Merry Christmas to All My Readers



This is where I write my columns!

Let's hope 2008 is a great year for us all!!!


Former Congressman John LeBoutillier will be on Fox News Channel @ 4:15 PM Eastern time on Saturday, December 22, to discuss the Iowa Caucuses and NH Primary.



Ray Bertolino talks with former Rep. John LeBoutillier tomorrow (Sunday, Dec. 23) night at 11:30 on WHPC (90.3 FM).


In two weeks the Iowa Caucuses will be our first test of the thinking of actual voters.

Polling is extraordinarily accurate these days - especially when you know who is going to vote.

But an actual event like the caucuses and then the New Hampshire Primary five days later will be our first test of the mind set of these very interested, very motivated voters.

Keep in mind: the Democrats and Republicans who vote in these contests are much, much more involved in issues and politics than the voter who only votes in the November general election.

The January 3rd Caucus-goer and the January 5th Primary voter reads newspapers, watches political news carefully, talks with other people about issues and politics. These voters are aware - and they care. And they do not believe this nonsense you hear all the time: “I don’t bother to vote because it doesn’t matter who I vote for...they’re all the same.”

These activist voters know that indeed, it does matter who you vote for. All the candidates are not the same.

OK, let us try to examine the mind set of the two parties’ voters in January:

A) The Democrats. Here is the thinking of a typical Democrat primary or caucus voter: They believe the Bushes stole the 2000 election...that Gore legitimately won that election and that Bush’s presidency is perhaps the worst in our history...that the GOP was way, way off base in impeaching Bill Clinton...that Clinton was a damn good president...that the Iraq War was - like the 2000 election - a fraud and a lie thrown at the American people by a dishonest Republican Party. They also know the Republican Hit Machine is a powerful force - and the Democrat candidate has to be able to stand up to it.

Now - and here is the capper: they know that 2008 is their best chance to get the White House back - maybe ever! They desperately want to win in 2008. They are so burned by 2000 and then by John Kerry’s inept “I voted for it before I voted against it” 2004 campaign that they are afraid of making yet another Big Mistake in 2008.

And this Hillary vs. Obama match is emblematic of this fear. Up until recently polling data has shown Hillary as the most electable Democrat in a general election. (That has recently reversed; new polls now show she is the least electable Democrat.)

Many, many Democrat voters like Obama’s freshness and newness. But they worry that America will not elect a black man - yet - particularly one so inexperienced.

These voters are struggling because they do not want to blow it yet again and pick a loser - especially when they see the GOP in total meltdown and thus very, very beatable next November.

This winnability argument may still help John Edwards among Democrats because he can argue that in a general a white southerner has the best chance. (After all, the only two democrats elected president in the past 40 years were white southerners - Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.)

All of the above explains why Democrats are tearing their hair out over their upcoming votes.

Expect many surprises in 2008 as these activist voters struggle to find a November winner.

2) The GOP: the mind set of the Republican caucus-goer and primary voter is different than that of the Democrat: active GOP voters are NOT desperate to win the White House in 2008. They are so used to having power that they haven’t really contemplated the loss of that power - yet. These voters hate Hillary...but they are terribly disappointed in GW Bush, too...the illegal immigration issue has torn the GOP apart and made the Bush White House very unpopular among these voters... they don’t really like any of the current crop of presidential candidates...they want another candidate who can win and who can inspire and who is a real conservative who hasn’t adjusted his positions to fit this campaign...they’re very down about the present political situation...they’re more interested in fighting each other than in fighting the democrats...the GOP is rife with intra-party troubles...they are sour and down and pessimistic.

Whew! What a mindset, eh?

But that is how GOP voters are thinking these days.

So January 3rd and January 8th will be the first day these very involved voters have their say.

Expect a lot of surprises.


As usual, the so-called TV Talking-Head political pundits/experts are - once again - wrong!

Do you recall their fawning over the quarterly fund-raising totals and how they pontificate that “money is the mother’s milk of American politics” and this one - “you have to have $100 million to even compete in this newly front-loaded race.”

Oh, really?

Mike Huckabee has vaulted to number one in the GOP race basically without a red cent!


A different formula than these self-proclaimed experts could possibly understand: The right Messenger combined with the right Message and then added to Big Momentum vaults a candidate to the top:

Messenger + Message + Momentum = Success

Huckabee is Hot, Hot, Hot. He is a good speaker; he is pleasant-sounding; he is smart. His message right now is simple: “I am not any of these other GOP candidates.” That plus the fact that he is of the Evangelicals who make up a third of the GOP vote has tied him into the GOP base much more effectively than Romney or Rudy. Fred Thompson - as predicted here - has faded into obscurity because he is a boring, soggy, sleepy non-entity of a candidate who looks one hundred years old. Ron Paul remains Hot on the Internet but until he translates that energy into success in a real caucus or primary - at least a third-place - he won’t get the credibility and visibility that Huckabee now has.

This is not to say that Huckabee won’t or can’t fade. He might. All the other GOP front-runners have faded after their moment in the sun.

But he has vaulted to the top without any money at all. A valuable lesson which may yet be seen again in the 2008 race - especially if an Independent Third Candidate enters the race.

2) Obama vs. Huckabee: Let’s just say that these two Hot, Big Mo candidates win Iowa. And let us assume Obama then wins New Hampshire and South Carolina, where he is now tied with Hillary. If he wins Iowa and gets some Big Mo he may sweep those three. If he does - and with the front-loaded system - he could possibly win the Democratic nomination.

Huckabee will win Iowa. He will not win New Hampshire. But he may then win South Carolina. Anyway, let us just assume that somehow he wins the GOP nomination.

So next year’s general election is Mike Huckabee vs. Barack Hussein Obama.

If ever there was a perfect set-up for an Independent Third Candidate to drive right up the center and win this election, this is it.

This candidate paints these two as the extremists they are: Huckabee is not a fiscal conservative. He is a Big Government liberal masquerading as a Republican. Plus he is seen by many as a religious extremist.

Hussein Obama - as many will soon begin to call him - can easily be painted as a way-out left-winger who can’t be trusted to run the country.

Thus, this so-far hypothetical Independent Third Candidate could run against “these two extremists who cannot be trusted with power” and have a real shot at winning.

2008 is certain to be a year of total surprises; in fact we have already had many and it’s only 2007. Who could have foreseen the rise of Obama? Or the troubles and in-fighting inside the Clinton Camp? Or the rise of Mike Huckabee?

So keep an open mind about next year. Nothing should surprise any of us - including the very real possibility that our next President isn’t even in the race yet.


Three weeks from this Thursday are the Iowa Caucuses. With the way the schedule is set up this year - with the Big States front-loaded to the February 5th Tsunami Tuesday - Iowa is now more important than ever before.

In other words, the infamous Big Mo is even more accentuated this year.

Plus the schedule is different; the gap between all-important Iowa and equally-important New Hampshire is now just five days! It used to be three weeks.

So let us look at Iowa for both races:

1) Dems: Obama has all the upward momentum and has had it since the Philadelphia Debate where Hillary revealed her jive-talking, Triangulating, devious evasiveness when she tried to have it both ways on drivers-licenses-for-illegals. Then the Oprah Weekend happened - and that can only help Obama as he heads into Iowa.

In other words, he has the Big Mo - and Hillary and Team Clinton are scrambling to find a way to fight back. They are panicked; Bill is making bad campaign appearances; her staff is mad at him; and he is mad at her inept campaign team.

So - as of now - with three weeks to go and the year’s two biggest holidays in between in effect freezing the campaign for those days - Obama is on the right track.

The winner of Iowa is probably going to win New Hampshire and then South Carolina. That winner will be hard to defeat for the Democrat nomination.

So Iowa is huge.

2) GOP: Huckabee is HOT. All others are in trouble.

The Republican primary voter has been shopping all year for a candidate to believe in. From Rudy to McCain to Romney and Thompson. Each has had his day in the sun. And each has started to fade. Now Huckabee is the flavor of the month and is The Man.

But we need to ask: Can it last?

Will the GOP nominate a pro-tax-raising, pro-more-government spending, pro-benefits for illegal immigrants candidate?

Does Mike Huckabee fit the Republican Party? Is this the direction we are now going to go in? A conservative party is going now to embrace Big Government and More Taxes to solve social problems?

Somehow it just doesn’t fit.

Yes, Huckabee will probably now win Iowa as he - like Obama - had upward momentum. His’ is in fact even more explosive than Obama’s.

But what goes up fast can come down fast, too. And Huckabee’s record just does not unite the GOP. If he is to be the nominee, then that means the GOP is now yet another tax-and-spend Big Government Party.

And they won’t win that way.

So the Republican race is up in the air; none of us has a clue about who will win.

Romney, by the way, has opened the Mormon can of worms. That religion is viewed by many voters with great skepticism. His speech last week began a process where his religion will now be made an issue. And it will in the end hurt him.

Rudy had a tough time on Meet the Press Sunday. His personal baggage is catching up to him. And he doesn’t fit the party either.

So, as has been written here before, the stage is set for upsets and surprises in January.

We conservatives cannot be happy with the direction of the GOP race. We need a non-neo-con conservative in this race who is exciting, good on TV and not tied to the Bush Machine.

So far, no luck on finding that candidate.

I want to apologize in advance to many readers who are inundating me with emails about two recent columns on the CIA. It is impossible for me to answer all these messages. I am sorry, as I usually try to answer all of your emails. But there are simply too many.


The startling revelation that all 24 intelligence agencies in our government agree that Iran stopped their nuclear weapons development in 2003 is a shot across the bow of G.W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

Seriously furious over how Bush and Cheney misused ambiguous intelligence data back in 2002 and 2003 to justify a pre-emptive invasion of Iraq, the CIA and the rest of our vast Intelligence Community made certain this week by taking the unprecedented step of releasing for full public viewing the latest National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) so that the American people, the media, the Congress and especially the 2008 presidential candidates know the truth - without a White House filter.

In other words, our Intel Community wanted it known that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons development program.

They wanted this known before Bush and Cheney take our nation - again - down the road toward an unnecessary pre-emptive surgical strike in Iran which would have devastating economic, military and energy ramifications.

Make no mistake about this: the Intel Community’s action is a direct shot across Bush/Cheney’s bow.

We have never - ever seen anything quite like this in our history. Here we have an Executive Branch Agency - the CIA - and 23 other departments/agencies - all of whom report to the President of the United States. And they are basically saying to him, “We no longer trust you to tell the American people the truth. You distorted and misused intelligence on Iraq and we are not going to allow you to do it again.”


This has huge ramifications.

1) Bush is not just a ‘lame duck’ politically; he is now a Dead Duck.

2) The Super-Hawks calling for surgical strikes against Iran in the next year have been de-fanged;

3) Hillary is hurt even more in the Democratic race for wanting to go after Iran;

4) The GOP candidates - except Ron Paul - look like Bush Toadies for all salivating at the chance to go after Iran in an Election Year;

5) Bush/Cheney may trot out another excuse to hit Iran: that Iranian agents are infiltrating Iraq and hitting and hurting US troops. This is probably true and was predicted in this space 5 years ago. Retaliation may be justified, but not hitting Iran nuke sites;

6) In sum, this takes Iran off the table as a major 2008 issue, shatters the remaining credibility of the Republican establishment, crushes the neo-cons, who have caused us so much trouble, and puts this Administration on ice.

We effectively have a care-taker government until January 20, 2009.


This was a busy - and important - weekend on several fronts:

1) The narrow defeat of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez attempt to hijack his democracy and make himself a ‘President for Life/Dictator’ is a huge development. Why? Well, a) because it means a slight majority of people down there had the courage to stand up to a bad guy who already has hurt their nation and b) he may blame his defeat on the CIA and Bush and thus try some sort of retaliation. He has mentioned “turning off the spigot” of the Chevron oil that is sold here. He may be just loco enough to try something like that.

All the more reason for us - as a matter of national policy - to get off our addiction to foreign oil. Look at who were are giving our money to? Chavez, the Saudi Royal Family, Iran and Russia’s Putin (see below)! This has to stop.

2) Indeed, Russian strong man/President Vladimir Putin’s party - United Russia - won a substantial victory in Sunday’s parliamentary elections. Most international observers believe it was a somewhat flawed election in that the Kremlin set rules which kept many legitimate opposition parties off the ballot. And under Putin’s rule, state TV has also refused to cover legitimate opposition voices. There is no longer independent TV in Russia; Putin saw that would undermine his power so he re-nationalized all TV stations several years ago.

Why should we care?

We must care because Russia - fueled by huge oil revenues in an era of $90+/barrel oil - is swimming in cash and thus is no longer dependent on the West for a cooperative partnership. The old Russian arrogance has returned - led by a career KGB agent who cannot be trusted. Those who oppose him - at home and maybe abroad - suddenly find themselves dead.

With Iran on the verge of building The Bomb, Putin has so far refused to exert pressure on Tehran to stop; Russia is in fact building the Busheihr Reactor for them. (He recently flew there and had a meeting with Ayatollah Khameini; apparently he saw what oddballs these Revolutionary Council fanatics are.)

Putin is trying to set himself up to rule Russia for his entire lifetime without violating his nation’s Constitutional provision against more than two consecutive Presidential terms. So we are all awaiting to see how he plans to exert power.

But, as Americans, we have a strong interest in a good working relationship with Moscow.

We do not want to see an aggressive Russia causing trouble, as they did for most of the 20th century.

3) Political developments here at home: with one month left before Iowa, much is changing right in front of our eyes.

A) Huckabee is surging in Iowa and that hurts Romney’s plan of running the table in the first four contests: Iowa-NH- Michigan and South Carolina and thus gaining unstoppable momentum. But many conservatives dislike Huckabee’s ‘phony conservatism’ so they have a month to try to blunt his surge and raise doubts about Huckabee.

B) Rudy’s problems continue. The careful leak from within New York City Government or Police about the hiding of Rudy’s travel expenses while philandering with his then-mistress is but the tip of the iceberg. He is an inveterate womanizer and if he had other girlfriends during his eight years in City Hall, you can bet that will be leaked out soon, too.

Meanwhile his poll numbers continue to deteriorate. Six weeks ago he was tied for the lead in South Carolina; today he is fourth and only gets 9% of the vote.

C) Romney is a poor candidate who has just tried to re-make himself so many times that he just doesn’t cut it.

D) Ron Paul - online - is HOT, HOT, HOT. But he needs to get a third in Iowa and then build momentum from there. Otherwise his campaign is an exercise in futility.

But he is growing in support and donations - and for that he and his loyal supporters need to be congratulated. Much of his message would be popular if more people knew of it.

Somehow, looking at this current GOP field, it is hard to believe a future president is among them.

As several veteran politicos said to me last week, “The ultimate nominee isn’t even in the race yet.”


Welcome back, Imus. Radio needs you!