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Posts Tagged ‘tea party

Sarah Palin: Could She Run as an Independent or Third Party Candidate?

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Sarah Palin talks a lot about the tea party.

On Fox News last week, she said, “I find inspiration in tea party patriots [and] those with common sense who aren’t playing a lot of games.”

She could be considered the tea party’s godmother. With her Sarah PAC and support for 2010 tea party candidates, Palin has generated a lot of good will, not to mention publicity, for a movement that began only two years ago. She also isn’t afraid to attack popular Republicans such as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Further proof that Palin isn’t always a GOP team player: She is skipping the first GOP primary debate on May 2 to give a keynote address, “Tribute to the Troops with Sarah Palin,” at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood, Colo. Some take this as a sure sign, along with her tanking poll numbers in key places like Iowa, that Palin will not seek the White House in 2012.

Could Palin, ever the rogue, be concocting a different plan?

What if Palin is building a grassroots army of patriots to help her undertake this mission? Palin, unlike any failed vice presidential candidate before her, has taken an opportunity and spun it into a gold mine. But to remain relevant in a crowded 2012 field of attention-seeking veteran politicians, Palin may have to make an unconventional move.

Although third-party candidates seldom win in America’s two-party system, they can certainly rain on political parades. At the same time, they can help down-ballot candidates by getting voters to the polls who might otherwise stay at home.

Palin certainly has many of the qualities of a third-party candidate – charismatic and passionate, with a status as an outsider intent on storming the barricades of the establishment.

Consider previous candidates with engaging and controversial personalities who attempted to carve their own path to the Oval Office.

Larger-than-life Theodore Roosevelt ran on his Bull Moose Party ticket in 1912. He won 27.4 percent of the popular vote and carried six states, totaling 88 electoral votes. Roosevelt’s candidacy split the Republican vote, and Democrat Woodrow Wilson won the election.

In 1948, Strom Thurmond ran as a Dixiecrat segregationist, a major draw in Southern states. Former Democratic governor George Wallace of Alabama ran in 1968 on the American Independent Party line. He remains the only third-party candidate since 1948 to win a state.

Ronald Reagan didn’t face just Jimmy Carter. He also had to run against John Anderson, who had run in the crowded Republican primary. When it looked certain that Reagan would win, Anderson jumped to an independent candidacy. He received support from Rockefeller Republicans, author Gore Vidal, television sitcom creator Norman Lear and even the editors of “The New Republic.”

One of the most prominent third-party candidates, perhaps, is Ross Perot. With his charts and nasal voice, he became a household name and the star of many “Saturday Night Live” skits, with Dana Carvey playing Perot. The billionaire Texan threw a wrench into George H.W. Bush’s re-election bid against Bill Clinton. He finished second in two states – Utah, ahead of Clinton, and Maine, ahead of Bush. Perot won 18.9 percent of the popular vote but no electoral votes.

He gave it another shot in 1996, but with lesser impact, on the Reform Party ticket. He garnered 8 percent of the popular vote.

Ralph Nader has run four times for president – twice as a Green Party candidate in 1996 and 2000 and twice as an independent, in 2004 and 2008.

For Palin to run as a tea party candidate, it would require money and keen organization. To become a legitimate third party, as opposed to its current status as a movement, the tea party would face a series of steep obstacles it likely could not scale by 2012.

For example, each state has its own ballot-access laws. Some states simply require a filing fee, but others have complex petition-gathering requirements for a party to become established, purposely aimed at keeping third parties off the ballot and protecting the elevated status of the major parties.

And the tea party isn’t showing any effort to become established.

That’s because the Republicans have figured out, for now, how to please the tea party.

“The tea party potentially forming a third-party movement would happen if they become completely disgusted with the Republicans,” said Dr. Jim Broussard, professor of history at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pa.”That doesn’t seem likely now. Both in Washington and at the state level, most Republicans have figured out what people sent them to do.”

But what if the 2012 Republican nominee, maybe Mitt Romney or outgoing China ambassador Jon Huntsman, isn’t a tea party darling? Palin could emerge as the conservative populist alternative. Her best bet then would be to align with an established third party such as the Reform Party, like Pat Buchanan did in 2000, or run as an independent.

One downside of running as an independent? Absolutely no structure to rely on for support. But Palin already has a built-in voter, and fan, base. She has more than 2.7 million Facebook fans and 439,000 Twitter followers. She raises millions through her PAC, and gets massive media coverage from one tweet. She would likely have no problem covering the filing fees to get on the ballots in various states. Palin could use her social media tentacles to gather signatures on petitions in states that require such.

Politico has reported that she could set up a presidential base in Arizona. That might be the perfect spot to launch an independent bid. The tea party recently held a summit in the state, which Palin did not attend but endorsed. It’s also the state where Barry Goldwater revamped the modern-day conservative movement in the 1960s. Palin, in turn, could revolutionize the status of the independent candidate in Sen. John McCain’s back yard without playing by the Iowa and New Hampshire game.

Matthew Kerbel, professor of political science at Villanova University, said, “Her history suggests she would relish the opportunity to run without having to do the heavy lifting of campaigning in Iowa and New Hampshire, and she would certainly want her supporters to come to her and demand that she run.”

Then again, Kerbel says, “She may be the first candidate in history to run for president in order to preserve their place as a pop culture figure.”

[Originally published on Politics Daily, March 9, 2011]

Written by suziparker1313

March 10, 2011 at 5:33 pm

Bill Clinton Honors Arkansas’ Little Rock Nine, 1957 Civil Rights Icons

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Little Rock Nine hold a special place in Bill Clinton’s heart.

He returned here on Saturday to honor the nine African-American students who in 1957 were prevented from attending the racially segregated Little Rock Central High School by the Gov. Orval Faubus and angry mobs that threatened lynching.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued Executive Order 10730, which sent units of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division to Little Rock and federalized the Arkansas National Guard to escort the students into the school.

The protests continued, but the Little Rock Nine were eventually admitted to Central High. They still faced verbal and physical abuse, and the incident clouded the national perception of Arkansas for decades. And it became one of the most important events in the civil rights movement.

Clinton celebrated the unveiling of a new permanent exhibit, which features the Little Rock Nine Congressional Gold Medal, at his presidential library. In 1999, then-President Clinton bestowed the Congressional Gold Medal, the country’s highest civilian honor, to the Little Rock Nine at a White House ceremony.

After a video with crisp footage of Eisenhower’s famous 1957 address to the nation about the Central High crisis, Carlotta Walls LaNier, one of the Little Rock Nine and president of the Little Rock Nine Foundation, introduced Clinton, sporting a gray three-piece suit and a Navy blue tie.

At times, Clinton sounded troubled about the direction of the country, and his speech seemed more political than commemorative.

He talked about the controversial ending of a busing plan by tea party board members in a North Carolina school district that had allowed diverse students to attend school together. He mentioned the campaign to repeal health care reform and what he characterized as backward steps on energy and education. And Clinton harshly criticized the growing conservative agenda, saying the country was “infected with a virus” that believes any federal power is “quashing democracy.”

He said that Eisenhower was a genuine conservative Republican for his time, but that didn’t stop him from using federal power to gain equal opportunity for all Americans regardless of race. “Conservative means something very different today than it did in 1957,” Clinton said.

Clinton was 11 years old when the Central High crisis unfolded. He said that he watched Eisenhower on television but could not tell if he was a Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative. He never forgot the message or the historical moment.

In 1977, when he was the state’s attorney general, Clinton attended an event at Central High School with members of the Little Rock Nine and the Rev. Jesse Jackson. Clinton recalled that Jackson, a liberal activist, gave an unlikely speech.

“He gave what would be a right-wing conservative speech today,” Clinton said.

Clinton’s point: Jackson spoke about his position on family values without politics entering the dialogue. That no longer happens, he said. But it should.

“We need voices of America to remember the mission we were given,” he said. “Listen to President Eisenhower . . . let’s try to give it [a more perfect union] to more people in the 21st century.”

Written by suziparker1313

March 10, 2011 at 3:58 am

Sharron Angle Goes to Iowa: A Coy 2012 Candidate? Maybe (and Don’t Laugh)

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Are appearances at makeup and skin-care events proper platforms for a presidential candidate?

Probably not, but these days one can’t take anything for granted.

Take Sharron Angle, for example. After making a credible attempt to unseat Democratic Sen. Harry Reid in Nevada last fall, the tea party favorite could be gearing up for a White House run. She was in Iowa recently, attending the premiere of “The Genesis Code,” a film featuring former presidential candidate Fred Thompson.

And prior to that? On Jan. 21, she appeared at a makeup and skin-care event with Joni Rogers-Kante, founder and CEO of SeneGence International in Las Vegas. At that “girlfriend” gathering, Angle shared “her beauty and makeup challenges during the campaign and how she overcame them.” The flyer said that Angle “had confidence that she would look great with 14-16 hour days & numerous appearances daily . . . so can you!”

The juxtaposition might not have raised eyebrows except that she told a reporter from the Des Moines Register, who asked about her plans, “I’ll just say I have lots of options for the future, and I’m investigating all my options.”

She then added, perhaps slyly, “Please, just invite me back.”

At that Vegas skin-care event, did Angle whisper what color of lipstick she’d prefer to wear in the Hawkeye State – or the Granite State and beyond? More to the point, is she even serious about such a bid? In all likelihood, no. But she’s guaranteed media coverage when she ventures into Iowa, where any appearance by a political figure has potential portent.

Angle gained national prominence by taking on Reid. Her momentum grew thanks to the Internet and social media. Before becoming a tea party favorite, she served in the Nevada state legislature from 1998 to 2005 and in 2006 narrowly lost a congressional GOP primary.

Pundits and others — especially comedians — have scoffed at the notion of an Angle presidential campaign. On Comedy Central’s website, one post joked, “Is there room for one more clown in the clown car? Come on, clowns! You can make room! Go on, scoot over. Scoot over!”

But before everyone laughs, maybe they should pause.

Angle may not run — her chances of success are virtually nonexistent — but she might influence the primaries with money and rhetoric if the tea party movement holds strong. During her race against Reid, she raised more than $21 million (though, admittedly, conservatives viewed her as their best chance to boot a despised incumbent). And she recently announced her “Patriot Caucus PAC,” which is aimed at creating “a ground game across most battleground states for the 2012 election cycle.”

The PAC also launched a corresponding website and Facebook page, which only has about 6,000 followers so far — a small number in the online political world. The PAC’s advisory committee includes tea party organizers in New Hampshire, Florida and Iowa, where the Patriot Caucus plans to open offices. The website features “action groups,” one of which currently profiles Herman Cain, the former chief executive of Godfather’s Pizza, conservative host of a popular talk radio show in Georgia, and himself weighing a 2012 presidential bid.

But the website cautions: “Action groups on the Patriot Caucus do not suggest an endorsement of any kind. All GOP candidates will be given an action group once an official campaign is announced.”

According to Federal Elections Commission reports, the PAC has yet to raise any money.

Angle also doesn’t work social media sites the way a future presidential candidate might. She updated her Twitter account last week after visiting Iowa, but prior to that, the last time she updated it was at Thanksgiving. Her only active Facebook account that is public is tied to her PAC, which was last updated Jan. 20.

Her trip to Iowa barely got a mention on The Iowa Republican blog. In contrast, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s visit and book signing on Sunday was a featured story.

Nonetheless, Lara Brown, an associate political science professor at Villanova University, says women such as Angle, Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann cannot be dismissed for one reason — they bring other women into the political process (even if MSNBC host Chris Matthews calls them “balloon heads” — a term he used for Bachmann — Brown says).

“While some of these women’s presidential efforts will be little more than quixotic escapades, there is little doubt that they are changing the complexion of the Republican Party by demanding a place at the table and by energizing conservative women to engage in partisan politics,” Brown says.

Written by suziparker1313

March 10, 2011 at 3:28 am

Jewish Group Wants Glenn Beck Dropped From Fox News

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Jewish Funds for Justice (JFSJ), a charity that campaigns for social change, delivered a petition with 10,000 signatures to Fox News Thursday demanding that talk show host Glenn Beck get the pink slip.

The petition drive began in November after Fox News aired a three-part Beck special on businessman and philanthropist George Soros called “Puppet Master.” The television show was deemed anti-Semitic by many in the media and Jewish groups.
Beck once said that his election coverage goal was to “make George Soros cry,” which is “hard to do,” as Soros “saw people into gas chambers.”

Beck’s Thursday night show highlighted nine people of the 20th century who contributed to “the era of the big lie.” All nine of these “shadowy figures,” as Beck called them, were Jewish, including psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud and columnist Walter Lippman. Gov. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania also was cited.

Mik Moore, chief strategy officer for JFSJ, told Politics Daily that the group met with Fox News Channel president Roger Ailes last summer to raise concerns about Beck’s use of Holocaust references. Moore said the group received some commitments from the network that it would watch for anti-Semitic language. But that didn’t happen, according to Moore.

On Thursday, the group unveiled Beck’s 10 worst quotes of 2010, which included “Women are psychos” and “Charles Darwin is the father of the Holocaust.”

The group says it has other plans regarding Beck. On Jan. 17, WOR in New York, citing Beck’s low ratings, and WPHT in Philadelphia are dropping Beck’s radio show. JFSJ has sent letters to six radio stations in New York City that seem like a match for Beck’s talk show, asking them not to pick it up. If that happens, Beck will not have a radio outlet in the city.

“We are just beginning to enter into a conversation with those stations,” Moore said.

In light of Sarah Palin’s blood libel comment this week, the group said that Palin and Beck “have abused two of the most tragic episodes in the history of the Jewish people: the Holocaust and the blood libel.”

The group’s president Simon Greer said, “The Jewish community does not appreciate their identification, which only serves to denigrate the very real pain so many Jews have suffered because of anti-Semitic violence. It is clear that Fox News has a Jewish problem.”

A call to Fox News was not immediately returned.

Written by suziparker1313

March 10, 2011 at 3:09 am