Perhaps the most telling stat from this CNN Ticker piece is that Palin has only visited Iowa three times since November 2009. Either she’s not going to run or she’s running a Rudy-style campaign, and we all know how that turned out.

Any dictator worth his salt holds a rank or a title befitting his position. Hitler was der Fuehrer, Stalin a Premier and Castro the leader of the people’s revolution. Despots invariably come packaged with lofty monikers, either by personal choice or popular declaration. So what happened to Col. Muammar Gaddafi?

Gaddafi is no doubt the perfect thug. But he falls short when it comes to image. Gaddafi has ruled in Tripoli since shortly after Thomas Jefferson’s forces persuaded the Barbary pirates to give up the ship. Yet the highest rank he has attained is that of colonel? Read more

This is an interesting read from Jonah Goldberg at National Review. I understand why unions exist in some industries, especially considering the lack of decent labor laws early in the industrial revolution. Have you ever been to a coal mine or an iron foundry? The types of work in these places make  you pause and think why the need for a union may  have been or may still be necessary if not managed properly. However, in the public sector, I agree with Goldberg, I don’t see a justifiable purpose.

The argument for public unionization wasn’t moral, economic, or intellectual. It was rankly political.

Traditional organized labor, the backbone of the Democratic party, was beginning to lose ground. As Daniel DiSalvo wrote in “The Trouble with Public Sector Unions,” in the fall issue of National Affairs, JFK saw how in states such as New York and Wisconsin, where public unions were already in place, local liberal pols benefited politically and financially. He took the idea national.

The plan worked perfectly — too perfectly. Public-union membership skyrocketed, and government-union support for the party of government skyrocketed with it. From 1989 to 2004, AFSCME — the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees — gave nearly $40 million to candidates in federal elections, with 98.5 percent going to Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Why would local government unions give so much in federal elections? Because government workers have an inherent interest in boosting the amount of federal tax dollars their local governments get. Put simply, people in the government business support the party of government. Which is why, as the Manhattan Institute’s Steven Malanga has been chronicling for years, public unions are the country’s foremost advocates for increased taxes at all levels of government.

Read the rest here.

Interesting effort from the folks encouraging Huntsman to enter the GOP 2012 horse race.

Interesting piece on the Mitt Romney-Mike Huckabee feud flaring up again.

Does Mike Huckabee really hate Mitt Romney so much he’d run for president just for the chance to throw haymakers at his old rival?

As a new poll shows the two Republicans running neck and neck against President Obama in the 2012 presidential race, the rivalry between Romney and Huckabee that began during the 2008 campaign resurfaced Monday when Politico published a story titled “Huckabee throws a Mitt fit.”

sir robin

Some of the finer points of political theater defy even the most creative fictionalists. Those of you anxiously engaged in important things like working for a living may have been missed the unfolding drama between the newly elected governor of Wisconsin and the public sector union thugs. The argument is an old one – the union thugs want to continue to be able to demand more money/benefits for less work and the governor is standing against them for the simple reason that the state has no more money to give them.

I don’t use the term “union thug” lightly. In a past life I was forced to join a union in order to make a living. This union took a sizeable chunk of cash from each of my paychecks in order to represent me. What they actually did was take my money and funnel it to the Democrat party despite my objections. If you are a member of a union, you are subsidizing Team Obama and his “Organizing for America” minions – whether you want to or not.

But I digress.
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Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) just announced he will not run for president in 2012. He seems like a nice guy so I’ll avoid the urge to write something snarky about the disappointed masses.

Interesting piece by E.J. Dionne. While tossing out a few backhanded compliments at the Tea Party, Dionne manages to argue against cutting spending. Consider this further evidence that the Washington Post does not believe in drug testing.

Thanks to the tea party, we are now told that all our problems will be solved by cutting government programs. Thus the House Republicans foresee nirvana if we simply reduce our spending on Head Start, Pell grants for college access, teen pregnancy prevention, clean water programs, K-12 education and a host of other areas.

Does anyone really think that cutting such programs will create jobs or help Americans get ahead? But give the tea party guys credit: They have seized the political and media agenda and made budget cutting as fashionable as Justin Bieber was five minutes ago.

The U.S. vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution that would have condemned Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as “illegal” and ordered all construction operations there to stop.
While the U. S. did veto the U.N. Security Council resolution that condemned Israel for settlements in the West Bank, as illegal, Ambassador Susan Rice also said: “We reject in the strongest terms the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity,” essentially still condemning Israel, without “condemning Israel.”

According to a CNN poll in 2006, 87% of Jewish people in the United States voted Democratic, and in 2008 the American Jewish Committee’s Survey of American Jewish opinion found that 58 percent of Jews say they are Democrats, only 15 percent Republican.

So does recent handling of the Middle-East crisis, and the weak support at this time affect the President’s numbers in this voting block?

The President of Egypt has been ousted, Bahrain is in turmoil, Libya is planning a ‘Day of Rage’, the war against the drug cartels at the US Border, and in Mexico is heating up with the killing of an ICE agent, the President’s Budget has been rejected by Congress, and the UN Security Council plans to vote on a resolution to condemn Israeli settlements, and has rejected a proposal for compromise from the United States. President Obama is having a difficult February. Even States issues are now falling in the purview of the the President’s watchful eye. Wisconsin’s Governor, Scott Walker, is the lucky recipient of this attention. According to Ben Smith, at Politico,

The Democratic National Committee’s Organizing for America arm — the remnant of the 2008 Obama campaign — is playing an active role in organizing protests against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s attempt to strip most public employees of collective bargaining rights.

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All but ten of the States in the Union are in debt.

Idahoans have recently received the news that the projected deficit of $35 million will be much greater, at $185 million. Now, to States like Illinois, with a $15 billion dollar deficit, and California with a whopping $28 billion dollar deficit, Idaho is doing well.
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With Senator Jim Webb’s revelation that he will not seek reelection in 2012, Democrats are scrambling to find a worthy opponent to match the likely GOP nominee, former senator and governor George Allen. President Obama spoke with DNC Chairman Timothy Kaine and apparently urged him to step in it the race. Kaine will be stopping in the commonwealth on Saturday for the Virginia Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner. So, the Virginia GOP have put together a welcome back message for their former governor.

Give us your top 5 and then as many “others receiving votes” as you like. We’re hoping to reveal the new rankings on FoxNews soon.

With Mitt Romney and potentially Jon Huntsman looking to get into the race for the 2012 Republican nomination, questions will undoubtedly once again rise in regards to their religious affiliation.

Despite sharing a major number of conservative values, Christians and Mormons seem to be at odds with each other, much like Christians and Catholics did in the early part of the 20th Century. Only three nominees and one President have been Catholic. Catholics comprise roughly 25% of this nations population, yet only 2.4% of our Presidents, John F. Kennedy being the only one, have been President.

Only about 2% of the U.S. population reported as being of Mormon faith and none have been elected President.
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Well, numbers fans, today was the day the Government Printing Office stocked up on toner and put the lasers into overdrive as The One put forth his much awaited 2012 Budget. It’s a light read – coming in at just over 2,400 pages (to include the required appendices). Sometimes I think budget writers go to the Walt Whitman Writing School and come out somehow believing they get paid by the word.

Like most Americans, all I want to know about The One’s budget is just how much it’s going to cost me and the other five remaining taxpaying Americans to fund all the hope and change in 2012. The answer to that trillion dollar question is $3.73 trillion. Yes, my fellow taxpayer. The Federal Government simply must spend $3.73 trillion in 2012. Any less would constitute cuts of a Gingrichian Draconian scale.

But, never fear, Citizen! The One has declared that over the next decade, his budgetary guidelines (which subsequent administrations are under no obligation to uphold) will cut $1.6 trillion off the total.
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A recap of this weekend’s CPAC conference from former PD contributor Alaina

For those of you who have never been to CPAC, it is 3.5 days of Heaven for political junkies. From the time I walked into the Marriott Wardman Park on Wednesday afternoon to the time I left for the airport Sunday morning, I did not take a single step outside of the hotel. There are a continuous array of events happening at all times from cocktail receptions to banquets, speeches, panels, leadership seminars, book signings and much more. For entertainment, I’m excited to say that we got to hear Ray Stevens play and I strongly encourage you to go to iTunes right now, well, after you finish reading this post anyway, and download his We the People album… it’s hysterical as all of his albums are. Plus, you’ll never know who you might run in to… I forgot my name when I met Ann Coulter last year.
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What does it really mean?

None of my contacts in politics believe he has any shot, none, nada, zip, of ever winning the nomination. In 2008 I actually knew a few willing to give him a prayer, but not in 2012. So what does it mean that 30% of 11,000 CPAC attendees named him as their first choice?

A CPAC update from former PD contributor, Alaina:

A message to Ron Paul supporters who want to be taken seriously.

I know this post is going to bring a lot of Ron Paul supporters out of the woodwork. We can all thank Google Alerts for that. In any case, I’m not writing this post to debate Ron Paul’s platform or even his viability as a candidate. I am writing this because the behavior of Ron Paul supporters at CPAC this year was absolutely appalling and severely damaged his credibility.

Campaign for Liberty and other Pro-Ron Paul organizations do an absolutely amazing job of energizing his followers. I give you all lots of props and respect for your interest and passion regarding the direction of this country. That said, allowing your members to yell things like “war criminal” and “draft dodger” at Dick Cheney while he is trying to honor someone for winning an award, booing Donald Rumsfeld while accepting the Defender of the Constitution Award and yelling “you suck” at Orrin Hatch makes your entire organization look like a bunch loud mouthed hooligans and makes Ron Paul look like a Presidential Candidate with fringe followers.

In my opinion, one of the major differences between liberals and the rest of us is that we can debate with civility, but your group proved this weekend that you are no better than them. If we wanted to hear those kind of things, we’d attend a DNC convention.

Those who aren’t avid supporters for Ron Paul don’t want him or Rand to attend CPAC in the future. Not because of them, but because of the behavior of the crowd that follows. No matter how great you think Ron Paul’s message is, you will never be taken seriously because your lack of respect for the opinions of others and their service for this country. If you want to convince the rest of the world to listen to him, come with facts, don’t shout down people who have a different opinion and control the obnoxious members of your group.

Again, I admire your passion and many campaigns should take note of your organizational skills. I’ll also make a prediction and congratulate you on Ron Paul winning the straw poll in advance. However, if you ever want Ron Paul to be viewed as mainstream rather than lunatic fringe, treating others with a little respect will go a long way at places like CPAC.

During the 2008 election, one of my favorite types of posts was to highlight some of the more interesting fund raising stunts the various candidates would roll out.

Some of the greatest hits include “Win a Date with Barack Obama,” “You could star in the next Hillary video,” and my personal favorite, “Win John Edward’s mom’s pecan pie recipe.”

That’s about the only thing worth liking about Edwards, and its more about his mom than him.
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As my friends and colleagues know, I am somewhat peripherally interested in the world oil market, since it had just a little bit to do with our economy, domestic politics, and international relations. OK, maybe “peripherally interested” isn’t quite accurate. Maybe “psychotically obsessed” is a little closer to the truth, given the seemingly never-ending series of articles and analyses I’ve sent their way over the years.

Still, nothing determines the state of our day-to-day financial lives and personal economic outlook/sentiment as does the status of the fuel/energy market. Each day, as you drive by the corner gasoline station or receive your heating oil bill in the mail, you see prices rise–often for what seems no reason at all—and it dampens your mood and imparts a feeling of financial despair and helplessness.
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