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.

Jennifer Rubin’s Quiz

How many of these do you answer yes to?  Here is a list from Jennifer Rubin that tests how far on the right you really are.  If you answer yes to more than half, maybe you should listen to a little less Glenn Beck:

1. You think Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, nailed it when he told the Values Voter Summit that the Democrats are “feeling the heat” in the shutdown fight.
2. You think the problem is that Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli isn’t conservative enough.
3. You think if only the shutdown went on longer, the GOP would win this fight.
4. You think that if the GOP doesn’t win the shutdown fight, it will be because of the mainstream media.
5. You think Americans want to shut down the government to get rid of Obamacare.
6. You think the problem is that Cruz didn’t talk long enough or that the media didn’t cover his 21-hour speech fairly.
7. You think it is better to have 30 “true conservatives” than 51 Republicans in the U.S. Senate.
8. You think Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., had it wrong when he backed immigration reform and right when he went to bat for the shutdown strategy.
9. You think Hispanics will never vote for Republicans so there is no use in pursuing immigration reform. You think it is fine for the GOP to win elections relying almost entirely on white voters.
10. You think Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is a sellout because he thinks repealing Obamacare can only happen by electing a GOP Senate majority and capturing the White House.
11. You think the GOP needs candidates like Cruz to run for Senate in places like Michigan, Virginia and Colorado.
12. You think the GOP would have done better with Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum or Ron Paul as its 2012 presidential nominee. You think Santorum blew it when he stopped talking about contraception.
13. You think Republicans should run hard at the national level on a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.
14. You think President Ronald Reagan would have decried compromise and supported primarying the Senate minority leader.
15. You think right-wing talk radio hosts are a good barometer of U.S. public opinion.

Of course this list will be dismissed by conservative bloggers and talk show hosts.  Perhaps it would get more pick up if she did it like a Jeff Foxworthy routine.

The Face of the GOP

Over the weekend Ted Cruz did everything he could to make himself the face of the GOP. First, he dominated the Values Voter Straw poll with 42%.  Then on Sunday he and fellow camera addict Sarah Palin staged a protest over the World War Two Memorial being closed.

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Mr. and Miss GOP 2013

The irony of this should be lost on no one.  If Cruz hadn’t helped push the House of Representatives into stripping funding for Obamacare out of the Continuing Resolution we wouldn’t have this shut down in the first place.   That means the World War Two Memorial, like the rest of the federal government would be open.

If these two continue what they are doing this will make things even harder for the GOP.  They are stirring up passions that have lead the party to make an impulsive decision that has hurt its standing with voters.

The only Republican who benefits from this is Chris Christie.  He is the only Republican who right now is looking sane and electable to large segments of the voters (witness his upcoming blowout win in New Jersey)  If the goal of Cruz and Palin is to hand the nomination to someone they hate, they should keep up the good work.

Cruz Wins Among the Losers

Turns out those who are losing the culture war think Ted Cruz is a winner.

At the Values Voter Summit Senator Rafi Cruz won the Presidential Straw Poll easily.  The junior Senator from Texas won 42 percent of vote.  Coming in a distant second where Doctor Ben Carson and ex-Senator, turned movie mogul, Rick Santorum pulled in 13 percent. Senators Paul and Rubio came in a distant fourth and fifth with six and five percent respectively.

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I hate Obamacare this much.

This is just another sign that Senator Rafi is exciting a real passion among the party faithful.  Despite the attacks he has taken recently, Cruz is only growing in strength with activists who are made as Hell.

Interesting also to see Dr. Carson doing so well.  For someone who has never held elected office or even run for it, this is an impressive showing.   Consider that he beat two current U.S. Senators who are both seen as top contenders for the 2016 race.

It is not crazy to think Carson may get involved in the race.  He has as much experience in elected office as Steve Forbes, Pat Buchanan and Herman Cain before each of them ran for President.  If he wanted to run,  and potentially get a show on FOX News out of it, there seems to be nothing holding him back.

Not Having A Good Year

Let’s be honest, the attendees at the Values Voter Summit are not on a winning streak.  In the past twelve months the following things have happened:

  • Obama was reelected
  • Maine, Minnesota, Maryland, and Washington legalized gay marriage
  • Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana
  • Social issues where a key factor in costing the GOP Senate races in Missouri and Indiana
  • The Supreme Court through out the Defense of Marriage Act
  • State legislatures in Rhode Island and Delaware passed gay marriage
  • The government shutdown created by Ted Cruz has boomeranged and made Obamacare more popular

There has to come a point where someone says “things aren’t going well and it’s time to change.”  Maybe that doesn’t come from the people at the summit but possibly in the GOP who wants to win in more moderate areas.

Will someone do that in 2016?  Considering even Chris Christie is fighting against gay marriage I really doubt it.

 

Ted Cruz Is Rubber and You’re Glue

This clip of Ted Cruz from the Values Voter Summit shows why he is not to be taken lightly:

Despite being interrupted several times Cruz was not bothered by it.  In fact, he seemed to work it into his act to win over the crowd the way a comic would dismiss a heckler.

He may have been taken off the Christmas card list of Norquist, McCain, and others in the GOP but Cruz is building a real following with key segments of primary voters.  As I have said before, no matter what they say in D.C., Cruz is a real force in the 2016 GOP primary.