The Key to the Debate

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Elections, Issues

The key ingredient of Romney’s performance at tonight’s debate will be his willingness to show voters how Obama’s ‘progressive’ policies are having a regressive effect on middle class workers, consumers, and savers.  We’ve beat this drum incessantly here at the Madison Project.  Unfortunately, Romney has yet to pin the tail on the donkey.

Due to Obama’s central-planning, crushing regulations, Obamacare, and redistribution, the cost of living has skyrocketed while incomes have plummeted and job creation has not kept up with the population growth.  Yet, Obama has successfully portrayed himself as a crusader for the middle class, even as Obamacare has driven up the cost of health insurance, his ethanol policy has driven up the cost of food, and his anti-energy policies have driven up the cost of electricity and gas.  The amazing thing is that the so-called rich – whom Obama demonizes on a daily basis – are actually benefiting from some of his policies, such as the monetary stimulus and near-zero interest rates.  Big banks are reaping the benefits of QE2 and 3 even as retirees are seeing their savings vanish.

Here is the money quote from a new analysis reported by Investors Business Daily – one which Romney must cite in the debate:

Since 2009, the middle 20% of American households saw their average incomes drop 4%. In 2011 alone, they fell 1.7%. The poorest 20% have fared even worse under Obama, Census data show. Their incomes have dropped more than 7% since 2009, and are now lower than they’ve been at any time since 1985, after adjusting for inflation.

Meanwhile, the wealthiest have managed to eke out gains in two of the past three years. In 2011, the top 20% saw their average income climb almost 2%, the Census data show.

And much of those profits are being reaped by the “evil” bankers who are sucking up the funds from QE3 at the expense of savers and consumers.

Think of it this way.  Median household income has dropped $4,520, or about one month’s average wages, since President Obama took office, yet gas prices have increased by more than $2 per gallon.  For many people, that increase has resulted in an annual increase that is as much or more than the decline in disposable income.

One of the biggest failures of the Romney campaign – one which is driving Obama’s lead in Ohio and other key Midwestern states – is their lost ground among blue-collar women voters.  In 2008, Obama only won 41% of non-college educated white women while he was winning 53% nationally.  And for good reason.  He is an elitist radical leftist who puts EPA regulations ahead of job growth.  Yet, Romney has done so poorly relating to them and attacking Obama for raising the cost of living that they are backing Obama with 52% of the vote in Ohio, according to National Journal.

Clearly, these voters are not married to Obama.  In fact, Obama has thrown them out of the party.  They are there for the taking if Romney will just speak to them on the bread and butter issues.  These debates will provide him with the only unfiltered means of communicating with them.  Will he seize the moment?

Obama is Running Unopposed

Friday, September 28th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Elections

The million dollar question I hear from friends and relatives is this: with Obama’s failures on full display and the unprecedented lethargic economic growth for everyone t see, why is Obama leading?

The answer is simple.  We don’t have retention ballots for presidential elections.  You have to beat the incumbent with an alternative, and in this case, Obama is running unopposed.

Many people on our side are in complete denial of the situation.  They are still stuck on the 1980 narrative and feel that Romney will pull out a Reagan style victory.  He still can.  But he will lose if he doesn’t begin showing up in the ring.

Ronald Reagan did two things to win.  He relentlessly beat the stuffing out of Jimmy Carter on specific policies, and he proposed a very specific positive agenda.  Those two magical components are missing from Romney’s campaign.

With regards to the aggressive attacks on Obama, take a look at this trenchant piece from Byron York:

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Romney is Ceding White Working Class Vote

Friday, September 21st, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Elections

Do you want to know the definition of stupid?  It’s Republicans losing the white working class vote after Obama threw them out of the party.  That takes talent.

One thing was clear from the incipient stages of this campaign: win or lose overall, Obama was going to get crushed with white blue collar voters.  Even the Obama campaign admitted that they were ceding that demographic – the people whom Obama referred to as “bitter clingers” in 2008. Many of these people voted against Obama in the Democrat primary, even though he was unopposed.  Obama had moved the party so far to the left that everyone assumed there would be a permanent realignment of blue collar voters into the Republicans Party.  Even in 2008, when McCain ran far behind Bush in almost every corner of the country, he carried some counties in western PA and eastern OH by wider margins than Bush did in 2004.

To that end, the Obama campaign pursued a strategy of cobbling together a majority with minorities and upscale, highly-educated white suburban voters.

But then something happened.  Mitt Romney happened.

Romney has evinced such an out-of-touch elitist image that many blue collar voters have become wobbly, even though Obama threw them out of the party.  Instead of winning them by 65-70%, Romney is only narrowly leading.  This is killing him in Ohio, where he must run up a large margin among the white working class in order to overcome the urban centers.

Ironically, the Romney campaign is now discussing a scenario in which they bypass Ohio and pursue the upscale suburban vote in New Hampshire, Nevada, and Colorado.

So here’s the million dollar question for Mitt Romney.  Why is he not courting these voters?

Well of course they are, you might protest.  However, have you ever seen him hit Obama on cultural issues?  Have you seen him nail Obama for handing their jobs to illegals or his administrative amnesty?  Have you seen him hit Obama hard on his un-American foreign policy?  What happened to Obamacare?  What about Fast and Furious and Obama’s insidious plan to impose gun control?

All the issues that resonate with these voters have been deemed off limits by the obdurate consultants in Boston.  And it’s showing.  The latest Rasmussen poll shows Romney losing Pennsylvania by 12 points.  To be fair, a Republican must also make inroads in the upscale Philadelphia suburbs in order to win the state.  However, a 12-point deficit is indicative of a gross underperformance in the blue collar parts of the state.

If Romney does not pursue a full-court strategy to embrace these voters, he will lose.

McCain and Graham Cheerleading for Obama’s Arab Winter

Thursday, September 13th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Foreign Policy

In light of the brutal Islamic attacks on our embassies in Egypt and Libya, we have a principal opportunity to draw a sharp distinction between the Reagan conservative foreign policy doctrine of America first and Obama’s doctrine of Islamists first.  Unfortunately, many Republicans, including some congressional leaders, are either indifferent to Obama’s reckless foreign policy or subscribe to the phantom dreams of the Arab Spring.

Thankfully, Romney has doubled down on his sharply worded statement assailing Obama for apologizing yesterday.  But it’s more than the apology that is the problem in the Middle East.  We must connect the dots and show how Obama used our military along with several billion in taxpayer funds to strengthen the hand of Al-Qaeda, not just in Egypt and Libya, but across North Africa.

Unfortunately, Lindsey Graham and John McCain are out-Obamaing Obama on failed foreign policy, further sullying the distinctions between the parties.

“Despite this horrific attack, we cannot give in to the temptation to believe that our support for the democratic aspirations of people in Libya, Egypt, and elsewhere in the broader Middle East is naive or mistaken.

“We cannot resign ourselves to the false belief that the Arab Spring is doomed to be defined not by the desire for democracy and freedom that has inspired millions of people to peaceful action, but by the dark fanaticism of terrorists. To follow this misguided path would not only be a victory for the extremists and their associates, but a betrayal of everything for which Chris Stevens and his colleagues stood and gave their lives. In short, it would be a betrayal of our own best ideals as Americans and our own enduring interest in using our great influence to support the overwhelming majority of people in the Middle East who want to be free from the kinds of murderers and terrorists who killed our people yesterday in Benghazi.”

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Obama Apologizes to Islamists on September 11

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Foreign Policy

Yesterday, we marked the 11th anniversary of the September 11 Islamic attacks on our nation.  Following those heinous attacks we promised to stay on the offense against Islamic terror and to weaken those nations which support their activity.

Eleven years later, we have a president who is building up new Islamist governments across the Middle East – ones that are backed by our biggest enemies; Al-Qaeda and Iran.  Concurrently, he is throwing our troops into a meat grinder in Afghanistan as they are forced to fight a social work operation while Obama’s henchmen negotiate with the Taliban.

In a grimly apropos “celebration” of 9/11, radical Islamists stormed the American consulates in Egypt and Libya – two nations where Obama helped install Islamic governments; a pro-Al-Qaeda government in Libya and a Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt.  In Egypt, the democracy-lovers tried to raise an Al-Qaeda flag on the embassy wall; in Libya, they killed the Ambassador and three other staffers.  Yup, the flag that was flying at half-mast for 9/11 was replaced by an Al-Qaeda flag.  They were upset about an American made film about Islam that failed to airbrush their violence.  They responded by…demonstrating the point of the film.

So, do you feel safer now that Mubarak and Gadhafi are out of power?  The Arab Spring is definitely something that Obama ‘did build.’  And he wants more.  Obama is pushing Congress to approve a new aid package for the “Arab Spring governments,” including a $1 billion bailout of Egyptian debt.  Now there is word that Senator Bob Corker (RINO-TN), who is slated to become the next chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, is supportive of Obama’s Muslim Brotherhood bailout.

The most egregious thing is that instead of holding the “governments” and the people of those rat hole nations accountable, Obama’s diplomats in Cairo issued…..you guessed it… an apology!

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Our Job as Conservatives

Friday, August 31st, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Elections

The balloons have dropped and the convention is over.

For those of us who wanted sharp principles espoused raucously from the podium; for those of us who wanted a red meat take down of Obama; for those of us who wanted substance on policy issues explained from a conservative philosophy, this convention was probably underwhelming.

Then again, for better or worse, the convention was never about winning over the conservative base.  Thanks to the repulsive thought of Obama winning another 4 years, we are all already on board.  This convention was clearly carefully orchestrated to appeal to Independent suburban married women, and to large extent, they were probably successful.

I’m not going  to hide the fact that the touchy-feely ‘Oprahazation’ of politics is not exactly what resonates with me, and most likely, many of our activists.  The thing is that as conservatives, we never had any doubts that Romney is a good man and a successful, yet kindhearted, entrepreneur.  Our problem is that he is not a good conservative.  Obviously, the convention was never designed to assuage that concern.  It was simply aimed at those swing voters who are disappointed with Obama, yet believed all the scandalous lies that were said about Romney in Obama’s barrage of negative ads.

To that end, the speech was historically light on substance, yet it brought out the human and emotional side of Mitt.  While that did not appeal to me, it probably appealed to the right voters.  And that is fine.

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A Convention Call to Action Against Establishment Power Grab

Monday, August 27th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Elections

Update II: The inimitable Erick Erickson informs us that the fight is not over.  At 2 PM the Rules Committee will meet again to grant the Republican nominee more power over the grassroots.  Please continue calling your state delegates listed below.

Update: This is why we need to engage in these battles.  The Romney campaign heard the concerns of thousands of conservative activists, and in an effort to avoid an embarrassing floor fight, they agreed to a compromise.  The national party will not exert control over the delegate process, as they attempted to do with the rule change, so long as the delegates vote for the presidential candidate that they are required to vote for under state law or state party rules.

We all stand united behind Mitt Romney in his bid to oust Barack Obama from the White House.  Despite the conservative concerns with Romney, almost all of us have put the primaries to rest, and certainly don’t wish to cause undo acrimony within the ranks of the party.  However, thanks to a surreptitious power grab by establishment party bosses at the RNC – one that will affect future campaigns and conventions – we must fight one more intra-party battle today.

Last Friday, the Rules Committee of the RNC voted to gratuitously change the rules of delegate selection to allow future presidential candidates to replace delegates from any state that they dislike.  This will allow any Republican nominee to replace grassroots stalwarts – who have been loyal both to the party and the conservative platform for years – with campaign lackeys. Who knows who will be the next nominee in the GOP “next in line,”country club sweepstakes?  Do we really want someone like Jon Huntsman (hey, isn’t he next in line?) replacing Goldwater and Reagan delegates with their own activists?

[Please read more from long-time delegate and Leadership Institute President Morton Blackwell.]

Yes, some of those delegates who are being targeted by the Romney campaign are troublemakers or Ron Paul enthusiasts who are only marginally attached to the Republican Party, if at all.  However, this rule change will cut off our nose in spite of our face by indiscriminately targeting conservative party stalwarts.

We need to fight this when the rule change comes before the full convention Tuesday evening.  Here’s what you need to know.  29 members of the Rules Committee – the requisite 25% of the entire body – successfully drafted a Minority Report which contains an amendment that will reinstate the previous delegate selection policies.  However, in order for the Minority Report to be offered as an amendment on the convention floor when the entire platform is adopted Tuesday night, it must be offered by 6 state delegations.  That means we need a majority of those state delegations to not only support the cause, but have the gumption to cause a stir during the carefully choreographed and largely ceremonial adoption of the rules during the roll call.  The effort is being led by the Texas delegation, and it this point, there is no other state with a clear majority of delegates who have spoken out against the rule change.

They need to hear from you.

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The First Likely Voter Poll from Fox News Portends Mostly Good News

Friday, August 24th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Elections

Earlier this afternoon Fox News posted their first likely voter poll of the campaign, which shows Mitt Romney leading Barack Obama 45%-44%.  Many of us were wondering how the polling would look once the pollsters switch to a likely voter screen – a model which is almost always more favorable to Republicans than a poll of registered voters.  This poll of 1,007 likely voters is a far cry from the last Fox News poll of 930 registered voters, which showed Obama with a 9 point lead.  Obviously, that poll was taken during the nadir of Romney’s campaign and before he got a boost from picking Paul Ryan as his running mate, but clearly the LV model makes a difference.  In this case, it gave Romney a 3-point bump (Obama is up 2 when including RVs).

The likely voter screen was comprised of 42% self-described Democrats 38% Republicans and 18% Independents.  Presumably, this does not reflect the actual affiliation of those surveyed because registered Independents comprise a greater share of the electorate than 18%.  I’m presuming that some of those tallied as Republicans or Democrats are registered Independents who lean decisively in one direction.

Almost every likely voter poll taken until now has shown Romney and Obama deadlocked, even while RV polls were showing Obama with a significant lead.  It will be interesting to see what happens when other RV pollsters switch over to an LV model.

Here are some of the key findings from the Fox News poll juxtaposed to some historical data.  It’s useful to become familiar with these data points as more LV polls begin to surface.

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Romney Must Cease and Desist From Ethanol Mandate

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Issues

Earlier today, Mitt Romney unveiled his comprehensive energy plan he will pursue as president.  Energy policy provides Republicans with their most potent weapon against Obama in this campaign.  Nothing emblematizes Obama’s socialist, anti-prosperity style of governance more than his destructive energy policy compromised of a “none-of-the-above” approach.  Well, none of the above except for green energy.  To that end, Romney’s biggest ace in the hole for the rest of the campaign is to hit Obama on energy policy and show how his anti-free-market policies are depressing the economy, destroying jobs, and raising the cost of vital goods on the very people whom Obama purports to defend.

Unfortunately, the Romney plan is only a mixed bag.  It fails to draw a bold enough contrast on some of the most important weaknesses of Obama’s policy.  Romney rightfully identifies onerous federal impediments on domestic drilling.  He proposes allowing states to oversee the drilling and exploration of oil and gas on federal lands within each state’s border.  This will limit the deleterious effects of EPA regulations and help replicate the successes we’ve witnessed in North Dakota.  And while he calls for increased drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf, he notably omits ANWR and some other oil reserves from his energy plan.

Unfortunately, his section on “innovation” is the biggest disaster of all.

Immediately after railing against picking winners and losers in the market on page 19, Romney calls for maintaining the “RFS.”  He wisely avoided using the term “ethanol mandate,” but that is ostensibly the heart and soul of the Renewable Fuels Mandate.  No other current federal policy is more of an anathema to the ideals of limited government, free markets, and economic growth than the Renewable Fuels Mandate.

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Obama Supports Traffic Congestion

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Taxes

Through Obama’s truculent special interest campaign of division and derision, he is rapidly exhausting his check list of demographic groups.  He’s already targeted women, Hispanics, gays, blue collar workers, and all sorts of minorities.  Now he is going after the ‘commuter vote’ in northern Virginia.

Politico is reporting that Obama is up with a 60-second radio spot in northern Virginia claiming that Paul Ryan’s budget will exacerbate the traffic problems in the sprawling D.C suburbs:

The 60-second radio bit imitates a local traffic report and targets congested routes oft-cursed by northern Virginians: Interstates 395 and 66. The area is part of the sprawling D.C. region and consistently rated as having some of the nation’s worst traffic.

“Could things get any worse?” the faux anchor asks of another broadcaster, who replies, “Paul Ryan put forward a budget plan that slashes investments in road and infrastructure projects.” The two then agree that the Ryan’s “budget plan devastates infrastructure and roads projects.”

The ad also highlights the House Budget chairman’s opposition to “bridge repair and safety bills,” referring to votes against a bridge repair bill written in the aftermath of the 2007 I-35 bridge collapse in Minneapolis, the 2009 stimulus package and a 2011 appropriations bill written by Democrats.

The problem is that it’s actually Obama’s intransigent support of a top-down federally-run highway policy that is encumbering traffic, stifling innovation, and preventing states from taking control of their own destiny.

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