Archive for May, 2011

Herman Cain isn’t legitimate presidential candidate

It’s been a good month to be Atlanta’s own Herman Cain.

As May began, Cain was declared the clear winner of South Carolina’s GOP presidential debate. Last week, a Zogby interactive poll of Republican primary voters put Cain in second place, behind only New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who isn’t even running. And at the Georgia Republican Convention in Macon over the weekend, Cain basked in cheers and standing ovations that dwarfed those drawn by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

But for all the fervor, let’s be honest: Cain is not a legitimate candidate for president.

That doesn’t mean Cain should be dismissed or ignored. Quite the contrary; he’s important because he is giving voice to the fears and resentment of millions of Americans who see this country and their place in it diminished by powers beyond their control. His support is drawn from the same part of the GOP base that once embraced Sarah Palin and, briefly, Donald Trump. Like Palin and Trump, Cain may not be …

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A new, more disciplined Gingrich? Not a chance

I know I’ve been a bit Gingrich-heavy recently, but bear with me on this one. Months ago, I wrote that Newt would never be the GOP nominee, and might not even carry Georgia. The two quotes below, both from the former speaker’s appearance on “Meet the Press” Sunday, illustrate why:

“One of my great weaknesses is that part of me is a teacher-analyst and part of me is a political leader. One of the painful lessons I’ve have to learn – and I haven’t fully learned it honestly – is that if you seek to be president of United States, you are never an analyst, you’re never a college teacher. Because those folks can say what they want to say. And someone who offers to lead America has to be much more disciplined and much more thoughtful.”

Gingrich goes easy on himself by attributing his rhetorical excesses to a desire to be an analyst or college teacher. He is by nature a bomb thrower, not an analyst or teacher, and that’s what gets him into trouble. However, his larger point about a …

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As polling sours, Trump cowers, ends presidential bid

Donald Trump assesses his presidential hopes.

Donald Trump assesses his chance of being elected president.

With his poll numbers collapsing and his reputation barely above that of national laughingstock, Donald Trump has announced he “is not ready to leave the private sector” and will not be running for president.

In addition, he will not be trying out for the New York Yankees or making commercials for Hair Club for Men.

Your turn.

– Jay Bookman

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Huckabee out; Gingrich far out; Obama up

To kick off the week, some notes on the evolving 2012 presidential race and developments over the weekend:

– Mike Huckabee would have been an automatic frontrunner for the GOP nomination had he decided to make a run for it. But as he announced Saturday night, his heart just isn’t in it.

Often, the withdrawal of a major candidate will clarify a race. Huckabee’s move muddles it. “It’s like 52-card pickup,” Mark McKinnon, a strategist for former President George W. Bush, told USA Today. “Huckabee’s decision totally reshapes the race.”

The decision by the former Arkansas governor strengthens the hand of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, now more clearly the field’s front-runner. It creates an opportunity for lesser-known contenders to seek the support of the social conservative voters who backed Huckabee. And it makes the opening Iowa caucuses, which he won in 2008, more competitive for everyone else.

Huckabee becomes the fourth Republican — and the most prominent — to …

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A little motherly advice to get us started

As y’all know, we try to stay away from politics on our Friday night Travelin’ Music, but we’ll kick off tonight’s festivities with a number with a message that applies to everybody, regardless of party or ideology: “Straighten up and fly right.”

The female vocalist is someone I’ve just recently begun to follow. Her name in Nnenna Freelon, from Durham, N.C. She looks good, she sounds even better, and she didn’t even start singing professionally until she was in her late 30s, after raising three kids. So when she says “straighten up and fly right,” she’s had practice.

– Jay Bookman

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Deal signs illegal immigration bill

TV cameras were rolling today as Gov. Nathan Deal signed House Bill 87 in a ceremony at the Capitol, one day before taking off for a trade mission to Europe.

The bill’s chief sponsor, state Rep. Matt Ramsey, R-Peachtree City, has denied charges that the legislation mirrors Arizona’s infamous immigration bill, and to an important degree he’s right. The new law allows Georgia law enforcement to check immigration status only of those actually being detained as criminal suspects. That’s a more narrowly defined authority than that granted under Arizona law and should reduce the danger of police profiling of Hispanic Americans. Nonetheless, a constitutional challenge of the entire bill still seems inevitable.

On the other hand, the penalties to be assessed against illegal immigrants — up to 15 years for using fake identification to get a job here, for example — are almost cartoonish in their severity, while provisions that supposedly attempt to get tough on business owners who …

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U.S. voters ready to end Afghan commitment

From Politico:

A newfound restlessness about the decade-long war in Afghanistan has reached the highest levels of the House Republican leadership, sparking serious concerns about war funding and murmurs about troop withdrawal — a sign that the GOP may be undergoing a shift in thinking about overseas intervention.

The new movement comes not just from conservative tea party members with an isolationist streak but from mainstream conservatives and moderates.
… the list of Republicans ready for a change in Afghanistan is surprising — and growing.

It includes Republicans— like Reps. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, John Campbell of California and John Duncan of Tennessee — who joined a handful of Democrats and anti-war North Carolina GOP Rep. Walter Jones in sending a letter to President Barack Obama this week urging him to “re-examine our policy of nation building in Afghanistan.”

Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh, a conservative Republican and tea party favorite, said he is not even sure that the …

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Grover Norquist and the GOP’s purity pledge

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, like Senate colleague Johnny Isakson and seven of Georgia’s eight GOP congressmen, has signed a public pledge to never, under any circumstances, increase taxes.

Yet Chambliss, to his credit, has been working for months as one of six senators — three Republican, three Democrat — trying to negotiate a possible deficit reduction package.

The other two Republicans in that group, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Mike Crapo of Idaho — have also signed the no-tax-increase-ever pledge. Yet all three are willing to acknowledge the reality that increased taxes would have to be part — in their minds a small part — of any workable deal to reduce the budget deficit.

In a meeting at the AJC last month, Chambliss recounted conversations with many of his colleagues in Washington, as well as many top business executives, in which they quietly encouraged him in his efforts to reach a deal. They too seem to realize that a mixture of spending cuts and tax increases will be …

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Mitt Romney: No retreat, no surrender?

Well, I didn’t think Mitt had it him. It’s going to be interesting to watch this play out:

From Politico:

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Mitt Romney offered no apologies and instead delivered a full-throated defense of his Massachusetts health care plan Thursday in a much-anticipated health care policy presentation at the University of Michigan.

“I recognize that a lot pundits around the nation are saying that I should just stand up and say this whole thing was a mistake, that this was a boneheaded idea, and I should just admit it: it was a mistake, and walk away. I presume that a lot of folks think that if I did that it would be good for me politically, ” Romney said as he flipped through slides of a PowerPoint presentation he prepared himself. “There’s only one problem with that: it wouldn’t be honest.”

The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza has a similar read:

“It wouldn’t be honest,” Romney said about calls for him to apologize for the Massachusetts law. “ I did what I believed was …

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Romney a hapless scapegoat for right’s anger

romney2Under the damning headline “Obama’s Running Mate,” the Wall Street Journal editorial board this morning eviscerates Mitt Romney as a potential candidate for the 2012 Republican nomination. Condemning what it calls “serious flaws both in his candidacy and as a potential president,” the board concludes that “Mr. Romney is compromised and not credible. If he does not change his message, he might as well try to knock off Joe Biden and get on the Obama ticket.”

The timing is not accidental. Romney knows all too well that his presidential ambitions are threatened by his authorship of a Massachusetts health insurance plan that later served as a model for President Obama’s own, much-hated national plan. So today, in a major speech at the University of Michigan, Romney will address the issue head on and try to convince the GOP electorate that he has seen the error of his ways and that, if elected, he can be trusted to govern by conservative principles.

He is, in many ways, the heretic …

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