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Posted by on Dec 14, 2011 in Politics | 7 comments

Good Question: Is Obama Trying to Sabotage the GOP?

ABC News’ The Note asks a good question: Is President Barack Obama trying to sabotage the GOP — former Massachusetts Mitt Romney in particular?

They do make a good case for it:

President Obama might want to look like the adult in the room, but his surrogates in the Democratic Party are playing the role of prankster as they try to derail the Republican nomination of Mitt Romney.

The Democratic National Committee stalked and mocked the one-time front-runner in New York today, hiring a plane to fly over the city with a sign calling attention to a foot-in-mouth bet that Romney made at a debate Saturday night. It reads, “Bet You 10K Romney’s Out of Touch Mitts10KBet.com.”

Go to that website and you’ll see a big $10,000 bill bearing Romney’s face and the slogan, “In Corporations We Trust.”

One thing to remember here: if Newt Gingrich does become the nominee and follows Obama around as he has promised to force a Lincoln-Douglas style debate, the Dems can’t later call his actions outrageous. This isn’t a “dirty trick” here but “Happy Warrior” stuff — but it will still negate any complaints later if the GOP follows suit.

That’s not all: Obama’s deputy campaign manager, Julianna Smoot, has asked supporters to donate money in honor of their conservative friends or relatives. In an email pitch, Smoot encouraged them to “have a little fun” by telling their Republican friends that their friends’ Internet spam has encouraged the Democrats to support Obama, and even to tell them that they’ll donate $3 “every time they [the GOP friends] say something outrageous.”

“You can choose to send them a note and let them know they’ve moved you to help build President Obama’s 2012 campaign,” she wrote. “You can let them know a donation was made in their honor, but not that it’s from you (it will drive them nuts!).”

The bad part about the quote again is that it underscores the fundamentals of American political politics today: partisans of each side loving to drive the other “nuts.” Is this serious politics or an elementary school playground? (DON’T ANSWER THAT..)

Smoot’s email doesn’t mention Romney or Newt Gingrich, but there’s no mistaking that the Democratic apparatus is trying to chip away at the former Massachusetts governor at every chance. The DNC has focused nearly all its attacks on Romney during the GOP’s primary season, and only this weekend did it publish its first video ad targeting Gingrich.

The barbs are flying as Obama sinks to a new low among Americans who view him favorably

Some thoughts:

  • The White House has clearly made a calculation that Romney is the GOPer they’d least like to run against. And polls show that the calculation is wise.
  • Obama’s polls are truly dreadful in terms of job approval, but he is leading GOPers in several key states and nationally because so far they look so bad stacked up next to him. When you listen to the Republican’s running for President it sort of reminds you of THIS (if you changed some lyrics a bit).
  • Clearly the White House is softening up Romney because they are taking a calculated risk that in the end its likely he will be the Republican nominee, although given the fact he has not moved much in his poll numbers it’s hard to image that even the Republican establishment cavalry can save the day. But not impossible to project a series of circumstances where he gets the nomination.
  • Part of the glee for the Democrats and the White House must be seeing how the lines are now being drawn between pragmatic conservatives who see Romney as a candidate with general election appeal and the Tea Party movement Talk Radio Political Culture Republicans who want Gingrich since he is a great verbal bomb thrower and can really stick it to Barack Obama.

    The Washington Examiner came out in its editorial and endorsed Romney. Here’s a chunk of it:

    Editorial: Romney is GOP’s best choice
    by Examiner Editorial

    The only Republican who can beat Obama

    The headlines Wednesday morning brought the stunning news that Newt Gingrich had surged to a 40-23 lead over Mitt Romney among likely GOP voters. But the more important story in the Wall Street Journal/NBC poll of 1,000 registered voters was what happened when Romney and Gingrich were pitted against Barack Obama. The president barely edged Romney 47-45, within the margin of error of 3.1 percentage points. Against Gingrich, Obama held a commanding 51-40 lead. Most importantly, half of all voters said they wouldn’t vote for Gingrich.

    Something else occurred last week — Obama’s bitterly partisan class warfare speech in Osawatomie, Kansas, which provided a grim preview of how he would govern if re-elected. His intensely divisive rhetoric pitting American against American confirms the view of many voters that our country simply cannot afford four more years of Obama’s record-setting deficits, willy-nilly spending and soaring national debt. His re-election would mean continuing the policies that have brought economic stagnation and high unemployment, and putting federal bureaucrats between Americans and their doctors under Obamacare.

    And so conservatives now have a crucial choice in the most important election since 1860. They would do well to recall the good advice of William F. Buckley Jr., who said that whenever two or more candidates claiming to be ideological soul mates are seeking endorsement, conservatives should support the one most likely to win. Buckley’s admonition is doubly important, now that the 2012 Republican presidential race has become a two-man race between Romney and Gingrich. The Washington Examiner believes Romney can defeat Obama, but Gingrich cannot. And Romney the businessman is far better suited to the nation’s highest office — by temperament, experience, and cast of mind — than Gingrich the consummate Washington insider. By fits and starts over the years, Romney has become the reliable conservative that America so badly needs at this crucial moment in her history.

    Several weeks ago on this page, we urged conservatives to “think twice” before deciding to back Gingrich, saying that he “has been seen as an ultimate Washington insider, as exemplified in that $1.6 million he was paid to represent Fannie and Freddie, and his work with Nancy Pelosi on behalf of cap-and-trade.”

    he fact is, Gingrich is part of the problem, not part of the solution. He has tried mightily to shift attention away from his Washington insider status, saying, “I have never done lobbying of any kind.” But that claim simply does not square with the facts, especially concerning Gingrich’s lobbying Republicans in Congress for a new Medicare entitlement in 2003. As The Washington Examiner’s Timothy P. Carney reported recently, “the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America confirmed that they paid Gingrich. Bloomberg News cited sources from leading drug companies AstraZeneca and Pfizer saying that those companies had also hired Gingrich.” Gingrich’s foundation, Center for Health Transformation, received an estimated $37 million from health industry interests seeking to be heard in Washington.

    As for the $1.6 million he was paid by Freddie Mac for helping to persuade congressional Republicans to leave it and Fannie Mae alone, Gingrich’s own words confirm the substance of his work. A 2007 interview with Gingrich posted on Freddie Mac’s website clearly shows that he was throwing his political weight behind the two government-sponsored enterprises: “Certainly there is a lot of debate today about the housing GSEs, but I think it is telling that there is strong bipartisan support for maintaining the GSE model in housing. There is not much support for the idea of removing the GSE charters from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. And I think it’s clear why. The housing GSEs have made an important contribution to homeownership and the housing finance system.” Within a year, of course, the housing bubble created by Fannie and Freddie burst, causing the Great Recession of 2008, and almost bringing the entire U.S. economy down with it.

    Try as he might, Gingrich cannot change the fact that, as rival Ron Paul has pointed out in a TV spot, his reported net worth went from $10,000 when he entered Congress in 1978 to $7.5 million when he left Congress in 1998. And remember, it was only then that he began making millions by selling access to his vast networks of influential Washington contacts to clients like PhRMA and Freddie Mac. Combined with his rhetorical unpredictability and short-fuse temperament — he is like an exploding cigar, waiting to be lit — Gingrich’s insider status makes him a symbol of congressional back-scratching and an easy target for Obama’s political hit squads.

    It is not unusual in politics for voters to project their hopes and dreams onto a fresh candidate. But Gingrich is hardly a blank slate.

    Go to the link to read the rest of it.

    The Examiner is correct: Romney is, in fact, and older style Republican candidate — one who could conceivably construction a coalition and peel off some independents, moderates, centrists, and non-liberal Democrats, or just citizens who are highly disappointed in Obama and are not impressed with his speeches or promises anymore. That is: if he talks like a candidate who is running for the President of the United States and not for President of the Base. Gingrich has talked a better more convincing game but neither Romney or Gingrich are pure conservative product. And while they fight, and while a party that has exiled moderate Republicans now divides among conservatives, the White House has some opportunities. Which isn’t lost on the White House.