Immigration policy is one of the (oh so very few) issues that we know almost nothing about.
We've only really thought about immigration policy once, sitting in "stop-and-go" customs traffic for 3 hours in Baja, Mexico while trying to make a dinner party in San Diego.
Which means we are as qualified to speak to the nuances of the recent bipartisan immigration deal as 98% of the Gang of 500 and 2/3rds of the Presidential candidates.
Snarking aside, "reforming" U.S. immigration policy is an incredibly important issue to millions and millions of people.
Which is why lots and lots of smart people, from across the political spectrum, spent thousands of man hours hammering out a bipartisan immigration reform bill.
So what does bipartisan look like?
Bipartisan looks like Ted Kennedy, Jon Kyl and George W. Bush all working together and supporting the same piece of legislation.
Which is what has happened with this immigration deal.
So, if you're a Presidential candidate running for office trying to score cheap political points by not supporting the compromise, be careful if you start calling yourself an immigration "expert".
Because there are real immigration experts out there that will make you eat your lunch in any arena whose clock goes longer than 15 seconds.
And, for the love of everything in the Book Of Mormon, don't claim you favor bipartisanship. Because you don't.
Buenos noche, Big Love.
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Chicago Mag.com's David Bernstein has a great piece up on the "politicking, plotting and preparation that went into Obama's breakthrough moment" in 2004.
The story link may be found here.
GreenMountainPolitics1 has serious questions both about Obama's policies and his longterm political viability, but that doesn't mean that we don't think he's worth watching. With interest.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
We've spent most of today downloading "what we need to know" from our sources around the Granite State.
Hey, we're in the "informed opinion business". This is what we do.
And, for the first time, we got two separate comments from two NH voters (not officially connected with any campaign but certainly in the know) who wondered aloud when John McCain was going to be back in New Hampshire again.
Their "wondering" wasn't anything angry or overly aggressive. Far from it.
But they were puzzled that New Hampshire voters have not seen McCain since his announcement speech at the end of April and that the Senator's only scheduled upcoming NH event (so far) is a town hall in Gilford on June 5th (scheduled around the NH GOP debate).
Of course GreenMountainPolitics1 sped right to the good Senator's defense.
"We're sure McCain knows what he is doing," we told the voters. "He is running a 50 state operation. Everyone wants a piece of him. He's been here a lot already. We're sure he'll be back real soon. McCain loves New Hampshire."
And New Hampshire loves John McCain. And it will be good to see him again really soon.
The Politico's Mike Allen has a story up claiming that Fred Thompson will enter the 2008 presidential race over the 4th of July holiday.
And 10-15% of the GOP establishment is excited about this?
You've got to be sh*tting us.
Our world has changed. Dramatically. Our problems are more complicated, more dynamic and more interconnected than ever before.
We have big energy problems. We have big economic problems. We have big national security problems. We have big environmental problems. We have problems that we haven't even thought of yet.
Complexity is the name of the 21st century game.
And into this thicket the GOP would send Fred "every problem in the 21st century can be solved with lower taxes, less government and a strong national security" Thompson?
Conventional wisdom holds that the single most compelling feature of a Thompson candidacy would be his magnetism.
So Thompson can tell a good story and make people laugh with a clever joke about Hollywood and DC. The guy is an actor. Of course he can do that.
But that means nothing. Actually, in 2007, it should mean less than nothing.
A Thompson candidacy is nothing more than a bunch of white old guys sitting around The Prime Rib trying to convince themselves that things really were as "good" and as "simple" as they think they remember they were.
Simplicity is the hobgoblin of a little mind.
Nonetheless, the Gang of 500 urges Thompson on (only to tear him apart later).
Meanwhile, David Walker goes begging for ink.
And the Republican Party brand continues to disintegrate.
We're just saying.
Lilliana Mason, a graduate student in political science at Stony Brook University, is conducting a survey designed to examine "people who frequent political blogs" and how "those people" plan to vote in the 2008 election.
The data will then be published in a "national political science journal".
The survey is long. But, for all you restless (bored) NH field teams who are lacking something to do on a Wednesday morning while the Granite State is at work, it might be worth your time to give the survey a whirl.
Especially since there is a section that asks who you plan on voting for in the 2008 election and you don't want your candidate coming in behind another candidate.
The survey is confidential. Here is the link.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
This unidentified Romney staffer was kind enough to pose with "Mitt-Flop", the dolphin/human who made his very first appearance at Romney's Laconia event this afternoon.
What a sport.
UPDATE: The unidentified person in the picture has been identified. We got a email late last night from Adam Bungert, who claims he is the Chairman of the UNH Students For Mitt Romney organization and that he "loves" the picture. Adam also points out that he is a volunteer for the campaign, not a paid staffer.
Inside, Mitt answered the question "Do you believe that abortion is murder?" by saying:
Abortion is not murder. Murder has a different meaning to different people but abortion, I don't believe, is murder. But it is taking a life."We. Don't. Know. What. That. Means.
Neither did the 10 or so Clackers that we were at the event with (or the 2 or 3 camera crews from rival campaigns so, rest assured, Romney's answer will be YouTubed).
Also, what's with Romney's "security staff"? Lots of dudes. Black suits. Ear pieces. Weird red buttons on their lapels?
Come on! We can't be the only one's laughing.
We're just saying.
Hillary Clinton came to Manchester, New Hampshire this morning to lay out her "economic vision".
About 10 "sticks", 30 Clackers and 100 people turned out to the Manchester School Of Technology to hear Hillary Clinton's speech.
The AP's Holly Ramer has the MSM story here.
The quote from Hillary's speech that stuck with us was when she said (yes, this is a direct quote from the speech), "When we get our priorities in order markets work well."
Clinton then outlined several "progressive" policies to aid America's middle class and address America's widening wealth gap.
These policies included reducing special tax breaks for corporations, eliminating incentives for American companies to ship jobs and profits overseas, reforming the governance of corporations and the financial sector, restoring fiscal responsibility to government, college for everyone, pre-K for everyone, increasing support for community college and alternative schools, helping working people earn enough to support their families and help them save for the future, ensuring that every American has affordable health care and making the investments necessary for creating new jobs.
Mark Penn must be exhausted. We sure are.
But, most of Hillary's bite-sized policy initiatives do make a heck of a lot of sense. If only Hillary were running for a Cabinet position.
Here's the "deal" when it comes to a PRESIDENTIAL candidate's "economic vision" - if the candidate does not begin and end the speech with a detailed entitlement reform plan than the candidate is guilty of "small-ball politics".
Which might make Mark Penn happy. But it's not really Presidential. And it's certainly not doing much (really at all) to get our fiscal priorities in order.
Or help the middle class.
Just ask David Walker.
We took after John McCain on this same point a few weeks back.
So who the hell do we think we are? Why we're a taxpayer. And the entitlement system that we're paying into right now is f*cked!
So let's fix it.
Because we are all in it together.
NH Secretary of State Bill Gardner does a VERY nice interview with Victory NH.
2nd Draft Noted: Hat tip to Harry Levine. The interview is detailed and an excellent primer on the Primary. We should have noted this in the 1st draft of our post Harry!
The Gardner quote that the Victory NH press release is trumpeting:
We’re absolutely determined to protect it, and we will. So if that means having our primary on a date other than the date the DNC would like us to, we’re going to have it at a time that does protect the tradition — even if that means it happens in 2007. This has happened before, and we’re going to honor the tradition, and that’s the way it’s going to be.
Of course, we have been hearing (and reporting) on the '07 Primary rumor for months.
It's no secret that John McCain has been a leader in the fight (especially within the GOP) on global warming.
Check out this Environmental Defense Action Fund article from 2004.
It's also no secret that McCain's "Greenish" legislative record is sometimes lost in the noise surrounding his support of the Iraq War.
So Independent voters (and Crunchy Cons) might need a little reminding of McCain's favorable global warming stance heading into 2008.
Enter Cindy McCain, who last week gave an interview to ABC News' Jennifer Rubin:
Though she lacks the high profile of some of her counterparts in the presidential race, McCain is poised to have a greater presence on the campaign trail in the coming months.
She's already been a regular aboard the Straight Talk Express and at fundraisers, and she's attending a NASCAR race in North Carolina this weekend.
The couple's 23-year-old daughter Meghan "plans on taking an active role," McCain said, though their two sons who are in the military -- one is a Marine, the other a cadet at the U.S. Naval Academy -- are restricted from taking part in political activities. The McCains also have a 15 year old daughter, Bridget. And the Senator has three adult children from his first marriage.
McCain said the entire family was involved in her husband's decision to run for president, and the children's concerns extended far beyond the impact on their personal lives.
"We had a very long conversation over Christmas," said McCain, 53. "[Their] major concern was where he was on global warming. I was really proud they asked great questions."
And, since the Senator presumably got his children's blessing to run for President, we suppose that McCain's position on global warming passed the children's test.
This is, we imagine, the first minor shot of the full court press Team McCain plans on the global warming issue in the coming months.
Warm up the direct mail bus!
Folks in the Granite State are more likely to spend Sunday morning watching NBC's Meet The Press.
Even in the middle of a three day weekend.
This past Sunday, sandwiched between backyard BBQs, we caught Bill Richardson's hour long performance on Meet The Press. All we can say is "Thank God for our Bloody Mary".
Richardson was terrible - "Air conditioners"?
And, we weren't surprised when Tim Russert dredged up old Washington Post editorials damning Richardson's tenure as Energy Secretary. The News Hour's Kwame Holman was writing about this stuff back in 2000.
So was the RNC.
Which is why we have never taken Richardson seriously - he failed at managing one executive branch agency so the country is asked to reward him with managing ALL the executive branch agencies?
And, judging by the traffic in our email box, we weren't the only people watching on Sunday. We have gotten a few "Hey, did you see..." emails about Richardson's performance that we are quite sure were not sent by Richardson's campaign.
We wonder if this will cool Richardson off a bit in the Granite State. It certainly won't pick him up any votes.
Friday, May 25, 2007
Note to any candidate (R or D) who takes (or wishes to take) a swipe at John McCain - You have ZERO room for error so Check. Your. Spelling.
Because John Weaver and Company sure are.
Earlier today, Barack Obama punched back at John McCain's criticism of Obama's vote against the Iraq funding bill in the Senate.
Except that Obama was so excited to engage McCain (oh boy oh boy oh boy!) that he misspelled a key word in the punch back.
Which Weaver and Co. then went Yard on.
Which should get them some very nice play in a slow holiday news weekend.
From McCain's statement:
ARLINGTON, VA - U.S. Senator John McCain has issued the following in response to a statement by Sen. Barack Obama:
"While Senator Obama's two years in the U.S. Senate certainly entitle him to vote against funding our troops, my service and experience combined with conversations with military leaders on the ground in Iraq lead me to believe that we must give this new strategy a chance to succeed because the consequences of failure would be catastrophic to our nation's security.
"By the way, Senator Obama, it's a 'flak' jacket, not a 'flack' jacket."
We're not in the "scheduling" business.
Cosmo, our friend at NH Presidential Watch, has got that market cornered.
However, we are in the "party" business.
Or, as Samantha from Sex In The City once put it, "I'm not for the Republican Party or for the Democratic Party. I'm just for parties!"
And on Wednesday, May 30th from 5 - 7pm at Jillian's Restaurant in Manchester, there will be a party honoring one of the most stand-up guys in New Hampshire politics, Andy Leach.
We're quite sure Andy will draw a (at least slightly) bi-partisan crowd.
Per the invitation - $10 suggested donation at the door. Cash bar. "Heavy" finger food.
Noted: The invitation that we got said "Feel free to pass this invitation along to your friends". So, here's the pass.
It's going to be a party.
GreenMountainPolitics1 just got off the phone with Mike Huckabee.
We really, really like this guy. So does David "The Turtle" Broder.
Crib Note: Genuine. Competent. Leadership. Huckabee is a "compassionate conservative" in the best sense of the word (before Rove/Bush turned that label into political poison).
And, we like Huckabee even though his politics aren't (really) our politics. Remember, we're Vermont Republicans, which means that we think Nancy Pelosi is a touch too conservative.
The purpose of Huck's call was to highlight former South Carolina Governor David Beasley's endorsement. That should help bring Huck's SC campaign together.
Huckabee also mentioned that today was his 33rd wedding aniversary. 33rd!
Anyone But McCain Republican Primary voters what don't you understand?
Take another look at Mike Huckabee.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
James Pindell has the MSM story about Romney's ad (tittled "Kicked In The Balls") here.
Massachusetts, you've been done wrong by your former Governor.
We are blessed to have many friends scattered all across the globe.
And we pay good money for that blessing.
On Tuesday night Al Gore launched his "Assault on Reason" book tour with a event at the Wilshire Theatre in Beverly Hills.
The AP has the MSM story here.
GreenMountainPolitics1 has another side of that story (via email) from a good friend of ours who lives in LA and attended the Gore event. And yes, she is a RAGING Democrat.
Hi! I wanted to share with you that I was at Al Gore's Book Tour kick-off in Beverly Hills last night (May 22).What we like about this particular account is that it captures the "Gore-Mania" that we have begun to feel the barest whispers of here in New Hampshire.
It was a sold-out crowd of (mostly) upper class white folks who all hissed whenever Vice President Cheney or Carl Rove were mentioned and chanted “Run Al Run” the whole time.
Everyone was passing out Gore 2008 stickers, shirts and posters. I signed a petition "drafting" Gore into the election.
Harry Shearer (Spinal Tap - A Mighty Wind) interviewed Gore for about an hour. They talked about Current TV (Gore’s TV channel), Gore’s book and the need for "We the people" to concern ourselves with facts, truth, research, etc.
Gore took the issue of climate change, the war in Iraq and other poor decisions made by the administration and linked them all together to describe how facts/reason point in one direction while the administration moves in the other direction.
Gore's talk targeted apathetic/lackadaisical voters in America and chided them for not speaking/standing up and demanding open, educated political conversations based on reason.
It was fantastic! I mean really, really fantastic!!!
Over the past few weeks we have seen several new Gore 2008 bumper stickers. And, the level of Gore "chatter" has increased significantly at the political events we attend.
Not that we think Gore will ever actually run. He's even said as much.
Gore remembers (or should) that old adage about the media - "First they turn you into a monster and then they call you one".
But we do think it's interesting to think about.
Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack (and his lovely wife Christie) came to Epping, New Hampshire this morning to "discuss" Hillary Clinton's environmental leadership with regional environmental leaders.
That "discussion" included a tour of the town hall basement where the Epping Town Fathers plan on removing the old hall furnace and replacing it with a Ecopower Micro-CHP.
In fact, Epping is renovating and "Greening" their entire town hall. And it's making some (good) news in the process.
After the tour, Vilsack spoke with Epping residents (and two reporters who were kept in line by Clinton's new NH deputy communications director Carly Lindauer) about why he likes Hillary Clinton's energy plan.
Crib Notes: 1. Strategic Investment Fund 2. Cap and Trade System.
Also, we would be remiss if we didn't mention that sprinkled throughout Vilsack's talk was tough rhetoric regarding Hillary's plan to stick it to the oil companies.
Or something like that.
Hey, we're all for it.
Let's take away Exxon-Mobile's tax breaks and OUTRAGEOUS royalty relief and help remind them that it's time to get cracking on developing a new fuel source.
Fossil fuels are so like yesterday.
GreenMountainPolitics1 remembers a kid in high school who was so proud (so proud!) of his ability to pick up a telephone and make anonymous, prank telephone calls late at night.
It takes a real man to yell anonymously into a telephone without any fear of getting caught.
Even Monday Morning Clacker, who enjoys his pen name very much, is widely known by his real name. And we've been known to throw a verbal bomb or two (or eight).
Now it looks as if our little punk telephone prankster from high school has gone to work for Mitt Romney.
A "unnamed" senior-level Romney aid responding to McCain's charge that Romney Mitt-Flopped on immigration told Newsweek's Howard Fineman:
"That’s what happens to a guy of McCain’s age when he doesn’t take his Metamucil. I don’t think he is the kind of angry fellow we want to let alone with the nuclear arsenal."You unnamed pussy. And how boring - anonymously huffing Bush/Rove '99 talking points into a telephone like a pimple faced 16 year old who isn't going to get laid for at least another decade.
That's one piece of Mitt's burn rate that he can't get back.
We're just saying.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
The St. Petersburg Times' Adam Smith has a story up about how seriously Rudy Giuliani is taking the Florida Primary.
Give Hiz Honor credit, at least he's taking one Primary seriously.
Because RUDEy sure as heck isn't taking the NH Primary seriously.
We've been reporting that fact for months.
Now our good friend James Pindell is getting in on the action. From today's Primary Source:
Rudy Giuliani’s travel schedule says he is supposed to hold a town hall meeting in Keene tomorrow afternoon. Apparently to Giuliani, speaking to insurance company employees and spouses in the office cafeteria counts as a town hall meeting. Usually, a town hall meeting actually takes place in a real town hall -- or at least a high school gym -- and the public is invited.Peerless Insurance confirmed this afternoon that the event is not open to the public. This means that Giuliani, who has already been criticized for not campaigning among the people, will spend his Wednesday attending a local Republican Party fund-raiser, touring a cabinet factory, and attending a closed-to-the-public “town hall” meeting.Ouch.
RUDEy might not know any better. But shouldn't his New Hampshire staff?
Two other questions.
When does NH GOP Chairman Fergus Cullen publicly drop the hammer on Giuliani's sham of a New Hampshire campaign?
When does the NH Gang of 15 get fed-up, realize that their relevance is based in large part in keeping New Hampshire first-in-the-nation and do the same?
We can almost hear Neal Stephensen chuckling.
While the political universe is focused primarily on human issues of the past (mostly) and present (somewhat), real game players look towards the future (always).
Which is why a Financial Time's article about the Google Boys' desire to put Google into every single nook and cranny of your life is a (unsettling) surprise to most, but not all.
Those guys are just getting warmed-up. And, by most accounts, we're still a full 15 years away from Singularity.
We've been told that the only constant is change
So the question to political game players is what is "government" going to do to remain relevant?
Of course, we might be "sci-fi" crazy. But then again, we might not.
Welcome to the Monkey House.
Only one day after John McCain engaged Mitt Romney over immigration, McCain NH Field staffer Matt Flanders decided to follow his (ultimate, ultimate, ultimate) boss into the political fray.
Our friend Jon Martin has the details.
We heard, but cannot confirm, that 21 year old Flanders told McCain National Communication Director Brian Jones, "Don't worry Brian, I've got this one."
And then Matt proceeded to go on the record to The Politico to "sort out" Romney's record on immigration.
Of course we're just kidding. A simple, honest mistake was made. Nothing more.
All Snarking aside, Matt is a terrific kid and well liked in NH political circles. He probably just got a little overexcited getting McCain's message out.
Email can be a dangerous thing. Funny. But dangerous.
Joel Achenbach was Snarky before Snarky was cool.
He's also a terrific writer and Blogger for the Washington Post.
And now he's gone and written a nice long article about the end of retail politics in Presidential campaigns.
Go on and give it a read. You'll be happy you did.
One does not casually disagree in public with The Two Johns.
Just ask Grover Norquist.
So it is with everything but a casual attitude that we must (politely) disagree with part of John McCain's accusation yesterday that Mitt Romney flip-flopped on his immigration position.
On a blogger conference call the good Senator from Arizona said:
Maybe I should wait a couple of weeks and see if it changes because it's changed in less than a year from his position before. Maybe his solution will be to get out his small varmint gun and drive those Guatemalans off his lawn.
Mitt Romney is a proud hunter. His campaign has even provided us with video of Romney hunting ducks, which are certainly not "small varmints".
And, as you can see from our video, Love is actually a fairly good shot. Fairly good indeed.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Our heart loves John Edwards' politics.
And, the former U.S. senator from NORTH Carolina has been more forthcoming than either Clinton or Obama in laying out specific policy details.
But the answer he gave in Keene, NH today on ending the Iraq conflict still stinks.
If you think the war is lost then advocate CUTTING OFF THE TROOP FUNDING (we personally do not think the war is lost so we support the troop surge).
That's all there is to it. The only people who believe there is a 3rd way forward in Iraq are Washington politicians.
And, if you act in good faith (and not because of which way the political wind is blowing) we don't believe cutting the funding makes you soft on national security.
Which is why we like Dennis Kucinich so much.
But we are still sweet on Edwards. Even if his Iraq answer needs a little work.
GreenMountainPolitics1 just caught Newt Gingrich at The Chateau Restaurant in Manchester.
About 175 people showed up to listen to the former Speaker of the House talk wonky and take questions for 2 hours. Representatives from several NH Republican Presidential campaigns were in attendance.
Earlier in the day Gingrich attended a book signing at a local Wal-Mart.
Gingrich was in New Hampshire to promote his American Solutions 1st Annual "Solutions Day" to reach out across the Granite State (and America) to activists, volunteers and regular voters.
Gingrich claims American Solutions is promoting political issues that 75% (or more) of the voters support. For example, Gingrich supports a law that would make English the official language of the United States.
Of course, this strategy is not at all different from Gingrich's original Contract With America.
Inside Baseball Snark: Who could be against public parks, right Mr. Moses?
Two "workshop days" are planned in New Hampshire. One on 9/27 and the other on 9/29.
Gingrich told the crowd at The Chateau that his goal was to have a workshop representative in all 234 towns in New Hampshire by September.
Which is sort of like having a campaign town chair in every single town in New Hampshire by September.
Gingrich said that he is also focused on building the same grassroots organization in Iowa.
Gingrich was well received at The Chateau. So well received that two woman helping cater the event actually sat down during Newt's speech and listened attentively. We don't see that often at New Hampshire political events.
Of course that doesn't mean that Newt will actually run for President.
Even if Gingrich cannot explain his high poll numbers in a Republican Primary (snark), old Newt is still politically radioactive outside the GOP.
Crib Note: Gingrich gets killed in a general election match-up vs. our dog.
But we do think that Gingrich's New Hampshire and Iowa grassroots organization has a real potential to allow him to play kingmaker coming down the stretch this fall. And that's worth more than a bucket of spit.
We're just saying.
We imagine that when you're 77 years old your priorities change.
Fox's Roger Friedman probably couldn't believe his luck when he got a green light from Murdoch's office to post this glowing review of "Sicko", Michael Moore's new film.
We have to believe that the DC insurance lobby is in a full blown panic over recent developments.
Couldn't happen to a nicer group of jerks.
Somewhere in Washington DC (or Harvard) Evan Thomas (and Walter Isaacson) is smiling again.
Evan Thomas is smiling because this past Saturday Barack Obama gave a commencement address at New Hampshire University that delivered a call to service and warned against the dangers of making money.
It's about time.
Not that we have anything against Wall Street (or money). But how boring can you be?
We get it. You're an I-Banker. You make a seven figure bonus and date underwear models. We get it.
Back at the turn of the 20th Century the very best and brightest in America's schools went into public service. Those who couldn't hack Uncle Sam went to Wall Street or Chicago law firms.
The WASP elites weren't perfect (far from it). But they helped set-up an empire that's survived on autopilot for 30 years.
Now we need wonky to be cool again - the new, old pink.
We need our best and brightest in public service once again. Who else is going to tackle entitlement reform, end fossil fuel consumption and overhaul our school system (pre-K through university)?
It sure as heck ain't going to be the guys that the Cowboy Governor brought with him into government.
2007 graduates - Try serving something greater than yourselves. You might find the opportunity to lose the Prozac and Ritalin along the way.
We're just saying.
Saturday, May 19, 2007
The AP has a fairly nice article up about Mike Huckabee.
An old friend of ours, GOP consultant (and NH resident) David Carney is quoted:
In the GOP contest, Giuliani, McCain and Romney have more money, superior campaign organizations and better marks in popularity polls. Yet conservatives who are critical primary voters view all as flawed.We agree with David that Fred Thompson and Newt Gingrich are dragging down Huckabee's poll numbers (and fundraising ability).
"Huckabee comes across credible. He's an articulate conservative. But, so far, he is a victim of the money game," said David Carney, a Republican operative in New Hampshire. "Another problem he has is a Newt and a Fred out there."That's a reference to ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson. Both are polling far ahead of Huckabee as they simply consider candidacies.
Even though that fact makes us want to laugh out loud with disgust.
Fred Thompson is a Hollywood actor who, at best, was a mediocre and lazy U.S. Senator who hasn't seen the campaign trail since 1842.
Newt Gingrich is a whip smart wonk who took on Bill Clinton over Impeachment, lost, and who now has higher national negatives than Hillary Clinton.
The Grand Old Party has got to get a grip. This isn't 1980. The Cold War is over. The world has changed. Substantially.
Take another look at Mike Huckabee. And then take another.
Friday, May 18, 2007
We like to think that GreenMountainPolitics1 is in the "informed opinion business". And being in the "informed opinion business" we try to talk to as many people in New Hampshire as we can get our hot little hands on.
Earlier this week we contacted Hillary Clinton's New Hampshire campaign and asked them if it would be acceptable if we dropped in and saw what was cooking at their campaign office.
"We want to kick the tires a little bit," we told them.
"Sure, what time is good for you," came their quick response.
We've said it before and we will say it again - we have been pleasantly shocked (SHOCKED!) at the level of access we have gotten from Hillary's campaign. We are just a humble (HUMBLE!) Blogspot Blog after all.
And so this afternoon we dropped by Hillary's campaign office at 34 Fir Street in downtown Manchester to "kick the tires."
Sarah Foy, Hillary's NH Director of Online Organizing, acted as our guide and introduced us around the office.
Mind you, all of our conversations were off-the-record. GreenMountainPolitics1 is only on-the-record when we say, very clearly, "ok, we are now on the record."
The "informed opinion business" doesn't mix very well with the "gotcha journalism business". We want people to feel comfortable talking to us. Not clam-up and stomp the other way.
Not that there was anything particularly juicy said this afternoon. We were there to look around, not get Hillary to engage Obama for the first time.
And, having kicked the tires, we came away impressed.
First, you could practically smell the "Metrics" at work in that office. There were charts, graphs, diagrams, check-off lists, other types of lists and colored maps hanging everywhere. The place screams "measured accountability". Which is a good thing if you're in it to win it in New Hampshire.
Second, Hillary Clinton must (MUST!) have the largest NH staff of any campaign. There were people everywhere. And, although we can't prove it, they all looked busy as hell. That's a good sign.
And finally, Communications Director Kathleen Strand told us (again) that she is still working on nailing down our lunch with the Senator. And, when a press shop is as dedicated as she is to taking care of the needs of The Clacker, well, that campaign is going to do just fine.
We're just saying.
We're getting a little burned out on the avalanche of "Mitt-Flop" opposition research that hits our email box every 48-72 hours.
We get it. As does our readership.
So the news that Governor Big Love had "Mitt-Flopped" on yesterday's Senate Immigration Agreement wasn't really news to us at all.
Here is Romney's statement opposing yesterday's agreement.
And here is Ed Morrissey and Soren Dayton taking Romney to task for not supporting an immigration compromise that, they argue (and we agree with their argument), addresses Romney's past stated concerns regarding immigration reform.
Mitt "flopped" on immigration reform to pander to the Republican base. That simply cannot be surprising to anyone. And we hadn't planned on writing a thing about it.
Until we saw this 1994 Romney debate footage, which has absolutely nothing to do with immigration reform.
We are fairly certain (but not positive) that this Romney footage was put on YouTube to show Romney opposing the GOP's Contract With America.
But that's not of interest to us.
What is of interest to us about the clip is "why" Romney opposes the Contract With America. Specifically, when Romney says (oh so convincingly) "I don't like contracts..." I'd rather get together (with both Parties) and work together (to get things done in Washington)."
Ah bi-partisanship. Working together to get things done. In 1994 Mitt Romney was a big supporter.
But then in 2007 Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and John Kyle (R-AZ) worked together to get immigration reform passed and bi-partisanship wasn't so hip anymore.
Same issue. Mitt-Flop #2.
Which is why we wrote long ago that when we listen to Mitt Romney we start looking around for the used car we know we must have just bought.
We're just saying.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Kelly McCormack has a really, really interesting article in today's Hill newspaper:
Was Henry Kissinger right when he said, “Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac”?Fools names and fools faces are often seen in public places.
Seeking an answer to that question, The Hill set out recently to discover whether dating has changed in the last six months, and whether Democrats, newly empowered, now have an edge on Republicans when it comes to dating prowess.
Many GOP aides say that it’s the same-old, same-old around the nation’s capital — they are sexier and they dress better. But some Democrats claim that being in the majority has meant more partying and more dates.
Due to the nature of this story — sex and dating — few aides were willing to discuss the subject on the record for fear of getting into trouble with their offices. They were also wary of having their personal lives or dating tastes made public.
The bottom line: Romantic opportunities have increased for Democrats. For one thing, there are now more of them around Capitol Hill — all the better for socializing. And some aides and political experts have noticed that Democrats have begun to dress the part and are looking better.
We wonder (again) what GAO head David Walker would have to do to get ink like this.
Maybe he should set himself on fire.
Newt Gingrich will return to New Hampshire on Monday, May 21st to talk "wonky" at the Chateau Restaurant in Manchester.
Personally, we like Newt. GreenMountainPolitics1 doesn't agree with everything Gingrich has to say, but he's bright. And there isn't enough "bright" going around Washington these days.
But we do recognize that the man sometimes makes other people want to commit a capitol offense.
So do not confuse "bright" with "electable".
If the GOP clucks with glee about Hillary Clinton's high negatives then the Democrats are in a full blown belly laugh about the idea of running against Newt in a general.
Not that it would ever happen.
Our advice? Go to the event, listen and learn.
Just plan on voting for someone else for President.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
And a stronger publication now that he's settled in over at his new digs.
Which allows Hadden and Luce to get a little more eternal rest. Even if they aren't sleeping together.
It's no secret that this Blog plays favorites and Mark Halperin is a big favorite.
So, while we are very happy to see that Mark is once again starting to churn out "The political landscape according to Halperin", we wouldn't mind seeing some longer articles mixed in with his debate scorecards.
Because we feel smarter every time we read him.
But we know it when we see it. Or, in this case, we know it when we don't see it.
Who are the ad wizards that came up with this spot of Fred "speculation on the gossip on the possibility that he might run for President" Thompson responding to Michael Moore?
Remember, you don't always have to be on the TV Freddy.
The Nation's John Nichols beat us to the story that we had planned to write about the Ron Paul/Rudy Giuliani foreign policy "exchange" at the debate in South Carolina last night.
From Nichols' post:
Speaking of extremists who target the U.S, Paul said, "They attack us because we've been over there. We've been bombing Iraq for 10 years. We've been in the Middle East [for years]. I think (Ronald) Reagan was right. We don't understand the irrationality of Middle Eastern politics. Right now, we're building an embassy in Iraq that is bigger than the Vatican. We're building 14 permanent bases. What would we say here if China was doing this in our country or in the Gulf of Mexico? We would be objecting."
Paul argued that Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda are "delighted that we're over there" in Iraq, pointing out that, "They have already... killed 3,400 of our men and I don't think it was necessary."
Giuliani, going for an applause line with a conservative South Carolina audience that was not exactly sympathetic with his support for abortion rights and other socially liberal positions, leapt on Paul's remarks. Interrupting the flow of the debate, Giuliani declared, "That's really an extraordinary statement. That's really an extraordinary statement, as someone who lived through the attack of Sept. 11, that we invited the attack because we were attacking Iraq. I don't think I have ever heard that before and I have heard some pretty absurd explanations for Sept. 11. I would ask the congressman withdraw that comment and tell us that he didn't really mean that."
The mayor, who is making his response to the 9-11 attacks on New York a central feature of his presidential campaign, was joined in the assault on Paul by many of the other candidates.
But congressman did not back down, and for good reason. Unlike Giuliani, the Texan has actually read the record.
The 9-11 Commission report detailed how bin Laden had, in 1996, issued "his self-styled fatwa calling on Muslims to drive American soldiers out of Saudi Arabia" and identified that declaration and another in 1998 as part of "a long series" of statements objecting to U.S. military interventions in his native Saudi Arabia in particular and the Middle East in general. Statements from bin Laden and those associated with him prior to 9-11 consistently expressed anger with the U.S. military presence on the Arabian Peninsula, U.S. aggression against the Iraqi people and U.S. support of Israel.
The 9-11 Commission based its assessments on testimony from experts on terrorism and the Middle East. Asked about the motivations of the terrorists, FBI Special Agent James Fitzgerald told the commission: "I believe they feel a sense of outrage against the United States. They identify with the Palestinian problem, they identify with people who oppose repressive regimes, and I believe they tend to focus their anger on the United States."
Fitzgerald's was not a lonely voice in the intelligence community.
Michael Scheuer, the former Central Intelligence Agency specialist on bin Laden and al-Qaeda, has objected to simplistic suggestions by President Bush and others that terrorists are motivated by an ill-defined irrational hatred of the United States. "The politicians really are at great fault for not squaring with the American people," Scheuer said in a CNN interview. "We're being attacked for what we do in the Islamic world, not for who we are or what we believe in or how we live. And there's a huge burden of guilt to be laid at Mr. Bush, Mr. Clinton, both parties for simply lying to the American people."
It is true that reasonable people might disagree about the legitimacy of Muslim and Arab objections to U.S. military policies. And, certainly, the vast majority of Americans would object to any attempt to justify the attacks on this country, its citizen and its soldiers.
But that was not what Paul was doing. He was trying to make a case, based on what we know from past experience, for bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq.
Giuliani's reaction to Paul's comments, especially the suggestion that they should be withdrawn, marked him as the candidate peddling "absurd explanations."
Viewers of the debate appear to have agreed. An unscientific survey by Fox News asked its viewers to send text messages identifying the winner. Tens of thousands were received and Paul ranked along with Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney as having made the best showing.
No wonder then that, when asked about his dust-up with Giuliani, Paul said he'd be "delighted" to debate the front-runner on foreign policy.
Ron Paul is absolutely right that the Middle East is far more complicated that most politicians would admit.
And while GreenMountainPolitcs1 is all for using Predator drones and Hellfire missiles "in the right situation", it is disingenuous for us not to expect Blowback after 70 years of an American foreign policy that props up repressive foreign regimes in order to keep America's oil prices artificially low.
Or did folks actually think that we support Saudi Arabia (how many hijackers from 9/11 were from the Kingdom?) for some reason other than their oil reserves and the trillions they have in the American stock market?
It's a complicated and fast changing world out there.
So GreenMountainPolitics1 feels that what this country really needs is another 4 years of a two-dimensional "shoot first, ask questions later" approach to foreign policy.
Right Your Honor?
And yeah, we get that the shoot first, ask questions later approach might play well in the GOP Primary for Giuliani.
But so what? He wants to be President. He should act Presidential. He should actually know what the hell it is that he's talking about.
We're just saying.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
The Boston Globe's James Pindell is reporting (in an exclusive) that Hillary Clinton will get the endorsement of New Hampshire State Senate President Sylvia Larsen this afternoon.
As James writes, that's a BIG get. Even us out-of-staters know that.
Just as we know that Hillary's New Hampshire operation is top-notch.
However, still no word from our good friend Kathleen Strand about when GreenMountainPolitics1 will get its 2-hour, 1-on-1 lunch with Senator Clinton that we have been promised.
The holding pattern continues.
Senator Dodd's first spot of the 2008 campaign is running in New Hampshire (and in Iowa and on cable). We're quite sure that Dennis Kucinich will take offense to it.
But we like the spot. Dodd is an unapologetic Democrat and if we're ever going to vote Democrat - oh boy are we going to vote Democrat!
Bring on the corporate carbon tax!
Nothing is as inane, idle and boring as the "political speculation" vomited forth by the Gang of 500 before a political debate.
Noted: Gang of 500 this isn't about YOU. It's about THEM and US (the taxpayers). If you want it to be about YOU, get a Blog (but remember that GreenMountainPolitics1 is already taken).
Here is all our readers need to know before tonight's debate actually happens.
When the candidate's top political strategist is "somehow" the only person quoted (and agreed with) in a Nashua Telegraph editorial highlighting the need to reform the the primary process.
Noted: "A need to reform primary scheduling" is, of course, code for protecting New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation status.
We continue to be impressed.
Monday, May 14, 2007
Marc, we think you're a bright boy. We really do.
And, we look forward to seeing you out on the Trail in New Hampshire again real soon.
But, as bright as you are, you're still being sold a bag of goods by Giulian's campaign when it comes to whether or not Hiz Honor is going to "play" in New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary.
Or, as your posted today, Giuliani's wants to "make a stand" in New Hampshire.
Sure he does.
That's why Rudy hired someone with ZERO experience in New Hampshire to run his first-in-the-nation operation.
That's why Rudy has spent less time in New Hampshire than any other candidate (on either side of the aisle) except for Brownback, Gilmore, Ron Paul and Gov Thompson.
That's why Rudy's New Hampshire Chairman, Wayne Semprini, was in the Union Leader newspaper last week "responding" to the dull roar from the NH chattering classes that Rudy is skipping first-in-the-nation.
Because you "respond" when there is smoke but no fire. Right?
Noted: We also believe Semprini was "setting the table" to proclaim "those bastards tricked me!" when Rudy officially pulls out. But that's just us.
That's what's going on here in New Hampshire ON THE GROUND.
In DC you were fed talk of "budgets" and "staff size" from Giuliani's national campaign staff.
Budgets and staff size?
Does anyone think that that's what the New Hampshire Primary is all about?
We guess maybe in Washington that they do.
We LOVE Bill Clinton. We always have.
Note: And just when folks thought they had GreenMountainPolitics1's politics all figured out.
Only political idiots believe that Bill Clinton shouldn't be spending every waking hour on the campaign trail for Hillary.
Ask Al Gore how his decision to keep Clinton bottled-up during the 2000 race turned out.
Who: Phil Elliott, Mr. New Hampshire AP, is having a birthday bash.
Why: Because he likes parties. And so does everyone else.
When: Saturday, May 19th, 8:00pm
Where: Strange Brew Tavern, downtown Manchester, New Hampshire
We are quite sure that every single Presidential campaign in New Hampshire will have a representative(s) there (yes, most likely even John Cox).
Note To Various Communication Directors: Phil has made it very clear that this party is all off the record. And everyone is required to play nice. We respect that.
Note To Various Gang of 500 Members in town for the Obama/41/42 visits: Sure, anyone can sit with David Axelrod in DC and get spun. But why not come on down and party with the first-in-the-nation "little" people?
You know, where the real action is.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Saturday, May 12, 2007
"RUDE-Y" is not a new headline Ms. Cox (although we do think you're clever as hell just the same. No snark).
We penned that headline last January. When Katie Levinson proved that RUDEy is all about the Gucci.
Of course, we're sure the NY press has been penning it for years and years.
Noted: GreenMountainPolitics1 will take credit for being the first media "outlet" to describe Giuliani's presidential campaign as "red velvet rope access".
Give credit where credit is due. We learned that lesson back in Vermont.
Noted 2: So, while RUDEy and Katie Levinson run a "Gucci Strategy", John McCain seems quite content to run a "Anti-Gucci Strategy".
We think we know which strategy the Des Moines Register is more fond of.
Take Iowa off the board for RUDEy? We think so.
Meanwhile, back in New Hampshire, RUDEy's New Hampshire Chairman Wayne Semprini is already setting the table too proclaim, "those bastards tricked me!" when it becomes public knowledge that Giuliani is bypassing first-in-the-nation.
Gucci doesn't seem to play all that well in the early primary states.
Time for Hiz Honor to adopt a "Anti-Gucci Strategy"?
Or is it too late?
We're just saying.
Friday, May 11, 2007
GreenMountainPolitics1 has learned that Jim Martin, John McCain's New Hampshire State Director, has left McCain's campaign effective immediately.
Jim Barnett, formally McCain's New England Political Director, has been tapped to take over as McCain's new New Hampshire Director.
McCain's New Hampshire Communications Director Jill Hazelbaker told GreenMountainPolitics1 that, "Jim Martin is no longer the state director. While we appreciate his hard work, Jim Barnett will assume the day to day responsibilities moving forward. Barnett is talented and experienced and will be a termendous asset to the campaign as we move forward."
Before joining the McCain campaign, Barnett was the Chairman of the Vermont Republican Party and one of Vermont Governor Jim Douglas' top political advisers.
During his tenure as Chairman, Barnett was credited with helping keep the Vermont Republican Party relevant in a state that often considers the politics of the San Fransisco Bay Area to be "a little too conservative for Vermont's liking."
Vermont's Rutland Herald newspaper said of Barnett, "He already runs the most effective - some would say ruthless - communications shop in state politics." (Rutland Herald, 11/6/05)
Peter Freyne, a political columnist for Vermont's Seven Days newspaper, called Jim Barnett "a major dose of Viagra for the Vermont GOP." (Seven Days, 6/9/04)
And that's a compliment coming from Peter Freyne.
Jim Martin's departure comes only a few days after another Granite State native, Mike Dennehy, stepped down as McCain's National Political Director to return to New Hampshire to spend more time with his family.
Dennehy, who retains an active role in the McCain campaign as "Senior Consultant" in charge of New Hampshire and South Carolina, personally recruited Jim Barnett to work for McCain's campaign late last year.
Mike Dennehy told GreenMountainPolitics1, "Jim Barnett is smart and effective. He's been a key player in our political organization and I look forward to working closely with him to ensure a repeat victory in New Hampshire for McCain."
The New Hampshire campaign staff directly below Barnett will stay the same.
Bottom line? Obviously this is not something the McCainiacs want to be talking about right now (duh!). And this story will certainly give the chattering classes something to chatter about for a few days.
And then it will go away.
Because the only constant in campaigns is change. And everyone knows it.
Full Disclosure Alert: GreenMountainPolitics1 knows Barnett personally from a relationship built in Vermont (over beers, pub food and politics) long before the McCain campaign.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta On The Importance Of The New Hampshire Primary & Who (Might) Be Getting His Endorsement
We simply couldn't resist.
The Politico's Jon Martin has a blog post up today about how John Weaver knew exactly what he was doing when he slammed Planned Parenthood recently.
Yes, consultants get too much credit when a candidate wins and they get too much blame when a candidate loses.
Yes, Senator McCain is fully (FULLY) in control of his own campaign. If anyone doubts that watch the next time a campaign staffer tries to handle the Senator out on the Trail.
That said, we don't know of too many consultants nicknamed "The Cobra" by their staff.
In fact, we know of only one.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
GreenMountainPolitics1 will be the first to admit that we don't know a darn thing about New Hampshire state politics.
Who is the Speaker of the New Hampshire House? Couldn't tell you.
Who is the Minority Leader in the New Hampshire Senate? No idea.
As it is, we have trouble enough keeping the Presidential campaigns straight in this state without wading into the thicket of local politics.
Noted: Yes, we understand that New Hampshire politics impact Presidential politics. Which is why we make a trek to Concord several times a month to huddle with local Wise Men and Woman (from both sides of the aisle) and download "what we need to know".
But long lunches at The Barley House does not a expert on local politics make.
However, there is one local New Hampshire politician that we do know. He is Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta. He is GreenMountainPolitics1's mayor. And, no matter who you are or where you are, you always know who your mayor is.
To be fair, as Mayor of the largest city in New Hampshire, Frank Guinta is responsible for many more citizens than just Monday Morning Clacker - about 114,999 more citizens.
Mayor Guinta is also responsible for, among other things, an annual city budget of $267 million dollars, 17,000 students in the Manchester school system, a fire department, a police department, a public works department and a parking enforcement department that still has yet to figure out where we stash our car during the day without having to pay for parking.
Mayor Guinta is the 3rd youngest mayor in Manchester's history (he was 35 when he first took office in 2006) and he is the city's 2nd "Strong" mayor (read: more robust mayoral authority) to hold the office (Bob Baines, Guinta's predecessor, was Manchester's 1st "Strong" mayor).
And, by almost all accounts, Mayor Guinta is putting all that new mayoral authority to good use.
This week we had the opportunity to spend an hour with Frank Guinta at his office and discuss his first term and what his vision for the future of Manchester is.
Crib Notes For The Mayor's Agenda: Tax cuts (two tax cuts for Manchester taxpayers so far), increased public safety (20 new officers added to the police ranks in his first term) and continuing to try to improve Manchester's schools (lower dropout rates, better prepare students to compete in the global marketplace and figuring out just how in the hell the Manchester school system uses 40 cents of every dollar it spends on "administrative costs").
Mayor Guinta knows the business of Manchester. No question about that. And, it's clear the Mayor loves his job. For all the right reasons.
We were greatly impressed with how "wonky" the Mayor was. Facts, figures, statistics, plans and visions - for a solid hour the Mayor talked about how he had made Manchester better and what he was going to do in the future to continue to make Manchester better.
It sounded good to us. And, that was our tax money he was talking about using.
MTV might not consider "wonky" to be cool but MTV doesn't have to pay property taxes, doesn't have children in the local school and doesn't walk the streets of Manchester at night.
Besides, we think "wonky" is back in. Like the old new pink.
Which is a good thing because Guinta (a Republican) is running for re-election in a "challenging" (our word not his) political environment.
Which brings us all the way around to one of the most important questions that we asked the Mayor - "Your endorsement would be a large "get" for any Presidential candidate. Who are you planning to endorse in the New Hampshire Republican Presidential Primary?"
And he answered (GOP political hacks hold your breath!)...
And he answered...
Just you wait and see. Our YouTube clip of his answer will be up tomorrow.
Hiz Honor has tapped Ms. Jennifer Hallowell to serve as executive director for his New Hampshire campaign.
Welcome to the New Hampshire microwave.
We're not breaking any news by saying the Team Rudy NH has had a rough couple of months.
NH primary voters can stomach a social liberal (sorta). Where they have difficulty is trying to stomach a man who is not only not running a real presidential campaign - Rudy is running a lecture circuit gig - but who is running that lecture circuit gig far, far away from their beloved New Hampshire Primary.
Even when Rudy is actually in New Hampshire.
We coined the term "Red velvet access" and it's stuck. But good.
Crib Note: The term stuck because it's true. Not because we are clever. Although we are.
Then you have sloppy press releases, rude national staff and a blown office opening due to "technical" (calendar) issues.
GreenMountainPolitics1 does take comfort in the fact that FEC Reports show Team Rudy NH is getting paid very well for all their roughage. And rough passage.
We think business should be good even when it isn't.
And into all this walks Ms. Hallowell, Rudy's new top New Hampshire troubleshooter.
And she's from Indiana. Ms. Hallowell has never worked a day in New Hampshire in her life.
Rudy Giuliani just doesn't get first-in-the-nation. And he doesn't care to.
And we think its about to get a whole lot more toxic in here.
We're just saying.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
The world is flat. We've said it before.
Now U.S. News And World Report is reporting a (smallish) consequence of that flattening.
Shall we hope that McCain's 2008 Campaign PlayBook "Earned Media" section says "See The Clacker"?
Frankly, we remain skeptical that the E-Race will deliver any real (new) votes in the Real Race.
But it's clear that information is no longer medium or brand loyal.
Let them eat cake!
Monday, May 07, 2007
It's no secret that GreenMountainPolitics1 is fond of Senator McCain.
"McCain is the most 'Presidential' candidate in this race," we argue. "And what our country needs right now is a big, heaping double-shot of 'Presidential'."
Crib Note For The Inside Baseball Types: We're not on the "girlfriend" train. Good heavens no. We're on the David Foster Wallace train.
But just because GreenMountainPolitics1 writes it does not (necessarily) make it so.
And there are Republican Primary voters who remain unconvinced by our smarts, style and clever wit. Or McCain's campaign for that matter.
Unsatisfied with the current front-runners, these Republican primary voters are still looking for their candidate.
We would suggest then that these voters take a good, hard look at former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.
We make our suggestion knowing that some "inside-the-beltway" types who read our humble Blog will snort out loud at the idea of a Huckabee nomination.
"But it's all about money," they'll blow and guff over breakfast at the Four Seasons. "And that boy Huckabee don't got any."
Which is true. Money is (predominantly) how people keep score in the pre-primary. Campaign cash on hand, conventional wisdom holds, shows who's up, down, viable and not viable.
Which explains how you end up with Mitt Romney as a perceived Primary front-runner.
That's not a compliment.
And, it's true that Mike Huckabee doesn't have much money at all. Of course, that money may still come. Really.
Only suckers believe that the GOP Primary is anything close to a done deal. We don't agree with that assumption even when the person yapping it has had breakfast with the big boys (and girls) at the Four Seasons.
So, let's look at what Mike Huckabee does have.
The former Governor of Arkansas (10 successful years) has solid compassionate conservative credentials. In fact, they're sterling.
And he's running in a Republican Primary. Hmm. We wonder...
Noted: It's just a damn shame that the Cowboy Governor took the expression "compassionate conservative" out into the political desert, tied it to a cactus and shot it dead.
Put another mark in the "L" column for W.
So Huck isn't going to be labeling himself a compassionate conservative anytime soon. Even though that is exactly what he is. In the absolute best sense of the words.
We spent 30 minutes chatting with Governor Huckabee one-on-one in Manchester on Saturday. It was the third time in 4 months that we had the chance to observe the Governor up close.
The topic of Saturday's wide-ranging chat was (more or less) - "Governor, it's Day 1 of your presidency. Assume that America's national security is under control at the moment. What 3 other issues would you immediately tackle as President?"
His quick reply: 1. Energy Independence 2. Healthcare reform 3. Education reform.
Huckabee spoke with particular passion about healthcare and education reform, citing his successes as Governor on these issues. Lots of detail (much more than we will outline here).
For example Huckabee, who we had nicknamed "The former Southern Fat Boy", championed efforts to implement the nationally recognized Healthy America initiative at the Arkansas level and literally led (thinned-up) by example in order to change people's healthcare focus from a focus on "disease" to a focus on "health".
Crib Note: Personal responsibility and forward thinking. Hey, it works. And, it will save lots and lots of money.
Huck also implemented education programs that raised Arkansas school standards and got results for the students and their teachers.
Crib Note: Who is against transparency and accountability in our children's schools?
Huckabee sure isn't. And, for good measure (and for the children), Huckabee mandated music and art be part of Arkansas's curriculum.
Education reform, healthcare reform and energy independence (which he admitted would entail moving America completely off fossil fuels as an energy source as quickly as humanly possible), that's a healthy domestic agenda.
And most of the solutions that Huckabee offers (but not all, he's a populist at heart after all) are solid Republican solutions.
And he's running in a Republican Primary. Hmm. We wonder...
And, Huckabee doesn't have to "fake" (like several other candidates, 2 in the top tier) his social conservative credentials in order to pander to the Republican base.
Huckabee is a social Conservative with a capitol "C"!
But he's also Compassionate with a capitol "C".
Which is why our politically Independent, New England Yankee, pro-choice, pro-medical marijuana and pro-carbon tax skin doesn't absolutely crawl when we hear southern Republican governor Mike Huckabee talk about "family values".
For example, when Governor Huckabee talks about being Pro-life he certainly talks about his opposition to abortion. Duh.
But Huckabee also says in the same breath - Of course we must nurture our children from conception, but we must not stop at the birth. We must ensure that our kids have quality health care, a solid education, clean air and economic opportunity.
Crib Note: Compassionate AND Conservative. And politically viable.
But for us (because we know we're never going to agree with any candidate on everything) the real "test" is "will the guy (or girl) just do the 'right' thing, whatever the 'right' thing is?"
We can't always define what the "right" thing is. But we know it when we see it (to borrow a line from someone a bit smarter than us).
Inside Baseball Crib Note: The apple falls far from the tree. Doesn't it?
And, the more we listen to Mike Huckabee, the more we think that he's the type of leader who will do the 'right' thing no matter what the 'right' thing is.
That counts. That counts a whole lot.
Which means that if you're a Republican Primary voter still shopping for the 'right' candidate we think you should take a good hard look at Mike Huckabee.
We think you might really like what you see.
We're just saying.