GOP’s Theme Song — “If I Could Turn Back Time”

Following up on Sen. Marco Rubio’s assertion that Social Security and Medicare have “weakened us as a people,” now Michele Bachmann says that she’s not a big fan of the federal minimum wage law, which has been around since 1938.  Instead of a new vision for the 21st century, the GOP seems nostalgic for the 19th.  At this rate, the platform adopted at their 2012 convention will take a firm stand against indoor plumbing.

Rick Perry’s Early Lead

National polls, which currently show Rick Perry quickly taking a big lead, are interesting, but meaningless.  The polls to watch are those in the early states.  I would especially keep an eye on Florida, where Mitt “I’m Also Unemployed” Romney currently leads.  If Perry opens up a lead in Florida, Mitt’s in trouble.

In 2008, Rudy Giuliani chose to pin his hopes on Florida, and his strategy failed.  This time, Mitt may not choose Florida as his battleground state, but it may choose him.

Mitt is expected to win New Hampshire, Nevada, and Michigan.  That’s already built into his narrative.  A successful challenge to him in one or more of those states would be a huge blow to him, especially New Hampshire because of all the attention it gets as the first primary and his strong ties to that state.

While people talk about the power of the first three (Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina), I give special significance to South Carolina because of the momentum it inevitably creates for Florida.  Romney came in fourth in South Carolina last time, then second in Florida after John McCain, and dropped out soon after.  McCain’s good buddy Fred Thompson stayed in the South Carolina race solely to play spoiler, helping McCain narrowly defeat Mike Huckabee, giving McCain the buzz he needed to win Florida and the nomination.

Mitt needs a thick enough cushion in Florida that his expected loss in South Carolina won’t have a dramatic spillover effect.  The more the South Carolina vote is split (as between Perry and Michele Bachmann), the better off Mitt is.  If anyone rides a steamroller out of the Palmetto State, Mitt’s the one who will be flattened.

Rove Battles Both Perry and Palin

Enjoyable as the Rick Perry-Karl Rove fight is, save some popcorn for Rove’s feud with Sarah Palin (who campaigned for Perry in his primary fight against Kay Bailey Hutchison, who had the backing of Rove and assorted Bush family members and aides).  If Palin doesn’t run herself, she will support Perry.  Rove is calling Palin “thin-skinned,” and — horrors — even saying so on Fox.

Meanwhile the new Pew Poll shows that 41% of GOP voters and GOP leaners say Palin has “no chance” of getting their vote.  Not even if she personally stocks their freezers with moose.  Poor Newt does even worse — his “fuhgeddaboudit” is 48%.  My faith in humanity is a little restored today.

He Flips! He Flops!

Back in June, Mitt “I’m Also Unemployed” Romney said that we should reduce carbon emissions because of climate change.  On Wednesday, at a New Hampshire town hall, Romney said that if he becomes president, he will not seek to limit such emissions.

Mitt has obviously been studying new data.  No, not data on climate change.  Rick Perry’s poll numbers.

Obama’s Advantage Against Romney

I know the White House believes Mitt “I’m Also Unemployed” Romney would be their toughest opponent of the current top contenders, but they’re overlooking a very significant factor.  In presidential races, the less preppy-seeming guy usually wins.

Notice I said preppy-seeming, not preppy.  You can be a prep-school grad (as is Obama, from the Punahou School) as long as you don’t come across as one. And Mitt (Crandbrook School) sure comes off as one.

That’s why Bush 43 (Phillips Andover) was able to beat both Al Gore (St. Albans) and John Kerry (St. Paul’s).  Of course Kerry didn’t help himself by saying things like, “Who among us doesn’t love NASCAR?”  Who among us says “who among us” — only preppies.  And Bush helped himself enormously by channeling West Texas rather than New England with his pork rinds and dropped g’s.

That’s why Bush 41 (also Phillips Andover) lost to Clinton.  Bush 41 did win against Michael Dukakis, but the country wanted a third Reagan term, and Dukasis was a dufus.  As long as Obama doesn’t climb in a tank, the rule should hold.

What about Obama’s vacations in Martha’s Vineyard?  Oh, please, Muffy, the man is renting.

Rubio’s Rubicon

Now the battle lines are clearly drawn for 2012.  In his speech at the Reagan Library,  Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), the most highly-touted vice presidential pick, crossed the Rubicon into the sorry land of those who would extinguish the New Deal and the Great Society.  He declared that Social Security and Medicare “actually weakened us as a people.” Whoever the Republican nominee is, this deluded thinking is what President Obama will be fighting against.

Americans have received Social Security checks since January 31, 1940, and have been signing up for Medicare since July 1, 1966.  If we’re so “weakened,” how did we manage to win World War II and the Cold War, how did we manage to go to the Moon?  How did we become the world’s only superpower?  Are our extraordinary men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan “weakened” because their grandparents are receiving benefits they paid for?

I believe we are weakened by the growing inequality between those at the tippy-top and everyone else.  Marco Rubio may not agree with me, but Thomas Jefferson did.

The Last Comparison Rick Perry Wants

Brent Budowsky over at The Hill has quite a provocative headline up: “Rick Perry = Rod Blagojevich.”

But his story goes beyond that headline to argue that Rick Perry>Rod Blagojevich, asserting that Perry makes Blagojevich “look like an amateur” when it comes to pay-for-play fundraising.

He claims, “I hear national reporters are all over Texas right now” to expose campaign contributions from companies that got state funds and individuals who got state jobs.

I assume Karl Rove is delighted to take those reporters to the rock pile and watch as they turn them over.

So will it be White House or Big House?  Don’t mess with Texas, but especially don’t mess with Rove.

Jim DeMint, the Candidate-Forum Nazi

No Candidate Forum for you!  That’s what Jim DeMint has told presidential contenders Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum about his South Carolina candidate event on Labor Day.  But while he’s not inviting some candidates to his candidate forum, you apparently don’t have to be a candidate to be included because he has invited Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin.

Both Santorum and Huntsman are planning a big push in the Palmetto State, so the snub has to hurt.

I wonder if DeMint is now higher on Santorum’s Enemies List than Dan Savage.