Romney divides Republicans 3

By Tom Quiner

Mitt Romney did an excellent job in the Republican debates last year. He knows his stuff. He’s pretty quick on his feet. He comes across as presidential.

And he’s likable.

He has squandered much of these positives with the barrage, no, with the tsunami of negativity he and his surrogates unleashed on his more conservative rivals, most notably, Newt Gingrich.

Even liberal columnist, Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post was taken aback:

“… the way Romney and his crew took Gingrich apart was vicious. A pro-Romney political action committee, “Restore Our Future,” spent more than $3 million ensuring that Iowans couldn’t watch 10 minutes of television without being assaulted by an ad explaining why Gingrich was a scoundrel, a knave, a hack, a goon or — shudder, a closet liberal.”

An unknown group, under the guise of Iowans for LIFE, dishonestly spread the lie that Mr. Gingrich and Rick Santorum were actually not true pro-life candidates. Iowans for LIFE was forced on two occasions to publicly disavow any involvement with these hit pieces. (For the record, Iowans for LIFE is a great group doing wonderful work on behalf of the pre-born.) We don’t know which candidate was behind this blatantly dishonest attack, but in light of Mr. Romney’s profligate use of smear tactics, his campaign surrogates have to be suspects.

He has backed Mr. Gingrich into a corner.

Mr. Gingrich has a run a clean, positive campaign. The only way Republicans ever win is by campaigning on a positive theme of economic prosperity. The next election is within Republican’s grasp, but Mr. Romney has ensured that the task will be difficult.

Do you remember when Gingrich’s campaign imploded last year and his Iowa staffers all quit on him? His standings in the polls plummeted. But even when he was down and out, he refused to attack his fellow Republicans to avoid an intra-party bloodbath that could grease the skids to Obama’s re-election.

Mr. Gingrich is now forced to defend himself and begin pointing out the liberal aspects of Mr. Romney’s record. And he began this morning on the Early Show:

“This is a man [Romney] whose staff created the PAC, his millionaire friends fund the PAC, he pretends he has nothing to do with the PAC. It’s baloney. He’s not telling the American people the truth. It’s just like this pretense that he’s a conservative. Here’s a Massachusetts moderate who has tax-paid abortions in ‘Romneycare,’ puts Planned Parenthood in ‘Romneycare,’ raises hundreds of millions of dollars of taxes on businesses, appoints liberal judges to appease Democrats, and wants the rest of us to believe somehow he’s magically a conservative.”

With a liberal record like that, Romney might get President Obama to jump in to his defense.

Mitt Romney has made the choice to turn this election cycle into a Republican bloodbath. He is profoundly weakening his own candidacy and empowering the Obama campaign.

Iowa Caucus postmortem 3

By Tom Quiner

My fair state has given us much to chew on after last night’s Caucuses. A few reactions …

Negative campaigning pays. Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and their pressure groups launched a focused smear campaign on former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich. It worked. Mr. Gingrich lost half of his support in one month thanks to the unprecedented hit ads run by Mssrs. Romney and Paul. The ads distorted much of Mr. Gingrich’s record. The Republican Party was surely dishonored by their shameless attacks on one of our own. Should either Paul and Romney win the nomination, they will have a hard time engendering any passion from those of us who support Newt Gingrich.

Positive campaigning pays. Rick Santorum ran a clean, issue-oriented campaign. As Newt Gingrich stated in his gracious post-caucus speech last night:

“I’d like to take a minute to congratulate a good friend of ours, someone we admire, whose family we admire, Rick Santorum. He waged a great, positive campaign. I served with Rick. We’ve had a great relationship over the years. I admire the courage and the discipline, and the the way he focused, and admire how positive he remained.”

Rick Santorum is a good man and a good candidate. I am delighted by his strong showing.

Republicans should be worried. Turnout was only incrementally higher than four years ago. If a watershed election like this one can’t turn out an outpouring of new voters, what can? On the other hand, it was still a record turnout. Let’s see what happens in other states.

The field narrows. With the news that Michelle Bachman has suspended her campaign, can Rick Perry be far behind? And if Jon Huntsman has a weaker-than-expected performance in New Hampshire next week, his candidacy will be on extremely shaky ground. That means that the next round of debates will loom large. Rick Santorum should get more debate time because of his strong Iowa finish and smaller field. And Newt Gingrich can regain momentum doing what he does best: debating. There is no love lost between Mssrs. Gingrich and Romney. Watch the gloves come off. No one will want to miss the show.

Obama should be feeling pretty good. Mitt Romney’s strong performance solidifies his front-runner status. Assuming he wins New Hampshire next week as expected, he will have a lot of momentum and will be tough for his Republican rivals to slow down. Mitt Romney is the weakest of the Republican candidates in a one-on-one against Barack Obama (excluding Ron Paul who has no serious chance of winning the nomination). His convictions are in question. He was an unpopular one term Governor of Massachusetts whose style of governing would best be described as Obama-lite. Coupled with his smear campaign against Newt Gingrich, a lot of Republicans and Independents may have a tough time putting up Romney yard signs; talking him up to their fence-sitting friends; and perhaps even voting for him.

The Catholic connection. Two candidates, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, embrace the Roman Catholic faith. Mr. Romney, via his surrogates, has attacked one. Will he attack the other whose candidacy is in ascendancy? I hope not, because the Catholic vote may very well swing this year’s election. [See a previous post, “The Catholic Vote Will Determine the Next President.”] Mr. Romney needs the enthusiastic backing of practicing Catholics who view abortion and traditional marriage as top-burner issues.



Quick reactions from my caucus experience tonight 1

By Tom Quiner

Precinct 16 in Des Moines had 81 people show up. Two candidates imported speakers from out of state: Rick Perry and Ron Paul. Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman, and Michelle Bachman did not have anyone get up and speak on their behalf.

Rick Santorum had a speaker from my neighbor speak, who did a great job. I spoke on behalf of Newt Gingrich, using the notes I posted in my previous blog earlier tonight.

Here were the results:

Paul, 23 votes

Gingrich, 16 votes

Santorum,  16 votes

Romney, 12 votes

Perry 8, votes

Bachman, 5 votes

1 undecided

Where things got interesting was in selecting the delegates. Our caucus had some concerns about Paul supporters who said they’d run as delegates. The concern was whether they would be loyal to the Republican Party if  come March, Ron Paul had bailed on the Republicans to run as an Independent.

As a result, the Gingrich supporter (me) and Santorum supporter were elected to the county convention as delegates.

What I’m going to say at the Iowa Caucus tonight Reply

By Tom Quiner

My wife, son, and wheel-chair laden mother-in-law will head to Hillis Elementary School tonight for the Iowa Caucuses.

This is the biggest caucus of any of our lives. For my 20 year old son, it is his first. For my 87 year old mother-in-law, perhaps her last.

The stakes are huge.

America is unrecognizable.

Abortion is not only the law of the land, the president and his party want taxpayers to pay for them.

The president refuses to enforce legislation (DOMA), that defines marriage as being between one man and one woman.

Government spending has increased precipitously and the unfunded liabilities geometrically under this president and his Congress.

Our high unemployment rate remains high.

Our low economic growth remains low.

The federal reserve has been expanding the money supply, paving the way for inflation.

Expanded government regulations are choking businesses to death.

The president fights development of new energy resources, unless it is money-losing green energy.

Unfavorable tax policy inhibits the creation of start up businesses.

It’s time for change.

Here is what I plan to say to the friends, acquaintances, and strangers who caucus with me tonight:


I support Newt Gingrich for President. I say this after carefully weighing every single candidate who has graced our state this past year.

There is something I like about each of these candidates. There are things I don’t like about each, including Mr. Gingrich.

I have settled on Mr. Gingrich for a simple reason: he has a track record for advancing a conservative agenda.

In other words, he can get the job done. He did it back in 1994 when Republicans regained the House after 40 years in the wilderness. No one thought it was possible, including most Republicans.

Newt Gingrich believed, and he led the charge.

The accomplishments under his leadership were substantial:

1. A balanced budget.

2. Welfare reform, despite two vetoes by then President Clinton.

3. Tax cuts.

4. Telecommunication reform that opened the door to the cell phone revolution.

5. Congressional reform.

I’m supporting Newt Gingrich because he goes beyond rhetoric. He leads. And he achieves.

He is not only the most-feared candidate by the president and his party, he is the candidate most-feared by his Republican rivals.

How else can you explain all of the negative advertising directed at him, so much of it bogus? The sheer quantity suggests that his political rivals want to take him out early because, they fear him the most.

Can you blame them? Have we seen a better debater in recent decades?

Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan were formidable debaters, but they never had to go against the likes of a Gingrich.

Newt Gingrich offers that rare blend of a larger than life personality and a razor sharp mind that gets people to follow him.

Conservatives love his unequivocal support of the pre-born and traditional marriage.

Although those issues are of lesser importance to many Independent voters, Independents love his economic plan, which includes:

• Reducing the corporate income tax rate;

• Eliminating the capital gains tax rate;

• Finding a new Federal Reserve Chairman who will reinstate non-inflation-inducing monetary policy;

• Offering an optional 15% flat tax for taxpayers.

As a small business owner, I suggest that if his plan was implemented, our economy would take off as if it were 1981.

It will be Springtime in America all over again.

Coupled with Mr. Gingrich’s demonstrated ability to moderate the spending appetites of Congress, Independents would vote Gingrich by the millions.

By all accounts, Mr. Gingrich is a changed man from the passionate, political animal he was in decades past. Today, he is a grandfather. Even more, he has embraced his Christian faith. We might call him a kinder, gentler Newt … as you can see in his TV ads. He’s the only candidate who hasn’t gone negative

I’m not interested in making a symbolic vote this year as I have so many times in the past. I am voting for the best candidate, Newt Gingrich, not only because he is the best overall candidate in the field, but because he can win.

I humbly ask you to join me.