Tag Archives: George W. Bush

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.

What should we do about gas prices?

How do we solve the current problem of high gas prices?  Who solves the problem of high gas prices?  Are taxes a part of the problem?  Is the President to blame?

Several years ago, 1999 or 2000, when gas prices were topping $1.60 a gallon, then presidential candidate, Texas Governor George Bush said the president “must jawbone OPEC members into lowering prices.”

How’d that work out?

Admittedly, I criticized President Bush on that statement, and the resulting huge increase in gas prices ($4 per gallon) that curiously increased between elections, and dropped at election time.  So is the President to blame?  Was George Bush to blame?  Is Barack Obama to blame now?  George Bush deserved criticism for his statements and lack of knowledge about gas prices, if you recall, he didn’t even know the price of gas was almost $4 a gallon when a reporter asked him about it at one point during his presidency, but the president wasn’t and isn’t specifically to blame per se.

I’m sure I could find blame, and I guess if we had another president like Teddy Roosevelt who took on corporate crooks, the president could be a solution, but the problem is Wall Street investors buying oil futures as a short-term investment, not the president. 

Can you name one product that drives our economy as much as the cost of gas?  Not only do prices of products rise with the price of gas, but if I spend $40 more dollars on gas each month, with profits going to a foreign company, that is $40 less I am spending at local businesses that create jobs.  That means I’m not buying a pizza at Casa Nostra in Lakeville or taking my wife on a date to go see a movie at the Lakeville Movie Theater.  It means I’m not buying as much fresh locally grown produce at the grocery store, or splurging on a steak at Kowalski’s.  It means I wear my shoes longer and let me hair grow out a little more between cuts.  

Should a resource that dictates the economic success or failure of small businesses, and our country in general, as much as oil and gas do, really be an item that makes Wall Street investors rich?  When Wall Street traders think oil prices will increase, they bid more, increasing the price of oil.  So as we pay more and more, oil companies, many of them foreign, who have no significant additional costs to produce a barrel of oil, make more and more money.

I guess there are two solutions.  Drilling more won’t work, first it won’t stop speculation, and second we already have a glut of oil.  OPEC is slowing down drilling because they can’t sell it all.  So, we can work to either eliminate the use of oil and gas, or we can begin regulating investment in oil futures to some degree.  I don’t know whether either would work.  I doubt we would see a big decline in gas prices, after all, how often do we see gas prices go down 20 cents in a day like they go up?  It’s business, and it is not likely.  But regulation on oil speculation that limits gambling on oil would at least make our gas prices dependent on supply and demand rather than based on Wall Street profits.  Well, that is until radical governments take over the entire Middle East and cut us off completely…

Who Are We Going To Trust? The Maverick or the New McCain?

After more than a year of running as a Bush-Cheney Republican and courting groups of the electorate he has never wanted the support of before, and after more than three days of a convention full of negative, derisive speeches with more punch lines than policy, John McCain took the stage and was his old self again, at least for part of the speech.

McCain criticized the Republican party, talked about how the party has lost the respect of many Americans and called for an end to our nation’s growing partisanship, which has been fueled by Bush, Cheney, Rove and Delay.

There were periods of the speech that I felt like the crowd was unsure of whether they should cheer or not. For part of the speech he was the maverick again. But he tried to have it both ways, he never mentioned global warming or immigration, two issues that used to be his major concerns outside of the war. He questioned Barack Obama’s patriotism, and lied about Obama’s positions. He criticized congress as if he wasn’t a part of it.

Who are we going to trust? The maverick or the man who changes to please others? Do we trust a man who derides Barack Obama as an elitist, despite the fact that he worked his tail off to get were he is, or the elitist whose wife wears a $250,000 outfit to the convention, and who has to decide whether to spend his time at the Ranch in Hidden Valley, the 7000 sq. ft. condo in Phoenix, the beach-front property in California or the other beach-front property in California.

Do we trust the man who used to call for political contribution reforms, but gets millions of dollars from a few donors, or Barack Obama who get a few dollars from a million donors.

John McCain is no longer a maverick, he showed glimpses of it last night to appeal to independent voters. They would have voted for him in 2000, but there are too many voters like me who were moderates in 2000, but are now strong Democrats because of the last 8-12 years, and we want a change in Washington. There is hope.

Sarah (Sarcastic) Smile

If you watched the RNC last night, you saw a couple of cynical and sarcastic politicians speak.

After hearing all last week that the DNC was just a bunch of good speeches about hope and change without real policy ideas, last night’s display by Giuliani and Palin was insulting. Palin is a great speaker (I could barely watch Rudy) but it was full of negative and sarcastic jabs at Barack Obama, and even at the people like me that support him.

Palin may call herself an outsider, but she showed she is going to fit right in as a typical negative, attacking Republican politician. As John McCain said, that is not change we can believe in folks.

Both Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin specifically mocked Obama’s experience as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago more than two decades ago, where he worked with people who had lost jobs and been left behind when the local steel plants closed. Let’s clarify something for them right now. Community organizing is how ordinary people respond to out-of-touch politicians and their failed policies.

The Great Hurrican Gustave – RNC Debate

There is this debate going on about why President Bush is so concerned about New Orleans this time when a hurricane is going to hit. I read one comment that said it was the Democrats who screwed up last time, another who blamed the residents, and third that said only Republicans know how to handle a crisis.

Those commentators are forgetting that despite the faults in the pre-hurricane preparedness, when the state failed, the federal government needed to step up but it didn’t. I don’t expect President Bush to get in a helicopter and pick people up off of roofs himself, but when he cancels a speech at the RNC out of concern for a city, which before he had told “Brownie” he was doing a great job of letting people die in chaos, it seems a little disingenuous and political.

One person who claimed he was a Republican said Bush and Cheney would only hurt McCain’s election chances if they were part of the convention, so he was glad they were not going to be there. I think he is right. The media might be making Hurricane Gustav bigger than it should be because as 21st century Americans, the best thing we seem to do is react after an event. Katrina wasn’t the first, you can include everything form 9/11 and terrorism, to how we deal with drugs, our education system, or our response to the 35W bridge collapse. We spend too many resources trying to rebuild something once it is broken, rather than reform, repair, or reorganize.

I do believe this is political. The RNC is “scaling things back” out of respect for those affected by the hurricane, however, with President Bush’s approval rating still in the twenties, and Cheney’s even lower, it really only helps McCain to shorten the convention. Add that to the fact that the DNC was a smash hit for those on the left and for independents. It would be really hard for RNC to compete against that electric event with headline speakers like Bush, Cheney, Joe Lieberman, Rudy Guiliani, Norm Coleman and Fred Thompson, wait let me rest, I’m getting bored just writing their names.

Despite my criticism, I think McCain is doing the right thing from a political standpoint. The Obama acceptance speech is fresh in the minds of independent voters, and responses were very high among that group. McCain’s speaking style and message will not resonate as much, so instead, he can demonstrate his leadership abilities compared to President Bush by taking charge of an event that the media is driving so hard.

By the way, I have to think George Bush’s approval rating has to be going up, I loved the fact that he hung out at the Olympics and relaxed and enjoyed himself, of course I guess that is what he does best.