The success of Ron Paul backers at the Massachusetts Republican Party caucuses this weekend is more indicative of establishment laziness and the ability of well organized Paul folks to take over small events than it is of a threat to the candidacy of Mitt Romney. Sure, there might be some awkward moments for Romney at the convention if enough Paul folks get elected around the country but there is no chance that he will be the Republican Party nominee in 2012.
Paul's people may have some impact on the writing of a relatively meaningless party platform but their only attainable goal, at this point, is getting Paul a primetime speaking slot at the convention. If Paul goes in there with a couple hundred delegates he will have a decent bargaining chip to get a speaking slot but it's pretty much impossible for him to upset Romney's coronation.
The other upside for the Paul folks is that the Tampa convention will be another opportunity for them to network and continue to build their libertarian movement in the Republican Party. At the moment though it does not appear that they will have their own large scale venue to do that at. When I interviewed Paul during a campaign appearance in Rhode Island he told me that his campaign has no plans to organize a shadow convention like they did in 2008.
Why the state Republican Party let this happen is anybody's guess. Perhaps it was obliviousness to this happening in states across the country. Perhaps it was taking Romney's overwhelming Super Tuesday win here for granted. Perhaps it was just indifference because all the delegates are required to vote for Romney on the first ballot anyway. Still, it's an embarasment for Romney and his Massachusetts supporters.
So now that the House has approved their version of the FY 2013 budget what have we learned?
- The House leadership likes to speed through these proceedings and do most of the heavy lifting in private.
- There are as many progressive Democrats, or at least those who oppose EBT reform, as there are Republicans: 33.
- There will be almost certainly be no new taxes (or tax cuts) in the budget when it reaches Governor Patrick's desk.
- Water and non-carbonated beverage will continue to be exempt from the five cent deposit placed on other beverages as the "bottle bill" did not make it through the amendment process..
The Senate will take up the budget sometime in late May or Early June.
Daily Caller columnist Matt Lewis went digging through the roll call votes on judicial nominees while researching a post on Indiana Senator Richard Lugar. Lugar is facing a primary challenge for the first time since he was elected in 1976.
Lewis found that Lugar voted for all but six of a possible 98 appointments by President Obama, meaning he voted for the nominee 94% of the time.
Senator Scott Brown, another guy who is in the fight of his political life, voted for all but five of a possible 77 appointments that he was present for, meaning he voted for the nominee at the same rate as Lugar after being elected in early 2010. According to this account, Brown has the second most moderate voting record among Republicans when it comes to Obama appointees.
One of Brown's "no" votes was for the appointment of Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan.
When Speaker Robert DeLeo put his foot down and said there would be no tax hikes in 2012 he was not joking. Out of the hundreds of proposed amendments to the FY 2013 budget only 36 are in the revenue category, according to a State House News Service review. The majority of amendments in the revenue category are, actually, proposals to reduce taxes and they have as much chance as passing as the proposals to raise revenues: none.
So far the majority of amendments addressing taxes and revenue have been either rejected or withdrawn.
The one tax proposal I am watching and that I think has a snowballs chance is the Meals Tax Holiday. If enacted it would suspend the meals tax for a week in October. Again, it is a longshot, but this legislature under DeLeo has shown support for holidays on voluntary taxes.
On Saturday I interviewed current Libertarian Party presidential candidate and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson on my WRKO Saturday show. Johnson, a former Republican, is no sure thing at the LP convention in May. In 2008 another former Republican, Georgia Congressman Bob Barr, had to fight through six rounds of voting before securing the nomination.
Johnson has a much stronger libertarian record than Barr but, as you'll hear in my interview, he still holds some positions that will make small 'l' and big 'L' libertarians uncomfortable.
Architects and city planners will gather in South Hadley Falls to brainstorm how to revitalize the area. Plans to redevelop the area have been in the works for years but what makes this gathering different is the involvement of the American Institute of Architects.
The visiting professionals will take part in tours and meetings with town officials, as well as a public hearing on April 23 and a public presentation on April 25, both at Town Hall at 6 p.m. As Fantini describes it, they will use every minute they have in South Hadley.
While in Washington for the playoff series with the Capitals Bruins goalie Tim Thomas dropped by the headquarters of the fiscally conservative group Freedom Works . Thomas, an outspoken critic of President Obama, made waves in January when he declined for political reasons to go to the White House with the rest of the Bruins to be honored for their Stanley Cup title.
Thomas has expressed libertarian leanings on his Facebook page but has never explicitly stated what his political ideology is. This photo of him, along with FreedomWorks staffer Julie Borowksi and a Ron Paul bumper sticker, just adds to a series of libertarian statements by the goalie.
This was Rand's first major interview on television and came two years after the release of her most prominent work, Atlas Shrugged.
Wallace died Saturday evening in Connecticut. He was 93.
Rand died in 1982.
Throughout the 2012 primary the Ron Paul campaign has touted the large crowds at their campaign events across the country. Days before elections the crowds have been billed by his campaign as "remarkable”, “giant”, and “incredible”. Pro-Paul blogs post videos and pictures showing thousands of Paul backers gathered to hear their leader preach his brand of libertarianism. The bloggers write something to the effect of, “These rallies show that Paul is winning the hearts and minds of young Americans.”
Unfortunately for Paul these large crowds have not led to success at the ballot box as Paul has amassed less than 100 delegates according to various estimates. But how can that be with Paul repeatedly drawing thousands to see him around the country?
Even though Paul has had a superior ground game in many smaller caucus states and has raised nearly $40 million, he has been unable to grab a victory in any state and has tallied about 1.1 million votes, half Newt Gingrich’s haul and a quarter of Mitt Romney’s.
The problem is this: Although Paul is running to lead a party that looks like him — older, whiter, Southern — his crowds are younger, war-weary, more diverse and less likely to identify with one party or to vote.
The same independent streak that leads the young and the restless to Paul’s libertarian philosophy seems to make it more unlikely that these supporters will pick a side and a party, which is a requirement for many of the primary and caucus contests.”
The other problem Paul faces is that a chunk of his small but devoted base travels to see him everywhere he goes so his events are not always an accurate reflection of the local voter base. Paul's campaign is spreading the libertarian gospel unlike anybody since Ayn Rand but it still is not translating into electoral or policy wins.
Even if Paul’s much talked about delegate strategy is working it will be nearly impossible for him to win the Republican nomination. A little known rule may prevent Paul’s name from being nominated on the convention floor in Tampa this summer.
Still, that is not ending rumors that Paul will use his delegates to negotiate for a primetime speaking spot at the convention for himself or his son, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.
Shortly after the news broke about the indictment of former state Treasurer Timothy Cahill political junkies across the Commonwealth started rehashing the outcome of the 2010 gubernatorial election. Twitter was abuzz with snark about how the Lottery ads that the Cahill campaign allegedly orchestrated did not help him or the Lottery. Talk radio was outrage central, as usual, but the focus of its wrath expanded to include Attorney General Martha Coakley.
One of the stranger arguments I heard was that Cahill was being “punished” for challenging Massachusetts Democrats while at the same time playing the role of spoiler for Republican gubernatorial nominee Charlie Baker. There are two problems with this political conspiracy theory.
First, the idea that Cahill is being “punished” by Coakley for his dust ups with the Democrats takes the concept of political payback to a new level in this state. Sometimes pols who cross the powers that be have their offices moved, are tossed from committees, or, in Cahill’s case, left out of major party activities but a full court press to indict you for what some are calling business as usual would be unprecedented.
Second, Cahill did not spoil the race for Baker. Here, look at the data.
Cahill voters were evenly almost evenly split between Governor Patrick and Baker immediately before the election. His presence in the race did change the dynamic, particularly early on but he began to fade after the Republican Governors Association blew him out of the water. Would he have faded naturally? Probably.
Cahill did not have the fundraising capabilities of the major party candidates and was, in the end, a mostly weak regional candidate. Republicans, remembering the gubernatorial race in New Jersey just a year earlier, were very concerned about Cahill but in hindsight their concern was overblown and their candidate suffered because of it.