Archive for the ‘Giuliani’ Category

I haven’t bought into the theory that this is a change election because I think it’s really a credibility election. Let’s look at this through the lens of last night’s Iowa caucuses.

Everyone knows that the big winners were Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee. What people are trying to figure out is why they won so handily. I believe that it’s got more to do with who lost last night than who won.

Hillary’s panderfest failed miserably in the infamous Russert Debate that she’d say anything to collect a few votes. It became apparent then that she’d do anything to avoid getting pinned down on anything. That’s when Hillary’s tailspin began. Team Hillary is still trying to figure out how to pull out of that tailspin. I’m not certain they’ll be able to accomplish that considering her reputation as a bare-knuckled streetfighter.

Hillary’s sought to portray herself as a savvy White House veteran who could hit the ground running. She shot that image to smithereens this weekend when she told Wolf Blitzer and George Stephanopolous that it was wrong for Pervez Musharraf to run essentially unopposed in the upcoming Pakistani elections. The bad news for Hillary was that the Pakistani elections are parliamentary elections. Joe Biden noted that Musharraf was just elected Pakistan’s president.

On the GOP side, Mitt Romney lost last night because he was cast as inauthentic and a flip-flopper. He outspent Huckabee by a 20:1 margin and got beat by 9 points. He was crushed for flip-flopping on the life issue, immigration and the Bush tax cuts. His credibility has taken a hard hit.

That isn’t the only place where credibility applies. Does anyone think that Mike Huckabee or Barack Obama will have credibility on national security issues? Of course not. Credibility also applies to whether people believe you’re capable of doing the job. For all their sunny talk, the truth is that neither Obama or Huckabee are seen as serious on certain issues.

The issue that’s most likely to get people wondering if a candidate is up to the job is foreign policy. Clearly, Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama don’t have the foreign policy credentials that gives them instant credibility. This doesn’t hurt Obama nearly as much because Hillary’s proven to be much more of a lightweight than expected. The gap between Hillary and Obama is relatively tiny.

Huckabee, though, looks unprepared compared with Fred, Rudy and McCain, each of whom has a strong foreign policy resume. This will get more noticeable now that we’ve dispensed with Iowa and will soon have New Hampshire in the rearview.

By the time the race hits South Carolina, the GOP candidates will face a different type of scrutiny. Since the Democrats are the party that’s ignored foreign policy and the jihadists war against civilization, their day of reckoning won’t happen until the general election. By then, it’ll be too late for them to adjust.

That’s why it’s vitally important for us to pick the most serious foreign policy candidate possible. The good news is that we’ve got 3 candidates who are serious about national security. It doesn’t hurt that one of them, Fred Thompson, is rock solid on the other important issues to conservatives.

The Democratic nominee won’t get scrutinized that much on foreign policy matters until the general election. Whether that’s Obama, which I think is likely, or Hillary, they’re in tough shape. Neither of them has much credibility on foreign policy issues.

Another reason why I’m positive this is a credibility election, not a change election, is because every politician talks about reforming this or that, then delivering the same old same old. That used to work but it doesn’t anymore. People can determine for themselves whether bills do what they say they’ll do.

A good example is Congress promising earmark reform, then passing a bill that didn’t change their earmarking habits a bit. People now know whether a person is serious about change or if they’re just using that word for political cover. People tune politicians out if they aren’t trustworthy. They also vote them out. That’s as it should be.

After all, We The People demand credibility politicians.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Part of Fred Thompson’s appeal is his not mincing words. That’s the focus of this article. Notice what they’ve spotlighted as their main caption:

“They’re all NEA, MoveOn.org, ACLU, Michael Moore Democrats,” Thompson said in the video posted on his campaign Web site. “They’ve allowed these radicals to take control of the party and dictate their course.”

He added, “I am asking my fellow Republicans to vote for me not only for what I have to say to them, but for what I have to say to the members of the other party—the millions of Democrats who haven’t left the Democratic party so much as their party’s national leadership has left them.”

Picture how that’d sell with the disenchanted conservatives that sat the midterms out. Think how that’d sell with what I call Lieberman Democrats. Think how the Nutroots would react to that and the positive impact that’d have on the election for Republicans.

Here’s what I mean with that last sentence. We want the Nutroots to be shooting their mouth off because we win anytime our base is fired up and the Nutroots are the face of the Democratic Party.

As I’ve said here, here, here and here, it isn’t 2006 anymore. Unlike 2006, I believe that the GOP base will be energized this year, especially if Fred’s the nominee. In fact, I think that Fred’s the only candidate that can get the GOP base fired up.

With the GOP base will be fired up, the next thing we should want is for the Nutroots to shoot their mouth off. The more they spout off, the better our candidates look. Frankly, the best strategy for us when they’re spouting off is to get them a louder bullhorn.

The other thing I like about Fred’s full frontal assault is that it tells common sense Americans that we want to get rid of the impediments to excellence that the liberals have built. Right now, we’re fed up with Washington. Telling voters that we intend to turn up the heat on these organizations is a winning message. Frankly, Fred and Rudy are the only people that’ve talked about that, with Fred having talked about it far more than Rudy.

You certainly don’t hear Obama or Clinton talking about getting rid of these bloated bureaucracies. I haven’t heard John McCain or Mike Huckabee talk about changing Washington. I just now read something that Mitt Romney intends on changing Washington, something that I’m skeptical about. (Guys who sign socialized health care aren’t generally the change agents we need.)

At the end of the day, Fred’s the only person with the credibility and the wherewithal to change Washington. That’s why his assault on the nutty wing of the Democratic Party is so refreshing.

It’s time we gave Fred the opportunity to ridicule Democrats for the next eight years.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

That’s the title of this CNN Political Ticker article. Suffice it to say that it’s devastating in terms of undercutting Romney’s credibility. Here’s the biggest example of Romney’s credibility gap:

Romney started the year with a similar example of candor deficiency.

On Jan. 8, when he staged a “National Call Day” to kickoff his campaign, he called a news conference to herald his unprecedented one-day take of $6.5 million. When the multimillionaire was asked whether he might spend his own money on his campaign, Romney said that scenario “would be akin to a nightmare,” since he was relying on popular support for his campaign. He added that he reserved the right to donate, though.

In reality, Romney had already donated to his political committee at the time of the question. A campaign finance report he released in mid-April revealed he contributed a $2.35 million check by the time of his “nightmare” comment, starting the prior October.

He has gone on to loan a total of $17.35 million to his committee, although the total could be more. His next report won’t be made public until mid-January.

To have him say that donating to his campaign was a nightmare scenario after he’d written a $2.35 million check to his campaign is the type of thing that Team Clinton would pound him with. In the heat of a general election, the agenda media would join in in asking for a clarification.
That’s only one example of what CNN and MSNBC surely have waiting for him. Here’s another troubling quote that’s sure to make him look like a phony:

In April, Romney said, “I’ve been a hunter pretty much all my life,” only to have aides reveal he had gone hunting only twice at the bookends of his life: once, during a summer visit to an Idaho ranch as a 15-year-old, and again, in 2006, when he participated in a big-donor excursion to a Georgia game preserve on behalf of the Republican Governors Association.

A subsequent check with state officials revealed no hunting license for Romney in any of the three states where he has homes, and Romney himself later confirmed he did not own any guns. The ones in his house, which he had mentioned publicly, were owned by his son Josh.

These quotes will be used to highlight his untrustworthiness. That’s their first step. Their next step will be to say that Mitt Romney shouldn’t be listened to because you can’t be certain that he’ll keep his promises. That’s something that’ll resonate with alot of voters, especially in the heartland.

That’s why I believe that Mitt Romney is an electoral disaster waiting to happen. Voters have seen too many politicians that are self-serving corruption machines. More than anything else, people are yearning for straight-talking candidates. That’s why McCain’s gathered momentum. It isn’t that people agree with him on all the issues. Clearly, they don’t. What they find appealing about him is that he’s a straight talker.

What’s odd is that Romney’s campaign would put out an advertisement criticizing McCain on immigration. That’s something else that the CNN article chastizes Romney about:

Similarly, Romney accuses McCain of backing an immigration bill this year that provided “amnesty” for illegal immigrants, even though it required them to pay fines and stand in line with legal immigrants if they wanted to become citizens.

Romney bases his criticism on the bill’s inclusion of a so-called “Z” visa that, once obtained, would have allowed illegals to remain indefinitely if they did not pursue citizenship. Among the bill’s backers was his party leader, President Bush. Yet in March 2006, Romney sounded sympathetic to the idea of integrating illegals into U.S. society.

“I don’t believe in rounding up 11 million people and forcing them at gunpoint from our country,” Romney told The Sun of Lowell, Mass. “(T)hose that are here paying taxes and not taking government benefits should begin a process towards application for citizenship, as they would from their home country.”

There isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between where Romney was as Massachusetts’ governor and where McCain was this summer. If there is a difference, I’d love to see someone explain it to me in 50 words or less because I don’t think it’s possible.

People talk about whether this election is a change election or an experience election. I think it’s both and neither. More than anything else, I think it’s a credibility election.

That isn’t the type of election that’d benefit Mitt Romney or Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. It’s the type of election that favors Fred Thompson, John McCain and Rudy Giuliani. I’m not suggesting that Obama isn’t honest. I’m saying that he’s so inexperienced that he doesn’t have credibility on the biggest issues of the day.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Could it be that Mitt Romney’s toughest opponent isn’t Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani or John McCain? Might his toughest fight be with his own words? That’s what this CBS article suggests. It’s something that I’ve pointed to several times, including these posts. Here’s how Politico’s Jonathan Martin makes his case:

Hoping to stymie John McCain’s New Hampshire surge, Mitt Romney has turned to two issues almost certain to move GOP primary voters: tax cuts and immigration. On both counts, Romney noted in recent Granite State campaign appearances, McCain has been crosswise with the majority of his own party.

But, in responding to the charges, McCain’s campaign turned to off-the-shelf material sure to take some of the sting out of Romney’s attacks: Romney’s own words.

On these two hot topics and many others, past statements or positions by the former Massachusetts governor can be found that either completely contradict or at least dilute Romney’s present day attacks.

Martin’s being charitable with his description of Romney’s flip-flops. Lord knows I’ve used stronger language than that. It’s my firm conviction that Mitt Romney hasn’t met a position he hasn’t abandoned. I used this post to point out that Mitt’s flipped on almost every key issue that’s come before him. Notice the slipperyness of Gov. Romney’s spokesman here:

Asked about this, Romney spokesman Matt Rhoades pointed to his candidate’s statehouse record of “balancing budgets, creating jobs, enforcing immigration laws and reforming health care.”

Rhoades didn’t directly respond when aked how the campaign could take on rivals without its own impurities being brought up. “On issues like immigration, Gov. Romney agrees with the majority of grass-roots Republicans,” Rhoades said.

“The enforcement of immigration laws is an important issue, and Governor Romney’s pro-enforcement policies are the right way to stop illegal immigration, while Senator McCain’s advocacy of blanket legal status and benefits for those who break our immigration laws are exactly the wrong policies.”

I empathize with Mr. Rhoades. His job is to hide all of Romney’s flip-flops, which is like trying to hide an elephant in a glass house. Considering the enormity of the task, Mr. Rhoades deserves double the pay of other spokesmen because his job is twice as difficult.

That’s why it’s easy making a case that Mitt Romney’s stiffest fight is in hiding his multitude of flip-flops.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

The longer he stays in the game, the more Mitt Romney’s reputation suffers. This time, we get a full picture of Mitt Romney’s flip-flops, thanks to Jim Rubens’ op-ed in the New Hampshire Union Leader. Here’s the most important Romney flip-flop in Rubens’ op-ed:

Illegal Immigration. In a November 30, 2005, interview with The Boston Globe, Romney called the elements of the McCain-Kennedy immigration bill “reasonable proposals.” By March 2007, finger to the wind, Romney was roundly denouncing the same bill.

Mitt Romney is now touting himself as tough on immigration, with plenty of help from Hugh Hewitt. This op-ed tells us that Mitt Romney’s tough-on-immigration image is just that: image. You can’t spin Rubens’ quote. It speaks for itself. This is yet another example of Mitt’s ‘flexibility’. (Some might say it’s an example of his untrustworthiness but who am I to speculate?)

I still haven’t had anyone point out an example of Romney sticking with a position for a full year. Expecting Romney to shift positions on the biggest issues of our generation is as natural as expecting Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani or John McCain to stick to their principles.

I expected Hugh to ignore this just like Hugh ignored the earlier Union Leader substantive attack on Romney. As expected, Hugh didn’t disappoint in ignoring this damaging critique of Mitt.

Here’s another substantial flip-flop:

Health care mandate. In 2005, Gov. Romney proposed and in 2006 signed into law an under-funded universal health care plan, including a mandate that all individuals lacking it buy health insurance, substantially similar to Hillary Clinton’s proposed plan. On the stump in 2007, Romney reversed and now opposes his own plan and its central feature, the insurance mandate.

Yesterday, I talked with Captain Ed during his show about MittCare. Ed said that we should keep in mind that Romney was dealing with a liberal legislature and that he probably got the best deal he could get. I’ll respectfully disagree with Ed on that. If that’s the best deal that Romney could negotiate, then he’s a worthless negotiator. MittCare is one step away from single payer, which is the ultimate liberal/socialist disaster.

Here’s a seemingly minor flip-flop:

Global warming. On Nov. 7, 2005, Gov. Romney touted the 30 months and half a million dollars his administration had spent shaping the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which will reduce global warming gas pollution by 10 percent by 2019. “I’m convinced it is good business,” said Romney. On Dec. 14, 2005, one hour before clearing the way for his presidential ambitions by announcing that he would not run again for governor, Mitt Romney abruptly pulled Massachusetts out of the agreement, saying it would be bad for business.

This doesn’t help Romney get rid of his image of being a calculating politician. It certainly doesn’t create the image of being a straight shooter. It’d be accurate to say that what you see is what you get with Fred and Rudy. It isn’t accurate to say that what you see is what you get with Mitt. In fact, that’s a pretty lengthy stretch of the imagination.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

This International Herald Tribune article calls into serious question Hillary’s experience. It didn’t take long for the IHT to raise questions about her experience:

But during those two terms in the White House, Clinton did not hold a security clearance. She did not attend National Security Council meetings. She was not given a copy of the president’s daily intelligence briefing. She did not assert herself on the crises in Somalia, Haiti or Rwanda. And during one of President Bill Clinton’s major tests on terrorism, whether to bomb Afghanistan and Sudan in 1998, Clinton was barely speaking to her husband, let alone advising him, as the Lewinsky scandal dragged on.

That’s gotta put a major dent in her image of being a battle-tested co-president. One of the first questions that’s likely to be asked is what this means in terms of Hillary’s supposed foreign policy experience. With the US at war, voters will want to know, first and foremost, that she’s a steady hand in times of trouble.

That paragraph tells the world that she didn’t have much to do with US foreign policy during Bill’s administration. There doesn’t appear to be proof that she played a role in setting policy or making decisions.

In seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, Clinton lays claim to two traits nearly every day: strength and experience. But as the junior senator from New York, she has few significant legislative accomplishments to her name. She has cast herself, instead, as a first lady like no other: a full partner to her husband in his administration, and, she says, all the stronger and more experienced for her “eight years with a front-row seat on history.”

It’s typical Clintonista spin to say that she was a “full partner” to Bill. It’s also easily refutable. Hillary’s best strategy for winning the nomination and the general election was to give her the air of inevitability. Once that was demolished in the Russert Debate, her next logical adjustment was to say that she was battle-tested and more experienced than Obama. As more of this type of reporting is done, the mose damage that’s done to that strategy.

Now that Hillary’s Plan A and Plan B have failed, it’ll be interesting to see what her Plan C will be. I suspect that it’ll be to talk about the policies she’d ;ut in place if elected. At that point, she becomes just another candidate, albeit with significantly higher name recognition.

She doesn’t have an impressive list of legislative accomplishments to distinguish herself by, either. What that means is that, when everything is stripped away from Hillary’s facade, you notice that there’s no there there.

Hillary has the money to stay in the race as long as she wants. It’s just that it won’t make much of a difference now that she’s been exposed as a pretender to the throne.

The good news for Republicans is that it’s apparent that neither Obama or Clinton has the type of gravitas that’s required to be commander-in-chief. That’ll make the GOP nominee’s job a little easier, whether that nominee is Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani or John McCain.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Admittedly, I haven’t been watching the entire debate but I thought Rudy’s best moments were his saying that he’d veto the federal legislation making abortion a crime. He correctly said that it’s a states’ rights issue.

Rudy’s answer to the kid from Atlanta was possibly the best, most direct response of the debate that I’ve seen. Rudy gets an A+ on that.

Fred Thompson’s YouTube hit on Romney and Huckabee was surgical and powerful. Romney’s ‘I’m not perfect’ response was lame at best. His saying that he consistently chose the side of life doesn’t square with the fact that his health care program has a $50 co-pay for abortions. MAJOR OOPS!!!

As the debates roll on, there are a couple thing that are predictable:

Paulites actually believing that bin Laden wouldn’t have attacked America if we hadn’t put forces in Saudi Arabia and Hugh ignoring objective criteria to declare Mitt Romney the winner of the debate.

Let’s deal with the last item first. It’s embarassing to hear someone who is as intelligent as Hugh ignore basic conservative principles out of self interest. That’s the only reason I can think of why he’s sticking to the line that Romney is a conservative. He’s to the left of President Bush. That isn’t a conservative. As I stated earlier, Romney’s health care plan has a $50 co-pay for abortions.

That information demands an answer to this question: When exactly did Romney’s conversion happen? RomneyCare was one of the last things he did as governor. Hugh knows this but still touts Romney. It’s a sad thing to watch. I didn’t think I’d see the day when Hugh Hewitt became part of the Agenda Media but it’s happened. What’s particularly shameful is that he’s doing this to support a closet liberal like Romney.

Another thing that’s obvious is that Ron Paul’s supporters blindly follow him. Tom Tancredo’s reply that “I don’t know what world Ron’s living in” but it doesn’t sound like the real world nailed it. You know that something’s wrong when Tom Tancredo sounds like the voice of reason on a subject.

I thought a couple of Fred’s answers were right on target. His response to the “Name 3 things you’d cut” question was fabulous. He started off by citing the need for entitlement reform, then moving onto the list of programs he listed in his report as chairman of the Government Reform Committee was the best answer of the night. Fiscal conservatives are cheering that answer.

I also thought that his answer on the question on whether he’d veto a bill to ban abortions should Roe v. Wade was overturned was strong and predictable. One of Fred’s strength is his belief in states’ rights.

This is another question where Mitt Romney stumbled a bit. When he said that he’d sign it, it was his attempt to capture a few extra pro-life votes, nothing more. It said that he isn’t a states’ rights person. That’ll lose him more libertarian votes than pro-life votes he gained.

There isn’t a true conservative who isn’t a big Tenth Amendment person. Romney failed that test miserably.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

You won’t hear this news if Harry Reid, Rick Sanchez or John Murtha was your sole source of news. In fact, if they were your only source of news, you’d think that our troops were dying by the thousands each month. Everyone talks about the miracle known as the Anbar Awakening. This news ins’t any less miraculous:

In the first-ever convoy financed by their government, hundreds of Iraqi refugees boarded buses leaving Syria on Tuesday and heading home to Baghdad, cautiously hoping the improvement in security means they can stay for good. Khaled Ibrahim, 45, from central Baghdad, said he was so homesick after having been away for a year, that he wanted to give it a try after hearing things in Iraq have improved.

“If I go and discover that the situation is not stable I will come back” to Syria, said Ibrahim, with his wife, three sons and two daughters in tow. His elder son Abdullah, 13, helped load the family’s bags in a small pickup that was to drive them to the buses parked about 800 meters (yards) away at the collection point in Damascus.

“I will go to school in Baghdad and explosions don’t scare me,” chirped Abdullah, in blue jeans and beige jacket.

Let’s compare that with what LtGen. Rick Sanchez recently said:

“I saw firsthand the consequences of the administration’s failure to devise a strategy for victory in Iraq that employed, in a coordinated manner, the political, economic, diplomatic and military power of the United States. That failure continues today,” he said.

With all due respect to Gen. Sanchez, he’s full of it. When Gen. Sanchez says that “That failure continues today”, it should be recognized for what it is: a political statement designed to advance a political agenda. It shouldn’t be considered an objective military assessment. In fact, it isn’t a stretch to think that Sanchez’s statement has more to do with professional jealousy than with a sober assessment of Gen. Petraeus successful surge strategy.

That aside, the important thing is that conditions in Baghdad have improved enough that Iraqis that fled the country are returning. That’s outstanding news. It’s news that should tell Americans that President Bush fought to defeat the terrorists. Democrats, on the other hand, were only interested in fighting President Bush.

Many shared in the optimism, waving Iraqi flags as they left in the convoy of over 800 people aboard 20 Syrian buses that were to ferry them to the border.

From there, buses sent by Baghdad would take over the returning refugees, according to Mohammed Ali al-Budairi, Iraqi coordinator for displaced Iraqis in Syria. The convoy was to arrive in Baghdad’s neighborhoods of Salhiya and Mansour around 10 a.m. local time Wednesday.

The first bus left by mid-afternoon from al-Sayda Zeinab, an area in southern Damascus where thousands of Iraqi refugees have been living since after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Hours ahead, the neighborhood’s main square was crowded with Iraqis carrying their belongings, some chanting: “Oh Baghdad, you are victorious.”

Americans should be proud of our military and their mission. This sounds alot like success. It sounds like this war is winnable.

That didn’t prevent John Murtha from badmouthing the Pentagon last week:

REP. JOHN MURTHA, (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Because the Pentagon says it, you believe it? Do you believe what the Pentagon says? Huh? Of all the things they’ve told us? Do you believe what, what, I mean, go back and look and mission accomplished, al Qaeda connection, weapons of mass destruction, on and on and on and you believe the Pentagon?

Rep. Murtha should be asked if he thinks that reports of Iraqi refugees returning should be thought of as success. He should also be asked if he believes the Chicago Tribune’s report or the NY Times’ report that talk optimistically about Iraq. Doesn’t he believe anything positive about Iraq?

We don’t have to ask if Harry Reid thinks anything positive is happening in Iraq after he made this statement:

“The president and his enablers in Congress are so afraid of being held accountable for this disastrous war policy that they would rather leave our men and women in uniform empty-handed than work to change course in Iraq,” he said after the votes.

What would Sen. Reid call a situation where refugees were returning home, violence was dropping precipitously and troops were coming home? He’d call it a “disastrous war policy” because that’s what’s happening right now.

Sen. Reid says that President Bush “and his enablers” are afraid of being held accountable. That should be the last of Reid’s worries. He should be worried that voters will hold the Democrat majorities in the House and Senate accountable for insisting on losing the war.

This news should scare Hillary, too, because she’s shifted from being the lone liberal hawk to sounding like just another MoveOn.org anti-war protester. I’m certain that she’ll simply say that she was opposed to President Bush’s prosecution of the war but that won’t work after her famous quote that “If President Bush doesn’t end this war, as President, I will.” That statement was made in the context of an anti-war diatribe so she won’t have any wiggle room.

When all the dust settles, President Bush, John McCain, Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani will have been steadfast in their belief that America’s soldiers could and would win this war. Meanwhile, John Murtha, Harry Reid, Gen. Sanchez and Hillary herself will have been exposed as less than steadfast in calling for a full military victory to being vehemently opposed to winning the war.

That isn’t the position I’d want to be in heading into an election.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Hillary is learning firsthand that it isn’t fun not being the frontrunner. A month ago, she was riding high in most polls. Hillary had an aura of invincibility back then. Her troubles began when Tim Russert asked her a simple question. When she tried being on both sides of the issue, her troubles began. Then came the planting of questions at an Iowa townhall meeting. Her latest troubles are a direct result of those stumbles. John Zogby’s latest interactive poll shows her trailing all five of the major GOP presidential candidates:

Clinton, a New York senator who has been at the top of the Democratic pack in national polls in the 2008 race, trails Republican candidates Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, John McCain and Mike Huckabee by three to five percentage points in the direct matches.

In July, Clinton narrowly led McCain, an Arizona senator, and held a five-point lead over former New York Mayor Giuliani, a six-point lead over former Tennessee Sen. Thompson and a 10-point lead over former Massachusetts Gov. Romney.

It’s amazing to see a prohibitive favorite stumble. It isn’t s a pretty sight to watch them get their feet back underneath themselves. The only ones that are able to recover are people who don’t resort to pandering. Unfortunately for Hillary, that’s about the only thing that she does well. As I wrote this afternoon, Hillary can’t regain her political equilibrium because Barack Obama gets the better of her in the back-and-forth exchanges.

All that said, the biggest reason why Hillary’s lost her lead is because Hillary couldn’t resist the opportunity of having things both ways on the Spitzer drivers license issue. That panderfest hurt her. In fact, it’s been all downhill since then.

The most damaging thing about her panderfest was that it reinforced the image she had of not being sincere. It reinforced the belief that she’d say whatever she needed to to win. It reinforced the belief that she doesn’t take positions on anything for longer than a conversation.

Everyone knows that each of the GOP frontrunners have their flaws but only Romney has a reputation similar to Hillary’s. He’s the only person that people can’t trust amongst the frontrunners:

Next we have Mitt Romney. He’s got pretty hair. He’s also got executive experience. The last hundred years indicate that a person with executive experience has the advantage. Romney also has a lot of experience in the business world. To his credit, he’s the one guy who has been out the whole time talking about the Republican foundation, the “stool” he calls it, life, taxes, and defense. Let me go back to my mantra of pro-life, strong defense, small government, and pro-entrepreneur. Romney was the later. And he has given every indication he will be for the three former. He also was willing to do something with health care and did try his best to limit government involvement. I don’t like the plan, but good on him for trying.

But this is where I left Mitt months ago and where I leave him still. I think he’s a great guy, but there is a trust issue with me. When he needed to out gay and out abort Teddy Kennedy, he did. And now he’s gone the other way. I’d like to trust him, but I just have this feeling that if we are no longer convenient for him, he’ll turn his back on us. Perhaps that is unfair, but that’s where I’m at. I also think, given the last thirty year track record, candidates from Massachusetts make bad candidates for President. I think the Democrats will club Mitt Romney to death. Already they are going for the flip-flop label that the GOP used so well against Kerry. And voters seem to be picking up on that.

This also refutes Mark Penn’s claim that Hillary would win handily if the election was held “tomorrow”:

Mark Penn, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) chief strategist, said Thursday that the Democratic front-runner would get 360 electoral votes if the election were held tomorrow and she faced former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R).

Here’s what I said then:

Penn’s quote is pure BS. For Hillary to reach 360, she’d have to flip red states worth 111 electoral votes. That won’t happen. for that to happen, she’d have to flip Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Missouri, Iowa, New Mexico & Colorado. Even then, I don’t think that that’d get her to 360. According to the 2004 electoral map, that list of states would be worth 92 electoral votes. According to a friend of mine who is a county Republican chairman in Florida, there’s no chance that she’ll win Florida.

This memo’s only value is about changing the subject. The true test for Hillary will come when she’s facing a real candidate. Thus far, she’s faced a group of toy poodles. She won’t get the kid glove treatment when she’s going against Fred Thompson or Rudy Giuliani.

I’m more certain that that memo’s sole mission was to change the subject and shift the coverage away from Hillary’s pandering, manipulative ways. Zogby’s poll proves that that tactic didn’t work. Now it’s time for them to roll out Pland D, E or F. (It’s difficult, if not impossible, to remember that sort of thing when dealing with the Clinton spin machine.

The biggest thing that Republicans should take from this is that Hillary isn’t superhuman, that she’s perfectly beatable if we just come together on a positive, reform-minded agenda.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Good for Wolf Blitzer. According to Bill Sammon’s article, Wolf Blitzer defended Tim Russert’s questioning of Hillary, then said that Bill Clinton’s dig that “6 boys” had teamed up against “one girl” was spin. (He didn’t use those words exactly but that’s clearly what he meant.) Here’s how Mr. Blitzer defended Mr. Russert:

Blitzer also defended Russert against criticism by Bill Clinton. “I think Russert was doing his job,” he said. “He was trying to follow up and be Tim Russert. He asks tough questions. That’s what people want. I admire him.”

Hillary’s claims of Russert playing a gotcha game notwithstanding, the truth is that she simply got caught trying to have things both ways. First she said that Spitzer’s plan “made lots of sense”, then she backtracked by saying she wasn’t endorsing Spitzer’s plan, just that she was saying his plan made alot of sense.

The Clintons attempted to spin that into Russert playing gotcha games. Blitzer’s saying that Russert “was doing his job” puts this thing to rest. Thoughtful people should agree that that isn’t gotcha journalism. It’s simply trying to pry a straight answer out of an evasive candidate.

Hillary’s campaign is attempting to change subjects with this planted bit of ‘news’:

Mark Penn, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) chief strategist, said Thursday that the Democratic front-runner would get 360 electoral votes if the election were held tomorrow and she faced former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R).

Penn, in a campaign memo, said the results would be similar regardless of which of the top Republican candidates Clinton would face.

Republicans took Penn’s prediction in stride.

“It is good to see that the Clinton camp can maintain a sense of humor after the worst two weeks of their campaign,” said Danny Diaz, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee. “Before they start drafting memos on general election strategy, someone ought to write a plan to stop Hillary Clinton’s sinking poll numbers in the early states or figure out where their candidate stands on Social Security, tax reform, and driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants.”

Penn’s quote is pure BS. For Hillary to reach 360, she’d have to flip red states worth 111 electoral votes. That won’t happen. for that to happen, she’d have to flip Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Missouri, Iowa, New Mexico & Colorado. Even then, I don’t think that that’d get her to 360. According to the 2004 electoral map, that list of states would be worth 92 electoral votes. According to a friend of mine who is a county Republican chairman in Florida, there’s no chance that she’ll win Florida.

This memo’s only value is about changing the subject. The true test for Hillary will come when she’s facing a real candidate. Thus far, she’s face a group of toy poodles. She won’t get the kid glove treatment when she’s going against Fred Thompson or Rudy Giuliani. Here’s Blitzer’s opinion on that:

“If she can’t handle the heat during a Democratic contest, wait until the Republicans really start going after her,” he told TV Newser. “If she’s the nominee.”

She’s gotten kid glove treatment thus far. The little jabs that Christopher Dodd and John Edwards have threw sent her tumbling for more than two weeks. Her campaign is in disarray. Her performance in this debate is critical. If Obama and Edwards sharpen their attacks against her, her stumbles might dramatically erode support for her.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative