The Big 10: After Years in Exile the GOP Heads Toward a Landslide


The Big 10 Conference states are heading toward a GOP landslide.

The political outlook in the industrial Midwest could change significantly before November, but as of today, the Republican Party is on the verge of a major comeback. The present survey research data is better than 1994 when the GOP reclaimed both the House and Senate. The polling numbers have not been this good for Republicans in the battleground Big 10 states since 1966.
In 2008, Barack Obama carried the entire Big 10. These states represent 117 of the 270 electoral votes necessary to elect a President. Now the outlook has been reversed dramatically. According to a memo released today by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling:

If the election was today Democrats would likely lose something they currently hold in every state where they have something to lose- Pennsylvania Governor and perhaps Senate, Michigan Governor, Ohio Governor, Indiana Senate, Iowa Governor, Wisconsin Governor and perhaps Senate, and Illinois Senate and/or Governor. Only Minnesota doesn’t join the party because Democrats have nothing to lose there.

Polling in every Big 10 state indicates a landslide is in formation.

    • OHIO GOVERNOR: Former Rep. John Kasich (R) leads Gov. Ted Strickland (D) by a 42-37 margin. Just 33% of voters approve of Strickland, with 47% disapproving. His own party is not enthusiastic about the Governor and he has poor numbers with independents at 28/54.
    • OHIO SENATE: In a Public Policy Polling survey out today, former Rep. Rob Portman (R) is leading Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher (D) by a 41% to 36% margin. Only 40% approve of President Obama while 53% disapprove.
    • PENNSYLVANIA SENATE: A new Franklin & Marshall College Poll shows former Rep. Pat Toomey (R) with a 33% to 29% lead over Sen. Arlen Specter (D).
    • PENNSYLVANIA GOVERNOR: Attorney General Tom Corbett (R) has an 18 point lead over his closest Democratic opponent. The frontrunning Democrat is Allegheny County executive Dan Onorato who trails by a 46% to 28% margin.
    • WISCONSIN SENATE: A survey of 700 voters, conducted March 20-21 by Public Policy Polling, shows Sen. Russ Feingold (D) narrowly ahead of former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) by a 47-44 percent margin. In November, Feingold held a 47 percent to 41 percent edge. Thompson was Governor from 1987 to 2001.
    • WISCONSIN GOVERNOR: A poll conducted last weekend of 700 likely voters by Public Policy Polling showed Mark Neumann (R) with 43% and Tom Barrett (D) with 38%. Republican Scott Walker topped Barrett 42%-39%. Neumann is a former congressman, Walker is the Milwaukee County executive and Barrett is the Milwaukee mayor and a former congressman. Neumann came close to defeating Sen. Feingold in 1998, and among Independents he is leading this year by 43%-26%. Gov. Jim Doyle (D) has a 29%-58% approval/disapproval rating.
    • INDIANA SENATE: This seat should have been an easy Democratic retention until Sen. Evan Bayh (D) bolted just days before the filing deadline. A new Rasmussen Reports survey released Tuesday shows Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D) trailing all of the top three Republican candidates. According to the survey, former Sen. Dan Coats (R) leads Ellsworth 49% to 34%. One of the major issues hurting Ellsworth is his decision to support the health care reform package.
    • ILLINOIS GOVERNOR: A Rasmussen poll released 10 days ago found Sen. Bill Brady (R) leading Gov. Pat Quinn (D) 47 percent to 37 percent, with 6 percent preferring another candidate and 9 percent undecided.
    • ILLINOIS SENATE: This is Barack Obama’s old seat. Perhaps the only person that could win the seat for the GOP, Rep. Mark Kirk, is now the Republican nominee. This should have been a safe seat for the Democrats but now it is in tossup status. The Democatic nominee, State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, already has high negatives.
    • IOWA GOVERNOR: Terry Branstad (R), who was Iowa’s governor from 1983 to 1999, continues to hold a double-digit lead over Gov. Chet Culver (D) in the campaign to win back his old job, according to a Rasmussen Reports poll conducted March 17. Branstad runs ahead of Culver by 52 percent to 36 percent, with 6 percent preferring another choice and 6 percent undecided. Branstad also had a 16 point lead in mid February.
    • MICHIGAN GOVERNOR: Term-limited incumbent Jennifer Granholm (D) is retiring. The bad news for Democrats is that all three candidates in the GOP primary have commanding leads of at least 15% in the general election.
    • MINNESOTA GOVERNOR: The Rasmussen poll of March 12th shows GOP State Reps. Marty Seifert and Tom Emmer both holding their own against the better-known Democratic front-runners: former U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher. The race is essentially even and the poll found a huge number of voters haven’t decided on a favorite.
    • To win the presidency in 2012 the GOP will need to receive at least 30 of the 117 electoral votes in the Big 10. In 2000, George W. Bush was narrowly able to achieve that goal by winning Indiana (12) and Ohio (21). At that time there were GOP Governors in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Pennsylvania and California, but Bush lost all of those states.
  • The pattern was repeated in 2004 and Bush was then able to add Iowa (7) to his total. Once again, McCain won none of the Big 10 states in 2008. The 2012 GOP presidential nominee will probably look to the Big 10 for a running mate, and top contenders might be Ohio’s Rob Portman or Pennsylvania’s Tom Corbett.

Answering The Conspiracy Theories: Republicans Should Not Tolerate Extremists


The first episode of “Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura” focused on the 9/11 attack. Ventura is a former professional wrestler who served as Governor of Minnesota.

The U.S. political outlook has shifted significantly in the past year, and many prominent experts are now predicting large GOP gains in the November elections. The enthusiasm of the GOP base has never been higher, and independent voters are breaking decisively in favor of the Republican Party. GOP candidates have plenty of key issues to demonstrate sharp differences with the majority Democrats.
Republicans have a vibrant agenda for the 2010 campaign, and people who are manufacturing false issues are doing the GOP a disservice. We will not win over independent voters unless all of our proposals and observations are completely accurate.
The shock of the special election victory in Massachusetts on Tuesday is still reverberating. Only 11% of Bay State voters are Republicans, but the GOP was still able to claim an open U.S. Senate seat because of strong support from independents. Republicans must continue to reach out to independents, and one way to accomplish this is by providing reliable sources of information and demonstrating that we are a responsible party which does not tolerate extremism.
We should immediately shoot down conspiracy theories when they are advocated by people who claim to speak for the Republican Party. Aside from Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), I do not know of any elected Republican who promotes conspiracy theories. Many of these topics are found on the isolationist WorldNetDaily website, some right-wing blogs and on talk radio programs such as the Alex Jones show.
They are promoted by radical libertarians and members of the Constitution Party who also claim to be Republicans. I have answered many of these people numerous times, and I will now repeat my earlier observations.
* The federal government is not building concentration camps for U.S. political dissidents.
* President Obama did not attend a radical madrassa school in Indonesia.
* The President is a liberal Democrat but he is not a Communist or a Marxist. The President does not advocate the abolition of private property or the erosion of property rights.
* The Fort Hood shooter, Nidal Hasan, did not advise the Obama transition team.
* There is no such thing as an Amero currency to replace the U.S. dollar, and the North American Union does not exist.
* President Obama was born in the United States. Any claim that he was born at a hospital in Mombasa, Kenya is fraudulent. The well respected website states that it has “seen, touched, examined and photographed his original birth certificate. We conclude that it meets all of the requirements from the State Department for proving U.S. citizenship.”
* The numerous claims of the John Birch Society regarding secret plans to establish a one world government are false. The Council on Foreign Relations and the Bilderberg Group are not doing anything to steal America’s sovereignty. These organizations do not take a position on any issue and they do not engage in lobbying.
* The investigation of the 9/11 terrorist attack was well done and bipartisan. It represented our government at its best. I trust the 9/11 Commission, and I reject the conspiracy theories advocated by Charlie Sheen, Willie Nelson and talk radio host Alex Jones. It continues to amaze me that Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) is the most frequent guest on the Jones program.
If the Congressman was a responsible person he would be denouncing Jones. The radio host believes the 9/11 attack was caused by the U.S. government launching missiles at its own buildings (including the Pentagon), and it is responsible for killing over 2000 of our citizens. Jones is the leader of the so-called “9/11 Truth” movement and has produced several 9-11 conspiracy movies.
Jones’ other favorite conspiracy theories involve the JFK assassination and water fluoridation. Jones runs a website called, and has been a major supporter of the radical libertarian movement. He is on the air for four hours every day and his other guests have included Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Noam Chomsky, Andrew Napolitano and Lou Dobbs. Jones says the 9/11 atrocity was “perpetrated by the global elites in their drive to enslave the world’s population.”
* The TV program “Conspiracy Theory” is hosted by former Gov. Jesse Ventura (MN), who was a professional wrestler. He was elected as an Independent and believes Building 7 at the World Trade Center was destroyed on purpose and the government may have had a role.The 9/11 Commission addressed this topic: “The building stood after the collapse but there was considerable damage. A fifth-floor fire burned for up to 7 hours. There was no firefighting in WTC 7.
“Investigators believe the fire was fed by tanks of diesel fuel that many tenants used to run emergency generators. Most tanks throughout the building were fairly small, but a generator on the fifth floor was connected to a large tank in the basement via a pressurized line. This pressurized line was supplying fuel to the fire for a long period of time.
“WTC 7 might have withstood the physical damage it received, or the fire that burned for hours, but those combined factors — along with the building’s unusual construction — were enough to set off the chain-reaction collapse.”
Additional information is available at “Debunking the 9/11 Myths:”
Finally, this has nothing to do with conspiracy theories, but there are well respected Republicans on both sides of the gay marriage debate. Many advocate civil unions as an alternative. This is a legitimate public policy question, but it is wrong to discriminate against gay people. We recently denounced the American Conservative Union (ACU) for allowing the John Birch Society to co-sponsor the 2010 Conservative Political Action Conference.

The GOP Website Red State: Is It Too Partisan?

As an active Republican I often visit the most prominent GOP website, Red State, I am an enthusiastic reader of GOP success stories, but I am often disappointed in the outlook of its hyper-partisan editor, Erick Erickson. Erickson appeared on five national television programs in the past two weeks.
His main message is to condemn the Republican leadership in the House and Senate, as well as any GOP lawmaker who will compromise in an effort to pass legislation. He wants campaign issues, not public policy.
A legislator who compromises is instantly labeled a RINO – a Republican in Name Only. There are times when party unity is essential, and the recent health care debate was one of them. All Republicans were united in their opposition. Also, this often happens on national security issues where Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) is usually the only GOP lawmaker to vote with the Democrats. I do not want to see Republicans cave in to Democratic demands, but I do not want to ignore our nations problems.
There was no spirit of cooperation in the health care debate and now our nation will be stuck with a very bad bill. Democrats made a mistake because the GOP alternative was constructive and would have been effective. My concern is that the Red State strategy will stop lawmakers from negotiating in the future.
John F. Kennedy was referring to the Soviet Union, but his words were wise, “Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.” I want the GOP to win by attracting independent voters and adhering to Ronald Reagan’s inclusive “Big Tent” philosophy. I am not in favor of any Republican purity test. The party needs to be focusing on addition to our ranks while Red State is often about subtraction from the GOP base.
The lead article in today’s Red State is “Bob Bennett: An Old Dog With an Old Schtick” by Erickson. The author claims Senator Bob Bennett (R-UT) is “the 8th most liberal Republican in the Senate from the most conservative state in the nation. He can and must be beaten. . . if the GOP is ever going to reclaim any credibility with the public they must stand for something other than creeping socialism. Bob Bennett must be defeated.”
Bennett has been in the Senate since 1992 and is best known as an advocate of the flat tax, free trade, and the Patriot Act. He has always been a strong opponent of public health care and has blamed government policies for the high cost of insurance. His cumulative lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union is 84%. His senior colleague, Orrin Hatch, has an 89% lifetime rating.
Erickson, 34, is annoyed because Senator Bennett does not agree with him that “The first duty of the opposition is to oppose.” Bennett believes “We have to be constructive,” and my recent article on the Marshall Plan emphasizes the benefits of working together in a bipartisan manner.
Unfortunately, many lawmakers in both parties no longer share that outlook. The current House and Senate is the most polarized since the Civil War, and far too many lawmakers define success by the failure of the other side. The goal is often obtaining a headline which will be embarrassing to the other side, rather than passing useful legislation.
I sincerely hope the Republican Party will make significant gains this November, but it is more important for our nation to succeed. I am opposed to practically all aspects of President Obama’s domestic agenda, but he is our Commander-in-Chief and he should be treated with respect. I am glad House Republicans are rejecting the Red State formula, and 95% of them are supporting the President’s 35,000 troop surge in Afghanistan.
Once again, I am opposed to Obamacare, but there are many essential health care reforms which have broad bipartisan support. They are being ignored in the current political climate. The cap-and-trade bill is awful, but our energy security needs should not be ignored. There will be no progress this year but I hope next year both parties will work together to advance nuclear power and off shore drilling.
There has been strong partisanship on Capitol Hill since the time of our founding fathers. This is evident in the writings of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. The certainly hated each other in the early 1800s, but they had come together to form the union and were later able to resolve their differences. That rarely happens today.
Former Senator David Pryor (D-AR) held statewide office for 22 years before his 1996 retirement. In a recent interview he discussed the changes he witnessed on Capitol Hill, “It is the lack of civility that worries me. Thirty years ago we never would have thought of going into a state and campaigning against one of our colleagues. We would not do that because we worked in a bipartisan manner. It would be difficult to join someone in the Senate Dining Room after you had just campaigned against them. We were not so partisan back then.”
Pryor also noted the disappearance of “plain old good manners.” Senator Al Franken (D-MN) is typical of the atmosphere today. He recently refused to allow Senator Joseph Lieberman (CT) “a moment” to conclude his remarks. I often see this on C-SPAN where lawmakers will not allow their colleagues to finish sentences. Part of the problem is the news media which encourages lawmakers to cram high voltage criticism into a 30 second sound byte. MSNBC has made attack dogs such as freshman Rep. Allan Grayson (D-FL) into national heroes for their partisan audience.
Every committee on Capitol Hill is divided along party lines. It is now rare for state Congressional Delegations to meet. Few lawmakers sit, plan, and work together for the benefit of their state or the nation. They instead work with their political friends.
The big procedural question for the GOP in January of 2011 will be selecting a proper legislative course. They will have to decide if they want to promote legislation which advances partisan goals or solves problems. My hope is that our lawmakers will focus on solving problems.