The Minefield

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Location: Washington, United States

Hi everyone, I'm Nick. I'm a 20 year-old college student in Washington state, looking to major in political science and minor in finance. I currently attend community college but am planning on transferring to the University of Washington.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

What A Mess

Do you think there is any way that the Republican Party could be any more divided right now? The conservatives in the party have basically declared war on John McCain, and are on a vendetta to ensure that he is not the nominee. At the same time, many of them have threatened to sit out in November if he wins the nomination. Does this make any sense at all? What ever happened to winning, what ever happened to attacking the other side more than attacking your own side? Barack Obama was declared the most liberal senator in the U.S. Senate in 2007, according to, and instead of exploiting that, the conservatives would rather spend their time attacking McCain.

Now, I'm not saying that I'm a huge fan of the senator from Arizona. With me being a conservative, he was not my first, second, or third choice, but it's looking more and more like he is going to be the Republican nominee, and there is no way that I'm going to spend my time trying to take him down. Even if I have qualms with his record, I know that he is on the right side of many issues, two of which are very important to me. First, he is staunchly pro-life and has the voting record to prove it. Secondly, he won't let Iraq become another Vietnam, and will instead give our boys a chance to defeat the enemy and help the Iraqis establish a stable democracy.

Victor Davis Hanson, came out with a great piece today on, with the title, "Democrats Want to Lose... But Republicans Don't Want To Win." He writes, "If Hillary Clinton does end up winning her party's nomination, November's vote may hinge on whether moderates and liberals are nauseated enough by the Clintons' brawling and character assassination to cross over and vote for a decorated Republican war hero — that is, if his own flag-waving party doesn't destroy him first. "

In the most recent polling by Rasmussen (1/25-1/27), John McCain is ahead by 8 points over Clinton and by 6 points over Obama . On the contrary, Mitt Romney has trailed Clinton in every poll since the beginning of January, and has never led in a poll when matched up against Obama.

Again I say, if Republicans want to win in November, they need to come together and rally around McCain. If they don't, and they destroy him instead, we're looking at retreat and defeat in Iraq, higher taxes, more spending, bigger government, liberal justices being appointed to the Supreme Court, and a litany of other things that are sure to take place with Hillary or Obama as president. For the sake of our futures, let's not let that happen.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Republicans Have Their Nominee

Pretty impressive win for McCain, who now in all likelihood will be the nominee of the Republican party. Romney really needed a win to sap away some of McCain's momentum going into Super Tuesday, and now he's in real trouble. Adding to his list of problems is Giuliani's resignation from the race and endorsement of McCain (which will come tomorrow), and also his lagging poll numbers. Take a look at the most recent Super Tuesday polls:

California (173 delegates)

SurveyUSA (1/27-1/27)

McCain 37
Romney 25

Politico/CNN/LAT (1/23-1/27)

McCain 39
Romney 26

New York (101 delegates)

USA Today/Gallup (1/23-1/26)

McCain 40
Romney 17
(Giuliani polled at 21%, and even if his supporters go 50/50 for McCain and Romney, Romney will still be way behind)

Georgia (72 delegates)

Rasmussen (1/22-1/22)

Huckabee 34
McCain 19
Romney 14

Illinois (70 delegates)

Research 2000 (1/21-1/24)

McCain 31
Romney 20

Missouri (58 delegates)

Rasmussen (1/24-1/24)

Huckabee 27
McCain 26
Romney 18

Research 2000 (1/21-1/24)

McCain 31
Huckabee 25
Romney 21

Tennessee (55 delegates)

WSMV-TV (1/19-1/21)

Thompson 25
Huckabee 24
McCain 12
Romney 7

(This poll was taken before Thompson dropped out on January 22nd. His voters will most likely trend toward Huckabee and Romney, which helps Huck the most, and just may bump Romney into 2nd)

Arizona (53 delegates)

Behavior Res. Ctr (1/20-1/24)

McCain 40
Romney 23

Arizona State (1/17-1/20)

McCain 41
Romney 18

New Jersey (52 delegates)

Quinnipiac (1/15-1/22)

McCain 29
Giuliani 26
Romney 14

The point is that things are looking bleak for Romney. He is leading in Colorado (46 delegates), Massachusetts (43 delegates), and obviously Utah (36 delegates), but the rest of the Super Tueday states are not swinging in his favor. McCain's got all the momentum in the world, and with a huge endorsement coming from Rudy Giuliani tomorrow, it's looking increasingly like it will be McCain vs. Clinton or Obama in November.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Best Debate So Far

I think Mitt Romney helped himself out the most after this debate, with Giuliani and McCain following closely behind. Romney's answers on taxes, spending, the war, facing Hillary Clinton, and his faith were all top notch. After watching his performance, I feel much more comfortable in potentially voting for him than I have in the past.

Giuliani was solid again, as usual, but I'm not sure it will be enough to propel him to victory on the 29th. He didn't go on the attack, as many pundits thought he might, but instead remained positive and showcased his background and results. His answer about how he believes that he'll share the same fate as the NY Giants did against the Patriots last week was well received by the audience.

John McCain also had a solid night, but I don't believe he said or did anything that will significantly help or hurt him next Tuesday. Hist most memorable moment came when he praised Giulaini for being an "American hero" after Brian Williams read a scathing NY Times editorial about the former mayor. If Frank Luntz would have been charting the responses of a live focus group, his scores in that moment would have been off the charts. I also found McCain's response about Sylvester Stallone beating up Chuck Norris to be very funny. His weakest moments came when discussing the economy and also when he said that one of the biggest concerns of conservatives is global warming. I don't think that resonated with "the base" at all.
Mike Huckabee also did well, and gave some good answers, but he'll more than likely still come in fourth in Florida. His best chance to secure his spot as the frontrunner was in South Carolina, but obviously, it didn't happen for him. I think the time has come for him to start considering how much longer he can be a viable candidate for the nomination.

Overall, it was by far the best debate that I've seen since the race for the nomination began. The questions were solid, the answers were solid, and I believe that the viewers got the best glimpse so far into the ideals, the values, and the beliefs of each candidate. Floridans really do have a tough decision to make when they go to cast their ballots next Tuesday, and it will be interesting to see what happens.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

It's Do-Or-Die Time For Rudy

Five days. That's how much time that Rudy Giuliani has left to make his case for the Republican nomination. Five short days before Floridans go to the polls and decide his fate, and the direction of this election. Five days until he looks like either a genius or a fool. That's it. If he doesn't win, the race is down to two candidates: McCain and Romney. If he does win, he throws the race wide open heading into Super Tuesday.

To be frank, I'm unimpressed with both McCain and Romney, so I hope the first scenario I presented doesn't come to pass. Neither man has been my first choice throughout this whole process, as I thought Giuliani and Thompson would make better presidents. That said, I'm tired of hearing Republicans say that if their man doesn't win the nomination, they'll either sit out the election, or even worse, vote for the Democratic candidate. I think it's a ridiculous notion to say that Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton would make better leaders for this country than Huck, Mitt, McCain, or Giuliani. That's simply not true. I understand some Republicans being upset if their first, second, or even third choice isn't the nominee, but to simply give the presidency to the Democrats is not the correct response to their frustrations. No matter how bad you think it would be if a certain Republican was elected, I guarantee it would be worse under Hillary or Obama.

Even if we have to clamp our noses with clothespins or Vice Grips when we go to cast our ballots, we should still do so knowing that if we choose to sit out, we concede defeat to the Democrats. I don't know about you, but I'm not one to concede anything to anyone on the left without a fight. The stakes are too high and the challenges are too great to sit out one of the most important presidential elections of our lifetime. Don't make that mistake; choose victory, not defeat.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Groan Moment Of The Day

Just watch...

Who let the dogs out, wooh wooh? Does he really think he's being hip? I certainly don't believe that Romney's a racist, but that is a very stereotypical thing to say around a group of black kids.

Fred Thompson Drops Out

My second favorite candidate behind Rudy Giuliani has dropped out of the race for president, as many thought he would after a mediocre finish in South Carolina. In a brief statement, Thompson broke the news, saying, "Today I have withdrawn my candidacy for President of the United States. I hope that my country and my party have benefited from our having made this effort. Jeri and I will always be grateful for the encouragement and friendship of so many wonderful people." Senator Thompson is indeed a true conservative, and it's a shame that more people didn't rally behind him in his effort to secure the nomination. I still think he would make a great VP, and another candidate would be wise to persuade him to join their ranks.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Romney/McCain Win, Huck in Trouble, Hunter Drops Out, Thompson Next?

Wow, what a day. First, Romney cleans up in Nevada, with more than 51% of the vote, then McCain essentially knocks out Huckabee out of the race with a win in South Carolina. It still remains to be seen whether or not Fred Thompson will call it quits, as Duncan Hunter did earlier, but today's results show just how important Florida is going to be on January 29th. Both McCain and Romney have momentum heading into the Sunshine State, but it remains to be seen just how much that will help as Giuliani has done nothing but campaign there for the past few weeks.

Right now, the delegate count among the top five candidates stands as follows:

Romney: 72
McCain: 38
Huckabee: 29
Thompson: 8
Giuliani: 2

As I've mentioned before, a win in Florida means a grand total of 57 delegates and a huge amount of momentum heading into Super Tuesday on February 5th.

Big Primary Day

Voting has begun in both Nevada, where Mitt Romney is the front runner, and South Carolina, where John McCain and Mike Huckabee are battling it out.

Polls in Nevada have been quite erratic as Mitt Romney has gone from 15 points in one, to 28 points in another, to 34 point in yet another, all over the span of one week. John McCain seems to be solidly in second, while Huckabee, Giuliani, and Thompson could all potentially snatch 3rd.

The three most recent polls for SC on RealClearPolitics shows McCain and Huckabee tied, McCain up by one, and Huckabee up by seven.

Another battle is for third place between Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson. Most polls show Romney beating the former senator, but not by a very wide margin.

And of course, as has been the case as of late, Rudy Giuliani and Ron Paul are "dueling" for 5th and 6th place. Rudy has put all of his eggs in one very crucial basket in Florida, and it remains to be seen if his incredibly risky strategy of ignoring all of the early primaries will pay off.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Campaign Update

- Fred Thompson and Mike Huckabee are at war with each other after Thursday's debate.

- Meanwhile, Thompson has been endorsed by Human Events magazine, one of the most conservative publications in America. On November 13, 2007, Thompson was endorsed by the National Right to Life Committee. That's two major conservative endorsements so far, plus a non-official endorsement from Rush Limbaugh last week. My question is when are conservatives going to give up their Mike Huckabee obsession and realize that Thompson is the candidate that they should be backing?

- John McCain is leading in all Michigan polls but one after his primary win in New Hampshire last week. Romney is right on his heels in most polls while Huckabee sits comfortably in third.

- As Thompson and Huckabee quarrel, McCain and Romney are also taking jabs at one another in Michigan on issues such as the rejuvenation of Michigan's economy. McCain's blasting Romney for being too optimistic, while Romney is blasting McCain for being too pessimistic. The sad thing is that I fear that neither candidate, especially the loser, will much care after January 15th.

- While the media has already written him off for the nomination, Rudy Giuliani is allocating nearly every resource at his disposal to ensure a victory in Florida. Remember, a win in Florida is worth 57 delegates.

- And finally, from the Ron Paul camp comes this story via NPR: "In the 80s and 90s, Paul was involved with newsletters (Ron Paul's Freedom Report, Ron Paul Political Report, The Ron Paul Survival Report) that regularly made racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic remarks. They were first reported by the Houston Chronicle in 1996, and have been circulating around the Internet ever since."

Do us all a favor Ron, drop out already. You're finished.

I Just Have To Say...

...that I have been absolutely horrible at making predictions lately. First the Iowa Caucus and the New Hampshire primary, now the Seahawks/Green Bay game. What a drubbing the Seahawks just took. Kudos to Brett Favre, though, a class act and a legend.

Seahawks > Green Bay

The Venue:

The Teams:


The Victor:
The Seattle Seahawks will take care of business, 24-21, and come back to Seattle to play the Giants when they beat the Cowboys.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Americans for Tax Reform Join In Praise For Giuliani's Tax-Cut Plan

From the press release:


Plan would cut the capital gains tax, slash the corporate income tax,
and create a simplified alternate tax system for families and small businesses

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani today released a pro-growth tax cut package. This multi-trillion dollar tax cut would easily exceed the level of the Reagan or Bush tax cuts. This package is the most pro-growth tax cut of any GOP presidential candidate.

(and later in the press release)

"This tax cut—the largest in history—would represent a monumental leap forward for the American taxpayer and the U.S. economy,” said ATR President Grover Norquist. "In particular, cutting the corporate income tax and the capital gains tax is just what is needed to keep us from falling into recession."

Giuliani Unveils Massive Tax-Cut Plan

After conceding last night in New Hampshire, Rudy Giuliani told his supporters that this was just the beginning of a "very long and very tough game." Well, it looks like the former mayor has decided to go on offense as he announced today what his campaign is calling "largest tax cut in the history of America." Larry Kudlow opined on the plan today on National Review, calling it a "strong across-the-board tax cut plan."

Pat Toomey, the president of The Club for Growth, seems to like the plan as well, as he applauded it in a press release, saying it was "a bold and innovative proposal that will reward hard work, encourage investment, and promote economic growth for Americans across the economic spectrum."

Here are some of the details of the plan:

"The Giuliani tax cut plan would extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts immediately; eliminate the Death Tax completely; lower the capital gains and dividends tax rate to 10% and index capital gains to inflation; lower the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25%; and permanently index the Alternative Minimum Tax to inflation with a plan for eventual elimination."

The press release concludes by saying, "This is exactly the kind of plan economic conservatives should embrace.”

'We should've sunk every one of them'

Great article from Ralph Peters in yesterday's NY Post on how the U.S. Navy should have responded to the threats from the Iranians in the Straits of Hormuz the other day. From the article:

"The Iranians kept on coming, closing to a distance of 200 meters - about two football fields. Supposedly, our Navy was ready to open fire but didn't shoot because the Iranians turned away at the moment the order was given.

We should've sunk every one of them.

Not because we're warmongers. But because the Iranians had made threats, verbal and physical, that amounted to acts of war. When will we learn that resolute action taken early saves vast amounts of blood and treasure later?"

Peters continues:

"At the tactical level, the Revolutionary Guards' naval arm was testing our responses: How soon do the American weapons radars activate? At what range do the lasers begin to track targets? How close can a small vessel get to a major American warship? How do the Americans respond to possible mines? Can we use phony mines to steer them into real ones? How long does it take an American commander to make a decision? "

Peters, of course, is absolutely right. The Iranians were testing us in a variety of ways, and we failed to show them that we are not a nation to be toyed with. The kind of aggression we saw from the Iranians needs to be dealt with in such a way that in the future, they won't dare to come anywhere near our ships. At one point during the escalation, one of the Iranians radioed to a Navy commander, "I am coming at you. You will explode in a couple of minutes." If a threat like that is not enough to warrant a swift, ferocious response of fury upon the aggressors, then I'm afraid that history may be doomed to repeat itself in the form of another USS Cole-type attack.

One of the five Iranian speedboats that circled U.S. warships Sunday

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Jim Geraghty On Giuliani...

Saw a post from Jim Geraghty on National Review a couple of minutes ago, and thought I'd post it here. Hugh Hewitt likes and refers to Geraghty as "The Indespensable," but good luck finding anything but Romney posts from Geraghty on Hugh's blog. Anyway, he's a reliable and well-informed source of political information, and has this to say about Giuliani's prospects:

Meanwhile, Down in Florida...

Ha-ha! Boy, that Rudy Giuliani, what a loser! Boy, did his strategy backfire! The man's an afterthought! Barely got fourth place, barely ahead of Ron Paul, not expected to be much of a player in Michigan, not expected to be a player in South Carolina...

...he's going to have to be desperate, and hope that in Florida he can... he can...

...he can, uh, keep his lead in Florida. Where he's up, 24 percent to 19 percent for Huckabee, 19 percent for McCain, 13 percent for Romney, 8 percent for Thompson.

Where there are 57 delegates, winner take all; 114 delegates if the RNC doesn't enforce the penalty.


Hillary Clinton Wins NH

No matter what he says in his concession speech, Barack Obama has to feel devastated. The polls had him up by as many as 13 points, and instead he lost by four points. It's anyone's guess as to how Hillary pulled this one off, but she did, and sapped a great deal of momentum from Obama in the process.

What A Strange Night...

Wow. Well who saw this coming? With 59% of the precincts reporting, Hillary Clinton has 39%-37% lead over Barack Obama, which represents a margin of about 3,400 votes. The question I keep asking myself is how all of the RealClearPolitics polls could be so wrong.

What wasn't a surprise tonight was John McCain's win over Romney. As thought, Huckabee currently has a firm grip on 3rd.

Monday, January 07, 2008

New Hampshire Primary Predictions

I'm bound to do better than 1/6 right? Fortunately, picking the winners on the Democratic side is going to be easy this time around. It's the Republican race that is tricky, with a battle for first and a battle for third.

Once again, the pundits are talking about a Romney surge in the 11th hour, but of course, the last time they said that, he ended up losing by 9 points. We'll see what happens this time.

Here are my picks:


1.) McCain w/ 31-34% of the vote
2.) Romney a semi-close second w/ 28-31% of the vote
3.) I hope Giuliani snags it, but I'm going with Huckabee
4.) Giuliani
5.) Paul


1.) Obama by a mile with 37-40% of the vote
2.) Clinton
3.) Edwards
4.) Richardson

So...I Was Way Off

As far as my Republican predictions in Iowa, I went 0-3, while I was 1-3 in my predictions for the Democrats. All in all, not great guesswork on my part.

I thought Huckabee's numerous gaffes, especially on foreign policy matters, would propel Romney into first in Iowa, but the voters were swayed more by fluffy, sappy rhetoric than the actual issues. Republican voters need to realize that Huckabee has no shot of beating either Obama or Hillary in a national election, and the sooner they do realize that, the better.

I was way, way off on the Democratic side of things. I thought Obama would nudge out Hillary instead of obliterating her like he did. He is now in the driver's seat in New Hampshire (one poll has him getting as much as 41% of the vote), and has pulled into a national tie with Clinton according to a recent USA Today/Gallup poll.

This election has now turned into one about "change," which is a phrase that has been used dozens of times over the last two days of debates in New Hampshire. I thought Rudy Giuliani brought up a great point last night during the Fox News debate, when he challenged the entire concept by saying that change isn't necessarily a good thing:

"Change is a slogan, and the examination has to be is it change for good or change for bad?" (link).

Giuliani continued this line of thinking on the campaign trail today:

"A lot of candidates are talking about change. Change is natural. Without change we regress. But change can be good or bad. One change is that the government can raise taxes. That's the kind of change Democrats are talking about." (link)

I think people are making a mistake by counting Giuliani out this early. I believe he is the best Republican candidate in the field, and while he is not the most conservative socially, I believe that could be smoothed out with voters with the selection of Fred Thompson as his VP. I know that is a very premature notion, but I believe that a Giuliani/Thompson ticket is a winner.

Back with New Hampshire primary predictions later...

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

I'm Back!

After an extended hiatus from blogging, I've decided to recommence writing about politics on The Minefield. I always get very excited when election season nears, and what better time to start writing than the day before the Iowa caucus? With that said, here are my predictions for both parties on tomorrow's vote in Iowa.

Winners: Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, both by a nose.

Runners Up: Mike Huckabee and Hillary Clinton, with Huckabee easily winning 2nd and Hillary just sneaking by John Edwards.

Third Place: John McCain (R) and John Edwards (D)

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