Posts Tagged ‘Is It 2012 Yet?’

My friend and former colleague John Mercurio makes a good argument for why Bobby Jindal won’t even run for the GOP nomination in 2012.

Louisiana chooses its governors in off years, which means Jindal, who has already announced plans to seek a second term, will likely have his name on a state ballot in November 2011. That’s just a few short months before Iowa caucusgoers will cast the first votes of the 2012 primaries. Other Republican candidates already will have spent months participating in a dizzying round of televised debates and town-hall forums. (Remember how Fred Thompson was widely panned for joining the 2008 race too late? He announced in September 2007.)

The prospect of Jindal seeking both offices in 2011 would require political contortions the likes of which even he would be hard-pressed to perform. Imagine him urging Louisiana voters, still recovering from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, to support his re-election so he can spend the next year as an absentee governor, traveling the country as a presidential candidate. He could deny charges, likely to come from all corners, that he’s using his re-election bid as a launching pad for the White House. But if he reverses course after November and runs for president, he would face the impossible task of assembling a last-minute national organization at the same time he’s suffering a fatal blow to his credibility.

Elsewhere, the Bobby Jindal/Kenneth the Page comparisons have gone viral. Check out this clip:

Jindal should consider himself fortunate that Jack McBrayer (the actor who plays Kenneth the Page on 30 Rock) doesn’t bear an uncanny physical resemblance to him. Otherwise, Jindal would be getting the full Tina Fey/Sarah Palin treatment. On the other hand, Ben Smith pointed out the new Facebook group calling for Kal Penn (of Harold and Kumar fame) to play Bobby Jindal on SNL.

Update: Andrew Sullivan nails it — “All that really happened here is that Jindal – stylistically and substantively – had the worst debut on national television of anyone since Palin’s encounter with Katie Couric.”

Louisiana governor and rumored 2012 presidential candidate Bobby Jindal was tapped to give the GOP rebuttal to Barack Obama’s first address to Congress. John Cole brutally explains the sacrificial lamb nature of this political tradition. It seems especially relevant this year considering Obama’s well known reputation as a public speaker. Anybody who would have to follow him would have an easier time taking the stage after the Rolling Stones or U2.

Now, in fairness, the responses are always awful. Every year (with the exception of Jim Webb) someone is trotted out and forced to give the response, and it is at this point the political equivalent of throwing a virgin into a volcano. It is beyond time for them to end. However, there was something just especially awful this year, and already the comparison to Kenneth from 30 Rock is sweeping across the intertubes.

Jindal’s speech is being panned left, right, and center, with some of the harshest and most surprising criticism coming from his own party.

This was not a good national coming out party for Jindal, especially if he has presidential ambitions in 2012. However, one bad national speech does not mean it’s the end of your aspirations for higher office. Remember Bill Clinton’s much panned speech during the 1988 Democratic National Convention? He went on to bigger and better things four short years later.

mitt_romney

If Mitt Romney is the Republican presidential nominee in 2012, this New York Times op ed he wrote pretty much guarantees he’ll lose Michigan.

I included the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as one of my winners from the 2008 election because of their successful role in getting Proposition 8 passed in California in a year that for the most part was a political disaster for social conservatives. Marc Ambinder makes an interesting observation:

By bankrolling opposition to same-sex marriage in California, the LDS church has earned some serious cred in social conservative circles.

And the Prop 8 protesters — those who are now protesting the church — are only fueling the impression that when it comes to standing up for “traditional marriage,” the Mormon Church is where it’s at.

This development has fascinating implications for 2012.

Utah (where LDS is based) is one of the most solidly Republican states in the country. It may not replace the religious right which is largely based in southern states, but it could tip the scales in favor of one candidate or another. Who benefits most from the LDS’s new political muscle? Mitt Romney.

CNN noticed something curious at a recent Palin rally in Florida:

POLK CITY, Florida (CNN) — At a boisterous Sarah Palin rally in Polk City, Florida on Saturday afternoon, one name was surprisingly absent from the campaign décor — John McCain’s.

Looking around the Fantasy of Flight aircraft hangar where the rally took place, one could see all the usual reminders that it was a pro-McCain event. There were two large “Country First” banners hung on the walls along with four enormous American flags meant to conjure the campaign’s underlying patriotic theme. Many of the men and women in the audience wore McCain hats and t-shirts.

But on closer inspection, the GOP nominee’s name was literally nowhere to be found on any of the official campaign signage distributed to supporters at the event.

Members of the audience proudly waved “Country First” placards as Palin delivered her stump speech. Those signs were paid for by the Republican National Committee.

The other sign handed out to supporters read “Florida is Palin Country,” but those signs were neither paid for by the Republican National Committee nor the McCain campaign. In small print, the signs were stamped with the line “Paid for and authorized by Putnam for Congress” — as in, the re-election campaign of Florida congressman Adam Putnam, whose district skirts Polk City.

In fact, Putnam’s name was considerably more prominent than was McCain’s — his campaign had placed a number of large “Putnam for Congress” banners around the event site.

And the race for 2012 is on!

Down in the polls but certainly not out, Gov. Sarah Palin remains in the fight as the campaign enters its final week.

In an interview with ABC News’ Elizabeth Vargas, the Republican vice-presidential nominee was asked about 2012, whether she was discouraged by the daily attacks on the campaign trail, and would instead pack it in and return to her home state of Alaska.

“I think that, if I were to give up and wave a white flag of surrender against some of the political shots that we’ve taken, that would bring this whole & I’m not doing this for naught,” Palin said.

Palin said she believed in the current GOP ticket and that she was “thinking that it’s going to go our way on Tuesday, Nov. 4. I truly believe that the wisdom of the people will be revealed on that day,” she said.

Also see this live report from CNN’s Dana Bash:

This may be the ultimate jumping the shark moment for a campaign that has had more than its fair share already. Sarah Palin has essentially told the world that she’s looking out for Number 1. Expect to see another series of damaging internal campaign strife stories from former Romney aides who want to kneecap her to give their man frontrunner status for the next election.

Update: ABC News screwed up hard with the initial writeup of the article to the point where it was blatantly misleading and rapidly picked up by other news organizations. Someone seriously needs to be fired over this. Here’s the complete transcript of the exchange:

ELIZABETH VARGAS: If it doesn’t go your way on Tuesday … 2012?

GOV SARAH PALIN: I’m just … thinkin’ that it’s gonna go our way on Tuesday, November 4. I truly believe that the wisdom of … of the people will be revealed on that day. As they enter that voting booth, they will understand the stark contrast between the two tickets. …

VARGAS: But the point being that you haven’t been so bruised by some of the double standard, the sexism on the campaign trail, to say, “I’ve had it. I’m going back to Alaska.”

PALIN: Absolutely not. I think that, if I were to give up and wave a white flag of surrender against some of the political shots that we’ve taken, that … that would … bring this whole … I’m not doin’ this for naught.

It is getting nasty inside the McCain campaign. An unidentified adviser takes a whack at Sarah Palin:

***In convo with Playbook, a top McCain adviser one-ups the priceless “diva” description, calling her “a whack job.”

Update: The finger-pointing over the $150,000 shopping spree is reaching fever pitch. Palin allies are trying to toss communications adviser Nicolle Wallace under the bus. Jake Tapper has the details. This particular excerpt stands out:

At McCain HQ, senior aides rolled their eyes, unable to believe that Palin was continuing to give the story more airtime.

And some Republicans are starting to now say they should have seen this coming, since Palin has a reputation for making friends who can help her and then screwing them over.

According to the conservative American Spectator, former aides to Mitt Romney now working for the McCain campaign are the ones who are twisting the knife in Sarah Palin during the recent reports published by CNN, Politico, and other news organizations.

Former Mitt Romney presidential campaign staffers, some of whom are currently working for Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin‘s bid for the White House, have been involved in spreading anti-Palin spin to reporters, seeking to diminish her standing after the election. “Sarah Palin is a lightweight, she won’t be the first, not even the third, person people will think of when it comes to 2012,” says one former Romney aide, now working for McCain-Palin. “The only serious candidate ready to challenge to lead the Republican Party is Mitt Romney. He’s in charge on November 5th.”

Romney has kept a low profile nationally since being denied the vice presidential nomination. He is currently traveling for the National Republican Congressional Committee in support of some House members, and has attended events for a handful of other House members who have sought his support, but he has traveled little for the McCain-Palin ticket. “He said the only time he’d travel for us is if we assured him that national cameras would be there,” says a McCain campaign communications aide. “He’s traveled to Nevada and a couple other states for us. That’s about it.”

Some former Romney aides were behind the recent leaks to media, including CNN, that Governor Sarah Palin was a “diva” and was going off message intentionally. The former and current Romney supporters further are pushing Romney supporters for key Republican jobs, including head of the Republican National Committee.

This certainly makes sense, as Romney’s people would have the means and the motive to be dumping on McCain and Palin. McCain passed on Romney as his VP nominee, and the two men did not like each other very much during the Republican primary. Romney was merciless in tying McCain to Republican boogeymen Russ Feingold and Ted Kennedy for his legislative work with them during the primary season. Now Romney’s people have an opportunity for payback and then some – they weaken Palin before she can have the opportunity to become the party frontrunner for 2012 and put their guy in front.

Republican media consultant Mark McKinnon has this interesting post on the role of Twitter in democracy. He makes the following point:

People are listening to and analyzing every single word that John McCain and Barack Obama say, so the campaigns don’t necessarily need another channel for communicating to the public. But people are also paying attention to which campaigns and politicians are actually listening to the people as well, and it may be that the true value of Twitter for political campaigns is in listening more than talking. Twitter is more than just a large, unorganized focus group; it is a link to real-time constituent consciousness.

My sense is that this is what the role of the blogs are, arguably more so for the Democrats than the Republicans, but that could change after this election. But by its brief and concise nature, Twitter can’t be as cerebral or detailed or well-written as some of the leading blogs on the right, left and center are. It’s a fantastic open source conversation and generator for tips and story ideas for the press.

McKinnon’s focus group analogy is accurate, but even the fastest reader can have a hard time trying to keep up with the breakneck speed that Twitter posts are generated on their election channel, especially on a busy news day. I’ll respectfully disagree with him when he says Twitter might have a bigger impact on the political landscape in the future than blogging.

Hat tip to Jon Henke at the Next Right, who shrewdly points out the three benefits of campaigns listening instead of just telling, an analysis I agree with.

The finger-pointing and blame game continues.

It is absolutely stunning for a McCain adviser to call his running mate a “diva” and say that she has no relationship of trust with anyone in the campaign a week before Election Day. The sharpening of the knives continues inside the Republican Party and it is going to be very ugly over there after this election is over.

Update: Also check out this story from Politico’s Ben Smith.

Update II: Karl Rove gets in on the action, calling the finger-pointing “sad” on Fox News Sunday.

Update III: Bill Kristol, arguably Palin’s biggest supporter in the TV pundit class, takes the McCain campaign and the RNC out to the woodshed over their handling of Sarah Palin, saying she’s been “ill served” by them.