Derision 2012! OK, now it counts.

The pick has been made, the game is afoot.

Congressman Paul Ryan from Wisconsin is the Vice Presidential candidate for the republican ticket.

Cute Little bugger ain’t he.
Photo courtesy of Congressman Ryan’s official home page

Congressman Ryan serves Wisconsin’s 1st District and has since 1999.  The 1st district is home to Janesville, where Ryan is from, and the town of Racine.

You may have heard of Racine, it featured prominently in the Tom Hanks movie A League of their Own, about the Women’s Professional Baseball League that sprung up, largely in the mid-west, during WWII when Major League Baseball was going on hiatus for the war.

After the nonsense with the recall vote in Wisconsin, the stupidity with the dog on the roof (Romney), the eating of dog (Obama), the bullying of classmates (Romney), the using and selling of drugs in high-school (Obama), we may actually get to some serious issues in this campaign.

So you can forget all that crap, it counted for nothing.  We have the other player now. Now it all counts.

Tale of the Tape

Born in 1970 – so yeah he’s only 42, 23 years younger then Governor Romney, but more importantly only 3 short years younger than me.  Maybe my guidance counselor was right.

The congressman is a graduate of Miami University of Ohio with degrees in business and political science.

Married to Janna Little and has 3 children.  So we have four of the most boring faith based family men in the history of American politics going head to head for the White House.  As my friend John said the other day, they are all so alike personally, they’ll have to make stuff up about each other in order to attack.

Mr Ryan is Roman Catholic, coupled with the Governor’s Mormon faith, this is the first presidential ticket in some time without a traditional protestant.  Not sure this is an issue, no actually I’m sure this is not an issue, but with the dopiness that seems to define the President’s current campaign strategy, my gut tells me we’ll hear a little more about this than we should.

An odd but possibly serious fact – Ryan’s father, grand father, and great grand-father all died of heart attacks before the age of 60.  I’m almost positive this will come up.  Medical history is common fodder for campaigns, and that’s some serious history bro.

My $.02

In the interest of full disclosure, I voted for the President in 08, but I was probably voting for the Governor this time around.  The president’s campaigning has led me even further in that direction. This pick all but seals my vote.  I mean excluding the fact the guy is a heart attack waiting to happen, from appearances and speeches he is a no non-sense business guy with the only official budget proposal on the table.  That’s not just between the candidates, that’s all of the body politic in Washington.  His economic plan, like all plans, has rough edges but some republicans even ran from it.  Newt Gingrich, as you may recall, was one of the first to jump ship.

You remember Newt don’t ya: big ass blow hard, ego bigger than his belly, 3x loser on the marriage/adultery circuit.  Has plans for a moon base by his THIRD term as President and thinks little black kids should be taken from grade school and sent to be janitors of Moon Base Gingrich. Yeah that’s him.  Anyway he called Ryan a right wing radical on the morning talk shows when Team Gingrich thought they still had a shot, way back in February.

The right wing radical charge may well be true, and I don’t think it is, but as of this moment no one, not even the republicans, have come up with an official budget proposal even though they don’t seem to be fully behind the Ryan budget.  At least Mr Ryan is working, trying to fix things, a trait that seems foreign to most politicians in DC at the moment.

For the Governor this was a good pick.  Congressman Ryan gives the Governor a solid conservative to lean on.  It would appear to me the two of them can get the conservative base and have a good chance at all those independents and undecideds that will sway the election.

Passed Over 

Senator Rubio of Florida is a little young and Mr Rubio muddled his own history by claiming to have fled Castro’s Cuba when in fact his parents left before the crackdown started.  They didn’t escape or flee on a raft.  They bought airline tickets and basically immigrated to the US.

My pick, Senator John Thune of South Dakota, would have been a good pick, but he probably would not have brought the charge to the ticket the way Mr Ryan will.

Senator Rob Portman of Ohio was in contention but like Thune, a solid pick with no pizzaz.

Mr Ryan it is.  I like it.  I’ll probably buy the t-shirt.

I believe the R&R campaign will be civil and focused on the issues at hand.  They better be.  Unlike McCain and Plain, who sidetracked themselves with the nonsense of faith, country of origin, and other derogatory tacts towards then Senator Obama, Romney and Ryan can run on actual truths.  Truth 1: The President is a decent man, but his policies for the last four years have not fixed things.  Truth 2: They should stand up and declare that the President is indeed an American, just not the right American for the job.

All you weak minded folk can wallow in the stupidity of wether he is christian/muslim, American/Keynyan, socialist/communist.  Most of you wouldn’t know a communist or a socialist if they kicked you in the ass.  The irony is President Obama is losing votes from the progressives because he failed to deliver the socialism so many right wing nut jobs said was coming.  It would be laugh out loud funny if it wasn’t such a sad expose of the way the media, left, right, and center, seems to be able to lead the general public around by the nose.

In my opinion, much like President Bush, the current President is a good guy tying to do his best.  President Obama’s best is just not good enough.  Dissecting his polices without slinging mud at his character should be easy enough for the likes of R&R.  (credit Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina for the R&R tag)

However the President’s campaign has shown a bizarre willingness to crawl in the mud, and for no apparent reason.  The Governor never went there, but all the Presidents men seem in a rush to dive into the lowest level of the cesspool.   (A forthcoming post titled “The summer of stupid.” will go into much detail.)    The Governor has yet to make a personal attack against the President.

R&R need to stay on that path.  The high road should lead them to the White House.

You can read Vice Presidential candidate Ryan’s speech here: Romney/Ryan 2012

 

 

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Derision 2012! The Birth(er) of a Nominee.

The stars at night, shine big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas.  Sing it with me.  Governor Romney secured the republican nomination for President last night; winning 90 of the 155 delegates up for grabs in the Texas primary.  That brings the Governors’ total to 1198, with only 1144 needed to become the nominee of his party.  So it’s official, Willard Mitt Romney is the republican nominee for President of the United States.  If he doesn’t get a handle on his newest big money donor, presidential nominee is the highest title the governor will ever get.

The Donald has become a big time spokesman for the Romney campaign.  His first effort in that regard came on the day Romney clinched the nomination.  Trump trotted out the old birther issue.  This was a mistake on so many levels.

First of all Trump is a bit of a kook and his dogged pursuit of an issue long laid to rest by the government of the state of Hawaii is only cementing the kook persona.  The Donald went at it on CNN with Wolf Blitzer Tuesday; trading blows over the absurdidty of the birth certificate released by Hawaii.  Trump maintains it’s a fake and claims a lot of prominent people agree with him.  When Blitzer pressed Trump on who exactly agrees, Trump pulled the old “I don’t name names” line.  Tough to name names when you don’t know any.   Keep in mind Trump is an entertainer and, as the President put it, a carnival barker.  This is all upside for the Donald, and all downside for Governor Romney.

To me the bigger issue is the mud.  The President was the first to crawl in it with all the attacks over the dog, the alleged bully incident, and the inaccurate Bain Capital attacks.  The Governor should have let the Obama campaign wallow in the muck by themselves.  Romney should have been happy to let the President have all that low ground to himself.  The President and his campaign did a masterful job in 2008 building up Obama’s person as an enlightened, above the fray guy.  Someone that high has a long way to fall and the thud will be loud.  Once more, the President’s own campaign seemed eager to get the fall rolling with all the idiotic moves they made early on.  Romney didn’t even have to work for it, they were tripping themselves.

Ultimately Trump is a carnival barker who always works himself to the center of any spotlight, good or bad.  He believes in the axiom of any press is good press.  Maybe when you’re trying to get ratings, but votes are different.  Romney has hooked his wagon to a carnival barker with no filter and an ego unmatched in human history.  Not sure I like that combo.  If I was advising the Governor I would tell him to use Newt’s line, yes that Newt.  Gingrich said yesterday “….we believe this is a American born, job killing, President.”  I would have Romney word it differently, make it more declarative.  He needs to say “I have no doubt that President Obama was born in America, just as I have no doubt he has been wrong for America and here’s why.”  Boom.  End the birther issue and pivot to your economic message in one easy sentence.  You’re welcome Governor.

Spel Chek Dipartmint

Rarely do the gaffes associated with a campaign originate with the nominee himself.  This is one of those cases but Romney will get tagged with it for a week, maybe two.  His campaign sent an iPad/iPhone app to Apple.  It’s supposed to be an advertisement and a campaign tracking app all in one.  Problem: the app’s opening page has the slogan “A Better Amercia”.   It happens, it’s embarrassing, it’ll go away by next week, especially with Trump on board.  And there is the one up side of embracing Trump, any gaffe your campaign or you make will be quickly overshadowed by The Donald’s antics.

Good luck Governor, I think you’ll need it now.

Tracker Change

With the nomination all sewn up, the primary voting tracker and delegate tracker on the right side of Frank’s Place will be removed.  In it’s place will eventually be opinion and polling trackers.  These will become more significant after each party has its national nominating conventions late this summer.

Stay tuned.

 

GOP Primary: It’s still going, and going, and going….

For those of you still keeping up with the GOP Primary race there is an election tonight.  The good citizens of Indiana, North Carolina and West Virginia get their chance tonight.

Shouldn’t be much excitement in the main event.  Governor Romney should sweep all three states.  With 132 delegates at stake the Governor can run his total to 989 total delegates.  That leaves him only 155 delegates shy of final victory.  Or does it?  More on that in a second.  But first there are some games with-in the game tonight that should make for interesting news stories tomorrow morning.

First, in Indiana, Republican Senator Richard Lugar, his friends call him Dick although at the moment it appears he has no friends, is about to lose a primary challenge to the state treasurer.  In the ongoing quest by the Republican party to cleanse itself of all those deemed not conservative enough by the Tea Party, Senator Lugar is about to be unseated by little known Richard Murdock, after 35 years in the Senate.  Lugar was the Mayor of Indianapolis from 1968 to 1976 before winning his current Senate seat in 1977.  He was once known as the George Washington of Indiana.

The big issue that felled Lugar and so angered the Tea Party; Lugar had no idea that his residence was listed as Washington DC, and had less than a clue as to where the DMV sends his mail.  He was painted as a DC insider and that was that.  Yes, clearly these are the important issue of the day in Indiana.  You think there was more to it than that, google it and find me the issue that separates Lugar from Murdock other than this silly business of residence.  Even Murdock admits he has been voting for Lugar for years.

On to North Carolina.  A gay marriage ban is up for vote by the people of the Tar Heel State.  Actually the amendment would not ban gay marriage directly but would define marriage and a union between a man and a women and cement it as law in the state’s constitution.  So by implication it bans same-sex marriage.  This is much bigger than Lugar getting busted by his own party in Indiana.  There are a lot of polls out there that say the American public is ok with gay marriage.  Still other polls show that most don’t care one way or the other.  So you have to believe the numbers showing favor over against might be misleading.  Not caring about something is not the same as being for something.  Also, the gay marriage movement has been gaining steam since 2009.  This might be a big setback for those that favor gay marriage.  Count me among those who care not, one way or the other.

While all this is going on, Governor Romney might have a little problem on his hands.  That problem is the Keebler elf, otherwise known as Congressman Ron Paul from Texas.  Way back when I tried to define unbound and bound delegates, county caucuses versus state conventions.  Read some of those here for a refresher: Unbound Delegates   Washington State Caucus

Well it turns out Paul and his campaign are taking advantage of the caucus rules and have been winning the unbound delegates that Romney won during the initial caucus.  How has he been doing that?  His camp has been going to the state conventions and getting their delegates elected to the national convention where they will likely vote for Romney when the roll is called.

For example, Governor Romney won the Nevada Caucus, taking 14 delegates to Newts, Santorum’s 3 and Paul’s 2.  However at the Nevada state convention 22 of the 25 delegates are Paul supporters.  Paul realized that the candidates don’t normally take part in the state conventions so he sent his boys to each one and they got elected to fill the delegate positions.  In the states where the delegates are not bound to vote for the initial caucus winner.  So that means at the national convention when Nevada is called, it is likely the if not guaranteed, most of the delegates will vote for Paul.  This situation is occurring in several of the states that held a caucus instead of a straight up primary election.  Paul can’t win the nomination this way but mathematically he could keep Romney from winning the nomination on the first roll call at the national convention.

This is more than likely a play by Paul for more influence and personal participation at the national convention and possibly in a Romney White House.  Stay tuned, it could get interesting.

Man I love that guy.

Election results late tonight cause, you know, it’s the silly central time zone.

GOP Primary: Well, so much for that…

It appears Newt will not gladly pay us Tuesday for a hamburger today.  However, today is Tuesday so if he eats another hamburger today with the intention of paying us next Tuesday he’ll be into us for two hamburger.  Ah, you get the idea, I hope.

Bottom line, Newt must have had a dream, a revelation, a vision, possibly a nightmare seeing his public career ending today, who knows.  Whatever it was it scared him to the point of pushing his quitting back to Wednesday.  It’s possible he has too many May Day festivities to attend, you know the pre-christian passage of the season May Day, not the workers communist May Day, although with Newt it is hard to say.  Little Doc Seuss rhyme for the kids there.

How bad has it become for Newt and his band of merry man?  Yeah, no money so his merry band is down to one dude and TMZ reports he aint too merry.  It’s so bad Newt really isn’t even getting respect from professional writers, newspapers or even the President.  I mean it’s one thing for a dopey hack like me sitting in Knoxville TN, taking shots at Newt, but for the pros, who get published nationally, that’s a big step to degrade the man who was once Speqaker of the House.  Here is a quick sample.

At the corespondents dinner on Saturday night the President took a big uppercut at Newt, who was in attendance.  He actually singled out Newt, called out “Where is Newt?”  When the President found Newt, as did the house spotlight, he yelled, “Newt, there’s still time man!”  The joint broke open with laughter.  Everybody was busting a gut, except Newt that is.  He was not amused in the slightest.

Even worse, the host of the dinner, Jimmy Kimmel of ABC, only mentioned Newt once in his monologue, and it was a fat joke.

By the way, it’s telling that Newt even went to the correspondents dinner.  What did he expect to happen.  He’s been to these things before, he knows what they’re like in an election year.  Sure he has a lot of friends there and he worked on K Street, lobbyist row as it’s sometimes called, for a long time but was the free dinner worth being ridiculed by the guy who has the job you want but will never get?

And the beat goes on.

From the New York Times’ Mark Leibovich –  A familiar analogy is to the Japanese soldiers who turned up in remote areas long after August 1945 and had no idea that World War II had ended. But Mr. Gingrich knows that his war is over, and while not exactly fighting, he is not surrendering yet, either.

This from Alan Altman at Time Magazine, Time Magazine for pete’s sake – On Wednesday in Washington, Newt Gingrich will bury a campaign that has been dead so long it’s begun to smell.  That was the opening line of the article.

From the same article we also find out that Newt’s lobbyist firms have no work for him and his two foundations that used to make him loads of money have disintegrated with Newt out on the trail and filed for bankruptcy.  The lecture circuit may be all he has left to keep his lifestyle going.

Listen for the words Newt uses on Wednesday and in future appearances.  You might catch a hint of flattery towards the Romney campaign.

That will be the signal Newt is angling for a job in a Romney White House.

After Wednesday what will we do without all the talk of moon bases and the poor kids becoming school janitors?  Newt we’ll miss ya buddy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

(no we won’t)

GOP Primary: Newt calls it quits…sort of

You knew it wouldn’t be that easy.  Newt Gingrich is ending his campaign for the Presidency, kind of.  He announced Wednesday that he will quit on Tuesday, with a speech.  Always with a speech.  Where have I heard that before.  Oh yeah, it was one of the great philosophers of our time, “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”  Of course Newt is a southerner of sorts.  He was born in Pennsylvania, but grew up in Georgia.  You know Southerners, they’re always fixing to do something before actually doing it, so maybe Newt is just fixing to quit.  I have lived in Knoxville for 12 years now and I have even caught myself saying that.

One thing he’s not quitting is his very expensive, tax payer funded, secret service protection.  The Office of Homeland Security is expected to pull the plug on the $44,000 a day detail by the weekend.  So Newt and Calista will have to slug it out without a security detail all the way till Tuesday.  Oh the humanity.

Newt has already dropped most of his staff, and his debt continues to grow, in part because he continues to honor campaign engagements he made a month or two ago.  If you think this is normal, I offer Tim Pawlenty, former Governor of Minnesota and first candidate to drop out of the race.

When T-Paw decided to get out and endorse Governor Romney he cancelled all scheduled campaign events, went home to Minnesota and settled all outstanding debt.  He did not suspend his campaign, he ended it.  He filed the paperwork with the SEC (the commission, not the greatest sports conference in the country), and when he stepped to the podium to campaign for Romney he was completely free of debt and his campaign finance account was zeroed out.  That’s how an adult who believes in fiscal responsibility runs a campaign.

Granted Pawlenty got out a lot earlier than Newt, so his debt was not as high, but that is way too simplistic an explanation.  Neither Pawlenty, nor Santorum for that matter, flew around in private jets, hired private security details, or made an enormous amount of impromptu stops to zoos, sporting events, museums, etc… All that costs money and time and staff; which costs more money.  The jet rental company has still not been paid.  Calista even kept the private security after a Secret Service detail was assigned to her.  Even more telling, the campaign made no financial adjustments after Florida, when the funding started to dry up and it became clear Santorum and Romney were the front runners.  This campaign was running high on the hog from start to finish, debt be damned.

Newt is not the conservative he claims to be.  He may say a lot of conservative stuff, but he doesn’t do a lot of conservative things.  His campaign is more than enough evidence of that.  I wonder how much debt he can ring up between Friday night’s trip to tour the Penske Racing Plant and Tuesday’s speech?

To semi-quote a Tom Cruise movie, Newt’s ego was and still is writing checks his account just can’t cash.

GOP Primary: The Event Horizon

Can you feel it?  We are getting close.  Event Horizon is a term related to relativity, describing the boundary by which an outside observer can no longer be affected by events through space and time.  In other words, it’s the point of no return.  Tonight we reached the event horizon of the republican primary election.  Governor Romney can’t officially win the nomination of his party until the Texas primary on May 29th at the earliest, but by sweeping the five states that voted tonight, he will no longer be affected by the Newts and Ron Pauls of the political world.  The republican party is at it’s event horizon, their point of no return, with Governor Romney as their nominee.

Now as we have seen over the past few weeks, there could always be a Columbian hooker in the closet, as in the case of the Secret Service, or a pregnant mistress and violation of campaign finance law, as in the case of former 08 candidate John Edwards.  If any of that were to happen that would of course change the game.  In this case I think the republicans are safe.  This is Governor Romney’s second go round.  You would think any issue would have come up by now, but hey you never know.

Just FYI; John Edwards could get 30 years in prison for what he has been accused of.  The trial started today and the first witness, one of Edwards’ closest aides during his failed Presidential run, put Edwards squarely under the bus.  The guy had receipts, e-mails, cashed checks, the works.  Johnny Haircut might be in a pickle on this caper.

Anyway, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware voted tonight.  Governor Romney swept all 5 states.  His lowest percentage was in Delaware, where he got 56% of the vote.  There were 231 delegates available tonight and Gov. Romney won them all.  His total now stands at 801 delegates.  He needs only 343 more to win the nomination.  He will do that easily.  There will be no floor fight at the convention.

Of course Newt finished last in every race but Delaware, coming in 2nd, some 3o percentage points behind Gov. Romney.  Naturally he gave a speech in North Carolina tonight.   Why North Carolina, well the Tar Heel state votes in the next primary on Tuesday, May 8th.  So you know what that means, Newt is staying in.  He claims he’ll reevaluate, but he said that about Delaware, and he got shellacked in Delaware.  He may just to drop out tomorrow, when he has the press all to himself.  He may just like having his Secret Service detail, you know the tax payer funded, heavily armed detail.

Paul finished 2nd in every race but Delaware.  He took 3rd behind Newt.  Interesting to note that Paul did not campaign in any of the states that voted tonight and he still beat Newt by sizable margins in 4 of the 5 states.  He appears to be hanging on for a sprint to the convention, again in all likelihood to get some more time for his Libertarian message.

Next primary is May 8th.  North Carolina, West Virginia, and Indiana are up.  Should be another 132 delegates in Governor Romney’s column.

We have another dead period as we wait the two weeks for the May 8th vote.  What will we find out next.  Will it be another dog meat buffet scandal, illegal immigrant hedge trimmers, fancy vacations, or an oldy but a goody, the birth certificate conundrum?

Rest assured, if it’s utterly ridiculous, heinously stupid, and completely manufactured, Frank’s Place will be all over it.

GOP Primary: The point of no return… maybe

This is it. Possibly.  Tonight’s the night.  I think.

This should be the final step for Governor Romney.  He is running basically unopposed now and while he can’t technically win the nomination tonight, that could come in Texas on May 29th at the earliest, he can effectively put the nomination away by sweeping the five northeastern states voting tonight.  If he can’t do that, the doubts that have been finding a voice the past three weeks may get louder.

The governor has already shifted to hammering the President, although he made that move after the Florida primary.  The big difference this time; the White House has shifted to hammering Romney, clearly believing he is the man.  The only person who doesn’t believe it is Newt, and a lot of the electorate.

Chuck Todd, NBC’s political director called it way back in August of 2011.  The Republican base may not fall in love with Mitt Romney but they need to fall in LIKE with him.  Still not sure the electorate is in like with Mitt Romney.  Tonight will go a long way to settling that down.

In Newt’s case his ego just won’t let him quit.  His debt on the other hand…  Currently the Gingrich campaign is over 6 million in debt and that number is rising.  For some reason Newt and Calista have refused to accept they are the fringe campaign.  Both still use a private jet for travel, and Calista still maintains a personal body guard service, even though she has a secret service agent assigned to her.  Speaking of the US Secret Service, guess which candidate who is against frivolous government spending still demands a secret service detail, costing the tax payer some serious gitas (money).  Newt and Calista will have that detail until he drops from the race; something he say’s he’s not willing to do until the convention.

However, because of the mounting debt there has been rumblings that Newt may pull the cord after the Delaware primary.  Delaware?  That’s his last stand according to his campaign.  Not really sure what a portion of 17 delegates will do for a campaign that’s over 500 delegates behind and 6 mil in debt but hey what do I know, he’s the PhD.

Don’t Look Now…..

Remember all those dumb little non-binding delegates from all those dumb little caucuses in the mid-west?  Well, they have been conducting their respective state conventions and guess who’s been winning a lot of those un-bound delegates?  If you guessed Congressman Ron Paul, take 10 dollars out of petty cash.  The Paul campaign has 2+ million in surplus cash, no debt, no on coming debt.  He’s not traveling much, speaking at local events in his districts or at colleges where the school puts up the fee.    In other words it turns out Ron Paul practices what he preaches.  It has put him in good position for …

Guess what, Ron Paul may survive to the convention.  He can’t win it but he’ll finish second in overall delegates which would be a huge feat.  He’ll probably be offered a speech in close to prime time network coverage at the convention; in the dinner hour most likely, and that’s the victory Paul is looking for.  He knows he can’t win, but if he can keep getting his message out there through the remainder of this election, that will be victory enough.

All five states are in the correct time zone, so polls close anywhere from 7 to 8pm eastern.  Check back for results after 8.

Oh and any polls you see in April have absolutely no bearing in November.  Romney has drawn even with the President, the President trails Romney, it will be all over the map.  The only poll that matters now is the one you’re standing in on Tuesday, November 6th.