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The weakest candidate

Here's something I hope the voters of Michigan will consider today.

This weekend, CNN released results of general election trial heats, pitting each of the four leading Republican candidates for President against both of the leading Democrats.

The unmistakable message from this national exercise (surveying 840 voters on January 9 and 10th) is that Mitt Romney unequivocally qualifies as the weakest candidate the G.O.P. could field.

In the head-to-head contest with Barack Obama he is utterly wiped out, losing by a margin of 22 points (59% to 37%). Against Hillary Clinton, Romney fares little better, falling 18 percentage points behind (58% to 40%).
The results for other candidates show that this is a Romney problem, not a Republican problem.

John McCain, for instance, virtually ties both Obama and Clinton – running 48%-49% against Obama and 48%-50% against Clinton. In other words, in a trial heat against Barack Obama, Senator McCain runs a startling 21 points closer than does Governor Romney.

(Hat tip: Glenn)


Wow. That's all. Just wow. So clearly, I am not the only for whom Romney rings really hollow, and shallow for that matter.

Its too bad Rudy withdrew from the race. He was looking like the frontrunner until late last year and then he just vanished from the planet. Truly a shame he wasn't able to bring his foreign policy/national security credentials, honed to perfection as he stood at microphones on 9/11 and exploited as top-dog at Giuliani Partners, to the Oval Office.

I give no credence to any of those polls, Barry.

Even the polls done right before the most recent Primaries were wrong....and just DAYS BEFORE!

Most Polls had Obama winning NW by double digits right up to Primary Day.

Obama is, like Giuliani and Clinton and almost ANY professional politician, a candidate who the closer he looks, the worse he looks. That's true for every Democratic candidate and it's just as true for every Republican in this field.

Moreover, I have a hard time believing that Fred (a self-proclaimed "Moderate Republican" who claims not to like Conservatism) is so anti-Giuliani, by faaaaar, the MOST Left of Center Republican in the race.

Is it possible that Rudy's sin, in Fred's eyes, is knowin g how to reduce crime and was one of the people who popularized the idea that "crime is motivated by evil, not need," and helped marginalize the absurd idea that "crime is a natural and rational reaction to poverty and deprivation."

I mean, I have some very real reasons why I'd rather see almost any Republican rather than Rudy, but Fred??? I'd really like to know what problem "Moderates" have with a guy like that.

As for the tongue-in-cheek reference to Rudy's dropping out, that's sadly not the case. In fact the WaPo's Chris Cillizza (The Fix) wrote this about Rudy's chances the other day (I too thought that "the second most Liberal Republican in the race was dead); "Giuliani is still in it because the nightmare scenario for his campaign failed to materialize. That scenario was back-to-back wins in Iowa and New Hampshire for Mitt Romney, victories that would have given Romney a huge burst of momentum and made it very difficult for Giuliani to wait all the way until Florida's Jan. 29 primary to get into the game.

"Of course, Romney won neither contest; Mike Huckabee bested him in Iowa and John McCain took first place in New Hampshire.

"But in what turns out to be good news for Giuliani, Romney's not out of it yet. According to three new polls out Monday morning, Romney is either ahead or statistically tied with McCain in Michigan, where voters go to the polls today. Romney's lead in his home state creates the real potential that three different Republican candidates will have won the first three states, with South Carolina looming next Saturday and Florida now just 15 days away.

"Could Giuliani have scripted a better scenario? It's hard to imagine how. Even if McCain can pull out a win in Michigan and use the momentum gained there to score another victory in South Carolina, it seems extremely unlikely that Giuliani won't still have a chance to derail the GOP frontrunner in Florida."


I'm not a Rudy supporter (he's wrong on gay Marriage, on immigration and on gun (self-defense) rights, to name just a few issues.

I AGREE with his complete lack of foreign policy experience, which is a major LACK in the candidancy's of Romney, Obama, Huckabee, Clinton, Edwards and McCain, as well.

After all, a stint in a North Vietnamese prison camp is not really "foreign policy experience," is it?

TYPO: "Most Polls had Obama winning NW...(should be NH) by double digits right up to Primary Day."

I was just gonna call you out on the NW/NH typo! Damn!

Wrong on the Giuliani count, J. I truly think he was NYC's greatest mayor--loved him from the start, and especially telling to me was his refusal in the early weeks of his first term to meet with Sharpton & Co after some sort of police incident involving blacks (I forget the details but at the time it was assumed Rudy would meet with those guys, and when he didn't, I thought, Well that's a nice change). He was a great mayor and while at times he could come across as a major league a-hole, he was tempermentally suited for THAT office. Brusque, blunt, coarse, etc. But I don't think he is tempermentally suited to the Oval Office. Same would have gone for Ed Koch if he ever ran. I question his judgment on Kerik and on the emergency command post at the WTC.
Rudy's changed his stances on immigration and I seem to recall reading he now leans the other way. He was not a prospective presidential candidate until 9/11, and he has been re-branded as some sort of a hero for his actions that day. He founded a security consulting firm based on his actions that day. Had 9/11 not occurred, you think then-pauper Giuliani would have seen his net worth go from thousands in 2001 to tens of millions a few years later?
As for personal character, I could give 2 sh*ts if a guy cheats on his wife but to dump Donna Hanover the way he did was about as un-gentlemanly as could be possible.
Foreign policy experience is a pretty gray area, hard to quantify in most cases. Bush 41 had that experience when he became President (as UN and China envoy, as VP, CIA head). Not too many others before or since have definitive experience they can put down on paper, but I'd say a long-serving Senator, and chairman of Armed Svcs or Foreign Relations committee, does get some foreign policy insight and experience due to the nature of his position. Biden has it, McCain has it, Clinton to an extent, even Richardson. Throwing Yasser Arafat out of NYC doesn't qualify.

Maybe the stars will align in 2 weeks and Rudy will suddenly be the front runner and eventual nominee. If so, he's a genius. If not, it'll be one of the most puzzling strategies I've ever seen.

I hope that Romney wins today. I have endorsed him. He is the most brilliant man I have ever seen for someone with an I.Q. in the low 60s. He is even better that W in that area.

Although all republican candidates are terrible (and Rudy is the very worst of them), Romney is more rational than McCain. I believe that McCain is semi-demented at this point and quite dangerous. He would love to start World War III. The good news is that he is not electable in the general election (and nor is any of the republican candidates).

"I don't think he (Rudy) is tempermentally suited to the Oval Office. Same would have gone for Ed Koch if he ever ran. I question his judgment on Kerik and on the emergency command post at the WTC." (Fred)

ALL of those are fair (and very accurate) points Fred...and ones I agree with completely.

I initially thought Rudy was a genius after picking Bill Bratton as Police Commissioner, the man most responsible for changing the criminal justice viewpoint TO; "Crime is motivated by GREED not NEED."

Bratton was the architect of the Rudy renaissance.

Kerik and von Essen were just two of his most glaring errors in judgment, as was locating the City's Emergency Command Post in Bldg 7 of the WTC.

Your intial post had me wondering whether you beleived that Rudy's lack of FP experience was the major factor for you, that's why I noted that NONE of the Democrats have it and almost none of the other Republicans do either....I suppose you could give McCain and Edwards "some points" for their Senate travellings, though neither ever crafted any foreign policy.

Of the top SEVEN candidates (Romney, Clinton, Obama, McCain, Edwards, Giuliani and Huckabee), NONE is sterling, and few are even all that acceptable.

(Romney)..."is the most brilliant man I have ever seen for someone with an I.Q. in the low 60s." (BW)

Now that really IS ironic BW, given that Romney is by far the brightest candidate of the top seven, by far!

Here's an unfortunate, but true observation, FEW of those who spend their lives in politics are very bright.

Gingrich is a teacher, Dick Armey was an educator, Frist a doctor, etc., and none of those are "career politicians."

I've been surrounded by politicians my entire life and they are, by and large, the same sort of public servants as are cops, firefighters and teachers, people who, for the most part, are willing to forego a chance at potentially greater rewards, for job security....and a 98% re-relection rate is as much job security as any other Civil Servant has!

Over the past ten or fifteen years, I've become exposed to a number of people in the business world, mostly through a cousin who works in the financial sector.

One of the business people I met was John Paulson (of Queens, NY) who recently made about 5 BILLION shorting the housing bubble. I met him briefly over ten years ago. JP & Mitt Romney seem very much like "birds of a feather," that is they know how to get things done, although JP doesn't have Romney's gift for re-building failing companies and Romney doesn't apparently have JP's market timing aptitude, nor his ability to find the next bubble to short.

Needless to say, the likes of JP & Romney are geniuses compared to those mere mortals who've staked their lives to the political class.

For your part, you remind me of those few Republicans who say similar dumb things like, "Obama could never get elected," or "Hillary is completely unelectable,"....YEAH, right....and the Giants couldn't beat the Cowboys IN Dallas!

I don't know who'll be the nominees in November, let alone who'll be the next President, but I don't see any of the top seven as "unelectable," because you never know how the people will vote, or what upcoming incidents will effect the American psyche and HOW those people vote.

Still, I get a real kick out of your sports fan's view of politics.

J Paulson--one of my firm's clients.

I just went out and voted for Romney after reading this, thanks Barry.

Consider the source- The Clinton News Network. Romney scares the bejeebus out of them. That's why they have been calling on him to admit defeat even while he won one state, (Why isn't anyone talking about Wyoming? If I lived there, I would be insulted.) and finished a strong second in two others. That's pretty good for a man nobody likes.Total votes count. So do delegates.
They tried to use Mcpain to knock off Dubya not so long ago. Now they are using him against Rudy and Mitt. If that doesn't work, they will try Huck.

I met him and a ton of others briefly about ten years ago Fred, but I know that they impressed others in the financial arena very much.

What I'm saying is best illustrated by Boston's "Big Dig," which opened earlier this month years overdue and billions over budget. In the private sector there are incentives built in that result in many of those projects coming in under budget and ahead of schedule.

I think Paul Moore's largely right on the MSM touting ANYONE but the candidate they fear most.

The GOP powers certainly seem to want either Romney or Rudy, because of their proven track records winning in predominantly Blue regions.

Here's something to consider, most people vote for the person they LIKE best, and NOT according to the ideology they claim to prefer.

That's why "likability" is so often, so key.

The two least likable candidates (personality-wise) are Rudy and Hillary. For their parts, Fred Thompson comes off as tired and unmotivated, John McCain looks old and often tired, John Edwards comes off smarmy and hypocritical and Mike Huckabee isn't going to play well outside parts of the South and Midwest.

Right now Romney leads all Republicans in delegates after winning Wyoming and Michigan and placing second in Iowa and New Hampshire. His success is probably due to the same reason that Obama's had such success on the Democratic side - they are largely UNKNOWNS.

BOTH are good looking guys and effective speakers with relatively short track records.

Romney's father is the former Governor of MI, a man who worked to change the LDS Church's views on blacks (eradicating the reference to blacks suffering "the curse of Cain") back in 1978 and supporting the national civil rights movement.

Mitt Romney became Governor of MA and instituted one of the first of its kind universal healthcare systems (with very mixed results, although almost certainly better than what could be expected from any Democrat on a national level)...and he remains the only candidate that has actually run a business. He's actually turned around many failing businesses and saved countless thousands of American jobs in the process. He's also supported Civil Unions for gays (I do too), supported abortion (again, me too) and was among the many MA Governors responsible for at least part of the boondoggle called "the Big Dig."

For his part, Barack Obama is also a largely unknown commodity, although the closer one looks, the less there is to like (well, for Conservatives and Moderates anyway). His limited Senate voting record includes:

• Voting against extending the Bush tax cuts on capital gains and dividends.

• Voting against permanently repealing the Death Tax. (Called the cuts a "Paris Hilton" tax break for "billionaire heirs and heiresses")

• Voting against CAFTA.

• Opposing the lifting of $0.54 per gallon tariff on cheaper Brazillian ethanol. Said, "ethanol imports are neither necessary nor a practical response to current gasoline prices."

• Opposing privatizing Social Security

• Voting against drilling in ANWR.

• Voting against confirmation of Sam Alito AND John Roberts as chief justice.

• Voting against extending the PATRIOT Act's wiretap provision.

• Opposing any bans on partial birth abortions.

And as a member of the Illinois State Senate he voted against allowing people to claim self-defense if they used a gun in their home. Though he claimed that the measure would have affected only residents of towns where local handgun bans were in effect.

But the record of BOTH these guys hasn't been the issue, as it has been for some of those with longer political records and less attractive features.

Right now, both Obama and Romney lead their respective Parties in delegates right now, Obama leads Clinton 25 - 24 (not counting the "Super Delegates" who can vote for anyone) and Romney leads the GOP field 42 to Huckabee's 32, to McCain's 13.

The fact that they are both telegenic, unknowns can't be dismissed as at least a part of their attraction to voters.

I'd disgaree on who's likable in that Mike Huckabee, as whacked as I personally find some of his social views, is extremely likable and funny and self-deprecating and has a great style in interviews. I look forward to seeing him on the tube. Romney I don't find likable but instead a super-slick salesman--the kind of guy I'd have hated and goofed on in college. Looks like he sleeps in his shirt and tie and wakes up frequently to check his hair.

As for electability in blue regions, Giuliani sure proved he could do so. Mitt? He was a one-term governor who won 50% of the vote in his 2002 election. Granted, he was succeeding a troubled GOP governor.

Huckabee certainly has personality Fred...and a lot of baggage (dreadful on illegal immigration AND his own "Willie Horton" issue)....Romney and Obama are the two most telegenic guys in the race, and they both articulate their views very effectively.

Look, I didn't much like Romney's stab at Universal Healthcare in MA (glad I don't live there), BUT it's actually a more advanced and well-thought out version of that plan than anything offered by Clinton, Obama or Edwards, so for those who think some form of Universal Healthcare is peachy, he really SHOULD be your guy.

I mean if ANYONE is going to make that work, he is.

I've said many times, we're gonna get some form of Universal Healthcare, of only to get our nation's businesses (our employers), out of that morass.

I'm also positive it will come in waaaay over-budget and with all the rationing and procedure restrictions that plague the other similar forms found in Canda and England.

Those with the means will almost certainly have to pay for private insurance to avoid the grubby "free clinics" and the rationing and restrictions placed on the government's plan.

The Primaries have been mildly interesting so far, if only because of the openness of the fields, but I don't think there's any way to tell who'll win either Primary.

Right now, it looks like Hillary vs Obama for the Dems and Romney vs McCain for the GOP, but that could well change.

Both you (Fred) and Barry may find amusement in my cousin’s recently laughing at my supporting Romney the other day.

"Think like an investor," he warned.

"What's that supposed to mean," I asked.

"The writings on the wall. When everyone is talking about "change," like they are now, that's a market signal. Many investors are going to be shorting the American economy going forward. Don't be surprised to see an Edwards comeback. He's Wall Street's guy, at least that part of the street looking to short the economy and get rich in the process."

"That sounds a lot like rooting against the American economy," I said.

He shook his head and grinned, "That's because you think like a working man," he said. "You know, or at least you should know, that the working man is going to get the shaft no matter what. You've acknowledged that Republicans don't have your best interests at heart, and you know the Democrats don't either. All that's left to do is to adjust your investment strategy according to who's in power and what policies they're likely to adopt. The Democrats are, more likely than not, going to hike taxes, and deepen any recession or economic downturn in the process. That's when you make money shorting the American economy.

"See how that works? You and all those cops, teachers and construction workers are going to get hammered either way, and you’re probably going to get hammered really good with some upcoming Democratic tax hikes. Me, I'm going to make money either way. I'm not "rooting" for or against anything or anyone. I'm just looking to make some money where I can."

Every time I talk to my cousin, I come away ashamed of being so gullible. He’s right, that neither Party cares about, nor even much considers working people. They know that those of them who still vote, are going to vote for somebody, so they focus on little buzzwords like “social justice,” and “economic disparity,” from the Dems and “tax cuts” and “tough on crime” from Republicans, but that's not what any of them are really all about. The smart people are in it for the money. They look at the way things are trending and they prepare to invest accordingly.

I invest a little bit, not nearly as much as I should (you should make at least 65% what you earn in income from investments and I don’t at this point) and worse still, I continue to think like a typical working guy.

Sucks for me, but it’s got to be great for guys like Dave, I guess.

It's been an often painful education, but I'm trying to think more like my cousin and less like a parochial working guy. Not an easy transition, by any means. At least it hasn't been for me.

65% of earnings from investment? Where'd that benchmark come from? Speaking strictly as a retard when it comes to investing, does that mean someone with $100,000 in annual income should get $65,000 from investments and only 35k from a salary?

No Fred, that means that if you earn, say $100,000/year in income, you should earn another $65,000/year from investments. That's 65% of the income you earn each year.

A person who earned $35,000/year in salary would need to earn $22,700/year (65% of $35K) from investments to meet that benchmark.

I don't know if that's any sort of official benchmark of any kind, but it's a rule my cousin has always had. He started out in a lowly entry position in a Wall Street brokerage, moved up to selling stocks and quit selling stocks at age 33 to invest full time. He's been doing that for the past eight years.

Back in 2004, when I argued the urgency of defeating the Democrats over the spectre of another major terror attack should we withdraw from the WoT, and eviscerate the Patriot Act, he noted, "None of that's of any consequence. Another major attack, even one worse than 9/11 would only generate more investment opportunities.

He invested in a number of defense stocks, including a couple companies that made bullets directly after 9/11 and made a killing (no pun intended) on those investments.

He always has an interesting and very profitable perspective on things. Me, I'll probably vote terrorism, crime, illegal immigration and pro-Supply Side policies, as I've always done.

Yes, I think and vote like a working guy, but I suppose one could still do that and hedge your bets and invest to profit off any "worst case scenario."

...profit off any "worst case scenario." Buy T bonds!

I'm there, on the T-Bonds Fred, though the rest of my invesments aren't nearly as certain.

Interest rates are dropping again, a 30 year fixed is going 5.67% compared to 5.88% last week. They'd have to drop nearly another percentage point (down to around 5.0%) to make it worth refinancing for us as we have a 5.6% 30 yr fixed rate. (I don't see that happening, right now)

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