Wingnuts Say The Darndest Things: Michele Bachmann on 9/11 Pray

“It’s no secret that our nation may very well be experiencing the hand of judgment. It’s no secret that we all are concerned that our nation may be in a time of decline. If that is in fact so, what is the answer? The answer is what we are doing here today: humbling ourselves before an almighty God, crying out to an almighty God, saying not of ourselves but you, would you save us oh God? We repent of our sins, we turn away from them, we seek you, we seek your ways. That’s something that we’re doing today, that we did on the National Day of Prayer, it’s something that we have chosen to do as well on another landmark day later this year on September 11. Our nation has seen judgment not once but twice on September 11. That’s why we’re going to have ‘9/11 Pray’ on that day. Is there anything better that we can do on that day rather than to humble ourselves and to pray to an almighty God?” —Michele Bachmann

Quote of the Day

“Michele Bachamnn has announced she is now also a citizen of Switzerland. What better way to protest a president you think is socialist than become a citizen of a country with a socialist philosophy and a mandated health care plan.” –Jay Leno

David Letterman: Top Ten Surprises At Michele O’Bachmann’s Press Conference

David Letterman: Top Ten Surprises At Michele O’Bachmann’s Press Conference

10. Congratulated Mitt Romney on being elected the president of Iowa
9. Gave repeated shout-outs to the Los Angeles car arsonist
8. After a brief introduction, spent 15 minutes Tebowing
7. Said she successfully prayed her campaign away
6. Shared several inspirational quotes from ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked’
5. Announced plans to bet remaining campaign funds on the Packers to win the Super Bowl
4. Said she’s leaving Marcus for the lead guitarist of Journey
3. Revealed she’s the latest wacky character played by Sacha Baron Cohen
2. Showed her full-body dragon tattoo
1. Ended with a, ‘See you losers at the truck stop!’

Quote of the Day

‎”Michele Bachmann is out, but I don’t think her husband is.” –David Letterman

The Impact of the Iowa Caucus

The 2012 Republican Iowa caucus had far less impact on the race than the 2004 and 2008 Democratic races which propelled John Kerry and Barack Obama to victories in their party. The biggest question is whether we are seeing a repeat of the 2008 Republican caucus, with Rick Santorum playing the part of Mike Huckabee. Santorum benefited from being the last non-Romney candidate standing, surging with too little time for media scrutiny to harm his campaign. His eight vote loss to Mitt Romney might be analogous to Mike Huckabee’s win if it turns out to be an isolated win for a social conservatives. There is an outside chance that Santorum might capitalize upon this win to become a strong enough anti-Romney candidate to pull an upset. If conservatism was really a small-government movement a supporter of big-government such as Santorum would have no chance, but deep down many Republicans must realize their small government rhetoric is all talk. Even the Tea Party members (who have always been dominated by social conservatives) gave Santorum support.

The biggest difference between 2008 and this year is the desire of conservatives to prevent a replay of 2008 and allow someone they see as more moderate win the nomination. Newt Gingrich now wants an anti-Romney alliance with Santorum, but this looks a lot like a losing candidate trying to remain relevant. Gingrich might destroy Romney, and in the process destroy the GOPs chances at winning the general election. It is about time Gingrich does something useful.

Meanwhile conservative leaders are meeting in Texas to attempt to find a consensus conservative candidate. Good luck finding someone who adheres to the conservative line on most issues and doesn’t come across as bat-shit crazy to moderate and independent voters in a general election.

The biggest loser was obviously Michele Bachmann who dropped out of the race. Rick Perry almost left the race. As he has been raising money better than he has been debating, he might as well remain in the race. As volatile as this race has been, he could still maintain hope of becoming the surviving anti-Romney candidate down the road.

If measuring against expectations, Ron Paul also turned out to be a loser. After appearing to have a chance to win, or at least come in a close second, his third place left him virtually forgotten behind the close Romney-Santorum battle. Besides, there are few states where Paul has a chance to pick up many votes in a Republican primary.

Overall it was an unimpressive night for Republicans, who suffered from low turn-out, and for Mitt Romney. Romney spent years and millions of dollars to show that he could not appeal to any more voters than four years ago. Derek Thompson calculated how much each candidate spent per vote. Rick Perry spent the most per vote at $478.40.  Mitt Romney spent $154.90, Ron Paul  $103.30, Newt Gingrich  $89.84, Rick Santorum  $20.50, and Michele Bachmann spent $3.95 per vote. Santorum clearly got the most for his money.

It seemed that there were far more people tweeting about the caucus last night than participating. Some say it is unfair that such a small number of people could potentially choose our president. That is no where as bad as the 2000 election when the election was decided by nine people on the Supreme Court.

 

The Republican Circus Can Get Even Wilder

The Republicans have a real problem. Mitt Romney has been running for the nomination, and sometimes has even led the race, since before Barack Obama became president, but the Republicans just don’t want him. Conservatives have been trying to find an acceptable candidate to promote their beliefs but it is just not possible to find a sane leader for a movement which has become outright bat-shit crazy. To demonstrate my point, at the moment they are stuck with Newt Gingrich.  I’ve speculated in the past that that this could lead to none of the current candidates winning and the race going to the convention. The possibility of someone else winning the nomination received further attention after Nate Silver wrote a post today on this topic.

This possibility exists because of the problems with the candidates and the structure of the primaries. Republican caucuses and primaries held before April 1 cannot be winner-take-all, but afterwards they can. This means that it will be hard for anyone to take an overwhelming lead early, making it possible for a candidate with momentum late to win winner-take-all contests and win a larger number of delegates. Theoretically this could be a candidate entering late, but I wonder if this is really possible as anyone not currently in the race will lack the campaign infrastructure and will miss many of the filing deadlines to enter the contests. I suspect that if some of the other candidates recover it might be possible for different ones to win in different states, preventing anyone from clinching the nomination prior to the convention.

Once caucuses and primaries begin they create a new atmosphere and the previous pecking order might be meaningless. If someone wins convincingly in the early contests they should be able to lock up the nomination. The lack of a conventional campaign infrastructure creates doubt as to whether Newt Gingrich can win despite his current lead in the polls, but if the conservative movement, including the Tea Party, line up behind him this might be enough to beat Romney. It certainly doesn’t look good for Romney to be trailing Gingrich in Michigan as he is at the present. A loss in Michigan would probably be the end for Romney, but on the other hand the Michigan polls, as most other states, will probably shift based upon the results in the early states.

If none of the Republican candidates please conservatives, there are a couple of names being raised as potential independent candidates. Donald Trump, angry that only Gingrich and Rick Santorum are attending his debate says, “I am unwilling to give up my right to run as an independent candidate.”

Trump is particularly angry at Michelle Bachmann:

“She came up to see me four times,” Trump said. “She would call me and ask me for advice. She said if she wins, she would like to think about me for the Vice Presidency.”

As I’ve suggested in the past, it makes more sense for Trump to run as an independent than in the Republican primaries as it allows him to continue on Celebrity Apprentice this season. That said, there is a strong likelihood that Trump is only talking about running to attract more publicity. Ron Paul, who has declined to offer support to any other winner of the Republican nomination, is also increasingly being discussed as a possible independent candidate. Paul has been on an upward trajectory, but there is also a low ceiling for his potential support. He will suffer the same fate as candidates such as Bachmann and Cain when his views and past receive greater scrutiny. Speaking  of Cain, he never had a chance to become president, but one organization is interested him–Fox.

Quote of the Day

“The Republican candidates were asked to name their favorite movies. Ron Paul picked ‘No Country for Old Men.’ Rick Perry chose ‘Clueless.’ Michele Bachmann chose ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,’ and Herman Cain chose ‘Snatch.'” –Jay Leno

Quote of the Day

‎”Michele Bachmann says she won’t rest until Obamacare is repealed. Or until she kidnaps all 101 Dalmatians.” –Jimmy Kimmel

Quote of the Day

“If the earth was visited by aliens, this could be a huge problem for the Republican party. I mean, Michele Bachmann would want to deport them, Rick Perry would want to execute them, Mitt Romney would be undecided about what to do, and Herman Cain would try to take them up to his room.” –Jay Leno

The Advantage Of Running Against Bat-Shit Crazy Opponents: Obama Leading All Republican Candidates In Ohio

The conventional wisdom is that Obama is doing poorly in the rust belt and that will have difficulty holding on to states he picked up in 2008 such as Ohio. Polls a year out are hardly conclusive, but a Public Policy Polling survey does show that Obama has large leads over his potential rivals in Ohio:

One person who should be feeling particularly good about last night’s election results in Ohio is Barack Obama. On our weekend poll, which got the final result of Issue 2 correct to within a point, Obama led all of his Republican opponents in the state by margins ranging from 9-17 points.  After a very tough year for Democrats in Ohio in 2010, things are looking up.

Obama led Mitt Romney 50-41 on our poll. He was up 11 points on Herman Cain at 50-39, 13 on Newt Gingrich at 51-38, 14 on Ron Paul at 50-36, 14 on Michele Bachmann at 51-37 and a whooping 17 points on Rick Perry at 53-36. It used to be Sarah Palin’s numbers that we compared to Barry Goldwater, but Perry’s deficit would represent the largest Republican defeat in Ohio since 1964.

The biggest thing Obama has going for him right now is an extremely unified Democratic base. Obama gets 88-92% of his party’s vote against the six Republican candidates.  What makes that particularly notable is that his approval rating with Democratic voters is actually only 73%. But these numbers suggest that when election time comes around the party base will get around Obama whether they’re totally thrilled with him or not, and that’s a very good sign for his reelection prospects.

Obama continues to suffer from poor approval ratings in Ohio with only 41% of voters approving of him to 49% who disapprove. But voters don’t seem to consider any of his opponents to be viable alternatives. Cain has the best favorability of the bunch at a still poor 33/43 and it just gets worse from there- 28/48 for Romney, 31/51 for Gingrich, 24/47 for Bachmann, 20/50 for Paul, and a truly woeful 17/58 for Perry. This field of GOP contenders just doesn’t seem to have much appeal to swing state voters.

Besides calling into question the predictions that Obama will lose Ohio next year, this poll also shows that there is limited correlation between approval ratings and ability to win a state. With the Republican Party now under the control of extremists who have moved far to the right of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan, it is possible that Obama can win states despite mediocre approval ratings. It is also very likely that Obama’s approval will improve once he is seen in a head to head contest with a bat-shit crazy Republican.