Category Archives: The Grand Old Party

A Conservative Republican Wish for 2014

As 2013 comes to a close, the GOP finds itself in the enviable, if somewhat unexpected, position of commanding the political high ground in a mid-second term election year. With the generic vote showing the GOP with a 5 point lead over the democrats, a pickup of more than a dozen house seats is more than likely and the 7 needed to gain control of the senate, while not as likely, very much achievable. Yet we saw in 2012 the right GOP coalition of conservatives, libertarians and right of center moderates is more than capable of seizing defeat from the jaws of victory. Remember, we allowed a president who presided over the worst economy in half a century, imposed a widely unpopular government takeover of health care and implemented a disastrous foreign policy to be reelected. Controlling the high ground means we have the advantage of defining the agenda, but it also presents the opportunity for spectacular defeat.

In 2014 the Republican Leadership and the Party as a Whole Faces the Challenge of Capitalizing on the Political High Ground They Now Occupy, or Squandering Opportunity

In 2014 the Republican Leadership and the Party as a Whole Faces the Challenge of Capitalizing on the Political High Ground They Now Occupy, or Squandering Opportunity

For those of us who believe in free markets, limited government, equality of opportunity and personal responsibility, the imperative is to stop the Obama left in 2014 and set the groundwork for a Republican to take back the White house in 2016. We can play “could have, would have, should have” over missed opportunities in 2010 and 2012, or we can seize the moment and begin to right the course of the nation in 2014. The words here are not a policy prescription for renewal but rather a wish for the right to unite in its pursuit of a single shared objective, to stop the leftist drift we have been on since 2006 and begin the restoration of America by releasing the potential of the American people. It is my hope that as we move forward in the battles that will define 2014 we keep these few guiding principles in mind.

  1. The American People Seek Solutions, Not Opposition. Obamacare represents the greatest threat to the America economy of any government policy in half a century. Almost since it was adopted the majority of Americans have opposed the takeover of our health care by government.  To the frustration of Nancy Pelosi, the more Americans have come to know Obamacare, the less they have liked it.         While it is well and good that we on the right hang the O-Care albatross around the necks of the democrat left that shoved this down the throats of the American people with zero bi-partisan support, 2012 showed us that is not enough. The GOP and the right coalition have failed to present a single cohesive and comprehensive free market alternative to Obamacare. People want to believe in something, not simply oppose the wrong. Health care does need reform, free market reform. While some have tried to propose alternatives, no single viable plan has emerged. If Washington conservatives stop simply screaming “Repeal” and propose reforms that will truly improve healthcare, they will be embraced. The American people want to believe again.
  2. Shout Less, Think More. I am tired of idiots claiming to be conservative guiding lights. Growing up in the Goldwater, Reagan and Gingrich era’s, the right were the ones proposing the innovative and effective policy alternatives to the challenges and future of America. Somehow we lost that and have allowed those who simply scream no at increasingly loud volumes to take the helm. The left is still peddling the discredited neo-socialist ideology that they pushed for the last half of the 20th century. The American people have not moved left, but they will only follow the conservative/libertarian right if we demonstrate we are in fact the grownups in the room and are ready to lead. We have no right to power in 2014/16; leadership must be earned. Ideas and words matter, it’s time we think before we speak, they will listen.
  3. The Media Establishment Will Never Be Balanced, Take The Message to the People. The media establishment, particularly in the New York/Washington corridor will never give the GOP fair coverage, nothing new here. Get over it. In the early days of the internet it was conservatives who initially effectively embraced technology. Those days are gone. For the right to successfully regain control of government, we must bypass the media and take our ideas directly to the people. Forget converting viewers of MSNBC, they are the extreme left who wallow in their hate and envy. However, we must also stop talking to ourselves about how right we are and take our intellectual arguments directly to the people. Obsess on those who seek solutions and alternatives and forget the leftist screamers.
  4. Purity in Martyrdom is for Suicide Bombers. Those were the words of former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and with which I could not agree more. We must once again not only accept but embrace the diversity of ideas of the coalition of the right. Moderate is not a bad word, but rather a friend who needs support and encouragement to support you. Fight for your ideas based on their merits, rather than against those who do not agree totally with you. The conservative movement can never allow the ideological perfect to become the enemy of the politically achievable. In 1980 Ronald Reagan ran on a promise of an across the board 30 percent cut in personal income tax rates. Once in office in 1981 when the democrat controlled congress passed the Kemp-Roth Tax Cut which only contained a 25 percent cut, he did not veto it and issue an all or nothing demand. Reagan embraced victory and signed the bill before they changed their mind. Embrace those who are inclined to support, trust in the virtue of our beliefs and ideals.
  5. Be Aware of Motivation of Those Who Seek to Lead:  Each of us needs to consider the motivations of self promoters who put their personal advancement ahead of advancing the cause and national interest. An idiot with a large following on Twitter is still and idiot. Presidential ambition can be admirable unless it is put ahead of the nation’s interest.
  6. America Cannot Afford Even 2 More Years of Obama Unchecked. With Harry Reid exercising the nuclear option and abandoning senate traditions to force through more leftist judges and appointees, we need to check mate Obama with effective, if not our right, GOP control of the senate. And don’t take 2016 for granted. The media establishment is ready to put Hillary in the White House in 2016 and never underestimate their ability to get what they want. That which advances our cause is virtuous, all else is working for the left.
  7. Embrace Reagan’s 11th Commandment, “Thou Shall Not Speak Ill of a Fellow Republican”. We have come to confuse high follower counts on Twitter with wisdom. Many cheered when moderate GOP senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) did not seek reelection in 2012. They celebrated the departure of a moderate who was not as conservative as most of us. What they got in exchange was a leftist senator, while declaring himself independent he caucuses with the D’s and is to the left of all but few in the senate. In what idiotic logic was this an improvement? Snowe supported every Republican Presidents Supreme Court nominations and most proposals. Most important, she voted for the GOP leadership in the senate and not Sen Reid.  Think about this one long and hard. An 80 percent friend is better than a 100 percent advisory.

History is on our side and the apatite of the people for change is strong. Barack Obama has produced the worst economic record of any two term president in 75 years. Harry Reid and the do nothing Democrat Senate has produced one budget in his 7 years as Majority leader. Nancy Pelosi consumed so much leftist cool-aid that she is self delusional in her pursuit of an extreme left wing agenda which is supported only by the left wing of the democrat party. The political high ground is truly owned by Republicans in 2014, yet I wonder will we again let victory slip from our grasp. Only in victory will we stop the leftward drift in America and begin to restore the personal and economic freedoms we cherish.

To one and all an outstanding 2014, and let’s make 2014 the year Americans take back our freedoms.

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Filed under 2014 Election, 2016 Election, Media, Politics, Republican Party, The Grand Old Party

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

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

On Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment: Thou Shall Not Speak Ill of a Fellow Republican

At times it is easy to remember those days in the 80’s when Ronald Reagan was in the White House as some idealized time when the Republican Party was lead by the now iconic leader who has come to define the modern Republican Party. But the truth is the same divides which exist within the party today were present, and simmering below the surface in The Gipper’s days. What today would be called moderate Republicans, or less politely RINO’s, were then Rochefeller or Country Club Republicans. In fact the 11th Commandment dates back to the 1966 California Governor’s race and was in part a response to the vicious primary attacks in 1964 which left the eventual GOP nominee Barry Goldwater scared and made it easier for the Johnson campaign to pick up upon themes started by Republicans to defeat Goldwater in November 1964.

The 2012 Republican Presidential Contenders

The idea is politically sound. While differences in policy and capability are the foundation of any primary race and indeed our very democracy, our party should avoid the kind of personal attacks which can leave our eventual nominee damaged in the general election. Those of us who remember the 1980 election which first brought Reagan to the White House recall how the Carter Campaign repeatedly attacked Reagan’s platform as “Voodoo” Economics. Carter’s operatives were quick to point out that it was George H.W. Bush, then Reagan’s running mate, who had first applied the label to Reagan’s economic plan. Taken to its extreme, this kind of intraparty attacks can result in a political circular firing squad (a Democratic Party specialty) which makes the Lefts job of defeating Republicans so much easier.

I can almost hear some readers screaming “we have been fooled by these RINO before and we won’t let it happen again under the disguise of political politeness”. On the contrary, conservatives have won their dominant position in the Republican Party on the force of our ideas, not personal attacks. The media loves a good mud bath, its good ratings, and will always focus on the personal rather than thoughtful policy. As conservatives we will secure control of the GOP at the primary ballot box. But we must ensure whoever wins those primaries, they are in the best position to take the fight to the Democrats, and not scared by their own party.

To those who scream they would rather have a Democrat than a Republican that is not 100 percent to their liking; that thinking helped put Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan on the United States Supreme Court. I am not arguing for policy moderation. We as conservatives have fought for half a century to secure our policies define the Republican Party. When in the first half of the last decade a GOP congress and president forgot those Conservative values, not only did we see fiscal discipline vanish and deficits skyrocket, we saw the GOP returned to the minority and the White House lost. We must win the battle of ideas within the party, but we must do it on the strength of those ideas, not by personal attacks for they just leave all involved diminished.

What brought me to write this was my profound disappointment over comments by the Governor of Texas yesterday calling Mitt Romney a “fat cat” due to his personal financial wealth. It is absurd that any Republican would engage in the exact behavior we condemned when President Obama waged class warfare over the past few months. If a candidate cannot win the primaries on the strength of their ideas, even when contrasted with their opponents, they do not deserve to win. When they stoop to personal attacks against fellow republicans, they do not deserve our votes.

So today I stand on my soap box and ask all Republicans running for nominations at every level, stick to ideas and policy, and leave the trash talking personal attacks to the left. To my fellow conservatives and Republicans I encourage you to take personal responsibility not only in your words, but with your vote by letting those who would forget Reagan’s 11th Commandment know that they can forget your vote. The stakes are too high in 2012 for us to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

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Filed under 2012 Election, Conservative, Democracy, Leadership, Mitt Romney, Politics, Republican Party, Rick Perry, Ronald Reagan, The Grand Old Party, The White House