Goodbye Super Tuesday: Who should stay in and who should drop out?

Now that Super Tuesday has been declared as a bust because Romney could not deliver the knockout punch, it’s a good time to assess the candidates and where they stand, specifically, should they stay in or get out. Note that because of proportional distribution of delegates this time around, and with the new SuperPAC ruling, this race could go on for a while. Below is the list in order of preference of who should drop out.  We’re left with a Mitt, a Rick, a Newt, and a Paul.

Ron Paul

Reasons to Stay In: The Gospel of Paul is continuing to play well to the loyal minions of this movement.  His supporters don’t want him to drop out. He wasn’t trying to win the election, but rather win the hearts and minds of the American public.  He has done that, at least for his ardent supporters. If he stays in, he gets to see the entire country for free while using money from his followers to preach his message of a sound monetary policy.

Reasons to Drop Out: Haven’t we heard enough of the same record? We get it. Over 20 debates, dozens of interviews and countless speeches, he has drilled home the same message. There’s no need to repeat it any further and continue to spend other people’s money to do it. Proof: no state wins to boast about. And the race is about delegates and he doesn’t have enough. There is no path to the nomination, and no way to affect the outcome. It’s time for him to go. But he’s going nowhere fast.

Newt Gringrich

Reasons to Stay In: Just like in Hollywood Squares, Sheldon Adelson (Newt’s Sugar Daddy) is using Newt to block Rick. Good plan. Mitt would be in a whole heap of trouble if votes for Rick weren’t being siphoned off by Newt, or split between Mitt and Rick. Collecting delegates can throw a monkey wrench into Mitt’s plans and possibly lead to a brokered (i.e., broken) convention, which will cause chaos for Mitt and the republican establishment, as Newt would prefer. He doesn’t much like Mitt so any stick in the spokes of Mitt’s attempt to win the grueling Tour de America would be sufficient payback for the carpet bombing he endured during the negative ad campaigns against him in several states.

Reasons to Drop Out:  No chance of being the nominee mathematically, and he may run out of money. His big ideas are a whole lot of hot air from a big mouth. There is no substance behind these “ideas”, and the term is being used loosely! He is a schoolyard bully who is turning off the electorate everywhere except the deep south where bullying is tolerated. Being a bully doesn’t necessarily make you qualified to be President, and claiming that you’re the only one who can debate Obama and win is one of the weakest arguments in the history of Presidential politics. Speaking of history, he needs to take a course on world history one of these days rather than spouting off a lot of fictional stories while claiming to be a historian.

Rick Santorum

Reasons to Stay In:  Just in case Newt drops out, he can beat Mitt in a variety of different states and perhaps force a contested convention. He’s the last best Hope for America as a non-Romney candidate, although these days he seems to be running for Pope of America.

Reasons to Drop Out: No chance to catch Romney unless Newt drops out and that won’t happen unless Newt loses in Mississippi and Alabama.   His quesitonable off-message remarks on social topics have put off segments of the voters such as women and Catholics, along with moderates.  Fiscal conservatives don’t see him as a fiscal conservative. He better continue to raise money or he’ll have to drop out. Does not seem likely that he will drop out.

Mitt Romney

Reasons to Stay In: The inevitable winner one way or the other, but needs everyone else to stay in and split the vote. He may need to write a check to Newt’s campaign or SuperPAC just to make sure he stays in the race. The establishment wants Mitt at all costs.  Target end of June to wrap up the 1144 delegates, so get ready to spend lots of money that could have been used in the General Election. The superdelegates will back Mitt if he can’t reach 1144 delegates. Otherwise, get ready for a fight at the convention!

Reasons to Drop Out: There is no reason to drop out until Nov. 6. At that point, the voters will give him a reason to drop out.

Why the GOP candidates are avoiding the Real Issues

As the GOP candidates swing hard to the right to win over voters in the primary elections, they are totally avoiding the real issues of America – and for good reason! The problems are just too hard to solve in sound bites and stump speeches.  Partisan issues of birth control, abortion, religion, gay marriage and elite media tactics are at the forefront of the discourse because they provide fodder to galvanize the base. Other topics such as the bad state of the economy (hard to make the argument at the moment), the rising price of gas (hard to do anything about) and a hawkish foreign policy (more reckless spending) still provide  sources of red meat for the electorate so they are a staple of every interview, debate or speech. It’s just a way to attract and distract the voters.

But what about the national debt, budget deficits, and job creation. Where are the solutions to these problems?? No where! It’s as if they don’t even exist. Yes, lip service is paid to these issues, but no solutions are offered. Nor will they be offered any time soon (well, except for Ron Paul, but his solutions of $1T of spending cuts immediately and a sound money policy are not workable in the near term and he won’t win the nomination anyway).

Let’s start with the Debt. The biggest misconception is that Obama is running up the national debt like no other President in history. It’s heading towards $16 trillion and it’s his fault. But is he really responsible for that, or is something else going on here? Ever since Ronald Reagan (and even before him), every President has taken their turn to crank up the national debt. But Bush II deserves the real credit for breaking the bank, not Obama. In fact, the “Yes We Can” President has tried to cut some spending and increase taxes on the rich and some corporations with no luck due to the “No You Can’t” republicans in Congress. The budget deficit each year inherently leads to more debt. If you don’t fix that, then it will only get worse. Most of the Debt is held by the public, the social security trust fund and other trusts, government reserves, and foreign countries (China, Japan, Britain, etc.).

Consider the analogy of a typical household finances: Let’s say you have a house mortgage payment, a car payment, a number of utility bills and a security system bill every month.  Add to that your federal, state and local taxes, as well as a minimum payment on your credit card bills. Assume that it adds up to 80% of your income. You must pay for all of these or else you will have no where to live, no way to get around, no electricity or gas, no credit cards, no safety in your home and the IRS at your door. They are loosely equivalent to the federal government’s budget for social security, medicare, medicaid, military spending and paying interest on the national debt. Now, with 20% left, you have to pay for food, clothing, gas, entertainment, repairs, etc.  But, if the bills added up to $100K per year and your family income is only $75K per year, you will run up a debt of $25K per year which goes on the credit card. In the case of the US, the budget is $4 trillion and the revenue is $3 trillion, so guess what – the deficit is $1 trillion per year.  It’s a structural deficit that directly adds to the debt — it’s built into the system unless you cut spending or increase revenue. There’s no other way to solve the problem!

But what do you cut out of your family budget? The big ticket items are immovable objects, and the small ticket items don’t make much of a difference. It’s the same for the US Gov’t. No one has a debt or deficit reduction plan  because it’s too hard to figure out what to cut in the budget and what to do with $16 trillion dollars on the credit card. When Obama came into office,  the debt was around $11 trillion. Note that under Bush, the two wars, the prescription drug bill and the tax cuts for the rich amounted to $4 trilllion!!  Now Obama is being blamed for another $5 trillion. But almost $4.2 trillion is due to the budget decificits and holdovers from the Bush administration. Only about $800B can be charged to Obama due to the stimulus plan and other programs (tax holiday, Obama-care, etc.).  Under Clinton, there were surpluses, although they “borrowed” from the Social Security trust fund to balance the budget whenever needed, and that added to the national debt. Newt Gringrich keeps referring to 4 balanced budgets but forgets to mention that they robbed social security to do it! So really, everyone is to blame for almost all of the national debt. Yes, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II – not just Obama! If anything, he’s probably had the least impact on the Debt!

To top it all off, every Republican plan for the economy and job creation is a tax plan that increases the Debt year after year, and the foreign policy plan is a war with Iran to further add to the Debt. Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum would add trillions to the Debt over 10 years with their tax reduction plans (but don’t tell the voters!). Anyway, how does a tax plan create jobs while reducing the deficit, and how does a war reduce the Debt? They don’t! When will a viable GOP candidate step forward and offer ways to bring in more revenue, make tough spending cuts on the entitlements and military to balance the budget, and stop fighting undeclared wars so that a major dent can be made in the Debt? Not anytime soon, so don’t hold your breath!!