Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Is Romney/Gingrich replay of Carter/Kennedy?

A lot of people probably don't remember the bruising fight between Jimmy Carter and Ted Kennedy for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1980. But the Mitt Romney/Newt Gingrich battle royal is drawing comparisons.

In the Carter/Kennedy dustup, then President Carter set the tone before Kennedy entered the race, famously saying, "If Kennedy runs, I'll whip his ass." Kennedy retaliated with some nastiness of his own. Carter, who put the Iowa caucuses on the map in the 1976 campaign, easily won the state again in '80. Kennedy grabbed some big states including Pennsylvania and New York. But in the end, Carter won most of the races and the nomination. He lost to Ronald Reagan in the general election. The feud between the two lasted a long time, as a story by CBS News' Peter Maer recounts.

The fight between Gingrich and Romney has gotten nastier and nastier each day, with the final days getting really mean. Jon Ward of the HuffPost said in a piece published today that Gingrich had unleashed "wild attacks" on Romney.

All's not lost for Gingrich, even if he loses big to Mitt Romney in the Florida primary today. He still has people singing his praises. One of them today was former Reagan economic advisor Art Laffer, who lauded Gingrich’s tax plan in an op-ed Tuesday Wall Street Journal oped. He called it “significantly better” than what Mitt Romney has proposed.

Laffer endorsed Gingrich in December as well as Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan earlier in the fall. In Tuesday's oped, he called the plan the only fiscal policy that would effectively boost the nation’s economy and spur growth.

Speaking of Herman Cain, whose candidacy imploded several weeks ago after allegations of past sexual harassment surfaced, he endorsed Gingrich Saturday but said today he "would be very comfortable" with Romney if he were the nominee.

But as voting was going on in Florida, with his endorsed candidate appearing to be on the losing end, Cain was still out campaigning - for himself. Not for president but for his "Solutions Revolution."

Cain sent out e-mail appeals today, saying: "This Solutions Revolution is our chance to send a message that we are done with gutter politics and back-room deals. This is an opportunity for us to send a message to Washington, to the media, and to the political elites that "We the People" are in charge of this country and we are fed-up with politics as usual. We want results!...I cannot do this alone. I need your help... Please consider sending your most generous gift today."

Run, Erskine, Run?
Even before Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx said no to a gubernatorial bid all eyes were firmly cast on Erskine Bowles. Rob Schofield of the Progress Pulse asks "Could the third time be the charm for Bowles?" (alluding to Bowles' two previous runs for Senate) and gives his top three reasons why Bowles should throw his hat in the race - even though Schofield dubs him "a fairly unusual would-be Democratic nominee for Governor."
Schofield's three reasons for Bowles to run?

"#1 – There is no other obvious choice. Lt. Governor Walter Dalton may be the official #2 in the Democratic political line-up, but truth be told, his claim on that position is very tenuous. He is three years into a mostly ceremonial job that he won over token opposition.

"#2- Most of the other potential candidates do little to stir progressive hearts.

"#3 – The grown-up factor – Last but not least is what we might call the “grown up factor.” There’s good reason that Republicans fear Bowles; With his corporate ties, national political experience, budget-cutting credentials, and international prominence he would be a true heavyweight in any election. By comparison, GOP presumptive nominee Pat McCrory looks like a little leaguer..."

Read more at the Progressive Pulse.

Posted by Fannie Flono