GOP Bosses Quietly Break Down the Primary Pack

GOP Bosses Quietly Break Down the Primary Pack

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Right now, it’s easy to see why all political buzz is businessman and pizza icon Herman Cain.  His climb in the polls has been short of meteoric and legendary in recent weeks.  It’s a fascinating story in that Cain can’t be written off like Iowa straw poll runner-up Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) – nor can he be taken as seriously as either big machine candidates former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney or Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Still, bursting the Cain bubble, prognosticators have an irritating habit of picking early winners and unfortunate losers. And, predictions point to Romney taking it all.

Even Cain acknowledges it with little hesitation in a recent National Journal interview: “I would not say no to being vice president of the United States. But it would depend upon who got the nomination. I will support who gets the nomination. I know I have said that there are some people right now who I cannot support, but I wouldn’t say no to it. I could say yes. But it has to be someone who I believe I can complement them in their job by being able to bring my skills to the table.”

If the sudden political star and straw poll barnstormer was that convinced that he would be the next Republican nominee for the 2012 Presidential election, he wouldn’t be saying that.  Ego plays a significant role in the decision to run for President – it continues to mold the race from the announcement phase, engorges itself during the campaign phase and finds its biggest test on election day.

During his well-orchestrated press conference to announce, among other things, that he wasn’t going to announce, heavyweight political lover across the Franklin Bridge Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) kept it straight with little chaser on the question of ego: “The fact is, I don’t think there’s anybody in America who would necessarily think my personality is best-suited to being No. 2.”

But, while the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO continues to surge in polls and in notoriety, many insiders are convinced that Cain is merely posturing for the No. 2 spot.  Signs point to a growing resignation within the Republican Party that its establishment bosses are beginning the process of winnowing down the very crowded field and paving a clear path for Romney.

Signs of a political attrition game reaching its final days are abundant.  While Cain was tying second place with Perry at 16% in a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll and then zipping ahead to 36% in first place in a subsequent ABC News poll, his Communications Director Ellen Carmichael was making an exit.

“I have resigned, but the paperwork’s not final,” Carmichael told CNN early last week, packing up her bags and taking assistant Francis Boustany along with her.

It raised few red flags regarding Cain since he was drowning in poll time adulation.  But, to observers there were questions: why leave now when your candidate is now flavor of the primary month?  Did something happen?  Did Cain do or say something?  Carmichael had played the critical role in Cain’s emergence as an overnight party sensation.

“We’ve had ups and downs. We’ve had tons of money and very little money,” said Carmichael. “And I’ve stuck through some very difficult and some very rewarding times on the campaign. And it was just time for me to go pursue other professional opportunities.”

The money is on the money.  Many longtime party insiders, speaking on background, point to the start of a trend where Republican gurus will pluck candidate staffers away from key positions in their campaigns, enticing them with cushy job offers to work for the party or affiliate firms. Others may pop up during convention time as key operatives putting final touches on a general campaign roll out.

“The party saw Cain as being an issue, someone who didn’t have much to lose politically and could have staying power against a presumptive nominee like Romney,” says one GOP party official speaking on condition of anonymity.

Other candidates are also running into either trouble or a bad case of irrelevance.  Paul has continued to watch his numbers go flat below 8% since nearly edging out Tea Party queen Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) in the Iowa straw poll.  According to the Real Clear Politics polling averages, former Keystone State son Sen. Rick Santorum can’t seem to break through 4%.  And while former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is flirting with 10%, it’s nothing compared to Herman Cain who has seen a 12% increase since September.

And the big political burnout of the season is Bachmann, the one hit Iowa wonder who now teeters on the brink of full implosion.  She lost her campaign manager and top gun legendary strategist Ed Rollins (who ran Ronald Reagan campaigns of lore and graced CNN with his expert analysis) in September.  Since then, she’s been hassled by vendors blowing up the phone for payment and a long string of resignations, from her pollster to her senior adviser.

Part of the problem is Bachmann’s notorious reputation for being afraid to fundraise.  In keeping it grassroots, the Minnesota Congresswoman has relied on the small donor give-me-what-you-got strategy, a move that has found her nearly a half-million dollars in debt.

But, the other side of the story is that the party establishment could be rallying around its chosen one.  This is already playing itself out as states like Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina jockey for first place primary positioning.  The three first states, according to polls, appear as Romney strongholds – hence, all the more reason to make sure he kicks off strong against opposition at the start of the primaries.  The Romney campaign is already fending off recent reports that they forced Nevada Republicans to push their primary date up to January 14th.

With major GOP operatives like Karl Rove and the Bush political family having personal axes to grind with Perry, forces of political nature in the Republican Party are pushing someone not as unpredictable, gaffe-prone and irascible.  Romney fits that bill.

23 COMMENTS

    • The author too easily gives Florida and Nevada into the Romney camp. Cain won the straw poll there convincingly and he has been a mainstay in Nevada since being the key note speaker at their 4/15/2009 anti Tax Tea Party rally. Pundits wrote Cain off before when he lost his campaign manager in Iowa and New Hampshire several months back and he overcame those resignations and has grown stronger from it. Cain is a businessman, a successful one so I see these moves as putting the right people in the right places at the right time.

  1. Romney has no base inside or outside the GOP. His strongest supporters are among NPR producers and listeners. Nominating Romney is the best way to ensure the base stays home in November.

  2. cain is unelectable! running 600 pizza parlors doesn't quite make par with governing the worlds 14th largest economy for 10 years. the conservative electorate will go with perry.

    • Actually, Cain was CEO of the company that makes the 8th best selling pizza in the United States.

      He’ll make America 8th best as well.

      It can be his 9-9-9-8th plan.

      • Agreed, Cain's 999 plan would be devistating to this country.

        Just conceptualize a 9 percent federal sales tax added onto the already high state sales taxes that are pervasive throughout America. Here in my state we would be paying 18 percent sales tax. Do you realize what this would do to the costs of goods and services?

        Also consider that a flat tax of 9 percent means that everyone pays 9 percent. So the poor / low income people of this country would suddenly see both their income taxes and their cost of living go up. It would create widespread poverty while at the same time making it impossible to start a small business. Who would even try with 18 percent taxes?

  3. Our forefathers intended that our elected officials come from main street USA. They never intended that DC be infested with career politicians. We have diverted so far from their vision of the America they knew and loved.
    That’s why I support Herman Cain.

  4. I have said it before and I will say it again. The nomination of Herman Cain will RIP off the liberal mask covering their venomous bigotry. They will be unable to help themselves.

    I am glad to see a few intellectually honest MSM come to his defense (MSNBC Larry ODonell). Albeit he can handle himself quit well.

    All aboard!!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yDRtZsfOtQ

    • Just conceptualize what you are saying. MSM coming to Cain's defenses? You really think the MSM would defend someone worth your time?

      Cain's 999 plan is one of the worst ideas I have ever heard from a politician. The only reason he is gaining popularity is that media has made it their objective to push him into a more prominant position than he deserves because they cannot allow Ron Paul to be seen by the public as in the upper tier position he is in. Rightfully, Paul is in second now, and when the public wakes up to the idiocy that is Herman Cain, they will dump him like yesterdays newspaper, just like they did with Perry.

      Sorry big republican guys, with Cain, you fail again. This will come down to Romney and Paul, and Paul will most likely win because if he doesn't, the republicans have no chance of beating Obama.

  5. The only candidate worth any a vote is Dr.Paul. This article just shows you how much his support is growing the world over. he wins straw poll after straw poll, has supporters who are willing to learn about what is happening to our country rather than just listening to what the talking heads on tv tell people and has the background (hes a OBGYN with a healthy practice and served as a flight surgeon in the usaf) but he also stands by his principals regardless of whom he is speaking with. With Paul, you get a man you can literally trust because you can look at his record and he has and will forever remain the champion of liberty and the guardian of the constitution.

  6. There is absolutely no way I’m going to vote for Romney, or any other RINO candidate for president, on election day. I will write-in my conservative candidate of CHOICE!

    What you all seem to forget is that the November 2010 elections locked conservative control in the local, state, and Congressional seats throughout America.

    This conservative control will be enough to stop Obama’s agenda if he is reelected another term. With Obama unable to pursue his socialist wealth redistribution policies, America can wait him out.

    And more importantly, it makes the RINO GOP establishment irrelevant in politics, as they will not have been successful in extorting conservative votes by playing the Fear Card.

    The RINO GOP establishment has PROVEN by their political history that they have no interest in stopping America’s runaway debt, preventing the further erosion of individual liberties, or returning to a limited federal government.

    Romney is more of the Obama-same.

    As a proud Tea Party member, I vote on PRINCIPLE, not on electability.

    Electability gets you more of the same failed economic and political policies that are ruining America.

    I vote ‘NO!’ on Romney, or any other RINO candidate on the ballot.

    Don’t Tread On The Tea Party!

  7. Ron Paul is the only candidate representing the interests of the general public. He's the only one willing to address the hidden tax of inflation. Until this country has sound currency alternatives, we will continue to decline. Only a fool saves his fiat, just to watch it lose 6% of it's value. BLS may report 2 or 3 percent, but only because of near fraudulent calculating methodologies. Fractional reserve banking is government protected fraud. For years, the workings of financial institutions and the federal reserve were largely a mystery to the average American. Paul has worked his position in congress to bring light to bear on them. Anyone that understands it, and isn't p!ssed, is likely a non producer. A banker or an investment manager.

  8. Hm. Ron Paul has now placed first in FIVE straw polls. Anyone else done that?

    Value Voters
    CPAC
    RLC
    California
    New Hampshire

    What NEW reason will they have that Dr. Paul isn't a "Top Tier" candidate?

    • Herman Cain has won 15 strraw polls including the Tea Party Patriots Straw Poll and the Florida Straw Poll. Cain is in the top three in every poll that holds water and Ron Paul is not. He jinxed himself when he declared himself in third place in the polls at the last debate and declined to discuss his VP thoughts.

  9. Ron Paul is THE ONLY person of actual integrity in this race. Romney is just another warmonger and Cain will simply be another pawn of the unconstitutional privately-owned Fed COMPANY which is bankrupting this country. A vote against Ron Paul is a vote against a viable future for this country. Don't let the "Establishment" dictate your interpretation of our Constitution. It will be at the peril of current and future generations. It's either Ron Paul or you can kiss your freedoms goodbye folks.

  10. Are we talking about Federal Reserve Chairman Herman Cain? I see the big banks threw in their candidate. He supported TARP and all Americas money went to overseas banks….no wonder we are broke.

  11. Herman Cain has the ground game to compete in every primary or caucus next spring. His momentum is growing at the right time and he will attract many independent voters and some democrats in open primary states. Florida would vote for Cain if its primary was today and the straw poll is evidence of that.

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