POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 8/16
Roger Simon: “I admit I do not fully understand Ron Paul and his beliefs. But I do understand when a guy gets shafted, and Ron Paul just got shafted.”
The Fix: “In the next 60 days, there are five presidential debates scheduled — a series of standoffs that amount to a testing ground for the top-tier Republican candidates as the campaign picks up momentum. The debates will come in quick succession after Labor Day: Sept. 7 in California, Sept. 12 and 22 in Florida, Oct. 11 in New Hampshire and Oct. 18 in Nevada.”
James Wright: “For the generation who established the United States, the assumption was that a democracy’s wars would be fought and paid for by its citizens. This dual obligation was supposed to serve as a restraint on entering wars and a continuing reminder of their costs. George Washington insisted that every citizen owed a ‘proportion of his property’ and his personal services to the nation’s military in wartime. Today’s wars, by contrast, are fought by other citizens’ sons and daughters, husbands and wives, and they will be paid for by the children and grandchildren of today’s generation. This is out of line with tradition. Beginning with the War of 1812 and up through the Vietnam War, Congress levied special taxes to pay for its wars.”
First Read: “We’ve learned that Pawlenty could see the writing on the wall Saturday at the straw poll at about 2:00 pm. The campaign had sold about 3,000 tickets, and when it saw the high turnout, they knew it would hurt them. Pawlenty made the decision to end the campaign that night after seeing the results and after conferring with his wife, Mary. He then finalized the decision the next morning after talking to his wife again at about 5:30 am, about two hours before the news broke of his conference call with supporters. His reasoning, according to our reporting? Pawlenty felt he needed a boost out of the straw poll for momentum and fundraising. His resources had dried up and instead of cutting half the staff, and having another week of bad stories, he cut bait.”
A new Club for Growth poll in Wisconsin shows former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) leading former Rep. Mark Neumann (R) in a possible primary match up for U.S. Senate, 40% to 34%, with 27% undecided.
Ross Douthat: “No one doubts Romney’s intelligence or competence, but he has managed to run for president for almost five years without taking a single courageous or even remotely interesting position. The thinking person’s case for Romney, murmured by many of his backers, amounts to this: Vote for Mitt, you know he doesn’t believe a word he says.”
“Rick Perry has many of the qualities that Romney seems to lack: backbone, core convictions, a killer instinct and a primal understanding of the right-wing electorate… What Perry doesn’t have, though, is the kind of moderate facade that Americans look for in their presidents…. Imagine if the Democratic Party nominated a combination of Al Franken and Nancy Pelosi for the presidency, and you have a sense of the kind of gamble Republicans would be taking with Perry.”
A USA Today poll of economists finds they put the chance of another recession at 30% — twice as high as three months ago, according to their median estimates.
There are two more recall races in Wisconsin today and this time it’s Democratic state senators defending their seats.
Ben Smith: “Sources on both sides tell me they expect Democrats to struggle to hold Jim Holperin’s Wasau seat, expected to be the tightest of the three races. If they lose it, months of furious effort and a huge investment by national unions will have netted them a single senate seat, so the stakes are high for both sides.”
Norm Ornstein: “With an economy seemingly on the precipice of a renewed recession, an angry conservative movement that regards him with disdain, and a disillusioned liberal base disappointed in his first term, Barack Obama’s bid for reelection next year will, by all indications, be a tough, maybe even uphill fight. But daunting as the campaign may seem, the President can at least take some solace in a precedent from 64 years ago: Harry Truman’s campaign for reelection in 1948 — successful, despite a poor economic climate, and a polarized electorate — offers a promising path for Obama’s reelection. The question is whether he’s prepared to take it.”
First Read: “A long and very fluid GOP race might be exactly what the doctor ordered for President Obama, whose job-approval rating sunk to 39% in Gallup’s daily tracking poll. He also needs some better economic news, as well as some luck (which he really hasn’t had since that Osama bin Laden raid back in May). Today, Obama tries to get back on track with a three-day bus tour across the Midwest. He begins in Minnesota with a town hall in Cannon Falls at 1:05 pm ET. Then he heads to Iowa, where he holds another town hall in Decorah at 6:15 pm ET. The Midwest has always been important to Obama; it’s where he achieved so much success in the ’08 primaries and later general election. And he needs it to get back on track.”
A final note: “While we’ve always argued that Gallup’s daily tracking goes up and down — ‘Live by Gallup’s daily tracking, die by Gallup’s daily tracking’ — going below 40% is a psychological barrier.”
With Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) shuttling back and forth between Iowa and South Carolina for a string of campaign events, Ben Smith asks an interesting question: “How long until he’s spent more time in Iowa and South Carolina this year than Romney?”
Background: Romney has put almost all of his effort into New Hampshire first-in-the-nation primary, largely ignoring Iowa and South Carolina where he would face a tougher (and, most likely, losing) fight against the more conservative Perry and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN).
The Wall Street Journal runs an editorial slamming the current Republican presidential lineup in a demonstration of just how dissatisfied the Republican establishment is with the current field, even after Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) entered the race.
Kicker: “Republicans and independents are desperate to find a candidate who can appeal across the party’s disparate factions and offer a vision of how to constrain a runaway government and revive America’s once-great private economy. If the current field isn’t up to that, perhaps someone still off the field will step in and run. Now would be the time.”
For years, Texas Gov. Rick Perry “has taken flak for his 2007 attempt to require girls to be vaccinated against HPV, the most commonly sexually transmitted disease and the principal cause of cervical cancer. At the risk of angering fellow conservatives, Perry has always insisted he did the right thing,” the Texas Tribune reports.
“That unapologetic approach changed this weekend.”
“A few hours after unveiling his campaign for president, Perry began walking back from one of the most controversial decisions of his more-than-10-year reign as Texas governor. Speaking to voters at a backyard party in New Hampshire, Perry said he was ill-informed when he issued his executive order, in February 2007, mandating the HPV vaccine for all girls entering sixth grade, unless their parents completed a conscientious objection affidavit form.”
The New York Times notes that the events of the weekend — Michele Bachmann winning the Iowa straw poll, Rick Perry announcing his presidential bid and Tim Pawlenty dropping out of the race — have essentially turned the GOP campaign into a three way battle.
“While Mrs. Bachmann, Mr. Perry and Mr. Romney each have emphasized cutting attacks on Mr. Obama, they now face the need to begin drawing distinctions with one another and set up what could be a long and hard-edged campaign for the party’s nomination. Their pitches often overlap, with Mr. Perry and Mr. Romney presenting themselves as job creators, while Mr. Perry and Mrs. Bachmann appeal to social conservatives.”
“The contrasts are becoming increasingly clear as the slow-to-start campaign accelerates and candidates prepare to participate in three debates next month alone.”
Washington Post: “The Republican race is now a series of likely contrasts, with Romney cast as the establishment candidate who will portray himself as a former businessman who understands how to create jobs and as the candidate who has the best chance of defeating President Obama in November 2012. Perry will challenge Romney on the economic front and will play on the anti-Washington message that he has been sharpening since Obama took office in early 2009. Bachmann remains the insurgent in the race.”
“One of the reasons that I’m running for president is I want to make sure that every young man and woman who puts on the uniform of the United States respects highly the president of the United States.”
— Rick Perry, quoted by Ben Smith, who notes the line “is a reversal of the usual pledges of respect for the military from politicians.”
The Texas Monthly takes a look at the ten campaigns (and victories) of Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) since 1984 as he enters the Republican presidential primary.
“Today, there are only two sure things in life: Every few years Rick Perry will run for office, and every few years Rick Perry will grind his opponents into dust… A few were against relatively weak opposition, but many were against prominent figures who were expected to give Perry a run for his money… But all of them fell to Perry’s deep coffers, disciplined campaign style, occasional refusal to debate, and (semi-) popularity among Texans.”
Said John Sharp (D), who lost to Perry in the 1998 Texas Lieutenant Governor race, “Running against Perry is like running against God.”