When Newt Gingrich landed Herman Cain as a supporter, you may have concluded that Newt Gingrich is the “true conservative.” At least compared to other candidates in this GOP tour, I can agree. But you might not like Mitt Romney so much, so you’d bet on the field instead.
Either way, Mitt Romney got a moon-bounce from Newt’s debate fizzle. The polls are bad news for Newt, and with early absentees already in, the spread may worsen. If you’re Newt’s team, you need a game-changer, dontcha think?
Maybe Palin and Cain? That would sure help … right?
From a perspective of status, Newt’s already made some concessions on where his chances of victory in Florida stand. He will stay until the Tampa convention. That means he’s bracing for a Florida loss, and likely, more losses down the road. Rolling out Herman Cain on a Saturday indicates he’s got even less oomph going into Tuesday. If Mitt wins on Election Day already, without absentees, he could stretch Florida into a blowout.
It makes pizza all about Dominos rather than Godfathers, doesn’t it?
From a base perspective, what does this tell us about choices in this race?
Is Mitt that distasteful or is Newt that appealing?
By the surrogate count, the emotional appeal is Newt’s. Most accept that Newt represents leadership as well, but have problems with how he will fare on the national level, when so many states are toss-ups. The, there is a larger sense of national disaster for the GOP if Newt goes awry. To win the toss-ups is the key in most opinions, and the flexibility of each party’s base invariably favors the independents, who do the most compromising.
We’re led to believe that electability is a factor in the race, not just stump speech promises (like moon bases). We’re mindful of reaching too far, or acting too fake. But what about those electability numbers? We’re given the impression that Romney has the best chance, followed by Newt, and then the chaff…
But is it really true?
For example, via Real Clear Politics, the national poll averages do put Romney with the best chance to defeat the president. Now, the really interesting bit is that Rick Santorum and Ron Paul technically do better than Gingrich does vs. Obama. And Ron Paul’s numbers are quite surprising. He’s closer to Romney nationally, and performs far better than Santorum or Gingrich. But did you know that?
Poll don’t lie.
If this were about electability, and not a hissy-fight inside the GOP about true elitism, we’d see Ron Paul making a move in Florida, rather than speaking in Maine. Instead, it’s the two media-driven SuperPAC candidates who dominate the race. Had Sheldon Adelson not intervened in South Carolina, Romney wouldn’t have to talk about his tax returns (no one would’ve asked without Newt’s money), Rick Santorum wouldn’t have won Iowa at least until after South Carolina, and even Heritage wouldn’t have had to one-out a tax piece to cover for Mitt.
As I see it, Mitt isn’t the conservative answer. It points toward a far more moderate choice, and possibly capitulation of principles and philosophy that has driven GOPers since 2010. If conservatives were all-in on their conservative theories, they’d find more to like with Ron Paul’s platform. And since the greatest excuse for Newt Gingrich is to accept him “warts and all,” there’s no pause when they all called Ron Paul a racist, was there?
Owen Brennan had it figured since December. You can find clarity from what’s fed from the Florida game in retrospect. Stephen Kruiser made it obvious long before February, “I think most people in the Tea Party movement can embrace Newt solely because he’s not Mitt.”
Newt’s been shrewd to court the tea, knowing he was the only candidate who could benefit from Herman Cain (possibly even more than Cain himself). It was rather convenient for Cain’s allegations to perfectly align with Newt’s weakness, wasn’t it? To score a tea rally debate in The Woodlands, TX? Herman’s real tea, Newt’s just a hanger-on who positioned himself perfectly to gain from Herman’s collapse, and I know Cain felt remorse when John King left that infidelity ball over the plate in South Carolina for Newt. Yes, Herman, that could’ve been you had you held serve…
Remember, this is just a GOP primary. The real opposition is taking notes, and like a bad speeding ticket plus a Miranda Warning, anything can and will be used against you. Increases in Florida’s negative ad spending are sparking real concern for anyone who knows that more negatives than positives will eventually catch up to you. And the last thing you want to see is your team’s attack ad replayed against you.
If the tea party’s goal is to further influence the House and Senate, best of luck in this SuperPAC climate. Upstart tea reps may come under fire if they stand for their principles in newly redrawn districts, because the GOP might just have a replacement waiting for them if they toe the line too closely, or refuse to accept the mantle of loyalty to Mitt Romney. Part of me wonders if that’s the reason why Mitt had to win early, in order to test the waters with the rest of the nation, and make sure they’re buoyed by local reps doing their part in their districts to sell him.
And with the districts redrawn (mostly in favor of the GOP), you probably think bigger conservative districts are better for tea, but they’re not. It is harder by the simple math to surmount an establishment candidate in weighted districts, and that means upsets are less likely in primaries with a larger voting base. It’s not about keeping a conservative candidate, it’s about making sure their establishment candidate always wins. It’s hard to be an insurgent in a highly homogenized district. Flipping a 50/50 and an unpopular Dem is easy. The same can be said about a 50/50 GOPer against a Dem. But a 60/40 makes it near impossible to flip or surprise.
60/40 also means a trained cat can win the district without you.
Even for stalwart tea Congress reps like Allen West, Florida elites wanted to revisit the cheapness of gerrymandering in their state, and Rep. West put his principle before politics (as well as being smart enough to see when he’s getting flanked). He even put this out on NPR yesterday. Seems Rep. West has calmed a lot, and is working toward more dialogue with his compatriots, and really, identifying more with independents, who find parity in many tea principles (but not all).
Heck, maybe Michigan should’ve thought of passing an anti-gerrymandering law instead of approving weighted maps (pdf) again . The Oakland Swirl lets you drive from the 14th to the 9th to the 11th in about 30 seconds on Woodward (between Square Lake I-75 and Hickory Grove). I feel sorry for everyone who will receive mailers in that small gap, and it should remind folks about old consequences of the Voting Rights Act as well, since the feds approved this map, and the governor signed it. They were redrawn to win a district for a GOPer. That’s all it was for.
And if lines don’t work, money will. More money has been spent on SuperPACs than were promised to tea PAC at that fake tea party convention in February 2010. Five million went to Newt alone in South Carolina, and Lord knows how much Romney spent in Florida (upwards of $10 million perhaps). By the FEC search, hardly anything with tea on it has money in it, and you should be wary of this cycle. Now that the maps are redrawn, they don’t need help getting control of the district now. The trust to flip a Dem district won’t be placed in an upstart tea candidate’s hands, but a real establishment RINO.
Remember … trained cats.
And even if you’re not given money or trusted as a candidate, you’re still a scapegoat for political blame. Just look at the debt limit: That joke of legislation has resulted in the “automatic debt limit increase” authorized by the compromise that stuffed tea into the cupboard. Essentially, it did nothing to prevent a debt limit, and the trigger puts the tea party against the wall for future legislation, with little room to maneuver. It was what I warned about. Now President Obama has $1.2 trillion in debt limit increases to cover him through an election year, and the tea party takes the rap for it.
The GOP could get away with the benefit of continued spending under old budgets for two years, because the cuts would never come in this cycle. They could also claim 1,000 days without a new budget without admitting that 97.6% of spending was retained under their watch, and they didn’t cut spending much at all in reality.
Their districts continued to benefit from Dem budget continuations, but now that everyone’s backed to the wall, they’ll have to actually cut money from their own sacred cows, or worse yet, raise taxes. Knowing this, they’ll find a scapegoat before spending cuts occur, or Simpson-Bowles. In my view, the trap was set for tea. Pay attention to primaries this year, they’ll reflect real elitism. Some tea party candidates may be saved, but others might be cast off for no other reason than to re-establish the establishment.
Be careful out there. Mako out.