Put up ya dukes: It’s Pelosi versus Pelosi

In an interview with Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government site, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s daughter Alexandra uttered some revealing comments about the possible future political life of one of San Francisco’s favorite far left liberals (hat tip):

Alexandra Pelosi, daughter of House Minority Leader and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, told Big Government this week that her mother wants to leave Congress–and that she remains in Washington only at the behest of her campaign donors.

During a telephone interview, Ms. Pelosi–speaking from a friend’s home in New York City–described her mother’s predicament:

“She would retire right now, if the donors she has didn’t want her to stay so badly. They know she wants to leave, though. They think she’s destined for [greatness]. She has very few days left. She’s 71, she wants to have a life, she’s done. It’s obligation, that’s all I’m saying.”

Not so fast, says a spokesman from Pelosi’s office:

Nadeam Elshami, a spokesman for the House minority leader, said it’s simply not true

“This may be wishful thinking on the part of a right-wing blog, but it is totally untrue,” Elshami said. “When the day comes and Leader Pelosi’s work is done, she won’t be announcing it there.”

Alexandra Pelosi didn’t deny uttering the remark but declined to expand in an email to POLITICO.

You gotta love the spin coming from Pelosi’s Congressional camp. First, while it was indeed a “right-wing blog” that published the remarks, but the former House Speaker’s own DAUGHTER made the remarks, not the blog. Secondly, who said anything about Rep. Pelosi “announcing” at Breitbart’s site that she was retiring? Not even Alexandra Pelosi herself treats her comments as any type of “official announcement of retirement” or anything of the sort.

Ms. Pelosi did say in a follow-up text to Big Government that she has not talked to her mother about any of this. Presumably this came after an angry phone call from Mama P, chiding her daughter for letting slip a family secret that is not so secret to her political opposition and that is the fact that Pelosi is indeed beholden to her campaign donors – and very happily so (more here).

That being said, I’m with The Anchoress on this one:

I hate to sound presumptuous, but Madam Speaker, on behalf of many, may I say let-not-your-heart-be-troubled about relieving yourself of obligations you have more than met. Besides, if you stay much longer in congress, someone in power, somewhere — or perhaps maybe even someone in the mainstream press — may finally be inclined to launch some sort of investigation into your extremely profitable tenure in congress.

If you feel you must go, please don’t remain — burdened and unhappy — for our sakes. As Dr. Seuss said to Marvin K. Mooney, “just go, go, go, please do, do do.”

And don’t let the screen door hit you on the way out.

Amen to that.

Politico helpfully provides suggestions for how #OWS can “stay relevant”

Just when you thought you’d seen it all. Wowsers:

The Occupy Wall Street movement is at a crossroads.

Since the protesters in Zuccotti Park who made headlines around the world were ousted from their New York City encampment in November, and other demonstrators were sent packing in cities across the country, observers have been left wondering whether the movement is on its deathbed or will transform and grow in the coming year.

With that in mind, POLITICO asked cultural critics, advertising and messaging gurus, activists and others for their ideas about how Occupy can stay relevant.

They quote a number of “relevant gurus” and their suggestions, including 1) a self-proclaimed “60s activist” who is now a Columbia University professor, 2) an admirer of Ron Paul’s ad campaign strategy, and 3) the oh-so “relevant” Rev. Jesse Jackson:

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, a veteran of the civil rights movement, agrees that Occupy must seize the national issues that are poised to shape 2012.

“2012 will be another big year of choice for America’s direction. Will we embrace voter suppression? Will we revolve around poverty or launch a war on poverty? Will we continue to pay for expensive and unnecessary wars? Will we fight for minimum wage?” he asked. “At some point, the spirit and the idea of Occupy must take on concrete, legislative issues.”

And let’s not forget some of the main tools of the left wing activist: Calculated word games and emotionally-charged visual manipulation (bolded emphasis added by me):

David Sauvage, who has produced commercials about Occupy and works closely with the movement, says one of the biggest challenges is simply “communicating our message to the masses of people who don’t know what on earth we’re doing,” and that video can be key to remedying this problem.

He suggests creating educational videos and documentaries to explain who the Occupiers are and to dispel the notion that the movement is violent.

“Our inclination is to point the camera where cops are hitting protesters, but this gets overplayed. Ultimately, you lose people by showing cops hitting protesters – it’s in the human psyche to say, ‘Well, the protesters are encouraging this,’” he told POLITICO.

The messages in the videos must be fine-tuned so they are understandable and not offensive to the average person, he added.

As an example of how to use video to message effectively, Sauvage said, “‘I want economic justice,’ is a powerful message, but ‘I want money to be distributed more equally’ is not only not powerful, worse, it falls into a socialist paradigm.”

Even though the article blatantly stands as a pro-OWS endorsement of sorts by the so-called “unbiased” Politico news outfit, I’d nevertheless like to thank them for providing valuable insight into the tactics of advocates of the Occupy movement. Yes, we’ve seen these tactics play out over the last few months, but rarely do we get such candid, up-front admissions when it comes to both their political and media-messaging strategies.

The question remains: Will Democrat politicos continue to embrace Occupy? I really, really hope so.

Why I’m not worried about the Paul/Santorum “surge” in Iowa

There are any number of polls out right now which show either Romney (coasting), Ron Paul (surging), or Rick Santorum (surging) “leading” in Iowa, with Gingrich “fading.”  With the GOP’s Iowa Caucus happening next Tuesday, those poll numbers have got some conservatives panicking over the thought of any of the three “top pollers” (especially Ron Paul) being our eventual nominee.  Michael Barone, writing in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, reminds us that Iowa’s track record on picking the eventual GOP nominee isn’t very good:

But the Iowa Republican caucuses have a poor record in choosing their party’s nominees. In the five presidential nominating cycles with active Iowa Republican caucus competition, the Hawkeye State has voted for the eventual Republican nominee only twice—in 1996 for Bob Dole, in 2000 for George W. Bush—and only once was the Iowa winner elected president.

The state’s Democrats have a better record, producing a surprise victory for Jimmy Carter in 1976 and a big victory for eventual nominee Walter Mondale in 1984. They faltered in 1988 as Dick Gephardt and Paul Simon came in ahead of nominee Michael Dukakis, and in 1992, when Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin swept the field. But they gave big victories to Al Gore in 2000, John Kerry in 2004 and Barack Obama in 2008.

One reason Iowa Democrats have been better prognosticators than Iowa Republicans is that more people participate in their caucuses. About twice as many people showed up for the Democratic precinct caucuses as for their Republican counterparts in 2008. In a state of three million people, a bare 119,000 Republicans showed up for the caucuses. Some 60% of them identified as evangelical or born-again Christians—a far higher percentage than in any presidential contest in any large non-Southern state that year.

The small, skewed turnout resulted in a victory for Mike Huckabee, who ran ads identifying himself as a “Christian leader.” In later contests in other states, Mr. Huckabee, despite sparkling performances in debate and impressive command of popular culture, failed to win more than 15% of the support of those who did not identify themselves as evangelical or born-again Christians, and he lost to John McCain.

Other early voting states have a better record than Iowa of picking Republican winners. New Hampshire primary voters gave victories to eventual nominees Richard Nixon in 1972, Gerald Ford in 1976, Ronald Reagan in 1980 and George H. W. Bush in 1988. South Carolina, whose early contest was concocted by Bush operative Lee Atwater in 1988, has done even better, backing the senior Bush in 1988 and 1992 primaries, Bob Dole in 1996, George W. Bush in 2000 and John McCain in 2008. In both states the primary electorate is a much larger and more representative sample of the Republican voting population than in Iowa.

As it stands now, Romney leads in the polls in New Hampshire by an average of almost 20%. It’s really not even close there for any other GOP candidate. Meanwhile, in South Carolina, at this stage in the game Newt Gingrich is in the lead in the polls by an average of 16%. So if Barone’s scenario plays out, one of those two states may turn out to be bellwethers for us in the coming months and either Romney or Gingrich will be our eventual nominee.

BTW, it’s not exactly surprising but worth noting anyway that the make-up of Ron Paul’s supporters are not exactly your average run of the mill Republican. In fact, many aren’t Republicans at all:

Given Paul’s views on the Fed, the gold standard and social issues, not to mention his isolationist foreign policy, the polls have left some politicos wondering whether Republican voters have somehow swerved off the rails. But there’s another question that should be asked first: Who are Ron Paul’s supporters? Are they, in fact, Republicans?

In an analysis accompanying his most recent survey in Iowa, pollster Scott Rasmussen noted, “Romney leads, with Gingrich in second, among those who consider themselves Republicans. Paul has a wide lead among non-Republicans who are likely to participate in the caucus.”

The same is true in New Hampshire. A poll released Monday by the Boston Globe and the University of New Hampshire shows Paul leading among Democrats and independents who plan to vote in the January 10 primary. But among Republicans, Paul is a distant third — 33 points behind leader Mitt Romney.

In South Carolina, “Paul’s support is higher among those who usually don’t vote in GOP primary elections,” notes David Woodard, who runs the Palmetto Poll at Clemson University.

In a hotly-contested Republican race, it appears that only about half of Paul’s supporters are Republicans. In Iowa, according to Rasmussen, just 51 percent of Paul supporters consider themselves Republicans. In New Hampshire, the number is 56 percent, according to Andrew Smith, head of the University of New Hampshire poll.

The same New Hampshire survey found that 87 percent of the people who support Romney consider themselves Republicans. For Newt Gingrich, it’s 85 percent.

So who is supporting Paul? In New Hampshire, Paul is the choice of just 13 percent of Republicans, according to the new poll, while he is the favorite of 36 percent of independents and 26 percent of Democrats who intend to vote in the primary. Paul leads in both non-Republican categories.

“Paul is doing the best job of getting those people who aren’t really Republicans but say they’re going to vote in the Republican primary,” explains Smith. Among that group are libertarians, dissatisfied independents and Democrats who are “trying to throw a monkey wrench in the campaign by voting for someone who is more philosophically extreme,” says Smith.

And with the way you can switch parties in the Iowa caucus virtually on a dime, the “first in the nation” state may very well be a primetime target next week for exactly the type of “mischief” voters described by the Washington Examiner’s Byron York above. As CNN notes (bolded emphasis added by me):

While Iowa Democrats famously caucus by literally standing up for their chosen candidate, the Hawkeye State’s GOP holds secret ballot votes.

Here’s how the unique process will work: On caucus night, would-be voters will gather in 809 locations across the state — school gyms, churches and auditoriums of all shapes. To participate, each person must be a registered Republican who will turn 18 by the general election on November 6.

But, in a closely watched twist, voters can switch party affiliation at the caucus and register as Republicans that night.

“From a process standpoint, it’s a nightmare,” said Dallas County Republican chairman Mike Elam, “but I think it’s a good thing. People can decide they want to be involved up to the very last minute.”

Republicans this year hope that ability leads to a surge of registrations from disgruntled Democrats and independents. But the practice also allows potential cross-party sabotage, where members of one party can participate in a rival caucus in order to vote for the candidate they see as the weakest potential opponent.

In other words, if you wake up next Wednesday morning to see/read the media hype about Ron Paul’s win (if indeed it happens), don’t be surprised. And don’t panic.

With that said, and with months of campaigning and politicking and researching in the background, where do you stand on the candidates at this point?

Iowa Caucus 411: