I interviewed Dennis Lamare at the Nashua Republican City Committee event on 4-28-12

He also spoke to the audience earlier that evening.

His web site is here

Reminder sign, Shirley Mass

With SuperTuesday upon us here in Massachusetts the time had come to see exactly what the situation was at the polls today.

I started in Fitchburg in Ward 1.

The reports were of slow turnout both precincts were below 40 voters at 11:30.

My next stop was ward 4 in Leominster, I followed a Prius with an Obama 2008 bumper sticker to the polling place. Talk about your stereotypes.

Ward 4 is split between two different buildings B & C were in the Vets center and A is in the senior center. As in Fitchburg turnout was down although 4B had managed to break the 100 mark to Leominster. They had meticulous notes concerning past election days, hour by hour results for each year including the weather for each day. They really knew their trends and the trend was down.

My plan was to head west at this point but I received a call saying my son and his friend needed a ride home from school, so I hit the highway figuring to go to Ayer and backtrack. I hit route 2 East (to my surprise passing my 87 yr old mother on the highway) and took the exit bringing me to the Nashoba club, I ordered some lunch and ran down the street to the Town Hall as it was cooking:

The Town Hall looked pretty organized, as at the other locations turnout was down. There was some issue about some democrats being unclear if they could vote today, not that there was much of a choice to make.

From there I headed back to the Nashoba club, wolfed down lunch and then headed toward Lunenburg, when I pulled into the town hall I discovered that voting took place in the elementary school, as I didn’t have time to backtrack I headed to Townsend. It was the only parking lot I saw all day totally full.

However a lot of that was the poll workers. The most interesting thing about the Townsend numbers were the totals

Pct 1 -156 Pct 151, Pct 142.

It was a rather even turnout, the Warden told me they had just redrawn their lines and the numbers were pretty close, however as before the actual turnout was down, they hoped to get 1200, but figured they would be lucky if they did.

Townsend was also the first polling place where I saw a sign for a presidential candidate (Romney) planted in the snow.

From there I rushed back to Fitchburg arriving about 8 minutes late, grabbed the kids and we hit our ward in Fitchburg, Ward 6 where my son Daniel cast his very first vote.

He gets a lot of razzing for registering Republican in school (Repubicans are only 11% statewide) but the people at the polling place were delighted to see a young person voting for the first time, even diehard Democrat Anne DiMartino voiced her approval but said she wouldn’t ask who he voted for as she wouldn’t like the answer.

After dropping off the Crystal in Leominster I headed back to Lunenburg. Lunenburg was the only town where I wasn’t allowed in the room proper, but the warden went in and brought out the numbers for me. By this time is was about 3 p.m and the four precincts varied from 105 to 148 voters less that 10% of the 7000 registered voters in the town.

From Lunenburg I headed for Groton. On my way to ward 1 I noticed for the only time today people holding signs for a presidential candidate

Who would have thought the only people willing to hold signs I’d find today would be Obama people? Although they weren’t willing to be interviewed I commented on it when I stopped at the polling place.

I had heard reports of democrats taking ballots to write in candidates other than Obama, but there was none of that in this town, however like all the others the turnout was low.

From Groton it was off to Shirley. Shirley has the seemingly smallest area for the workers but they were extremely friendly. By 4 p.m. about 12% of registered voters had turned out.

Shirley also had the only other sign I saw near a polling place, one for Newt. I really expected to see more Ron Paul people out.

At this point it was getting late and I wanted to head home hoping to beat daWife to the house to get some dishes done before she got home but before I did I headed back to Ward 1 in Fitchburg to see if the crowd had increased as the day went on. Although nearly 5 hours had passed since my first visit and the weather was considerably warmer the numbers had not managed to even double.

So bottom line, 7 towns very little turnout. although one might think this would favor the underdogs who might be more motivated I suspect this is very good news for Gov Romney. The one hallmark of his campaign has been very good organization, I highly doubt his organization would not make sure his voters were out in the state where he will be speaking.

My guess as of 6 p.m. Mitt Romney managed to break the 50% mark here in Massachusetts.

The second in my series of the GOP candidates for president

Newt Gingrich Former Congressman from Georgia, Former Speaker of the House

The Case for:

1. Leadership: Newt Gingrich is a leader, he presents a dynamic image of leading from the front to take the county where it should be.

2. Conservative History: Newt Gingrich was the leader of the GOP when they successfully took the house after over 40 years in the wilderness, at a time when the very concept of a Republican house was a joke to people.

3. Congressional Success: Gingrich has two decades in congress and two terms as Speaker of the House under his belt. He is intimately familiar with how bills get passed and how the congress works. This is mighty handy when you want to get your agenda passed and moreover he has an actual record of success on Welfare reform and Budget issues that this administration can’t match.

4. Passion/Endurance: Newt Gingrich is a fighter, there is no question that he is not intimidated by either the media or the left and would be willing to fight back against any attack as he demonstrated against Nancy Pelosi just last month.

5. Knowledge: Gingrich has encyclopedic knowledge about so many issues it’s hard to keep up with him. He can not only articulate issues, but the history and the philosophy behind them.

6. Base appeal: Gingrich has established a connection with the base of the party (see 1-4). He has managed to be outside of the party apparatus long enough to be able to reject the status quo that the establishment is defending. An important issue with Tea Party voters. His hits on the media excites and motivates the activists needed in a general election

7. Ideas: Newt Gingrich is an creative ideas machine at a time when creative ideas are necessary to solve huge problems.

8. Blunt Speech: Newt Gingrich’s willingness to say certain things aloud that everybody knows but nobody wants to say on subjects like Israel is not only refreshing, but there is a strength in such things (See Ronald Reagan “Evil Empire”).

The Case Against:

1. Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac: No matter how you slice it or name it, Fannie and Freddie was buying Gingrich’s clout there is no credible way to argue otherwise.

2. Flip Flops: Here is something you don’t hear on Gingrich as much but Newt has been on a lot of different sides on issues. From Climate Change to the mandates for Obamacare Newt has been on the wrong side of a lot of issues including the Hoffman vs Dede race in NY.

3. Personal Issues Gingrich’s multiple affairs, divorces and marriages play very poorly with the religious, and speaks to character. Ironically the media that still celebrates Bill Clinton will not give him a pass on this. His explanations and apologies have been inarticulate.

4. PITA: People who have worked with Newt simply don’t like him, and we’ve not talking about the people who were on the other side, we are talking about the people on his own side. When your own side forces him out of leadership, that tells you something. When so few people who know him support him that tells you more.

5. Temperament: Gingrich has proven himself easily distracted if rubbed the wrong way. Gingrich charged like a bull at a red cloth when baited by the Romney campaign going all negative and off message not once but twice. There is no reason to believe that this would not be repeated in a general election.

6. Ethics Probe/scandals: Gingrich was the subject for a long ethics probe and in the end did pay a fine. The media in a general election will go long on those charges and fines.

7. Organization: Gingrich while begin generously funded by a superpac has not managed to build a strong organization nationwide to compete.

8. Polarizing figure: Gingrich is in many ways a “larger than life” figure. In many down the ticket races you will see Democrats running against Gingrich allowing them a distraction from their own attachment to Obama.

Exculpatory evidence: The record shows the ethics probe was pretty weak (even CNN declared it so in the end). Strong effective leaders often ruffle feathers. The personal issues of his marriage are old news and he has expressed contrition for them and as a former GOP leader it is natural he would support any party member no matter how liberal.

Conclusion: Newt Gingrich has his risks but he is a high reward choice. When he is on nobody does it better. He is one of the most persuasive people on the stump or in a debate. He is tough enough and nimble enough and spontaneous enough with a phrase (Food stamp president) to devastate Obama. Newt can be high maintenance. His personal life and baggage will hurt but that stuff is old and will have to be reintroduced to voters in the Obama age. Any election that is about the record of Barack Obama is a loser not only for the administration but down ticket, the strategy will be to turn the larger than life Gingrich into the issue and hope to distract the voters from Obama, and Newt from his message. That is their best card since Newt’s strong successful record on economy and budget combined with his ability to articulate it should be devastating contrast to Obama and the left in 2012.

My Biggest fear: Gingrich’s lack of discipline combined with his huge paper trail both in office and writing, makes it really easy to set a trap for him and a compliant media would certainly do their best to set that trap and exploit it. If Newt takes the bait it could turn the campaign in a weekend.

My Hunch: I suspect in a general election Newt has the best shot. He can not only match Obama in hope and change but can point to an actual record to pull it off. He is also the best positioned to take advantage of the “do nothing congress” strategy by pointing to his record during the Clinton years. As long as Romney keep baiting him away from that message it’s moot.

My advice to the Gingrich Campaign: Positive, positive, positive. The trick is to be explicitly positive while hitting Romney implicitly. Make your case on your record, on your ideas, make sure any attack is on Obama, don’t even mention Mitt. Close with something like: “This is the case for Conservatism and against Obamaism, It’s the winning case I will be happy to make to the American people and its a case that my opponents in the race can’t effectively make. It not only skewers Romney on his inability to connect it highlights your presentation advantage over both Santorum and Paul.

I’ve talked recently about the many reasons to oppose Barack Obama and to remind people why the Republican nominee whoever he is should be supported. The time has now come to examine each of the remaining candidates to see what they would bring to the table.  I will examine the pros and cons of each candidate one per day.  Let’s start with the current Frontrunner:

Mitt Romney Businessman Former Governor of Massachusetts

The Case for:

1. Business Experience:  Mitt Romney has years of both experience in the private sector as a businessman and as a successful organizer for big events (IE:  Salt Lake City) at a time when the economy is THE issue in election 2012.

2. Competence:  Mitt Romney is not only an experienced business man he has been successful building several enterprises over a period of year

3. Executive Experience:  As the governor of a state Romney brings a level of executive experience that his opponents simply do not have.

4. Personal:  There has not been even the merest smidgen of personal scandal in Romney.  His wife and family are a powerful asset.

5. Learning curve:  This is Romney’s second run for president as has considerably improved his campaigning skills, that ability to learn and adapt bodes well in a tough campaign.

6. Establishment:   With the party establishment behind him he has the best possible organization and apparatus behind him in each state.

7. Demeanor:& Romney projects calm confidence, and his appearance is exactly what you would want in a president.

The Case Against:

1. Romneycare:  The number one issue to many conservatives and the issue that drove GOP success was opposition to Obamacare.  Romney’s healthcare plan in Massachusetts is the base on which Obamacare is built and no amount of spin will change it.

2. Flip Flops:  Mitt Romney knows there are two sides to every story because he has been on both sides, from Abortion to Reagan Romney has been on both sides on many issues and not just any issues, issues that drive voters.

3. Wall Street:  Wall street is the big bugaboo that the left intents to play in 2012 and Romney symbolizes it better than anyone.

4. Establishment:  Romney symbolizes the GOP establishment that had  to be dragged screaming and kicking to cuts.  The base which drove the 2010 election just doesn’t plain trust him.

5. Religion:  The left will pound the Mormon religion on its history and on opposition on Gay Marriage in California and unlike a different candidate those attacks are unlikely to move conservatives toward him (see 1,2,4)

6. Coattails: Imagine you are congressman X who is running on the GOP ticket on opposition to Obamacare, what do you say when your opponent brings up the man at the top of your ticket?


Exculpatory evidence:
   Romney can make the case that his moves were necessary to govern in Liberal Massachusetts.  He has also demonstrated that he can pivot as situations chance and his successful air war against Newt indicates an organization that can make adjustments necessary to win elections.  He can point to actual jobs created in a bad economy to counter the wall street charge and should be able to counter the attack on his religion as an attack ON religion in general (greatly helped by the Obama administration move on Obamacare vs Catholics this week).  He can also point to the difference between a state and a national program when making the Romneycare vs Obamacare case.

 

Conclusion:   The real problem for Mitt will be his base.  Without an active and excited base his prospects are dim, will he convince them that he will govern as a conservative or not?  If he fails to make that sale, Obama wins re-election.  That is what makes him the weakest of the four GOP candidates the president could face in the fall.  Elections are won by passion and Mitt just doesn’t generate it, but that’s his one ace, the last election was governed by passion and look what happened.  If there was ever an election where competence has a chance against passion this is it.

 

My Biggest fear:    If Mitt makes the sale to the American People (and he should be able to)  but chooses to govern from the center do not be surprised to see a full-blown conservative revolt leading to an actual third-party in 2014.

My Hunch:    I suspect it will take a victory in 2012 to reveal who the actual Mitt Romney is, and I think the real deal is probably someone I’d like.  I really think he would be a better candidate if he just let that fellow out.

My advice to the Romney Campaign:
  At a Florida event on CSPAN Mrs. Romney talked about her husband’s decision to run again, she said she asked him one simple question: “Can you fix it?” When he said “Yes.” she was in. I and the crowd instantly believed her. She needs to be deployed on the campaign as much as possible, particularly to the conservative base, if anyone can win them over she can. She possesses the strength that is instantly appealing that her husband, for whatever reason, just doesn’t project.

Just watched yet another GOP debate and was totally unamazed by the lack of questions on fast and furious and BS questions such as: “Why did the Bush Tax Cuts fail?”. I think political types are sick of questions from people who want the GOP to fail.

I have a solution:

I suggest Hotair send an invitation to each candidate for a 2 hour debate moderated by Ed Morrissey.

The panel can be 4 bloggers the rule being each blogger has to be a known supporter of a different candidate (for example Bill Jacobson for Gingrich, Powerline for Romney, Stacy McCain for Santorum and a Ron Paul blogger for Ron Paul (Tom Woods?) )

I would suggest prospective bloggers could submit requests to be on the panel and the Hot Air Staff would vote. (That might be bad news for Stacy, oh well.)

I think Ed Morrissey should contact each campaign and see if they are willing. I guarantee it would be more interesting that what we’ve seen already.

Go for it Ed!

Update: Instalanche, thanks Glenn. I’d dead serious about this. The new media should demonstrate that it knows how to run a credible and substantive debate.

Update 2: Ed’s willing and we already know he is able.

Well, never let it be said that I would disappoint my friends. I hereby offer an invitation to the remaining four major Republican candidates to hold an on-line debate sponsored and webcast by Hot Air/Townhall, moderated by myself and a small panel of conservative and center-right bloggers. The most convenient place to conduct this would be at or around CPAC, which takes place in two weeks or so, and fortunately hits around the middle of a four-week lull in media debates. I believe all four candidates will be appearing at CPAC, which should make this convenient for them as well. However, I’m certain that we could schedule this at any other time and place where we could have all four on stage at the same time.

The candidates would be wise to jump on board.

Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one.

Matthew 5:37

People have a great capacity to hear the truth

Dr. Thompson The Verdict 1982

Byron York tells a story a Mitt Romney story that make a lot of sense:

According to Scott, Romney revealed that polling from Richard Wirthlin, Ronald Reagan’s former pollster whom Romney had hired for the ’94 campaign, showed it would be impossible for a pro-life candidate to win statewide office in Massachusetts. In light of that, Romney decided to run as a pro-choice candidate, pledging to support Roe v. Wade, while remaining personally pro-life.

In November 1993, according to Scott, Romney said he and Wirthlin, a Mormon whose brother and father were high-ranking church officials, traveled to Salt Lake City to meet with church elders. Gathering in the Church Administration Building, Romney, in Scott’s words, “laid out for church leaders … what his public position would be on abortion — personally opposed but willing to let others decide for themselves.”

Maybe it’s just me, but I think if you have a position or a belief that’s worth having it’s worth defending. If something is right you make your case for it. You defend it, you have enough faith in the public for them to respect your position.

Romney was not, here is what this tells me. Mitt Romney may or may not believe abortion is Murder but he certainly believes his election to public office trump it.

That doesn’t mean that Mitt Romney would not be a superior president to Barack Obama, he would be, by a lot, but it explains in a nutshell why he is an inferior candidate to Rick Santorum and most of the others.

Although I have avoided for strategic reasons “Santorum Surge” talk, it has reached the point where it is time to speak up.

White Stacy McCain is pleased that Iowa is catching up to him Erick Erickson’s critique will certainly get more play in the MSM

As a pro-lifer myself, I have to throw up a bit in my mouth that Iowa conservatives are seriously considering Rick Santorum, which will only help Mitt Romney, a guy who even after his supposedly heartfelt conversion to life put some seriously pro-abortion judges on the Massachusetts bench hiding behind the “Well it was Massachusetts for Pete’s sake” defense.

Let’s remember Rick Santorum could not even win re-election in his home state of Pennsylvania.

Forget for a moment the absurdity of faulting a Republican for the crime of losing an election in the 2nd worst year for republicans since Nixon, think of that standard as applied to say, Mitt Romney. He lost to Ted Kennedy, he lost in 2008 to John McCain and he did not run for re-election after one term as governor. Yet Erick fears him.

the real issue here is social conservatives in Iowa risk Mitt Romney’s election by supporting a guy who cannot get traction or money outside of Iowa.

Rick Santorum will not be the nominee. That’s the reality. But his rise hurts Bachmann, Gingrich, and Perry in Iowa — all of whom have better organizations and better shots beyond Iowa.

So lets me get this straight, Santorum can’t win because he lost once, so we need instead to support people who currently can’t beat him, otherwise we can’t beat the loser from last time who is suddenly invincible? Yeah that makes sense.

If that tortured logic isn’t enough he follows up with a litany of Santorum’s faults. I’ll concede Santorum has not made all the decisions I would have, but since like most Americans, I will not be on the ballot, I am forced to choose the person closest to me, that’s Santorum.

Erick is a good guy but these utilitarian arguments are why so many people don’t get involved, we can’t vote for the best man we have to vote “strategically”. That’s nonsense! I’m not a republican because I love the letter R. I’m a republican because the party stands for something and I expect our candidates to do so as well.

Dan Riehl a Perry man says this.

The very same media that has endeavored for years to make Santorum toxic as a political presence, is the very same media that has and will malign a Perry, Bachmann, Palin, et al, so long as the politician in question is a conservative.

To put down our principles to take up their arguments simply because we somehow think it serves our agenda in this one instance only empowers them. It does not strengthen, or win, us anything. If we have a candidate, make the case for him, or her. That, not attacks on some other genuinely conservative candidate, is invariably what yields us the best candidates in the end.

We have the better case, let’s make it and show the faith in the voters that we’ve attacked this administration for lacking. That’s where the Tea Party came from. Erickson’s argument is not only weak, it’s a reminder why so many people didn’t get involved in the first place.

I suspect that if Santorum rises as the Tea Party candidate he will acquire access to the most effective grass-roots organization out there this cycle. And if you doubt them remember it wasn’t Mitt Romney and the Republican establishment that caused Ben Nelson to cut and run.

Success breeds success if Santorum can get that success then he will reap the benefits of it. If Erickson’s candidates are candidate, let them prove it to the voters.

Update: Byron York has some news:

There was one candidate that nearly all of them wanted to support, and that was Rick Santorum. But they had a problem with Santorum, too. That problem wasn’t about knowledge, or experience, or personal history. No, the problem with Santorum was always electability. Many, many social conservatives said that they wanted to support Santorum but were troubled by his inability to rise above two or three percent support in the polls. If Santorum could just show that he could rise a bit higher, they said, then who knows how much support might come his way?

I’ve had those same conversations with people an Iowa win and a finish ahead of Perry or Bachmann in NH will make all the difference when the race goes beyond South Carolina.

Update 2: Dropped a “K” in the title

Cokie Roberts is looking like a genius today:

Iowa’s Secretary of State Matt Schultz will be endorsing Rick Santorum Friday, ABC News has learned.

The campaign teased the endorsement as a “major announcement” and it is a big boost for the candidate who has spent the most time campaigning in the state.

This is also considered a direct Rebuke to Mitt Romney:

During the last cycle, Schultz backed Mitt Romney, who shares his Mormon faith.

That being said, this is exactly what Romney needs. The Newt voter is unlikely to be running to Romney so he needs to drain them to someone else. He doesn’t want them going to Perry because Perry still has a ton of money. Santorum is a better choice because although right on just about all the issues the Romney campaign knows the MSM is going to savage him because of his total fearlessness to champion social issues.

Combine this with Gingrich’s solo debate with Santorum on a Trump network (which will get a lot of fresh eyeballs due to Trump) it’s Romney’s best shot to turn this into a 3 man race that he has a shot of winning. (Bachmann made a huge mistake skipping this btw)

And of course the next two weeks would be the perfect time for Santorum to peak. If he can surge in Iowa over the next few weeks it will be enough to give him a ticket to New Hampshire. There are too many GOP social liberals in NH who fled from Massachusetts for Rick to win there, but if he makes it to South Carolina he should be able to thrive as a solid social conservative, with a tea party record and an impeccable personal life.

That’s the 2nd big Iowa endorsement that we’ve seen for Santorum in under 10 days.

If you are going to get endorsements, this is the time to do it.

Update: Speaking of endorsements

The 2012 Republican primaries will soon be at hand, and it is of utmost importance that the Republican nominee who will challenge Obama for the Presidency is not only cognizant of, but willing to fearlessly fight against the ever increasing force of islamic supremacist infiltration of the United States and the global threat presented by islamic supremacist conquest to freedom loving people everywhere.

and her conclusion?

RICK SANTORUM FOR PRESIDENT

Works for me.

I’m at the Radisson Hotel in Nashua NH to cover a Herman Cain event, it’s the first Cain Event I’ve covered since he became a front runner and the differences are apparent:

Large Room, lots of media, lots of signage the works.

Of course you still have the tables and the swag, but more of it


It’s quite a different scene.

I’ve already interviewed one soft-spoken lady who supports the candidate who had a rather cool shirt:

the video is uploading as I type, I’ll be updating with video and photos as time permits

More to come….

Update:
Here is that interview of the woman in the shirt

Update 2:
Country singer Buddy Jewel now performing

Granite Grok is here too:

Update 2: crowd has swelled to 250+ and there is more press here than there were PEOPLE at the opening of his Manchester office, it’s good to be a frontrunner Meanwhile here is some more video:

The crowd coming in:

Update: Cain gives a rousing speech, Gives a great bit on life liberty and the pursuit of happiness, hits the Occupods as stifling speech the crowd is totally uninterested in the MSM’s agenda I asked him if the reception today is an indication that the media will not knock him out, his answer: “You’ve got that right.”

Update again, more video:

and some Cain on stage:

part 2

I’ve gotta head home for my son’s play.

Update: and the rest of the videos/interviews:

I was rather surprised he remembered my name on the line

It seemed to me that the crowd didn’t care one bit about what the MSM thought

And these ladies certainly were impressed:

It is my opinion that the media has failed to take Cain out.

here are a few more interviews:

and not all voters there had decided on Cain yet:

Update first Cain video replaced by one that works.

This post on Rick Santorum:

Santorum’s brand of conservatism may not be your particular cup of tea, but there is no denying that he is a man of firm principle, untainted by even the slightest hint of corruption or scandal. Neither can it be denied that Santorum has campaigned tirelessly despite all discouragement. He has held events in all 99 counties in Iowa and you might think that some of Herman Cain’s critics — who have slagged him for his alleged neglect of Iowa — would give Santorum credit for his relentless campaigning in the Hawkeye State.

He is also a Catholic gentleman who is not afraid to BE a catholic gentleman and to articulate stands consistent with that belief no matter what any pollster or pundit says.

I haven’t made my final choice for the primaries but Rick Santorum has been consistently in my top 3 and may in fact have the best chance of getting my vote. Any conservative should be proud to support him.