Friday, April 13, 2012


The leader of a national tea party group today "warned" that should Republican party presidential candidate Mitt Romney win the nomination they will not actively campaign for him.

Judson Phillips of the Tea Party Nation organization, while conceding most Tea Partiers will likely vote for Romney, stated yesterday that "we will not be out there with signs for him or in his campaign," continuing that "Romney has a huge problem with the conservative base of the GOP.  He had better do something about that ASAP or he won’t have to worry about that moving to the middle nonsense,” (for full article click here).

Such blunt talk by a leader of a movement partly credited with giving Republicans control over the U.S. House in 2010's historic mid-term elections should give pause to the GOP who desperately need a united party to come together after a bruising primary season if they want to have any hope of defeating Democratic candidate and incumbent President Barack Obama in the General Election Nov. 6.

Such statements as Phillips' also give full view to the deep divisions that have plagued the party in recent years and which this year boiled over in a particularly vitriolic and extended primary season in which at least nine Republicans vied for the nomination and candidates openly attacked one another's level of conservatism, (or lack thereof), in extensive and televised prime-time debates.

And while that number is now officially down to two, (Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney), most observers, and even Gingrich himself recently, have all but conceded the likelihood of Romney being the inevitable GOP nominee.

The Tea Party Nation leader also cited informal surveys on the Tea Party Nation website indicating that as many as 25% of those who identify with the tea party movement plan on not voting for Mitt Romney if he is, in fact, the Republican nominee.

For such voters, the option of merely "staying home" on election day is more palatable than holding their nose and voting for a candidate whose conservative credentials and commitment to such things as a balanced budget and spending cuts that will eliminate the federal deficit are, at least to them, questionable.

The salient question however is, in doing so, do they tip the scales in Obama's favor and actually end up helping a President who they uniformly despise and who has promoted policies which they find equally, if not more, objectionable?

While such matters are not the focus of our article here, it is certainly appropriate to ask whether the right wing of the GOP, members of which this party has frequently sparred with here and on social media such as Twitter, is unintentionally shooting itself in the foot with such tactics?

More of interest to us and our educational mission here at the ACLP, we thought it appropriate to ask in the aftermath of such statements whether those like Phillips, purists for whom the word compromise seems dirty and seem to eschew the ordinary maxim of politics being the art of incremental change, want "the whole cake and eat it too" regardless of the consequences to our broader body politic.

Over the next week we will examine this idea, not just in relation to the Tea Party but also Ron Paul Supporters, Occupy Wall Street, and other groups which have been active this year and oft-threatened to "take their ball and go home," with the goal our answering this question:  Do such threats of political "civil disobedience" evidence a new "purism" that signals the advent of a permanent era in American politics with long-term repercussions which threatens to further unravel our social fabric and prove counterproductive to the very groups that propose such political responses or is it just another side of expected partisanship in an election year that will ultimately prove temporal and benign?

Or, put another way, could such dissatisfaction with the status quo cause a "once in a generation" political "realingment" and foretell a rising of new and heretofore unknown political parties to give full voice to the political beliefs and values of a large swath of the American electorate? Intriguing questions and ones we will endeavor to contemplate, and hopefully answer, in days to come.  jp

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Demcratic pundit Hilary Rosen accuses Ann Romney of "never working," Opens new front in the "War on Women" debate

Democratic pundit Hilary Rosen tonight opened a new front in the War on Women debate which has been occurring on Twitter and other Social Media sites in the aftermath of the Rush Limbaugh/Sandra Fluke story by declaring on CNN that "Ann Romney has never worked a day in her life." (See Reuters story here).

Unfortunately for the President, while apparently intended to reinforce a recurring theme of both the White House and some conservatives that Mitt Romney is "too wealthy" to be in touch with the needs and concerns of "average" voters, the comments instigated an firestorm of criticism on social media and an immediate and effective response by the Romney camp, (see here).

In a historic first, Mrs. Romney, not known for her social media expertise, (in fact, she didn't even have a Twitter account previously!) took to cyberspace to respond to the criticism, tweeting, "I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work." She immediately garnered 6000 followers, and thus began an object lesson in the critical nature to both parties of this key part of the electorate in this year's Presidential elections.

Indeed, in an obvious attempt at damage control and to prevent the GOP from regaining the high ground with this core constituency and keep the momentum going their way from a previous "war on women" narrative which the Whitehouse has been successfully using to target female voters on the heels of Rush Limbaugh/Sandra Fluke controversy, the White House and its surrogates responded swiftly with attempts to distance Obama from Rosen's incendiary comments.

Jim Messina, the President's campaign manager, tweeted the following:

Hilary Rosen, Democratic Strategist Attacks Mitt Romneys Wife

David Axelrod, the President's chief election advisor and strategist, was also quick to respond:

Hilary Rosen, Democratic Strategist Attacks Mitt Romneys Wife

Josh Romney, one of those five children Mrs. Romney raised, also jumped in with his own tweet:
Hilary Rosen, Democratic Strategist Attacks Mitt Romneys Wife

A subsequent "apology" by Ms. Rosen, couched in a defense of her comments, didn't seem to help much, driving home the general point that in this election cycle, women, who President Obama leads vs. Romney, are critically important to his chances for reelection, See here.

While Romney leads the President by about 13 points among men, President Obama bests Romney by an even larger margin among women, a state of affairs the President and his campaign would like to keep.  Unfortunately for them, the recent uproar throws a monkey wrench into their plans, as Romney is all but assured of a boost in support among, in the very least, those women who have also chosen children over career.  We shall have to see if this translates into actual votes in November, but one things for sure.  This is going to one very contentious election that will pit poor against rich, black against white, and apparently, family against family.  Fasten your seatbelts folks. jp

UPDATE:  We have  just learned that sources are reporting that Ms. Rosen has been a regular guest at the White House, leading some to speculate that these were more than just random comments, but perhaps even planned to "test" new campaign themes that the President is interested in using on the stump.  While that is certainly conjecture, there is no doubt from the White House visitor logs, that Ms. Rosen indeed seems especially well connected to the Obama White House, having visited more than union leaders or others with natural ties to the President.  Read the whole story here.  jp

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Santorum Drops Bid for Presidency, Fails to Endorse Romney

Republican Presidential candidate today announced that he is "suspending" his campaign for the Presidency, in a move which will undoubtedly consolidate Mitt Romney's support and accelerate his efforts to win the Republican nomination.  Santorum, shown below, did not however endorse anyone for the Republican nomination, perhaps still feeling the sting of Romney's attacks on television which clearly have taken a toll on his small and relatively underfunded campaign in comparison, which had been beset by family health issues and concerns over his appeal in a general election with his conservative social positions, which many in the GOP feared would unnecessarily turn off independents and a constant focus of attacks and derision from Democratic pundits.  

The move puts the focus back on the faltering and now almost nonexistent campaign of former Speaker of the U.S. House Newt Gingrich, who recently indicated tacit, if not overt acceptance of Romney's inevitable nomination.  Indeed, in spite of his prior comments, the former Speaker immediately indicated he may not be so quickly endorsing Romney, at least not yet. It remains to be seen if this turn of events, widely expected by political pundits in light of Santorum's inability to win any further major primary contests since his sweep of the South that catapaulted his nascent socially conservative campaign into the national spotlight just a few weeks ago in a season that has seen several Republicans' political fortunes rise and fall as "frontrunners," will change Ginrich's tune (or chances) between now and the GOP convention in August.   In light of his recent firing of almost his entire campaign staff and no money in the bank, our guess is that it won't.  But another chapter of this years Republican nomination process has ended; sure was fun while it lasted!  We wish Senator Santorum the best in his future endeavors.  We have a feeling it may not be the last we see of him.  NOTE: For full coverage of this event, including video of comments made by Santorum in bowing out, click here.

Former Senator Rick Santorum, announcing "suspension" of his campaign for President Tues 4/10/2012