Monthly Archives: November 2011

Thanksgiving Wishes

As we become involved with the day to day challenges of life, we can lose sight of all we have to be grateful for in this country. We have the freedom to spend our days with family and friends without worry of intrusion. We have the freedom to pursue our dreams to the best of our abilities and enjoy the fruits of our labors. We have the freedom to stand on our soapboxes and express our beliefs without fear of persecution. We have the freedom to sit in the living room and watch football, eat far too much and not have to worry about those who would challenge our way of life because others wear a uniform and stand in harm’s way.

On this day let us give thanks for the wisdom of our founding fathers for creating a republic where freedoms never before enjoyed by any peoples have so long endured. Let us also thank those in uniform toady, and those who have worn it in the past, for the sacrifices they have made so we may enjoy this day in peace and freedom.

Happy Thanksgiving America!

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Filed under Holidays, Other Stuff, Politics

Mitt Romney: A Conservative’s Dilemma

If one were to be casting a President for a high budget Hollywood thriller, Mitt Romney is the person you would cast. His resume, his look, his family and his political presence are just about perfect. Having taken the time to read his economic policy, even though I take issue with a few points, it is perhaps the most well thought out I have ever seen from any presidential candidate. In interviews and debates it is clear he has a command of the issues and background few non-incumbent candidates have ever had before the first primary. At a time when America faces tremendous economic challenges, his business and economic background appear to be a perfect fit for the times. Sure his time as a private equity job cutter would be fodder for the Obama 2012 attack machine, but all Americans know the real world economy is a tough place. While other candidates have challenged him, and in some cases passed him for the GOP front runner, Mitt just cruses along in the low to mid 20 percent range, almost rock solid. Add to that a campaign financial war chest which is unmatched among the GOP contenders and Mitt Romney would seem to be almost inevitable. Almost.

GOP Frontrunner in Waiting, Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney

So why is it that the GOP, and particularly its conservative base, has not rallied around Romney? Even more puzzling is that in 2008 when John McCain appeared to be on the verge of taking the nomination, conservatives and conservative media personalities tried to rally around Romney in the Stop McCain movement. What a difference 4 years makes. The cliché answer is the similarities between Obamacare and Romneycare. The fundamental difference between 2008 and 2012 is the enactment of the single most unpopular act of social engendering in American Political history. The democrats and President Obama drank their own Kool-Aid and passed their central government focused healthcare reform on the belief that once passed the American people would like what they saw. Instead the people shocked them and the more they saw, the more they disliked the Democrat healthcare plan. The result was one of the biggest midterm butt slappings in the last century. Now even a casual observer would have known Mitt Romney had some explaining to do. Indeed there are some major differences not the least of which is that the Massachusetts plan was a state plan, not federal and as such no unconstitutional. We conservatives have always believed in the 10th Amendment and Romney care may well have been appropriate for Massachusetts which had a solidly democratic legislature.

Yet this spring when Mitt Romney gave his much anticipated speech on healthcare reform, it was like watching a bad PowerPoint presentation by a Chief Financial Officer trying to explain away a bad quarter with double talk. I must admit watching it with great anticipation and figuring that day I would fall in behind team Romney and support his candidacy. Instead I saw a technocrat trying to explain away the similarities of the two programs without distancing himself from his signature achievement as Governor of Massachusetts. As George Will recently said, the GOP had found itself a Massachusetts Technocrat Governor; in Mitt Romney we have our Michael Dukakis. Now I have been reading George Will since I was in High School (that would be before Reagan was President) and even I was taken aback by that characterization. Mitt Romney is far more charismatic and I believe honestly passionate about his candidacy than that other Governor. Yet in that article was the core issue with Mitt Romney; the more I see him the more I feel he is a designer candidate. Created by committee and focus group tested.

Recently a quote of Winston Churchill struck me as relevant to considering Mitt Romney, “I shall not be deterred from doing what I am convinced is right by the fact that I have thought differently about it in some distant past”. That Mitt Romney has seen his positions evolve over time does not in and of itself bother me. I have struggled over the question of the rights of the unborn for a year until ultimately concluding life begins at conception as much on scientific grounds as moral (a discussion for another time). Yet when you look at Mitt Romney’s positions over the years you just come away with the feeling changing polls had as much to do with this evolution as did intellectual consideration. I wish Mitt would just sit down and truly speak from his heart, less polished, and explain why he has changed over time. For gosh sakes, Ronald Reagan voted for FDR, more than once!. Most conservative not only would understand his changing views as many of us have changed over times (OK, most to a lesser extent).

Mitt Romney’s candidacy is not without significant strengths from a conservative perspective. The Romney family seems genuinely loving and well grounded as does his marriage, a fact not lost on many conservatives in comparison to others in this campaign. Romney is by far the best campaigner in the race, with only Rick Santorum as comfortable in front of the camera during debates. One can almost smell the fear from Team Obama 2012 at the prospect of facing Romney in the fall of 2012. As one who believes the defeat of President Obama is crucial to the future of America, electability is no small consideration. My fear is some of my conservative friends have been drinking our own flavor of Kool Aid and believe anyone can will next year. While I think 2012 is now a Republican year to loose, it can be lost.

So what does Mitt Romney have to do to convince me, and I think many conservatives, that he has earned the privilege of being the nominee of the party of Lincoln and Reagan? Mitt Romney has to show me that what he says he believes in his heart. That he shares the same conservative vision of the Future of America that we do, and is not just regurgitating campaign slogans. I would tell Governor Romney to go face to face with your conservative critics and leave the private equity sales pitch behind. Show us the values that helped raise a great family. Governor Romney, it is as much the vision thing as anything. The real vision thing. Conservatives have been sold a bill of goods before by fast talking back slapping wanna-be conservatives more than once. The question is, are you the real deal.

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Filed under 2012 Election, Conservative, Mitt Romney, Obama Administration, Politics, Republican Party, The Grand Old Party, The White House

The Republican No New Taxes Pledge and the Vilification of Grover Norquist

As the Congressional so called “Super Committee” is on the verge of its most predictable failure, Obama administration representatives and congressional democrats are abuzz with their claims that its failure to achieve results is because Republicans will not agree to new taxes. Additionally they have begun to personally vilify the creator of the modern Taxpayer Protection Pledge and leader of American’s for Tax Reform Grover Norquist. All of this has been adopted as a basis the narrative of the day by the Democrat’s tools in the media and blasted across the airwaves. Yet lost in the liberal diatribe is the base question, are the American people truly under taxed or has government expanded beyond the levels the American people desire. Additionally all Americans should be outraged when the state adopts a coordinated attempt to impugn the character and reputation of a single private citizen in the way the Obama administration and their supporters in congress have.

Leading Democrat on the Deficit Super Committee, Senator John Kerry

While many throw around the “No New Taxes Pledge” in interviews and writings, few seem to have read the actual Taxpayer Protection Pledge. In the 112th Congress, 238 Representatives (including 2 Democrats) and 41 Senators (including 1 Democrat) signed the pledge BEFORE the 2010 election. The pledge itself is relatively simple and straightforward stating:

“I, (candidate’s name) pledge to the taxpayers of the (insert district) district of the state of (insert state) and to the American People that I will:

ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and

TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.”

The pledge is signed before the election and far from being hidden or part of any back room deal; virtually all who take it proudly feature it as a key part of their election campaigns. This is not a pledge to some special interest group; it is a pledge to the American people and specifically those voters who send the member in question to Washington. What is really shocking is the way in which the Democrat establishment and their media friends seem shocked when elected representatives actually keep their promises to their electors. One can only assume that keeping ones word to voters is a concept which President Obama and the majority of congressional democrats are not in any way familiar.

Levels of Federal Government Spending and Taxation since 1960 projected to 2021 (source: The Heritage Foundation)

The real question, the ones the Democrats seem unwilling to really address, is the unprecedented increase in federal government spending under the administration of President Obama. While they stand in front of the television cameras claiming to support expenditure cuts, President Obama runs around the country demanding support for his “Stimulus 2 Jobs Bill” which would be funded with additional tax hikes. America is in the midst of the longest and most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression and the Democrat solution is tax increases, which flies in the face of almost ever accepted economic theory. Additionally, if the is second stimulus works as well as the first, the American people may want dig a hole in the back yard and hide because the economic consequences may be catastrophic.

The Leftist Class Warfare Myth that "Taxing the Rich" solves Deficits (source: The Heritage Foundation)

The democrats hold to the myth that they can tax only the “rich” to solve the deficit problem. But the reality is there simply are not enough rich tax payers to tax away the problem and the middle class will have to be taxed to balance the books if Democrats are given their way. We will leave aside that increased taxation on the upper income levels has often produced lower revenues due to capital flight and reduced investment (a story for another day). What the Obama Democrats are doing is attempting to make permanent the record level of peace time spending they have established by putting in place new taxes to sustain it. The only way to get America out of the current economic mess is to fire up the private sector which has always been the true engine of economic growth in this country. One need only look to the current economic turmoil in Europe to see that higher taxation is not a solution to government overspending; it simply feeds the beast of government excess.

This brings us to the unprecedented attacks by the Obama White House and his congressional Democrats on Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. It seems whenever the left wants something they need to create a villain of the day, and to give them cover for the failure of the “Super Committee” they have found Norquist. To be clear, I do not know Grover Norquist, have only met him in person in passing at CPAC meetings and have never contributed to Americans for Tax Reform (something I may have to reconsider). It is outrageous that the full power of the federal government, as controlled by its chief executive, the President would target the destruction of the character and reputation of a private citizen. One is drawn back to the late 90’s when operatives of then President Clinton tried to discredit a certain former intern as “a little bit nutty and a little bit slutty” until a blue dress emerged with Clinton’s DNA making that a dead line of attack. Now Norquist is the target because the leftist Democrats know attacking the Republicans directly for keeping their word to their electors by honoring the Taxpayer Protection Pledge has never worked in the end.

It’s time the media who so often lament politicians who come to Washington and forget the promises they made to voters, point out that those rejecting new taxes today are simply keeping their word. Elections matter, a fact conservatives and Republicans had to accept after the 2006 and 2008 elections. Unfortunately the Democrats failed to show the American people their way worked and in 2010 the people revoked their mandate. Republicans were elected overwhelmingly with open support of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. For Republicans to accept higher levels of taxation for Americans now would not only be bad policy, it would be a breach of their commitments to their voters. If the Democrats want higher overall taxation in America to support their expansion of the Federal Government, they should run on that platform in 2012. Maybe Walter Mondale’s campaign manager is available to help them.

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Filed under 2010 Election, 2012 Election, Budget, Congress, Conservative, Grover Norquist, Media, National Debt, Obama Administration, Politics, Republican Party, Spending, Taxes, United States House of Representatives, US Senate

Democrats Engineering Economic Disaster as Foundation of 2012 Election Strategy

As much of the financial world waits with anticipation the outcome of the so called Budget Super Committee whose report is due in just seven days, the back room strategists for the Democratic Party and Team Obama 2012 are giddy with anticipation of the economic train wreck to follow. The plan is elegant in its simplicity; allow a budget disaster which will have dire economic consequences and then cast the “obstructionist” republicans in congress for the resultant economic consequences. They have not had to be overly covert in their strategy as their pet tools in the media have been gladly echoing the White House talking points. Indeed this is the only strategy left for the leftists in Washington as the American public has rejected every element of their tax, spend and government control agenda. What is unfortunate is this destroy America strategy may well work.

Senate Democrats Ploting Stratewgy With President Obama and Vice President Biden in the Oval Office (White House Photo)

The scheme is largely the work of New York Senator Chuck Schumer who is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s political war monger in chief. Throughout more than a decade in the senate and 18 years before that in the house, Schumer has gained a reputation as a narcissistic publicity hound. With an anemic legislative record comprise almost entirely of attaching his name to bills constructed by others, Schumer has developed the finely honed skills of a political ambulance chaser. If the media is there, so if Chuck with political incendiary bombs to toss at his opponents. Credit needs to be given as he has built a successful political career by blaming opponents for everything while personally accomplishing very little.

The first stage of the “Blame the Republicans” was to create the ruse of Republican control of Congress. Forgotten is that the democrats remain in full control of the senate where Senator Harry Reid has been the Majority Leader since January 2007. Not only have the Democrats controlled the senate for the past 5 years, for almost 2 years that had the lofty position of 60 seats constituting a filibuster proof majority allowing them to proceed without Republican cooperation. Reid’s period as Majority leader is most notable for the senate never producing a single years worth of budget authorizing bills but rather relying on an uninterrupted stream of continuing resolutions. Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer have succeeded in one of the most audacious Orwellian “Big Lie” strategies, and the media has embraced their message and are now full partners in the narrative.

Team Obama has been quick to join in on this destroy the American economy and blame republicans game. President Obama won the White House by promising a new political climate in Washington. Credit must be given to him he has kept his promise, as while it was almost inconceivable that the political acrimony of the final Bush term could be exceeded, Obama has done just that. I must admit as with the Democrats in the senate, Team Obama 2012 has had no choice in this strategy, everything else they have proposed has been soundly rejected by the American people. His signature achievement, Health Care Reform is opposed by more than 60 percent of Americans and is largely responsible for Democrats suffering the second biggest loss in the 2010 elections for the House of Representatives. If he were to again propose Health Care, he would be lucky to get 35 votes in the senate his own party controls. One component of that package, the SMART long term care insurance was withdrawn by his own administration when they admitted it was irreparably insolvent. In his first year in office he said in an interview 8 percent unemployment was intolerable and if he did not improve the situation his administration would be “a one term affair”. With unemployment stuck in the 9 percent range, his administration’s economic record is the most dismal since the Carter administration.

Unfortunately the GOP in congress handed the Democrats a political life jacket this past August by agreeing to $1.5 trillion in mandated cuts, divided equally between defense and entitlements, in exchange for raising the national debt ceiling. I’m not even going to get into the constitutionality of a 12 member joint senate house committee with automatic sending authority, which is questionable at best. But politically it set up an artificial Thanksgiving deadline which stood almost no chance of being achieved. Team Obama and Senators Reid and Schumer saw the opening almost immediately. President Obama initiated immediate class warfare and demanded tax increases on the “rich”. Schumer and Reid pronounced the republicans obstructionist while not allowing votes on more than 2 dozen bills passed by the house. In the single biggest act of political hypocrisy in memory, Reid prevented the Presidents own “Jobs Bill” to come to a vote in the senate less Obama be embarrassed by the repudiation it would have received by his inability to get even senate democrats to support it. As the same time President Obama was flying around the country on Air Force One blaming the do nothing republicans, while raising millions in campaign contributions from his “1 percent” supporters.

Team Obama 2012 Capital Hill Leads: Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senator Dick Durbin

So here we stand with a week until a train wreck which will further damage the American economy, potentially even resulting in further downgrades in the credit rating of US government securities. Give the democrats credit, they may have out foxed republicans and have kept President Obama in the race for a second term. But what cost are the Democrats prepared to make the American people pay for their political games? They could not win the battle of ideas in the 2010 election where their tax and spend policies were rejected. Today they are prepared to drive the economy over the cliff in order to manufacture an issue that could preserve their own jobs in 2012. Senator Chuck Schumer, Senator Harry Reid and President Barack Obama; three who are prepared to further devastate the American economy to preserve their own political viability. They may well win, but will not be able to escape the shame that will forever tarnish their reputations.

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Filed under 2010 Election, 2012 Election, Barak Obama, Budget, Congress, Constitution, Health Care, Leadership, Liberals, Media, National Debt, Obama Administration, Politics, Republican Party, Spending, Taxes, The Grand Old Party, The White House, United States House of Representatives, US Senate

Uncomfortably Undecided: The Search for a Presidential Candidate I Can Believe In

This year I find myself in a unique situation. With less than two months until the first votes are cast in the primary season, I am undecided who to support. As long as I can remember there was a candidate early in the process who inspired me, or at least attracted my loyal till political death support. To my surprise, shock and bewilderment, that has not happened this year. First off, those who would have drawn my support decided one by one not to run: Senator John Thume, Former Governor Jeb Bush, Governor Bobby Jindal, Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and the list goes on. Those that remain, talented as they may be, have each failed to attract my committed vote, let alone passionate enthusiasm.

The 2012 GOP Presidential Contenders: An Uncertian Decision

In some way I think we have the inverse of the 1992 Democratic race where early on many of the presumed favorites like future Vice Presidents Al Gore and Joe Biden took a pass thinking George H.W. Bush was unbeatable. In Washington circles a narrative began to form that 2012 was going to be a good year for President Obama. With the Republican takeover of the house in 2010 the stage was set for a repeat of Bill Clinton’s come back and victory in 1996. Yet over the last year we have seen the Obama administration to be politically inept and selling a radical left wing agenda which has not resonated with the American body politic. The Obama attempts at class warfare and leftist populist rhetoric have fallen flat on all but his hard core base. American voters seem to have concluded he is out of his league and not up to the job of president. The net result is the GOP nomination is increasingly valuable as the 2012 election is ours to lose.

So regrets be damned, the slate of candidates we have are the options to be chosen from. I am not going to invite the wrath of my fellow republicans who have already formed passionate allegiances by going down the list of candidates one by one pointing out why each has not captured my imagination and support. Rather I want to look at what I would love to see in an ideal presidential nominee.

  1. First, above all else is character. Often discussed, this is a complicated characteristic in people. My nominee has to have core values and the commitment to them to stick by them even when the political winds blow in the opposite direction. If you think of the presidential elections of the past, the issues that defined their presidency are almost never the ones which drove the election which put them in the White House. We need a president who when they get that 3am phone call, will not need to consult a pollster.
  2. My candidate must have a commitment to conservative values and principles which were not adopted after extensive focus group testing but rater from their long term personal considerations. I have no problems with people who evolve over time, even Ronald Reagan was a democrat once upon a time (he even voted for FDR, more than once!). Yet some candidates who get the words right, just give you the feeling they were written by committee.
  3.  I can’t support stupid any more. Call me whatever, but I want a President who can stand up to the tests of the office and deal with the complexities of the issues we face. Make no doubt we are at a crossroads in the history of our republic, and we cannot afford another president who needs training wheels for the first 4 years, or is simply a puppet for advisors.
  4. I totally agree with Anne Coulter’s recent column in which she said, in essence, electability is not a bad word! To the contrary I believe in all my heart that if President Obama is reelected with a Democratic congress, America will be taken in a left ward direction from which there will be no turning back. We need a nominee who can take Obama on head to head and emerge from the ideological battle that the 2012 election is shaping up to be victorious.
  5. No longer will I support any candidate who simply attacks the other contenders. My belief in Reagan’s 11th Commandment that thou shall not speak ill of a fellow Republican is absolute and those who break it will drive me to the primary with absolute certainty I will cast my one vote against them. It is essential our eventual nominee emerge from the primaries stronger for the process and not damaged. Republican unity has always been a strength and any division will simply guarantee a second term for Obama.

For years, I like many conservatives have been looking for another Ronald Reagan, always with disappointing results. However I think the Gripper would have said stop looking to the past for direction, look to the future. So I look for that candidate who reflects my values and also has the ability to capture the imagination and spirit of the American people. This election is just too important to settle of less, or allow victory to slip from our figures.

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Filed under 2010 Election, 2012 Election, American Leadership, Barak Obama, Bill Clinton, Jeb Bush, Leadership, Mitt Romney, Politics, Republican Party, Rick Perry, Rudy Giuliani, The Grand Old Party, The White House