Friday, March 26, 2010

Newt with Georgia Governor Perdue

Numerous states -- fourteen at last count -- have filed a lawsuit against the federal government since the passage of Obamacare, with more contemplating one. Georgia is an interesting case, because it's Attorney General, a Democrat who is running for governor, has refused to file any such suit. However, the current governor, Republican Sonny Perdue, is in favor of one.

The day after Thurbert Baker announced his decision -- saying he looked at the Constitution and "came away with the feeling that there really is no legal basis" for suing -- Perdue said he would name a "special Attorney General" to challenge the federal health care legislation. "The governor said the state will probably go it alone on the suit to avoid any costs," wrote the Atlanta Journal Constitution. "If Georgia joined with the other 14 state challenging the health legislation, it would incur some legal costs, Perdue said."

On the Thursday after the vote to pass a bill that is clearly unconstitutional -- if for no other reason than the federal government will require each citizen to buy a product or be put in jail -- Perdue and Newt Gingrich held a joint press conference discussing ways to roll back and replace the bill.

Newt condemned the threats against elected officials that have been on the rise -- though the media only seem to cover voice mails to Democrats and not when the second-ranking House Republican gets his office shot up -- but added: "But look, I think there’s something very disingenuous about the Democratic leaders who attacked the tea party movement, who refused to hold town hall meetings, who refused to go back home, who kept the Congress locked up in Washington, and are now shocked that people are angry."

"I think the Democratic leadership has to take some moral responsibility for having behaved with such arrogance, in such a hostile way, that the American people are deeply upset," Gingrich added. "So let’s be honest with this. This is a game that they’re playing." He went on to say the Democrats ran "a machine that used corrupt tactics that bought votes that bullied people, and as a result has enraged much of the American people."

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

2012 polls

It needs to be said at the beginning that relying on polls two years before the Iowa caucuses is not the best thing to do. However, they do serve some purpose, and as such, a quick overview can reveal some things.One of the knocks against running Gingrich is his divisiveness. While that was true when he stepped down as Speaker of the House, he has done a very good job in recent years of rehabbing his image. Some of those events -- when he met with Hillary Clinton over health information technology, Nancy Pelosi and John Kerry on the climate, and most recently, Al Sharpton and President Obama on education -- have drawn ire from many conservatives.Their criticism has been largely silly, acting as if Gingrich has advocated for large-scale surrender of principles. All is he has done is tried to open a dialogue -- and he is confident his ideas will beat out those of the liberals he has met with. It was a message he spoke forcefully at CPAC.

Combined with that, as well as his focus on actual ideas and solutions, his popularity has been rising. In fact, in a June 2009 poll -- the last such poll I can find -- his popularity number with independents is split 37-38%. Being able to hold his own with that bloc is vital, of course, to any chance of victory. And chances are, when exposed to more of Newt's ideas, the 29% undecided will break more for him, handing him a win among unaffilated voters.

One of the interesting things the poll shows is that those under 30 are much more undecided than those above that age. Of course, much of that is because the older crowd remembers his days as Speaker, when he was target number one of the Clinton White House and liberal groups. The more people focus on the issues and reality, not the media spin and half-truths, the better it is for Newt.

Gingrich's standing in polls against President Obama have been improving, better than than the other top Republican contenders. A Public Policy Polling (PPP), a Democratic firm, survey from April 2009 showed Obama winning, 52-39%. But just two months later, the lead was down to 49-41% and Newt's numbers were better than Mike Huckabee (50-43) or Sarah Palin (52-40) and very close to Mitt Romney (48-40).

The next poll that pitted Obama and Gingrich was one from Clarus. It had Obama winning 48-36, right in the middle of the pack of GOP candidates. Romney did much better than every other Republican in the poll, trailing just by four points. Of course, that could be an outlier, or just an obvious result of having spent all of 2007 and two months in 2008 running for President already. His name identification is high.

President of Clarus Ron Faucheux said, "Gingrich improved his standing since the August poll when he was trailing Obama by 18 points. He's narrowed the gap to 12 points. Relative to Obama, Huckabee and Palin experienced only minimal improvement since August."

That is a pretty obvious sign that Gingrich is doing something that Huckabee and Palin are failing at. When combined with the results of Frank Luntz's focus groups that showed people warmed very much to Gingrich after actually his policy proposals, it would seem to suggest that over the course of a months-long campaign, Newt would only rise in the polls, while others would stagnate or fall.

Clarus also confirmed the findings of many polls that the former Speaker is at the top of the list of Republican spokesman, trailing only 2008 GOP Presidential nominee John McCain and the man who was second to McCain when he dropped out, Romney, among Republican voters. A Gallup poll from May 2009, for example, found Gingrich tied with Rush Limbaugh for first.

Monday, March 22, 2010

This Will Not Stand

Newt's e-mail today:
This will not stand.

No one should be confused about the outcome of Sunday's vote.

This is not the end of the fight - it is the beginning of the fight.

The American people spoke decisively against a big government, high tax, Washington knows best, pro-trial lawyer, centralized and bureaucratic health system.

In every recent poll the vast majority of Americans opposed this monstrosity.

Speaker Pelosi knew the country was against the bill. That is why she kept her members trapped in Washington and forced a vote on Sunday.

She knew if she let the members go home their constituents would convince them to vote no.

The Obama-Pelosi-Reid machine combined the radicalism of Alinsky, the corruption of Springfield and the machine power politics of Chicago.

Sunday was a pressured, bought, intimidated vote worthy of Hugo Chavez but unworthy of the United States of America.

It is hard to imagine how much pressure they brought to bear on congressman Stupak to get him to accept a cynical, phony clearly illegal and unconstitutional executive order on abortion. The ruthlessness and inhumanity of the Obama-Pelosi-Reid machine was most clearly on display in their public humiliation of Stupak.

The real principles of the machine were articulated by Democratic Congressman Alcee Hastings who was impeached and removed from the bench as a federal judge, before being elected to the House when he said "There ain't no rules here, we're trying to accomplish something...All this talk about rules...When the deal goes down...we make 'em up as we go along."

It is hard for the American people to believe their leaders on the Left are this bad. They are.

The American people will not allow a corrupt machine to dictate their future.

Together we will pledge to repeal this bill and start over

Together we will prove that this will not stand.

2010 and 2012 will be among the most important elections in American history.

These elections will allow us to save America from a left-wing machine of unparalleled corruption, arrogance and cynicism.

Sunday was one more step in the fight against a "Washington knows best" and "Washington should run everything" attitude.

Let us turn now to the Senate to continue this fight for real reform, for real self government, and for policies that create jobs, improve health outcomes, and increase freedom.

To help continue this fight, please consider making a contribution of $15, $25 or whatever you can, right here.

Together, we will ensure that this does not stand.

Drillgate: Department of Interior cover up

When Congress lifted the 27-year-ban on offshore drilling in September 2008, many were skeptical if Barack Obama would actually allow for exploration if he ended up winning the election. Those doubts have proved to be well-deserved.

Any federal agency will undergo a "public comment" period when undergoing a a rule change such as that. That part of the process had already started by the time Obama was inaugurated. "Ken Salazar, Obama’s new Secretary of Interior, determined the decision about new offshore drilling was so important that he ordered a six-month extension to the comment period," writes Vince Haley on Haley, Newt Gingrich's former research director and current head of Renewing American Leadership, quotes Salazar a couple of months into the new administration saying that Obama sought “to make sure that we have an open and transparent government," adding “these are not decisions that are going to be made behind closed doors.”

Short of "maximizing the opportunity for the public to give us guidance on what it is that they want to do," as Salazar put it," Interior has yet to release the count -- even though the comment period ended five months ago. As could be surmised, the number of pro-drilling comments was much higher than those against. In fact, 530,000 comments were submitted. Roughly 350,000, or 2/3, favored the expansion of drilling; of those, "American Solutions alone delivered 90,358 pro-drilling comments, one of the largest submissions for a single organization."

Sensing something was fishy, Newt's 527, American Solutions began to request information about the tabulation, which wrapped up on September 25. A month later, after no results were released but "sources [indicating]" that the comments were already counted, the group filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. On that same day, a spokesman for the Minerals Management Service (MMS) said a "detailed breakdown" would be released soon.

Two weeks later, MMS says they do not have the final count and, in the words of American Solutions, say "the request was too large and asked for justification why releasing the information was in the public interest."

With nothing coming forth, a month after that "transparent" replay, American Solutions "filed a second, more specific, FOIA request with MMS explaining why it was in the public's interest to release the information." Ten days later, the agency says they will respond by January 19th -- only to push it back again using a 10-workday extension as the excuse.

Finally, MMS released internal e-mails, one of which Tyler writes about:
In an email dated October 27, 2009, Liz Birnbaum, director of the Minerals Management Service, informs other Interior officials that a preliminary tabulation of the results of the comment period had not yet gone to Secretary Salazar, adding “[s]o the Secretary can honestly say in response to any questions that he’s [SIC] has not yet seen the analysis of the comments -- staff is still working on it. I did, however, confirm to him the 2-1 split that these guys [at American Solutions] are emphasizing.”

That shows that the cover up began almost instantly after the early results came in.

Still, the day after the damning e-mails were released, MMS denies having a final tally, and claim that is the reason it has not been released to the public.

A second bath of documents were supposed to be released due to the FOIA request, but American Solutions' website says: "MMS wrote to American Solutions that it had taken a five business-day extension for processing the second half of the documents requested by the FOIA, due to inclement weather that had closed down federal offices. The letter was sent six days after MMS had promised that the documents would be delivered." Two days later, the agency says the papers in questions will be released "as soon as possible."

On the very next day, in a seperate matter, MMS informs the Justice Department they missed "a court-ordered environmental analysis of drilling in Alaska. The assessment began a year before and is required to be completed before any new drilling can begin in the Beaufort, Bering, and Chukchi seas."

In the latest news surrounding Drillgate, American Solutions filed another FOIA request on March 2nd after confirmation that public comments ran 2-1.

This is another example of how government runs. Does anyone want this style of bureaucracy deciding when and where -- and even whether -- a life-saving operation will occur?
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