Monday, August 21, 2006

The Frontrunner



While the "Cooler Line" shows Mitt Romney at the top of the pack in Iowa, most observers indicate that the man pictured above is the frontrunner.

The New Moscow Times delivered a must-read article today on the McCain Machine and let me tell you friends- the machine is gaudy.

His still-informal network includes Richard L. Armitage, the former deputy secretary of state; John A. Thain, chief executive of the New York Stock Exchange; and Sig Rogich, who directed the advertising for the 1988 and 1992 presidential campaigns of Mr. Bush’s father.
He is reaching out to Christian conservatives, who helped sink his 2000 presidential bid, by enlisting the aid of figures like Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. of Utah and former Senator Dan Coats of Indiana, both of whom have strong evangelical followings.


His growing kitchen cabinet spans an array of issues and backgrounds, and includes James Jay Baker, a former lobbyist for the National Rifle Association; Niall Ferguson, a historian at Harvard; and Barry McCaffrey, who was the drug czar under President Bill Clinton.


Among the more prominent members of the Bush team who said they expected to play a role in Mr. McCain’s candidacy, if he chooses to run, are Mark McKinnon, a Texas political media consultant who has worked for Mr. Bush for years; Terry Nelson, political director of the Bush 2004 re-election campaign; Nicolle Wallace, that campaign’s communications director; Wayne L. Berman, a Washington lobbyist, friend of Mr. Bush’s and prolific fund-raiser; and F. Philip Handy, chairman of Jeb Bush’s two races for governor in Florida and a major supporter of the president.

Someone will have to emerge as the alternative, but only Gov. Romney has lined up an organization that can compare and the longer Rudy waits the more trouble he will be in. How can the McCain machine be overcome? And where will the other pieces fall?

sorry for the late post...we're having some technical difficulties in the Cooler.

42 Comments:

Blogger Caucus Cooler said...

Or not pictured above, we told you we were having technical difficulties.

4:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I caught that article. It is gaudy, but ask Steve Churchill how much the establishment relationships help when you get down and dirty into the Iowa caucuses.

5:01 PM  
Blogger murphy said...

Seems like all the anti-McCain folks ought to think long and hard about their alternatives. Debate right now is healthy vetting, debate during the primary season means we get McCain.

6:29 PM  
Anonymous More-than-casual-observer said...

Anybody who thinks Romney, Rudy or Pataki have a prayer of becomming the GOP nominee is on crack. These guys are being talked up and milked like chumps by the consultants. The only thing McCain wants to be is President...he's been running non-stop for more than a decade...so he isnt going to quit easily. That means the social conservatives and Christian right have two candidates to choose from: Huckabee and Allen. Folks, this race is going to come down to a battle between Huckabee and McCain...you can put that in the bank. To think otherwise is simply amateur.

7:40 PM  
Blogger murphy said...

mtc-observer,

Glad you cleared that up. What exactly is Huckabee going to run on? Government regulations on MacDonalds?

7:54 PM  
Anonymous observerver-with-eyes-and-ears said...

mtco: Christian conservatives have two candidates to choose from??? Are you on crack??? Huckabee and Allen are both non-starters with less than stellar conservative credentials. Let the vetting begin!

12:40 AM  
Blogger HuckabeeFan said...

OWEAE, what do you feel are Huckabee's "less than stellar conservative credentials?"

He's pro life, unlike McCain, Pataki, Giuliani, and Romney.
He's anti-gay marriage, unlike McCain, Pataki, and Giuliani.
He passed the first broad base tax cuts in the history of Arkansas.
He realizes the importance of education reform, and implemented programs like Smart Start and Smart Step that emphasized the importance of reading and mathematics in elementary through middle school.
And he's compassionate. Read this article about his rare streak of political courage.

Governor Huckabee has stuck to his conservative ideals in the face of his Democratic state legislature, unlike Romney. I don't know how much more conservative you can be.

Your thoughts?

8:51 AM  
Anonymous More than casual observer said...

murphy,

Huckabee is firmly (and historicaly) pro life. He'll work every day to put an end to the national tragedy that is abortion.

Huckabee is firmly (and again historically) pro marriage. He'll protect the values that made America the greatest country in the world.

Huckabee is firmly (and, yet again, historically) pro-second amendment. He'll fight to protect our right to keep and bear arms.

Huckabee is fiscally conservative, and an advocate of a tax system that keeps taxes low without cutting desperately needed programs for the elderly and chronically ill, such as Medicaid.

Huckabee strongly believes Americans can make better decisions about how to spend their money than the government can, and is on the record and currently fighting to return his state's surplus to the people.

Huckabee is an actual (and proven) compassionate conservative who considers the impact of Government's actions on the most vulnerable people in our society as well the strongest.

Huckabee is one of the longest-serving and most successful Governors in the United States. Among his strengths is the ability to Govern under a constitutional requirement to balance the budget. Huckabee can, and will support a balanced budget amendment to the US constitution.

Huckabee is a conservative Republican elected twice in heavily democratic Arkansas. He has never had a Republican House or Senate. Despite this, he has Governed successfully and achieved all of his key objectives. And, unlike others, he has done so WITHOUT "setting aside" his personal beliefs and values and shrinking from the challenge.

Huckabee is a staunch defender of state's rights and will fight to stop unfunded Federal mandates and Federalization of the National Guard.

Huckabee is a strong opponent of illegal immigration, and supports the deportation of illegals so long as it is done compassionately, treating them and their children with human dignity.

Huckabee wants our borders to be secured and our country defended against terrorists.

Huckabee is a strong advocate of education and educational opportunities with a record of success in educatonal improvements that is unrivaled in America.

Huckabee is a leader who, unlike most politicians, does what is right -- even when doing so is unpopular.

Huckabee is firmly (and yet again, historically) pro-family values. Meaning he is against gay marriage, gay adoption, and anything else the left can think of to denegrate our society.

Huckabee recognizes the massive negative impact --both in terms of human lives AND the loss of many billions of dollars each year -- of preventable diseases resulting from inactivity, poor diet and obesity and he will continue to be a leader -- despite the inability of some to accept (or perhaps understand) this fact.

Huckabee is man driven by his Christian values. Unlike others, he does not and will not change his values or positons for the sake of political expediency. To quote Huckabee: "I know I will be judged by a higher power than any constituency."

Huckabee is a brilliant politician, a gifted communicator, a Governor, a Southerner, a Christian conservative, a likable and electable candidate, a social and fiscal conservative, and is the only candidate who can carry the Southern bloc of states thereby winning the election.

Those are just for starters.

8:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Huckabee sucks.

9:23 AM  
Blogger HuckabeeFan said...

Why 9:23? Any reason?

10:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Huckabee hadn't lost 110 lbs. would he even be considered a candidate? I have a little weight to lose but that doesn't qualify me to be President.

How is he going to raise any money? Who are his donors - Jarad the Subway Guy and Jenny Craig?

10:15 AM  
Blogger HuckabeeFan said...

10:15, you obviously have never heard him speak or looked into the things he's accomplished as the governor of Arkansas. It is true that he lost a lot of weight. It's also true that Americans spend more money on health care than any other nation and it's rising.

Our government spends billions on Medicare and Medicaid due to lifestyle decisions made decades ago by the current recipients. We can save billions of dollars a year by changing what we eat, stopping smoking, and exercising. It's true. Is that all he talks about? Absolutely not.

Your Subway Jared or Jenny Craig comment would be like me saying the only place McCain will raise money is from Vietnam vets or Romney will only be able to raise money from Mormons. Huckabee's weight loss, McCains's POW stint and Romney's religion will all be brought up, but none of those factors are what these people will be campaigning on.

11:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some fat people, like Anon 10:15, hate Huckabee because he exposes their lie. They are not fat because of a medical problem, but instead because they are lazy, Twinkie-eating, orally-fixated slobs.

12:51 PM  
Blogger murphy said...

mtc-observer,

I noticed that quite a few of those cut-and-paste Huckabee points were repeats of each other. Padding the resume?

Obviously Huckabee is great on the hot social issues, and he always has been. But I'm not very impressed by his ability to force a balanced budget in a state where it is legally required to do so. His nanny-state tendencies do not charm many in the libertarian wing.

If I had to do a lineup between Romney and Huckabee (both great guys), they'd both appoint judges to overturn RvW and defend marriage. But Romney's the clear winner on turning around any sort of fiscal or corruption mess. It's practically his middle name.

Now if Huckabee could get enough spare change from his couch cushions to run a campaign, maybe he'd be going somewhere.

2:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 12:51 - "they are fat...beacuse they are lazy, Twinkie-eating, orally-fixated slobs."

How did Huckabee become so fat?

2:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:30 PM  
Blogger HuckabeeFan said...

Huckabee gained weight the way a lot of Americans do: he grew up in a family that couldn't afford to eat healthy. He developed bad habits early in his life that continued through adulthood.

3:16 PM  
Anonymous more than casual observer said...

If you want to compare resumes, lets do it. It is Romney who caved in to his Democratic ledge on the critical issue of abortion and appointed 75% Democrats to judicial appointments...and before you say "yeah but he got 25% Republicans through" I'll remind you that the Republicans he got through were pro-gay marriage liberals.

Huckabee has also been pro-life his entire life. How long has Romney been pro-life? Oh, yeah...since last Fall when he decided he'd like to try to be President.

Want to compare written statements on Planned Parenthood surveys?

3:55 PM  
Blogger murphy said...

mtc,

First of all, how would you propose getting solid Borkian judges approved by a 100% fuming liberal GC? With a pat on the back? Do you know how the approval process for judges works in MA?

Romney promised in 2002 not to allow any liberalization of MA abortion laws...and that's as conservative as you can hope for in the Commonwealth. Again, do you have a realistic proposal for getting a solid pro-life agenda past a veto-proof 90% democratic legislature? Have you considered that the executive branch is up against checks and balances?

Romney's democratic opposition in MA makes Huckabee's opposition look like a cake-walk.

Given that both Romney and Huckabee would be pro-life and pro-marriage presidents, I look to other important issues to break the tie. When you go there, Romney's the man.

Huckabee's pedigree, while admirable, will not make him any more able to nominate pro-life justices than Romney's shorter pedigree.

4:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes lets compare. The Romney people have told me Mitt has been unwavering on his life stance and I trust these guys who told me.

4:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Romney is so conservative, how did he get elected Gov in MA? I'm betting he had to pull the wool over many people's eyes then and I'm betting he is going to try to pull the wool over the nation's eyes to become President.

4:27 PM  
Blogger murphy said...

Anon 4:27,

Posting duplicate entries in multiple blog sections as "anonymous"? How about a little more than some cut-paste action, and possibly even some facts, for your opinions?

4:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Murphy says: "Romney...would be pro-life...president"

Mitt Romney says: "I believe that Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years, that we should sustain and support it, and I sustain and support that law and the right of a woman to make that choice."

Murphy, were your comments based on fact or was it just your opinion?

4:48 PM  
Blogger murphy said...

Anon 4:48,

That quote you posted is well known history from 1994. Do you think that it represents Romney's abortion position currently? I hope you're not trying to mislead people as to what his current position is?

We can bat around decade old quotes all day for any candidate. What I'm concerned about is a candidate's future actions. Romney has declared himself pro-life, and gone on record for the overturning of RvW. His entire history shows him to be true to his word.

Here's a nice source of quotes for Romney's conservative position on important social issues. If you're interested more in the politics of 2008 than 1994, take a look at it:

http://www.americansformitt.com/mittissues.html

1. abortion,
2. abstinence education,
3. emergency contraceptives,
4. faith-based programs,
5. judicial appointments,
6. Roe vs Wade,
7. stem-cell research and cloning,

6:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mitt should ask John Kerry how flip-flopping on issues worked in his race.

Good luck with the politics of 2008 not 1994 spin. I am sure people will not think to themselves "If Mitt has changed his position this drastically in the past decade, can we trust him to keep his current position for the next 8 years as our President?"

7:16 PM  
Blogger murphy said...

Anon 7:16,

Good luck with the prolife movement if you hope to exclude anyone who has not had a perfect lifelong history. How do you expect to win the hearts and minds of America if you won't allow politicians to declare themselves pro-life?

As for how you can trust Mitt to keep his position as president, answer me this. Can you point to anything Romney has promised during a campaign which he did not follow through on? If he makes a campaign promise, that is what you'll get.

7:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Murphy 6:51-

You almost had me. I loved the rhetoric until the worst pandering of all was used.

The site lost all credibility as soon as it listed "Reagan" as an issue.

7:43 PM  
Blogger murphy said...

Anon 7:43,

Now you've got me confused. Romney's quote on Reagan was “Ronald Reagan is also my hero and a friend of all of ours…I believe that our party’s ascendancy began with Ronald Reagan’s brand of visionary and courageous leadership.”

How does that damage the credibility of the site? Are you saying that including a quote on Reagan amongst other issues somehow invalidates those other quotes? Is this a semantic disagreement you have with listing "Reagan" as an "issue" (poor semantics, I agree)?

8:06 PM  
Blogger murphy said...

PS. If any GOP guy were in front of a crowd, what would you expect them to say in response to a question about Reagan?

8:09 PM  
Anonymous more than casual observer said...

Murphy: "Can you point to anything Romney has promised during a campaign which he did not follow through on? If he makes a campaign promise, that is what you'll get."

By gosh, Murphy, you're right. Romney promised this to the Log Cabin Democrats when he ran against Ted Kennedy:

“...as we seek to establish full equality for America’s gay and lesbian citizens, I will provide more effective leadership than my opponent.”

I believe he ultimately did that.

And here's another sure'nuff example: Romney promised that, as Governor, he would do absolutely nothing to try to stop the wholesale slaugher of innocent human babies through abortion-as-birth control.

And he kept that promise!

Holy cow! What a LEADER! Where do I sign up to support him?

Ugh...I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

9:21 PM  
Blogger murphy said...

mtc,

I'm pretty sure you're smarter than that, and you didn't miss the point of what I was trying to say. Over the course of his entire career, Mitt Romney delivers on campaign promises. That is why people can trust him when he campaigns on overturning RvW.

The fact that he pledged to make no change to MA abortion laws (as you pointed out) deserves more credit than you give it. Would you prefer that he had taken a more pro-life stand, lost to his democratic opponent (he only won by several percentage points as it was), and allowed the dems to usher in even more liberal abortion laws in the Commonwealth?

As it is, he vetoed emergency contraceptive legislation, lower age of consent for abortion legislation, has heavily pushed abstinence only education, etc etc etc.

Surely you can see this much. You can't wish for South Dakota laws in Massachusettes after all. Governor does not equal king.

9:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"only won by several percentage points" -- that cracks me up.

Murphy: "Can you point to anything Romney has promised during a campaign which he did not follow through on?"

Flip-flopper Murphy 2 hours later: "Over the course of his entire career, Mitt Romney delivers on campaign promises."

Way to go MTCO! Stick it to these frauds!

8:54 AM  
Blogger Caucus Cooler said...

Now he's actually pictured above!

Back to your regularly scheduled Murphy v. Huckabee grousing.

9:03 AM  
Blogger murphy said...

Anon 8:54,

Um, now I'm a flip-flopper too? Care to elaborate? Or is everyone you disagree with a flip-flopper? Sorry if I'm missing any obvious sarcasm or jest.

I have yet to hear a realistic explanation for how:

1. it does any good to run a solid South Dakota style prolife campaign in MA and lose big time
2. you can get solid borkian judicial nominees approved by a 100% ultra-liberal GC in MA

12:31 PM  
Anonymous more than casual observer said...

Here's the point: What is Romney NOT willing to toss aside in order to advance his own political career?

Leaders lead. Christians defend the unborn, even if that means losing a silly election.

If he was truly pro-life, he would not be able to live with himself. Instead he proudly proclaims: "I promised to do nothing and I kept that promise!"

Try and you might, you will never sell Romney's tragically pathetic abortion record to anyone who cares about the issue.

He's a total hypocrite on the most important issue among social conservatives.

He won't be President...but that is the least of his worries. He'd best get on his knees and do some soul searching.

12:46 PM  
Blogger murphy said...

mtco,

Do we atleast both agree on the fact that there are other issues than abortion? Granted, this is the most important one. But what if you are in a state where you just can't win it? Do you just throw away the entire GOP agenda and say "here you go ms. democrat, run the state into higher taxes, debt, AND even more liberal abortion laws".

Leaders recognize that no single issue is so important that we are a single-issue nation. Multiple problems exist right now, and a leader knows how to accomplish the best results given the situation . I haven't seen any indication that you agree with this.

And if I have two candidates who promise to appoint judges to overturn RvW, one of whom has a longer history on it than the other, how does it make any sense to put that pedigree at a higher priority than other important tie-breaking issues ? Granted, you have said "how can I trust Romney", but you have not pointed to a single instance in history where Romney broke a promise.

12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trusting someone does not necessarily mean that he has not broke a campaign promise.

Trust comes from being able to take someone at their word.

If Mitt is willing to do whatever it takes to be elected to office for the "greater good" or "the GOP agenda", how do we know what he is saying now is not something he is just saying to get elected no matter the issue?

1:14 PM  
Blogger murphy said...

Anon 1:14,

I'd suggest a thoughtfull look over his history of making promises and keeping them. There's a good summary video of his accomplishments and character at his PAC here:

http://www.thecommonwealthpac.com/romney/ (probably the best all around summary of him)

You can also read other people's pro-life perspectives on Romney. An excellent one is here:

http://www.americansformitt.com/prolife_perspective.html (Nathan Burd is the Director of International Program and Public Policy of Heartbeat International -- the largest group of pro-life pregnancy centers in the world)

I believe people will come to trust Romney once they see his character and get to know him. Consider the best example in recent history. Ronald Reagan (who signed legislation liberalizing California's abortion laws) won the trust of the prolife movement. Romney (who has constantly vetoed pro-abortion legislation) can win that same trust.

4:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who cares what they said? How did they govern? Show me where Romney promoted, passed or signed a law that advanced abortion rights.

Then show me a law or program Huckabee passed, signed or proposed that makes him a nanny statist and a fraud as a fiscal conservative.

If you're going to make the accusations, let's see some links. And I don't care what politicians say to get elected. Both men were governors. Show me what they did.

4:13 PM  
Blogger murphy said...

Anon 4:13,

Fair enough. I googled "Mike Huckabee" and "nanny state", and here's one of the first 10 links I found.

http://www.clubforgrowth.org/huckabee/

A few of Huckabee's ideas (such as him wanting a statewide ban on cigarette sales, a body mass index listed on a child's report card, etc) would help a lot of people lead healthier lives.

I should probably mention that I think a lot of libertarians are wackos. But they're OUR wackos, we have a big tent, and they vote with us in the primary. So I don't see how Huckabee's going to make it in 2008 (despite his social conservative bonafides).

7:33 PM  
Anonymous more than casual observer said...

I say fair enough, too. I Googled "Mitt Romney" and "abortion stance" and here is one of the first links I found:

http://www.greaterboston.tv/features/btp_romney_032902.html

It's worse than I thought. The Boston Globe has analyzed Romney's statements about abortion over time and come to the conclusion that: 1) he is pro-choice; and 2) his positon HASN'T REALLY CHANGED!

Considering all the work Romeny has done to try to obscure his real opinion about abortion, this has to be a real disappointment to him (and his apologists).

2:33 PM  
Blogger murphy said...

mtco-

That was a silly thing for you to post. The article was dated 2002, and people are discussing Romney's decision to apply his pro-life beliefs to his politics, a change as of 2004/2005.

As long as you're looking up things, try finding a single law that Romney has passed, signed, or proposed that is pro-abortion. (That is actually what anon 4:13 asked you for).

Meanwhile I can point to more than several actions Romney has taken that show him to be pro-life. See here for starters:

http://www.americansformitt.com/prolife_perspective.html

3:45 PM  

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