Thursday, April 5, 2012

Syria: Victim of American Conflict Fatigue

A recent poll conducted by the Program on International Policy attitudes at the University of Maryland sends an interesting message regarding the current conflict in Syria.
 On the positive side, Americans appear to be highly concerned about the conflict that has killed an estimated 8,000 Syrians. However, they appear to have no appetite to send American military forces into the conflict, preferring safe havens for civilians to be established by Turkey and The Arab League.
Results like these should be expected. This country has been at war for over a decade and I don’t think we yet understand the societal implications these two wars will have for the United States in the coming decades. 
 Americans have empathy for the human suffering of Syrians, but also see their own economy headed for uncertainty with ballooning gas and food prices and an elevated unemployment rate. Military action in Syria is unfortunately not in the cards at present.

When News anchors win Primaries

Another funny thing occurred locally during the Illinois primary as veteran television news anchor Steve Stadelman won the Democratic primary for the Illinois State Senate 57th District. What made this accomplishment even more notable, was that he defeated Dan Lewandowski, a former chairmen of Winnebago County Democratic Party, who had been endorsed by the party.
 The crushing twenty plus point victory for Stadelman is particularly surprising given that primaries are typically partisian affairs. I would’ve thought that Lewandowski would’ve done better among this group of voters.
What is says in the larger picture is that voters are tired of politics as usual. They saw Lewandowski as a brand of Democratic party and have grown disillusioned with what they perceive as mismanagement by the two political parties.
 This mismanagement is particularly hard felt in the state of Illinois where we are billions of dollars in debt and the career politicians appear content just to punt the football down the road for another day.

Romney’s endorsement Binge

Mitt Romney has been the recipient of a quite a number of big endorsements lately. In the last few weeks, he’s picked up the endorsements of George H.W. and Jeb Bush. Additionally, he secured the endorsement of Tea Party favorite, Marco Rubio in Florida.
These endorsements may soothe the anxieties among the Republican party faithful. But does a such closing of the ranks actually do much to help Mitt Romney at the ballot box, particularly during the November general election, given the political disillusionment in America?
Although I still maintain that endorsements don’t really matter. Romney’s people are being very smart in that many of his endorsers are popular figures without firm ties to the current ties in Washington.
This allows Romney to portray himself as the Washington outsider, yet give him some credibility as someone who can undertake the difficult task of being President of the United States.
 The news media has made a big deal out of the lack of sitting Republicans endorsing candidates…
With all the mistrust and hatred of Washington D.C. politicians would you want to be known as the “ESTABLISHMENT candidate for President”?

Illinois Primary: Romney Home Game

I know I’ve overshot the Illinois Presidential primary by a mile, but its’ my home state, so please give a blogger some latitude.

Illinois may actually serve as a microcosm for the rest of the primary contests [well before last night]. The demographics in Illinois are not dramatically different.  Romney wins with moderate, pragmatic, Republicans, while Santorum does well with more ideologically driven Republicans.

 However, in Illinois, the numbers have shifted in Romney’s favor. Illinois Republicans are quite practical in nature and less swayed by Santorum’s ideological rhetoric as explained by former Governor Jim Edgar.


Illinois may serve as an indicator of future primary results, If true, the signs are ominous for Rick Santorum.
 Santorum will continue to do well in more ideologically driven states, while Romney will pick up states packed with moderate Republicans. This divide will send Romney to the Republican nomination eventually, and reduce Santorum to a blocker role.
 Santorum just couldn’t win enough moderate voters at the end of the day.