On September 4, 2012, Mitt Romney may have lost Virginia and the Presidential election. But Republicans could still win easily.
This election will turn on two questions Bill Clinton is pounding on in: Who caused the disastrous economic collapse in 2007 and 2008? Will putting a Republican back in the White House give us another economic crash?
Republican strategists and consultants have been running away from these questions. Bill Clinton passionately blamed Republicans at the Democrat National Convention. Republicans are aiming for “just enough to squeak by.” But “good enough” is almost never good enough.
Now on September 4, Virgil Goode qualified as a candidate in Virginia for President for the Constitution Party. Losing only a few percentage points to Goode could cost Romney Virginia. And Romney is still behind in the crucial State.
Remember: Virginia conservatives were upset that only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul were on the primary ballot. Other candidates certainly bungled their petitions. But Virginia conservatives suspected manipulation.
Is the Constitution Party a threat? It is full of Ron Paul zealots. It has 438,222 registered voters. In 2008, Alan Keyes was ousted by highly-motivated Ron Paul enthusiasts. Chuck Baldwin became the 2008 candidate for President. The Constitution party was originally founded by Howard Phillips as the “US Taxpayers’ Party” in 1991.
Can Virgil Goode siphon off votes? For 12 years, Virgil Goode was a Congressman from central Virginia. For another 24 years, Goode was a Virginia State Senator. He is well known in Virginia– especially to conservatives.
In 2008, Virgil Goode got 158,083 votes for the U.S. House. That was only from the 5th Congressional District. His old district includes many conservative voters. Will Virgil Goode attract 38,000 votes – or 1% of Virginia’s 3.8 million votes?
[In 1992, Ross Perot siphoned off enough votes to cause George Bush’s moderate campaign to lose to Bill Clinton. In 2010, Democrats won Virginia’s 11th Congressional District seat by only 981 votes over the very popular tea party candidate Keith Fimian, because a Libertarian candidate took 1,382 votes, and two independents divided another 2,805 votes.]
But none of this would matter if Mitt Romney were running 5 to 10 percentage points ahead. The GOP is betting everything on one message: Obama didn’t improve the economy. But Americans are not stupid. Voters want to know the rest of the story: “Will Mitt Romney do any better?”
In the battle of the resumes, Mitt Romney has a fabulous story to tell…. until… people ask the dangerous question: “What happened last time we had a Republican President?” The GOP is utterly failing to address this issue.
Tea party activists and grassroots conservatives clearly know what wrecked the U.S. economy: Deficit spending, energy prices, and the Democrats’ sub-prime mortgage mafia. The mortgage melt-down came from Bill Clinton’s aggressive 1995 expansion of the Community Reinvestment Act and ACORN’s aggressive intimidation of banking executives.
On September 17, 2007, Barack Obama told Brian Williams on MSNBC: “Over time, what ended up happening was that the appraisers started loosening their standards. The mortgage brokers started playing around with their standards. Then, the people who were buying these securities weren’t really checking very carefully to see whether the underlying mortgage could support the loans that were made.” http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20826221/# Obama should know, because he was the #1 recipient of campaign donations from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives.
How is that George Bush’s fault? In 2001 George Bush tried to increase regulations to protect against a mortgage crisis. Democrats like Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, and Maxine Waters angrily defended the system that later blew up dramatically. Democrats shouted down the warnings of a 2004 audit report. Maxine Waters praised 100% loans: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebWJ892h5dA&feature=related In 2005, John McCain tried to reduce risks by increasing regulations on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fKpBPRKbvQ&feature=related and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RZVw3no2A4
Gas prices at the November 7, 2006, election were $2.35 per gallon. Democrats took over Congress in January 2007. By June 2007, gas prices had soared to $3.20 per gallon. Prices at the pump reached $4.12 per gallon by May 2008 – record highs.
Struggling under high gas prices, the economy crashed like an airplane with ice on its wings. I remember callers very early in 2008 to talk shows and C-SPAN: Independent truckers could not afford to stay in business. Small businesses were failing. Energy costs were affecting everything. Families were squeezed, falling behind on their mortgages.
Government debt also drives up interest rates. Thousands of variable-interest mortgages – ARMS – were starting to adjust upward in 2007. Many families could not afford to pay their mortgage. Defaults snowballed, driving housing prices down, sparking more defaults. Homeowners could not sell or refinance to avoid skyrocketing variable ARMS payments. Rising interesting rates – driving up ARMS payments — came from an orgy of deficit spending.
Early in 2008, Christine O’Donnell campaigned for US Senate, including by warning about how massive spending by Congress was sending gasoline prices soaring. (I was campaign manager for her nomination contest.)
Oil is priced in U.S. dollars. When the value of a dollar drops on world exchange markets, the price of a barrel of oil goes up. The $5 trillion of debt added since 2000 inflated the money supply. So dollars became worth less compared to other world currencies. It takes more weaker dollars to pay Saudi Arabia and other foreign countries for the same oil.
Result: Gas prices measured in dollars skyrocket. Yet Mitt Romney has still not explained in 2012 what Christine O’Donnell was articulating back in 2008: Over-spending by the Federal Government directly hurts average American families.
Republican strategists have tremendous ammunition to work with to win in November. However, they are not using these facts and arguments because it is against their nature to tackle hard questions.
[Meanwhile, the nominal head of Mitt Romney’s Virginia campaign is Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling. However, Bill Bolling is locked in a death struggle for the Governor’s mansion in the 2013 elections with popular Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. So, the Republican party — instead of uniting to win the Presidency for Mitt Romney – is warring over the race for Governor. I urged my old law school classmate Ken Cuccinelli at the conservative Fourth of July picnic to ensure that the 2013 election won’t affect the Presidency in 2012. Ken promised me –enthusiastically – that the RPV will work together to win in November. But reports I am hearing from down in the ranks say that Republicans are divided on opposite sides of the Cuccinelli – Bolling battle.]
[This is probably the reason that Mitt Romney seems to be hiring inexperienced campaign staff in Virginia. Romney’s Virginia leadership has often skipped over campaign veterans who have proven they know how to win elections in Virginia. (No, I’m not talking about me.) Instead, Romney is hiring youngsters with little or no campaign experience. This includes Romney supporters from 2008 who have been ignored. A high degree of paranoia about whom to trust can cripple a campaign.]
By Jonathon Moseley
Board, Northern Virginia Tea Party