Saturday, July 02, 2011

Race for the White House 2012

As the Independence Day Weekend is upon us, and with the current year now halfway over, 2012 continues to rapidly approach.

The GOP field continues to take shape, as Michigan Congressman Thad McCotter is expected to formally announce his candidacy this Saturday. He will attempt to determine if a guitar playing, cigarette smoking, bald policy wonk can win the White House. I am betting no. One of the odd peculiarities of this election cycle is that for the first time in over a century, not a single sitting U.S. Senator is seeking the Presidency, while McCotter will become the third current member of the lower chamber to get into the race. While Michele Bachmann is said to have no intention to run for reelection to her House seat next year, McCotter will likely join Ron Paul in eventually attempting to win reelection at home.

Much attention this week did focus on Bachmann who formally launched her campaign this past Monday in her birth city of Waterloo, Iowa. The media made great notice of the fact that John Wayne, whom the Congressman claimed as a fellow native, had never lived in Waterloo, but infamous serial killer John Wayne Gacy (whom I lived in the same town during my infancy, right before he got busted) had. While that may be a relatively minor gaffe, one would think that Bachmann, who continues to gain momentum in national and state polls, would have better researchers by now. Along those lines, when questioned, she doubled down on her previous statement that the Founding Fathers worked to eradicate slavery, using the apparent sole example of John Quincy Adams, whom she must consider to be the child prodigy of the Founders. All of this continues to generate much press, as it is clear that the mainstream media can be expected to be very anti-Bachmann.

Also gathering headlines is Sarah Palin, who visited Iowa at the same time as Bachmann, to see the debut of a documentary film about herself. Of course, the media also claims that Palin is once again attempting to steal the spotlight for herself at the expense of an active GOP candidate. Bachmann refused to take the media bait when asked about Palin and said that some have an interest in seeing the two women engaged in a mud wrestling match. I think there may be something to do that. In other Palin news, her eldest daughter Bristol, during her tour, touting the memoirs of her young life, stated that Governor Palin had definitely made a decision as to whether or not she will run for President. I think there may be something to that as well.

The end of June also signifies the end of the fundraising quarter and the next several days will be very interesting to see just how the candidates did. Front runner Mitt Romney's camp is saying that they will take in under $20 million, which could be an attempt to lowball at this point. However, Romney donors are also said to be donating additionally to a "Super PAC" which can be expected to be put to good use for the candidate. Late this week, Romney traveled to Pennsylvania at the same time as a Barack Obama (who is believed to have raised as much as $60 million this quarter) economic speech and received his own media attention for hammering the incumbent on the economy. However, he might have been tripped up on a question about the stock market, which some took as an answer reversing the position that Romney has stated, in which he has said Obama has made the overall economy worse. The Romney campaign, in clarifying the candidate's remarks, indicate that is still their position.

Far less successful on the money front this quarter is Tim Pawlenty, who has raised just $4.2 million dollars. While he was not expected to raise anywhere near as much as Romney, that number still does seem pretty anemic. It is just barely above the $4.1 million dollar figure given by the Jon Huntsman campaign (who also had to explain why the candidate's son recently posed happily with Mitt Romney at a Romney event in Utah). Huntsman had just a relatively few days to raise money this quarter though and is said to have contributed a significant portion of it from his own pocket (unlike Romney thus far this cycle.)

It will be interesting to see just how much money candidates including Bachmann, Ron Paul, and Herman Cain were able to raise this past quarter. Cain did suffer the loss this past week of his sole staffer in New Hampshire.

With the campaign approaching though, and budget and debt ceiling battles roiling Capitol Hill and the White House, Obama made his own news at a press conference this week, that angered many Republicans and lessened the chance for compromises in Washington, D.C. to be reached. The incumbent seemed determined to play the class card, used the killing of Osama bin Laden, as a political weapon, and compared Republicans in Congress unfavorably to his two young daughters. For an Administration that continues to face grim economic news, and low poll numbers, it is perhaps a sign of a more partisan, political posture, designed to fire up the Democrat base.

One reporter, whose past writings have him pegged as a great Obama admirer, Mark Halperin (perhaps suffering Weinergate) withdrawal, stated live on MSNBC this week, that in the press conference, the President of the United States, acted like a "dick." That remark, for which Halperin profusely apologized for, now has him suspended indefinitely from his pundit gig on the low rated cable network.

While just about everyone would claim that the use of such language on television to talk about any President is inappropriate, many Republicans privately share the sentiments. For his part, Halperin, the co-author of the book "Game Change", in which it is clear he viewed Obama as some sort of post-partisan "uniter", might be beginning to realize just how partisan Obama and his team might feel they need to get in order to save his job next year.