GOP presidential contenders make host of political blunders

February 22, 2011

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Despite the fact that President Obama is vulnerable in the next election due to his many unpopular political positions, the GOP’s presidential contenders seem to be making a host of political blunders.

Here are some of the recent “Top 5.”

  • Taking sides in Wisconsin’s labor debate and protests. The union in Wisconsin represents state employees of all political persuasions, not just Democrats. Nothing infuriates voters more than getting in their pocketbooks; in this case, the paychecks of Wisconsin’s employees. Aligning with a Republican governor for the sake of party solidarity is a strategic blunder.
  • Playing dodge ball versus showing leadership. Lines like “I’m seriously looking at running for president,” “I’m not ruling it out” or “I’m going to pray and talk to my family” have become lame and tiresome. A courageous leader doesn’t second guess himself or herself.
  • An inflated ego that says “I am well known” and don’t need to be introduced to the Iowa electoral.
  • The compulsion to comment on every issue, especially every hot social issue, like abortion and religious freedom.
  • Letting the Evangelical Christian right leadership in Iowa lead you around the state. The Associated Press reported this week that “The Iowa caucus might have gotten too conservative for its own good.” The Iowa Republican party’s shift to the far right may be why high-profile contenders like Mitt Romney are spending less time in the state. It could also alienate moderates and independents in the state.

Iowa conservative talk show host Steve Deace’s next move uncertain

February 15, 2011
Photo of Steve Deace

Former WHO Radio broadcaster and host of "Deace in the Afternoon"

Steve Deace, a popular and opinionated talk show host, resigned his position with News Radio WHO-AM in Des Moines in January.  His controversial and politically charged program, “Deace in the Afternoon,” ended last Friday.

Deace’s departure is raising speculations about his future.  No clear answers were offered on what that future might hold, Deace only said it was time for him to pursue other opportunities and the decision to leave was of his own accord.

But Deace also said he hopes to have a book published later this year and has been approached about pursuing politics, including a possible role in the 2012 Iowa caucuses.  Or he might be interested in reentering broadcasting at a later date.

As a Republican and Evangelical conservative political operative, Deace could be extremely helpful to a Republican candidate seeking a victory in the first-in-the-nation presidential contest. Deace was a force in the state GOP elections last November and has built a considerable following through his radio program. 

Deace, 37, resides in West Des Moines with his wife, Amy, and their three children.

Former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer plans visit to Iowa to test the political waters

February 15, 2011
Photo of Buddy Roemer

Former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer

A new face may be emerging in the race for President of the United States in 2012, Buddy Roemer. The former governor of Louisiana announced that he will be attending Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition’s Spring Event on March 7.

Charles Elson “Buddy” Roemer III was the 52nd Governor of Louisiana, serving from 1988 to 1992. He was elected as a Democrat, but switched to the Republican party in March 1991. Prior to becoming governor, he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1981 to 1988. Roemer is currently President and CEO of Business First Bank in Baton Rouge.

In January Politico reported that Roemer was looking to get back into politics and making a run for President of the United States. Roemer was quoted saying: “It certainly interests me. There is a lot of work to be done. I’m not running today. It will take months to work out if it happens.”

As governor, Roemer worked to boost lagging teacher pay and toughened laws on campaign finance. Roemer was also the first governor in that state’s history to make a real effort to address environmental issues. The legislature repeatedly opposed Roemer’s initiatives and he gained a reputation for being difficult to work with, something he had been frequently accused of as a member of the House as well.

In 1990, Roemer vetoed an anti-abortion bill authored by Democratic Senator Mike Cross. Roemer believed that the Cross bill, which would have banned abortion in cases of incent, was incompatible with the United States Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade.  The veto alienated much of his socially conservative electoral base. The bill was then passed over Roemer’s veto. In 1991, United States District Judge Adrian G. Duplantier decreed that the measure was in conflict with Roe v. Wade, as Roemer had foreseen.

CPAC comes to a close, Rep. Ron Paul wins straw poll

February 13, 2011

U.S. Congressman Ron Paul

The 38th annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which drew thousands of conservative activists to Washington, D.C. over the past three days, has wrapped up. Although the Iowa caucuses will be the first state test of the nominating fight about a year from now, most of the GOP’s presidential prospects tried to impress as many of the nation’s most active conservatives as they could during the conference.

The conference is sponsored by the American Conservative Union. It dates to 1973, when then-California Gov. Ronald Reagan was the featured speaker to an audience of about 125.

CPAC has grown substantially in numbers since 1973, and become a place where economic and social conservatives come together in search of common ground, as key constituencies in the Republican Party. Nearly 10,000 Republican strategists, vendors and activists from around the country were in attendance.

Familiar Republicans spoke at the conference, including Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former New Hampshire Gov. Mitt Romney, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, Herman Cain, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and South Dakota Sen. John Thune. Iowa Rep. Steve King also played a visible part in the conference, speaking to the general audience and serving as a participant in forums on immigration and tax policy.

After former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson supporters suggested he was snubbed at CPAC for supporting gay rights and marijuana legalization, Johnson scored a last-minute speaking invitation.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee did not attend CPAC due to scheduling conflicts.

A key feature of the conference is the Presidential Straw Poll, which this year included the names of 15 Republicans. Winning the greatest number of votes was U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, he garnered 30 percent. Paul finished ahead of Mitt Romney getting 23 percent, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christi and Gary Johnson each receiving 6 percent.

The Texas congressman, a libertarian-thinking Republican, earned an ardent following in the 2008 GOP presidential primaries.

While straw polls don’t always match up with results of presidential primaries, they do take the political temperature of those who participate. Paul’s message of smaller government apparently resonated with conference-goers, as their number one issue, according to the poll results, was the size and role of government. In the January 2008 Iowa Republican caucuses, Mike Huckabee received the greatest number of delegates, followed by Mitt Romney, John McCain and Ron Paul.

South Carolina nurse declares intent

January 31, 2011

Photo of Michael Adkins

Michael T. Adkins

Michael T. Adkins, a York County, South Carolina, Republican, says he’s tired of the way things are going in Washington and he plans to do something about it. Last week he declared his candidacy for President of the United States in 2012 and launched a campaign website expressing his political views. Adkins says the way things are going his children will not have the same opportunities he’s had. He says his run is not a publicity stunt and hopes to make a real change.

He told local NewsChannel 36, “We need someone who understands what it is like to have a mortgage, to have kids, and to have a paycheck that shrinks.”

Adkins is a nurse at a local community hospital and the father of two young children. He said, “I want my kids to be able to at least dream of the future I dreamed of as a child.”

Adkins admits he doesn’t know how he will raise funds for the campaign; the 2012 filing fee is yet to be determined, but it took $35,000 for candidates to be on the South Carolina GOP presidential ballot in 2008. “It is a very difficult thing,” Adkins said. “But I am in this to win this.”

Lack of name recognition and funding doesn’t stop presidential candidates

January 23, 2011

It seems a lack of major party backing, name recognition and significant financial support are not sufficient deterrents to Anthony Tubbs, Randall Terry and John Davis, all individuals who have recently announced they are running for President of the United States.

Anthony Tubbs: Tubbs is a Bossier City, Louisiana, businessman. Last week, standing outside the U.S. Courthouse in Shreveport in front of a small group of friends and neighbors, Tubbs announced that he was making an independent run for The White House. But, Tubbs’ criminal history will certainly be a major hurdle in his unlikely election to the country’s highest office. He has a prior conviction for arson with intent to defraud and past charge for writing bad checks. In response to his criminal skeletons, Tubbs said, “The people of this country are worried about where we’re going form here on. Not something that happened many years back that, again, I was totally exonerated from and given a gubernatorial pardon.”

Tubbs claims to have worked as a consultant in the auto industry, before opening an appliance store in Bossier City. He previously faced bankruptcy, losing his home and car. But says these personal setbacks make him better prepared…”I’m as experienced an American as it gets. I’ve gone through all the problems that plague America. So I feel the people’s pain.”

Randall Terry: Terry says he will challenge President Obama in the Democratic primaries. He made his announcement standing outside of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. While not known in political circles, Terry is an outspoken pro-life activist and founder of Operation Rescue.

Operation Rescue is one of the leading pro-life Christian activist groups, to which Terry is no longer affiliated. Operation Rescue President Troy Newman said Terry does not have the group’s support and does not represent Operation Rescue in any way. Newman went on to say, “Mr. Terry’s comments are offensive and out of touch. His comments are only meant to inflame emotions and garner him personal publicity and financial support, to which he has no accountability.”

Terry was introduced by Rabbi Yehuda Levin, founder and Rabbi of Congregation Mevakshei Hashem, spokesperson for the Rabbinical Alliance of America and a member of the advisory committee of the organization Jews Against Anti-Christian Defamation. Rabbi Levin said, “I’m here as a religious Jew and a proud and grateful American to support the candidacy of pro-life and family values democrat Randall Terry for President of the United States. As one of millions of disenfranchised Catholics, Jews, Evangelicals and Muslims, we want to see the party that panders to deviancy and no choice permitted, pro-newborn babies executed – we want to see that party returned to decency and respect for life and family values.”

Terry’s platform is focused primarily on “hot-button” social issues – pro-life, marriage between a man and a woman only, and human rights and freedom.

While Terry acknowledges that defeating President Obama in the primaries is a long shot, he said he has made it his goal to defeat the President Obama in the Iowa caucuses, where Terry claims anyone can become a “democrat for a day” and participate in the process by simply showing up.

Claiming he is “very serious” about his campaign, Terry has started soliciting funds by mail, will be distributing fund-raising envelopes at pro-life events taking place in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia on the 38th anniversary of Roe versus Wade, and plans to visit Iowa. His official campaign slogan is, “A Democratic primary for President – to bring Americans face to face with aborted babies.” 

John Davis: A 1975 high school graduate, Davis is the head of Blue Star Industries in Grand Junction, Colorado, a construction and development business. He is also the father of six, grandfather of four and husband of 30 years. Davis said he decided to seek the presidency because “we need a change.”

Davis declared his intentions to run in a full-page ad in The Daily Sentinel and then made an announcement in front of the Mesa County Courthouse. He is hitting the road with his wife, Debra, on an 18-month “Votercade,” in which he plans to travel through all 3,200 counties in the United States. Eventually, he hopes to garner national news coverage and see his campaign for the Republican nomination take off from there.

Davis’ “Contract to America,” available on his campaign website, calls for a balanced budget, term limits, upholding the Constitution, common-sense leadership, less government, and border control, work visas and citizenship for legal residents.

Davis is known locally for spending about $1,000 to fashion and mail a 5-feet-by-3-feet letter to President Obama offering to meet and pray with him. Davis said, he’s had no response, “Not even a postcard.”

“I feel like the leaders of our country are taking our freedoms away,” said Davis, who carries his wrench as a symbol of fixing the country’s problems. “I believe I bring a practical, common sense approach to solving our country’s problems.”

Wild card Republican candidate forms presidential exploratory committee

January 15, 2011

Photo of Herman Cain

Conservative talk show host from Atlanta

Herman Cain, the man with many nicknames – Citizen Cain, the King and the Godfather – and self-described as the Hermanator, has formally announced he is forming a presidential exploratory committee. This allows him to raise money for a possible White House run, a step none of the other likely GOP frontrunners have taken.

Cain was in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on Saturday, Jan. 8, speaking to a group of approximately 50 people at a local restaurant. He lived in Omaha for 14 years as the head of the local-based Godfather’s Pizza, Inc. Council Bluffs was one of several stops Cain was making that weekend throughout the state to gauge interest among Republicans.

Cain is a successful businessman and conservative talk-show host of a popular radio program in Atlanta. He holds a master’s degree in computer science from Purdue University and was a corporate vice president for Burger King before leaving that job to serve as CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, saving the company from bankruptcy. Previously, he served as chairman of the board of directors for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, and was chairman of the board for the National Restaurant Association.

African-American, Cain regularly mocks racial hypersensitivity. The Atlantic related one such incident from a GOP event in New Orleans last year when Cain reviewed the liberal caricature of Tea Party activities as “racist, redneck tea baggers” and declared, “I had to go look in the mirror to see if I missed something!”

Cain is considered an underdog in the race because his political inexperience, which is limited to an unsuccessful run at the GOP 2004 Senate nomination in Georgia and a brief run for president in 2000; he doesn’t have a war chest or the grassroots political connections; and is not well known outside of Atlanta. Boosting his national recognition, Cain served as a recent guest host on the nationally syndicated Sean Hannity radio show and played a role in last year’s Hannity Freedom Concerts.

Readily admitting he would be up against a “strong field” of GOP contenders should he decide to run, Cain isn’t letting his financial and political deficits deter him. Frequently talking about overcoming his personal battle with Stage 4 colon cancer, Cain figures nothing else can stop him from delivering what he thinks the country is seeking in the next President.

Quoted in The Hill, Cain said: “People aren’t just looking for someone that can win. They’re looking for someone who can lead and the winning will take care of itself.”

In a country sick of politics as usual and seeking a fresh face in the GOP race, Cain may be the outsider with the executive-level business experience that will command the public’s attention. If you’re looking for a feisty candidate that could go toe-to-toe with Obama, Cain may be your choice. He was a major player in the defeat of HillaryCare back in 1994, after a legendary town-hall showdown with President Clinton.

On his website, Cain wrote: “The American Dream is under attack. In fact, a recent survey found 67% of the American People believe America is headed in the wrong direction. Sadly, this comes as no surprise to those of us who have watched an out-of-control federal government that spends recklessly, taxes too much and oversteps its Constitutional limits far too often.”

So the question remains – Is Cain serious about entering the presidential race or is he just seeking publicity to elevate his broadcasting career? Cain said he plans to spend several months seeing if he can muster enough support amongst donors and voters to justify a campaign.