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Saturday, March 03, 2007

How the "Six Step Process" (c) Will Shape the Election

What is the conservative base asking themselves these days about their possible Republican candidates: Who's the most conservative?

Or who's the least liberal?

As 2007 enters its third month, leaving only nine before primary season begins, CNN.com has an article describing the continuing dilemma conservative voters are facing in the upcoming primary and general elections. Some just aren't conservative enough.

Taking a look at the frontrunners...

John McCain - The rightest of right-wingers still aren't over Senator McCain dubbing televangelist Jerry Fallwell an "agent of intolerance." While having more of a conservative streak than most people think, issues like immigration and campaign finance reform are examples of McCain going away from Republicans to vote for what he believes. The guy's a straight shooter. Look at his immensely unpopular stance on Iraq, where despite being in a presidential race (read: popularity contest), he refuses to back away from supporting a troop surge. He takes unpopular stances regardless of the political implications. He's doing his job the only way he knows how - voting his mind. This troubles the Republican Party and the conservative base. They want a puppet, and despite Senator McCain's peculiar looking jaw, he is most definitely not one.

The campaign will eventually begin to spin the "straight shooter" moniker, using the examples written above. While people will respect the honesty, there is one problem: They'll disagree with him on the biggest issue in the election and they'll KNOW it's what he truly believes. Tough spot for the Senator from Arizona.

Rudy Giuliani - Three enormous issues for conservatives - gay marriage, abortion, gun control. Giuliani's liberal on each one. I have two working theories as to how this will affect the Republican Primary and beyond, and I favor the second one.

1 - Republican voters learn more about his liberally slanted social issues and marital problems. When this happens, his currently large leads in the polls will steadily dwindle until he is ranked 2nd, 3rd, or 4th behind more conservative voters.

2 - "I don't care what he believes, but he'll keep me safe." True assertion or not, this will DEFINITELY be a quote out of some conservative voters' mouths - it all depends on how many mouths.

Mitt Romney - Conversation between two Republican voters on Mitt Romney:

A) Mormon Mormon Mormon, Mormon.
B) Mormon polygamy Mormon?
A) Mormon Mormon Gay rights flipflop Mormon.
B) Mormon! And Mormon Mormon abortion flipflop Mormon Mormon.
A) Mormon.

Mike Huckabee, Sam Brownback, et al. - There are, of course, conservative alternatives to the Republican Big Three. Their main drawback, however, is that they aren't nearly as nationally electable in the November 2008 vote. And what would be the point of nominating a conservative if one of those filthy, liberal, gay-loving, baby-killing, gun-hating, tax-raising, medicine-socializing, terrorist Democrats are going to win in November?

And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, might be the biggest issue in the upcoming primaries for both parties. Does one sacrifice voting for their ideal candidate in an effort to elect the candidate who actually has a chance to garner some crossover votes?

How would this work in a practical format? Take a look at what I call: The Six Step Process (c).

Hypothetical example:

1. John Q. Democrat agrees with Chris Dodd on 90% of the issues.
2. John Q. Democrat agrees with John Edwards on 70% of the issues.
3. John Q. Democrat agrees with John McCain on 30% of the issues.
4. John Q. Democrat doesn't think Chris Dodd can defeat John McCain
5. John Q. Democrat thinks John Edwards will defeat John McCain.
6. John Q. Democrat votes for John Edwards in the primary, because he'd rather have a President that agrees with him 70% of the time than a President that agrees with him 30% of the time.

Since the upcoming election is "primarily" and "generally" the most wide open national contest since 1928, with both sides desperately wanting the White House after President Bush's tumultuous eight years, the predominant issue will be: Who is the most electable?

You can answer that one for yourselves.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Hillary, Bill, Edwards, Obama...Who's Blackest?

CNN.com's latest nugget of presidential news comes from Candy Crowley and Sasha Johnson of the Washington News Bereau. The article, citing the latest ABC News-Washington post poll, describes the recent swing of momentum among black voters from Senator Clinton to Senator Obama.

When this young election cycle was even younger, it seemed that most African-American voters gravitated towards the whiter than paper Hillary Clinton. Why? Because her husband was famously dubbed, "The first black President." Indeed, President Bill Clinton championed many black causes in America and frequently polled extraordinarily high among black voters. Ever since deciding she wanted to run for President, Senator Clinton's hope was that the overwhelming black support for her husband would carry over to her eventual campaign. Aids knew this was crucial for a Hillary Clinton victory, as she is an undeniably divisive figure in America, and needs to secure every demographic she can win.

So she continually looked forward to this moment. She gets to chase the dream she's had since the 1950's. She sticks by her husband. She runs for Senate and gets re-elected. Her Presidential campaign finally arrives. True to form, she was polling very highly with African American voters. The nomination is practically hers... And what happens?

An African-American runs at the same time as her. And not just any African-American, but the first one ever with a decent chance to win. Somewhere, the Clintons are shaking their heads, with Hillary letting out a string of expletives that would make George Carlin blush.

So the aforementioned Washington Post poll came out yesterday, and a 40 point lead for Hillary swung into an Obama 11 point lead. Clinton's advantage, as of now, is non-existent. Of course, a lot can change between now and January, but Camp Clinton can't be happy with the trend.

The flip side of all of this is that a contending black candidate is finally running, and he has to compete with someone who is very popular among blacks. Ultimately, both of these candidates should have huge leads in this demographic, but they're cancelled out by each other. It'd be like if the Superbowl was on at the same night of Game 7 of the World Series. Both of their ratings would be depressed, because their main demographic - sports fans - would have to pick one. However, as it is, they're aired against no major sporting event, and the ratings are gargantuan. Until one of them drops out, Hillary and Obama will have no such luck.

To add to all of this is that there's one more candidate out there who will be popular among black voters. Many polls show that some of the biggest issues on the minds of African-Americans are minimum wage, affirmative action, and the war on poverty. These are all in John Edwards' wheelhouse. Those are his main issues, with only one trumping the lot of them: Iraq, which Edwards is vehemently and vocally against, and that's a stance that endears him to Democratic voters of all skin colors in the primary.


On Tuesday, my buddy Saj, with whom I co-write a sports blog, (Our month-long baseball preview begins today!), will write us a column on Obama. This will add to our list of candidate-based articles, as I've written on Edwards and Steve has written on Giuliani.

Schedule:
Tuesday the 6th: Saj on Obama
Tuesday the 13th: Me on Hillary (snickers)
Tuesday the 20th: My friend Darren on Al Gore

Looking for columnists for McCain, Romney or any other candidate of your choosing. Let me know, or else I'd end up doing it and boring everyone.

In between these gems, make sure to check the blog for any quick hit updates like this one, though I promise I'll try to make them quicker.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Ego Tripping: How Rudy Defeated Giuliani

(Editor's note: Today's column was written by Steve, a longtime friend dating back to the second millennium. He's known for doing his research, as he once wrote articles for a New London Day subsidiary. From the beginning of his column, I think you'll be hooked. With Rudy Giuliani's growing popularity, Steve takes a step back and with a wide-angle lens re-examines an American who's reputation is based on a terrorist attack. His conclusions are thought-provoking. Ultimately, the question must be asked: Who was Rudy Giuliani before 9/11?)

In my younger and more vulnerable years my aunt gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. “No one is indispensable,” she told me. “No one can’t be replaced.”

She didn’t say any more, and I understood that she meant a great deal more than that. The point isn’t that a bigger fish swims (maybe it doesn’t) but that the world turns without the biggest fish. It’s not that the world doesn’t revolve around you, it’s that the world can easily find another axis.

It’s not a motto that politicians often take to heart, least of all the mayor of New York City who accrued $2.5 billion in debts to fund projects and programs he thought would benefit him politically. Rudolph Giuliani, 62, has earned some braggadocio, running the world’s thirteenth largest city, but unique to Giuliani is his incredibly inflated sense of self, shown especially in his attempt to extend his mayoral term limits after 9/11.

“While Mr. Giuliani has been a great leader during this crisis,” wrote the New York Times’ editorial page on September 28, “the truth is that no one is indispensable. George Washington understood that when he rejected repeated attempts to keep him in power indefinitely. Washington was followed in the presidency by a long line of successors, some of them distinctly mediocre. But the country went on, because the people put their faith in the democratic process, and not in the strength of one individual.”

Giuliani’s ego has played out in five direct ways, five reasons why he will not be the next President of the United States of America (foregoing his picture on the original cover of Prince of the City, eerily alike the Snow Shovel Murderer from Home Alone): wives, crime, education, racism, radios.

WIVES

Ronald Reagan is the only U.S. President to have been divorced. Rudolph Giuliani is on his third marriage, this time to Judith Nathan, which began with a public affair while he was still married to Donna Hanover. This was the second of two public affairs during his six-year stint as Mayor of New York City (the first was with his communications director). To boot, Rudy married Hanover while still legally bound to Regina Peruggi, his second cousin. Always on to the next best thing…

Rudy is probably a good husband and father when he wants to be, in the same way that he wasn’t a bad mayor when he focused on being mayor. As New York Post columnist Jack Newfield wrote in The Full Rudy: “He had a successful first term from 1994 to 1997, when he was moderate, fresh, focused, not thinking about running statewide for the Senate and not intoxicated by hubris” (2).

But Rudy’s relationship with women is a clear example of his brutal opportunism. To quote his second schools chancellor: “He is so incredibly self-centered that no one else’s feelings are even part of the radar screen.”

CRIME

In 1982, as Deputy U.S. Attorney General, Giuliani defended the torture and repression by the Baby Doc Duvalier dictatorship in Haiti. Years later as US Attorney for New York State’s Southern District, Giuliani famously prosecuted “Fat Tony” Salerno and Ivan Boesky, which led to the indictment of Michael Milken (think Gordon Gecko). He’ll brag about this in the primaries, but soon it’ll leak that even with more assistants than any other U.S. attorney’s office, Giuliani’s office had the tenth lowest number of completed cases per assistant. While a Texas district recorded 56.2 cases closed per assistant, Giuliani’s logged 27.1. This man of productivity.

True to form, Giuliani takes credit where credit isn’t due. (A telling court case: Giuliani forced the New York Transit Authority to remove this New York magazine ad from all buses: “Possibly the only thing in New York Rudy Giuliani hasn’t taken credit for.” The magazine sued and won.) In his biography, Leadership, he brags about implementing the “Broken Windows” theory: “When I ran for mayor, I promised to do something about the out-of-control crime rates that were holding the city hostage” (71).

Right. At the time, Giuliani himself said that “nobody can be sure exactly what’s going on” with the declining crime and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton called Giuliani’s City Hall “the black hole of law enforcement.” The drop in crime began to accelerate rapidly in 1993 (http://www.city-journal.org/html/15_1_ny_crime.html) when Giuliani took office. There’s no way he can take credit for that.

Economist Steven Levitt has argued that the legalization of abortion was the largest factor in the drastic drop in crime. (This drastic drop in crime meant fewer taxes used to house criminals, and gave Giuliani more money. He had his cake and ate it, too.) If 9/11 happened in another U.S. city, we’d see that mayor in Rudy’s shoes today.

RACE

In his first term, Giuliani discarded the previous mayor’s affirmative action plan, stopped advertising job openings in black newspapers and eliminated New York’s minority contracting program. By 1996, 4632 fewer blacks were working in agencies under mayoral control. Quoting Giuliani’s Parks Commissioner Henry Stern: blacks are “genetically inferior, because they have smaller brainpans” (Newfeld, 71).

According to a study in 1999 by then Attorney General Elliot Spitzer, the NYPD stopped Latinos 39 percent more often than whites and stopped blacks 23 percent more often than whites.

“Rudy Giuliani’s record on race was a disgrace as mayor of New York. …Bloomberg had more contact with the black community in eight weeks than Giuliani had in eight years. Today in New York, there is visibly less racial tension” (Newfeld, 67, 88).

Peripheral to this issue is Rudy’s work with the homeless.

“I thought he was sincere in 1989 when he visited shelters and promised a system of smaller, more humane shelters,” said the director of Coalition for the Homeless, Mary Sullivan. “When he turned to us in 1993, I thought it was ruthless opportunism. But after he was elected mayor, his attitude hardened into something even worse – into hatred. He despised the poor” (Wayne Barrett, Rudy!, 166).

Here’s a court case to site to your Republican uncle: Walton v. Safir. Yvette Walton, a black officer, was fired when she spoke out against racial profiling by the NYPD’s Street Crime Unit. The federal district court ruled that the NYPD fired Walton in revenge and ordered her reinstated. Not until 2002, AFTER RUDY LEFT, did a new police commissioner ban racial profiling.

For more outrageous racism on Rudy’s watch, Google the names Abner Louima and Amadou Diallo.

EDUCATION

Giuliani on education: “the whole school system should be blown up.”

In 1994, Giuliani demanded 2500 people be cut from the staff of the Central Board of Education. When the chancellor refused, Giuliani forced him out, calling him a “whining” “little victim.” Rudy also forced out his second chancellor, who later said this: “When Rudy sees a need to take someone out, he has a machine, a room full of henchmen, nicking away at you, leaking crazy stories. He is not bound by the truth” (Newfeld, 57).

While www.JoinRudy2008.com claims that Giuliani’s education budget increased from $8 billion to $12 billion (chalk up $2 billion to inflation alone) and more than 13,000 new teachers were hired, it is undeniable that in Giuliani’s first three years as mayor he cut the education budget by $1.3 billion. 10,000 people marched over the Brooklyn Bridge to City Hall in 1995 to protest his education cuts.

When Michael Bloomberg first became mayor he said this: “There is no question it’s (the school system) gotten worse in the last eight years, not better” (Newfeld, 40).

RADIOS

For a guy who held a tight leash on everything taxable and supposedly questioned everything happening in city government, how could Rudolph Giuliani allow the FDNY to have dysfunctional radios for the year leading up to 9/11? If he wears a hat emblazed with FDNY, it’s because the bucks stops there for the death of the firefighters who died in the North Tower. Their radios didn’t work and they didn’t know the South Tower had collapsed.

How can the hero of 9/11 keep face?

IN CONCLUSION

A recent Quinnipiac University poll contends that, faced with an either/or, 48 percent of American voters would vote for Rudolph Giuliani compared to 43 percent for Hilary Clinton.

“Giuliani will be ripped to shreds on cultural issues in the primaries,” predicted Charlie Cook, editor of the Cook Political Report, in a January interview with The Financial Times. “Polls show his strength is among conservatives, who like his leadership image. That will melt like a snow cone in the Sahara when his record, the video of him marching, what, six, seven, eight times, in the New York City Gay Pride parade, come out.”

“Rudolph Giuliani did well after Sept. 11, 2001, and was impressively well-liked Republican mayor in liberal New York,” The Boston Globe said on February 23. “But Giuliani is popular as a steadfast social liberal, respectful of gay rights and abortion rights. Unlike former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, Giuliani was far too forthright to start doing pirouettes now. It’s hard to imagine the GOP base going along.”

V.P.? Maybe. But Rudolph Giuliani won’t be America’s fifth oldest elected President (post a response and tell me who is the oldest and who wants to be the oldest). He won’t be the second Roman Catholic President (who is the only?). Maybe Rudy’s record on education or even racism could be bypassed for the Republican nomination, but in running for President he’d be ensnared by sexual escapades, an unfounded claim as crime-buster, and the sound of silent radios.

The falling towers elevated Giuliani to Person of the Year. (Hell, even I’ve been Time’s Person of the Year.) He was America’s Mayor when the nation lacked a President. But with the nation’s disapproval of the war in Iraq and the war on terrorism, that title too has fallen. Let’s hope the same for Rudy’s ego after it bites him in the ass.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Nothing new today

I'll use this space to refer you to The Line: Presidential Odds on the left sidebar. Scroll down a bit if you haven't seen them yet. Also take the time to peruse the links under Committee Members, as they have been kind enough to link this blog from theirs.

Tomorrow will be a full length article about Republican frontrunner Rudy Giuliani, written by former New London Day subsidiary writer Stephen C. Kurczy. Be sure to check back for it.

Kirk out.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Ancestral polygamy: Irrelevant or Unimportant?

"Do well and you will have no need for ancestors." - Voltaire

The latest from the Presidential rumor mill is that Mitt Romney's great-grandfather was a polygamist. My immediate thought: Who cares?!

Still, the fact that the article exists is troubling. I am troubled by the tactic used by the two Associated Press writers. Take a look at their introductory paragraph:

"While Mitt Romney condemns polygamy and its prior practice by his Mormon church, the Republican presidential candidate's great-grandfather had five wives and at least one of his great-great grandfathers had 12."

That's borderline accusatorial. It's implied that Romney couldn't possibly be against polygamy if his ancestors practiced it. Otherwise, why would this article even be written? It'd be a non-story.

Unfortunately, though it should be a non-story, it's not. People actually do care. There are voters who think it's relevant that Romney's great-great-grandfather had twelve wives. There are voters who care if a candidate's father is Muslim. There are voters who care that a man Screamed to a ballroom full of supporters. There are voters who care about the color of a candidate's skin.

And then there are voters who don't care. There are voters who don't care what their President does, as they will follow him blindly. There are voters who don't care if they're lied to. There are voters who don't care about dilapidated schools and a broken health care system. There are voters who don't care that a war - A WAR - has a constantly changing pretext.

Now someone wants to tell me that Mitt Romney's great-grandfather had more than one wife? I don't care!
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