Posts Tagged Rick Perry

Battle of the Unique Names: Newt v. Mitt

This morning Texas Governor Rick Perry announced he was suspending his campaign for President of the United Sates, and was endorsing former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

Perry’s exit was a long time coming, as he had failed time and again to meet expectations in both polling and actual voting. In the time between last week’s New Hampshire primary and this Saturday’s upcoming South Carolina primary, conservatives around the country began calling for the “lesser” conservatives in the GOP field to get out of the race in order for the conservative factions of the party to coalesce around on candidate, in the hopes of depriving Mitt Romney the nomination. With Perry’s announcement this morning, it seems party conservatives have decided that the long-sought-afterconservative alternative to Mitt Romney” is Newt Gingrich.

Following Sarah Palin’s strange pseudo-endorsement of Newt on Tuesday, it seems that most conservatives are leaning towards Gingrich over Rick Santorum, one of the few remaining candidates in the shrinking GOP field. Jon Huntsman, the somewhat-moderate former Utah governor, left the race Sunday and endorsed Mitt Romney. With this week’s two high-profile campaign collapses, the once wide-open GOP slate of big-name candidates has been winnowed down to Romney, Gingrich, Santorum, and Ron Paul. Running an often-times ignored campaign is former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer, who is still in the race.

The Republican nominating fight, as it now stands, is down to whether either Santorum or Gingrich will be able to bloody Romney enough for voters to want to choose someone else as the nominee.


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Farewell, Michele

In the cold light of Wednesday morning, the Republican candidates who are not Rick Santorum are sitting down to reassess what last night’s Iowa caucuses mean for them. After coming in as a distant sixth in the race, Michele Bachmann has announced that she is suspending her campaign. The Minnesota congresswoman and chair of the Tea Party Caucus in the House of Representatives was unable to pull off a repeat of her Iowa Straw Poll victory from last August.

After being the first candidate to enjoy the odd boom-and-bust cycle we’ve seen over and over again with the GOP field, Bachmann was relegated to “fringe candidate” status, leaving her trailing behind nearly all the other “big names” vying for the nomination. Following Rep. Bachmann’s decision to drop out of the race, Texas Governor Rick Perry, who seemed to signal that his campaign would be rethinking its place in the 2012 process, announced to his Twitter followers that he was continuing on to campaign in South Carolina. With Herman Cain, Gary Johnson, and now Michele Bachmann out of the race for the Republican nomination, the remaining candidates will be positioning themselves to best attract those voters looking for a candidate to support.

As January rolls on, the campaign calendar becomes tighter, with New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida all holding primaries within the next twenty-seven days.

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The Oops Heard ‘Round the World

Last night, in the latest Republican Presidential debate, held in Michigan, Texas Governor Rick Perry continued his campaign to the bottom of the field by making a fairly bad mistake on stage.

Since the Perry campaign’s initial boom onto the national stage, support for the Texan has diminished, with businessman Herman Cain taking over the position of the Non-Mitt-Romney candidate in the GOP field. Cain has run into some tricky ground lately, with former employees stepping forward to make claims of sexual harassment. The Herman Cain scandal has led some commentators to believe that there is an opening for one of the Republican candidates to take advantage of Cain’s position in order to claim the lead in the race.

Ricky Perry, although not as popular as he once was in the field of GOP candidates, was uniquely posed to retake the lead over Mitt Romney. Perry’s out-of-the-gate stumbles had less to do with the candidate being not what conservative voters were looking for, but more with campaign “growing pains,” with the candidate struggling in debates and making minor mistakes at campaign stops. All these flaws were easy to solve, if the campaign were to buckle down and make sure the candidate drilled home all the national campaigning skills that, as a newcomer to the national scene, Perry seemed to lack.

Instead, at last night’s debate, Perry cemented his image as an empty suit, prone to gaffes and mistakes. When asked which federal agencies he would eliminate, Perry said “I will tell you: It’s three agencies of government, when I get there, that are gone: Commerce, Education and the — what’s the third one there? Let’s see. … OK. So Commerce, Education and the — … The third agency of government I would — I would do away with the Education, the … Commerce and — let’s see — I can’t. The third one, I can’t. Sorry. Oops.” 

For a government-cutting conservative voter, the kind of voter the Perry campaign has been targeting, this answer is not only a gaffe on style points, but after questions about Perry’s commitment to small government, this line can be seen as evidence that Perry is not the solid conservative GOP primary voters want. Most true-blue [red?] conservatives know which agencies they would want to eliminate or cut, most often citing Departments of Education, Commerce, Energy, and the Environmental Protection Agency, among others.

Perry’s debate wounds have all been self-inflicted, contributing even more to the notion that the Governor is not ready for the national arena. Having fumbled his chance to take the lead from Herman Cain, it is possible the Perry campaign may have missed their best chance to retake the lead in the GOP race.

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Mid-Week Update: Meet the Candidates!

In the spirit of not taking anything for granted here at PRP, it seemed like a reasonable use of time to take a minute to introduce our dear readers to the Republicans running for President. It’s still early days, the first GOP primary isn’t until February, but for all intents and purposes, the field is pretty much set. Running for President of the United States takes a lot of organization, money, and work, and all those things take time to build up. The longer a potential candidate takes to enter the race, the more hurdles he or she will have to overcome. At this point, those hurdles are starting to become nearly insurmountable.

So, without further ado, here are your 2012 Republicans running for President!

Michele Bachmann – Representing Minnesota’s 6th district since 2007, Bachmann is a favorite of Tea Party voters for her “starve the beast” views on the federal government. Bachmann has pledged to overturn Barack Obama’s health insurance reforms, and to avoid tax increases at all costs. Before entering politics, Bachmann worked as a tax attorney with the Internal Revenue Service. Michele Bachmann is known for founding the Tea Party Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Herman Cain – Cain is the former chairman and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, as well as having served the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City as the deputy chairman and chairman. Cain is running on his experience as a businessman, claiming that his experience will make him able to turn the struggling economy around, if he is elected, through private sector solutions, stepping aside and letting businesses do what they want in order to grow. Herman Cain’s previous political activities include serving as a senior advisor to Bob Dole’s 1996 campaign for the presidency, as well as an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate in 2004.

Newt Gingrich – The former Speaker of the House hasn’t held elected office since he left the Speakership in 1999, but that does not mean Gingrich has left the public arena. Gingrich has kept up a busy schedule as a political commentator and writer. While he regularly is a guest on cable news programs and talk radio, he has also kept up a fairly rigorous publishing schedule, coming out with seventeen books since he left Congress, including a number of alternative histories of the Revolutionary, Civil, and Second World Wars. Gingrich is viewed as something of an “ideas man” within the field of Republican contenders, due in part to his role in crafting the 1994 Contract with America that helped earn Republicans landslide wins in the midterm Congressional elections.

Jon Huntsman – Huntsman served as the sixteenth governor of Utah before being called up to serve in the Obama administration as U.S. Ambassador to China in 2009. Huntsman is seen as a moderate Republican, having previously recognized the science behind man-made climate change, and evolution. He has taken shots at his rivals’ positions on these issues, adding to the view that Huntsman is a more centrist figure in the field of potential nominees.

Gary Johnson – Johnson served as Governor of New Mexico from 1995-2003, and is seen as one of the more libertarian candidates in the race. Johnson has been a critic of the War on Drugs, supports a guest worker program to give immigrants a way to earn legal status, is in favor of civil unions, and is against the continuation of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. During his tenure as governor, Johnson vetoed 750 bills, more than all 49 other governors combined.

Thad McCotter – Representing Michigan’s 11th congressional district since 2003, McCotter has been known to buck Republican orthodoxy by advocating protectionist trade policies. McCotter has been an outspoken opponent of the Affordable Care Act, and claimed that it would lead to “government-encouraged euthanasia.” McCotter has proposed tax-breaks for pet owners, and is the proud owner of a “star-spangled” Fender Telecaster guitar, which he has been known to play at rallies.

Ron Paul – Well known as the champion of libertarian virtues, Ron Paul has been seen as a voice crying in the Republican wilderness for years. With the popularization of libertarian ideals due in part to the rise of the Tea Party movement over the past few years, Dr. Paul’s small-government message seems to have found its audience. With the popularization of small-government, personal freedom ideas, Paul’s potential supporters suddenly find themselves with a whole slew of candidates vying for their attention. A staunch libertarian, Paul opposes U.S. military involvement abroad, and current federal drug policy.

Rick Perry – A late entrant to the race, Perry has quickly rocketed to the top of the field in many national polls. Perry is campaigning on the fact that since the end of the recession in June 2009, 47% of the nation’s new jobs have been created in Texas, under Perry’s governorship. Perry’s campaign claims that this is due to having fewer regulations in the state that prevent businesses from growing and creating jobs. While Perry has been courting the support of Tea Party voters, the main thrust of the Perry campaign is that as president, Perry would be able to spur job growth using the same methods used in Texas.

Buddy Roemer – Roemer represented Louisiana’s 4th congressional district from 1981-88, before serving as governor from 1988-92. Roemer was elected as a Democrat, but switched to the Republican party in 1991 at the urging of the Bush White House. The former governor of Louisiana is running for president on a platform stressing campaign finance reform, balancing the federal budget, and repealing the Affordable Care Act.

Mitt Romney – Mitt Romney served as the governor of Massachusetts from 2004-07, after a successful career in business. Romney served as CEO of Bain & Company before founding Bain Capital, a private equity investment group. The Romney campaign is running on the assertion that Romney’s experience in the private sector combined with his experience as a state governor will allow him to forge working relationships with America’s business leaders in order to create jobs. Romney is typically seen as socially moderate, although commentators have noted that his views seem to have shifted to the right as the primary contest has heated up.

Rick Santorum – Santorum served as a United State Senator from Pennsylvania from 1995-2007, during which time he established himself as one of the more socially and fiscally conservative candidates in the race. Santorum was seen as a darling of the ultra-conservative base of the Republican party before more dynamic conservative candidates entered the race. Santorum also is known for his ongoing feud with commentator Dan Savage, after making comments comparing homosexuality to bestiality.

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What the Heck is the Iowa Straw Poll?

The 2012 Presidential election is still fifteen months away, but the campaigns are already well under way! There was a lot of news over the last few days about the Republicans running for their party’s nomination, so let’s break down what happened.

The big stories out of the weekend are as follows:

  • Michele Bachmann won the Ames, IA straw poll
  • Rick Perry announced his campaign
  • Perry did well in the poll as a write-in candidate

In order to really get into this, it’s important to understand just what Iowa’s big GOP event is all about. In every presidential cycle where there isn’t a Republican incumbent running for re-election, Ames, Iowa holds a big event for the state’s conservative voters to attend speeches, and really come to know the field of candidates better. What typically happens is that Ames becomes a real proving ground for a campaign’s organizational skills in the field. Campaigns often bring in supporters from all over the state, cover the $30.00 entrance fee for their supporters, and then ply them with food and drink and entertainment for the weekend. While the majority of the attention is paid to the “who won, who lost” questions, the big news to come out of the event is what happens with each campaign’s supporters. For instance, Slate Magazine’s David Weigel sums it up like so:

What else do the numbers say? Bachmann’s camp distributed more than 6000 tickets, ending the day in a frenzy of giving and buying. [Texas Congressman Ron] Paul’s camp distributed less than that, more than 5000. So for every six people who took a ticket from Bachmann’s camp, one voted for someone else. For every 25 people who took a ticket from Paul, only one voted for someone else.

So while Bachmann became the big headline by coming out a winner, the internal workings of the weekend are really more interesting, showing a number of problems with the Bachmann campaign, their ability to organize supporters, interact with the press, and campaign the way Iowans (influential in the primary process) are comfortable with.

One last thing to keep in mind about the Ames Straw Poll is that in the poll’s history (dating back all the way to 1979) it has predicted the party’s eventual nominee once out of five times, not including 1995’s Bob Dole/Phil Gramm tie vote.

As the Bachmann campaign was working on a victory in Iowa, Texas Governor Rick Perry was in South Carolina to announce his bid for the Republican nomination. Perry’s announcement came at such a time that his name was not on the ballot in Iowa, but with televisions showing his announcement speech on repeat, and supporters crawling throughout Ames, the governor received a healthy 718 votes. Perry bested front-runner Mitt Romney by about 150 votes, although the Romney campaign chose not to campaign in Iowa and focus elsewhere instead.

It remains to be seen what Perry’s decision to enter the race will do to the field, but with the Texan’s arrival coinciding with former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty’s decision to drop out of the race, things in the Republican field are certain to be changing dramatically over the next few weeks.

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