The last Mitt standing…

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Now if anyone saw my post last week, eloquently titled ‘Could Huntsman pull a Santorum?’ I predicted that John Huntsman’s popularity would surge as have the other GOP candidates at some time or another, and what do you know? He DID surge in New Hampshire! Some of the cynics out there will deny me of my ‘future predicting skills’ by saying that he has been building foundations there for months, some will say ‘He even skipped Iowa to concentrate on New Hampshire’, but I still contend that his surge is evidence of me being able to predict the future, which reminds me, if you want your future predicting, I suggest you donate money to me, I’m not quite sure how, but start stuffing coins into your USB ports now!

Anyway back to the politics, as you all will know the results from New Hampshire are in! Mitt of course, as strongly predicted, won by a frankly huge margin; he was a whole 16.5% ahead of an impressively second placed Ron Paul, with John Huntsman again very impressively coming in third with Newt & the two Ricks in pursuit. You would think that Mitt would be happy, well he probably is, after all he has now won in both Iowa & New Hampshire, a feat only accomplished twice before in history! His victory in New Hampshire was by Rick Perry’s standards very smooth, despite a slight gaffe on Monday morning when he seemed to confess his guilty little secret that he enjoys firing people. However the fact that this didn’t derail his candidacy especially in this climate, just goes to show that he’s in fullcontrol of this race, we have a saying in the UK that if your football (soccer) team plays badly but still wins, you support a great team!

Understandably however, the rest of the GOP candidates were not so pleased with the New Hampshire result, which is probably why they are looking to unload everything on him in South Carolina, literally unloading campaign ads costing millions and millions of dollars in an effort to stop the Romney freight train. The problem for Mitt is that it could work, South Carolina is a completely different ball game to the liberal New Hampshire, in deeply conservative South Carolina it’s likely that Mitt’s mormonism will come up more than a few times, as well as other religious issues that Mitt has been accused to flip-flop on a few times, namely that controversial one, abortion.

And… cue Newt Gingrich, ol’ Newt and his backers have been the main culprits so far in terms of ‘attack ads’ in South Carolina, trying to remind everyone of Mitt Romney’s, frankly, sketchy history; he dramatically changed his stance on abortion in 2005, hence the ‘flip-flop’ image that has stuck with him ever since. As if this wasn’t enough, his rivals have been hammering him over his record at Bain Capital, where they say he laid off tens of thousands of workers in order to maximise profit. Even Rick Perry (remember him?) has been getting in on the action calling Mitt a ‘vulture capitalist’, this portrayal of him as a ruthless capitalist could be dangerous in a state like South Carolina where the unemployment rate is almost double that of New Hampshire & Iowa, and also double the national average.

Rick Santorum’s ultra conservative image didn’t play well in New Hampshire, but is likely to play very well in South Carolina and with his already large endorsement from a prominent Christian evangelical he stands a very good chance. John Huntsman’s chances on the other hand are a mystery, the most moderate of all the candidates would have loved a second place finish in New Hampshire, but he’ll struggle to get past 5% in South Carolina.

In the past couple of days ol’ Mitt seems to have moved his focus onto challenging President Obama, it may be too soon though, South Carolina is going to be a dirty fight…

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Could Huntsman pull a ‘Santorum’…?

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So as the results flooded in from Iowa, everyone including myself was biting their nails anxiously as the three horse race faded into a two horse race eventually split by 8 votes! The tightest of margins in a state where 122,000 Iowa Republicans cast their votes, the largest turnout ever, hooray for democracy!

While Mitt Romney will be understandably pleased at having the prestige of winning, as opposed to his sour ‘silver medal’ last time around, commentators were quick to point out that it was no real victory. He may have won the caucus, but Rick Santorum was the real winner. With Mitt pouring at least $4 million into Iowa he finished with 25% of the vote, Santorum on the other hand spent a pittance in comparison and came from seemingly nowhere to almost steal a victory. 

In a startling comparison Mitt’s campaign spent on average $156 per vote, while Santorum spent a mere $21 and got a lot more value for money. However the money probably doesn’t mean that much to Romney what with his riches, the thought that may keep him up at night is that 75% of the voters avoided Romney completely…

Now as we turn from Iowa to New Hampshire, there was something missing from Iowa, something I couldn’t put my finger on and then I remembered! Iowa was missing an entire person, oh and his campaign, John Huntsman!

His decision to skip Iowa altogether has been met with a degree of skepticism as well as admiration, for a man who never really had a chance in Iowa it surely makes sense for him to build a strong foundation in a state like New Hampshire where he stands a much greater chance of doing well. 

Ron Paul, or his twitter account at least, decided to take a shot at Jon Huntsman in a delightfully funny post; – 

@jonhuntsman we found your one Iowa voter, he’s in Linn precinct 5 you might want to call him and say thanks,”

Great stuff from Ron Paul, although he might not be laughing too long. It’s argued that Rick Santorum’s late surge was the result of the ‘undecideds’ who were suddenly swayed in his direction, many of these swing voters didn’t like Mitt Romney or Ron Paul and found a comfortable conservative christian alternative in Rick Santorum. My argument is that Jon Huntsman could pull a ‘Rick Santorum’ in New Hampshire, his supposed ‘liberalism’ will play much better there, and his strong foundation which already gives him 10% could create a surge as once again GOP voters look for the alternative to Mitt Romney. 

By the sounds of it, Huntsman is confident about his chances; “I feel pretty good about having come from the margin of error. We came into this state as a complete asterisk, at zero, and now we’re bumping into the teens,” Huntsman said. “And with the unpredictable nature of the race so far, I think we are positioned pretty well.”

“That’s about to change in about 48 hours, and then the big bright light is going to be here on New Hampshire,” Huntsman said. “And in true fashion, New Hampshire always tends to upend conventional wisdom.”

Whether Huntsman can make a mark in New Hampshire remains to be seen, but certainly he is due a surge some time or another and if he’s a praying man he should get going now. Mitt Romney on the other hand is polling a superb 43% which is more than enough to put him over the top, Ron Paul? Well he made fade out or it may just be getting going, who knows? One thing the candidates can be sure of is that Newt Gingrich is angry, and he’ll be psyched up for New Hampshire, if that’s something no one wants, it’s an angry Newt Gingrich. 

On your marks, get set… IOWA!

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Firstly, before I go any further I must apologise for the title of this post, because frankly it’s bloody awful, but it’s been about two weeks since my last entry so I’m feeling a bit dry. Anyway I hope everyone had a merry Christmas and a happy new year! And even if you didn’t have either of those, I think we all know that Ron Paul did!

Now my mother always told me never to trust a man with two first names, but there is something quite likeable about Ron Paul, and I admit that I quite admire him as well; he has shown steady growth over the festive period and in most polls he seems to be sitting comfortably in second place. His superb early organisation in Iowa has harvested his growth, and he also possesses a large amount of frighteningly passionate volunteers who I think would literally jump in front of an unconstitutional bus for him!

With less than 12 hours, UK time (sorry guys.), until the ‘caucusgoers’ get voting the latest polls put Mitt Romney with 23%, RP at 22% and Rick Santorum at a decent 18%, another admirable feat for a man who has been largely ignored by just about everyone until about last friday. While Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich seem to have disappeared down the caucus plug hole, hallelujah! You can’t count them out overall, especially Gingrich, who unfortunately seems to still be in with a fairly good chance in the long run. Many argue that his surge came slightly too early, and his lack of organisation never gave him a real chance of winning ,however many potential voters earmarked Gingrich as the most ‘knowledgeable’ candidate which could put him in good stead to face Obama next year.

While the Iowa caucus seems as though it could go either way, the New Hampshire Primary could not be anymore different, with ol’ Mitt streets ahead. Romney, who started the campaign as the frontrunner has defied many critics by seeing off Michele Bachmann who rose and then not so triumphantly fell, Rick Perry who ‘ummm….d’ his way to the bottom and of course the future Times ‘Man of Year’ Herman Cain. The most remarkable thing about Mitt’s campaign so far is that he has managed to stay ahead despite the best efforts of his own party who seem reluctant to support him, many in his party claim that he is not a ‘true conservative’ and that he has consistently flip-flopped on various ideological issues in order to win votes. Gingrich labelled him a ‘Massachusetts Moderate’ while Rick Santorum claimed that he ‘ran as a liberal in order to get elected’. While this could possibly be looked upon as candidates undermining each other, the main problem for the GOP will be that if Mitt wins the nomination, the democrats will have a lot of ammunition that could easily take ol’Mitt apart…

The main cruise missile in the Democrat’s arsenal will be Romney’s tenure as governor of Massachusetts, although he is remembered for being a pragmatic and effective governor, he successfully overhauled the state’s broken healthcare system, which sounds like a bloody good thing, though not if your a republican apparently. Mitt’s criticisms of Obama’s healthcare reforms were met with accusations of hypocrisy, which in parts are very similar to his own reforms as governor, and unfortunately this doesn’t set him well for what could be a very difficult campaign for him and the Republicans.

Anyway back to the caucus! If ol’Mitt wins I’ll be pleased for him! If Ron Paul wins, well I won’t really care but I’d be a bit worried! If Rick Santorum wins I’ll be surprised! If Newt Gingrich wins, well I worry for humanity…

Hell Mitt, just give them all $10,000!

 

 

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Can you believe it, it’s gone so quickly! With only about 20 days left until the Iowa caucus, time is running out for Newt Gingrich to pull out of the running for the Republican nomination…

Yes possibly a tad optimistic on my part, but it worked with Herman Cain; I literally looked at his picture for about half an hour every morning willing him to quit, and look at him now, honestly this is real talent right here. Unfortunately this looks doubtful to work on Mr Gingrich who this week looks to have solidified his position as Republican frontrunner, after a surprisingly assured performance in last sunday’s debate in which he came under pretty sustained fire from everyone around him, I say ‘sustained’ as an understatement, to Newt’s credit he took more hits than a chubby kid playing dodgeball, he managed to stay and finish strongly at the apparent expense of ol’Mitt. 

Now around here, the English countryside, we love Mitt Romney, in fact no we don’t, most people don’t know who he is, well I like him more than the other GOP candidates and I genuinely believe that he should/will win the nomination even if I stronglbelieve that he will lose to Obama in the General election next year. But one thing we English do like is a joke, we’re funny people, Rick Perry on the hand, well he doesn’t like jokes, probably because he doesn’t get them or whatever, but the point is that Mitt Romney’s debate looks set to be remembered not for his strong performance, but for his ‘$10,000 bet attempt’.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about then here it is, Rick Perry claimed that Mitt had supported healthcare reform in a passage in one of his books, Mitt of course denied this vehemently and put out his hand and said ‘Rick, I’ll tell you what $10,000 bucks? Ten thousand bet?’. Now admittedly a bet like this probably doesn’t go down well in these times of austerity, sure the bet was to some degree in fairly poor taste, three weeks before the Iowa caucus there probably aren’t many of the 99% making bets of any nature, but it was the fashion of the responses from the other candidates that really stood out. 

The response from Michele Bachmann’s camp was that ‘For someone to go and throw around a $10,000 bet, just goes to show even more that he’s not the same level as the people of Iowa or the country’. Yeah you heard it, Michele Bachmann taking the moral high ground, the woman whose husband turns people ‘straight’ for money, yeah it’s Mitt Romney thats out of touch…

RIck Perry’s camp on the other hand said that ‘it’s the language of Wall Street and not the language of Main Street Iowa,’ Although save the best for last, Linda Upmeyer, Newt’s campaign chairwoman bizarrely said ‘When i make a bet with somebody, it’s usually for the five dollars I have in my hand’. It’s as if she genuinely though Mitt was going to take a wad of twenties from his pocket on stage and start slapping them down. How many of us have said throughout our lives have said ‘I bet you a million quid’ or in an American’s case ‘I bet you a million bucks y’all’ as harmless jokes, the sheer shamefulness of some of the responses in attempts to sink another man’s candidacy is shocking. 

But I guess it’s that time of year when everything a candidate says get scrutinised beyond all civilised meaning, it’s also christmas time and I’m sending out some joke books, anyone know Rick Perry’s address?

 

 

Up Newt creek without a paddle..

 

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I have a confession to make, before I type one more syllable I must tell you, the guilt… well, it’s crushing me. I have stolen, no borrowed, the title for this article, it was first uttered by Jon Stewart on his fantastic Daily show, and he was of course referring to the abnormally large headed, former speaker of the House; Newt Gingrich and his frankly meteoric rise from single digit stumbling in the polls, to leading in 3 of the 4 ‘early states’ and currently polling at 33% in Iowa. 

A month from now Iowa will vote for a candidate to face President Obama in next years election, and with Newt sitting 15 points clear he looks to be that candidate. On a scale of 1 – 10 on how scared this makes me, and hopefully everyone else, I’d say it’s, well about the same as Newt’s polls in Iowa ironically, it ranks about a 33 on the ‘scared scale’. However, I’m still holding out some hope for ol’ Mitt Romney, surely he deserves it though right? Last weeks article covered the rise and fall of the ‘non Mitts’ and from the man who has held the highest place most consistently I will honestly feel bad if he doesn’t win the nomination.

Now I was going to write this weeks article about Herman Cain aka The Herminator, still laughing about that, but unfortunately the Herman Cain jokes weren’t coming to me. After he hilariously withdrew from the race last week that means his quite substantial support had to go somewhere, and that somewhere is the Newt Gingrich 2012 campaign. And as someone so rightly said a couple of days ago ‘it is startling that Gingrich should be the main beneficiary of Cain’s shenanigans’. While I don’t think this support for Gingrich is short lived I think that Romney is still very much in this race, although he may be quite a way behind Newt in Iowa, he is still holding firm in New Hampshire.

Iowa for Mitt Romney was always going to be something of a struggle; 60% of the voters are evangelical christians who said they would never vote for a mormon, four years ago he campaigned hard in Iowa and spent in excess of $10 million trying to win, only to lose to Mike Huckabee. Instead he’s focusing more on the liberal state of New Hampshire, where many think Mitt Romney can do very well. Someone very aptly commented on one of my articles last week saying that polls were just an indicator and unless you get people out there canvassing then it’s unlikely to get the result you want, Newt Gingrich needs to be made aware, no wait, don’t tell him! His lack of organisation could cost him dearly, with over 1,600 separate precincts in Iowa, and each precinct needing a precinct captain to organise volunteers, it’s something of a mammoth effort.

The upcoming caucus should be interesting, if not slightly predictable, the real entertainment will come January 10th over New Hampshire way…

The Rise and Fall of the ‘Non – Mitts’!

 

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So as the race to be theRepublican candidate goes on…and on. It seems as though another candidate has risen to the dizzying heights of ‘frontrunner’, and this new man is none other than that loveable Newt Gingrich, a man so great he… ok admittedly before I wrote this blog I had to do a bit of research on this man, because frankly I had no idea who he was, and never thought that he would even get this far. And surely this typifies what this so called ‘race’ become, as more and more candidates fall from being the front runner to the gutter, it was eventually time that one of the smaller fish would rise to the top, because there was literally no one else left!

Hence the catchy title of ‘Non – MItts’, oh and there have been a few, that have had their moment in the sun then crashed back down with sizeable force; The lunatic – cum – politician Michele Bachmann; Mr Brain freeze himself Rick Perry and of course who could forget Pizza King and professional gentleman Herman Cain. After the rest folded under scrutiny, it will certainly be interesting to see how Mr Gingrich fairs, and if he can stick it out without any major gaffes he may just stand a chance come January. Well that’s what I thought after knowing nothing about his past:

– Firstly I’m slightly embarassed to find out that he was Speaker of the House and yet I hadn’t heard of him.

– Secondly, after doing a bit of research, my advice to him would be to quit now and move to Mexico.

I literally cannot believe he his still allowed near D.C… In a great tabloid moment he complained about not being seated in the front section of Air Force one on a trip to Israel, and subsequently decided that this minor snub would play a part in his decision to shut down the entire US government in 1995. This led to a NY newspaper publicly calling him a ‘cry baby’ on their front page, a headline so bloody brilliant it’s the picture for this blog entry! He also, so far, remains the only Speaker of the House in US history to have been disciplined for misbehaviour, and has also had no less than 84 ethics charges filed against him while he held the position.

This is turning into a rant, but I honestly cannot believe this man; turns out that he was having an extramarital affair while impeaching Clinton for his, great stuff Newt, really. I guess that the Republicans are grasping at anyone who isn’t Mitt Romney, while he has been commendably consistent, the GOP are desperate for anyone else, even if that is Newt Gingrich.

Also, just sneak this point in, he had, and is rumoured to still have, a $1 million line of credit at Tiffany’s the jeweller for his third, yes third wife, well that should sit well with the 99%.

 

Republicans and foreign policy, not the greatest mix…apparently..

Well, let’s be brutally honest, odds are that no one thought Rick Perry’s ‘oops’ moment could be topped or at least equalled in terms of political foolery. But I’m guessing that some people may have been thinking ‘Well Herman Cain definitely has it in him..’ And those people are right, Mr Cain has certainly delivered, and in top form as well; in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, when asked about the Libya conflict, he said: –

“OK, Libya. President Obama supported the uprising, correct?”

When asked if he agreed with Obama’s support for rebels, he replied: –

“I do not agree with the way he handled it, for the following reason.” After hesitation and shifting in his seat, he said: “Uh, nope, that’s, that’s a different one. … see, I got to go back, see. Got all this stuff twirling around in my head.”

Now this gaffe could not come at a worse time for Cain, or a better time for everyone else, as it gives another terrifying insight into the man who could be President in just over a year’s time… scary stuff, no?

But then again isn’t it time Herman was given a bit of a break, sure he messed up on the Libya question slightly, and he said one of the top priorities was to stop China acquiring a nuclear warhead, seemingly unaware they’ve had them since the 60’s, but when compared with other Republican candidate’s namely Sarah Palin, Mr Cain comes off looking pretty damn good!

Who can forget, Sarah Palin’s, now infamous, explanation of why Alaska’s proximity to Russia gives her a wealth of foreign policy experience ; “As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where– where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border.” Predictably the clip went viral at the time, and early on it looks as though Cain’s blunder might be going the same way.

But, all in all it’s not too bad for the Republicans; of course in the UK if you want to know anything about US politics then you have to watch the superb Daily show with Jon Stewart. And as much as I love to watch Jon Stewart in full ‘republican/fox news piss taking’ flow, you could only watch quite surprised as he declared that, the usual nutcase extra-ordinare, Michele Bachmann had the ‘sanest’ stance on foreign policy out of all the candidates including the seemingly mercurial Mitt Romney.

Whether, Cain’s latest gaffe will set his presidency bid back is anyone’s guess, most thought he was toast after last week but he’s somehow staying afloat, and if he can get through to January and the Iowa caucus without any major scene he should be ok, but until then my best advice for him is to hide in a cupboard and keep his mouth shut…firmly shut!

Perry, Cain & the first blog!

Ah, it’s that first blog feeling that you get when you start a blog, I’ve only felt it this once…but my god it’s good! I’ve decided to enter the blogosphere after being enticed my many of my friends at college. However he only question was, what do I blog about?!

After much deliberation I decided to write about the world of American politics, I’ve decided to do this as, frankly I love the USA. Having ‘crossed the pond’ more than a few times in my short life, and studying it’s great history at length while at school I instantly fell in love!

Well, thats the 50 million dollar answer. The real reason I’ve started this blog is because I just find America and it’s politics so interesting, it’s incredibly different to the UK in this respect; the US is far more divided and it’s politics reflect that.

So I guess the purpose of this blog is to give an insight into how we in the UK see the US. I also hope that because I’m so far away from the political sphere of the GOP & the democrats, I can give a good insight into events from across the pond, and hopefully include some of that famous British wit!

So here it goes… Like so many others I’ve been keeping a firm eye on the GOP Presidential nomination, and while there seems to be no stand out candidate, it’s seldom been short of entertainment. Moving away from Mr Perry’s brilliant ‘oops’ moment that could cost him dearly, we move swiftly to a certain Mr Herman Cain who has been swatting away sexual harassment allegations for the last two weeks.

It seems a tad ironic that ol’ Rick Perry could have killed his chances by forgetting a line, albeit an important line, while Herman Cain remains remarkably afloat despite various high profile sexual harassment accusations. In fact it boggles the mind, while many a pundit have predicted his swift downfall, he has seen only a slight drop in the polls and after a relatively strong performance in the GOP debate wednesday night he seems to be, somehow, back on track.

After Rick Perry’s debate gaffe on wednesday and the glorious fading of Tea Party darling Michele Bachmann, Cain remains the only option left for anti-Romney republicans who view the former Massachusetts governor as ‘dangerously unreliable’. If it wasn’t for Cain, Romney would already be jumping in joy!

By the looks of it, Cain could take Iowa, while Romney looks set to take New Hampshire in the first primary, if so it’ll boil down to the crucial proceedings in South Carolina.

However you would be a fool to dismiss Rick Perry at this point, his ‘oops’ moment is by no means a bar to the white house, I mean just ask George W Bush!