Republicans Slow to Endorse This Year

I’m sure you’re as baffled as I am as to why GOP Congressmen aren’t exactly chomping at the bit to endorse the likes of Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, Michelle Bachmann or Rick Santorum (sarcasm intended). But here’s an interesting article from The Washington Post about how things are unfolding a little more slowly on that front for 2012:

Across the country, most Republicans haven’t committed fully to any of the party’s presidential candidates. In the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll, 69 percent on the GOP side said there was still a chance they could change their minds about their choice.

In Washington, an elite focus group of 289 Republicans was even more indecisive.

That group consists of the GOP members of the House and Senate, of whom just 60 — or 21 percent — have publicly endorsed a presidential candidate, according to a list maintained by the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call.

The lawns of Iowa and New Hampshire are still covered mostly with leaves, not snow, so lawmakers have some time left to choose a side. But the endorsement pace has been much slower than it was during the last election cycle.

Across the country, most Republicans haven’t committed fully to any of the party’s presidential candidates. In the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll, 69 percent on the GOP side said there was still a chance they could change their minds about their choice.

In Washington, an elite focus group of 289 Republicans was even more indecisive.

As of Nov. 9, 2007, 107 Hill Republicans — 43 percent of the total then serving — had offered their endorsements to a White House contender, according to a Roll Call tally at the time.

The current list includes 36 endorsements for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, 14 for Texas Gov. Rick Perry, six for ex-House speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.), three for Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) and one for businessman Herman Cain. That total does not include Paul himself, although his preference appears clear. The same is true for Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.).

Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman Jr. and ex-senator Rick Santorum (Pa.) have yet to receive any Capitol Hill endorsements.

Four years ago, Romney led the way with a similar number, 33, followed by Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) with 29, ex-New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani with 24 and former senator Fred D. Thompson (Tenn.) with 21.

Poll: GOP Faithful ‘Still Waiting’

The news that Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels would not run for president further muddied a GOP race that has been described by some as "mired in mediocrity." Minus a Daniels entry, we asked a poll question regarding your favorite for the GOP nomination.

We offered five individual choices, but the overwhelming winner was "none of the above/still waiting" with 58% of the vote. Three of our individual options are already in the race, one (Jon Huntsman) is ready to make it official and one (Sarah Palin) remains a mystery. We posed the question before Texas Gov. Rick Perry became the object of speculation. A follow-up in a few months could reveal dramatically different sentiments.

The results of your votes:

  • None/still waiting: 58%
  • Mitt Romney: 13%
  • Sarah Palin: 10%
  • Tim Pawlenty: 10%
  • Jon Huntsman: 6%
  • Newt Gingrich (before his mass staff exodus): 2%

We move away from policy and politics with our current question: Do you consider Indiana a leading location for starting or growing a business? Provide your input at the top right corner of this page.

Businesses & Politicos, Keep Those Statements Grounded

Anyone following politics knows former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich had a bumpy go of it last week. In response, his press secretary gave a rather "epic" statement to the Huffington Post. To be frank, it was a tad dramatic and a little… I don’t know… Spartanesque? While the commentary is remarkable in itself, it became downright poetic when read by actor John Lithgow on Comedy Central’s "The Colbert Report." (Hat tip to Ragan’s PR Daily.)

Leading the Way for the GOP is ???

Agree or disagree with his policies, it’s clear that the primary occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is the leader of the Democrat party. But what about the Republicans? There is no face of the GOP — at least in the eyes of the American people.

Sounds like a problem for the GOPers. Or is it? Maybe a new torchbearer will emerge. Here’s the current status, as reflected in a couple of different surveys.

Sixty percent of respondents either didn’t know or declined to answer who they thought was a leader of the Republican Party. Further, 15 percent offered "nobody" as a response.

A separate survey suggests this might be a problem for the men who lead each chamber’s GOP caucus, House Minority Leader Boehner and Senate Minority Leader McConnell, at least if they want to continue to lead.

Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-leaning outfit, released a survey of GOP primary voters in which roughly one-third of respondents said both men should be replaced if Republicans gain control in November.

In the first poll, Boehner clocked in at 4 percent — within the poll’s error margin — as the leader of the party, behind former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., both of whom got 5 percent.

McConnell was a few lengths back, at 1 percent, behind former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., who got 2 percent, and tied with radio host Rush Limbaugh, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, TV host Glenn Beck and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

The numbers underscore the disconnect between the grassroots and the party hierarchy in an election year where the bottom-up momentum is coming from a movement almost as disillusioned by their own party as their Democratic opponents.

Republicans contend that having no leader associated with their party is not unusual when a party does not control the White House. But the question of who leads the Republican Party will take on a new urgency if they gain control of either chamber next year and have to shift motives from opposing President Obama’s agenda to moving one of their own. 

Watch Gingrich’s Annual Dinner Keynote Address

Newt Gingrich keynoted the Indiana Chamber’s 19th Annual Awards Dinner on November 6.

During his address, Gingrich moved freely about the stage and seemed quite comfortable, eloquently assessing the 2008 election. He was also quite complimentary of President-elect Obama, the Hoosier state and Gov. Mitch Daniels, with whom he’d worked during Daniels’ tenure at the White House Office of Management and Budget. In fact, the two had the opportunity to meet for 10 minutes before Gingrich took the stage.

The entire keynote address is now available to view on Gingrich’s web site.

Gingrich Offers Analysis, Praise for Obama and Daniels at Annual Dinner

With nearly 1,200 in attendance at the Convention Center in Indianapolis last night, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich offered his thoughts on the 2008 election. The Evansville Courier Press has the story:

Gingrich described the historic sweep of Obama’s election as not just the first black candidate elected president, but a son of an immigrant as well. "He brings to bear all the great American traditions, that people can come from anywhere and become American and learn the American system and be integrated into the pursuit of happiness," Gingrich said.

Obama’s rise from an Illinois state senator to U.S. senator to 44th president within the space of four years didn’t happen by accident or luck, Gingrich said. "This is a person who is stunningly disciplined — not just that he is bright, but he is a very disciplined, methodical person."

Gingrich said Obama’s victory and gains made by congressional Democrats were the results of "a failure crisis" by President Bush’s administration and congressional Republicans over their handling of the Iraq war, Hurricane Katrina and federal spending. "I think the Republican Party is struggling to get beyond incompetence," contended Gingrich, who in the mid-1990s was the nation’s highest-ranking Republican elected official. "In my mind, this was a performance election, not an ideological election," he told the Indiana business leaders.

Notes and Quotes from Newt

Newt Gingrich spoke and answered questions for nearly two hours at a Council of State Governments’ meeting in Lexington, Kentucky earlier this year.

Among my favorite "Gingrichisms" from that day:

  • "If we don’t have substantial change from our current system, we will not be capable of competing with China and India in 25 years."
  • An author of two World War II novels, Gingrich says it’s "startling to realize how competent we once were. In three years and eight months, we moved 15.3 million troops. It took 23 years to add a runway to the Atlanta airport."
  • Washington backed away from support for FutureGen, a clean coal energy project scheduled for Mattoon, Illinois. The government is now saying it will have a clean coal plant in 2016; China’s first clean coal plant will be in 2009
  • Relaying a comment from Fred Smith of FedEx that government can’t distinguish between a cost and an investment. Smith said he couldn’t have explained (to government officials) why he needed a wireless computer for his drivers. "It would have been listed as a cost, not an investment."
  • One of the offices for American Solutions, the organization Gingrich founded and chairs, is in the Silicon Valley to allow regular conversations with entrepreneurs .

More to come from Gingrich in Lexington, as well as a one-on-one interview with the influential leader in the September-October BizVoice magazine. Gingirch comes to the Indiana Convention Center as keynote speaker for the Indiana Chamber’s 19th Annual Awards Dinner on November 6 — just two days after we elect our next poltiical leaders.

Chamber Staffers Discuss Gingrich and the Upcoming Election

Indiana Chamber communications VP Tom Schuman and political affairs VP Michael Davis recently sat down on the Inside INdiana Business set to discuss our 19th Annual Awards Dinner keynote speaker Newt Gingrich. The pair also touched on key factors pertaining to the upcoming election.

 Below is the commentary video:


Noblesville: A Campus Like No Other

Individual economic development facilities are typically measured in square feet. Larger projects are touted by their acreage. What’s taking place in Noblesville is called a Corporate Campus. At an astounding 3,600-plus acres, that’s one big campus.

The industrial, commercial and housing developments taking place on the east side of the Hamilton County seat are one reason Noblesville is being honored as the 2008 Community of the Year by the Indiana Chamber. The other award winners — Business Leader of the Year and Government Leader of the Year — will be announced at the November 6 Annual Awards Dinner (featuring Newt Gingrich).

There is plenty of bang behind the size of the Corporate Campus. Stores in the Hamilton Town Centre are setting sales records. Businesses, old and new, are moving into a variety of facilities and/or building new operations. And there is room for plenty more. We look forward to telling the story in video at the awards dinner and in our BizVoice magazine.

For now, read today’s press release and check out the city’s economic development web site.

Gingrich Enjoys Role of Historian

Newt Gingrich is best known for his days in Congress, particularly as Speaker of the House following the 1994 election. Gingrich is also a recognized expert on world history, military issues and international topics, with 10 fiction and non-fiction bestsellers among the 16 books he has authored.

Speaking recently during the Council of State Governments’ (CSG) spring conference as part of its 75th anniversary celebration, Gingrich opened by asking the audience to think back to 1933. Not only was CSG first coming into existence, but radio was on the way to becoming a leading source of information.

"Ronald Reagan used to tell the story how newspapers got a law passed in Congress that radio couldn’t carry any news," he relates. "Reagan was working at WHO in Des Moines, Iowa in 1933 when there was a major earthquake in Los Angeles."

Prevented from directly relaying the news of the day to his listeners, Reagan "would turn down the music and ‘accidentally’ talk to his producer about the quake when new updates came in." A clever way around the ill-conceived law.

Gingrich kept the CSG audience on alert with a variety of stories and opinions. We’ll share more of them here and look forward to his appearance at the 19th Annual Awards Dinner hosted by the Indiana Chamber on November 6.