, some times even less. If we divide that 150 million over 435 congressional districts or 50 states or however you want to divide it, those sheer numbers are going to tilt elections. What we’re doing is waiting on the politicians or politics itself to change which is not a good option. We keep electing the status quo of candidates to represent us thinking that they will change. What’s that saying about leopards and spots, again? I’m tired of hearing people getting upset about politics or about how corrupt they think it is or any number of complaints that people have about politics and then tell me that they don’t vote. Saying since it’s not going to change there is no need to vote, you are the exact reason why it’s not going to change. Those in charge of the status quo will continue to make you believe that politics is so dirty or so corrupt or whatever it takes to keep you from voting. Apparently, they don’t even have to do that much.

I’m not na├»ve enough to believe that overnight we will have 100% voter turnout. I don’t see that happening even in my lifetime. But we can push the vote out there and we can get people voting at a rate of 60% or 65% consistently. We can make modest goals and increase the votes. That’s what I’m going to do, is try to increase the number of people showing up to elections. Even if I only bring the percentage up ‘tenths of a percent’ at a time, I’m fine with that. What I do not want is to go through another fucking election where 50% of the people show up and the president takes the country with half the people who showed up’s votes. So I swear, if you complain to me about how godawful some person is in government but you didn’t vote, I will not listen and, to be honest, I will probably tell you to shut up.  

Here are my goals of what I want to accomplish.
1. Get to and maintain at least 65% of people eligible to vote to participate in Presidential elections while improving the total percentage each Presidential election. Get to and maintain at least 55% of those eligible to vote to participate in midterm elections and improving the total percentage each midterm election.
2. Goal I would like to see before I die is at least 80% of those eligible to vote to participate in a presidential election.  I would also like to see 70% participate in a midterm election.
3. Repeal rules and regulations that make it less likely for multiple parties to crash the two party system.
4. Have a member of one of these third parties win multiple seats in Congress.
5. Stop people from putting -"gate" at the end of pseudo-scandals.
6. Have debates where issues that are actually important get raised.
7.  Testify at a Congressional Hearing

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Vice Presidential Power Rankings

Mitt Romney has been quiet about his choice for his running mate. So far, he has shrugged off questions about whether Marco Rubio would be his vice presidential choice. All he has stated publicly is that he has chosen who will head up this particular decision-making process. He chose his former chief of staff and a Boston newspaper that this was typical of Romney as he does not have a large circle of trust. This could be telling for his vice-presidential nominee. George W. Bush in 2000 put Dick Cheney in a similar position and Dick Cheney eventually nominated himself for the role of vice-president. In 2008, John McCain went off the grid and eventually picked Sarah Palin to be his running mate. I do not foresee Romney doing anything that is not methodical in his choice for his running mate. If anything, it seems more and more likely that Romney is going to be choosing someone who is slightly boring for the role. We might be able to predict who his vice-president would be. So, I’m starting a power rankings system for who the vice-president will be. I’ll list those who I think are the top 10 contenders for that role, as well as their general strengths and weaknesses, or why I think Romney might choose him or her.

1. Marco Rubio- the presumptive favorite for the vice-president candidacy. Romney has already been contacted by multiple reporters to see if Romney will ask Rubio to be his running mate. Romney, as noted previously, has shrugged off these questions and has only given compliments about the Florida senator.
Why Romney/Rubio: Rubio can try to bring some Hispanic voters to the Republican side, which is a demographic that usually votes Democrat. George W. Bush when he was pushing for the religious right was able to get quite a few Hispanic voters to vote Republican. Rubio is also a younger senator (only 40) and may bring some appeal to the younger voters. Even I have to admit that this is a specious argument. He is also fairly charismatic.
Why not Romney/Rubio: As noted before, Rubio is a young Senator. He has only served 2 years in the Senate. What Romney needs to find is someone who has strengths in foreign policy or be able to insulate himself with a bright cabinet in that he can find someone to prove that he will be able to handle foreign policy issues. Rubio does not answer that particular question. Rubio does not necessarily appeal to moderate voters nor does he close out the gap in women voters, which Romney has already started to try to appeal to.
Rubio is the current frontrunner and it will take quite a bit to knock him off of this spot.

2. Jeb Bush- former governor of Florida and relative to two former presidents has been talked about as a potential presidential candidate for awhile now. Bush brings to the table, the family name, so even more recognition for Romney if he chooses to pursue it. Also, it would provide us with one of the greatest first name presidential tickets of all time. Really, Mitt and Jeb! Don’t rob us of this Romney campaign! Bush could provide insight into the education reforms that he promoted as governor of Florida, and I believe still continues to promote.
Why not Mitt/Jeb: I feel like we’re going over the same thing here. Jeb does not have the foreign policy experience that is likely going to factor into Romney’s decision making process. The problem with choosing another governor or former governor is that neither of them would have served in a national office before taking over the two most important positions in the federal government. Additionally, Jeb Bush has not been that enthusiastic about giving his endorsement to Mitt Romney. He stated that we should rally around the likely candidate so it gives us the best chance to win. It’s not exactly a ringing endorsement.

3. Paul Ryan- Since his election, Paul Ryan has become a voice of the Republican party. He has already been thoroughly and wrongfully attacked by the Democratic party with regards to claims that he wants to destroy Medicare. See I can be mean to Democrats, too.
Why Romney/Ryan: Paul Ryan has been a voice for the Republican party, so he has some name recognition and is not an unknown. Additionally, he has proposed different budgets. He also provides a different voice for health care than what Romney might want to work out. Paul Ryan also has some foreign policy experience that will be invaluable to the Romney campaign.

4. Jim DeMint- Jim DeMint is a representative from South Carolina. He was one of those who were elected with the 2010 Tea Party surge. He is further to the right of Romney and could energize the base.
Why Romney/DeMint: DeMint could potentially energize the base of the Republican Party, as he is essentially a Tea Party candidate. He also had a nice conversation with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show which might endear him to some moderates who watch that show. He is also on the Committee on Foreign Relations and could provide some foreign policy experience to the Romney campaign. I have to say some since he does not have much experience.
Why not Romney/DeMint: Experience is the key thing here. DeMint has not been serving in Congress for all that long. That may be a key factor in the election. DeMint does not bring Romney any other votes to the table except maybe energizing the base of the Republican party and getting those who are Tea Party candidates to vote for them, as well. It seems unlikely that the Tea Party would choose to split their votes in the Republican party and allow Obama to waltz to his re-election.

5. Nikki Haley- Nikki Haley is the current governor of South Carolina. There was news of a potential scandal involving her but it went away rather quickly. Governor Haley was quick to try and bring an end to any scandal that might be brought about and theNew York Times mentioned that she could be a potential choice for the vice-president nomination. That was the first I had heard of her.  The biggest strength with her is that she might help close the gap in women’s voting. I should digress, real quickly, the reason that people are concerned about the voting patterns of women and who is winning is because usually women vote more than men. Women are much better at getting to the polls and actually voting, especially compared to men.
Why not Romney/Haley: Haley has not been the governor of South Carolina for very long. She would face the same questions of experience that Rubio would face. Additionally, she does not provide any key insight on any foreign policy issues, that I’m aware of and may face additional, possibly unfair, scrutiny for being a female vice-president candidate.  She has reportedly denied interest in the nomination and her popularity in South Carolina has tanked recently.

6. Rob Portman- current Senator from Ohio.  He was also a House representative and has held two separate cabinet level positions.
Why Romney/Portman: Portman has been an early supporter of Romney and reportedly helped Romney beat Santorum in Ohio.  Ohio is an important battleground state for the Republican party and will need as much help as they possibly can.  Additionally, Portman has been praised for his bipartisan work in both budget and trade affairs.  Portman was reportedly on John McCain's short list for being vice-president, as well.  Portman has some foreign policy experience, as well.
Why not Romney/Portman: Portman supported the auto bailout which Romney did not support.  Additionally, Portman was on cabinet level positions during the George W. Bush administration and it seems likely that Republicans might try to distance themselves away from being associated with George W. Bush. 
 
7.Michele Bachmann- The Minnesota crazy congresswoman might be back! Are you as excited as I am? Hide your HPV vaccines girls and (potentially) boys!
Why Romney/Bachmann: Romney and Santorum went to Bachmann both to get endorsements. There were unverified claims that Romney was offering positions for Bachmann in exchange for her endorsement. Of course, me being an irresponsible blogger, I have not taken the time to contact either candidate but I could potentially see that the offer could have been made. The question is what does Bachmann really bring to the table? Bachmann could potentially close some of the gap on women voters. Bachmann is further to the right than Romney so she also might energize the part of the base that was excited in the 2010 mid-term elections (the Tea-Party). Additionally, she has been on the House Select Committee on Intelligence which provides with her the knowledge of foreign policy issues that might entice Mitt Romney into selecting her. If I truly believed that the only things Romney was looking for were those then I would have ranked Bachmann higher in these rankings.
Why not Romney/Bachmann: Bachmann had a tendency to go slightly off the track when she talked especially when it came to her idea that the HPV vaccine could cause mental retardation. There are other examples but that’s the one that sticks out in my head. The constant pressure and scrutiny of her campaign probably would not hold up well with Romney’s image and what I imagine to be a very straightforward campaign that might focus on different gaffes that President Obama has done. Additionally, Bachmann was not too sure of Romney and if she had an endorsement it was certainly not a ringing endorsement, at all. Bachmann may actually alienate voters and potentially women voters, as well. While her image as a mother might attract some women to vote for her, this image may work against her, as well. I have no backing for this claim just that I think it is entirely possible that of the original lineup of Republican nominees, I also thought that Bachmann was the most alienating of the candidates.

8. Chris Christie- New Jersey governor, who decided against a presidential run.  He has hinted that he would take the vice-presidential nomination if he was offered.
Why Romney/Christie: Fairly early supporter of Mitt Romney. First Republican to be governor of New Jersey in 12 years.  Critic of Barack Obama and bureaucracy in general after New Jersey lost out on some federal grants.
Why not Romney/Christie: Might be too moderate, as he did nominate the first openly gay man to New Jersey's Supreme Court.  He is also from the Northeast and it seems unlikely that the Republicans will have two candidates both from the Northeast running for the two most important spots in federal government.  Christie has not been elected to a federal office.  He also might lack foreign policy experience.

9. Kelly Ayotte- current Senator from New Hampshire. 
Why Romney/Ayotte: Romney endorsed Ayotte early on in her Senate campaign.  She also might help bridge the gap in the important votes of women. 
Why not Romney/Ayotte: Experience.  She has only been a Senator since 2010.  Additionally, she is also from the Northeast and it seems like the Republican establishment will want a little more geographic diversity.

10 (t.). Jon Huntsman- the former governor of Utah was looked at as a more moderate choice among the original candidates for the Republican presidential nomination. Huntsman supports gay marriage and is against the wars in the Middle East. If I was to vote for a Republican, I would look long and hard at Huntsman.
Why Romney/Huntsman: Jon Huntsman would provide Romney with an additional in with moderate voters who are undecided. This could help him win a few extra votes. Huntsman is also a former ambassador to China and could provide Romney with critical foreign policy experience that Romney lacks.
Why not Romney/Huntsman: A Romney/Huntsman ticket would not energize the Republican base enough. They would see this as a deliberate shift in Republican politics and this could further split the Republican party. We could potentially see, if this occurs, an actual Tea Party candidate run for the presidency.

10(t). Bob McDonnell- current governor of Virginia.
Why Romney/McDonnell- McDonnell has a high approval rating in the battleground state of Virginia.  He also has a strong military background, which Romney lacks.
Why not Romney/McDonnell- He lost some support for women with his support for transvaginal ultrasounds before abortions.  The biggest question with McDonnell is his support from women.  The second biggest question is how much foreign policy experience he can bring to the table just being a governor.  He has also not been elected to federal office.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A good (wo)man is hard to find

While Mitt Romney has all but secured the presidential nomination for the Republicans, one of the questions remain, which is who is going to be his vice-president?  It is possible that Romney attempts to surround himself with those who are able to give him insight into his perceived weaknesses.  These weaknesses are going to be pointed out by Barack Obama and his campaign. 

Weaknesses:

1) Foreign policy- Mitt Romney is the former governor of Massachusetts.  In that role, he did not have to show any insight into foreign policy matters.  He still does not have to necessarily show any of this insigh if he is able to have a vice president who has that as his or her strength or is able to choose someone strong for te Secretary of State position.

Potential Candidates based on foreign policy strengths: Elton Gallegly, Dan Burton, Steve Chabot, Connie Mack, David Manzullo, Ron Paul, Ted Poe, Jim DeMint, Mike Lee, Jon Huntsman and Marco Rubio.

Note: Michele Bachmann requested to be on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

2) Women voter disparity- Romeny is trailing Barack Obama in the potential votes of women by nearly 20 points.  The Romney campaign has already started playing up this so-called "war on women" that President Obama has been involved in.  It seems likely that this will be an issue that continues to get played up in the run-up to the election.

Potential candidates based on this issue: Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Jan Brewer, Nikki Haley, and Kelly Ayotte

3) Romneycare vs. Obamacare- Romney has to find someone who may not actually support his stance on health care as man people will play up the similarities of "Romneycare" as it stands against "Obamacare." 

Potential Candidates: Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Rand Paul, Tim Pawlenty, and Paul Ryan.

Right now, I'll list the five people who I think are the early favorites for getting the vice-presidential candidacy. 

1. Marco Rubio
2. Jeb Bush
3. Paul Ryan
4. Jim DeMint
5. Nikki Haley

Where do we go from here--Turn all the lights down now

Nate Silver, former Baseball Prospectus writer and current author of the New York Times blog "Five Thirty Eight" wrote recently about the future of Rick Santorum in politics.  Silver talks about the potential of Santorum.  He ultimately concludes that more than likely this presidential race for Santorum is going to be the high point of his political career.  Is this likely?

Silver mentions the possibility of Santorum being a potential vice president candidate for Republican front-runner Mitt Romney.  The possibility of that is mentioned because Santorum comes from Pennsylvania, which is somewhat seen as a swing state in the upcoming election.  However, as Silver notes Santorum is not seen as a favorable candidate.  According to polls conducted in March, only 33 percent of people see Santorum as favorable while 45 percent of people see Santorum as unfavorable.  It seems unlikely that Romeny will select Santorum as his vice presidential candidate.  Although, we've seen surprises before, just look at Sarah Palin.

Could Santorum look statewide for his next election?  The governor of Pennsylvania is a Republican who is nut up for re-election until 2014.  Silver states that Santorum would have to mount a primary attack or hope that the governor retires by then.  Bob Casey, the senator, who defeated Santorum in the 2006 election is up for re-election this year and it is too late for Santorum to defeat him this year.  So he would have to wait until 2018 to try and get that Senate seat.  Pat Toomey is the other senator from Pennsylvania is up for election in 2016 but is a Republican and is seen as too conservative to really have to struggle for a primary challenge.

The only real thing that Santorum could hope for, if he wants to continue his political career would be to hope that Mitt Romney loses the 2012 presidential election to Barack Obama.  This would allow for Santorum to once again, challenge for the Republican Presidential nomination, however, this seems unlikely.  It seems likely that Santorum was getting some of his votes because he was the anti-Romeny candidate.  Without Mitt Romney there, it seems unlikely that Santorum would have been able to stay in the race as long as he did.  Of course, the other side of this argument is that Santorum was constantly having problems fund raising.  If he was given the additional four years to build up his brand before the 2016 presidential primaries, some could argue that Santorum could be the Republican front-runner.  But, I, like Nate Silver, think that this year's crop of Republican candidates were not the best out there.  If Mitt Romney loses the 2012 election (which I think he will), we will see other candidates become prevalent.  We could see Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Representative Paul Ryan, Governor Chris Christie, and any number of politicians who were elected in the 2010 elections come up as the front runners for the presidential nomination instead.  Of course, none of this even occurs if Romney wins the 2012 presidential election.

So, at this point, I am willing to say good-bye to Rick Santorum from the national spotlight as a politician.  He may still be the voice of Christian conservatives, in fact, it seems very likely that he will continue to serve in that capacity. You will continue to hear him speak out against President Obama but it seems very likely that the days of Rick Santorum beinga national figure in politics, at least as a politician are over.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

1998

In 1998, the Kansas state Republicans offered the following as their platforms, in addition to railing against homosexuality, abortion, and gun control.  You're allowed to point out things that sounds similar to now.

1. A flat tax or a national sales tax to replaced the graduated income tax.
2. The abolition of taxes on capital gains.
3. The abolition of the estate tax.
4. No "governmental intervention in health care."
5. The eventual privatization of social security.
6. Privatization in general.
7. Deregulation in general and "the operation of the free market system without government interference."
8. The turning over of all federal lands to the states.
9. A prohibition on "the use of taxpayer dollars to fund any campaign."

This is from the book, What's the Matter with Kansas?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Vacations and Rick Santorum

I suspended the blog for the last couple of weeks, but unlike all of the differenet presidential candidates who have "suspended" their campaigns. I'm back. Just in time, too, Rick Santorum has officially dropped out of the presidential race to have a change to go toe to toe with Barack Obama.

Mitt Romney, barring some unforseen incident, will become the Republican choice for the ticket. Just think about that for a second or a day.