Debt Ceiling: Is anyone in D.C. listening?

As the deadline to raise the debt ceiling draws closer it seems like the partisan lines are becoming stronger.  Everyday it seems like compromise will get harder, even though that is what is needed.  Tea Party house members who campaigned on not raising the debt ceiling are digging in trying to attach a balanced budget amendment to any deal that is done.  They all campaigned on not raising the ceiling and are refusing to go down without a fight.  If they are going to raise the ceiling, they want to deliver another campaign promise which is to cut spending and balance the budget.

One thing that they aren’t willing to do is raise taxes.  This is where they are missing the point.  You cannot have a balanced budget without also raising new revenues.  Simply cutting spending is not enough and certainly is not a balanced approach.  In order to obtain balance equal weight must be added to both sides of the scale.  When only discussing cuts, all the weight is on one site.  Closing loopholes and raising new revenues, must be added to the scale to even things out.

What is interesting is that everyone is claiming that their position is based on what they hear from their constituents.  Are they really listening though, or just saying what they want their constituents to say?  Recent polls suggest the latter.  A CBS News Poll shows that now 46% of Americans want the ceiling to be raised.  This is up 22% from June.  49% still oppose the raise but that is a 20% drop in the last month.  The real kicker is when asked what should a deal include.  66% of all people thought it should include both cuts and tax increases.  66% is a lot and more surprising when you dig into the numbers.  55% of those who identified themselves as republicans agreed with this along with 53% of those identifying with the tea party.

It seems like the American people are understanding what a balanced approach is, but people in Washington aren’t listening.  Maybe they should start since the poll also shows that 49% of Americans blame the republicans for the standoff and 71% disapprove of how they are handling the negotiations.  It is time to start listening to the people of this country, or they will remember when it is to vote.


Is Newt finished for real this time?

The campaign news of the day is that at least 5 of Newt Gingrich’s top campaign people have left his campaign.  There were disagreements about the direction of the campaign that led to their exits.  Some people have speculated that it could be that some of these aides want to move on to a possible Rick Perry campaign, though they dispute that (though one co-chair has moved to Pawlenty).

The big question though is can his campaign withstand this overhaul.  He says he isn’t going anywhere and will begin anew.  I respect his desire to push through, but is it worth it.  He is already an older candidate which in this day and age will work against him, and he has already battled his own party over comments he made on television.

I thought he made some good comments when he questioned the support for Ryancare, but I was disappointed when he backtracked from his comments days later, because the party was upset.  I think it would have been good for him to stand up for what he really thinks.

After going through that, then factoring in his top campaign people, I am not sure he can make it through this.  There has been an influx of more attractive candidates into the race, and I think it may be time for Newt to call it a career when it comes to running for public office.

Mitt Romney jumps in, will he last?

Yesterday, Mitt Romney officially entered the 2012 race.  He has to be considered a front-runner to obtain the GOP nomination.  I say not so fast.  Let me start by saying I do think he is the Republicans best shot at being competitive in 2012.  He is a very strong fiscal conservative who know about turning around a deficit into a surplus.  I still believe that the budget and job creation will be the biggest issues that decide the nominations and ultimately the next President.  As a Governor, he managed to fix the budget and create a system for job creation.

Of course, those who do not like Romney are focused on his Heath Care bill that he signed into law.  This law included the dreaded mandate that conservatives are so opposed to.  He has to be able to weather the initial firestorm that the Tea Party is ready to throw his way.  I think this issue will go away.  As time moves on it will become harder to focus on “Obamacare”.  The focus of people will shift back to our budget deficit, debt ceiling, and unemployment.  When the debate shifts back that way, Romney will stand out.

The issue I have with Romney is that will he stick around for the whole fight.  During his last run, he didn’t run the greatest campaign as evident by how much money he went through.  However, he was still right in the race only trailing McCain.  He had made it through the drama of his flip-flops and was poised to take the nomination down the stretch, but he pulled out.  I will always think had he stuck around he would have won the nomination.  Plus, Palin would never have gotten the VP nomination, and the Republicans would have stood a better chance in the General Election.  He didn’t stick around and the rest is history.

Let’s see if he is willing to stick around for the whole fight, or back away when things aren’t going exactly to plan.  If he does, I think he has a great shot at winning the nomination.  Who knows, maybe he would pick Herman Cain as his running mate!

Will Herman Cain have an impact in 2012?

If you have already started paying attention to the 2012 election cycle, you will know that Republicans are already campaigning in Iowa and some in New Hampshire.  There has been a lot of talk, even by me, about the weak GOP ticket possibility.  There as also been some talk about a dark horse arising during the campaign that could make a difference in 2012.  I wonder if we already have that type of candidate out there.  I want to start the speculation with someone I think is an early holder of that role.  Herman Cain from Atlanta, GA.

He comes from a hard-working, middle class family.  His father worked three jobs to ensure that they could own a home and put Herman and his bother through college.  All this while it was a very difficult time for African-Americans.  Herman Cain is well-educated and quite the businessman, taking several companies from the verge of failure and making them into successes.  You can read more about his history on his website,  He is a Tea Party Republican who pretty much stick to the party line on all of the core issues, and his faith seems to be at the core of what he believes.

He has been polling well in states despite the fact that more nationally known personalities, Sarah Palin, are taking up most of the spotlight.  It will be interesting to see if he can raise enough money to stay competitive and relevant as this race heats up.  He really believes in his ground game and on a recent interview spoke about that being what sets him apart from other candidates.  I think that potentially there is something here.  If he can stay relevant while flying under the radar and be competitive in the early primaries he has a shot at making some noise.

I think his true test will come in the south.  I don’t think being a black conservative hurts him in the North, but I do wonder how it will help him in the south.  Southern Conservatives, bluntly put, like their conservative white candidates.  If he can have some decent showings in the racially divisive  south, his potential to make some noise increases.  I don’t think he would be a strong enough candidate to with the nomination, but he can make it difficult for other Tea Party candidates if he hold is own in the North and can make some noise in the South.

I think he makes his noise as a potential VP candidate to balance out the ticket.  One thing that could potentially hurt Republicans is that if the Tea Party crowd does not like the nominee, they spark off and run their own candidate for the White House.  Even if Republicans are not ready to admit that yet, I know it has to be in the back of their minds.  Herman Cain could be a solution to that problem.  Which ever candidate that wins the nomination, is going to need a running mate who can grab a hold of that conservative right vote to keep the party united.

I believe that Cain could play that role.  He is very popular in the Tea Party Circles, and if his time as a contributor to Fox News is any indicator, he as some respect from traditional Republicans as well.  He could be the piece that links the traditional Republicans with the conservative right.  His Tea Party popularity could make him a good running mate if Republicans are nervous about a split vote in 2012.  I mean, let’s be honest, if a split vote does happen between a Republican Candidate and a Tea Party Candidate this would be devastating for their chances to unseat Obama in 2012.  If Cain can continue to be a player over the next year, he could be the solution to the problem.

Does a weak Republican ticket help them with lower ballot races?

Though to some people the 2012 election may seem like a long ways away.  Political pundits and junkies like myself are already in full campaign mode.  I had an interesting conversation with a coworker and wanted to share it and get your thoughts.  Are the Democrats in lower ballot races going to be in for a long night?  I know in recent weeks Republicans have not fared well in Washington, and if last night’s results in New York as well as the in fighting between Republicans and the Tea Party Caucus,  are a sign of things to come, this could be irrelevant.  However, could voter over confidence lead to some Republican success in 2012?

In no way am I already declaring President Obama the winner, but as things are shaping up right now on the Republican side, there just isn’t a great candidate right now.  There could be a dark horse somewhere, or a current candidate could blossom into someone who can be a challenger.  Currently though, there is a lot of sentiment that Obama has an easy bid at reelection.  Voters, while they may not be fully engaged yet, are still listening.

I believe, after the sweeping results in 2008, that some previous Obama supporters may think it isn’t as important for them to come out to the polls and stay home.  In 2008, those amazing numbers of voters helped push Democratic candidates down the ticket.  People like my Senator Kay Hagan benefited from this.  The question remains though, what will happen in 2012?  I wonder, as does my coworker, if all this talk of a weak Republican ticket will influence some voters to stay home.  If this happens, I think it could be a win for Republicans down the ballot.  It is no secret that the Republicans view is to have fewer people at the polls.  Generally, when fewer people vote, they win.

I hope that voters prove me wrong and come out to the polls and vote in 2012 regardless of the strength of the ticket.  I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on this.  Comment away!