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Cain No Rodney Dangerfield, but Waiting for Respect After Florida Straw Poll Victory September 25, 2011

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Ecstatic off a Florida straw poll victory that is sure to elevate his visibility, Republican presidential contender Herman Cain said Sunday that the GOP establishment better start paying attention because he’s getting respect from voters.

“The takeaway from Florida, that we took away, is that number one, the citizens movement is more powerful than the establishment wants to give me credit for. So yes, they keep treating me like the Rodney Dangerfield of this primary contest,” Cain told Fox News.

“The voters, the people out in the field are saying we want to send a message to Washington, D.C. The establishment is not going to make this call, the people are going to make the call and that’s what you saw in the Florida straw poll yesterday,” he said.

Cain won the straw poll decisively on Saturday, garnering 37 percent of the 2,657 votes cast. Far behind was Texas Gov. Rick Perry with 15. 4 percent and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with 14 percent. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum came in fourth with 10.88 percent.

The results were a stunner to many since Cain is out-funded and doesn’t have the same name recognition as other candidates like Perry, who also spent time and money on securing a strong showing at the event. 

Romney had vowed before the primary season to sit out straw polls but the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO has also invested his time in Florida. The winner of the straw poll wins the Florida GOP endorsement ahead of the primary, the date of which is still being disputed. 

Cain also performed above expectations in Thursday’s Fox News-Google debate. But even after the victory, Cain says he is still struggling to get some respect from party insiders. In response to the results, frontrunner Perry issued a statement focusing on Romney, his top rival. Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who had suggested earlier that the winner of the poll would be the party nominee in 2012, backpedaled from his earlier statements.

“Congratulations to Herman Cain for his victory. Today’s results reinforce the crucial role Florida’s primary will play in the selection of our nominee and show that no candidate can take Florida for granted,” Scott said in a statement after announcing the winner at CPAC-Florida. “I believe that as we saw in 2010, a challenging primary between our Republican candidates will serve our party, state and nation well in preparing to defeat President Obama in 2012.”

Undeterred, Cain said his message is resonating because he’s offering solutions rather than “just talking the problem.” He added that the Florida straw poll is a better indicator of a contender’s standing because it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of Iowa’s Ames poll in August, where the candidates heavily court voters. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann won that vote.

“Look, the Iowa straw poll you can stack the deck, you can practically buy that. Several people tried to do it and now you see what happened. With all due respect to Representative Michele Bachmann, but her star has fallen because it was temporary. The difference is in Florida, these were delegates that were making the call, they were making the call based on who they saw with the most substance in that message,” he said.  

Cain added that once he is more recognized by the public, voters and the media will look more closely at his candidacy.  

“Now they’re going to have to talk about Herman Cain, as my name ID goes up. They are going to compare Cain versus more of the same. Cain versus more of the same is what’s coming through. And that’s what you saw in Florida. They prefer Cain and not more of the same,” he said. 

And if “Cain versus more of the same” doesn’t fly, Cain said he’s going to borrow from the season opener of “Saturday Night Live,” in which comedian Kenan Thompson played Cain’s character in a mock debate and suggested that Cain’s pizza mogul background will serve him well as a presidential contender. 

“When you ask for it, pizza will be there in 10 minutes,” Thompson said trying to adopt Cain’s Georgia-drawn cadence. “If you order it, pizza will come, pizza will come, oh, pizza will most definitely come. And if you vote for me, America, I promise you that I will deliver.” 

“I think that’s great,” Cain said, laughing. “I’m going to use that in my next debate. ‘If you vote for me America, I will deliver.’ That’s what people are hearing.”

Leadership: Obama rejects McConnell’s offer to meet with GOP on debt ceiling July 1, 2011

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It was Drudge, I think, who first drew the contrast this afternoon between O’s approach to dialogue in this story versus this one. Doesn’t it make sense, though? From the White House’s perspective, one involves a group of power-hungry fanatics who pose a potential threat to western civilization, and the other involves the Muslim Brotherhood.

But remember, he’s the adult in the room.

One of President Barack Obama’s 2012 themes will likely revolve around what his aides call “the contrast” — a portrayal of Obama as a responsible, moderate adult harassed by infantile Republicans who favor the wealthy…

“Leaders are going to lead, … that’s why they are called leaders,” he added, making an unmistakable reference to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who withdrew from the negotiations with Vice President Joe Biden last week…

Another GOP aide was more blunt. “It’s counterproductive schoolyard crap. … [It’s] awfully childish for the ‘adult in the room,’” the aide told POLITICO.

So saith a guy whose habit of “leading” by handing off important agenda items to congressional Democrats is now so infamous that even David “Pants Crease” Brooks is writing critical columns about it. To be fair, though, I’m not sure he had much choice here: His base is grumpy that the Democrats have already all but agreed to $1 trillion in cuts with little in return by way of new revenue, so he needs to be recalcitrant with Republicans to make it look like he’s drawing a line in the sand. And it’s not like anything productive comes out of his meetings with the caucus. The last one was famously “chilly” and involved Paul Ryan scolding him about his Medicare demagoguery, which might have been productive with a president who wasn’t focused utterly and exclusively on his own reelection. As it is, when it comes to Mediscaring, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Click the image to watch.

Rand Paul outsmarts, embarrasses slow-witted Democrat April 2, 2011

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by Barry Carr

Is this who we are now? Humiliating dullards for sport? Poor, poor Harry.

In Reid’s defense, much like Bob Gates, he’s only trying to swallow the “turd sandwich” prepared by our master chef in the White House.

On Wednesday, Paul, with little notice, attached an amendment to the small-business re-authorization bill. The amendment, which chastises President Obama for his actions in Libya, urges members to adopt the president’s own words as “the sense of the Senate.”

To make his point, Paul quoted, in the legislative language, from Obama’s 2007 remarks on the subject: “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.” According to Paul’s office, “the measure aims to put the Senate on record affirming Congress as the body with constitutional authority on matters of war.”

GOP sources tell National Review Online that Paul’s proposal flummoxed Reid, who does not want his members to have to weigh in on Obama’s dusty quote about congressional authority, even if the vote is only to table the measure.

Makes me wonder if opinion on Libya inside Congress is already so sour that Democrats fear a vote to authorize the mission retroactively might not go Obama’s way. It probably would: Paul and a few other very conservative Republicans might peel off along with Bernie Sanders and far-left liberals, but I bet The One would pull 70 votes even now. It’s awfully tough politically to cut a military mission off at the knees, especially when prominent officials are defecting from the enemy side. Even so, given the turdiness of the sandwich, not a single one of those 70 (except maybe McCain, Lieberman, and Graham) are eager to take that vote. And I can’t believe there’s a single Republican in the House who wants to deal with it. If you’re Boehner or Cantor or Allen West or Mike Pence, how do you vote in order to simultaneously (a) support the Air Force and Navy while they’re executing a mission, (b) protect the GOP’s hawkish credentials, (c) express your doubts about the utility of the mission and how it’s being executed, and (d) challenge Obama on his absurd hypocrisy about the president’s military prerogatives, especially given the contempt he’s showed Congress thus far? Tough vote. So tough that I wonder if Reid’s tempted to vote on a resolution in the Senate just to force Boehner to take it up and choke on it.

Here’s Paul’s floor speech on Libya from Wednesday. He sent Reid a letter tonight calling for a vote on a war resolution. Don’t hold your breath.

Shutdown averted: House passes bill funding government for next two weeks, 335-91 March 6, 2011

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by Barry Carr

Up next: The Senate…

Everybody’s happy-ish: The GOP gets $4 billion in cuts, the Democrats get to pretend that this was all their idea, and the federal leviathan keeps chugging along until March 18, when the funding from this bill runs out and we play another game of chicken.

The Senate hasn’t taken up the bill yet but there’s no suspense about what they’ll do. Reid emerged from today’s caucus meeting to say that the votes are there.

The vote was 335-91, with six Republicans opposing the GOP-authored measure. On the other side of the aisle, 104 Democrats voted for it, while 85 voted against the bill.

The Republican-backed stopgap bill was considered palatable by many Democrats because it drew on suggestions made by President Barack Obama in his budget for this year…

Some GOP House members opposed the bill because it did not include more controversial measures to defund Planned Parenthood and the implementation of the Obama-backed health care plan.

Here’s the roll. The six Republicans voting no: Amash, Bachmann, Gohmert, Jones, Steve King, and of course Ron Paul. How come Reid didn’t throw a screaming fit about how “draconian” it is to slice $4 billion from the budget in just two weeks? Well, as noted last Friday, these cuts all come from Obama’s 2012 budget; the GOP proposed them now knowing that Reid would choke on them rather than accuse The One of being “draconian.” Beyond that, though, the polling on whom to blame for a shutdown isn’t there for them this time like it was in 1995. Or at least, not yet:

Thirty-six percent say Republicans would be at fault if the two sides cannot reach a budget deal in time to avert a temporary stoppage of government services, and just about as many, 35 percent, say primary responsibility would rest with the Obama administration. Nearly one in five say the two camps would be equally culpable…

But in 1995, when Bill Clinton was president, 46 percent said they would blame House Speaker Newt Gingrich and congressional Republicans for the impending stoppage, compared with 27 percent who said Clinton would be at fault.

If there is a government shutdown, the decisive group to watch would be independent voters, who form the bulk of those who said they had not decided who would be to blame. On the question of blame, conducted jointly by The Post and the Pew Research Center, about three-quarters of conservative Republicans fault Obama; a similar proportion of liberal Democrats blame the GOP. Independents tilt marginally toward blaming Obama, 37 to 32 percent.

Rasmussen has a new poll out too showing that 58 percent of likely voters prefer a shutdown if it would result in cuts versus 33 percent who’d accept a spending freeze to keep the government running. Now that the short-term battle is over and the next shutdown looms, the GOP has to hammer two “messaging” points above all. One: This chart. Circulate it widely and show just how ridiculously narrow that sliver of $61 billion in cuts is (roughly one-third of the gray sliver). No one who sees it will ever take the “draconian” meme seriously again. And two: Emphasize the fact that many critical services wouldn’t be affected by a shutdown, from the military to Social Security payments to even the post office. For all the left’s shrieking about the “politics of fear,” there’ll be plenty of fearmongering (as usual) on their side over the next 17 days. Counter that and you win the argument.

Shutdown averted, probably: Dems praise GOP’s temporary budget to keep government funded February 27, 2011

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by Barry Carr

Peace…

Thank goodness. The crisis had reached the point where even travel agents were starting to panic.

The GOP’s latest proposal – a two-week spending bill with $4 billion in cuts – was designed to be hard for Democrats to resist because it is full of cuts they had already supported. For instance, the Republicans’ plan included $1.24 billion in cuts proposed by President Obama in his 2012 budget and about $2.7 billion in cuts to earmarks that both parties have already renounced…

“We are encouraged to hear that Republicans are abandoning their demands for extreme measures like cuts to border security, cancer research and food safety inspectors and instead moving closer to Democrats’ position that we should cut government spending in a smart, responsible way that targets waste and excess while keeping our economy growing,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s spokesman Jon Summers said in a statement Friday.

In fact, Democrats argued, the GOP’s new plan is just “a modified version” of what they have been proposing all along.

“The plan Republicans are floating today sounds like a modified version of what Democrats were talking about. We’re glad they think it’s a good idea, but we should keep our focus on what we need to do to cut spending and keep our economy growing in the long-term. If we need a little more time to agree on a responsible path forward, we should pass a short-term CR for no longer than the next month,” Summers stated.

Wait, didn’t the same Jon Summers call the GOP’s $4 billion proposal “extreme” and a “non-starter” just 48 hours ago? Why, he did! But that was before Boehner unveiled his strategy to build that $4 billion out of cuts suggested by Obama himself. That’s why Democrats now feel compelled to not only praise the measure but to try to take credit for it — before they inevitably begin arguing that $4 billion is itself far too “draconian” to be acceptable.

And so there you have it. The great unmaking of America, which wouldn’t have affected most essential services (including Social Security payments) and which might have ended up strengthening the GOP’s hand, has been averted. For the full list of individual proposed cuts, see Andrew Stiles at the Corner.

Update:? The House Appropriations Committee website has a more detailed description of the proposed cuts.