Mitt Romney's bad day continues. He's dropping in the polls, lost Iowa and now his primary opponent in SC gains more support.
Almost forgot about Romney's offshore tax havens
Although it is not apparent on his financial disclosure form, Mitt Romney has millions of dollars of his personal wealth in investment funds set up in the Cayman Islands, a notorious Caribbean tax haven. - ABC News
Sources close to Michelle Bachmann say she will officially end her campaign to be the Republican nominee for President today at an 11am press conference. You can watch it live on CSPAN. The Minnesota Congresswoman finished with only 5% of the vote in last night's Iowa caucus. Bachmann was hoping for a miracle but I guess God was too busy trying to figure out how he could possibly help Tim Tebow beat the Steelers.
The question now is what will she do next? Does she run for a 4th term for her House seat? She has until May to join the race. According to GovTrack.us she was barely in DC for House votes during her run for President. Maybe she's had enough of being a part of the worst Congress in history?
Another option for Bachmann would be to pull a Palin and milk her notoriety. She could work for Fox News and make millions selling books and doing speeches. I'd put my money (and my hopes) on this.
Rick Perry decided to cancel his plans in South Carolina and is "reassessing" his campaign. He's all but done and it's only a matter of time before he ends his campaign.
Perry and Bachmann combined for just over 18,000 votes last night but they have very committed supporters. It will be interesting to see who the former candidates will back. I can't imagine that either would side with Romney.
The GOP is still desperately seeking a candidate. While Mittens is ahead in most polls, there's a lot of dislike amoung their rank and file. Spunky might still get it. But then there's Rick Perry, and that implosion will just be fun to watch.
First things first, did you know he was a Democrat before he was a Republican? Along the lines of "I voted against it before I was for it," or something like that. While we Democrats say hello and welcome to ex-RINOs, the GOP is much more about purity. Or their version of purity.
Rick was elected to the state legislator in 1984 as a Democrat, where he served almost 3 terms as a Democrat. Before switching to the GOP to run for Ag Commissioner, he actually ran the Texas branch of Al Gore's 1988 presidential campaign. Really.
This is going to hurt him with that base. Especially when they recall things like this:
But Mr. Perry cast some votes and took a few stands that seem to be at odds with his fiscal conservatism today. The most vivid example is his support of the $5.7 billion tax hike in 1987, signed by Gov. Bill Clements, a Republican, opposed by most Republican members. The bill passed the House by a 78-70 vote.
Even without adjusting for inflation, the legislation triggered the largest tax increase ever passed in modern Texas, said Dale Craymer, president of the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association. Today, taking inflation into account, it would be worth more than $11 billion.
His base, though, likes all the prayer stuff. The courts will likely not be as kind. Rick's planning a Christian prayer day for 6 August in Texas. He's invited all the other governors and heaven knows who else. There's just that sticky church v state thing....he was sued yesterday. There's a national day of prayer, anathema to atheists and most agnostics, but it's an "all-inclusive" type of prayer where non-Christian religious types are welcome. Not so in Texas, where it's Christians only. (And it's unclear to me whether that's all Christians or only those Christians who don't consider Catholics and Mormons to be "real" Christians.)
Even if he gets the nomination, he's going to have to answer about whether he wants to be president of these United States, or the US less Texas which he seems to have wanted to be it's own country again.
Now that Illinois is somewhat past us (still waiting for a Republican nominee for Governor and for the Democrats to fill the Lieutenant Governor's slot), it's time to look ahead to the next major primary -- Texas.
In Texas, the big race is for the Governor's mansion. When George II was awarded the Presidency, Rick Perry, his Lieutenant Governor, became Governor. Four years ago, there was some thought that Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison would run against him but she decided to run for another term in the Senate instead. This time, Senator Hutchison decided to run for the Governor's mansion.
When she first indicated that she might run, Senator Hutchison was seen as the favorite to unseat Governor Perry in the primary. Since she indicated that she would resign from the Senate to run, several top Democrats (believing that they could not beat Senator Hutchison in the General Election) set their eyes on running in a special election for the Senate seat since Texas (like the new law in Massachusetts) only permits a very temporary appointment with a quick special election.
As time passed, two things happened. First, Washington-based polticians became very unpopular with Republicans and Senator Hutchison looked less likely to win the Republican Primary. Second, Senator Hutchison kept postponing when she would step down from the Senate. (The current answer appears to be after she is elected Governor, if she is elected Governor.) As a result, one of the potential Democratic candidates for Senate switched to the Governor's race -- Bill White, the recent Mayor of Houston.
The major candidates for the primary on the Republican side are Governor Perry, Senator Hutchison, and, representing the grass roots of the Tea Party, Debra Medina. The major candidates on the Democratic side are Mayor White and Farouk Shami.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
This week has been a states rights week in both Minnesota and Texas. (For long time readers, that would include St. Paul and Austin, and you know why (grin)).
Tim Pawlenty is flirting with the idea of refusing to abide by any health care changes enacted by the Federal government. While I'm pretty sure that Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken have some thoughts on that, but they have seemingly decided that discretion is the better part of valour.
It all started on Thursday night, during a radio call-in show, when Tim was asked if he'd evoke states rights to prevent enactment, and he said it was a possibility.
"Depending on what the federal government comes out with here, asserting the 10th Amendment may be a viable option, but we don't know the details," said Pawlenty. "We can't get the president to outline what he does or doesn't support in any detail. So we'll have to see. I would have to say that it's a possibility."
Pawlenty also said he hopes Republican governors will be more assertive about state's rights, and even bring up lawsuits to challenge the federal government.
He has since backtracked somewhat. He said he won't really sue the Feds, nor try for getting Minnesota to secede from the Union. But the question is who wins when those rights reserved to the states or the people conflict? That is, if most people in Minnesota WANT health care reform and support any legislation emanating from the Federal government but Tim (as the state) says no, who wins? Earlier this year, Mark "I left my heart in Argentina" Sanford refused Federal stimulus funds that everyone else wanted, and his desires were struck down by the courts. Would Tim take on the Feds as that plays to the wingnut base he wants in 2012, or would he honour his responsibility to his constituency and allow Federal law to prevail?
Moving south, we come to Texas. There, Rick Perry is deploying both Texas Rangers and Texas National Guard troops to the Mexican border to deal with cross-border crime. The state will legislate the funds to send the troops, and they are not saying WHERE the troops will go, so as to not compromise the mission.
On the one hand, there is a lot of cross-border violence due primarily to the drug trade. And Texas has requested Federal troops to help quell the violence.
But here's my question: what happens if those troops cross the border? I'm thinking specifically about Article 1, Section 10, which ends with:
No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.
If they crossed into Mexico, would Texas be in violation of this section? Since Mexico has not invaded Texas, could Rick's actions be considered an act of war?
Normally, I wake up on my own, but this morning, it was thanks to a phone call from a friend in California. After making sure I was truly conscious, she said "Texas is seceding from the Union. Again." I said "No, it's not." And the response was "I'm up late, you've been sleeping for hours, and that means you haven't seen the news yet. Rick Perry said it, and he's really planning on it."
My first thought was that since it was 3 a.m. I couldn't remember if this would be an act of sedition or an act of treason, but that either way, no sitting governor would actually leave the Union. My second thought was that he can't secede, he's running for Governor.
What Rick actually said, as reported by the Dallas Morning News:
Perry suggested Texans might at some point get so fed up they would want to secede from the union, though he said he sees no reason why Texas should do that.
"There's a lot of different scenarios," Perry said. "We've got a great union. There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we're a pretty independent lot to boot."
He said when Texas entered the union in 1845 it was with the understanding it could pull out.
Trust me, they can't secede. Texas didn't have an understanding that it could leave whenever it wanted to. And they're not going anywhere.
But once I made some coffee, I gave it some thought. Understanding that this NOT going to happen, in a fantasy world, it might not be such a bad idea. Not for Texas, but for the rest of us. I am not in favour of the dissolution of the Union, and I certainly hope and expect that Texas will stay a part of it.
First off, Texas has 34 Electoral Votes, and they've been going red. It's an expensive state, and it makes winning Federal elections easier. Then, Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn would no longer be Senators, meaning there would be 98, of which 60% is 58.8, meaning with newly-minted Senator Al Franken, we've got a filibuster-proof majority.
Next, there is a virtual border drug war going on down on the El Paso part of the border. It's bloody, expensive, troubling, and would no longer be the problem of the United States if Texas was its own country.
Seriously, secession is an act of sedition, and would cause another Civil War, and no one is that stupid.
We're reported before that Kay Bailey Hutichson has formed an exploratory committee regarding a potential run for Texas governor in 2010. If she goes forward, she'll be pitted on the GOP side against Rick Perry, the popular current Texas governor. Perry is, by the way, the longest-serving governor in Texas history. (Sorry to digress, but whenever I even think about Texas governors, my mind goes to Ann "That Dog Don't Hunt" Richards. You are missed.)
Both Hutchison and Perry already have millions ready to spend on the race. The Hillreports that Hutchison has transferred $1 million from her Senate fund of the close to $9 million available. In addition, Perry, who spent a little over $4 million for his last re-election bid, has $3 million in the bank as of September.
There's too much bitterness, too much anger, too little trust, too little consensus and too much infighting. And the tone comes from the top. Texans are looking for leadership and results.
The Perry response?
"Kay Bailout has been talking about running for governor and passing legislation for years and neither has ever happened," said Mark Miner, a spokesman for Perry. "Today she continues her streak of indecision."
Here's the part I like best. The Hill claims that Perry holds sway over the more-right portion of the Texas Republicans. However, he started out as a Democrat.
Will Hutchison resign her Senate seat to run for governor? Possibly. Chris Cillizza predicts this will happen in June. If so, there would be an open Special Election, although between the resignation and that election, Perry would make a temporary appointment. Now THAT would be interesting.