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Posts Tagged ‘Mitt Romney’

El Nuevo GOP: ¡Hola Latinos!

November 24th, 2012 No comments

Republican Elephant With SombreroFollowing their stinging losses nationwide a few weeks ago, it was clear that there would be “soul searching” in the Republican Party, as many news sources put it. Well, apparently, it didn’t take very long for a consensus on one point: it’s time for the GOP to earnestly reach out to Latino voters.

This comes in the wake of a slew of sources trying to make sense of the election results, mostly by slicing up the American electorate to generalize a narrative about it. Do we as Americans enjoying being categorized and then generalized about? No. But I think, at this point, demographic groups are still just one of the best ways we know to digest large amounts of social data.

One of the most popular ways to examine ourselves is through the racial/ethnic lens: Obama had a lockdown on the black vote, with latinos breaking for him 71% to Romney’s 27%, and almost 60% of white voters preferring Romney. Jews were reliably Democratic, but perhaps becoming less so, and it seems no one bothered to count the Native American vote, even though they may have tipped some western Senate races to the Democrats.

Others have sliced the country up by age, gender, education, religion, or class. The gap between the parties on all of these (except maybe education) was quite wide. Mathis at The Atlantic thinks that almost all of these are really just facets of Republicans losing the urban vote.

With all these points of view, it makes a lot of sense that Republicans see their future with the Latino vote. Getting the youth vote would be very hard at this point, and would probably involve embracing gay marriage and some form of environmentalism, alienating the religious right and the business wing of the party. Winning over women would require flexibility on contraception, abortion, and the idea of “traditional family values,” all of which are rather central to the GOP’s current social platform. It seems they have all but written off blacks as Democrat cronies beholden to liberals for handouts, and with that attitude, they are unlikely to attract too many African American voters anytime soon. Same for the very poor.

Latinos, on the other hand, could be welcomed into the party with less painful policy changes. Although I hate the implication that they are one-issue voters, immigration reform is still very important to Latinos, as evidenced by exit poll responses. Shifting to a softer stance on immigration is not as hard because the business community and the libertarian wing of the party are already for it. The national security hawks will want strong border security, but could be convinced not to oppose citizenship reforms. The religious right will be heartened by the perception of Latinos as very religiously Christian. This just leaves the xenophobes and the “They took errr jobs!” folks who will be unhappy. But if the conservative thought leaders and talking heads start softening their rhetoric, I hope it might dull some of this sentiment. Either way, it’s not like those types of people are going to suddenly flee the GOP and vote Green Party.

Marco Rubio

Look Hispanics! We’ve got Marco Rubio! Now please vote for us.

There is already strong evidence of this shift. FOX News’ Sean Hannity immediately softened his hardline stance on immigration after the election, saying, “I think you control the border first, you create a pathway for those people that are here, you don’t say you gotta home. And that is a position that I’ve evolved on.” Rupert Murdoch, the CEO of FOX, signaled a new tack for the conservative network, tweeting: “Must have sweeping, generous immigration reform,make existing law- abiding Hispanics welcome. Most are hard working family people.” Charles Krauthammer, another anti-amnesty FOX hardliner, also softened his position while speaking on the air. John Boehner has signaled more willingness to work on the issue, and Republicans like Marco Rubio, Lindsay Graham, and John McCain, who have always favored a more open position towards Latino immigrants, are starting to find the wind at their backs.

I believe many Latinos, for their part, will be willing to reciprocate this change of heart. Some Latino communities lean conservative on social values, and are open to more libertarian economic principles, especially those that run small businesses or have been economically successful in the U.S. Others believe more strongly in economic justice and a robust safety net, even while they might sympathize with the GOP’s religiosity and focus on a strong family unit. In this way, working class Latinos are not that different from the rest of the U.S. working class, and purging racist/xenophobic sentiments from the Republican Party would make some Latinos feel like they have a legitimate choice between ideals. Latinos come from such a diversity of backgrounds that there really is no reason for them to behave like a bloc… unless one party systematically treats them that way to their detriment. At the same time, Republicans may have an overstated view of Latinos’ “traditional values,” since a majority now support gay marriage, and in general Latinos are less likely to vote based on social issues. This is especially true of younger folks.

Despite some flaws in their theory, however, this pragmatic shift in the GOP is a good thing. It means immigration reform might be the first major issue in recent memory where we see bipartisan cooperation. There will still be many disagreements on the details, but for the first time, both parties seem to have major incentives to get something done, and appear to building the will to do so.

Still, it feels like something is missing from my little analysis here… did I forget to mention something or someone? Oh that’s right…

ASIANS

Asian Americans

Photo: Getty Images

How come everyone leaves out Asians when talking about voting blocs? Maybe because they are so diverse, coming from so many different countries… wait, same for Latinos. Ok, maybe it’s because they don’t vote as a bloc? Well guess what: Asian Americans voted for Obama by an even larger margin than Latinos. 73% of Asian Americans chose the Obaminator, decisively handing him a victory.

The GOP’s relationship with Latinos is extremely important, but I think they are missing a huge wakeup call from the Asian community. Bill Clinton only won 31% of the Asian vote twenty years ago, so this is a constituency that Republicans have been steadily losing, despite it representing on average the most affluent racial group.

And the cherry on top: Asians are now the fastest growing immigrant group in the United States. This has not been widely circulated, so I’ll give it a moment to sink in. Read that again: Asians are now the fastest growing immigrant group in the United States. Despite the way everyone talks about Latinos, they are not the fastest growing immigrant group anymore. When our immigration policies are changed, the changes will be mostly affecting Asians, for as long as this trend continues.

Darth Romney Hates ChinaSo that means that while the GOP is scrambling to whip out their “Learn in Your Car” Spanish tapes, they should also consider talking a little less crazy about China. Because 3.4 million Chinese Americans probably don’t like it when you sound like you want to kick their home country in the balls while shouting, “America, f*** yeah!” Supporting more Asian Americans to run for office and not taking the Asian community for granted probably wouldn’t hurt either (for both parties).

And that is the extent of the analysis I feel like doing on the election and it’s aftermath. Good day!

Romney-Tebow 2012

May 1st, 2012 1 comment
Beowulf Sailing to Daneland

Beowulf: almost as epic as this post.

Disclaimer – this post is epic.

In my last post, I talked about a few people who would definitely not be Romney’s VP, and now it’s time to talk about the crapload of people that his team will consider. To be a good VP candidate, a person has to address an obstacle course of important considerations. The perfect candidate would address all of them, and in Romney’s case, I don’t think that’s possible. So he will have to settle for choosing between a few candidates that address at least some of them. Although he would love to get someone with experience in a previous administration, anyone with connections to George W. Bush is probably a bad idea. And while he might like to pick someone fresh and exciting and consider a woman on the ticket to try to counter the “War on Women” allegations against the GOP, he is haunted by the ghost of Sarah Palin.

So this is going to be a tough decision for Mitt. But I still wanted to figure out his short list to share with you ahead of time. To make it simple, I decided to turn this into a little contest! Below are the categories, and the VP hopefuls get points for each round they win, with the running tally next to their name. But careful – some candidates will be disqualified for not passing the sudden death rounds. Let the search begin!

Round 1 – Swing States

Could the VP pick help deliver a specific important swing state? Points go to:

  • Marco Rubio (1) – FL
  • Jeb Bush (1) – FL
  • Bob McDonnell (1) – VA
  • Rob Portman (1) – OH
  • Terry Branstadt (1) – IA
  • Eric Cantor (1) – VA
  • John Boenher (1) – OH
  • Brian Sandoval (1) – NV
  • Kelly Ayotte (1) – NH
  • Pat Toomey (1) – PA
  • Tim Tebow (1) – FL or CO

Round 2 – Buzz

Would the person create some buzz around his campaign and decrease the number of Americans falling asleep listening to Romney? Points go to:

Donald Trump

Just think Romney, his buzz would be huge.

  • Marco Rubio (2)
  • Jeb Bush (2)
  • Tim Tebow (2)
  • Chris Christie (1)
  • Mike Huckabee (1)
  • Condoleeza Rice (1)
  • General Petraeus (1)
  • Rand Paul (1)
  • Michael Bloomberg (1)
  • Luis Fortuño (1)
  • Sarah Palin (1)
  • Allen West (1)
  • Donald Trump (1)

Round 3 – Foot in Mouth Disease (Sudden Death Round)

Does the person lack a filter and have a tendency to say stupid or controversial things that draw unnecessary negative attention? These picks are eliminated:

  • Chris Christie
  • Mark Kirk
  • Sarah Palin
  • Allen West
  • Donald Trump

Round 4 – Latinos

Could the VP pick help attract Latinos, a group Romney and Republicans are desperately trying to court? Points go to:

  • Marco Rubio (3)
  • Jeb Bush (3)
  • Brian Sandoval (2)
  • Luis Fortuño (2)
  • Susana Martinez (1)
  • Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (1)

Round 5 – Women

Is the VP pick a woman that might bolster Romney’s standing with women – another group he really needs to win over? Points go to:

  • Susana Martinez (2)
  • Kelly Ayotte (2)
  • Condoleeza Rice (2)
  • Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (2)
  • Nikki Haley (1)
  • Lisa Murkowski (1)
  • Jan Brewer (1)
  • Susan Collins (1)
  • Kay Bailey Hutchison (1)
  • Jean Schmidt (1)
  • Mary Fallin (1)

Round 6 – Ethics and Scandals (Sudden Death Round)

Would the VP pick have any lingering ethical questions, skeletons in their closet, or major controversies associated with them? These picks are eliminated:

  • Marco Rubio (Finances)
  • Nikki Haley (Allegations of affairs)
  • Kelly Ayotte (Failure to investigate mortgage fraud charges, deletion of emails)
  • Lisa Murkowski (Originally appointed by father, shady land deal)
  • Kay Bailey Hutchison (Indictments for misconduct as Texas Treasurer)
  • Jean Schmidt (Falsely listed endorsements & other smaller issues)
  • Mary Fallin (“Unprofessional conduct” with bodyguard, followed by divorce from husband)
Condoleeza Rice

Condoleeza Rice: The Perfect VP Candidate? Only if you want to defend the Iraq War for the rest of the election...

Round 7 – Foreign Policy Experience

Is the VP pick someone with strong foreign policy experience, one of the holes in Romney’s résumé? Points go to:

  • Condoleeza Rice (3)
  • Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (3)
  • General Petraeus (2)
  • Susan Collins (2)
  • Jon Huntsman (1)
  • Lindsey Graham (1)

Round 8 – The Conservative Base

Is it someone that would shore up support from Tea Party and/or the religious right? Points go to:

  • Tim Tebow (3)
  • Bob McDonnell (2)
  • Mike Huckabee (2)
  • Jan Brewer (2)
  • Pat Toomey (2)
  • Rand Paul (2)
  • Jim DeMint (1)
  • Paul Ryan (1)
  • Mike Lee (1)
  • Sam Brownback (1)

Round 9 – Religion (Sudden Death Round)

Does the VP contender have any religious background or connections that might raise questions or exacerbate voters unease with Romney’s Mormonism? These picks are eliminated:

  • Jon Huntsman (Mormon)
  • Eric Cantor (Jewish)
  • Michael Bloomberg (Jewish)
  • Mike Lee (Mormon)
  • Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Episcopalian, but one of the biggest supporters of Scientology & receivers of Scientology $$ in House)
  • Jim Talent (Jewish)

Round 10 – Experience

Does the VP pick have more than enough political experience to credibly take over as President? Points go to:

Jeb Bush

Bushes: Third time's the charm?

  • Jeb Bush (4)
  • Mike Huckabee (3)
  • Susan Collins (3)
  • Pat Toomey (3)
  • Paul Ryan (2)
  • Jim DeMint (2)
  • Rob Portman (2)
  • Terry Branstadt (2)
  • Sam Brownback (2)
  • Lindsey Graham (2)
  • John Boehner (2)
  • Mitch Daniels (1)
  • Bobby Jindal (1)
  • Lamar Alexander (1)
  • John Hoeven (1)
  • John Thune (1)

Round 11 – Campaign Wingman

Would he or she be a strong campaigner and be able to act as attack dog while Romney tries to stay above the fray and presidential-looking? Points go to:

  • Mike Huckabee (4)
  • Tim Tebow (4)
  • Bob McDonnell (3)
  • Paul Ryan (3)
  • Jim DeMint (3)
  • John Boenher (3)
  • Jan Brewer (3)
  • Sam Brownback (3)
  • Rand Paul (3)

George W. Bush with a screech owl

I love this photo.

Round 12 – The Curse of Dubya (Sudden Death Round)

Would the VP pick remind voters of the Bush years? These picks are eliminated (or docked a point):

  • Jeb Bush
  • Condoleeza Rice
  • Rob Portman -1 (1) (US Trade Rep. & Director of Budget Office under Bush)
  • Mitch Daniels -1 (0) (Director of Budget Office under Bush)

Round 13 – Do No Harm

Beyond having no skeletons, would the VP pick be safe enough (read: boring enough) to stay on message, rock absolutely no boats, and raise no eyebrows? Points go to:

Tim Pawlenty

Pawlenty is the flavor vanilla picks when it's bored.

  • Pat Toomey (4)
  • Terry Branstad (3)
  • Bobby Jindal (2)
  • Rob Portman (2)
  • Lamar Alexander (2)
  • John Thune (2)
  • Mitch Daniels (1)
  • Tim Pawlenty (1)
  • Sean Parnell (1)

Round 14 – Moderates and Independents

Will the person attract (or at least not scare) moderates and independents that may be wary of the far-right rhetoric of the campaign so far? Points go to:

  • Susan Collins (4)
  • Terry Branstad (4)
  • Bobby Jindal (3)
  • Lamar Alexander (3)
  • General Petraeus (3)
  • Lindsey Graham (3)
  • Mitch Daniels (2)
  • John Hoeven (2)
  • Sean Parnell (2)

Round 15 – Economic Clout

  • Pat Toomey (5)
  • Paul Ryan (4)
  • Bobby Jindal (4)
  • Rob Portman (3)
  • Mitch Daniels (3)
  • John Hoeven (3)

Round 16 – Controversial Policies

Has the VP contender pushed for or enacted any major policies that would make them extremely unpopular with important voting groups or prove easy fodder for Obama to attack? These picks are eliminated:

  • Jan Brewer (Draconian immigration laws)
  • Bob McDonnell (Questionable executions, invasive abortion requirements, “Confederate History Month,” etc.)
  • John Boenher (Any unpopular plan advanced by Republicans)
  • Scott Walker (Death ray aimed at workers’ rights)
  • Rick Scott (Forced drug screenings, Medicare billing, plenty of small controversies)
  • Rand Paul (Opposition to Civil Rights Act of 1964)

Round 17 – Geographic Strength

Terry Branstad photo by Gage Skidmore

Terry Branstad: Because mustaches win in the Midwest.

Would the person also have appeal outside of their home state in a contentious region like the Midwest or Mountain West? Points go to:

  • Tim Tebow (5)
  • Terry Branstad (5)
  • Rob Portman (4)
  • John Hoeven (4)
  • Susana Martinez (3)
  • Brian Sandoval (3)

Round 18 – Outsider Status

Lastly, running against an incumbent with Congress’ approval rating at a dismal 14%, Romney is likely to prefer a Beltway outsider. Points go to:

  • Tim Tebow (6)
  • Terry Branstad (6)
  • Bobby Jindal (5)
  • Mitch Daniels (5)
  • Susana Martinez (4)
  • Brian Sandoval (4)
  • General Petraeus (4)
  • Luis Fortuño (3)
  • Sean Parnell (3)
  • Tim Pawlenty (2)

Round 19 – Campaign Experience

Plus one point to the contenders that have run for the Presidency before or really know how to work a crowd; minus one point to those that have never really campaigned before:

  • Tim Tebow +1 (7)
  • Mike Huckabee +1 (5)
  • Lamar Alexander +1 (4)
  • Tim Pawlenty +1 (3)
  • General Petraeus -1 (3)

Round 20 – The Curse of Palin

Could the person remind anyone of Sarah Palin in any way? Are they an inexperienced female governor? Are they from Alaska? Out:

  • Susana Martinez (Attractive governor with less than 2 years experience)
  • Sean Parnell (Current Alaska Governor)

***********************************************

So where does that leave us??? Here’s the short list of final contenders with 4 points or more:

  1. Tim Tebow (7) – Ultra-Christian former Denver Broncos quarterback (now NY Jets)
  2. Terry Branstad (6) – Governor of Iowa
  3. Bobby Jindal (5) – Governor of Louisiana
  4. Mike Huckabee (5) – Former Governor of Arkansas
  5. Mitch Daniels (5) – Governor of Indiana
  6. Pat Toomey (5) – Senator from Pennsylvania
  7. Rob Portman (4) – Senator from Ohio
  8. Paul Ryan (4) – Wisconsin Rep. & leader on GOP economic policy
  9. Brian Sandoval (4) – Governor of Nevada
  10. John Hoeven (4) – Senator from North Dakota
  11. Lamar Alexander (4) – Senator from Tennessee
  12. Susan Collins (4) – Senator from Maine

So as you can see, there are a few surprises here! For starters, some of the big names bouncing around the news echo chamber aren’t even on here. Second, there are a few names I’d never even heard of before I started researching: Terry Branstad? John Hoeven? Who the heck are they? A few familiar names still made the list, though: people like Bobby Jindal, Mitch Daniels, and Paul Ryan that have been the center of endless speculation.

The other surprise is that there’s only one woman that made the list! Susan Collins would be a solid, moderate choice, but she’s retiring this year, so I have a feeling she wouldn’t be interested. Every other major Republican woman I came across seemed to have a scandal or controversy to her name! So expect Romney’s little one to be a boy.

Lastly, I have one confession to make. Despite my rigorous list, I still think Chris Christie (New Jersey’s big, loud, blunt Republican Governor) would be Mitt Romney’s best choice, and I still think he might pick him. If he picks a winner from the “Buzz” round like Christie, rather than from the “Do No Harm” round like Daniels or Portman, it will show a more desperate campaign in need of a boost, because Romney is a calculated thinker who errs on the overly-cautious side. But Christie is a solid pick, Romney just doesn’t understand that the type of blustery gaffes that people like Chris Christie and Joe Biden make are actually endearing and humanizing to most Americans. And let’s face it; despite being a cautious, disciplined candidate, Mitt Romney makes gaffe after gaffe. If he could accomodate someone with a radically different style than himself, it would actually help him connect.

That being said, I expect his advisors to go through a very similar thought process as the one I used for my list. So that means that they are going to be needing a new logo pretty soon to accomodate Mitt’s running mate. No worries Team Romney, I’ve got you covered:

Romney-Tebow 2012

Marco Rubio Will Not Be Mitt Romney’s Running Mate

April 27th, 2012 1 comment

I was originally hoping to get ahead of the media frenzy around choosing Romney’s running mate by writing this post a couple months ago, before Romney’s nomination was assured. However, Santorum’s unexpected resilience as a candidate and sudden emergence as an actual contender pushed such thoughts onto the back burner. Then when he just as suddenly dropped out of the race, Mitt Romney’s spot as the nominee was sealed and the media frenzy over “veepstakes” had already begun. So basically Santorum twice screwed up my blog-writing plans. What an A-hole.

Marco Rubio official portrait

...Polo.

Anyway, back to the main idea here. Marco Rubio will not be Mitt Romney’s running mate. Neither will any of the people who competed in the primaries and debates against Mitt. But first let me back up. You either read the title of this post and thought, “Why not?” or else you thought, “Marco who?”

To sum up, Marco is a handsome, charismatic, young, conservative, Republican, Tea-Party-darling Senator of Florida. Plus he’s hispanic (Cuban parents to be precise). He looks and sounds like a perfect fit for a VP pick, and he potentially shores up support among some major groups Team Romney should really be worried about: hispanics, Tea Partiers, young people, and people who prefer interesting and charismatic candidates.

However, beneath the surface analysis (also known as “news-level analysis”), all is not well in Marcolandia.

First of all, he faces some lingering ethics issues, and that probably disqualifies him right there. But the less well-known and almost un-talked about fact is that Rubio used to be Mormon. It was only until the age of 12 or 13, when he then moved on to Baptism and then Roman Catholicism, but still, he was quite active in the Church of Latter Day Saints early on. Although Rubio is a talented speaker, and has already backed away from his past, saying he doesn’t remember much of his time as a Mormon, I believe it is just enough to push the young Senator into the risky category of a very cautious Mitt Romney’s VP list. Mitt already knows that people are uncomfortable with his religious upbringing, so he is unlikely to overlook the potential for greater distrust and all sorts of conspiracy theories if he chooses a running mate who was also baptized as a Mormon.

So who will he choose? Former primary opponents are usually a good source of VP material; just think Reagan/Bush or Kerry/Edwards (ok, let’s not think about Edwards, actually). But anyway, in this case, that possibility is incredibly remote. Romney barely made it out of what was described as the weakest crop of presidential candidates in ages. Why would he pick from the same tepid pool that was so weak it let him win? He was the weakest candidate except all the others, to twist a quote from Churchill. I don’t really feel like regurgitating all the debilitating weaknesses of each former opponent, so I won’t, but trust me, you won’t be seeing Santorum, Gingrich, Paul or any of the others on the ticket come November. Tim Pawlenty dropped out early and doesn’t really have any baggage, but he also brings nothing special to the table. Jon Huntsman would be the only strong addition from the bunch, except he’s also… wait for it… Mormon.

So that leaves us with potentials from a few other groups. First there’s the fantasy league. These are the guys (and gal) that Republicans had wet dreams about entering the race, or somehow becoming the nominee after a brokered convention: Chris Christie, Mitch Daniels, Paul Ryan, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, and (of course) Sarah Palin.

Next up are the people that are being considered by GOP insiders and media commentators as party leaders or rising stars that might be promising: Jim DeMint (Sen. SC), Bobby Jindal (Gov. LA), Bob McDonnell (Gov. VA), Rob Portman (Sen. OH), Nikki Haley (Gov. SC), Mike Pence (Rep. Indiana), Eric Cantor (Rep. VA), Brian Sandoval (Gov. NV), and Susana Martinez (Gov. NM).

Dark Horse

Official portrait of PA Senator Pat Toomey

Going even deeper into the rabbit hole, we find the dark horses. These are people that you probably wouldn’t have heard of unless they’re local to you or you were really following all the veepstakes chatter: Luis Fortuño (Gov. of Puerto Rico), Jim Talent (former Missouri Senator & Romney advisor), Patrick Toomey (Sen. PA), Kelly Ayotte (Sen. NH), John Thune (Sen. SD), Mary Fallin (Gov. OK), Terry Branstad (Gov. IA), and others.

Lastly, after the dark horses there are the longshots. These are the most interesting or innovative suggestions that nonetheless are highly unlikely, especially given Romney’s track record of risk-aversion. They include such interesting possibilities as Condoleeza Rice, General Petraeus, Rand Paul, and Tim Tebow (just kidding… but really, that would win, right?).

In my next post, I will put all these names and more to the test in a VP battle royale to bring you who will be on Mitt Romney’s short list. The results may surprise you…