SWITCHING OVER TO GENERAL ELECTION MODE
Romney continues gathering delegates
while, as for President Obama, one
can only say "AWK-ward!"
Monday, May 14, 2012
by Richard E. Berg-Andersson
In my 7 May piece for this website, I set up something of a "baseline" through which the observer of the 2012 Republican presidential nomination process could fairly judge the efficacy of the Anybody But Romney (ABR) effort throughout the remainder of the Presidential Primary "season": I therein suggested that, as a first requirement (of four) in order for either the broader 'ABR' concept- or the narrower "stealth delegate" strategy (in which National Convention delegate slots already bound/pledged to Governor Mitt Romney are taken by, primarily, supporters of Congressman Ron Paul who will thereafter abstain on Roll Call of the States re: Presidential Nomination at the Convention itself in an attempt to deny Romney the nomination on the First Ballot)- to succeed, Romney would have to be kept to under half the National Convention delegates up for grabs week after week in Presidential Primaries via which such binding or pledging of delegates is, in some manner, directly related to the popular vote in said Primaries during all the time remaining for such Primaries to be held (for, even through gaining but 1 delegate less than half of said delegates each Tuesday beginning 8 May, Romney would- based on calculations I made a week ago now- then end up with enough delegates to be just within 100 of the "magic number" of 1144 needed in order to be nominated just after the Primaries scheduled for Tuesday 5 June [this calculation not even taking into account the results in either the Delegate Selection Primary in West Virginia this past week or the Utah Presidential Primary scheduled for 26 June!]).
The Presidential Primaries held in Indiana and North Carolina this past Tuesday (8 May 2012) would, so I stated, give us our first clue as to whether or not what I called a "significant anti-Romney vote" might yet emerge in the last stages of the GOP presidential nominating process (something that would, indeed, have to emerge in order for any 'ABR' effort to be at all effective to begin with)... so just how did Romney do in those two States?
Answer: He gained all 27 delegates up for grabs in the Hoosier State and 36 of the 52 up for grabs in the Tar Heel State- a total of 63 all told; since 1 less than 1/2 of the 79 total delegates in play from those two States this past Tuesday would have been 39, Romney- it can be argued in relation to my own "baseline"- came out of those two States +24 (put another way: the two States in question alone put Romney within 75 of the "magic number" for nomination [if we continue to presume- as I will throughout the rest of the Presidential Primary "season", if only for the sake of this particular analysis- that Romney can only get 1 less than half the delegates up for grabs each week the rest of the way])...
clearly: so allowing Governor Romney to gain the express support of nearly 80% of the delegates here is hardly strong evidence for serious 'ABR' on the part of those who went to the polls in both Indiana and North Carolina!
And it has to be noted that Romney is also going to gain the support of some 1/4 of the delegates directly selected in West Virginia once all the numbers are finally in out of that delegate selection event (putting him even closer to the nomination come Wednesday 6 June in my "Romney will be kept below half the delegates the rest of the way" 'baseline'-- if only as of this typing!)
In addition- in what can only be considered to be something of a flat tire on the "stealth delegate" float in the GOP nomination "parade"- the 'Mitt Romney delegates really supporting Ron Paul' (for lack of any better term) coming out of Nevada are already expected to be on their best behavior come the Republican National Convention in Tampa.
To here review: back on 4 February, 28 of the Silver State's GOP delegates were bound, as a result of the first-step Precinct Caucuses, in that State as follows: 20 for Romney, 8 for Paul; however, at the State Convention the other weekend (5-6 May), Ron Paul supporters- attempting to implement the "stealth delegate" strategy- gained 22 of the 28 delegate slots (meaning that half of the 28 delegates on the floor of the National Convention will be bound to Governor Romney while still openly in favor of Congressman Paul: it is these 14 that- or so we are told- the chair of the Nevada Ron Paul campaign himself has pledged to "follow the rules" [it is yet to be seen, however, whether their own interpretation of said rules might still include abstaining rather than voting for Romney: we'll certainly know come late August!]: for its part, the national Republican Party has already made it quite clear that- where such rules [as interpreted by the Grand Old Party itself, in this case] are not so followed- sanctions against these particular delegates, or even the entire Nevada National Convention delegation, may have to be implemented, depending [stay tuned!])...
nonetheless, as regards my 'baseline' already described above, these 14 potentially (but only "potentially"!) problematic delegates out of Nevada are more than offset by what Romney will have gained in West Virginia alone!
So now we look ahead to Tuesday 15 May and Presidential Primaries in both Nebraska and Oregon: Nebraska's Presidential Primary is an advisory "beauty contest" but Oregon's binds/pledges Republican National Convention delegates according to the actual votes cast by the voters in that Primary-- 25 delegates are up for grabs: 1 less than 1/2 would be a mere 12-- but how many more of Oregon's 25 will Romney actually gain?
The very way in which I have posited that last question should well indicate where I still think all this is heading as of this typing.
Anti-Homosexuality in America is, in the early 21st Century, one of the few last safe refuges of the abject bigot.-- RICHARD E. BERG-ANDERSSON in a Commentary posted on The Green Papers dated 19 November 2003
Up till now and throughout the presidential nomination process so far, I have largely ignored the Democrats.
This has not been because I've been giving President Obama the proverbial "hall pass" (despite suggestions that this has, indeed, been the case from at least a small handful of e-mailers over the past several weeks) but, rather, because the Republican presidential nomination battle has been the "sexier" story (just go to the list of my past Commentaries for this website, scroll down to those from the Spring of 2008 and note well how I virtually ignored Senator John McCain once he had already pretty much sewed up that year's GOP presidential nomination--
same reason, different Party: the Barack vs. Hillary "throwdown" was far more interesting during those months!)
But now- as the Republican presidential nomination contest wraps itself up (despite the "loose ends" provided by possible 'ABR' and "stealth delegates")- it is now (finally!) time to begin to turn all due attention to the incumbent, as the President has already spent more than a few weeks taking on Romney (with Romney, as the presumptive Republican standard bearer, also giving about as good as he is getting)...
in a sense, then: the General Election campaign for the Presidency is already well underway!
But, even if it hadn't been before, it certainly is now...
and 'Exhibit A' in this regard is- most certainly- President Obama's public declaration of support for legalizing Gay Marriage.
First, by way of fair disclaimer, I am a longtime supporter of legalizing Gay Marriage (and, indeed, I have already publicly addressed this issue in a Commentary I wrote for this website way back on 19 November 2003 from which I have quoted myself at the very start of this section of this piece); in addition, I will also note- also by way of disclaimer- that my opinion, as expressed herein (or, for that matter, therein), does not necessarily reflect the views of The Green Papers or anyone else associated with this website: it is solely my own, for which I alone am responsible as regards what one might read on this website specifically in relation thereto!...
but I am not here going to rehash the actual arguments, pro or con, of all sides involved in this still-contentious "hot potato" of an issue: rather, I am now going to solely focus on its political ramifications in 2012:
First, as to President Obama's position on the issue having- his own words publicly declaimed this past Wednesday (9 May)- finally "evolved"-- I myself have little doubt (though whatever doubt remains is solely due to the fact that there is no way for me to know for certain) that Obama has long wanted to come out in favor of Gay Marriage and that his support for Civil Unions above all else back when he first ran for the Presidency four years ago was but mere posturing (Civil Unions being the "safe harbor" for those politicians who cannot yet bring themselves to support Gay Marriage outright but still sense the political "winds" in the jurisdictions they themselves represent [or seek to represent] shifting direction, even where the resultant "breeze" is not yet particularly gusty).
Indeed, the Conspiracy Theories are already appearing on the Internet as to its timing: how interesting it is that the President's public affirmation on this issue took place the very day after the State of North Carolina (concomitantly with its Presidential and other Primaries) had held a referendum through which its own Constitution would specifically not allow for legalization of Gay Marriage in that State (absent a further Constitutional Amendment repealing this newly adopted one). But I also have no way of knowing whether Vice-President Biden's own public affirmation of support for Gay Marriage the week before (the polling data out of North Carolina available by then indicating just which way the "winds" on this issue were already blowing in the Tar Heel State!) was some kind of political "choreography" providing 'cover' for Obama or- as Biden himself seems to suggest- his own "jumping the gun" on the issue in some way (that is: was Obama supposed to make his public statement first only after which Biden was supposed to then incorporate it into his own stump-speeches?)
Yet- here putting aside the issue of 'who shot John?' as regards the respective public support for Gay Marriage expressed, first, by the Vice-President and then the President- the President's own approach appeared altogether awkward!
And it is likely to remain awkward still, for there are strongest echoes here of- say- an Attorney General Eric Holder so strongly declaiming that the so-called "9/11 Defendants" would be tried "in New York... New York!", yet the precursor legal procedures to those very trials have now finally gotten underway...
down in Gitmo!
(to which *I* say: you mean to tell me the mighty United States Government couldn't find a secure facility in which to hold those trials- as well as the defendants themselves- within the entirety of the Southern District of New York [which extends well beyond the Limits of the Greater City of New York into those New York State counties bordering the lower-to-mid Hudson Valley] thereby far better fulfilling the requirements of the 6th Article of Amendment to its own Constitution that this criminal prosecution be adjudicated by the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed? [about which I have already written back on 16 November 2009, by the way])
indeed, it has- all too often- seemed ever thus with the Obama Administration: brave rhetoric, timorous performance.
It, of course, remains to be seen just how the President's having finally so "evolved" when it comes to the issue of legalizing Gay Marriage will play- politically- as we go through the remainder of the time leading up to the Presidential Election itself come Tuesday 6 November.
In the long run, the issue of Gay Marriage- at least potentially- more harms the Republicans than the Democrats, if only because 'LIBERAL DEMOCRAT SUPPORTS GAY MARRIAGE' is- in the main- no more newsworthy than the headline 'SUN RISES IN EAST'...
nationwide, the political "winds" are shifting on this issue (the recent vote in North Carolina notwithstanding) and- as is more usually the lot of conservatives, as opposed to liberals (though this is certainly not always the case)- it is the conservatives who become the "victims" of a political split where more and more adherents to that political philosophy find themselves in the position of embracing that which, but a seemingly short time before, that very political philosophy (precisely because it is conservative [in the sense of: defending of Tradition]) would have found unconscionable (well... if the politicians in question truly wish to win the next election, that is!)
Simply put: the moderates have long been making their move (one more and more in favor) on the issue of Gay Marriage and- in a political atmosphere in which vociferous factions of the Republican Party coming into 2012 have been decrying such moderates as RINOs (Republican In Name Only) and generally telling them all (both in the streets, as well as at the polls) to "go to Hell"- it is the Republicans, more so than the Democrats, that will- at some point- only come to feel the proverbial "heat" in this regard...
but the distance, in time, from now mid-May 2012 to the Presidential Election itself early November is not this proverbial "long run" (despite the oft-repeated adage that 'a week is a year in Politics and a year is a lifetime')!
As a result: President Obama's taking the stance he has now taken on Gay Marriage- especially considering its timing right after the vote on the issue in North Carolina- is certainly fraught with much political peril and how he and his re-election campaign navigates these rocks and shoals (now that he has sailed out of that politically "safe harbor" of Civil Unions) will go a fair way towards determining his ultimate fate this coming November (though, obviously, the American Economy and the Nation's Geopolitics, nonetheless, remain paramount as of this typing)...
yet Governor Romney also has to navigate his own "rocks and shoals" in this regard: "rocks and shoals" in the form of his own dealing with what might fairly be called his "RINO past" (for, no matter what he might say out on the hustings, he was still elected Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts less than a decade ago now and he didn't gain that position by evoking traditional "outside what I once called 'the Northeast Confederacy' " conservatism!), the handling- by himself, his own campaign and the Republican Party leadership on general- of what can fairly be described as "the Ron Paul insurgency" (where it does not also become an outright "insurrection" [though, as should be obvious by what I have been writing of late, I don't yet see this last as being "in the cards"]) and by a general attitude, within much of the Grand Old Party rank-and-file throughout this particular Federal Election cycle, that RINOs might not be all that welcome in any event!
In the meantime, other potential political "minefields" for the President's re-election bid also became rather evident this past week:
in the Democratic Presidential Primary in West Virginia this past Tuesday (again, 8 May), some 2/5 [!!] of the voters in that Primary voted for a convict instead of the incumbent President of the United States!
To be fair, West Virginia is a State in which Obama would, likely, be in political trouble nowadays anyway: its southeastern half, in particular, was once described- by journalist Joel Garreau in his book The Nine Nations of North America- as [i]n good times... an isolated part of the Foundry [by which Garreau meant the Mid-Atlantic Region extending westward into the Great Lakes-bordering "Rust Belt" (including the Canadian side of said lakes) REB-A]; [i]n bad times... an isolated part of Dixie [to Garreau, most of both the Border South and the Old Confederacy REB-A]... and these are surely, right now as I type this, still bad times!
Still: one can be forgiven for thinking, upon being apprised of the results of that Primary, 'Oh-- this can't be good!'
Yes-- 'tis true that we still have a long way to go yet-- to the National Conventions themselves, let alone the Presidential Election proper...
but we have already switched to "General Election Mode" nonetheless.