Posts Tagged ‘mitt romney’


Veepstakes: My final take

August 21, 2008

My final thoughts on the Veepstakes

For the Republicans I am going to stick with McCain choosing Lieberman. Call me idealistic, call me presumptuous but McCain clearly wants to choose Lieberman and if there is a story about this contest it is about McCain choosing Lieberman. From McCain’s reference to John Lewis (which was a reference to Lieberman’s Civil Rights record) and Lieberman’s confession that he made a mistake about Alito (though if it wasn’t for him and the Gange of Fourteen there wouldn’t be an Alito), they are preparing to run. However, life is not an episode of West Wing, and even then Vinnick lost, so if while I’m sticking to Lieberman it might well be Pawlentry. McCain is not going to choose youth (Jindal, Palin, Cantor etc), money (Fiorina, Whitman) nor is the pick going to some pro-choice governor (Ridge, Lingle, Rell). Romney would be a bit too humiliating and Thompson, Rice and Huckabee don’t particularly want it (though it would be nice to see how long the NRO crowd maintained their pro-life position in the face of a Huckabee or a Graham pick). So it is going to be either Lieberman, Pawlentry or Giuliani. Kasich or Hutchinson might be a long-shot.

The Democrat pick is irrelevant since the public clearly don’t want Obama but they want a Democrat. My guess is that he will choose Biden, Hillary or Richardson. Richardson would nail down Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada and make McCain’s life difficult so I bet Richardson will be considered. However, unless Obama chooses someone who is pro-life, the pick will not be that important. My choice (if I supported Obama, though I don’t) would be Ken Salazar. Salazar supported the War in Iraq and is a moderate but if Obama had listened to me he wouldn’t have adopted the positions or the strategy that he did. If it is going to be a ‘headfake’ it will be Warner. Gilmore is so inept that Warner could bow out without endangering the Democrats’ chance of creating two Virginia Senators.


Sell Romney & Sell Pawlentry

July 29, 2008

A contrarian take on the McCain veepstakes

Adding the intrade prices of Mitt Romney (32-37.9) and Tim Pawlentry (30-35) together allows one to see that the market is pricing the rest of the field at 2/1 (or 3.00). I believe that Romney and Pawlentry and the constant, ‘McCain will choose Romney tomorrow’ or ‘McCain will select Pawlentry later today’, speculation are only smokescreens for someone like Lieberman, Giuliani, Bloomberg or even Rice. If McCain has any sense it would be one of those four and would be announced at the convention to force people to tune in. While the McCain campaign has as unfortunate capacity to shoot itself in the foot, betting against Pawlentry and Romney is a very good idea.


More veepstakes madness

July 22, 2008

McCain Mitt-flops around on his VP selection

The VP speculation seems be all over the place, since people are saying; that Romney is being tapped, McCain has ‘narrowed’ his choices (whatever that means) and that McCain may not announce his pick before the Olympics. My view is that the closer it is to the convention the more likely it is to be radical, since if he announced Lieberman (or any controversial choice – including Romney or Huckabee) now there would be a concerted effort to dissuade him from that course of action. On the other hand, the emotions engendered by conventions might make a challenge more likely. After all, there were attempts to get Dan Quayle off the ticket in 1988, to say nothing of the chaotic attempts to find a running mate for Ronald Reagan at 1980 Republican conventions, as recounted in the American Spectator.


Is Romney off the ticket?

July 21, 2008

McCain/Romney seems (thankfully) unlikely.

If there was one ticket that could have undermined McCain’s chances, it was picking Mitt Romney. Not only would he have annoyed social conservatives (without the upside that Lieberman or Giuliani could bring to the ticket) it should also be clear that picking someone associated, fairly or unfairly, with the worst excesses of economic conservatism would not help McCain in either the Midwest or the North East. Indeed, even picking a run of the mill libertarian like Sarah Palin would be preferable, since a former CEO’s views are more likely to carry more weight than those of a former beauty queen. Of course this could be a bluff, but it is time to bet against Romney being on the Republican ticket. However, if the article from the American Spectator is correct, a McCain/Romney ticket is off the menu.


A Man in the Arena

June 24, 2008

Why McCain needs to invoke the spirit of Theodore Roosevelt

As I have said elsewhere, it is obvious from the polls that that McCain’s attempt to run on a hard right tax cutting agenda isn’t working, and more importantly is something that McCain doesn’t believe in. In reality McCain is a right of centre populist who believes in free trade, school vouchers and attacking wasteful spending but also believes in regulatory reform, global warming, expanding access to health care and is worried about inequality. He also supports issues such immigration reform, energy independence and balanced budgets which are neither right nor left. Just as his best moment on foreign policy came when he directly confronted Ron Paul, his best two domestic policy moments came when he attacked Romney (and implicitly Giuliani) over the ‘profit not patriotism’ line and Huckabee over his regressive tax plan.

The Democratic lead on economic issues and their lead in the generic ballot means that there is simply no popular appetite for further economic conservatism. Obviously, Dick Morris is the last person who should be giving policy advice and his stuff about oil speculators and companies is simply demagogic nonsense. However, his contention in a recent interview that, ‘McCain can win by entering the democratic primary. He has to be a democratic opponent to to Obama. He should be a populist, and win over (working-class) Hillary voters’, is correct. It is also self-evident that the Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson wing of the Republican Party, who seem to have hi-jacked the McCain campaign, seem hell-bent on blaming everyone else, including the very people that McCain needs to win over, for his predicament. For instance, even the normally reasonable Irwin Seltzer seems to have gotten into his head that the one person to blame for Bush’s failures in the past two years is not Bush himself but Joe Lieberman.

So what should McCain do? I think the first thing McCain needs to do is to stop trying to be a third rate Barry Goldwater. Even though Obama has tried to give the illusion of moving to the centre there is plenty of room for McCain to come up with a tax plan that is a bit more progressive and which closes more loopholes, while still keeping economic conservatives on board. McCain should also stop hedging, instead of talking about building a few more nuclear power plants in the next twenty years he should talk about building a whole generation by 2012, a goal that is achievable if foreign technology is allowed to be imported into the US and Yucca Mountain is opened up. As I have said before McCain also needs to make overtures to those on the DLC wing of the Democratic Party. Although this may seem radical, it would be no different from the Republican recruitment of hawkish Democrats, such as Richard Perle and Paul Wolfovitz in the mid to late 70s. I am not suggesting that McCain should go overboard or do anything silly, but moving the Republican party to the centre, by enabling conservative Democrats to vote for McCain, would do more to help protect the idea of free trade and market solutions than anything the NRO wing of the GOP have come up with so far.


Obama’s lead returns to 5.90%

June 23, 2008

Obama’s bounce persists

My new national projections are:

Barack Obama 48.95
John McCain 43.05

Unlike my previous projections, there is no way that these results can be spun. Although, in time McCain’s ratings might start to catch up with those of Obama this is completely unecessary risk. McCain’s campaign has been poorly run with it increasingly reminding one of the dog in James Thurber’s short story, afraid to attack Obama because of a perceived backlash, afraid to move to the centre because that would offend the ‘base’ and most importantly afraid of mentioning the war in Iraq, even though McCain actually leads on this issue in the polls. Indeed, in terms of economic policy you could be forgiven for questioning where the imprint of Thompson and Romney ends, even though McCain has had a distinguished record fighting for the interests of hard working Americans. On domestic issues McCain desperately needs a declaration of independance.

NOTE: My methodology for my detailed polling projections involves collating all the available polls of likely voters and then filtering them through Samplemiser, a Kalman filter. I only used polls of likely voters and I get my data from


Why McCain shouldn’t take the pledge

June 3, 2008

Why a one-term pledge would be a bad idea

According to this article Mark Salter, McCain’s speechwriter and confident, has claimed that the idea of McCain pledging to serve only one term, if elected, was discussed last year. The idea of a one-term pledge has been applauded by various people who have stated that, ‘it would be a brilliant thing for him to announce he means to be a one-term president’ and ‘I think he should do something dramatic: Renounce ambition for a second term’. I have to say that I think such a pledge would be a mistake. Although it would get a lot of short-term publicity, this would merely concede one of the Democrats’ main talking points, that McCain is too old to be an effective president, and it would enable Obama to run as the candidate with a vision.. More importantly, it would also seem as if McCain is not going to accomplish anything too significant or too controversial during his presidency, lest he be accused of not being around to face the consequences of his decision, which why both libertarians and many on the Republican right favour the idea.

Indeed, the reason why Bush’s personal ratings have been so dismal is that, with the exception of the surge, which was more down to pressure from John McCain and Joe Lieberman, he has refused to push any sort of agenda. Indeed, Mike Huckabee was correct in asserting that Bush has adopted, what Huckabee characterised as a ‘a bunker mentality’, though this is in the sense of refusing to defend his policies, rather than the point Huckabee was trying to make about his foreign policy. On the contrary McCain needs to rule out any sort of pledge and map out an ambitious domestic and foreign policy agenda. The only upside of such a pledge would be that it would make it extremely unlikely that Romney or Huckabee would be on the ticket, since social and economic conservatives would simply not tolerate Romney and Huckabee respectively being given such a leg up in 2012.

Because of the speculation these revelations will produce McCain needs to formally rule such a pledge out and state that he will consider two term. However, it could be that that McCain’s staff are trying to give such a pledge informally without having to spell it out. In this case McCain’s would still need to formally rule out such a pledge, but the leak would be used to ‘wink’ at supporters of the defeated candidates, including Hillary supporters that they can vote for him safe in the knowledge that their candidate can have another shot at Pennsylvania Avenue in four year time. At the expense of banging a drum that is pretty damaged, for this dual strategy to work McCain would also need to select a Vice-President who would not be a serious contender for the Presidency in 2012, which by implication excludes; Palin, Jindal and others. In this case, I wonder if a pro-choice, liberal hawk from Connecticut, who proved in 2000 and 2004 that he is a bad a presidential campaigner as he is a good running mate, might fit the bill?