GOP presidential contenders make host of political blunders

February 22, 2011

EditorialOops artwork

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.
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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.


Gary Johnson places first in RLC straw poll and third in CPAC poll

February 13, 2011

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson took first place in the presidential straw poll conducted at the Republican Liberty Caucus (RLC) national convention Feb. 12, held in Arlington, VA.  Ron Paul came in second and Newt Gingrich third.

The Republican Liberty Caucus is “the small government, liberty-loving wing of the Republican Party.”

Johnson also came in third at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held this week in Washington, D.C., trailing winner Ron Paul and Mitt Romney. 

After decades of growing federal spending, Johnson believes in fixing government spending, deficit reduction and limiting the role of government, a sentiment made popular during the November election and apparently carrying forward with CPAC and RLC attendees.

Johnson also raises eyebrows wherever he goes because of his controversial advocacy for the legalization of marijuana.

Johnson was last in Iowa Feb. 10, where he visited with potential caucus-goers at an Ames coffee shop, as part of the Our America Initiative, a 501(c)4 political action committee.


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.”


Iowa firm to serve as Santorum PAC adviser

January 30, 2011

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) has announced that he has hired a veteran Des Moines consulting firm, Concordia Group LLC, to serve as adviser to his political action committee as he explores whether to seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 and compete in the Iowa caucuses. Santorum has already made nine trips to Iowa.

Key advisers with Concordia Group LLC are its founder and president Nicholas “Nick” T. Ryan and Jill Latham, a principal at the firm. Both have vast experience in politics and the Iowa caucuses.

Ryan served as top aide to U.S. Rep. Jim Nussle (R-Iowa) from 1999-2006, and ran three successful congressional campaigns in Eastern Iowa. He is also the founder of the American Future Fund, a multistate conservative advocacy group.

Latham was Iowa political director for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign. She’s worked on Capitol Hill and on President Bush’s re-election campaign in 2004. She also served as political director of the Republican Party on Wisconsin from 2005-2006.

I am extremely pleased to have Nick and Jill on board to assist with my PAC’s efforts in Iowa and across the country. They have a proven track record of building grassroots support for candidates and conservative causes. As I continue to consider a run in 2012, they will play a critical role in helping determine if we are able to build the necessary support to embark on a possible run,” said Senator Santorum.