Saturday, December 1, 2007

Candidate Analysis: Rudy Giuliani

Candidate: Rudy Giuliani
Party: Republican
Political Background: Former Mayor of New York City, Former United States Attorney
Campaign Website:

GOP Appeal: Widespread name recognition due to 9/11 leadership, has become more and more conservative over past 15 years, proposed free market solution to health care problem, mostly conservative on fiscal issues, record of lowering taxes, strong record on crime, tough national defense stance, has optimistic view reminiscent of Reagan, executive experience, record of reforms in NYC very positive, pro-free trade, "BorderStat" program to control illegal immigration similar to successful "CompStat" crime-tracking program, supports state's rights to a large degree.

Cross-over Appeal to Dems: Supports unions as long as membership is voluntary, generally moderate-to-liberal stances on abortion and homosexual rights, has endorsed Democrats in the past if they were the best candidate at the time, has no problems "reaching across the aisle" while sticking to his principles.

Cons: Unclear stance on 2nd Amendment rights, mixed record on immigration, personal issues of the past could come back to haunt him on campaign trail, does not have a lot of social conservative/evangelical support despite Pat Robertson endorsement due to liberal social viewpoints.

My Personal Thoughts: Rudy was actually my pick until Fred Thompson came along. He's been a strong leader for a long time. He has a great record on fiscal and crime issues as Mayor of NYC. He's someone that people listen to, and he draws excellent attention to his record as a whole...not just 9/11.

While he has the tag of "Hillary-slayer", I can only image how nasty that campaign would be. Especially with Giuliani's well-documented past marital issues played up against Hillary "The Cheated" Clinton. I shudder to think about the nastiness that would ensue from all of that.

I'm not totally sold on his 2nd Amendment stance, as that is a bit cloudy. His proposed policies on immigration sound nice, but his past record is mixed. Then again, as he has said, how you govern New York City is different from the entire nation. The fact that he can recognize that is a positive mark in Rudy's favor, as it shows a willingness to adjust in the interest of the common good.

The thing is, if Rudy wins, will the social conservatives come out and vote for him (or vote against the Dem candidate), or will they just stay home? Having Pat Robertson's endorsement helps, but probably not as much as it would if this scenario were playing out 10 years ago. Robertson doesn't have as much pull any more. However, it also seems that Rudy has a handle on "what I personally believe may not be what the rest of the nation believes" on social issues, and that admission also helps him.

Saxman Decides Not to Run for U.S. Senate

The blogosphere is abuzz with the news that Del. Chris Saxman (R-Staunton) has decided against running against Jim Gilmore for the GOP nomination to run against Mark Warner for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by John Warner.

Saxman stated that, since Virginia law forbids fundraising during the General Assembly session (which is from January to mid-March), he believes it would be violating the spirit of Virginia law if he ran...even though that law does not apply in this case because Senate races are governed by federal law, not state law. I consider that to be a pretty honorable move on Saxman's part.

He has formed a PAC to raise funds for other candidates, and did not rule out a future run at statewide or federal office. Apparently, Saxman's speech on his decision was very well received by Republicans, who were gathered at the annual GOP Advance where Saxman made his announcement.

Right now, Jim Gilmore is still the only candidate running, with Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William County) still considering a run himself.

Candidate Analysis: Mike Gravel

Candidate: Mike Gravel
Party: Democratic
Political Background: Former Senator from Alaska
Campaign Website:

Dem Appeal: Hard-line liberal, pro-gay marriage, pro-national smoking ban, pro-marijuana legalization, hard-line environmentalist, supports single-payer universal health care, key player in release of "Pentagon Papers" in 1971, anti-nuclear stance, open-borders advocate, forced end of military draft during Senate career, pro-union, use of "viral video" appeals to younger Dems.

Cross-over Appeal to Republicans: Shares libertarian views on IRS, supports English as official language of U.S., supports merit-based pay for teachers and private school vouchers.

Cons: Believes United States has no enemies in this world, wants to have normalized relations with anti-American leaders (Chavez/Castro/Kim Jong-Il), more concerned with unemployment in Canada/Mexico due to NAFTA/CAFTA than in America, even Dems think he's a bit "extreme" and that he overstates issues like poverty in America to be worse than what they are, horrid fundraising, support for extending school day and year is not popular with either party.

My Personal Thoughts: Gravel, who is left of most of the Dems and a little bit "north" (libertarian) of Dennis Kucinich, is well beyond the support of most Dems...even to the point of drawing about 0.5% of vote in most polls. Gravel considers himself a "regular guy", but many in his own party consider him to be a "crazy old man".

Gravel's liberalism has it's appeal...usually to extreme progressives who feel the rest of the Dems aren't far enough left, and that Dennis Kucinich is too weak in leadership.

People likened him to the Democratic Party's version of Ron Paul, with the exception that Ron Paul's attempts to shake up the party are working to some effect...whereas Gravel has had no real effect except for allowing other Dem candidates appear "more sane and reasoned". So while Gravel is not going to win the nomination, he is still in the race and still debates, so he is deserving of an analysis, as well.

Candidate Analysis: Mike Huckabee

Candidate: Mike Huckabee
Party: Republican
Political Background: Former Governor of Arkansas
Campaign Website:

GOP Appeal: Supports FairTax and/or tax code overhaul and simplification, background as Baptist minister appeals to evangelicals, anti-abortion, pro-capital punishment, knows how to attract minority vote, energy plan includes nuclear power, pro-traditional marriage, anti-LOST, pro-free market but with fair trade, pro-strengthening of 10th Amendment (granting of powers to states and to people), pro-2nd Amendment, opposes universal health care, strong belief in personal responsibility, anti-Fairness Doctrine, strong stance on Iran, believes we have responsibility in Iraq, supports vouchers for private schools.

Cross-over Appeal to Dems: Fiscal moderate who appealed to progressives in Arkansas, acknowledges consensus on abortion can never be reached, anti-"3 strikes" law, does not pander to evangelicals despite rabid support from that bloc of voters, good environmental record, fair trade stance has bipartisan appeal, strong advocate of healthy lifestyles due to incredible weight-loss, does not support privatization of Social Security, equal support for public schools as private schools.

Cons: Has mixed record on spending control as Governor, FairTax has mixed support from both parties and many are against it, stances on abortion and gay marriage alienate many moderate and liberal votes, much of his cross-over appeal is at the expense of Republican support, mixed immigration record does not help with GOP base.

My Personal Thoughts: Huckabee is an interesting case, because his policies are all over the board. He's a definite social conservative (without overtly pandering to SoCons and evangelicals), and is a fiscal moderate. He has an honest, "this is who I am and I won't lie to you about it" attitude that people respect and it is an endearing quality to many people. Also, he has a sense of humor and ease about him that is similar to Fred Thompson.

What Huckabee does not have is a record that will appeal to enough Republicans to win him a nomination. Yes, Huckabee's policies will play well in places like Iowa, where you find that the majority of voters are SoCons and fiscal moderates...but he will have problems in other states, where guys like Romney, McCain, Giuliani, and Thompson all have distinct advantages.

Yes, he did cut taxes 90 times as Governor of Arkansas, and he also refused to raise taxes during a budget shortfall...but his state's spending went up 65.3% when during his two terms and he raised taxes 21 times. It's very hard to get a handle on Huckabee's actual positions when you compare his past record to his future plans.

BUT (there's always a "but"), Huckabee's honest approach is also the kind that GOP voters can respect and live with. The fact that he has said, "yes, this is how I feel, this is how I think, this is what I did, and this is what I'm going to do," on every issue and on every question thrown his way is why Huckabee has begun to win over many voters. While you may not agree with him on issues or policy, that kind of honesty is honorable and could win him some surprising votes.

Friday, November 30, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: Hostages Taken at Hillary's Clinton's Campaign HQ in New Hampshire

This is NOT a joke.

A man has strapped a bomb to his chest, taken two hostages at Hillary's New Hampshire HQ in Rochester, and states that he wants to speak with Hillary Clinton herself.

Barack Obama's Campaign offices, just 4 doors down from Hillary's, have been evacuated as well.



-According to the front page at Fox News, the man has released the two hostages.

- In a show of bitter and disgusting partisanship, liberals over at NLS are posting that basically stating that this nutjob is obviously a Republican, because Republicans "have only anger and fear", and that only Republicans have histories of mental instability. Meanwhile, some Republicans believe this was a staged event to gain sympathy for Hillary. Both sides should be ashamed to put their partisanship above the safety of these people.

Candidate Analysis: Hillary Clinton

Candidate: Hillary Rodham Clinton
Party: Democratic
Political Background: U.S. Senator from New York, Former First Lady of the United States.
Campaign Website:

Dem Appeal: Immense name recognition, husband still popular amongst Democrats, pro-choice, increased spending on welfare/entitlement programs and other social initiatives, creator of modern universal health-care movement amongst liberals, pro-environment, pro-gun control, embodiment of feminist movement, pro-amnesty/legalization for illegal aliens, pro-union, anti-Iraq War,

Cross-over Appeal to Republicans: Foreign policy and business/commerce stances somewhat moderate, supports "3 strikes" laws, fairly hawkish on anti-terrorism measures compared to Dem Party as a whole, has working relationship with Newt Gingrich, state's rights on gay marriage.

Cons: Incredibly polarizing politician - may be worse than Bush in that regard, is more socialist/progressive than husband who advocated "third way", supported "No Child Left Behind" as part of "village", has many image issues with both Dems and Republicans...Dems see her as "more of the same" and GOPers see her as part of the problems with government, has fairly long list of issues she has flip-flopped on, hated by anti-corporate liberals.

My Personal Thoughts: The Democratic front-runner has issues. She is wildly popular with the Democratic Party base, but fares badly elsewhere. Republicans and "change" voters hate her. Independents are indifferent to her. Radical leftists have luke-warm support for her. If you think George W. Bush was a polarizing figure, image what Hillary could do.

There are those who see an advantage if Hillary makes Bill part of her campaign and they use the 1992 strategy of "two for the price of one" and make a better appeal for independent voters. However, that would increase the polarization as Bill is too centrist for many hardline progressives and is a villainous figure in the eyes of many Republicans.

The question remains about well would she hold up against Republicans? She's already launching the attack dogs in campaign ads against the "Republican smear machine", which may play well now...but if this remains her theme for the next 11 months, she's going to lose. Period.

The time has long-been right for "a" woman (or a minority) to be President of the United States. However, it remains to be seen whether or not the majority of the voting public believes that Hillary is going to be "the" right person for the job.

Blast From The Past

CNN has a page with several political ads from the past. The ads currently in the archives are...

From 1952...Eisenhower's "Man From Abilene" and "Eisenhower Answers America", as well as Adlai Stevenson's "Music Man" ad.

From 1960...Kennedy's "Unoriginal Nixon" ad, where Eisenhower could not come up with one original idea from then-VP Richard Nixon.

From 1964...Lyndon Johnson's "Daisy" ad, where he scared America away from Barry Goldwater.

From 1968...Hubert H. Humphrey's "Laughing at Agnew" ad...a forgotten classic.

From 1984...Ronald Reagan's "Bear In The Woods" and "Morning in America" ads, the epitome of positive campaigning and playing to one's strengths.

From 1988...George H. W. Bush's "Can We Trust Dukakis?" ads, as well as Michael Dukakis' "Quayle: Just a Heartbeat Away" ad. This campaign had a lot of negative ads on both sides. Note: I had also mistakenly attributed the "Willie Horton" ad to Bush's campaign, but it turns out that it was an independent PAC that put that out. Thanks to Brian Kirwin for the correction on American history.

Go peer back into political history!

Candidate Analysis: Fred Thompson

Candidate: Fred Thompson
Party: Republican
Political Background: Former Senator from Tennessee, Former Chairman - Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, Former Minority Counsel - Senate Watergate Committee
Campaign Website:

GOP Appeal: Staunch federalist and state's rights supporter, folksy and humored demeanor appeals to middle- and working-class, has more-detailed policy initiatives than any other candidate in either party, supports constructionist judiciaries, promotes school vouchers, pro-capital punishment and "truth-in-sentencing" for violent crimes, strong pro-2nd Amendment stance, supports stronger border security, pro-"smart" free trade, free market advocate, long history of fighting corruption in government, strong stances on waste and fraud in government spending, "get tough" stance on national security.

Cross-over Appeal to Dems: Foreign policy views appeal to Reagan Democrats, would allow states to decide gay marriage and abortion issues with no federal bans despite personal views, supports expanding visas so larger flow of legal immigrants can come to U.S., stronger pro-environmental record compared with other Republicans, history of fighting corrupt government is bipartisan.

Cons: Entered race a bit late as initial tide of support had begun to wane, trying to shake tag of being "lazy", McCain-Feingold support while in Senate still remembered by some conservatives.

My Personal Thoughts: My man Fred. I personally believe that this man has all the answers to issues and that his methods would placate a lot of liberals as well as conservatives. For instance, on abortion, his "state's rights" stance allows for abortions to be legal in states that make it so...which means that liberal states get what they want, and conservative states get what they want as well.

The media does not seem to recognize this (accidentally or intentionally), he gets somewhat lumped in with a lot of other conservatives, even though his federalist viewpoints are at odds with some of the bigger-government conservatives.

Thompson had a lot of strong support over the summer, but I feel that the drop in support has less to do with his campaign performance than it does with the Huckabee surge in Iowa (due to Thompson not being a part of the Ames straw poll) and the general public's short-term memory in terms of McCain's immigration debacle. Thompson has run a more traditional campaign than many expected (especially compared to his early use of the internet in the exploratory stages of his campaign), and this caused many to think he would run a much different campaign than he has.

However, now that Thompson has fleshed out his ideas with more details and substance, he needs to start turning on the charm and turning up the heat left and right during the next several weeks leading up to Iowa (the CNN/YouTube debate was a great showing for him). If he can do so, and eat into the Romney/Huckabee votes, a strong 3rd place finish would bode well for him going into future elections (especially in terms of holding his higher numbers in the south). If not, then the GOP will be looking at a different candidate to make a run at the White House.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

More Horticulture at Last Night's GOP Debate

Michelle Malkin uncovers the plants in the YouTube questions. I have to laugh, because the abortion-question from "Journey" made me jump up and say "you're definitely a Democrat"...turns out she's a rabid John Edwards supporter.

Someone remind me, wasn't it the Democrats who claimed to be more ethical and clean in their campaign methods and their politics?

Candidate Analysis: Barack Obama

Candidate: Barack Obama
Party: Democratic
Political Background: U.S. Senator from Illinois
Campaign Website:

Dem Appeal: Dynamic public speaker, pro-abortion, pro-energy conservation and alternative energy development, would support national smoking ban if local bans were accepted by public, anti-torture/anti-Guantanamo, supports drivers licenses to illegals, admires RFK, pro-progressive tax, supports withdrawal from Iraq except small force for counterterrorism purposes, anti-constructionist judiciaries, strong advocate of gay rights, often compared to JFK.

Cross-over Appeal to Republicans: Advocate of transparency in government, does not completely shun evangelicals, pro-NATO strengthening, health care program more moderate than most Dems, strong advocate of more bipartisan relations between the parties, does not want taxes to go above Clinton-era levels.

Cons: Compared to JFK and shares similar lack of experience in federal gov't, has only begun to flesh out policy proposals with details, has been subject to criticism from both social conservatives AND progressives who do not find him "liberal enough", has "all style, no substance" image amongst some voters.

My Personal Thoughts: Right now, Obama is probably my favorite Dem running. Mainly because his rhetoric regarding Republicans isn't nearly as straight-up nasty and ugly compared to his counterparts. While many of his policies are definitely within the realm of hard-line progressive/liberal, he also seems to inspire a sense of change and fresh air amongst the Democrats in the eyes of independents, and has made overtures to make a connection with Republican voters, namely evangelicals.

However, his relative lack of experience loses points with those looking for someone with a long track record. His pro-abortion and pro-gay marriage stances neutralize most (if not all) of the support he potentially could have drawn from the evangelical vote. On top of that, Obama's health care plan is still considered by most fiscal conservatives to be too close to universal and/or socialist in nature. He is also in a very bitter fight, with two other well-known candidates running for the Democratic nomination.

Obama is a dangerous candidate for any politician, Democrat or Republican, to take on. He does have a natural gift for oration, best displayed at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. His themes of "hope" and "promise" resonate loudly with those who are sick of bitter partisanship and/or the status quo in both parties. If Obama can inspire the Democrats to nominate him, he will not be a pushover for any Republican candidate, despite his flaws.

Candidate Analysis: Tom Tancredo

Candidate: Tom Tancredo
Party: Republican
Political Background: U.S. Representative (CO-6)
Campaign Website:

GOP Appeal: Anti-illegal immigration is biggest issue, taxpayer-friendly record, anti-abortion, record of cost-cutting, anti-judicial activism, anti-gay marriage, pro-national defense, supports building of new oil refineries to ease energy costs, pro-War on Drugs.

Cross-over Appeal to Dems: Advocates larger federal government than most conservatives, racial unity a key issue of Tancredo's, is persona non grata at Bush's White House, racial equality

Cons: Poor verbal communicator, somewhat of an outcast amongst many in the GOP, basically a single-issue candidate who has stated that he is more concerned with pushing his issue than anything else, supports reduction of legal immigration which alienates most GOP voters as well as Dems.

My Personal Thoughts: Tancredo is pretty much the ultimate single-issue candidate, which would be fine if his solutions to this single issue were palatable to more people. His stances against illegal immigration are favorable amongst conservatives. However, his stances against legal immigration are where he loses a lot of the support he would have from some Republicans, as most favor tougher laws against illegals, but still support and advocate for the legal immigration of people from other nations.

Also, Tancredo is a terrible public speaker as seen in the debates. While this isn't exactly a "must-have" to be an effective president, he needs to be able to clearly communicate his positions and ideas to both Congress and the American people...I don't think Tancredo does that well.

All-in-all, Tancredo is a pretty popular figure in his district and will probably reside in the House of Representatives for quite a while. However, he needs to move beyond his single issue to have any hope of earning national support for a presidential campaign.

GOP Debate Thoughts

I missed the last 25 minutes or so last night, which means I missed the planted question from Hillary Clinton's campaign that Duncan Hunter answered...however, it seems that Hunter did not seem to have a problem answering the question from the transcript I read.

A lot of liberal bloviating in the comments over at Vivian J. Paige. I'll save you the trouble of actually reading the comments, because they mostly sound like this..."Arrrgh! Republicans like guns and hate taxes...guns are bad and taxes are good, rawr!" LOL, ok, I'm just having a little fun with my misguided liberal brethren :)

As for my thoughts on the debate.

- Mitt Romney definitely took a step backward last night. He got into it with Rudy right off the bat and took it on the chin from the Fred Thompson YouTube campaign ad. He seemed to be unable to deflect criticism and looked visibly frustrated for the first time in this campaign. His YouTube ad looked like a regular campaign ad, which was a bit "against the point" for making the YouTube-style ad. Mitt fumbled a bit on the "bible" question, even though I think his answer was good, his earlier frustration carried over here.

- Fred Thompson did a great job of just "being Fred" and let his humor and intelligence show in his statements. The YouTube-style ad was great, as he went after Romney and Huckabee with their own words, which caused CNN to change from going to commercial break to continuing the debate, and prompted Fred to quip "I just wanted to give my buddies up here a little extra air time." I liked his response of "I don't have 3 programs I would cut or reform the budget on, I have over 100 programs", which was somewhat drowned out by Anderson Cooper pressing for 3 specific programs Fred would do budget cuts on. Response to Grover Norquist was EXACTLY what was needed to be said...his alliance is to the American people, not to Norquist's organization. Answer to what guns he owns was very funny.

- Rudy did a good job of deflecting criticism in a way that Romney could not. He handled Fred's criticism on the 2nd Amendment in a decent manner, where he basically admitted that New York is different from other places (no kidding). His answer on the "bible" question was excellent. His YouTube ad made me laugh with it's statement that Rudy took on New York's greatest nemesis, King, it was great stuff.

- Mike Huckabee did a pretty good job in this debate, as well, and may overtake Romney in Iowa after last night. However, he did fumble a bit on his response to Thompson's ad (probably the most direct ad of the night). He did display quite a bit of cool in his demeanor, and played to his strengths for most of the night.

- McCain was very measured as he has been, but he was a bit more direct and honest. His response "I never supported amnesty for illegals" drew some serious boos, but he got a LOT of cheers when he went after Ron Paul for his anti-Iraq War stance and compared Paul's stance on foreign policy as similar to American isolationist policies that contributed (in part) to the rise of Hitler and World War II. He seemed to be a bit more in agreement with Thompson on a few points.

- Tom Tancredo...not a bad YouTube ad, other than that, stick a fork in this guy. He's done as presidential candidate.

- Ron Paul didn't have his greatest debate last night, and he really needed it. In fact, his barb-trading with McCain did not help him as their pools of support overlap when it comes to social moderates. He did have his supporters out en masse last night, and it showed with the unusually timed shouts and screams to everything he said.

- Duncan Hunter had a strong performance on his key areas of military and immigration. However, due to his being a 2nd tier candidate, he didn't get the bulk of economic questions...and while he was correct in his response to Grover Norquist, he probably could have phrased his response a little better. He'll win a few more NRA votes due to the pride he took in talking about his guns. Probably would have had a stronger performance with a few more minutes of talk time.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Fred Thompson on Federalism

Lifted this from Wikipedia, which in turn was copied from an article Thompson wrote that was featured at, among other sites. I think it bears repeating.

Our government, under our Constitution, was established upon the principles of Federalism -- that the federal government would have limited enumerated powers and the rest would be left to the states. It not only prevented tyranny, it just made good sense. States become laboratories for democracy and experiment with different kinds of laws. One state might try one welfare reform approach, for example. Another state might try another approach. One would work and the other would not. The federal welfare reform law resulted from just this process. Federalism also allows for the diversity that exists among the country's people. Citizens of our various states have different views as to how traditional state responsibilities should be handled. This way, states compete with each other to attract people and businesses -- and that is a good thing.

Does that not make absolutely perfect sense???

Slick Willie Caught in a Lie (Surprise?)

Bill Clinton told CNN today that he was against the Iraq War from the beginning. Nothing much I can really say in response to that except that Clinton's statement is total BS. We all know it. He had made threats of military action against Iraq while he was President. Hell, even Raising Kaine knows Clinton is full of it!

You know it's bad when Raising Kaine pulls out the BS detector on Clinton.

Candidate Analysis: John McCain

Candidate: John McCain
Party: Republican
Political Background: U.S. Senator from Arizona, Former U.S. Representative (AZ-1), Former Chairman: Senate Indian Affairs Committee and Senate Commerce Committee
Campaign Website:

GOP Appeal: War Hero/Former POW is inspiring, pro-capital punishment, pro-states rights, pro-nuclear energy, supports foreign aid cap, strong pro-military record and supports consistent modernization of military, pro-free trade, supports exporting alternative fuels like ethanol to close trade deficit, pro-reduction of government size and scope, anti-universal health care, leading anti-"pork-barrel" and wasteful spending advocate, has appeal to independents due to portrayed "maverick" status, pro-states rights, advocates strong Iraq policies and final victory, strong ideas on reforming welfare.

Cross-over Appeal to Dems: "maverick" status means he is not beholden to his own party, supports abortion in cases of rape/incest, pro-embryonic stem cell research, believes in climate change and need to convert to enviro-friendly fuels, strongest environmental record amongst GOP candidates, pro-tax hike on tobacco, anti-torture, sponsored Amnesty Bill for Immigrants.

Cons: Lost bulk of evangelical support in 2000 against Bush, "maverick" status as alienating as it is endearing for some, McCain-Feingold still a bitter point for many GOPers, age an issue as McCain is now older than Reagan was when he was elected, occasionally suffers from "foot-in-mouth" syndrome.

My Personal Thoughts: You know, hindsight and speculation makes you wonder "what if" in regards to the 2000 Campaign, where McCain could have both won the nomination from George W. Bush and gone on to beat Al Gore, as well.

All speculation about the past aside, McCain has managed to bounce back well from being dead in the water as a candidate after his abysmal experience with the Immigration Bill over the early summer. He allowed that to die, and has become a serious contender in the polls again, polling anywhere from 2nd to 4th nationally, generally fighting Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson for the spot behind frontrunner Rudy Giuliani.

McCain may actually attract more independents and moderate liberals than Giuliani, as he has an extensive track record of "being his own man" on issues. He also doesn't carry the personal baggage that Giuliani does. However, his invigorated spirit in 2000 did not win him the nomination. Now, when McCain attempts to rile himself up, it seems to come across a bit more forced than natural.

However, his name recognition helps him a lot. He is conservative enough to win conservatives and moderate enough to win independents and some Democrats. Right now, John McCain is the real dark horse of this entire campaign. With Romney and Giuliani fighting in Iowa with sudden media darling Huckabee, McCain looms quietly with his own base of support. If McCain can explode back onto the scene and draw more support his way, he may do well enough in Iowa and New Hampshire to upend the top-tier of the GOP candidates.

Wittman Racking Up The Monetary Support

Virginia Virtucon has an analysis of the race for campaign contributions in the 1st Congressional District race, which is holding it's special election on December 11th. They compare the FEC campaign finance reports between Podium endorsed Rob Wittman and Phil Forgit, and show who's getting the support from donors.

Here's a hint, it's not Phil Forgit.

Candidate Analysis: Dennis Kucinich

Candidate: Dennis Kucinich
Party: Democratic
Political Background: U.S. Representative (OH-10), Former Mayor of Cleveland
Campaign Website:

Dem Appeal: Hard-line environmentalist who is the only vegan in Congress, pro-gay marriage, very pro-gun control, supports single-payer universal health care, supports free Pre-K and College educations to all Americans, anti-free trade, anti-capital punishment, supports heavier regulation of commerce and industry, pro national public smoking ban, advocate for cutting Pentagon budget and creation of 'Department of Peace', supports impeachment of Dick Cheney, promotes amnesty for illegal aliens and making Spanish a national second language, supports fairness doctrine.

Cross-over Appeal to Republicans: Straddles pro-life/pro-choice divide, supported investigation of Lewinsky scandal during Bill Clinton's term.

Cons: Signed letter of solidarity with Hugo Chavez not a popular move with either party, support comes from extreme left and "green" voters, led Cleveland into financial default during term as Mayor, voted against nationwide AMBER alert system, mainstream Dems and Republicans see him as a weak leader, anti-war stances seen as too extreme by most voters.

My Personal Thoughts: Wow, where do I start with Kucinich. He's proven to be off-step with his own party (and most of the nation), he's proven to be a miserable failure of an executive (rated as one of the 10 worst big-city mayors of all-time, first city to go into default since Great Depression). His use of confrontational politics and negotiations has led him to lose a lot of support amongst his own party's leadership.

However, his "peacenik vegan rebel" persona has resonated with a small, but solid, bloc of Dem voters who sit to the general left of the Democratic Party itself. Although they represent about 1-2 percent of the entire Dem voting bloc, they are fairly loud advocates for their candidate as most advocates for "non-mainstream" candidates tend to be.

Nonetheless, Kucinich and his followers may be shooting for goals that are loftier than their cause will propel them. While many Dems believe America needs to shift "left", this is much further to the left than most Americans will ever accept.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Rumor Mill Buzzing...Gore/Kerry/Kennedy to all Endorse Obama?

Wouldn't this be a serious blow to the Hillary campaign? It does make sense.

- Gore has always held a personal sentiment against Hillary Clinton as to why he lost the election in 2000. People close to Gore have disclosed his animosity against Hillary that has developed since then. Gore is not the hawk he once was, but I don't believe he's softened up enough to support John Edwards.

- Kennedy and Kerry both are not fans of Hillary's stance on Iraq. While an endorsement from Kerry does not do much for Obama given his waning popularity amongst Democrats, Kennedy still has a lot of pull amongst hardcore liberals and the combined power of their endorsements would do a lot for Obama in the New England area, where Hillary seems to have more traction.

It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

Candidate Analysis: Joe Biden

Candidate: Joe Biden
Party: Democratic
Political Background: U.S. Senator from Delaware, Chairman of Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Former Chairman of Senate Judiciary Committee
Campaign Website:

Dem Appeal: Stalwart Dem that has lots of experience, pro-environmental record, moderately-fair trade stance, pro-gun control, supports universal health care, anti-torture advocate, pro-union, pro-embryonic stem cell research, generally supports rehabilitation of criminals instead of incarceration, supports national ban on smoking, pro-flex fuel and alternative energy pursuits.

Cross-over Appeal to Republicans: Considered more moderate than other Dem candidates, shown more support for victory in Iraq than most Dems, realizes threat from nations like Iran and North Korea, supports border fence, supports partial-birth abortion ban/refuses to authorize federal funds for abortion.

Cons: Has Flip-flopped on gay marriage issue/missile defense, has tendency to speak before thinking, moderate message lost in a sea of partisanship.

My Personal Thoughts: Another good candidate (well, good for the Democrats) in the wrong year. Actually, hindsight tells me that Biden had a much better chance in say, oh, he probably would have given Bill Clinton a run for his money.

Biden is actually a bit of a moderate conscience for the Democratic Party who usually ends up toeing the party line when push comes to shove. Many independent pundits agree that Biden would be a top-tier candidate if one of the Democratic "big 3" were not in this race. Biden has been one of the most consistent 2nd-tier fundraisers and seems to have a small, but strong, base of support that should keep him in the running for a VP candidacy unless something catastrophic happens to either John Edwards, Barack Obama, or Hillary Clinton between now and January 3rd (the Iowa Caucus).

Biden is another one of those "qualified for the job" politicians that simply didn't have a chance once the Democratic Party's "big names" jumped in. However, if the Democrats want to win over moderate and conservative independents, they would be well-advised to choose Biden as a VP candidate.

Candidate Analysis: Ron Paul

Candidate: Ron Paul
Party: Republican
Political Background: U.S. Representative (TX-14), 1988 Libertarian Party candidate for President
Campaign Website:

GOP Appeal: Libertarian-based conservatism, strong fiscal stances, consistent supporter of low taxes, strict constitutionalist, anti-abortion, pro-2nd Amendment, supports abolition of Dept of Education/pro-private school vouchers, anti-LOST, generally pro-free trade, opposes universal and/or managed health care, strong stances against illegal immigration and immigration reform, candidate who has best managed to use the internet to promote campaign, believes most issues should be handled by the states, believes UN usurps American sovereignty.

Cross-over Appeal for Dems: anti-Iraq War, believes gay marriage should be decided by states individually, pro-1st Amendment, anti-PATRIOT Act, anti-capital punishment, pro-medical marijuana, opposes government intervention in cases like Terri Schiavo's, anti-draft registration, partial support for unions.

Cons: Libertarian ideals seens as a radical change from current liberal/conservative platforms which scares some voters away, has rabid base of support but that base is relatively small, has appeal to both parties but cross-over tempered by opposing viewpoints.

My Personal Thoughts: Ah, yes...Ron Paul. The Libertarian Leader, the Champion of the Constitution, the Doctor of Denial (a reference to his "Dr. No" nickname in Congress). Ron Paul is a moderate libertarian with a healthy dose of Reagan-esque weariness regarding the size and influence of government.

While Paul was originally seen as the GOP's counterpart to Mike Gravel (an old, grumpy extremist), Paul has actually managed to see his movement gain some traction amongst disillusioned conservatives, Republicans of a more moderate social standing, and fiscally conservative independents who are looking for a change from the usual.

His rabid base of grassroots support and incredible fundraising abilities have thrusted Paul into the national spotlight...and that has caused Paul to get second and third looks from undecided or loosely-decided voters.

However, the voting public does not seem to be on the same page with Ron Paul in regards to how he wants to go about instituting his agenda (for instance, eliminating the IRS on his first day as President, should he be elected). That being said, Paul seems to be planting the seeds for a future generation to implement his ideas (or something like them) in a way that may be a bit more palatable to the mainstream American public.

Candidate Analysis: Duncan Hunter

Candidate: Duncan Hunter
Party: Republican
Political Background: U.S. Representative (CA-52), Chairman - House Armed Services Committee
Campaign Website:

GOP Appeal: Pro-2nd Amendment, strong military and defense record and background, strong stance on lower taxes for both individuals and businesses, anti-LOST, 100% rating from Christian Coalition, favors building of new oil refineries to ease gas and energy prices and improve refined oil production, pro-business record, anti-gay marriage, strong fiscal conservatism and budget-cutting stances, anti-abortion, leading advocate and proven track record on border security and control over illegal immigration, pro-capital punishment, supports school vouchers.

Cross-over Appeal to Dems: Supports zero-taxation policy on alternative energy sources, pro-fair trade record, supports UN-backed humanitarian aid in Darfur

Cons: Limited fundraising capabilities, shares similar message with other GOP candidates on varying issues, does not have much name recognition until this presidential campaign.

My Personal Thoughts: Duncan Hunter is another "Reagan Republican" in the sense that he swept into office as part of the Reagan Revolution in 1980, and he shares many Reagan-esque viewpoints. In all actuality, Hunter has all of his bases covered when it comes to the GOP's core group of voters. So why isn't Duncan Hunter rallying up the polls in the same manner as someone like Mike Huckabee?

Simply put, nobody knew who Duncan Hunter was at the earlier stages of this campaign.

He's a social conservative like Huckabee, Brownback, and others. He's strong on immigration like Tancredo, he's strong on 2nd Amendment and economic issues like Fred Thompson, and he's strong on national defense like Rudy Giuliani. There just isn't any room for Duncan Hunter to break into the top-tier of candidates.

Then again, the same was said about Mike Huckabee for quite a while, but Huckabee had a rapport with evangelical and social conservatives that Hunter never fostered, partially because of Huckabee's past as a minister.

It's a shame, because I believe that Hunter has excellent stances and ideas on immigration, national defense, the economy, and the 2nd Amendment. However, Hunter just never seemed to get traction due to the lack of national name recognition and solid, but unspectacular, debate performances.

Take away Fred Thompson and John McCain, two favorites of pro-military conservatives, and Hunter really could have had a shot in this campaign. However, I wouldn't count him out of a VP bid at this point, especially since he is not going to run for another term in the House of Representatives. Interestingly enough, his son, Duncan D. Hunter, is running for that seat in 2008.

Candidate Analysis: John Edwards

Candidate: John Edwards
Party: Democratic
Political Background: Former Senator from North Carolina, 2004 Democratic Vice-Presidential Candidate
Campaign Website:

Dem Appeal: Staunch populist liberal, anti-poverty platform, supports universal health care and universal Pre-K education funding, vocal anti-Iraq War position, previous presidential race experience, pro-union, anti-Guantanamo and terrorist detainment/interrogation, pro-gay marriage and civil rights protections and enhancements, anti-lobbyist, pro-globalization, supports massive funding to Africa for various projects, foreign policy - "extend a hand, not a fist", supports national public-smoking ban.

Cross-over Appeal to Republicans: Supports 2nd Amendment to certain extents, promises tax cuts to 95% of Americans.

Cons: Wife seen by voters in both parties as meddling and hiding behind her cancer to avoid being countered in her attacks, anti-poverty populism contradicted by large hedge-fund paycheck for part-time work as well as his South Carolina mansion, "prissy" image does not play well with middle- and working-class voters, slightly flip-flopped on NAFTA - was against it and now wants to renegotiate it, pro-globalized economy contradicted by anti-trade agreement stances.

My Personal Thoughts: John Edwards has spent his entire campaign missing the target he is trying to hit. For example, Edwards makes very loud overtures to the poverty-stricken, working-class, and minority families of America...but seems to get the bulk of his support from guilt-stricken white liberals who are more affluent that the people Edwards is trying to motivate and reach out to.

He wants to cut taxes for 95% of the population, but wants to push very expensive legislation as President. He wants to provide primary school education to 100 million children in Africa. He wants to introduce universal health care. He wants to make college/university education free to everyone. What he hasn't done, however, is explain exactly how he plans to pay for this if he is going to cut most people's taxes...the only thing left to cut out of the budget is national security funds and increase corporate and upper-class taxes, which then affects jobs.

I think many Democrats even sense a bit more style-than-substance with Edwards, and that's why those who are looking for a "change candidate" are drifting towards Barack Obama instead, who has campaigned with a suprising measured amount of "style" as to shine more focus on his substance.

Also, independents do not seem to support Edwards, and the prevailing wisdom in my mind is that he is the least likely of the major Dem candidates to make any attempts to "work across the aisle" and would add fuel to the fire of bitter partisanship. Even Hillary Clinton, whose name is divisive in it's own right, has tried to work with Republicans like Newt Gingrich on health care reform.

Nonetheless, his populist liberalism does resonate with enough people to have him poll a solid 3rd place in most polls. However, after 2004 and this year, I think his time as an "upper tier" political figure will have come and gone.

Stosch Dumped From Senate Party Leader Position

Republicans elected new leadership in the Virginia State Senate yesterday.

Sen. Walter Stosch (R-Henrico Co.), who was Majority Leader since 1998, was ousted by Republican senators, and replaced with a new leader for the now-minority party. That man is Sen. Thomas Norment Jr. (R-James City County). Stosch was given the new title of "Republican leader emeritus".

The other new leaders elected were...

Sen. Stephen Newman was made caucus chairman
Sen. Mark Obenshain is now Minority Whip
Sen. Frank Wagner is also a Minority Whip
Sen. Ken Stolle was elected to the new post of Republican leader pro tempore

All votes were unanimous, and there was no prior votes taken before unanimity was reached.

This allowed new Minority Leader Norment to quip to reporters, "I know it will be very disappointing to you, but there is peace in the Republican caucus in Virginia."

This leadership is generally more conservative than the Senate leadership in the past. The post-election power loss in the Senate and the more conservative makeup of the Senate Republican Party seems to have created a better sense of unity and direction for the GOP.

Many bloggers, like Jerry Fuhrman at From On High, see this as creating an actual "two-party system", instead of two parties that sometimes resembled each other. I'm inclined to agree with them that this united, more conservative GOP will do a better job to fight against any possible tax increases and fight for responsible fiscal policy and budgeting to overcome the revenue shortfall that was created by the continued inflation of the state budget.

R.I.P. Sean Taylor 1983-2007

God, I don't know how to begin this. To wake up in the morning and hear this news, it just knocked the bottom right out of me. I mean, hell...Taylor was less than 3 months younger than me.

What angers me is the statements by sports reporters (namely Michael Wilbon) and ignorant people that say "I'm not surprised, he was a thug, he was a criminal, he embraced that lifestyle, this isn't surprising to us."

Those who know Taylor will tell you that those statements are bogus and misguided. The media never liked Taylor because he rarely granted interviews and was a very private individual. That's why they emphasize and exaggerate his past problems whenever stories are written about him.

Yes, he pleaded "no contest" to a 2005 assault charge stemming from an incident where he brandished a gun at a man...of course, the man had stolen several all-terrain vehicles from Taylor. Also, Taylor was acquitted of a DUI charge because it was found that the police had no reason to pull Taylor over, and he had not been drinking, and that is why he refused to do a breathalyzer test.

He was not one of these guys that hit the clubs constantly. He was an aggressive, emotional player on the field (as any good football player is), and a quiet, soft-spoken player off the field.

He had really become a more responsible individual when his daughter Jackie was born.

Clinton Portis, a close friend of Taylor's, said, "But ever since he had his child, it was like a new Sean, and everybody around here knew it. He was always smiling, always happy, always talking about his child."

Even Joe Gibbs noticed a difference.

"He loved football. He felt like that's what he was made to do," Gibbs said. "And I think what I've noticed over the last year and a half ... is he matured. I think his baby had a huge impact on him. There was a real growing up in his life."

Sean Taylor was cut down in the prime of his life defending his home and his family. If you can't respect him for that, there's something wrong with you.

Anyone who thinks that Taylor's death was deserved, or "earned", just because they think he's some kind of thug...they don't know Sean Taylor, and they shouldn't be so quick to pass such judgments.

R.I.P. Sean Taylor.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Candidate Analysis: Chris Dodd

Candidate: Chris Dodd
Party: Democrat
Political Background: Senator from Connecticut, Former U.S. Representative
Campaign Website:

Dem Appeal: Agressively anti-Iraq, strong support amongst conservationists/environmentalists, authored FMLA, supports embryonic stem-cell research, 100% NARAL rating means very pro-choice, strong public school advocate, favors carbon cap/carbon tax and favors the repeal of oil subsidies, pro-universal health care, one of the biggest union supporters in Congress.

Cross-Over Appeal to Republicans: Authorization and advocation of FMLA has bipartisan appeal, opposed gay marriage/supports civil unions.

Cons: Tendency to "bite the hand that feeds", flip-flopped support for free trade agreements, supports warm relations with Hugo Chavez, supports removing trade embargo with Cuba, does not have a clear stance on illegal immigration, does not have a problem with supporting tax increases for all.

My Personal Thoughts: Dodd is about as liberal as it gets without being tagged an "extremist" or "whacko moonbat". Dodd's relationships with the accounting industry and with businesses in general have been his biggest source of criticism from other Democrats

This is the wrong year for Dodd to be running, similar to the situation Bill Richardson is in. In most other years, he'd be a much more notable candidate, and would probably get a little more traction amongst Dem voters.

However, Dodd's open pursuit of relations with communist Cuba and Venezuelan President (and uber-socialist dictator) Hugo Chavez put him at odds with many Democratic voters, though. Even the Jon Stewarts of the world don't support such relations with guys like Chavez. His long-running support of such trade agreements as NAFTA is now being countered by his own stances against more recent trade agreements. He also has a bit of a "whiner/complainer" tag that sticks with him with some Dems that I know.

Candidate Analysis: Alan Keyes

Candidate: Alan Keyes
Party: Republican
Political Background: Former Ambassador to UN, served on National Security Council and State Department under Ronald Reagan, former President of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), previously sought GOP Presidential nomination in 1996 and 2000.
Campaign Website:

GOP Appeal: Well-spoken and articulate, appeals to social conservatives with hard anti-abortion and anti-homosexual stances, has a small-but-rapid base of support, prominent African-American figure in the conservative realm, can claim a certain amount of "Reagan's legacy" that others can't, underrated fiscal conservatism, strong on national defense, pro-2nd Amendment.

Cross-Over Appeal to Dems: Would allocate more money to expand national parks, has developed pro-alternative fuel viewpoints, supports regional aid to Darfur, critical of Patriot Act infringing on individual rights and freedoms.

Cons: Sometimes overly-bombastic which makes him easy target, as socially conservative as they come which alienates moderates, focus on social issues keeps him from emphasizing fiscal issues and stances, habitually runs for office to emphasize issues and not to actually win.

My Personal Thoughts: Alan Keyes is a double-edged sword for me. I think he is an incredibly intelligent man who speaks and writes very clearly and articulately. I think many of his fiscal policies are worth acknowledging. Keyes is strong and steadfast in his beliefs, does not contradict his words with his actions, and has "been around the block" politically. His statements and beliefs about race relations and legislation, government reform, and foreign policy ring loudly with many conservatives. His idea to replace income tax with an internet tax and a national sales tax is thought-provoking.

But damn if this guy isn't as socially conservative an individual as I've ever seen. To go as far as to call gay sex "selfish hedonism" is very "hard-line" social conservatism. While Mr. Keyes has his right to this opinion, he shouldn't be surprised when the voters alienate him on this. Plus, the fact that he, for all intents and purposes, disowned his daughter when she came out of the closet will not play well with most voters...even if it is an example of his lack of personal contradiction.

However, Keyes is really in it to promote his viewpoints to a large audience...however, he is a powerful speaker and can be on-point with many of his ideas. It will never translate to votes, though, and I think we all know that.

Redskins' Safety Sean Taylor Shot

I didn't believe it when I first heard it, but Redskins star Sean Taylor was shot in his home in Miami last night. There was apparently a break-in at his home, and the perpetrator shot Taylor in his leg, and the bullet hit the femoral artery.

Not much else is known at this time, but I wish Taylor all the best...

UPDATE: More bad news as of right now. Even though Taylor is out of surgery, as of just after 3 pm, Taylor was still non-responsive and unconscious. Doctors fear a possible brain injury due to the loss of oxygen to his brain after the shooting.

Keep Sean Taylor in your prayers.

Candidate Analysis: Bill Richardson

Candidate: Bill Richardson
Party: Democratic
Political Background: Governor of New Mexico, Former U.S. Representative, Former U.N. Ambassador, Former U.S. Secretary of Energy
Campaign Website:

Dem Appeal: Against Iraq War, strong energy conservationist and supports alternative fuels and research, supports "path of legalization" of illegal immigrants and supports sanctuary cities until comprehensive immigration reform takes place, pro-universal health care, advocates regulated fair trade, believes we need to cooperate with UN and exercise diplomacy.

Cross-Party Appeal to Republicans: Vast experience in government, opposes raising the Social Security tax cap on the middle class, record of tax reduction in New Mexico, Supports civil unions, not gay marriage. Anti-base closure. Received NRA endorsement as Governor of New Mexico.

Cons: At odds with general party line on taxes, despite his base closure stance has generally unfavorable view of military use, believes he is the only person who can unconditionally negotiate peace in the Middle East without any need for economic pressure. Not a strong communicator of Democratic Party's platform.

My Personal Thoughts: If there is one candidate who can stake the claim as being "the most qualified for the job of President of the United States", it's probably Bill Richardson. He's been an executive, a legislator, a diplomat, and a member of a presidential cabinet.

I'm surprised that Richardson hasn't garnered more support, but it's understandable since the "big names" in terms of Democratic candidates have come out seeking nomination themselves. If you remove one of the big 3 (Hillary, Obama, Edwards), then Bill Richardson is a BIG threat for the nomination. Richardson, on most issues, pretty well toes the party line in terms of where he stands.

Richardson has appeal to GOP voters due to some of his moderate stances, pro-tax cut stances, and his pro-2nd Amendment stances.

However, I think Richardson is currently no more a candidate for VP...which he has already stated he would not accept and that he'd rather remain Governor of New Mexico. It's a shame, because as much as I disagree with the general Democratic Party's's slightly easier to take it from a man with Richardson's credentials.

Candidate Analysis: Mitt Romney

Candidate: Mitt Romney
Party: Republican
Political Background: Former Governor of Massachusetts
Campaign Website:

GOP Appeal: Has great "communication" skills, socially and fiscally conservative, free trade advocate, strong anti-illegal alien stance, proposes solutions to national problems in ways that are more conservative than the solutions proposed to the state of Massachusetts while governor.

Cross-Party Appeal To Dems: Has good environmental record, record of health-care reform, record of boosting women and minorities in the workplace. Balanced Mass budget as Governor, which was facing a $1.2 billion deficit when he took office. Popular governor in heavily Democratic state.

Cons: Comes across almost too slick and polished, Has changed position on multiple issues over time. Has a small, built-in opposition due to his Mormon faith.

My Personal Thoughts: Mitt Romney is currently battling for 3rd place in my own mind. His position changes have come as time has gone on...and he explains it well as "personal growth". I can believe that. However, I'm not convinced that he may not experience "personal growth" again, but this time to the detriment of America.

Then again, the ideas he has laid out are excellent (at least in theory), and are much more conservative than the ideas on these same issues when he was Governor of Massachusetts. It makes sense that he adopted more centrist/liberal positions as chief executive of one of the "bluest" states in the nation. He was a pretty popular governor in a place that does not take kindly at all to Republicans, so that says something.

Also, I believe Romney is VERY capable of simply getting things done. His background in the business world is exceptional and I think the man is more focused on pointing America in the right direction economically and keeping our nation safe and secure.

Romney's plans are fairly sound, I'm just not completely sold that the positions he holds now are the positions he will continue to hold in the future. If he can sell me on that, and he wins the nomination, I will have no qualms about voting for him.

This Week's Podium Special: Candidate Analysis

I will be doing an analysis on each of the candidates for President, both Democrats and Republicans. Yes, this will be coming from a certain POV, but I will be objective and I will even note where a candidate may have appeal to someone of the opposing party.

I will be doing 1st and 2nd tier candidates, too. So even candidates like Dennis Kucinich and Tom Tancredo will get analyzed here. With less than 40 days to the Iowa Caucus, this is as good a time as ever to analyze everyone who has managed to stay in the race up to this point.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Podium Reaches New Heights

This week, The Podium is ranked as the 4th most influential blog in the state of Virginia according to BlogNetNews.

To some, this is a dubious distinction, as there are those who find flaws with the apparent measure of influence. To others, this is a sole measure of success and status.

Me? I'm just flattered as hell and happy to be here. While I know I'm not the 4th "most-read" blog in Virginia (I'm probably not even the 4th most read blog in Shenandoah County...and there's only 2 blogs in ShenCo that I know of!), I have noticed that there are people who do read my blog on a fairly regular basis.

Sometimes, I get the occasional read from someone at the General Assembly or one of the houses of Congress. Probably some aide browsing the blogs for mentions of the politician they work for.

Note: At the height of my Harry Reid bashing over the Immigration Bill, I received a lot of views from the office of the U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms...who probably told Sen. Reid "there's this guy in Virginia who hates you!", to which I'm sure he replied something along the lines of "Who cares what that guy thinks! He's probably a damn Republican anyway!"

Nonetheless, I am flattered that I could rank this high. I'm also flattered by every different page hit I get. Do I wish I was as widely read as some of the other blogs in this state? Well, I'd be lying if I said I didn't...I'd love for as many people as possible to read my blog. However, as I've said before, I'm just happy to be here.

So, a big thank you to everyone who reads The Podium...I thank you all from the bottom of my cyber-heart. Now, I'm off to watch the Redskins kill the Tampa Bay Buccaneers!

Thompson Accuses FOX News of Bias Against His Campaign

I tuned in to Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace to see my man Fred and the interview he did with Wallace. Fred was really showing some fire, and a bit of anger, including some directed towards FOX News themselves. Here is a good recap of the exchange between Thompson and Wallace, courtesy of The Hill.

In an interview on "Fox News Sunday," host Chris Wallace pressed Thompson on how some conservatives have lambasted Thompson's campaign and showed clips of Fox conservative commentators Charles Krauthammer and Fred Barnes criticizing the former senator.

Thompson said, "This has been a constant mantra of Fox, to tell you the truth." He noted that other conservatives have praised his bid for the GOP nomination and took issue with a Fox promo that focused on polling in New Hampshire, where Thompson is registering in the single digits.

He said he is running second in national polls and has been leading or tied for the lead in South Carolina for "a long, long time."

Thompson, in a firm, but measured tone, scolded Wallace: "...for you to highlight nothing but the negatives in terms of the polls and then put on your own guys who have been predicting for four months, really, that I couldn't do it, kind of skew things a little bit. There's a lot of other opinion out there."

Krauthammer and Barnes regularly appear on Fox. Krauthammer is a syndicated columnist and Barnes is executive editor of The Weekly Standard.

Wallace denied to Thompson that "Fox has been going after you" and asked, "Do you know anybody who thinks you've run a great campaign, sir?"

Thompson responded, "It's not for me to come here and try to convince you that somebody else thinks I've run a great campaign." He added that National Review magazine has praised him for issuing detailed policy proposals on Social Security and immigration.

Following the sharp exchange, a smiling Wallace said, "I'm glad I asked the question because I got a heck of an answer."

Yes he did, and I began to think if Fred was overstating any kind of bias against him...until I began to think about how many negative spots about Thompson have been put on the air at FOX. In fact, John McCain was drawing more favorable coverage from FOX when he was polling at his lowest numbers, and that was when Fred was leading Rudy in the national polls.

Fred has actually pulled ahead of Rudy Giuliani in Iowa in recent polls, and trails Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee there, which places him in a very coveted spot for 3rd place. While New Hampshire has been a struggling point for Fred's campaign, word on the ground is that polls are starting to turn up better numbers for Fred due to his recent swing through the state and words for Rudy while campaigning there.

He is also tied for the lead in South Carolina, another early primary state, according to Rasmussen Reports and leads in that state in other polls.

Also, on a national level, Fred is polling second to Rudy Giuliani for the GOP why the negative coverage?

Let's not count Fred out!