Ryan’s Hope

Paul Ryan is clearly an ambitious man.  He either wants to be President or Speaker of the House.  That explains why in a recent debate he said didn’t know if humans caused climate change, and that scientists didn’t know either.  Such a statement is designed to appeal to the party’s base and to many of its big money donors.  Those are two groups Ryan will need if he wants to go further in either pursuit.  Which office will he go for?  That’s a question we’ll find out soon enough.

Say Goodbye to Iowa and South Carolina

Rand Paul may have earned the undying love of Reason Magazine and GOProud but the following quote may kill him in Iowa and South Carolina:

“I don’t want my guns registered in Washington or my marriage. Founding Fathers all got married by going down to the local courthouse. It is a local issue and always has been.  Society’s changing. I mean, people change their minds all the time on this issue, and even within the Republican Party, there are people whose child turns out to be gay and they’re like, oh well maybe I want to rethink this issue. So it’s been rethought. The President’s rethought the issue. So I mean, a lot of people have rethought the issue.”

First, this is a no-go with social conservatives.  If you don’t believe me go back and watch the Values Voter Summit from last week. You simply cannot win Iowa or South Carolina without the support of Christian conservatives.  Exit polls from Iowa show and South Carolina show they made up the majority of voters.   You can bet this issue is going to be stoked by people like Huckabee, Cruz and Santorum.  They know social conservatives panic when they see the progress gay rights has made in the past decade and are looking for a champion to stand up and fitgh against this.

Third it adds to the narrative that Paul is not really one of them.  Take his wanting to eliminate aid to Israel and his position on drugs and a theme starts to form that Paul isn’t really someone social conservatives can call one of their own.  Certainly Cruz and Huckabee will push this message.

Lastly, Paul equated himself to Barack Obama in the quote.  That’s a not a winner with today’s GOP.

The GOP fight is going to be nasty and Paul has given his opponents some ammo with this one.

Iowa is Cruz’s to Lose

You heard it here first.  Ted Cruz is the favorite to win Iowa.  Oh, I know he is not top of any poll among likely Caucus goers.  He certainly is not topping any national polls.  Sure there is no Cruz Fever About to Sweep the Country articles about to appear in Time, the Washington Post or New York Times that libertarians seemingly get for blinking these days.  But none of that matters now.

What matters?

As he demonstrated at the Values Voter Summit this weekend, Cruz is emerging at the choice of social conservatives.  As Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum showed with their wins in 2008 and 2012 that is the key group in Iowa.  Granted both Huckabee and the New Robert Evans will run again (seriously, what else do they have to do with themselves) but they are both retreads.  Cruz is a new fresh face and a much more skilled debater and speaker.

As for the crop of younger challengers, this weekend as demonstrated that Washington-media darling Rand Paul has a great deal of work to do.  His support for legalizing drugs and cutting foreign aid to Israel will remain barriers for him to build support among this social conservatives.  In addition, Paul’s recent ambiguity on gay marriage doesn’t help with social conservatives.  You notice he didn’t even come in second in the straw poll.

Before you know it it’ll be January or February 2016 in Iowa and Ted Cruz will be making his victory speech and the Bush Republicans will be freaking out.  Just remember you heard it here first.

The Difference Between 7-9 and 11-5

After 4 games the Chicago Bears, to quote Dennis Green, are who we thought they were.  They are a good QB, a very good running back, great receivers, ok offensive line, average special teams, and a poor defense.  Put that together and you get probably somewhere between 7-9 and 10-6.

If the Bears are going to break out of this mediocrity they are going to have to improve on defense.  In particular, their defensive line is going to have to be able to put pressure on QBs.  Aaron Rodgers is a great QB but he looked unbelievable because he never felt any pressure.  Andrew Luck, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Andy Dalton, Tom Brady, and Russell Wilson would have put up similar numbers in the face of no pressure.

For the Bears the season really hinges on how well the defensive line plays.  If they can improve this team can make the playoffs and be a contender.  If they don’t get better it will be another year in Mediocreville.

More of the same in Chicago?

The Chicago Bears lost today 23-20 and it doesn’t seem like much has changed.  The defense failed to hold Buffalo under 21 points, a continuation of last year’s incompetence.  Is this a going to be a repeat of last year or a minor bump in the road.  Hopefully this defense can jell and do better against the 49ers next week.  As you can guess I am not optimistic. 

Walker on a hard road

Scott Walker is adored by many on the right.  His ability to take on Wisconsin’s unions and win has endeared him to many conservatives and his mid-western roots make him appealing as a GOP nominee.  There is one hurdle for him to clear before the governor can do anything regarding 2016.  He has to get reelected. 

That is looking like it will be tougher than people originally thought.  According to one poll, Walker trails Democrat Mary Burke 48-44. 

There is still 2 months of campaigning to go, so things are far from over.  However, for Walker to be under 50% and trailing in any poll is not a good sign.  

Looking ahead any upcoming debates will be critical for Walker.  A win in one of them could put this challenger a way.  You can also beat that the Koch brothers and the unions will both be spending big to win this one.