Category Archives: Barack Obama

A Democrat’s take on the 2012 GOP Presidential Field


Last week, the FOX network continued its push to replace President Obama with its first official piece of business, the first FOX Republican Presidential candidate debate.  While many of the top contenders decided not to attend, five middle and lower tier candidates showed up and excited national Republican political junkies.

Despite the low candidate turnout, and the absence of the most controversial candidates, this particular debate was a bit controversial.  Not just controversial in that 4 of the 5 candidates in attendance said they would support torture as a President… (pause for shake of head)… but it was controversial in that the Associated Press and Reuters chose not to attend because of restrictions placed by the FOX Network on other news gathering organizations.  I guess it just proves that Sirius/XM was correct in their recent reclassification moving FOX “News” from the News station category to the Political station category.

Anyway, it was the first event of the 2012 presidential race.  We will have a better picture of what to expect as we approach the summer and fall. There should be candidates beating down the door to take on President Obama the way Republicans talk about how bad a President he is. I think the reality is that potential candidates realize it would have been really hard to beat Barack Obama even before the recent political events.

Here is my uneducated take on the field of Obama’s potential challengers.

The Serious Presidential Challengers:
Mitt Romney
Former Governor of Massachusetts, dogged within the party for RomneyCare and past “liberal” stances. Most recent polls have him closely behind poll leader Mike Huckabee, second, just like he was to John McCain.  Romney lost to Ted Kennedy in a Senate race not long ago.  In that race Senator Kennedy joked that Romeny flipped and flopped so much that if the election lasted long enough, Mitt would vote for Kennedy instead of himself. Ted Kennedy also joked saying “I am pro choice, Mitt is multiple choice.” I think that flip-flop aspect of his history will keep him in second, regardless of who wins the nomination.  But, if he gets the nomination, he might have a better chance of winning than a lot of these candidates.

Jeb Bush
I included Jeb Bush in the serious challenger list, but not Mike Huckabee, go figure.  Huckabee is obviously a serious contender, I’m just unsure he will run.  I think Jeb will run.  He is obviously hurt by Bush 43 as well as Bush 41, by 43’s policies and result, and 41 along with 43 by the monarchal aspect of a third Bush as a President.  Those are the only reasons he wouldn’t run, but if he jumps in, especially at the last minute into a crowd of dull, lifeless contenders, he immediately becomes a star.  I don’t think he can win the presidency because of 41 and 43, but he could easily get the nomination. 

The Dark Horses:
Paul Ryan
Like Bush, he isn’t necessarily an expected candidate, but neither was Barack Obama.  He is a Midwesterner liked by Tea Party and Republicans, and he has already established a fiscal campaign against Obama. He is technically a dark horse because he isn’t a candidate yet. If he jumped in, I think he would move to the serious challenger level and be labeled by some the second coming of Ronald Reagan (which would be completely inaccurate, don’t get me started.)

Tim Pawlenty
He seemed to be the winner in the recent FOX Network debate according to other’s accounts.  He could win by default because he is non-controversial nationally, yes, he did raise his hand in support of torture.  Of course, how he left the State of Minnesota could really hurt him in a national debate.  But if Mike Huckabee stays out of the race, and he wins Iowa.  He could run away with the nomination a la Bill Clinton. 

Mitch Daniels
Ditto on Tim Pawlenty, but he actually did the things Pawlenty didn’t, like solving a state budget deficit. He also is seen as a little more independent that would appeal to moderates with his decision to avoid controversial social wedge issues, which is a negative to hard core Republicans.  Maybe a good national pick, but might have a hard time getting the Republican nomination.

Michelle Bachmann
I know she got a zero in a recent Iowa poll, but ths is a very shrewd and hard working politician. I consider her a dark horse, not because I think she can win, but because she can get some serious attention and raise a lot of money.  The problem is she has a really good thing going where she is right now, so I question whether she would want to leave the House, especially if her district borders remain unchanged as they appear to be in the first redistricting attempt. On the other hand, if she does enter the race and doesn’t win the nomination, she is poised to fully concentrate on taking on Sen. Al Franken in 2014.  That makes me think she might not mind getting in.

The Not So Likely:
Newt Gingrich
He announced he is in today.  He is a fundraising powerhouse and he WAS a political powerhouse. I think the “was” aspect is weighing on his ego.  He can make a run, and if he loses, but does well, he gets the extra attention to sell books and continues to get calls from the FOX network to be an analyst.  If he happens to win, even better for Newt.

Herman Cain
Herman Cain was the fan favorite at the FOX Network debate, and to his credit, he was the only candidate who said he would not support torture.  He doesn’t have much of a chance.

Sarah Palin
Fierce loyalty among fans, but doesn’t seem to the have the skills or desire to seriously compete for the GOP nomination, let alone the Presidency. Plus, a bad loss would seriously diminish her ability to be taken seriously on the FOX network…

Ron Paul
Might have a better chance to win the presidency than some of these guys, but he can’t win the GOP nomination.  Plus, there is his son…

The Jokes:
Donald Trump
He was a registered Democrat, vied to run as the Reform Party candidate for president, toyed with running for New York Governor, and now is threatening to toss his hair in the ring this year for President. It is all a publicity stunt to increase his wealth. After all, is the country really going to elect a man who started life with $400 million that his father left him and has been bankrupt 3 times since, divorced twice, had an affair, and thinks he has the right to judge other’s moral and financial decisions?  Recent polls have put him in his place, close to last.

Rick Santorum
Just Google Rick Santorum quotes. No change. Nothing more to say.

Sarah Palin
Could be included here too.

The could haves, but have better things to do:
Mike Huckabee
He has a good gig going. If he gets in he is a “challenger” but I’ve read that he isn’t necessarily interested.  He leads in the current polls, and he might be the only current potential candidate (not including Bush or Ryan) at the top of the list who could unite the Republican base and challenge Obama. 

Haley Barbour
Already out. He is old and wants to spend the rest of his life enjoying it.  The funny thing is that I read he might be Mike Huckabee’s running mate if he runs.  His exit from the race adds to my feeling that Huckabee is out too.

Overall, at this point in the race it seems like a pretty weak pack. If I were betting, and Huckabee stays out, I would put my money on Pawlenty.  But if Bush or Ryan get in, Pawlenty is toast.  They are probably all toast if Huckabee gets in.


Obama has me feeling a little like Charlie Brown…

I keep telling myself that we are not even six months into Obama’s first term, but I can’t help starting to feel a little like Charlie Brown trying to kick a football. A lot of people on the religious right know the feeling. Bush was elected, there were majorities in the house and senate, and yet the core “family-value” issues republicans seemed to run on, were never really addressed. Instead of the religious right kicking the football, Bush played Lucy and pulled the football away as they were about to score.

I don’t want to be Charlie Brown trying to kick a football. I want the change so many of us voted for. It may only be six months into Obama’s first term, but the time to get the healthcare crisis resolved is ticking away. Do you really think the Democrats can expand their majorities beyond what they are now?

There are 18 months left of this supermajority. Obama and the rest of the Democrats in the house and senate can cater to the right wing, corporations and special interest groups, or they can solve a problem. As much as I like having a progressive supermajority, what is the point of having it if we can’t use it for the issues that a majority of us want resolved? If we can’t do it now, then when will we be able to?

It is time for Obama to take control, and set his legacy now. He ran on change, and now he can make a change. He is going to have to stop being the nice, popular president and take that change we voted for and cram it down the throats to those Democrats standing in the way. Otherwise, on Wednesday November 3rd, 2010, there are going to be a lot of Democrats flying through the air, yelling “AAUGH!” before they land flat on their back and wish they had not trusted Lucy.

Obama Considers Tax on Cabinet

I am glad Tom Daschle withdrew. Not that I don’t think he would be great, in fact I really like Tom Daschle, but because I am sick of Democrats defending him. I am pretty forgiving when it comes to tax issues. Taxes are confusing, even for people who do them on a regular basis, but it is not an excuse. If Daschle were a republican, callers to AM 950, Air America and bloggers would be all over him. He should have withdrawn right away instead of causing President Obama the embarrassment of having to support his friend anyway.

This is a funny posting by Andy Borowitz:

Obama Considers Tax on Cabinet
Would Create Budget Surplus, Experts Believe

President Barack Obama is mulling a controversial new tax program that would require members of his Cabinet to pay taxes owed under the Federal tax code, the White House confirmed today.

While the unorthodox tax proposal is reportedly “only in the planning stages,” it is being eyed as a possible way to balance the Federal budget.

“According to projections, if members of the Cabinet actually paid their taxes, we could wind up with a budget surplus in excess of $18.2 billion,” said Obama economic adviser Paul Volcker.

Mr. Volcker said he strongly favored the plan, but added, “Fortunately for me, I’m not officially in the Cabinet.”

But imposing taxes on Cabinet members may be easier said than done, critics of the plan warn.

“Remember, these people are not used to paying taxes,” said one White House source. “They are going to be hopping mad about this.”

Another wrinkle in the plan is how the taxes would actually be collected, with President Obama reportedly favoring a cash-at-the-door entry fee for every Cabinet meeting.

“If they don’t have the money, they don’t get in,” said the source. “They’re not going to be able to just sail into the White House for free like the Jonas Brothers.”

When told of Mr. Obama’s plan to make his Cabinet members pay taxes, Fmr. Sen. Tom Daschle responded, “Whew! Sounds like I dodged a bullet.”

Obama team sweeps news media into Cubs-Sox rivalry

I just think it is kind of funny.

From the Chicago Tribune:
Obama team sweeps news media into Cubs-Sox rivalry
By John McCormick, November 25, 2008

There’s always a media pecking order at a presidential news conference, but on Monday, aides to President-elect Barack Obama introduced a new twist to the seating chart.

Reporters were assigned seats in one of two sections, one to Obama’s left, designated the “Cubs” section, and the other to his right, designated “White Sox.” Team assignments appeared to be arbitrary.

Obama is a die-hard White Sox fan, but when it came time to take questions, he didn’t favor reporters on that side. Instead, his seemingly random selections were pre-determined by aides.

Still, the seating chart didn’t sit well with some reporters who have their own Chicago baseball roots. Here’s the take from Steve Thomma, a reporter for the McClatchy Newspapers chain who filed a report as a member of the press pool following Obama on Monday.

“In a crime against nature, your pooler—a genuine White Sox fan, a man who attended his first twi-night doubleheader at the Old Comiskey in 1963, who sat behind third base for the 50th anniversary All-Star Game there in ’83, who knew Bill Veeck and the wonders of Disco Demolition night, who saw the great Ozzie [Guillen] play before he managed—has been assigned a seat in the Cubs section.”

Who knows what seating chart they could come up with next—Hyde Park versus Lincoln Park? Deep-dish versus thin-crust?

Byron Leftwich was playing for more than the Steelers

I heard an interesting bit of election prediction info this morning. Since 1936, the Washington Redskins of the NFL have predicted the outcome of a presidential election.

The prediction hinges on whether or not the Redskins win or lose their last home game before the election. If the Redskins win their home game before the election, the party in power maintains power in the presidential election. If the Redskins lose their final home game before the election, the party that is not the incumbent party wins the Whitehouse.

Yesterday, the Washington Redskins were beaten badly by the Steelers 23-6, I think that can only mean that Barack Obama is going to have a good night.

Now skeptics of this formula will tell you that since the Redskins lost their last home game before the election in 2004, the prediction that Obama will win just doesn’t hold water, but we all know about all of the voting irregularities in Ohio in 2004, so it is my belief that 2004 should be dismissed. That said, even if we include 2004, their record has picked the winner 15 out of 16 times, or 94% of the time, so I have to tell you, I am pretty darn confident.