26 October 2011

The GOP Candidates are Either Lying or Ignorant

OK, I chose that title for sensationalism, but here's what I mean:

In the past few weeks, I've seen reports that candidates are saying they'd "boycott" or "not participate in" the Nevada GOP precinct meetings, AKA caucuses, if the date were moved into January. I've asked what this means, and no one could give me an answer other than "It means they won't participate."

The source of my confusion is that I attended the 2008 caucus, and helped with the 2010 caucuses for my area of the county. I know how they worked then, and I also got the skinny on how they're going to work in 2012. For your edification and amusement, I hereby present
The 2012 Nevada Caucus Primer*
  • The precinct meetings are designed for party organization.
  • The chief responsibility of the precinct meeting is to select delegates to its county convention. In Presidential election years, there is also a "straw" or preference poll for Presidential candidate. More on this later.
  • The county conventions in turn select delegates to the state convention, which selects delegates to the Republican National Convention. A second duty of the state convention is to establish or modify platform planks for the Nevada Republican Party.
  • The National Convention, of course, nominates the Republican candidate for President.
In 2008, the delegates to the National Convention could vote for whichever candidate they wished. I'm not absolutely certain how it works, but I imagine one or two candidates are eliminated in each round until one candidate reaches the required number of votes to be nominated. I also recall seeing on TV that generally in what is expected to be the final round, a state's delegates all agree to support one candidate.

In 2012, the rules are a bit different. Remember that preference poll I mentioned? Let's say the results, statewide, were something like Cain 35%, Romney 25%, Paul 15%, and the rest split the remaining 25% (see, I can count). In the first round of voting at the National Convention, Nevada's delegates will be divided proportionately: 35% will vote for Cain, 25% for Romney, 15% for Paul, etc. After the first round, the delegation is no longer bound and the delegates may vote however they choose.

So you see why I am mystified by what the candidates mean by threatening not to participate in our caucuses. They already do not participate, except as names on a sheet of paper in an informal poll. What do they propose to do, demand their names be taken off the sheets of paper? All that would do is ensure they get no votes in the first round of voting at the Republican National Convention. I don't see them intentionally doing anything that would lead to that result.

All this is, of course, likely academic. The Nevada GOP will most likely set a February date for the "caucuses", according to this AP story. I plan to participate again this cycle, and this time around I will try to be selected as a delegate to the Washoe County Convention. I believe it would at least be a good learning experience.

*Source for the information not in italics is Phyllis Westrup, Secretary of the Washoe County Republican Central Committee.

20 October 2011

Riding a Pale (Dark) Horse

Jon G. (@ExJon) on Twitter Thursday night announced a mini-rant about the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) phenomenon and how it relates to Barack Obama's campaign for reelection. With his permission, here are his tweets (with minor editing):
  • OWS isn't about today, it is about Election Day 2012. Here's the political strategy behind it (IMHO)...
  • Leftists saw how Tea Party incubated over a year before delivering an election. Stunned by Tea Party's success, the Left wants to mimic it.
  • ...by starting 13 [or 14] months out, OWS is merely prepping the battlespace for November 2012.
  • To have any chance of winning, Obama must 1) deflect blame for the economy to a scapegoat. 2) portray himself as the only man who'll fight it.
  • Obama has long expected Romney to be the GOP candidate. Of course, Romney famously led Bain Capital which is identified with Wall Street.
  • So the economic scapegoat was obvious: Wall Street. These financiers will be demonized through next November with an ever-growing negative drumbeat.
  • If and when Romney gets the nomination, Obama and the MSM will make him the personification of the reviled, despised, and marginalized Wall Street.
  • QED, Obama's "miraculous" re-election victory. Granted, it's a Hail Mary play, but it's the only play Obama's got.
  • The Dems want to cast this election in stark, black-and-white terms: Are you with Wall Street or are you with Obama and the forces of light?
I have no way of knowing if this analysis is correct, but it does fit the facts as we know them: Organizing for America, Obama's campaign organization, is instrumental in creating the Day of Rage which turned into OWS; the ranks of protestors (no pun intended) are being filled out by union thugs and leftist groups; the target of their demands--the ones that seem to have been settled on--are large financial institutions rather than educational institutions and bureaucratic programs that have worked to make them unemployable in private industry.

So assuming the analysis is correct, it is apparent that one way to defeat this ploy is to nominate a candidate other than Mitt Romney. Since the protest is not aimed at government in any way, it would be a bonus to nominate a candidate who has been involved in government as much as or more than private business. That could be Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, or even Ron Paul. Hmm, seems like I'm missing someone. But who?

Of course: Newt Gingrich!

In the past, I have discounted Newt Gingrich as a presidential candidate because when I visited the website for his now-defunct "American Solutions" group, about 8 of the 12 proposed solutions were some sort of government program. I flashed back to John McCain's campaign stop in Michigan when he said he would move money from programs that didn't work so well into other programs that work better, or may work better. My thought was, why not just stop taking the money from us in the first place, and let us make it work for us? But I digress.

I have seen so many tweets during and following the debates to the effect of, "Man, Newt really says the things I like to hear, and he'd be great debating Obama! Too bad he can't win." Why not? I seem to recall the same thing being said of Barack Obama--that he couldn't win. And others on Twitter like to point out that the same was said of Ronald Reagan. Who can forget the iconic image of Harry Truman holding the newspaper with the inaccurate headline "DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN"? Sure, Newt has some baggage, but most of the GOP candidates do.

I have not decided on a candidate yet. I do plan to participate in Nevada's precinct meetings (caucuses, about which I plan to write more later), so I'm considering my choices. And the more I consider Newt Gingrich, the less biased against him I become.

Update: Since I posted this, I have learned from World Wide Words that "dark horse" originally meant a race horse that very little was known about, making it difficult to handicap. In this sense, that certainly does not apply to Newt Gingrich. Ignore my title.

05 October 2011

Everyone Else is Doing It!

In Kerry Picket's story regarding Solyndra in the Washington Times yesterday is this statement from Secretary of Energy Steven Chu:
Mr. Chu added that Western Europe, Japan, Korea, and China are also supportive of seeing renewable energy be developed through government spending, so the United States should be as well.
I guess Secretary Chu's mother never said, "If everyone was jumping off a bridge, would you, too?"