Bush, Romney face conservative backlash in Iowa

26 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

2016 GOP race explodes with flurry of campaign activity.

Disdain for the party’s center-right powerhouses, who are both considering seeking the 2016 Republican presidential nominations, could have implications well beyond the nation’s first caucus state. The number of potential Republican candidates for the White House continues to grow and grow with billionaire Donald Trump being the latest to say he may throw his hat into the ring.

The past week alone has featured an explosion of high-level campaign moves as Republican candidates gathered staff, kowtowed before donors and prepared to make direct pitches to voters for support.On one hand, that might seem strange, considering that the Iowa Freedom Summit was all about getting America back to its “core principles of pro-growth economics, social conservatism, and a strong national defense,” according to the event website.

Donald Trump came out guns blazing at a high-profile GOP event in Iowa on Saturday — blasting possible presidential contenders Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush. Iowa conservatives mirror the views of like-minded activists nationwide, and having the party’s vocal right wing blasting away could stagger either candidate throughout 2016. Mr Trump, 68, who said he may make a run for the presidency only to decide against it both in 2008 and 2012, said over the weekend he was “seriously thinking” about a campaign. In 20-minute bursts of staccato flirting, more than half a dozen more-or-less top-tier Republican presidential possibilities paraded across a stage in a historic theater near downtown Des Moines, their appearances interspersed with those from Iowa elected officials.

While Bush and Romney stayed away, a parade of potential candidates courted 1,000 conservative activists at a daylong event, an audience in no mood to hear of compromise with Democrats. And it’s uncertain conservatives would actively work in a general election for Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, or Bush, the former Florida governor. He called Mitt Romney a “choker” for losing the 2012 presidential race to President Obama, and then said that Jeb Bush’s brother – former President George W.

With its townhall-like precinct caucuses the first test of the nomination next winter, Iowa usually winnows the field of a party’s nomination contest and previews campaign styles and weaknesses. That was probably a good idea, because when Donald Trump blasted them, the crowd cheered and whistled. “It can’t be Mitt because Mitt ran and failed,” Trump said of the Republicans’ 2012 presidential nominee. But former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was among the keynote speakers — and delivered a rambling speech that politicos declared perhaps her most incomprehensible attempt at oratory yet. “It is good that we have a deep bench and its primary competition that will surface the candidate who’s up to the task and unify and this person has to because knowing what the media will do throughout all of 2016 to all of us it’s going to take more than a village to beat Hillary,” Palin said, according to RawStory.com. Both are viewed with differing levels of suspicion for different reasons — Romney for his failure to win the race as the party’s 2012 nominee, and Bush for his embrace of education standards and immigration changes that drew repeated rebukes from the stage. But in a party with two right hands, there’s a flurry of gesticulation on the other one, along with a fistful of poll soundings to support the view that Mr.

And, he said, “the last thing we need is another Bush.” Anger over President Obama’s November decision to ease deportations for undocumented immigrants sizzled throughout the day. Trump brutally exposed the potentially fatal weaknesses of the two Republicans who might well have broader appeal than any others on the presumptive Republican ticket (New Jersey Gov. He spent a lot time in previous campaigns trying to prove that President Barack Obama was not born in the US. “If I run for president, and if I win, I would totally succeed in creating jobs, defeating ISIS, and stopping the Islamic terrorists, reducing the budget deficit, securing our southern border, stopping nuclear weapons in Iran and elsewhere,” he said. The Iowa gathering came on a busy weekend for a contest that has flared to life with Bush’s announcement in December that he was considering running, and Romney’s subsequent disclosure of his interest in a third presidential campaign.

Steve King, R-Iowa, a co-host of the Saturday session, earlier in the week ridiculed an Obama guest at the State of the Union as “deportable.” Ana Zamora, a student from Dallas who sat with Michelle Obama that night, is among those who received legal status because of Obama’s 2012 executive action. Among the potential contenders who attended the event were former Texas Governor Rick Perry, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. This weekend in Palm Springs, conservative donors are gathering for a regular meeting organized by billionaires Charles and David Koch; three prospective candidates — Sens.

Fifty-nine, the percentage of Republicans who think the 2012 GOP nominee should mount a 2016 campaign, is an important number, perhaps more important than the number (3) of highly visible conservative columnists (Peggy Noonan, George F. Bush faltered in Iowa in 1988 when he ran for the nomination a second time, this time as the sitting vice president. finishing third behind Kansas neighbor Bob Dole and evangelist Pat Robertson.

Reuters said that perhaps the warmest reception was given to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who survived a recall attempt over his conservative policies in 2012 and won re-election in November. Expect to get a good sense of candidates’ emerging stump speeches as they work to distinguish themselves in front of conservative activists ahead of Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses next year. The chances of him running for president are roughly equal to the chances that Earth will be overrun by Ewoks by Memorial Day. (In other words, not very likely.) He was there for microphone and the money shots of his legendary hair. While joining in on criticism of Romney and Bush, the audience for the Iowa event, organized by the Citizens United political group and conservative U.S. Perry explained how he deployed National Guard troops to protect the border this summer after an influx of children. “If Washington refuses to secure the border,” he said, “Texas will.” New Jersey Gov.

He was withering in his criticism of Mr Obama for not attending a march of world leaders in Paris two weeks ago to show solidarity for the French after attacks there. “We need leaders who will stand with our allies against radical Islamic terrorists,” he said. The former governor of Alaska, and running mate of John McCain in an unsuccessful 2008 presidential campaign, said: “When you have a servant’s heart, when you know that there is opportunity to do all you can to put yourself forward in the name of offering service, anybody would be interested.” And despite reports from members of the Republican establishment — a vastly diminished demographic — salivating at the notion of a Jeb Bush candidacy, the word from inside the Romney camp is that his top supporters, including his top fundraisers, are holding steady. Today, memories of Romney’s previous efforts dog him. “He’s a proven loser,” said John Eggen, a Des Moines air conditioning and heating contractor.

It’s not quite a Mitt moment, but the Mitt people are staying put, at least momentarily. “We’re not having trouble with our people,” says a top Romney operative. “Our only trouble is that we don’t yet have anything for our people to do.” If nothing else, the Romney team is battle-tested, though one criticism is that it is too tested, too traditional. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, got the biggest cheers from the crowd when he took on two conservative favorites, abolishing the Internal Revenue Service and securing the border. “There are 110,000 employees at the IRS,” he said, his voice rising. “We need to padlock that building and put every one of those 110,000 on our southern border,” Anyone trying to come across would see all those IRS agents and immediately turn back, Cruz said. It was a gamut of electoral tests as a prelude to the final exam – an opportunity for candidates to hone their messages and gain a measure of campaign seasoning. The irony is that this critique is coming from the most traditional media outlets around (Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times) and stands in contradiction to the democratic spirit of the age (as expressed in the CBS poll).

Presidential counselor Clark Clifford stepped off the Truman whistlestop train in the waning days of the 1948 campaign, ducked into a newsstand and picked up the newest issue of Newsweek, then an important newsweekly. He stayed away from criticizing potential rivals, and got loud applause as he discussed his background, his plea for more self-reliance and his faith. What followed was a list of principles from religious liberty to marriage, in which Cruz portrayed himself as the fighter, at one point declaring: “If you say you oppose Obamacare, show me where you stood up and fought against it.” Instances of party ideologues attacking centrists are nothing new. Bush’s support for Common Core educational standards, which many conservatives view as big government reaching too far into local education, also gets slammed. “I don’t know what is worse, nominating someone merely because he’s been nominated twice before or nominating a liberal supporter of Common Core because he has a familiar name,” asked former New Hampshire House Speaker Bill O’Brien, who spoke at a day-long conservative forum in Iowa Saturday featuring a long list of potential presidential candidates. But in today’s media environment, where every gaffe and zinger is amplified by partisan blogs and 24-hour news, there is the danger that a candidate’s story can be irrevocably marred or rewritten before the “real” election even begins.

Enthusiastic but reasoned, he pointed to measures that protected gun rights, defunded Planned Parenthood, limited lawsuits and cut regulations on farms and small business. A roar arose when he noted that “we require in our state, by law, a photo ID to vote.” Cruz, a first-term senator who was a major force in shutting down the government in his first months in office, was far more fiery as he repeatedly demanded what amounted to litmus tests on conservative issues. The moves puts him closer toward a run despite speculation that Bush’s entrance in the race might split his base of Florida supporters and make a campaign difficult. Conservatives need to send “the locusts of the EPA” back to Washington from the states, he said, and to abolish the IRS — a frequent target Saturday.

In December, it proposed new rules that would drastically reduce the length of its presidential primary season, quarantining it to a 3-1/2 month window from February to mid-May. Chris Christie, who Iowa political observers say has cultivated the state for years and built a team of supporters ready to jump in when he makes a presidential announcement. A report on Friday by the Center for Public Integrity found that many of Romney’s bundlers, who raised millions for the candidate in 2012, are still undecided on whether to stick with Mitt for another run.

He spoke at length about his antiabortion views in what appeared to be an effort to blunt assertions that a blue-state governor was wiggly on a bedrock issue for conservative Iowa voters. Romney never had a cordial relationship with journalists and are saying the fusillade of press criticism is a direct result. “If he didn’t expect those attacks, then he shouldn’t be in this business,” said the Romney insider. “I doubt this stuff will have any impact at all.” So it is full-speed ahead, at least for now, for the Romney non-campaign campaign. Meanwhile Bush is planning a 60-event fundraising tour, per The Wall Street Journal, with the goal of producing “shock and awe” numbers to scare potential opponents out of the race. Santorum also met recently with Foster Friess, the wealthy conservative who almost single-handedly kept his campaign afloat in 2012 by funding an outside super PAC allied with his candidacy. He tied it to stagnant incomes that have left voters uneasy about the future. “There is uncertainty in our country, and it is a product of the failure of leadership,” he said. “And that failure has happened at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.” The event made evident the pressure on candidates to hew to the conservative line or, presumably, suffer when the caucuses come around.

In the years since the Supreme Court’s Citizen United decision, which opened PACs up to unlimited donations, the political environment has become such that all it takes is one friendly billionaire to justify a run. Party leaders have long sought to lower the volume on discussions that might further distance women, Latinos and young people from Republicans, a problem that haunted Romney and promises more trouble as those voter groups grow.

Not everyone exploring a campaign will necessarily do so, but the sheer number of high-profile Republicans aggressively prepping for 2016 this month suggests the primary is going to be crowded. Chris Christie, another moderate favorite, argue he’s a true conservative. “If the values I’m fighting for everyday in New Jersey and all across this country are not consistent with your values, then why would I keep coming back? Carly Fiorina, the 2010 California Senate candidate who is pondering a run, castigated House Republicans for tripping last week when they sought a ban on abortions for pregnancies over 20 weeks. Reaction was spotty. “We are tired of being told who our candidates should be,” said Donna Robinson, a Marengo saleswoman. “They say they’re conservative, then they run to the middle.” The right wants new faces and new ideas.

There is great power in image, which is why, even though he had the freshest and most radically conservative ideas in the 1988 Republican race, former Gov. Before that, however, the tone had been set by the emcee, radio host Jan Mickelson, when he said that immigration would not be a big element of the campaign. That’s why retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and former business executive Carly Fiorina got warm receptions. “People who have been in and around government and politics for their entire lives may no longer be able to see the truth: our government must be fundamentally reformed,” Fiorina said.

Romney seems peculiarly unsuited to a sentence like the one he uttered the other day: “Under President Obama, the rich have gotten richer, income inequality has gotten worse and there are more people in poverty in American than ever before.”

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