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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

When it comes to being president, which is more important: the ability to solve the country's problems or personal character?

When it comes to being president, which is more important: the ability to solve the country's problems or personal character?
As Newt Gingrich continues his meteoric rise in the polls, there's one key issue that could hold him back: Character. Or will it?
A new Quinnipiac Poll shows the former House Speaker scores higher than Mitt Romney on most key leadership traits - except for personal character.
For example: Republican voters say Newt Gingrich is a stronger leader than Romney - by 34% to 24%.
They say he's stronger on foreign policy... 46% to 16%.
And they say Gingrich has the right "knowledge and experience" to be president - by 48% to 22%. These are huge margins.
But Gingrich trails Romney 32% to 9% when it comes to who has a "strong moral character."
A lot of that likely goes back to Gingrich's personal baggage, including his three marriages and his infidelity.
Overall, Gingrich places at the top of the Republican pack in this survey, with 26% compared to Romney's 22%. In a head-to-head match-up, Gingrich does even better, topping Romney by 10 points.
But it might not matter. Even though Republicans find Gingrich competent and ready to deal with the nation's problems, they worry about his character.
And this is at least part of the reason why: By a double-digit margin, Republicans say Romney has the best chance of beating President Obama; and by an overwhelming margin, they say Romney is most likely to be the Republican nominee.
It's interesting that at a time when our nation is facing a boatload of very serious problems - from the national debt to the economy, unemployment, ongoing wars, etc. - a lot of people are more hung up on personal character than about the ability to lead.
Here’s my question to you: When it comes to being president, which is more important: the ability to solve the country's problems or personal character?

Do members of the super committee deserve to be re-elected?
Super committee member John Kerry talks to reporters on Capitol Hill.
 

Do members of the super committee deserve to be re-elected?

The super committee is a disgrace, and there should be a price to pay for their negligence. Their failure will cost all of us. The national debt continues to spiral out of control, and they did nothing. They knew the consequences of their actions and still chose to do nothing.
They were charged with agreeing on $1.2 trillion in cuts to the national debt over 10 years. Congress borrowed $1.3 trillion just this year alone. It wasn't too much to ask.
Actions are supposed to have consequences. Most of the time they do, unless you're a member of the federal government.
The super committee is just the latest group of politicians to lie to us about reducing government spending. The Simpson-Bowles commission put forth a program for cutting the debt. It was ignored. Likewise the Gang of Six.
Even before the super committee failed, one poll showed Congress' approval rating at an all-time low of 9%. It was the first time Congress scored in the single digits in this poll since the question was first asked in the 1970s.
This same survey shows Americans have less trust than ever in government to do the right thing. And with good reason.
The members of the super committee didn't even have the guts to face the public and tell us they failed. They handed reporters a piece of paper announcing their failure and then disappeared into the woodwork like so many cockroaches.
But the real crime in all this is that most of these 12 people on the committee will probably be re-elected the next time they run for office. And that's something of which we should all be ashamed.
If you or I failed so miserably at our jobs, we would be out on the street. And that's exactly where these folks belong along with the rest of their colleagues who make up our broken government.
Here’s my question to you: Do members of the super committee deserve to be re-elected?

Should Pres. Obama hand the reins of the Democratic Party to Hillary Clinton? 

Should Pres. Obama hand the reins of the Democratic Party to Hillary Clinton?

It's time for President Obama to step aside and hand the reins of the Democratic Party to Hillary Clinton.
This rather radical idea is coming from two Democratic pollsters in a Wall Street Journal piece called "The Hillary Moment."
Patrick Caddell and Douglas Schoen argue that Obama should follow in the footsteps of Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson. Both presidents "took the moral high road" and abandoned a run for a second term when they realized they could not effectively govern.
Caddell and Schoen say that never before has there been such an "obvious potential successor" as Hillary Clinton. They say she would save the Democratic Party and be able to get things done in Washington. They think Clinton is the only leader capable of uniting the country around a bipartisan economic and foreign policy.
They point to Clinton's experience as first lady, senator and now secretary of state - suggesting she is more qualified than any presidential candidate in recent memory, including her husband.
Although Clinton says she's not interested in running, polls suggest she might do pretty well:
In September, her approval rating was at an all-time high of 69%. Another poll shows Clinton leading Mitt Romney by 17 points in a hypothetical matchup.
Caddell and Schoen say Obama could still win re-election in 2012, but only by waging a negative campaign, which would ultimately make the gridlock in Washington even worse.
If Obama isn't willing to step aside, they think Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi should urge him to do so.
The pollsters say they're writing as "patriots and Democrats," have had no contact with Clinton's people, and don't expect to play a direct role in any potential campaign.
Here’s my question to you: Should President Obama step aside and hand the reins of the Democratic Party to Hillary Clinton?


Should Ron Paul launch a third party run if he doesn't win the Republican nomination? 

Should Ron Paul launch a third party run if he doesn't win the Republican nomination?

Keep your eyes on Ron Paul...
Because the Texas Congressman could have a major effect on the 2012 presidential race - whether or not he's the nominee.
Paul - who probably has the most passionate supporters of all the Republican candidates - is not ruling out a third party run.
He says he has no intention of mounting a third party bid for the White House, but - and it's a big but - he's not ruling it out.
A recent poll shows Paul getting 18% of the vote in a three-way contest against President Obama and Mitt Romney. And most of Paul's support would come at the expense of Mitt Romney.
That's why some Republicans call it a "nightmare scenario." They worry that a Ron Paul run would benefit President Obama - maybe even securing him a second term.
We've seen it before: When Ross Perot ran as a third party candidate in 1992 - the conventional wisdom was he handed Bill Clinton the election. Without Perot in the race, President Bush would have likely won re-election. Ralph Nader has also made several third party runs.
Plus, it's worth pointing out that our electoral system is stacked against a third party ever winning the White House.
Meanwhile - don't count Ron Paul out of the race for the Republican nomination quite yet.
Some say he could be a real threat in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
One poll shows Paul in a virtual four-way tie for first place in Iowa... and he's polling in the top three in New Hampshire.
Some experts say they wouldn't be surprised if Paul wins the Iowa caucuses and then shakes up the race even further in New Hampshire.
Ron Paul has been talking sense for a long time.... with the country now circling the drain, maybe more people are ready to listen.
Here’s my question to you: Should Ron Paul launch a third party run if he doesn't win the Republican nomination?


What does it mean when a quarter of middle class Americans plan to work until 80, longer than most people live?

What does it mean when a quarter of middle class Americans plan to work until 80, longer than most people live?

So much for the golden years. A new survey shows one fourth, 25% of middle-class Americans, say they plan to delay retirement until at least 80.
That's two years longer than most people in this country live.
It's just another depressing effect of this economy - where unemployment, stock market swings and plunging home prices have taken a huge toll on many Americans' savings.
The Wells Fargo retirement survey shows on average, Americans have only saved 7% of the retirement money they hoped to put aside.
Survey respondents had a median savings of $25,000 while their median retirement savings goal was $350,000.
It gets worse.
About one-third of those surveyed in their 60s had saved less than $25,000 for retirement. Easy to see why retiring at the traditional 65 is a pipe dream for millions of Americans.
Experts say having large numbers of middle class Americans working past 65 raises many questions. Like, will people be physically and mentally able to work as they age? And what will it mean for young people entering the workforce?
Meanwhile another new study on the vanishing middle class helps explain why many Americans plan to work into their 80s.
Consider this: In 2007, 44% of families lived in middle class neighborhoods - that's down from 65% in 1970.
And almost a third of families lived in either rich or poor neighborhoods in 2007... that number is up from 15% in 1970.
In other words, the great middle class neighborhoods that used to define this country are disappearing.
Here’s my question to you: What does it mean when a quarter of middle class Americans plan to work until 80, longer than most people live?



What should Occupy Wall Street's next move be?

What should Occupy Wall Street's next move be

As Occupy Wall Street marks two months of protests, there are questions about exactly what the activists want and more importantly, how they plan to get it.
Patience is wearing thin in cities around the country as officials begin to move against the demonstrators in places such as New York; Oakland and Berkeley, California; Portland, Oregon; and Salt Lake City.
While getting an "A" for perseverance, the occupiers' tent cities are starting to get on people's nerves, which is part of the idea. But some of the tent cities have spawned drugs, crime and violence, things that are not conducive to generating sympathy for their cause.
And speaking of their cause, what exactly is it? With the protesters so widely dispersed, you have to wonder how focused and concentrated their message is. After two months, a lot of us remain unsure of what exactly the message is. More is needed than a vague complaint against corporate greed if they are to remain relevant.
That brings us to something else the movement has been lacking so far: Leaders. Putting a head on this group would perhaps allow them to crystallize their message a little more.
Finally you could make a very strong argument that the major source of our country's problems is Washington. So why are these folks content to wander around places such as New York, Denver, Seattle, Oakland and other places outside the real scene of the crimes.
If you want to fight a fire, you have to go to where the fire is.
Here’s my question to you: What should Occupy Wall Street's next move be?


Can President Obama win re-election if almost two-thirds of whites are opposed to him?

Can President Obama win re-election if almost two-thirds of whites are opposed to him

With just about a year to ago until Election Day, the U.S. is a racially divided nation when it comes to President Barack Obama.
Consider this: A new CNN/Opinion Research Poll shows 61% of whites disapprove of the way Obama is handling his job vs. 36% who don’t – that’s almost two-to-one. For non-whites, it's almost the mirror image. Only 32% disapprove while 67% approve.
For a president who was supposed to symbolize a post-racial America, this is not good news. When Obama defeated John McCain in 2008, he did it with significant support from white Americans.
Exit polls showed Obama won 43% of white voters. That was the largest share of white support in a two-man race since 1976. Among young white voters, Obama did even better, getting 54% of their support. If Obama wants a second term, he needs to win back support from more white Americans in the coming months.
Meanwhile our new poll shows other results that could spell trouble for Obama. Overall, he gets a 46% approval rating, with 52% saying they disapprove.
When you compare that rating with recent incumbents running for re-election, the president ranks only above Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford. They both lost their re-election bids. Most incumbents who win re-election had an approval rating above 50% a year before the election.
Finally, the poll shows 54% of the crucial independent voters disapprove of the job Obama is doing.
The president has got his work cut out for him.
Here’s my question to you: Can President Obama win re-election if almost two-thirds of whites are opposed to him?

How much will Newt Gingrich's personal baggage affect his run for the White House? 

How much will Newt Gingrich's personal baggage affect his run for the White Hou

It was only a matter of time. It always is.
With Newt Gingrich suddenly rising big time in the polls, his opponents are starting to make an issue of his personal baggage. The tabloid stuff - like the fact that the former house speaker is on his third marriage and is an adulterer.
Politico reports that there's a flyer circulating in Iowa from a group called Christian Leaders in Government.
Among other things, it asks: If Newt Gingrich can't be faithful to his wife, how can we trust him to be faithful to conservative voters?"
Airing a candidate's dirty laundry is nothing new... especially in the primaries in early voting states.
The Christian Science Monitor reports that while there have been several presidents unfaithful to their wives, Ronald Reagan has been the only divorced president. Gingrich has both strikes against him.
Experts say Gingrich will have to address his personal past, but some believe voters won't dwell on it. Like him or not, Gingrich is a smart guy who might be the most capable of the current GOP batch of dealing with the critical issues we face. The bar isn't exactly high.
Plus half of Americans get divorced these days. And if every politician who has been unfaithful left office, Washington would be a ghost town.
But not everyone thinks it's not that big a deal. A columnist at Salon.com writes that Gingrich "committed so many political and ethical transgressions that his baggage has baggage."
Gingrich is twice divorced. He left his first wife after her cancer treatment and he left his second wife for a staffer.
UPDATE: We heard from Newt Gingrich’s daughter, Jackie Gingrich Cushman. She says that Newt Gingrich and her mother (his first wife) were in the process of dissolving their marriage weeks before her mom went into the hospital to have a tumor removed. She says the tumor was benign; there was no cancer. Gingrich Cushman suggests that time and the media have created an inaccurate impression of what really happened.
Gingrich says he expects questions about his three marriages and infidelity. But he insists he's happily married and has reconciled all this with God.
Here’s my question to you: How much will Newt Gingrich's personal baggage affect his run for the White House?

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