VooDoo Politics

Is this little man the great white hope of the Republican Elite?

According to Politico, the GOP “elite” are looking to Mitch Daniels in 2012 to save the Republican party from itself.  Excuse me while I laugh.  Have you seen Mitch Daniels or actually heard him speak?  He may be the most sane person on deck at the moment, but when you’ve spent decades dredging the voting pool for the dim-witted that will believe your made-up tales on things like extreme tax cuts and “clean” coal, you’ve got to figure that eventually one of them or maybe a half dozen of them will decide to run for national office.  Remember, this is the man that’s helping the religious right defund Planned Parenthood in Indiana too. I remember when Planned Parenthood was the darling charity of the Republican elite like Babs Bush.  This isn’t Nixon’s Republican party any more.  It’s more like George Wallace’s.

Despairing Republican lobbyists say their colleagues don’t ask, “Who do you like?” but instead, “Who do we back?”

“It’s not that they’re up in arms,” said a central player in the GOP money machine. “It’s just that they’re depressed.”

And a huge swath of operatives, donors and strategists remain uncommitted, in the hope that the field is not yet set.

So instead of solidifying against the overwhelming force being amassed by Obama’s reelection campaign, the GOP is indulging in an embarrassingly public — and probably futile — search for a more compelling standard-bearer.

They’ve started a war against women so it only figures that two of the standard bearers are two women that don’t  know anything about anything but cutsey hyperbole based on wishful thinking.  Also, don’t forget what the southern strategy has bought them either.  They’ve now developed code words for immigration and civil rights so they don’t sound so much like the Ku Klux Klan.   You would think Mitt Romney would have a chance but he’s got two problems.  Evangelical Christians think Mormons are a cult and he put the Lincoln Chaffee/Heritage Foundation’s Republican Health Plan into law in Massachusetts.  He just can’t seem to get away from the fact that it looks very much like “Obamacare” because they’re basically one and the same. Oh, and look who at the other names coming up with Mitch Daniels.

Two of the nation’s best-known Republicans, in background interviews, predicted this week that Daniels would run, although wishful thinking seems to be at least part of the animating force behind the latest wave of pro-Daniels buzz.

One veteran of several Republican presidential campaigns said party strategists consider Obama beatable and are asking themselves, “How can we beat this guy?”

“People are worried we don’t have the right elements on the field,” the campaign veteran said.

So Republicans are conjuring up far-fetched — even fanciful — scenarios, including the possibility that Jeb Bush will change his mind in late fall if the field still looks weak.

George Will, the conservative columnist, and Bill Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, have openly fantasized about an entry by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Ryan’s advisers say he is focused instead on his role as a central player in the grand fiscal debate unfolding in Washington.

While these elite Republicans have been amassing their personal fortunes in places like Washington DC and New York City, Grass Roots,  Republican activists–like the insane Tea Party Organizers or the ever fanatical RTLers–have been swamping party structures with whackos for years.  Any one that’s attended a county or state Republican convention will tell you that most of them are stacked with members from evangelical churches that were told who to vote for by their whack-a-d00 preachers.  So, where do Republican elites get the idea that they can use these folks for votes without eventually tarnishing their free-wheeling business agenda with messy candidates?  Did they really think they could just sit there and manipulate their dumb right wing activists with promises of another pablum President like Ronald Reagan?  These folks are dying to bring down Roe v. Wade and shove the GLBT civil rights movement back into the national closet.  They want true believers where it counts.

Gallup Polls shows there is no clear front runner since Huckabee expressed his preference for a life with cash in his wallet.

With Mike Huckabee out of the race for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, three well-known politicians, Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, and Newt Gingrich, emerge as leaders in Republicans’ preferences. Republicans, however, have less intensely positive feelings about these three than they did about Huckabee. Two less well-known potential candidates, Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain, generate high levels of enthusiasm among Republicans who recognize them.

Each of these Republicans appear to have groupies, but not one of them has enough widespread appeal to break out of the pack.  Newt Gingrich is as bombastic as ever.  Herman Cain has basically come out of no where so he has no background in what it takes to fund raise, appeal to the shrieking masses, and figure out what he has to say to attract the core voting blocks.

I’d almost like to watch this circus except there is so much at stake right now that it would be nice to have a functional two party system.  We have anything but that now.

Steve Benen of the Political Animal explains the nuts and bolts electioneering impact of a donor base made nervous by the current crop of presidential wannabes.

The Republicans’ malaise isn’t just fodder for pundits; it carries real-world consequences. Major donors, activists, and staffers, for example, are waiting on the sidelines, hoping that more compelling candidates will come along. Allen added, “[I]nstead of solidifying against the overwhelming force being amassed by Obama’s reelection campaign, the GOP is indulging in an embarrassingly public — and probably futile — search for a more compelling standard-bearer.”

Party officials are pleading with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), who has foresworn the possibility. Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) is the subject of a new round of scuttlebutt, but as of yesterday, he’s not running. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) is apparently eyeing 2016. Sarah Palin hasn’t ruled out the race, but by all appearances, the party establishment would much prefer she stay out of it. (Allen said D.C. Republicans are “terrified” that she or a similar insurgent candidate, such as Bachmann, will make matters worse.)

And that leaves Daniels — the former Bush official largely responsible for creating a fiscally irresponsible snowball — to play the role of the rescuing hero. Some of this seems to be the result of affection for Daniels, and some is the result of panic-stricken Republicans surveying the current GOP field.

This puts the President clearly in the cat bird seat even with his polls returning to normal after the OBL kill bounce.  It appears it was only a brief vacation from every one’s concern with the lousy economy. Color me unsurprised.

So, yes, the President got a bump and, yes, it was short lived. We suspect that in the end, the impact will be approximately a 3-5 percent bump in approval and corresponding drop in disapproval that puts him somewhere around 50-51 percent approval rating and 43-45 percent disapproval. In addition, perceptions of the President’s handling of foreign policy and Afghanistan have gone up considerably. All in all, a good few weeks for the President.

Unfortunately for the White House, the dominant issue in the country remains the state of the economy, and the news on that front is not nearly as good. Here is our take on the economic situation and the overall political climate leading up to the 2012 elections:

The country remains in a prolonged period of national pessimism that seems at this point to be intractable. The political impact of this cannot be overstated. Six-in-ten Americans think the country is off on the wrong track. According to the Real Clear Politics average of public polls, only 34 percent of voters think the country is going in the right direction.

Meanwhile, both of the political parties refuse to address the real elephant in the room with real solutions.  The job market continues to be awful, the housing market is still slumping, and the costs of health care, college, gas and food are high.  So, what’s the discussion?   It’s all about dismantling medicare and arguing over the nuances of the federal debt ceiling.  Way to go elected officials!

This has me all depressed.  It’s never been more obvious that our two party system continues to bring to leadership people that are completely out of touch with the realities of the dwindling working and middle class. The dead cat bounce in Tea Party popularity as well as the electorate’s response to the  populist Obama campaign message struck the chord.  However, both turned out to be astroturf messages and as usual, there’s no place to go.

What’s a voter to do?


22 Comments on “VooDoo Politics”

  1. dakinikat says:

    From CNN Breaking News:

    President Obama is imposing tough sanctions against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and six other senior Syrian officials in an effort to stop the regime’s fierce crackdown on protests, the U.S. Treasury Department says.

    The Treasury Department also is targeting two top Iranian officials whose unit was a “conduit for Iranian material support” to Syrian intelligence.

  2. Minkoff Minx says:

    Great post Kat…I was shaking my head yes while I read it.

    • dakinikat says:

      Thanks. Having been a Republican up until the Clinton years and watching the Reagan years morph the party into a monster, I’ve got a perspective on it that’s based in experience.

      • CinSC says:

        Yup, I was a democrat up until the Obama years. As you state, what’s a voter to do?

      • fiscalliberal says:

        So – what were the issues that bumped you off the Republican Wagon? Rockefellers death?

      • dakinikat says:

        basically them dumping the ERA and abortion rights … if I’m not safe in my own body, I’m not safe any where in the US. No party that says its for small government is possibly serious if they’re interested in what your eggs are doing inside your own body.

      • dakinikat says:

        I was a registered independent in Minnesota, I switched to the Democratic party when I moved down here because Clinton was running for re-election and Landrieu was running for senate. I was okay with that until recently. Now, I’ve decided both parties are hopelessly corrupt. Next move I make I’m an independent again.

      • fiscalliberal says:

        We do not have a independent status here. I will not vote for Obama, am searching for a credible Republican, but see them to much in the Tea Party domain.

        So – I am part of “none of the above” thinking. No one seems to be thinking long term for this country and we are sticking our nose in to many situations. It is all unsustainavle

      • paper doll says:

        No party that says its for small government is possibly serious if they’re interested in what your eggs are doing inside your own body.

        Well said!

  3. mjames says:

    I’m scratching my head. Why didn’t they start looking for someone after Bush – or at the very least as soon as Obama was elected? Seriously. That was the time to get moving.

    The Tea Party is dead, IMO, massive media efforts to the contrary notwithstanding. So are Palin and Bachmann. So is Gingrich. Christie will be laughed off the stage. The second any of these idiots tries to appeal to ordinary voters, it’s bye bye for him/her. Daniels is a joke. Romney will be hoisted by his own healthcare petard. It’s Jeb or they don’t stand a chance. And the mere thought of another Bush makes me ill. It’s just that he looks good in comparison.

    Yes, they are reaping what they sowed. Play to the far right fringe, stop the social safety net, make women remain pregnant and in the kitchen, god, god, and more god all the time, followed immediately by wars, wars, and more wars – that’s just not going to sell. Neither is cutting taxes for the rich.

    The Repubs who run things (bankers and insurers and giant corporations) don’t have to worry, though. They already have their man in the White House.

  4. Jadzia says:

    What happened to Marco Rubio? I seem to remember quite a buzz around him after the midterms. Too young? Too in bed with the Tea Party? Not enough money?

    • dakinikat says:

      I think he’s only a first term senator now? He seems to be content there. Probably the young family is a challenge for him to do much more. Also, maybe he doesn’t want to do an Obama and run barely out of the barn door in the senate.

  5. Rick Reynolds (Rickpa) says:

    I find that with former two term New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, I have someone in the Republican Party that I can support for president. Unfortunately, he appears to be a long shot. He has all that I like about Ron Paul, without all that makes me uncomfortable about Ron Paul.

    The Tea Party seemed to have promise when it was a fiscal movement, but it appears to be so tied to the religious social statists as to be an antithesis of a liberty movement… an antithesis of itself!

    • dakinikat says:

      you don’t like Jon Huntsman? He’s the kind of Republican I used to fancy myself when I was registered Republican before I found out it’s mostly theocratic fascists.

    • dakinikat says:

      Also, I’m still dismayed that Republicans seemed to have thrown all knowledge of real economics to the wind. I’d like to see a few that know which markets the government needs to stay out of–agriculture subsidies and oil subsidies are one such thing–and which markets don’t function without a referee. They appear to be lopsided on what market distortions they like and which ones they don’t … any time you have a concentrated market or one with frictions, you might as well resign yourself to government babysitters. Problem is that the commodities which should operate fairly well have watb businesses that don’t want to compete. You can’t say you’re for open markets and they give people price supports, subsidies and special tax treatment. The capital gains/labor income tax treatments are abominations in that regard. Look how it’s distorted the financial markets. Plus, any information or risk broker is a market parasite. You can’t treat an insurance company like it’s a shoe manufacturer. Ridiculous. Problem is that all Republicans care about these days is regulating uterus and nothing else.

  6. paper doll says:

    And a huge swath of operatives, donors and strategists remain uncommitted, in the hope that the field is not yet set

    The Powers That Be want Obama II/Bush 4.
    So there is no money to hire this merry band of swift boats operatives. I’m sure they are missing the old days. lol!