Bachmann Out; Field Heads to New Hampshire

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has suspended her presidential campaign after a poor showing in the Iowa Caucuses. Meanwhile the rest of the field has headed to New Hampshire with former US senator Rick Santorum showing Big Momentum after his almost-win in Iowa and Mitt Romney planning to win the Granite State after years of plotting.

Meanwhile an angry Newt Gingrich may be taking his campaign forth with an aggressive anti-Romney slant. Gingrich placed fourth in Iowa after leading many polls just a few short weeks ago.

Romney ran many of the anti-Gingrich ads in Iowa, causing Newt’s vote to collapse. A huge proportion of the political ads in Iowa – 80% of all the ads according to one news source – were negative ads aimed at Gingrich since he was the leader going in.

Gingrich said about New Hampshire, “We are not going to go out and run nasty ads, but I do reserve the right to tell the truth. If the truth seems negative, that may be more a comment on (Mitt Romney’s) record than the nature of politics.”

Gingrich also said about Ron Paul who came in third in Iowa: “His views on foreign policy, I think, are stunningly dangerous for the survival of the United States.” Many others agree.

The loss of congresswoman Bachmann is a sad note for the campaign. She is one of the smartest people on the political scene today, someone who is genuinely concerned about the direction our nation is taking. After all she is a federal tax lawyer as well as a high elected official… and a mother of five.

Bachmann even has sensibly called for a policy under which every citizen must pay taxes including the poor “even if it’s only ten dollars”.

Amen. It’s about time. And she has called for the outright shutdown of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

These are some of the revolutionary ideas that are emanating from the GOP in light of the Obama depression, bottomless handouts for the so-called ‘poor’ and out-of-control public spending.

Bachmann is outspoken about the leftward drift of America, referring to Obama’s policies as “socialist”. She said in her speech suspending her campaign that “The evening that Obamacare was passed, I believed firmly what Congress and Obama had done endangered the very survival of the United States of America. 2012 is our last chance and our only chance to repeal Obamacare. It violates our fundamental liberties as Americans (and) must be stopped. I’ll fight for this country. …(2012) may be the last election to turn the country around before we go down the road to socialism.”

Meanwhile Santorum’s record now is coming under new scrutiny including his vote in support of Bush’s Medicare prescription drug program. And while Santorum is generally a good conservative, that vote is going to immediately tarnish his standing among Tea Partiers and others on the right.

But here is Curt Levey of the Committee for Justice (committeeforjustice.org) writing glowingly about Santorum and the judiciary:

Rick Santorum has not been in a position to nominate judges but he had an outstanding track record on the judges issue as a U.S. Senator. We are confident that his approach to judicial nominations will reflect the passionate commitment to constitutionalism demonstrated by that record.

Writing in 2005, Third Branch Conference chairman Manny Miranda described Santorum’s leadership on the judges issue:

‘No Republican senator has done more to make the confirmation of John Roberts possible, because no Republican senator is more responsible for making the judiciary issue a national electoral winner for Republicans, or for making colleagues understand its significance to constituents. No GOP senator did more to lay the groundwork for … effectively ending the Democratic filibusters. … The end result of Mr. Santorum’s strategy was a net GOP gain of six seats in two elections.’

Santorum’s efforts to lay the groundwork began with his organization of the 2003 ”anti-filibuster,” which focused public attention on Democrats’ abuse of the judicial filibuster by keeping the Senate in session for 40 straight hours over the course of two nights. In November 2006, the New York Times agreed with Miranda’s assessment of the senator’s leadership, calling Santorum the “chief Republican proponent of underlining Democratic opposition to Mr. Bush’s judicial choices.”

A few weeks earlier, Santorum became the first senator to sign the Fair Judiciary Oath, committing him to work for “a fair confirmation process.” In addition to CFJ and the Third Branch Conference, the sponsoring Fair Judiciary Oath Coalition included the American Center for Law & Justice, the American Conservative Union, the Family Research Council, the Judicial Confirmation Network, and other groups.

After leaving the Senate, Santorum spoke out against the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. Citing Sotomayor’s statement about the “better conclusion[s]” of a “wise Latina” judge, her controversial decision in the New Haven firefighters reverse discrimination case, and her claim that an appeals court is “where policy is made,” Santorum explained that “Bias, elitism, the politics of separating people into classes and racial and ethnic pigeonholes are not what one would expect from a nominee of a president who promised to get us past that.”

Meanwhile Rick Perry’s future is in doubt after a poor Iowa showing. That is unfortunate. Perry is a good man who was hurt by a few minor debate gaffes. Texas is thriving under Perry’s governorship and that is infinitely more important than a couple of verbal slip-ups. But Perry is young. He might run again for the White House in the future.

Does Santorum have the time to do in New Hampshire what he did in Iowa?

No. He is said to have spent 100 days in Iowa campaigning on a shoestring but through an aggressive person-to-person strategy. He now has six days in New Hampshire, although he has spent much time there throughout the season.

Under the old campaign schedule when the New Hampshire primary came in February, Santorum might have had a chance to replicate Iowa somewhat.

Then again, on the shorter schedule, Santorum has the luxury of coasting into New Hampshire on his strong Iowa showing without a lot of time for his image to be questioned or attacked in ads by Romney or the Republican Establishment that considers Santorum too conservative.

In addition, he is enjoying a spike in fundraising after his great showing in Iowa.

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