Failing the competence primary; Update: VA GOP chair statement added

posted at 8:55 am on December 28, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Candidates for office face many tasks, but a few of those are basic to their mission.  One of the most basic is understanding and meeting the requirements to get onto the ballot in the first place.  Presidential candidates don’t do this themselves, of course; they hire a staff to handle these basic functions, and the performance of their staff becomes a test of the candidate’s competence and executive performance.  Unfortunately, at least two of the Republican presidential hopefuls flunked this test in Virginia, and I write in my column for The Fiscal Times today that this amounts to a competence primary on the eve of the Iowa caucuses.

Both campaigns have claimed some level of victimization, but both Virginia Republicans and the facts don’t support them:

Gingrich and his supporters have argued that he and Perry have been victimized byunreasonable ballot-access rules and by a change of enforcement prompted by a court case this year.  They claim that the Republican Party had never verified signatures in the past, a claim disputed by a contemporaneous account in 2007 by Erick Erickson, a conservative activist and now a CNN commentator.   Erickson included an e-mail from the state GOP informing the campaigns on December 14, 2007, that the party would do “a hard count for number of signatures based on correctness of form” three days later – a process to which Erickson objected at the time as needlessly stringent.

It’s also disputed in an e-mail to me by a Republican Party official at the county level in Virginia (as it happens, a Perry supporter). The official claimed that signature verification has taken place for at least a decade, saying, “This is not Chicago politics.”  Furthermore, Mitt Romney’s campaign sent volunteers to “target rich” party events over the last several months to get signatures in a common, “pitch and catch” process in the state.  He has never seen representatives with petitions for either Gingrich or Perry at these events, where party officials will usually sign petitions for all candidates regardless of whom they support in order to ensure a meaningful primary for Virginia.  Nothing significant has changed in Virginia law on petitions in the past decade, except to make it easier to get signatures by reducing the requirement for Social Security number collection to a voluntary choice.

Remember Fred Thompson?  A popular figure among Republicans, his campaign performance underwhelmed voters who initially flocked to his side in 2007 when he jumped into the race late in the cycle.  Like Perry, Thompson raised a lot of money fast — $21 million for 2007, which will probably end up being quite a bit less than Perry in 2011. With less time than Perry and a campaign that seemed lethargic all year, Thompson still managed to qualify for the ballot in Virginia.  For that matter, so did Dennis Kucinich on the Democratic side, who ended up with a grand total of 1,625 votes in the Virginia primary in 2008, a fraction of the number of required signatures to have qualified for the ballot in the first place.

Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Jon Huntsman also failed to qualify.  In my column, I attribute that less to executive incompetence than a strategic deployment of very finite resources.  Bachmann and Santorum will be finished if they can’t win, place, or show in Iowa, and Huntsman will be out if he can’t win or place in New Hampshire.  Kucinich managed to qualify even with a small campaign war chest, but Kucinich is more analogous to Ron Paul — a protest candidate marching to the beat of his own drum.  Clearly, Perry had the resources to get on the ballot in Virginia, and Gingrich has lived in Virginia for the last 12 years and couldn’t afford to ignore his own home state.

The Washington Examiner’s Steve Contorno report also disputes the notion that Gingrich, Perry, and the rest of the Republican field got stymied by new processes.  Instead, it’s clear that the campaigns simply didn’t get the job done (via Instapundit):

There is speculation that Gingrich and Perry were rejected because Virginia Republicans used stricter criteria to judge the validity of voters’ signatures, including checking each voter’s current address. The blog Ballot Access News reported that the GOP gave candidates a free pass in previous elections but checked the petitions more diligently this year after Mike Osborne, an independent candidate for state delegate, sued the party over its procedure for verifying signatures.

However, state party officials insisted nothing changed from previous election cycles. Gingrich and Perry simply failed to meet the standard, they said.

Chris Woodfin, third district GOP chairman, said Perry failed to submit 10,000 signatures and Gingrich turned in only a few more than the bare minimum, making it likely that just a few disqualified signatures would prevent him from getting on the ballot.

“I didn’t hear from a lot of these campaigns until the beginning of December or after that. They had since July 1,” Woodfin said. “Some other people might have sympathy for them. I don’t.”

Let’s say for the sake of argument that the Virginia GOP tightened its standards because of the lawsuit last year.  Shouldn’t the campaigns have been in contact with the state party early in this cycle to get a handle on the requirements?  It’s called due diligence, and either way it’s very clear that neither campaign did their due diligence in regard to Virginia.  That speaks directly to executive competence.  Perry has never run a campaign outside of Texas, and Gingrich has never run a campaign outside of his own district in Georgia while serving in the House and hasn’t run at all for more than a decade, and it shows in both cases.  They both showed up late, didn’t bother to determine the task requirements, and ended up failing where Mitt Romney and Ron Paul succeeded.  Perry can’t claim a lack of resources, and for Gingrich, Virginia is his home state, and has been for twelve years.

In my conclusion, I argue that this matters strategically for the GOP:

This takes us back to the competency issue.  If Republicans choose to make executive competence an issue, the failure to understand Virginia ballot law will not speak well of the executive competence of either Gingrich or Perry.  With Gingrich taking hits from former House colleagues on the issue of his managerial competence as Speaker, this is a primary test that Gingrich very much needed to pass.  For Republican voters in Virginia and around the nation, only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul won the competence primary in the Old Dominion, which has to have some impact on the calculus for the rest of the primaries.

It matters even more in the sense of trust.  If these two campaigns were this sloppy about a Super Tuesday primary state, how can Republicans trust them to run a general-election campaign against the Barack Obama re-elect campaign machine?

Update: Via commenter Swamp Yankee, here’s the notice that the VA GOP published to inform campaigns of the petition requirements, among others, to gain a ballot slot.  This went out in March of this year.  A few choice quotes, emphasis mine:

Must be signed by not less than 10,000 qualified voters in Virginia,  including at least 400 qualified voters from each of Virginia’s eleven congressional districts, who attest that they intend to participate in the primary of the same political party as the candidate named on the petition.

Because many people who are not registered to vote will sign a petition, it is recommended that 15,000 – 20,000 signatures be obtained with at least 700 signatures from each congressional district.

Must provide the true signature, the printed full name and the full resident address of each qualified voter and the date each signed the petition.

Virginia Republicans handed candidates a road map.  Petitions could be gathered from July 1 forward, and yet only two of the candidates proved they could follow a map in more than five month’s time.

Update II: The chair of the Republican Party of Viriginia, Pat Mullens, posted a statement on Facebook late last night defending the RPV from accusations that it played favorites in the certification process:

First of all, I am neutral in the Primary. As the Party’s leader I think that it’s important I ensure a level playing field, not take a side. Plus, any one of our nominees will be better than the current occupant of the White House. Our Country is spiraling downward, economically and socially, and we need to be united to win in November, 2012.

Second, the Republican Party of Virginia merely certifies petition signatures. We don’t set ballot access laws. Those laws are set by the General Assembly, not by the RPV.

The candidates for President all knew the laws set by the Commonwealth of Virginia that they needed to abide by to get on the ballot. We can’t change the rules mid-game to right what may or may not be a wrong. The law is the law.

Lastly, this is a personal opinion. Virginia is the cradle of Democracy. The ballot access laws should be modified and streamlined to allow greater participation. We can’t do anything about 2012 at this point. But I do intend to appeal to our General Assembly and elected leaders to bring Virginia’s ballot access more in line with other states — simpler and streamlined with greater access. I think it’s important that the people in Virginia get to vote for the candidate of their choice, not be restricted.

One more thing — Rick Perry sued Virginia, RPV and me today, so I probably going to be told by our lawyers I can’t say anything more about this. It’s not usual that I’m sued by someone I like, but politics is strange, huh? :}

The laws that govern the petitions were documented in March by the RPV to any candidate looking to access the ballot in Virginia, as shown above, but the law is accessible to anyone regardless of whether the RPV made it easy as they did in their March circular.  They even stressed that the usual rate of bad signatures would probably mean collecting a ratio of 3:2 or 2:1 to ensure that enough legitimate signatures were collected between July 1 and mid-December to qualify for the ballot.  I’m not sure what else the RPV was expected to do.

Update III: A few people have pointed to this undated announcement from Pat Mullins as a kind of “smoking gun” to prove that the rules changed late in the game.  However, all this memo does is explain exactly how Virginia law requires the RPV to certify petitions, and doesn’t change anything at all.  State law allows them to assume that a submission of more than 15,000 signatures amounts to enough signatures to assume the 10,000, but otherwise the signatures must be checked against state law, in subsection 24.2-506, which states (emphasis mine):

The name of any candidate for any office, other than a party nominee, shall not be printed upon any official ballots provided for the election unless he shall file along with his declaration of candidacy a petition therefor, on a form prescribed by the State Board, signed by the number of qualified voters specified below after January 1 of the year in which the election is held and listing the residence address of each such voter. Each signature on the petition shall have been witnessed by a person who is himself a qualified voter, or qualified to register to vote, for the office for which he is circulating the petition and whose affidavit to that effect appears on each page of the petition.

Each voter signing the petition may provide on the petition the last four digits of his social security number, if any; however, noncompliance with this requirement shall not be cause to invalidate the voter’s signature on the petition.

Note that the 15,000 threshold is actually less restrictive than the party’s suggestion to get as many as 20,000 to ensure qualification.


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Running around getting signatures seems a pretty futile way to run an election. And it does “disenfranchise” candidates. This seems more like a fan club attempt that actually putting a name on a ballot. “Ooooooh, my candidate is so dreamy….we got 50,000 signatures.”

I think once someone has made a national announcement that they are running for President of the United States, participated in (?) debates and had good and bad press they are pretty much running for office and should be on the ballot. I don’t know what other mechanisms should be used, but this X number of signatures from X number of districts on xyz form just sounds like bureaucratic horse droppings. On second thought….perfect for candidates who plan to keep the status quo.

texabama on December 28, 2011 at 9:38 AM

It is necessary so the demrats can’t clutter up the GOP primary by running a dozen stealth progressives. A candidate has to convince 10,000 to 15,000 citizens of the state to support a candidate. If a candidate were that popular, 15,000 signatures would be very easy.

csdeven on December 28, 2011 at 9:55 AM

Funny, neither I nor Moe nor the initial report claimed it was a conspiracy. But if the rules changed in November, which hasn’t been disputed, I don’t know what good Ed thinks it would have done for candidates to talk to the GOP “early in the cycle” or why he bothered to mentoon
Kucinich when the VA Dens have many fewer required signatures. The challenge to their competency is based on two erroneous concepts at least.

boone on December 28, 2011 at 9:55 AM

Horace on December 28, 2011 at 9:54 AM

Yes, if you meet the requirements you can certainly run for President.

No one has the right to keep you off the ballot by setting standards that are designed to keep off everyone but their own favorites.

That is not democracy.

TheRightMan on December 28, 2011 at 9:57 AM

It’s actually the perception that Romney has a “by the book” overall political philosophy that is a problem for many people. With the challenges we face and the radical conservative solutions that are required, many conservatives are wondering if his approach to governance will improve or change anything coming out of Washington in a substantive way, assuming he’s elected.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on December 28, 2011 at 9:40 AM

Radical conservative solution is an oxymoron.

Maybe you and others who have this urge for radical barn-burning action need to rethink whether you’re actually a conservative.

haner on December 28, 2011 at 9:44 AM

By “radical” solutions I meant policies and legislation that might yield actual results. Example: real budget cuts, and not the fake chicanery like budget number massaging we get from Boenher and McConnell that result in no real change in spending.

That many suspect Romney has very little ambition in this area, then that falls in his lap to make a strong case otherwise. I have not picked a candidate yet, and am willing to wait and see which one makes real solutions a centerpiece of their campaign, and which one just says “Oh, look over there at that BHO guy, he’s so bad you have to vote for me no matter what.” If you buy that argument, you might not be all that conservative either.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on December 28, 2011 at 9:58 AM

It is necessary so the demrats can’t clutter up the GOP primary by running a dozen stealth progressives. A candidate has to convince 10,000 to 15,000 citizens of the state to support a candidate. If a candidate were that popular, 15,000 signatures would be very easy.

csdeven on December 28, 2011 at 9:55 AM

All they need is one: Romney.

Malachi45 on December 28, 2011 at 9:58 AM

TheRightMan on December 28, 2011 at 9:54 AM

That doesn’t even make sense. Why would they benefit from such a move?

Cindy Munford on December 28, 2011 at 9:58 AM

Romney is not McCain. McCain was a bitter old man with a drug-addled wife who hadn’t had a real job since he was shot down over Vietnam. Yes, he suffered greatly as a POW, which is why he was given the nomination. And maybe he deserved it because of that, because of all of the unspeakable things he endured as a young man fighting for this country. He deserves a lot of consideration from us because of that, no matter how feckless and disappointing he has been as a Senator. But Romney is not McCain, for the simplest reason that Romney wants to win the presidency and McCain just wanted to run. McCain wanted the pomp; Romney wants the circumstance.

Rational Thought on December 28, 2011 at 9:59 AM

Note to Iowa and Virginia: Switch to primary systems. They’re less stupid.

Flapjackmaka on December 28, 2011 at 10:02 AM

But Romney is not McCain, for the simplest reason that Romney wants to win the presidency and McCain just wanted to run.
Rational Thought on December 28, 2011 at 9:59 AM

Yup, that’s well said. For McCain it was pretty much just a way to pass the time.

whatcat on December 28, 2011 at 10:02 AM

Romney is not McCain. McCain was a bitter old man with a drug-addled wife who hadn’t had a real job since he was shot down over Vietnam. Yes, he suffered greatly as a POW, which is why he was given the nomination. And maybe he deserved it because of that, because of all of the unspeakable things he endured as a young man fighting for this country. He deserves a lot of consideration from us because of that, no matter how feckless and disappointing he has been as a Senator. But Romney is not McCain, for the simplest reason that Romney wants to win the presidency and McCain just wanted to run. McCain wanted the pomp; Romney wants the circumstance.

Rational Thought on December 28, 2011 at 9:59 AM

Romney is also more left wing than McCain. Let’s not let your personal attacks on McCains wife obscure that fact.

Malachi45 on December 28, 2011 at 10:02 AM

Must be signed by not less than 10,000 qualified voters in Virginia, . . . .

Sigh. Apparently grammar didn’t make it on the Virginia curriculum. This should be “not fewer than”. Oh well.

cabbie25 on December 28, 2011 at 10:03 AM

Stoic , Right Man ,
Someone posted the law with the date stamps ( 2 days before the the petitions were due ) .
That post was the VA law change . I’m sure that was posted on Christmas eve .
The change was that if you had over 15k signatures none of the ballots would be checked .
It was the law , I saw the date stamps . And no it was not a Moe Lane post .
Can someone go back and find that post or the VA law change . I wouldn’t know
where to start .
No tin foil hat here , just the law change .

Lucano on December 28, 2011 at 10:03 AM

I don’t have a problem with VA setting stringent ballot rules, per se. I have a problem if the rules were changed late in the game. And if this happened, we need to see a copy of an official notification.

What is missing is ANY official statement that signature batches of 15,000 will not be verified, while batches of 14,999 will be.

Was this statement made anywhere in the VA GOP rules prior to this election cycle? If so, then Perry and Gingrich should have been aware, and prepared accordingly. If not, then when was this change made, and WAS the change made? Either way there has to be some sort of official document from the VA GOP.

Was the 15,000/14,999 rule already written, and was just not being enforced?

Or was it written very late- such as November,

OR was it never written at all?

Where is this document from the VA GOP? This would put the controversy to rest, or validate it.

What are we dealing with here?!?

cane_loader on December 28, 2011 at 10:03 AM

There are 2 people, out of 7, on the ballot in Virginia. Isn’t there something wrong with this picture? It always boils down to, “What is the purpose of the primary?” If the purpose is to get potential candidates on the ballot then the system has failed. It the purpose is to weed out people, then it was successful.

bflat879 on December 28, 2011 at 10:06 AM

But Romney is not McCain, for the simplest reason that Romney wants to win the presidency and McCain just wanted to run.
Rational Thought on December 28, 2011 at 9:59 AM

Yup, that’s well said. For McCain it was pretty much just a way to pass the time.

whatcat on December 28, 2011 at 10:02 AM

Well, no one will argue against the notion that Romney wants it. In fact, he’s wiling to manipulate primary dates and have his Virginia hacks change their rules just to achieve the goal that years of running for the office seems to fail to yield.

Malachi45 on December 28, 2011 at 10:06 AM

cabbie25 on December 28, 2011 at 10:03 AM

Lawyers, I’ll bet there is a fascinating reason.

Cindy Munford on December 28, 2011 at 10:06 AM

Mitt Romney: Most Liberal “Republican” in the party’s history?

Here’s what Mitt Romney supported in Massachusetts:

1. Pro-abortion with taxpayer funding (added it to RomneyCare, kept it, refused to line-item veto it).

2. Pro-government mandated healthcare (RomneyCare has cost the state over 20,000 jobs and has actually increased the cost of healthcare in Massachusetts).

3. Pro-government mandates in general (“I like mandates” his own words on tape).

4. Pro-gay marriage with full state sponsorship (was first Governor to install it, earlier broke a law in his zeal to issue gay marriage licenses, then called opponents of his actions “right-wing”).

5. Pro-transgender education to children in public schools (promoted by Governor Romney’s administration, read Amy Contrada’s book: “Mitt Romney’s Deception”).

6. Pro-gay scout masters in the boy scouts (“I feel that all people should be allowed to participate in the Boy Scouts regardless of their sexual orientation.” U.S. Senate debate on Oct. 26, 1994. Massachusetts News, June 18, 2002.)

7. Pro-global warming caused by human activity (his own words)

8. Pro-environmental regulations to combat global warming (imposed massive environmental regulations in Massachusetts, according to the Wall Street Journal: “Mr. Romney joined activists outside an aging, coal-fired plant in 2003 to show his commitment to the emissions caps. “I will not create jobs or hold jobs that kill people, and that plant, that plant kills people,” he said. On Dec. 7, 2005, the Romney administration unveiled the final orders. “These carbon emission limits will provide real and immediate progress in the battle to improve our environment,” then-Gov. Romney said in a press release touting Massachusetts as “the first and only state to set CO2 emissions limits on power plants.”).

9. Pro-taxes on businesses (closed loopholes, then raised business taxes by $300 million as Governor of Massachusetts, according to USA Today).

10. Pro-taxes and fees on the public (Romney raised state fees and taxes more than $700 million per year, according to independent experts. He raised fees by roughly $500 million in his first year alone, a figure that was highest in the nation. The state and local tax burden rose more than 7% during Romney’s administration).

11. Pro-amnesty for illegal immigrants (supports path to citizenship for illegals, his own words in 2006)

12. Mitt declared himself a “moderate” and says his views are “progressive!” (his own words on tape).

Mitt Romney’s track record is indistinguishable from a liberal Democrats.’ Romney’s record is even to the Left of most Democrats.

“I’m not convinced that a state would be better off with all Republicans. As a matter of fact, I’ve been in a state like that. Not a good thing.”
–Mitt Romney

“My views are progressive.”
–Mitt Romney

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9xTIDB106g

cyclo on December 28, 2011 at 10:08 AM

———-Intellect—–Stamina—–Family—–Looks—–Oratory
Romney——–10———-10———-10——–10———9.5–
Perry———6————4———-9———9.5———6—
Gingrich——8————7———(-3)——–4———-7—

Obama———10———-10———-10——–9.5———10–

Only Romney matches up well against Obama.

nonpartisan on December 28, 2011 at 10:08 AM

Romney has incompetent policies…. that’s much worse.

Pragmatic on December 28, 2011 at 9:10 AM

Exactly…..

Whether you like Newt or not..and this is not a suggestion that he should be the nominee…you have to answer the question: (Paraphrased) “Do you want America to be more like Massachusetts?”

I sure don’t.

Either all of the names and signatures get verified by human eyes to meet the test of being eligible, or none of them do….isn’t everything else just shades of gray? Isn’t everything else just an opinion and conjecture and speculation? If Perry’s “real” votes are actually paired down to about half…what is the actual total that Romney and Paul “really” have….probably over the 10,000, but what is it really? How many of Paul’s signatures overlap Romney signatures? Do we know any of this for a fact, or are we just going to settle for a wild guess that 15,000 signatures meet the 10,000 test.

And if some rules have been in place before, but we know that at least verification was really just counting and not verifying…doesn’t this point out that no set of rules has ever been used even if published?

oldroy on December 28, 2011 at 10:09 AM

Mitt Romney’s record of higher fees and taxes as governor:

As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney raised state government fees and taxes by three quarters of a billion dollars a year. During his four year tenure, Romney nickeled and dimed Massachusetts families and individuals with over a hundred fee increases, on everything from getting married (he upped the price for a marriage license), to buying a new home (he increased charges for Registry of Deeds paperwork), to owning a gun legally (he tripled the fee for a Firearms ID Card). He also proposed and obtained hundreds of millions of dollars in new tax revenues from business, with tax changes he dubbed loophole closings but critics said were really just tax increases. The fee hikes and tax revenue increases described here were all proposed by Romney himself, as elements of various budgets, revenue raiser packages, or other measures or policy proposals originating in Romney’s office.

$432 million in fee hikes:

As governor, Romney increased state fees on residents on businesses by $432 million annually. These fee hikes were all proposed by Romney; they were not items originated by the Legislature. (Note that Romney originally sought an even higher amount, but the Legislature reduced or rejected some of his demands for higher fees.)

$309 million in higher taxes:

As governor, Romney increased various taxes on businesses by $309 million annually, via three “corporate loophole” closing packages, one each in 2003, 2004 and 2005. (Note that Romney originally proposed an even higher amount of increased taxes on business but reduced or dropped some proposals due to opposition from business and/or lack of Legislative support.)

cyclo on December 28, 2011 at 10:10 AM

TheRightMan

Alllll riiighhtt! I meet the constitutional requirements and will be on the ballot for President this year.

I’ll be setting up a website soon where all of you Hot Gas posters can send your donations. No prepaid debit cards or checks, please. Cash will be best – please use paper bags and Federal Express overnight delivery. All major credit cards will be accepted.

Also, don’t include me as a Romney shill due to my comments on Perry. I am a disappointed Palin and Cain shill, but, unfortunately, also unpaid.

But I am enjoying the Republican Clown Circus, although sad about Cheetah dying. I hear he was on Gov. Goof-Up’s short list for VP.

Horace on December 28, 2011 at 10:10 AM

That is not democracy.

TheRightMan on December 28, 2011 at 9:57 AM

Good gravy! Are you $hitting us? Anyone CAN run for POTUS if they meet the requirements. A person can call himself any dang thing he wants. What he cannot do is force himself upon a party.

THAT is democracy!

csdeven on December 28, 2011 at 10:11 AM

So, let’s see, by this standard, Ron Paul has proved himself to be competent to be President, whereas Perry and Gingrich have shown they don’t have what it takes?

Now this is really clever thinking. No wonder the GOP is is such dire straits.

Scriptor on December 28, 2011 at 10:11 AM

In addition to the three quarters of a billion dollars in higher fees and state taxes Romney imposed as governor, his tenure also saw massive increases in property taxes in Massachusetts—in significant part due to Mitt Romney. In fact, the non-partisan and highly respected FactCheck.org says Romney “shifted some of the tax burden to the local level…”

Massachusetts homeowners paid a steep price for Romney’s shell game. The average single-family property tax bill statewide rose from $3,015 in fiscal 2002 to $3,799 in 2006, a 26 percent increase, or $784 a year.4 During the same period, the residential property tax levy (that is, the total amount collected) increased by $1.8 billion statewide, or a staggering 35 percent from fiscal 2002 to 2006.5

http://romneyfacts.com/issue_tax.php

cyclo on December 28, 2011 at 10:13 AM

It’s actually the perception that Romney has a “by the book” overall political philosophy that is a problem for many people.

Indeed. I wish more politicians had a “by the book” approach to the Constitution. Imagine that? And what sort of people would have “a problem” with that?

rhombus on December 28, 2011 at 10:13 AM

Malachi45 on December 28, 2011 at 10:06 AM

Your tears are scrumptious! PLEASE keep em coming!

csdeven on December 28, 2011 at 10:14 AM

That doesn’t even make sense. Why would they benefit from such a move?

Cindy Munford on December 28, 2011 at 9:58 AM

The Establishment has determined that they will foist Romney on us by whatever means possible.

They don’t care so much for him beating Obama as ensuring that a conservative reformer is kept as far away as possible from the levers of power.

They keep telling us that it is nigh impossible to stop Obama and the Dems despite Tea partiers/conservatives fighting to hand-deliver the House to the GOP in 2010.

A President Perry will take the same small-govt. minded approach to DC and lead the charge to reduce their power. That is something that is more frightening to them than an Obama second term.

So Romney it is – and they will do anything to ensure he is nominated. Then should he win or lose against Obama – it’s a win-win for them.

TheRightMan on December 28, 2011 at 10:14 AM

———-Intellect—–Stamina—–Family—–Looks—–Oratory
Romney——–10———-10———-10——–10———9.5–
Perry———6————4———-9———9.5———6—
Gingrich——8————7———(-3)——–4———-7—

Obama———10———-10———-10——–9.5———10–

Only Romney matches up well against Obama.

nonpartisan on December 28, 2011 at 10:08 AM

Sounds like you think most highly of the two leftists running and have a crush on them both.

Malachi45 on December 28, 2011 at 10:15 AM

Romney……………..the choice the White House has been preparing for since November 2008.

And Drudge has “ROMNEY RISING”.

And Gallup has Obama and Clinton as the most admired.

No probs here America. Go back to sleep.

PappyD61 on December 28, 2011 at 10:16 AM

If Romney gets the nomination, I’ll bet good money that Palin endorses and campaigns for him. As many here think she’s the only “true conservative” who should have run, what will you do when she’s flying around the country holding Romney rallies? Will she suddenly become a corrupt establishment shill?

Rational Thought on December 28, 2011 at 10:17 AM

RomneyCare provides taxpayer-funded abortions. Mitt’s plan has expanded access to abortions in Massachusetts.

cyclo on December 28, 2011 at 10:17 AM

Malachi45 on December 28, 2011 at 10:06 AM

Your tears are scrumptious! PLEASE keep em coming!

csdeven on December 28, 2011 at 10:14 AM

You’re a vile little thing aren’t you? Aren’t you one of those Palin obsessed whacks that blames Perry for your Goddess not running?

Malachi45 on December 28, 2011 at 10:17 AM

The candidates needed 10,000 signatures at the least to begin with and they had five months to get that – the rule change in November is irrelevant to their ability to gather the necessary petitions.

timbok on December 28, 2011 at 10:18 AM

Mitt Romney was the first governor to install same-sex marriage, even breaking the law at one point in his zeal to issue gay marriage licenses before it was legal to do so, then called opponents of his actions “right-wing.”

cyclo on December 28, 2011 at 10:19 AM

As a Perry supporter, I feel obligated to point out that he entered the race much later (in dog years) than Newton and years later than Mittens, the quadrennial candidate.
Gingrich has no excuse.
Rick Perry responded to the sound of the drums and headed toward the enemy. One battle does not a war victory make.
(recall vietnam, anyone?)
As for seeking redress through the Courts = a Hail Mary.
(risking blasphemy, may i hope mr. perry makes the catch?)

I’ll go with the man who packs a gun while jogging.

~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on December 28, 2011 at 10:19 AM

Rick Perry’s lawsuit is embarrassing for our party. We have spent over 20 years advocating for voting laws that are enforced to protect voters from fraud. We are a party that plays by the rules. If Perry & Gingrich can’t find 15k voters in 6 months to sign a petition in a state like Va, it says more about the competence of their campaign than the fairness of the underlying rule. But arguing after the fact tha the rules aren’t fair, and suing to be exempted from them, is something Democrats do–not Republicans.

I helped collect ballot signatures for Romney in my state. We collected a solid 10,000 signatures inside of 3 weeks using nothing but volunteers (supervised by a single paid staffer).

Outlander on December 28, 2011 at 10:19 AM

Mitt Romney has signed gun control into law.

Malachi45 on December 28, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Horace on December 28, 2011 at 10:10 AM

If you are a disappointed Palin or Cain supporter, then I am Prince William.

You are as liberal as they come and obnoxious to boot.

TheRightMan on December 28, 2011 at 10:21 AM

Mitt Romney’s record of higher fees and taxes as governor:

As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney raised state government fees and taxes by three quarters of a billion dollars a year. During his four year tenure, Romney nickeled and dimed Massachusetts families and individuals with over a hundred fee increases, on everything from getting married (he upped the price for a marriage license), to buying a new home (he increased charges for Registry of Deeds paperwork), to owning a gun legally (he tripled the fee for a Firearms ID Card). He also proposed and obtained hundreds of millions of dollars in new tax revenues from business, with tax changes he dubbed loophole closings but critics said were really just tax increases. The fee hikes and tax revenue increases described here were all proposed by Romney himself, as elements of various budgets, revenue raiser packages, or other measures or policy proposals originating in Romney’s office.

$432 million in fee hikes:

As governor, Romney increased state fees on residents on businesses by $432 million annually. These fee hikes were all proposed by Romney; they were not items originated by the Legislature. (Note that Romney originally sought an even higher amount, but the Legislature reduced or rejected some of his demands for higher fees.)

$309 million in higher taxes:

As governor, Romney increased various taxes on businesses by $309 million annually, via three “corporate loophole” closing packages, one each in 2003, 2004 and 2005. (Note that Romney originally proposed an even higher amount of increased taxes on business but reduced or dropped some proposals due to opposition from business and/or lack of Legislative support.)

Property tax hikes:

In addition to the three quarters of a billion dollars in higher fees and state taxes Romney imposed as governor, his tenure also saw massive increases in property taxes in Massachusetts—in significant part due to Mitt Romney. In fact, the non-partisan and highly respected FactCheck.org says Romney “shifted some of the tax burden to the local level…”

Massachusetts homeowners paid a steep price for Romney’s shell game. The average single-family property tax bill statewide rose from $3,015 in fiscal 2002 to $3,799 in 2006, a 26 percent increase, or $784 a year.4 During the same period, the residential property tax levy (that is, the total amount collected) increased by $1.8 billion statewide, or a staggering 35 percent from fiscal 2002 to 2006.5

http://romneyfacts.com/issue_tax.php

cyclo on December 28, 2011 at 10:22 AM

The VA GOP Establishment are a bunch of crooks.

TheRightMan on December 28, 2011 at 9:49 AM

Even if they had gathered 20,000 signatures each, the VA GOP would have found a way to still kick them out. The fix is already in.

TheRightMan on December 28, 2011 at 9:54 AM

I’m sure you will humbly and gracefully apologize and admit you were wrong if/when your allegations are proven to be false, won’t you TheRightMan?

Flora Duh on December 28, 2011 at 10:22 AM

———-Intellect—–Stamina—–Family—–Looks—–Oratory
Romney——–10———-10———-10——–10———9.5–
Perry———6————4———-9———9.5———6—
Gingrich——8————7———(-3)——–4———-7—

Obama———10———-10———-10——–9.5———10–

Only Romney matches up well against Obama.

nonpartisan on December 28, 2011 at 10:08 AM

So you have access to the Top Secret Obama college records that show he’s a 10 on Intellect? Even with his “10 Intellect”, the man is an even bigger narcissist than Clinton was. He seems to have no empathy and from my perspective appears to be almost sociopathic in his need for personal gains.

I’ll take someone with lower ratings on your scale over someone who will throw his own grandmother under the bus for personal gain. Or did you already forget the “typical white person” comment?

darury on December 28, 2011 at 10:22 AM

I helped collect ballot signatures for Romney in my state. We collected a solid 10,000 signatures inside of 3 weeks using nothing but volunteers (supervised by a single paid staffer).

Outlander on December 28, 2011 at 10:19 AM

Yeah… I collected 200,000 signatures for Perry in my district alone using nothing but paid staffers (supervised by a single volunteer). /sarc

Take a hike.

TheRightMan on December 28, 2011 at 10:24 AM

The case against Mitt Romney and his Leftist track record:

The biggest myth of all, perhaps, is that he didn’t raise taxes. The reality is that in 2003, Romney actually set the record for the most fee increases enacted by a state, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. In addition, he raised over $300 million dollars from businesses by “closing loopholes” on subchapter S corporations but this loophole closing actually resulted in doubling the tax rates. Indeed, as Peter Nicholas, chairman of Boston Scientific stated, “when Mitt Romney became governor in 2003, subchapter S corporations that were owned by Massachusetts business trusts were taxed at 5.3 percent. By the time Romney left office, the tax rate on these corporations had climbed to 9.8 percent.”

Indeed, as Nicholas stated, the doubling of tax rates on these corporations created an “important disincentive to investment, growth and job creation.” But that’s not all. Romney signed a bill allowing local governments to raise business property taxes. He attempted to raise taxes on internet commerce. He supported commuter taxes on non-residents. He refused to support an initiative to abolish state income taxes. He raised gas taxes two cents a gallon. He supported a federal gas tax hike; he tried to impose a new excise tax on SUVs. He attacked the Bush tax cuts. Overall, the tax burden in Massachusetts went from 9.3% to 9.9% under Mitt Romney.

Not surprisingly, as a result of over a hundred fee hikes, new corporate taxes, new gas taxes, commuter taxes and increased business property taxes, combined with his environmental agenda and the health care “reform,” the Massachusetts economy took a nose dive with job creation stats among the worst in the country. Indeed, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, Massachusetts, under Romney, ranked 49th in job creation, with only Louisiana performing worst, thanks to Katrina. Unemployment actually increased under his watch and his Gross State Product stats were anemic, according to the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis. By every economic measure, the Romney economy was a disaster.

State spending was $5.2 billion dollars higher when he left office than when his term began four years earlier. Moreover, he left a $3 billion deficit to his successor. He spent millions on pork projects and on goofy expensive welfare schemes such as buying – yes, buying – new cars for welfare recipients.

When Romney speaks on judicial philosophy, he gives the impression he knows what he’s talking about. But the chances are he doesn’t. His team of speechwriters, however, understand all the buzz phrases important to conservatives, such as “rule of law” and “original intent” and they always throw in a few attacks on “activist judges.”

Romney’s speeches attacking “activist judges” do sound terrific, but that’s not how he governed. Internal Romney administration documents in the possession of the author demonstrate Romney heavily relied on “diversity” as the most important consideration when nominating judges. In other words, he appointed judges based on qualifications having more to do with race, gender and sexual orientation than with what their worldview may be. Administration documents are full of liberal gobbledygook such as how judicial nominees “should be drawn from a cross-section of our community…reflecting as well a diversity of our communities.”

Romney even told a reporter he had “not paid a moment’s notice to nominee’s political leanings.” It showed. As the Boston Globe elaborated, “Romney passed over GOP lawyers for three-quarters of the 36 judicial vacancies he has faced, instead tapping registered Democrats or independents, including two gay lawyers….”

The result of this approach, of course, was that the Romney years produced a slew of activist judges. Incredibly, Romney even sent out a press release boasting of nominating Stephen Abany, a leading gay activist and supporter of gay marriage. When Romney was criticized for not nominating enough females, he quickly appointed an incompetent ultra- liberal woman who released a killer early from jail leading to the deaths of a young couple.

–Steve Baldwin

Steve Baldwin is the former chair of the Right to Life caucus in the California state legislature and executive director of the Council for National Policy.

http://stevedeace.com/news/iowa-politics/the-case-against-mitt-romney/

cyclo on December 28, 2011 at 10:24 AM

You’re quite slowwitted aren’t you. Obama is a democrat. The fact that you hate him must mean he has been effective in enacting liberal changes.

If you liked him, it would mean he had failed as a liberal president. Just as if Reagan was super popular with liberals, it prob meant he failed as a republican. But since liberals hate him (as you hate obama), it means reagan was quite successful as a republican president.

nonpartisan on December 28, 2011 at 9:51 AM

So Obama is a democrat. Who knew. I could have swarn he was a commie. As far as his “liberal accomplishments” are concerned he reads teleprompter speeches period. His minion and useful idiot Pelosi did the heavy lifting for most of the damage. By the way thanks for demonstrating your rigorous logical prowess to me so that I might be raised from my slow-witted mire. But you know the logic, it is a non-sequitar.

kenny on December 28, 2011 at 10:24 AM

Rick Perry’s lawsuit is embarrassing for our party. We have spent over 20 years advocating for voting laws that are enforced to protect voters from fraud. We are a party that plays by the rules. If Perry & Gingrich can’t find 15k voters in 6 months to sign a petition in a state like Va, it says more about the competence of their campaign than the fairness of the underlying rule. But arguing after the fact tha the rules aren’t fair, and suing to be exempted from them, is something Democrats do–not Republicans.

I helped collect ballot signatures for Romney in my state. We collected a solid 10,000 signatures inside of 3 weeks using nothing but volunteers (supervised by a single paid staffer).

Outlander on December 28, 2011 at 10:19 AM

We’ve also spent twenty years fighting against the left wing agenda that Mit Romney enacted in mass, including guy control, socialized medicine, abortion on demand, and government funding of abortion.

Malachi45 on December 28, 2011 at 10:25 AM

I’m sure you will humbly and gracefully apologize and admit you were wrong if/when your allegations are proven to be false, won’t you TheRightMan?

Flora Duh on December 28, 2011 at 10:22 AM

I sure will but it doesn’t look like I will be doing that for a long time to come – since the VA GOP keeps digging their own grave with each passing day.

Surest way to turn a purple state deep blue. Nincompoops.

TheRightMan on December 28, 2011 at 10:26 AM

What a sad field of candidates! And this was supposed to be the year Conservative awakening, yet the GOP choices are; a guy who is to the left of a blue dog democrat, a serial adulterer, a bigot, a crazy lady, a G.W.B like clown, and Rick Santorum.
And even if the people who sat out this election cycle would have decided to run, they wouldn’t have been able to pass the strict conservative test.
People like Mitch Daniels, Jeb Bush, and Chris Christie are all moderate. Even Sarah Palin, aside from her rhetoric her actual record is not that conservative. She likes big government.

The only conclusion I can draw from this fiasco is that people actually are not that into this gut the government nonsense. They really like their Social Security and Medicare. They see the income disparity between the middle class and the rich. They want a fair tax system with no loopholes for the rich. And they don’t like extremes on both side of the political aisle.
And don’t tell me about the 2010 elections, because those results were more of a protest against the Democrats then embracing the anti government agenda of the tea party. Peace.

Salahuddin on December 28, 2011 at 10:26 AM

TheRightMan on December 28, 2011 at 10:14 AM

I will agree that Gov. Romney is indeed the chosen candidate but I disagree with it going any further than organized character assassination. Most of these people want to continue to be supported and have careers, even there minor game playing is going to have consequences, wholesale corruption would be suicide.

Cindy Munford on December 28, 2011 at 10:26 AM

I’m with Ed on this one – Claims of victimization and law suits are the province of the Left, not the good guys. Winners get the job done, and losers make excuses. None of this has surprised me with Newt, as he is known for his haphazard leadership. I am a bit disappointed in Perry though… Say what you will about his intelligence, but even Dems will admit he has run a pretty tight ship in Texas in terms of executive administration.

HTnFBCoachnTX1980 on December 28, 2011 at 10:27 AM

Malachi45 on December 28, 2011 at 10:17 AM

Good Lord, you would have to search far and wide to find someone who dislikes Gov. Palin and her supporters more than that commenter.

Cindy Munford on December 28, 2011 at 10:29 AM

TheRightMan a/k/a Prince William

Yeah, I’m a whacko liber-all! HaHaHaHaHaHa!

As to being “obnoxious,” well…sometimes.

Get a grip. A person doesn’t have to be a liber-all to enjoy the high comedy of Gov. Goof-Up’s campaign.

Head ‘em up, move ‘em out! Giddy-up! “Coyote” Perry/Boss Hogg 2012!

Horace on December 28, 2011 at 10:29 AM

cyclo,

Please stop spamming this thread with the long copy-and-pastes.

Accepted practice here is to select some quotes you think most relevant, and then to provide a link; it is much more readable. To do what you’re doing guarantees a scrollover, so you’re wasting your time and making the thread harder to read.

cane_loader on December 28, 2011 at 10:30 AM

Here’s the timeline.

2008 Primary: The VA GOP (rpv.org) instructs all candidates to get 10000 sigs, with 15000 as a safety margin. This repeats the recommendations of the State Board of Elections. All candidates do submit 10000+ sigs. The VA GOP waives the requirement to verify the signatures and submits them without checking.

May 2011: The VA GOP instructs all candidates to get 10000+ sigs, with 15000 as a safety margin (same as 200.

July 2011: Candidates are allowed to begin collecting signatures.

October 2011: Some guy named Osborne, who is running in a state election, files a lawsuit protesting that the no-check rule is unfair.

November 2011: In reaction to the lawsuit, the VA GOP decides to change the no-check rule for presidential primaries. They increase it from 10000 sigs to 15000 sigs. They send an electronic notice (e-mail or fax) to all candidates advising of the rule change.

For whatever reason Newt’s campaign didn’t get the notice. The e-mail/fax was never received or misrouted, unclear.

December 2011: The Gingrich campaign announces they have over 10000 sigs (the requirement) and are pushing for 15000 to meet the recommended number (see May above). At this point they believe they have breathing room. Getting 15000 is not essential just a good cushion so they aren’t too worried.

December 21, 2011: The VA GOP publishes an undated letter announcing the rule change.
http://tinyurl.com/8yxgw69

The PDF contains a hidden Microsoft Word creation date of 12/21/2011. This is the first public announcement of the rule change AFAIK.

Newt’s campaign freaks out at the surprise rule change (claims ‘Pearl Harbor’). Now getting 15,000 sigs isn’t nice-to-have but absolutely essential. Newt flies to VA to scramble to get 15,000 sigs.

Newt’s campaign turns in 11,000 sigs, short of the new rule’s 15,000 no-check requirement.

December 23: Because Newt/Perry are below 15,000 sigs the VA GOP runs the sigs through a computer-based address checking system. This has never been done before, not in 2008 nor prior primaries, for any candidate. Enough sigs are rejected to toss Newt and Perry off the ballot. The VA GOP announces this on Twitter.

December 27: The VA GOP turns in the final slate to the State Board of Elections.

It is unclear at this point if the VA GOP even bothered to turn in Newt’s or Perry’s petitions.

Gideon7 on December 28, 2011 at 10:31 AM

I’m with Ed on this one – Claims of victimization and law suits are the province of the Left, not the good guys. Winners get the job done, and losers make excuses. None of this has surprised me with Newt, as he is known for his haphazard leadership. I am a bit disappointed in Perry though… Say what you will about his intelligence, but even Dems will admit he has run a pretty tight ship in Texas in terms of executive administration.

HTnFBCoachnTX1980 on December 28, 2011 at 10:27 AM

You know what else is the province of the left? Romney’s left wing policies, like abortion funding, gay marriage, gun control and federal health mandates..

Malachi45 on December 28, 2011 at 10:32 AM

TheRightMan

You used the word “boot” in your last post directed at me.

Please clarify: Did you mean “Liberty” or “Freedom?”

Yippie-Ki-Yi-Yo! Deputy Rick is comin’ to Dodge City!

Horace on December 28, 2011 at 10:33 AM

Terrific article and analysis Ed!

Only a complete ideologue who is hypocritical and does not care about honesty or reality could possibly disagree.

I find it hilarious that Newt had 6% support only 3 months ago, yet now there are suddenly these shills popping up defending every mistake, gaffe, and indefensible position he has ever had..

talk about typical liberal behavior!

it would help if GOP voters were honest, and kept to their stated principles even when it would harm their first choice.

AirForceCane on December 28, 2011 at 10:33 AM

Gideon7 on December 28, 2011 at 10:31 AM

Thank you very much for your wonderful summary.

Now, Ed and Hot Air’s resident Mittbots, if what Gideon7 has posted is true – care to tell me how this demonstrates incompetence on Perry or Gingrich’s part?

TheRightMan on December 28, 2011 at 10:35 AM

Malachi45 on December 28, 2011 at 10:17 AM

Good Lord, you would have to search far and wide to find someone who dislikes Gov. Palin and her supporters more than that commenter.

Cindy Munford on December 28, 2011 at 10:29 AM

Then what is his problem? He’s got an insatiable nasty streak towards Perry, especially.

Malachi45 on December 28, 2011 at 10:35 AM

Terrific article and analysis Ed!

Only a complete ideologue who is hypocritical and does not care about honesty or reality could possibly disagree.

I find it hilarious that Newt had 6% support only 3 months ago, yet now there are suddenly these shills popping up defending every mistake, gaffe, and indefensible position he has ever had..

talk about typical liberal behavior!

it would help if GOP voters were honest, and kept to their stated principles even when it would harm their first choice.

AirForceCane on December 28, 2011 at 10:33 AM

Yes, one would have to be a pretty horrible, disgusting person to disagree with your view. I pray it never happens./

Malachi45 on December 28, 2011 at 10:38 AM

While I agree with much of Ed’s analysis, the fact still remains that too many prominent candidates are not on the ballot for the process to be called a success. Perhaps, a filing date closer to the actual voting day would deal with the issue of whether candidates do not know if they will be actually viable and with the problem that some late-blooming candidates don’t get big campaign donations that would allow hiring a company to get the signatures or recruit volunteers until they have done well in the early part of the primary process.

This suggestion is not for the present as that is already in the rear view mirror but it is making a suggestion for the future.

KW64 on December 28, 2011 at 10:38 AM

Then what is his problem? He’s got an insatiable nasty streak towards Perry, especially.

Malachi45 on December 28, 2011 at 10:35 AM

csdeven is a ‘she’ and is Hot Air’s ‘lovable’ Mittbot.

TheRightMan on December 28, 2011 at 10:38 AM

November 2011: In reaction to the lawsuit, the VA GOP decides to change the no-check rule for presidential primaries. They increase it from 10000 sigs to 15000 sigs. They send an electronic notice (e-mail or fax) to all candidates advising of the rule change.

For whatever reason Newt’s campaign didn’t get the notice. The e-mail/fax was never received or misrouted, unclear.

December 2011: The Gingrich campaign announces they have over 10000 sigs (the requirement) and are pushing for 15000 to meet the recommended number (see May above). At this point they believe they have breathing room. Getting 15000 is not essential just a good cushion so they aren’t too worried.

December 21, 2011: The VA GOP publishes an undated letter announcing the rule change.
http://tinyurl.com/8yxgw69

The PDF contains a hidden Microsoft Word creation date of 12/21/2011. This is the first public announcement of the rule change AFAIK.

Newt’s campaign freaks out at the surprise rule change (claims ‘Pearl Harbor’). Now getting 15,000 sigs isn’t nice-to-have but absolutely essential. Newt flies to VA to scramble to get 15,000 sigs.

Newt’s campaign turns in 11,000 sigs, short of the new rule’s 15,000 no-check requirement.

December 23: Because Newt/Perry are below 15,000 sigs the VA GOP runs the sigs through a computer-based address checking system. This has never been done before, not in 2008 nor prior primaries, for any candidate. Enough sigs are rejected to toss Newt and Perry off the ballot. The VA GOP announces this on Twitter.

December 27: The VA GOP turns in the final slate to the State Board of Elections.

It is unclear at this point if the VA GOP even bothered to turn in Newt’s or Perry’s petitions.

Gideon7 on December 28, 2011 at 10:31 AM

Thank you! If you can provide more links to this stuff, it will go a long way toward clarifying this issue. Especially interesting to me is the computer-based address-checking system. This may be at the heart of the problem, if it wasn’t previously tried. As well, I have big problems with an e-mail notification to the campaigns, as opposed to written notification unless the e-mail had a “must respond” flag to ensure that it actually was received. If this e-mail truly was sent, does the VA GOP have an acknowledgement from Gingrich? It would seem that in case of a change in policy or law, the burden is upon the VA GOP to show proof positive that the campaigns were notified.

cane_loader on December 28, 2011 at 10:38 AM

It’s no use. Virginia is truly the great decider. This contest is between Romney and Paul. What was I thinking? I wrongly concluded that debating skills trumped everything including records and experience. But, thanks to Virginia, it is debating AND knowing how to keep a personal organizer up to date. Who knew?…oh, Mitt and Ron of course, but who else? Actually we should have known this from 2008. Debating, speechifying, and great community organizing skills with no record or experience! To think that after ’06 and ’08 Republicans were promising to return to their principles. DO NOT DO THAT! It isn’t the wave of the future, Romney and Paul are!

cartooner on December 28, 2011 at 10:39 AM

It pains me to say this but it’s gotta be said. It’s long past time to ignore Mitt. Mitt’s a status quo, don’t-rock-the-boat, I’ve-checked-all-the-boxes guy. In other words, he’ll get his butt kicked by Obama.

We’re approaching an historic election. It’s time to pick a leader with ideas to match the situation. Only Newt fits that description.

If Mitt is the nominee, he’ll turn his back on or not gain the support of the TEA Party movement. The GOP will have told the TEA Party that they’re welcome in their party under their terms.

If Mitt is the nominee, I’ll lead the charge against Mitt. I won’t vote for him because he’s only marginally better than Obama. I won’t waste my time working for a candidate that’s going to get his butt kicked.

LFRGary on December 28, 2011 at 10:40 AM

December 23: Because Newt/Perry are below 15,000 sigs the VA GOP runs the sigs through a computer-based address checking system. This has never been done before, not in 2008 nor prior primaries, for any candidate. Enough sigs are rejected to toss Newt and Perry off the ballot. The VA GOP announces this on Twitter.

If this same computer system is not used to check ALL petitions, including Romney and Paul’s, then there’s an inherent methodological problem right there. A computer can make much larger errors than human beings. Who is to say that just as many of theirs would not be rejected by this all-knowing computer? If they don’t check Romney’s and Paul’s with this computer, then I cry foul.

cane_loader on December 28, 2011 at 10:41 AM

Note to Iowa and Virginia: Switch to primary systems. They’re less stupid.

Flapjackmaka on December 28, 2011 at 10:02 AM

Reading comprehension fail: Virginia has a primary system now…

DavidW on December 28, 2011 at 10:41 AM

Malachi45

He done sold his soul to Mittens at a crossroads at midnight long ago.

Plus, I, OTOH, have no “nasty streak” towards Perry. I think a “Three Stooges” atmosphere adds to the excitement of his campaign.

Perry to VA GOP: “Why you, I oughta…” Nyuck, nyuck, nyuck!

Horace on December 28, 2011 at 10:42 AM

Currently, there is no way to know whether Romney and Paul submitted the required 10,000. Yet they are allowed on the ballot. Fairness dictates that their signatures be run through the same unaltered/updated computer system that kicked out Gingrich and Perry’s, and then we see where the chips fall.

cane_loader on December 28, 2011 at 10:43 AM

The Establishment has determined that they will foist Romney on us by whatever means possible.

They don’t care so much for him beating Obama as ensuring that a conservative reformer is kept as far away as possible from the levers of power.

They keep telling us that it is nigh impossible to stop Obama and the Dems despite Tea partiers/conservatives fighting to hand-deliver the House to the GOP in 2010.

A President Perry will take the same small-govt. minded approach to DC and lead the charge to reduce their power. That is something that is more frightening to them than an Obama second term.

So Romney it is – and they will do anything to ensure he is nominated. Then should he win or lose against Obama – it’s a win-win for them.

TheRightMan on December 28, 2011 at 10:14 AM

Give. Me. A. Break.

Rick Perry had the GOP nomination won before he got in the race. He had the money, he had the conservative cred, he had the record. But then YOU and people like you decided that one word – “heartless” – completely disqualified him. Michelle Malkin decided he was disqualified because he once wanted girls to get vaccinated against one of the most horrible cancers that kills women.

So don’t go whining about some G-d Establishment Conspiracy To Prevent Any True Conservative From Winning. You had your winning conservative candidate and YOU destroyed him.

rockmom on December 28, 2011 at 10:43 AM

Malachi45 on December 28, 2011 at 10:35 AM

It’s not limited to Perry but to all but Romney. He is the one and only member of my Ignore/Do Not Reply List, but others have “fun” with him.

Cindy Munford on December 28, 2011 at 10:44 AM

Gideon7 on December 28, 2011 at 10:31 AM

So it looks like the VA GOP were the ones failing the “competency primary”, and not Newt or Perry?

oldroy on December 28, 2011 at 10:45 AM

TheRightMan on December 28, 2011 at 10:38 AM

Really? It’s a woman?

Cindy Munford on December 28, 2011 at 10:46 AM

Cindy Munford

Actually, is somewhat unclear. Has sometimes gotten close to saying he/she/it is a woman. Another time he/she/it referred to “the wife.” (Course, could be a lesbian “marriage” I reckon.)

“It” is probably the best designation – and also gender neutral.

Horace on December 28, 2011 at 10:49 AM

You know what else is the province of the left? Romney’s left wing policies, like abortion funding, gay marriage, gun control and federal health mandates..

Malachi45 on December 28, 2011 at 10:32 AM

At this point, I’m not going to disagree with you. The point of this thread is the core administrative competence of the candidates, a key aspect of presidential leadership. Romney and Paul demonstrated it in this case, and the others didn’t. You can argue that this one mistake shouldn’t disqualify someone from the Oval Office. You can even argue that Romney is more dangerous because you fear he will push through moderate to liberal policies that even Obama failed to do because he is more competent. The point though is that the appropriate conservative response from the Perry or Gingrich camp should be an admission of error rather than a bunch of whining.

HTnFBCoachnTX1980 on December 28, 2011 at 10:52 AM

Malachi45

He done sold his soul to Mittens at a crossroads at midnight long ago.

Plus, I, OTOH, have no “nasty streak” towards Perry. I think a “Three Stooges” atmosphere adds to the excitement of his campaign.

Perry to VA GOP: “Why you, I oughta…” Nyuck, nyuck, nyuck!

Horace on December 28, 2011 at 10:42 AM

You do realize that aren’t funny, don’t you? I mean, that’s fine if you are only concerned with entertaining yourself. But, that’s where it ends. Oh, the Perry hating Rombots no doubt enjoy that you are mocking Perry. But that’s just about having the mud thrown, they aren’t concerned about the quality. I guess you are sort of their developmentally challenged attack dog. And that’s fine, but it won’t fill the longing for friendship and acceptance you are looking for.

Malachi45 on December 28, 2011 at 10:52 AM

I’m starting not to care anymore. Just wake me when we have a nominee so I can vote against Obama.

gophergirl on December 28, 2011 at 10:52 AM

“It” is probably the best designation – and also gender neutral.

Horace on December 28, 2011 at 10:49 AM

LOL! I think I’ll play it safe by continuing to ignore.

Cindy Munford on December 28, 2011 at 10:52 AM

I swear i don’t know who is more stupid, the so called True conservatives who hate Romney or the clowns they support in the GOP race.

Falz on December 28, 2011 at 10:53 AM

Lastly, this is a personal opinion. Virginia is the cradle of Democracy. The ballot access laws should be modified and streamlined to allow greater participation. We can’t do anything about 2012 at this point. But I do intend to appeal to our General Assembly and elected leaders to bring Virginia’s ballot access more in line with other states — simpler and streamlined with greater access. I think it’s important that the people in Virginia get to vote for the candidate of their choice, not be restricted.

Wow…that is just great. Even the VA GOP Chair says it’s flawed.
Changing the law just a month ago seems fishy when two candidates “HIRED” outside agencies to collect those signatures in last Novembers elections. Just great huh.
What the flipping is going on People??
I would bet my last dollar that ALL those still in the race will be on that Ballot….without question.

coach1228 on December 28, 2011 at 10:55 AM

I’ll wait for the outcome of the lawsuit. Juicy depositions make for great blog post Ed. This isn’t a negative thang ;)

Dr Evil on December 28, 2011 at 10:56 AM

rockmom on December 28, 2011 at 10:43 AM

The “heartless” brouhaha was indeed an overreaction, I admit to being annoyed myself but not enough to lose my vote. I’d say the early debates hurt him the worse but he has been doing so much better. What a weird season this has been!

Cindy Munford on December 28, 2011 at 10:58 AM

OK, here is the relevant section of the notice the VA GOP supposedly sent to the candidates, which Gideon 7 so kindly linked above. Let’s read it together:

Any candidate who submits at least 15,000 signatures of registered voters on valid petitions statewide and has at least 600 signatures of registered voters on valid petitions from each of the 11 Congressional Districts shall be deemed to have met the threshold for qualification and will be certified (provided, of course, that other requirements of State law have also been met).

If any candidate submits fewer than 15,000 signatures of registered voters on valid petitions statewide or fewer than 600 signatures of registered voters on valid petitions in one or more of the 11 Congressional Districts, the Republican Party of Virginia will individually verify signatures until the 10,000 signature statewide threshold and/or 400 per Congressional district is met.

Notice in the first paragraph, the 15,000 signatures must be registered voters, with no signatures verified.

The second paragraph says that signatures will be individually checked in 14,999 or fewer signatures are submitted.

So… in the 15,000-signature-plus batch, the signatures must be of registered voters. This means that they were to be checked against the rolls. So this eliminates the possibility of page after page of “Osama bin Laden, 666 Inferno Ave., Hell.”

But the loophole I see is this:
Nothing in this prevents candidates from submitting a 15,000-signature batch that consist of some list of registered voters in their possession – which may be derived from fundraising or other records.

That, of course, would be ACORN-style fraud. But there seems to be no mechanism to ensure that indeed that in one or more of the counties, individual campaign operatives did not try this. Non-corrupt campaigns certainly can contain corrupt people, and this sort of thing has certainly happened before in politics. As well, a certain percentage of signers probably had moved, and still had old voter registrations in another county, and so were invalid.

So the bottom line is that batches of 14,999 and fewer are checked for accuracy more strenuously than batches of 15,000+. This undeniably lets invalid signatures through in the 15,000 batch. How many? No one knows. But this lack of checking the 15,000+ batch, until the confirmed signatures reach 10,000, undermines the automatic conclusion that the 10,000-signature requirement has actually been fulfilled.

If the VA GOP is so competent, why would they institute such a rule change that undercuts the legitimacy of those who are approved for the ballot.

The process stinks.

cane_loader on December 28, 2011 at 10:58 AM

I was going to provide an update since I actually live in VA, but I see that Gideon has beaten me to the punch with a well documented timeline of what happened.

This isn’t a conspiracy to me. However, when you set up different levels for signature validation (check 10k to 14,99, but not validate 15k+), that seems to simply invite fraud. Submit 15,001 signatures of Adolph Hitler, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck? No problem, because those signatures will NOT be validated. FWIW, the signatures for Romney were not validated. Not a conspiracy, just within the rules. Perry and Gingrich had less than 15k, but more than 10k, so the signatures were validated and some were thrown out, dropping them below the 10k level. My question is why do you apply rules in a way that seems to invite fraud? Because let’s suppose that out of Romney’s 15k signatures (more or less), 5500 were invalidated, meaning that he wouldn’t qualify for the ballot either. However, it’s not a problem for Team Romney because those signatures were not validated. If you don’t see a problem with this, well, I can explain it to you, but I obivously can’t understand it for you.

I will say that the blame for this is the GOP in this fine state in which I live. They shown a certain penchant for living up to the party of the stupid over the years. This is no exception. And despite Ed’s “competence primary” comment, I would opine that changing the rules during the process is simply daft. My opinion, of course, and I could be wrong. In this case, though, I’m not.

Physics Geek on December 28, 2011 at 11:00 AM

Come on, this isn’t about the ‘rule of law’ and elections. And certainly not a measure of competence, or lack thereof. This whole ‘Who’s the best campaign micro-manager crap’ is an across the board establishment/media created litmus test to goof off on any candidate they don’t like, usually a conservative. Final answer.

RepubChica on December 28, 2011 at 11:00 AM

You know what else is the province of the left? Romney’s left wing policies, like abortion funding, gay marriage, gun control and federal health mandates..

Malachi45 on December 28, 2011 at 10:32 AM

At this point, I’m not going to disagree with you. The point of this thread is the core administrative competence of the candidates, a key aspect of presidential leadership. Romney and Paul demonstrated it in this case, and the others didn’t. You can argue that this one mistake shouldn’t disqualify someone from the Oval Office. You can even argue that Romney is more dangerous because you fear he will push through moderate to liberal policies that even Obama failed to do because he is more competent. The point though is that the appropriate conservative response from the Perry or Gingrich camp should be an admission of error rather than a bunch of whining.

HTnFBCoachnTX1980 on December 28, 2011 at 10:52 AM

That’s the point of those going along the hit piece pushing the ” competence” meme. So, people such as myself must draw the context in by keeping the salient issue in mind: that is, Romney is not a conservative and is trying to game the primary to win a race he is too liberal to win otherwise. That’s what the ” whining” is about, the fact that Romney hacks are gaming the rules to aid the guy they have endorsed and even work for. That is decidedly uncool. The appropriate conservative response is to stand your ground and fight, which is what Perry is doing. We don’t needa guy who mimics obamas MO of driving his competitors off the ballot. We need one who fights crapmlike that, such as Perry.

Malachi45 on December 28, 2011 at 11:01 AM

I’m starting not to care anymore. Just wake me when we have a nominee so I can vote against Obama.

gophergirl on December 28, 2011 at 10:52 AM

I don’t know why you are so apathetic to this process, this is when the real fun starts. This isn’t Perry’s first rodeo. I would like to see Gingrich, and at least Huntsman also make the Virginia ballot. What a hoot if they had to null and void their own procedure, because of last minute tampering. Not to mention all the juicy gossip that’s going to come out over the law suit. I wonder if the key players have wiped their hard drives yet ;)

American politics is a contact sport, James Carville.

Dr Evil on December 28, 2011 at 11:02 AM

Well, no one will argue against the notion that Romney wants it. In fact, he’s wiling to manipulate primary dates and have his Virginia hacks change their rules just to achieve the goal that years of running for the office seems to fail to yield.

Malachi45 on December 28, 2011 at 10:06 AM

Well it stands to reason, being a perpetual candidate analogous to “always a bridesmaid, never the bride”, Mitt Romney has made a career at being a serial political loser. 75% ABR stands, and has for 5 years now; doesn’t reconcile well with the whole “inevitable electable” theory huh?

His campaign machine is desperately flailing with the low level ceiling of support that is stubborn and unexplainable in nature (lol). They have watched one candidate after another surpass the 25% support that he enjoys only to be properly vetted by msm, and return back to earth. But Romney never gets past that 25% mark. Romney quoted as referring to Gingrich’s missteps on the Virginia ballot debacle akin to Lucille Ball in the chocolate factory. Not good optics Mr. Romney, for you or the Virginia GOP machine that (*gasp* conspiracy theory) backs you.

Feeds the whole theory of lacking social intelligence to connect with folks and win elections on your own merit. “For Pete’s sake”, you cannot say that! Add that to your list of blunders, $10,000 bet (on an Iowa stage of all places!), and “Yes Wolf Mitt is my real first name”. Camp Romney has to do something to promote their woefully inept serial losing candidate. His sizable bank roll has fueled his phony (payback) “endorsements” and head-scratching media headlines from Beltway penheads that have lost their way from journalistic integrity.

Bottom line, Judges tend to favor voter participation, not voter suppression. Folks in these hotgas rooms can dissect campaigns movements and missteps, lack of addresses, unqualified certifiers, etc. for the sake of political discourse. Democracy is a good thing, stifling the competition with onerous, never before enforced rules that somehow miraculously will be gospel this election cycle (to Mitt Romney) one month before deadline, not so good. In a court of law, the will of the voter, “equal protection”, trumps all.

That goofy Stepford wife, cdevil, that keeps referring to “tears” in this fiasco, makes me wonder if she-he-it has shed a few of it’s own watching Mitt Romney lose, one election at a time for decades now.

sunshinek67 on December 28, 2011 at 11:04 AM

Gideon 7
Thank you . You may be ignored by some but I appreciate your research .

Lucano on December 28, 2011 at 11:05 AM

Come on, this isn’t about the ‘rule of law’ and elections. And certainly not a measure of competence, or lack thereof. This whole ‘Who’s the best campaign micro-manager crap’ is an across the board establishment/media created litmus test to goof off on any candidate they don’t like, usually a conservative. Final answer.

RepubChica on December 28, 2011 at 11:00 AM

Nonsense… The Tea Party Darlings of 2010 (Rubio, Toomey, etc.) all developed a strong primary then general election plan, and executed it in an outstanding fashion, and both took down “establishment” people in the process. You are telling me that Rubio’s staff would have screwed the pooch this badly? I sincerely doubt it..

HTnFBCoachnTX1980 on December 28, 2011 at 11:05 AM

UPDATE: …. The laws that govern the petitions were documented in March by the RPV to any candidate looking to access the ballot in Virginia,

Thanks Ed! That should extinguish the conspiracy theories about changing the rules in mid-cycle, right? Right?

conservative pilgrim on December 28, 2011 at 11:05 AM

The point though is that the appropriate conservative response from the Perry or Gingrich camp should be an admission of error rather than a bunch of whining.

HTnFBCoachnTX1980 on December 28, 2011 at 10:52 AM

Until Romney’s and Paul’s signatures are checked with the same scrutiny as those of Gingrich and Perry, an admission of error would be premature. The ball is still bouncing here.

If such a large percentage of Perry’s and Gingrich’s signatures were invalid, is it a logical assumption that somehow Romney’s and Paul’s signatures would not have a similarly large error rate, if they were to verified, instead of waved on through? Or is the idea that Gingrich and Perry somehow hired extremely incompetent signature gatherers, while Romney and Paul somehow hired extremely competent ones?

cane_loader on December 28, 2011 at 11:08 AM

TheRightMan on December 28, 2011 at 9:33 AM

TheRightMan, I’ll take a stab at answering your questions.

(1) Romney: a bit over 15,000. Paul: a bit under 15,000. Perry: 11,191. Gingrich: 10,050. Santorum, Bachmann, Huntsman: 0.

(2) Romney’s sigs were not checked, because he had over 15,000. Oddly, though, Paul’s sigs were also simply accepted without checking–even though he did not in fact meet the 15,000 threshold. Perry’s and Gingrich’s sigs were checked.

(3) The rules were not changed in November, but the IMPLEMENTATION of the rules was. Prior to last month, anyone who submitted at least 10,000 signatures had their sigs simply deemed sufficient. It wasn’t until November that the “deeming” threshold was raised to 15K.

(4) I have no number for Gingrich, but about 45% of Perry’s signatures were thrown out. Sigs can be tossed if a person’s voter registration says John Robert Doe, but he signs the petition John R. Doe. Also, an otherwise valid signature can be tossed if it is on a form that is two one-sided sheets rather than on a double-sided form (as per the VAGOP rules).

(5) We can’t tell anything about Mitt’s sigs. They’ve been given a pass.

As a lawyer, I find all of this quite troubling. I think Perry did the right thing in filing the suit. There do seem to be First- and Fourteenth-Amendment issues, and I hope the court provides redress. I also find it puzzling that, in the face of so many questions, oddities, and inconsistencies regarding the rules, implementation, and conflicts of interest at the VAGOP (Lt. Gov. Bolling, anyone?), Mr. Morrissey and others still insist on giving the VAGOP a pass while faulting Perry and Gingrich for incompetence. I don’t see how it’s incompetent to fail to jump through a hoop that gets moved after your feet have already left the ground.

racetraitor on December 28, 2011 at 11:08 AM

I don’t know why you are so apathetic to this process, this is when the real fun starts. This isn’t Perry’s first rodeo. I would like to see Gingrich, and at least Huntsman also make the Virginia ballot. What a hoot if they had to null and void their own procedure, because of last minute tampering. Not to mention all the juicy gossip that’s going to come out over the law suit. I wonder if the key players have wiped their hard drives yet ;)

American politics is a contact sport, James Carville.

Dr Evil on December 28, 2011 at 11:02 AM

Cause I’m crabby as hell today.

I’ll care tomorrow I’m sure. Today I don’t :)

gophergirl on December 28, 2011 at 11:09 AM

Perry and Gingrich are completely incompetent and yet all the bots here continue making excuses for them. God forbid one of them wins the presidency and Iran changes the rules of negotiation a few months before the deadline, we’ll be panned.

STOP TRYING TO EMBARRASS THE PARTY BY NOMINATION LAZY IDIOTS PLEASE.

Ruiner on December 28, 2011 at 11:09 AM

———-Intellect—–Stamina—–Family—–Looks—–Oratory
Romney——–10———-10———-10——–10———9.5–
Perry———6————4———-9———9.5———6—
Gingrich——8————7———(-3)——–4———-7—

Obama———10———-10———-10——–9.5———10–

Only Romney matches up well against Obama.

nonpartisan on December 28, 2011 at 10:08 AM

I’m pretty sure you pulled those numbers out of your butt, because they stink.

ElectricPhase on December 28, 2011 at 11:10 AM

That is decidedly uncool. The appropriate conservative response is to stand your ground and fight, which is what Perry is doing. We don’t needa guy who mimics obamas MO of driving his competitors off the ballot. We need one who fights crapmlike that, such as Perry.

Malachi45 on December 28, 2011 at 11:01 AM

Fair enough… People also forget that it was Bush who filed the lawsuit in Florida in 2000, so I guess we conservatives do have a history of using the courts to ensure justice is done.

HTnFBCoachnTX1980 on December 28, 2011 at 11:10 AM

If you can’t figure out how to get on a stupid ballot, you should not be anywhere near the nuclear football. Perry is a fool and should drop out for gross incompetence. Handed the nomination on a silver platter, he manage to squander every drop of credibility he ever had.

andy85719 on December 28, 2011 at 11:11 AM

We can’t change the rules mid-game to right what may or may not be a wrong. The law is the law.

Part of the rules is how the rules are enforced. You did in fact change those rules mid-game. Right now in America today almost every single American has broken at least one if not dozens of rules that our government has passed into law, but does not enforce. If tomorrow they chose to crack down on you, would you consider it a rule change worthy of being fought against?

Do you allow at a minimum 3 full flashes of your blinker before making a lane change? Rule broken if not. Do you leave your blinker on for more than ten full blinks? Again rule broken. Of course the numbers depend upon your state, and sometimes nothing more than the mood of the police officer.

Have you violated in any way what-so-ever the terms of service of any webpage that you have visited today? You can be put in prison for that.

In Glendale, Arizona, it is against the law for a car to back up.
In Tucson, women may not wear pants.
Bathing is prohibited during the winter.
In Ottumwa, “It is unlawful for any male person, within the corporate limits of the (city), to wink at any female person with whom he is unacquainted.”

There are hundreds if not thousands of other laws which you are likely breaking several of by the time you have arrived at work each morning. So, if they start enforcing these laws, are you going to argue that you are the one the is to blame for your predicument?

Constitutional historian of conservative values on December 28, 2011 at 11:12 AM

The laws that govern the petitions were documented in March by the RPV to any candidate looking to access the ballot in Virginia, as shown above, but the law is accessible to anyone regardless of whether the RPV made it easy as they did in their March circular. They even stressed that the usual rate of bad signatures would probably mean collecting a ratio of 3:2 or 2:1 to ensure that enough legitimate signatures were collected between July 1 and mid-December to qualify for the ballot. I’m not sure what else the RPV was expected to do.

If you believe the Perryistas (who are indistingushable in this case from the Wisconsin unionistas/Democrats/Government “Accountability” Board, though I repeat myself), ignore the law.

Steve Eggleston on December 28, 2011 at 11:12 AM

HTnFBCoachnTX1980 on December 28, 2011 at 11:05 AM

What establishment opposition did they encounter? And who did they take down? Toomey and Rubio were decent candidates, but let’s not deny the Tea Party small-gov agenda put those two on political career cruise control circa 2010.

RepubChica on December 28, 2011 at 11:14 AM

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