On Tuesday afternoon the Ron Paul Exploratory Committee officially revved its engine for the first time in Iowa by opening a campaign office in Ankeny. The office is the first one in the Nation that the Congressmen has opened in his current test drive for a White House run. Wasting no time, the Ron-voy rolled into town so the candidate could personally christen the property, introduce his Iowa exploratory staff, and take part in a brief Q and A session with the media.
Exploratory Committee Chairman Drew Ivers opened by highlighting the unique characteristics of Ron Paulâ€™s Congressional background and summarizing his small government message. Among the selling points he covered is that, in twenty years in the House, Mr. Paul has never voted for a tax increase, an unbalanced budget, or to give the Executive branch more power. To go along with this voting record he has never taken a tax payer funded junket and has long refused Congressional benefits.
As far as the exploratory staff introductions, four of the five were on hand and introduced. They are Executive Director Steve Bierfeldt and Regional Directors Ryan Flowers, Ani DeGroot, Rachel Karnia, and Rocco Moffa. In keeping with the demographic of his most ardent supporters, all were young. Mr. Bierfeltd let it be known that the team will have a presence in all 99 Iowa counties as they try to gauge the level of support their candidate currently has with Iowa voters.
Unquestionably the biggest news to come out of the gathering was Mr. Paulâ€™s prediction that his decision to run or not will be made within a week. You donâ€™t have to have a John Nash-like â€œBeautiful Mindâ€ to calculate [. . .]
If nothing else Mitt Romney is a man of firsts. Four years ago when he ran for President he became the first Mormon to make a serious run at the White House. His recent re-entry into the field for this go around has produced another, and far more unlikely one. For the first time in history we have a candidate who is simultaneously the front runner and a long shot. While his prior bid found voters faced with an assortment of unusual and unprecedented factors to consider, this run finds that list not only still in-tact, but even longer.
A look at his chances reveals a lot to like, but also a series of tough spots created for both the candidate and voters. In the following we will weigh each against the other, not so much as a comparison of pros and cons but more as a look at advantages verses disadvantages. This distinction is important because classifying in terms of pros and cons makes the presumption that the realities surrounding a candidate are good or bad. In some cases I would argue that such judgments are unsubstantiated, in others the opposite of conventional wisdom may be true, and in yet others certain considerations are neither, and frankly should not be a valid part of the debate. That being said, letâ€™s start by looking at what is certainly a strong list of his advantages.
First and foremost, he is a serious man and a realistic candidate. He has a background of leadership in both the private economic sector and in government, a mixture that puts him in a nearly ideal position. While his background outside of politics makes it hard to clearly paint him as a life-long politician and part of the current â€œWashingtonâ€ problem, his tenor as Governor suggests that he would not be overwhelmed if he wins the job. Another huge feather in his cap [ . . . ]
With the release of his long term budget plan â€œThe Path to Prosperityâ€ there is no doubt that Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan is not only the talk of the town in Washington, but also the talk of cable news, YouTube, the blogosphere, my house, the White House, and probably even the Keebler Elfâ€™s tree house (though I canâ€™t quite get a read on how they lean politically). The fact that he has dominated the discussion across the Country for the last few days canâ€™t be argued. I would take it a step further though. I would argue that Paul Ryan is the most significant Republican in America and will remain so through 2012, and that includes the eventual Republican Presidential nominee.
Exhibit #1 in making this case starts with the obvious; he has replaced talk with an actual plan. The American people know what instinct tells all humans, when you are facing a problem you need a plan solve it. While literally no one deemed the release of the Obama administrations budget last month a problem solving strategy, compared to mere words in the ether from Republicans the contrast required to reveal the extent of its weakness was nonexistent. Without contrast your position is without strength. Fundamentally this is the advantage [...]
If you did not know freshmen Kentucky Senator Rand Paul prior, and you attended Saturday nightâ€™s Iowa Republican Party event â€œNight of the Rising Starsâ€ . . . then you certainly know him now.
I will get to Senator Paul, the evenings keynote speaker, momentarily but first let us briefly deal with the atmosphere and the purpose of the nightâ€™s eventâ€”recognizing the up and comers in the Iowa Republican Party. The crowd of 300-400 took to their seats in the warm, ornate theatre of the Hoyt Sherman Place largely to celebrate the impressive and hard won gains by Iowa Republicans in the last election cycle. The program included very short remarks from Senate Leader Paul McKinley, House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer, Secretary of State Matt Schultz, Party Chairman Matt Strawn, and Governor Terry Branstad. Following Governor Branstad, Senator Chuck Grassley was brought up to introduce Senator Paul. I will spare you of the particulars, as the real story lay in the last two speakers, but will apprise you of a few things of note that did happen during the body of the program.
Believe it or not a quasi-disco atmosphere was attempted to be created, which was odd due to the advanced mean age of those in attendance. Thanks to a mirror ball hung from the ceiling, each speaker took to the stage under a shower of colored lights as the venueâ€™s sound system blasted a song of their choosing. The â€œRising Stars,â€ though some were in attendance, were mainly celebrated through videos which showed clips of them at the Statehouse telling the camera what they do for a living and why they chose to run for office. The crowd largely sat silent for the videos, with the exception of small outbursts of cheering at the appearances of Kim Pearson, Kent Sorenson, and Jack Whitver.
Thirty-one year old Secretary of State Matt Schultz provided the evenings first shot of energy with a robust presentation that included a fiery defense of his signature issue, requiring a photo ID be shown before voting. Party Chair Matt Strawn followed, in a warm and charismatic style, with a few words about [...]