Parsing the GOP candidates

It is what it is. We have an amalgam of personalities that are all desperately trying to posture themselves as the “conservative” GOP candidate. Why do they all seem to fall short?

I’ll get to my impressions of the candidates shortly. I’ve ordered the list based on current polling and NOT based on my opinion of their candidacies. This is the order that RealClearPolitics ranked the GOP candidates as of November 29, 2011:

1. Newt Gingrich – 23.8
2. Mitt Romney – 21.3
3. Herman Cain – 15.5
4. Rick Perry – 8.0
5. Ron Paul – 8.0
6. Michelle Bachmann – 4.8
7. Rick Santorum – 2.3
8. Ron Huntsman – 2.3

This is not intended to be an attack on any candidate, it is only my impressions of their potential as the chief executive of the United States of America.

1. Newt Gingrich – I like Newt. He impressed me when he crafted the “Contract with America” and was able to regain the House of Representatives for the GOP. I was very disappointed at his ridiculous attempt to make Bill Clinton “blink” over the budget shutdown. Clinton played him for a fool and the liberal media followed the Clinton line until a GOP capitulation. Gee, who would have that would happen?

Newt’s blind obsession with his policy acumen turned into a laughable exercise in plain-speak. Newt lost and Clinton won. I worry about his tendency to “get in the weeds” on policy during an election. That tendency will lose people that don’t follow politics but once every 4 years. Spare the electorate your policy details, they only want to hear sweeping, consistent statements. Save the policy details for your website.

More than anything, those “sweeping, consistent statements” should uplift the electorate and give them a glimpse into the principles that you stand for, not a recitation of section B.2.a.ii. of your budget plan.

2. Mitt Romney – I must say that I liked Mitt back in 2008. I have to add, however, that I was looking at ANYONE besides John McCain and Mike Huckabee. When Huckabee knee-capped Mitt and tossed his delegates to McCain, I was bewildered. I only came around to McCain when he picked Sarah Palin as his running mate.

Unfortunately, the more I learn, the more I worry. How can you claim the mantle of a conservative when you can’t articulate a consistent belief from one minute to the next? I have real concerns about Mitt and worry about what path he’d take if elected. I want to support a principled individual that is able to articulate those principles in a concise, consistent manner.

3. Herman Cain – Businessman, self-made success, articulate in speaking to conservative ideals, yet an amateur in national politics. Governing is not the same as managing and the skill-set is different. You still need an ego, but your ego has to take a back seat to your sense of importance. You’re trying to convince people that you’re serving their interests, not convince them that your ego will prevail. We’ve all seen how far a big ego can get you in Washington, D.C. After all, you aren’t talking to a board-room full of people that were hired to support and oversee you. You’re talking to a host of Congressmen and Senators that want to take you and your agenda out! You’d better be able to articulate a position that your constituents demand and support. Your constituents are now your Board of Directors. Do them proud and bone up on the details. Your ego won’t overcome your lack of preparation.

4. Rick Perry – Governor of a conservative state, blessed with economic conditions that other states do not have and able to maintain a certain status quo. Perry’s situation in Texas reminds me an awful lot of Bill Clinton’s tenure in Washington. After Clinton had his hat handed to him due to Hillarycare, he chose to stand back. Since he had inherited the best economic conditions of any President in the history of our nation and to his credit, he did very little during rest of his term to derail those economic conditions. He just couldn’t stay out of his own socialist leanings, however, and accelerated the disaster that the Community Reinvestment Act would reek on our economy after he left.

Rick Perry’s in-state tuition grants for immigrants is his Hillarycare. The difference is that he’s not currently in the Oval Office, so he doesn’t have the ability to pivot from a bad policy to get a second chance. The American electorate is very forgiving if you keep the economy humming along. If Bill Clinton had to answer to Hillarycare during the election of 1992, he never would have been elected.

5. Ron Paul – A fringe candidate who appeals to a vocal swath of the electorate with his libertarian views. Unfortunately for Ron Paul, libertarians cannot win an election in a country where the majority of the electorate considers themselves to be conservative. In addition, conservatives view the United States as a force of good in the world. Paul’s tendencies toward isolationist policies don’t sit well with those that champion our armed forces for their sacrifice. We are not a country of wimps and we will not support a candidate that acts like a wimp.

6. Michelle Bachmann – A conservative firebrand that is saddled by her limited tenure in national politics. A sitting Representative from Congress has only won the Presidency once in our entire history and that was over 100 years ago. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

7-?? Still trying to gain traction. Good luck!

All in all, I’m about as unimpressed this year as I was in 2008.

The conservative base in the Republican Party is currently grasping at straws. They’ll hold their nose and vote, but I’m not sure they will do so in sufficient numbers to keep Obama from getting re-elected. In addition, I worry about short coat-tails. The GOP should be able to hold the House and capture the Senate, but they’ll need a good candidate at the top of the ticket to do it.

With all this uncertainty, you can be assured that we’ll see a 3rd-party candidate enter the race. Why not? They can’t do any worse than any other 3rd-party candidate in the past and if they have a good message, who know what might happen.

The only course for the current GOP field is to become a vocal advocate of reform, both sudden and relentless. There are legions of people that supported Sarah Palin’s message and continue to do so. In my mind, the front-runner of the GOP candidates better get their head out of their ass and recognize that her supporters are not going to support them just because they lead the pack. In addition, I fervently believe that they will need her support to win.

As Sarah Palin said herself, “The challenge is not simply to replace Obama in 2012, the real challenge is who and what we will replace him with.”

Crony Capitalism – Part Deux

Here is the monologue from today’s Roderic Deane Show:

Last week, we talked with Peter Schweizer and Stephen Bannon about Peter’s new book, “Throw Them All Out!” Peter’s book is a huge eye-opener to the legalized graft that exists in Washington, D.C.

Dictionary.com provides a definition as follows:

graft [noun]

1. the acquisition of money, gain, or advantage by dishonest, unfair, or illegal means, especially through the abuse of one’s position or influence in politics, business, etc.

2. a particular instance, method, or means of thus acquiring gain or advantage.

3. the gain or advantage acquired.

Of course, there are other definitions of the word “graft”, but we’ll go the definition that suits us.

Peter Schweizer talked about a number of ways that Washington politicians take advantage of their positions and use inside knowledge to enrich themselves. His book talked about insider-trading, land acquisitions based on inside knowledge, the power of campaign contributions and lobbying efforts to sway legislation to one’s advantage. What’s really sad is that most if not all of the examples cited in his book are perfectly legal. Why, you ask? Because the people that make the laws exempt themselves from that which is enforced against us, their lowly constituents.

Since Schweizer’s book has come out, Congressional hearings have been scheduled after an outcry within Republican Max Baucus’s district. Calls for his immediate resignation after disclosures in Schweizer’s book have forced him to capitulate to these demands. He has scheduled Congressional hearings this December about insider-trading in Washington as an alternative to his resignation. The big question will be whether of not any of these hearings will really effect change.

Oh, I suspect that we’ll see a few Representatives and their staffers get slaps on the wrist, but I seriously doubt that we’ll see meaningful changes until the full scope of the problem becomes known and reported on. Mainstream media is hesitant to report on examples of this legalized graft for fear of losing access to inside sources of information so vital to their jobs.

What we know is that there is a symbiotic relationship between Congress, the mainstream media and what I’ll call Big Lobby. It is the lobbyists’ money that everyone is beholden to. It forms the basis for everything else that leads to legalized graft because it is the conduit through which all information flows.

To be fair, there are certainly other instances of legalized graft that don’t go through the network of Big Lobby, but those instances still involve insider information that Congressional leaders are privvy to. Case in point is Dennis Hastert, the former Republican Speaker of the House. He was privvy to information about the path of a new highway near certain property that he owned. The path of the highway changed and miraculously ran near or through some of his property. You all know what has happened in our communities when a new highway is built to ease congestion into and out of our cities. These highways become the new growth areas and anyone holding property rights at or near an interchange can see huge gains in the value of their land as developers clamor to acquire them.

The truly scary part about all of this is that Washington, D.C. sets the stage for every other level of government, including state, county and local. The major difference is that as politics become more local in scope, the effects on us as individuals are more apparent and measurable. When a United States Congressman takes advantage of his or her position, it is often manifested in areas outside of his or her district and outside the scope of local news reporting.

Our Framers felt very strongly about citizen legislators that would bring the concerns of their constituents to Washington. As we’ve all become part of the “information age”, we now have access to information that extends far beyond local issues. In addition, our legislators no longer deal in information unique to their local districts. As citizens, we must recognize the different world that we live in and adjust accordingly.

Our Framers gave us tools to adapt our founding principles. That doesn’t mean that we cast aside those principles, it only means that we have the ability to address current times and continue to maintain those principles. What we’re seeing today is an abomination of those principles. It’s time to go back to the drawing board and reign in the explosion of extra-Constitutional laws and activities that were never meant to be there in the first place. As Sarah Palin likes to put it, now is the time for sudden and relentless reform. Otherwise, our Constitution will cease to have meaning in our society and we will once again become subject to the powers that be in some far-off place. Today, that place is known as Washington, D.C.

You can listen to the show HERE.

Interview with Peter Schweizer

I had the good fortune of interviewing Peter Schweizer on today’s show. He was traveling along the East Coast by train, so his call presented a bit of a challenge. What follows is my monologue from the show:

I almost named this show “A Country Poised to Turn Upside-Down”. When you hear people talk about nearing the “tipping point”, what do YOU think about? It’s scary to think about a country that is different than what we grew up with. After all, we have a bit of history, don’t we? Didn’t we endure a revolutionary war to cement our independence? Didn’t we carve out a Constitution to manage our country in that war’s aftermath? Didn’t we fight a Civil War to end one individual’s dominance over another?

What in God’s name has happened? How did such an honorable endeavor turn into what we see today?

Unfortunately, I can’t answer that. I can only give you clues that suggest how we might have gotten here.

One of my favorite quotes comes from Rush Limbaugh. I have to paraphrase it, because he reconfigured his site and the quote is no longer where it was in the past.

“Most people’s historical perspective begins with the day of their birth.”

The reason I like this quote is because it’s true! We all have a great perspective when we look at things in relationship to our past. The issue becomes the fact that our own past should not be the only thing to advise us of our future. We also have 200+ years of history that we must take into account! Sadly, most educational institutions do not teach our youth the facts of our heritage to help broaden their perspective.

We are now witnessing the results of the disenfranchisement of our youth from our history. They no longer champion the entrepreneur. Instead, they villainize him. Why do they not recognize the entrepreneur’s vital contribution to our society? Why do they treat the entrepreneur’s success with disdain? It’s because our educational institutions have taught them to. Moreover the target of their disdain in misplaced by focusing solely on Wall Street or, for that matter, Main Street.

As conservatives, we dedicate our lives to providing for our families. We sacrifice much in the pursuit of a “new idea” that we hope might advance society and improve our family’s well-being. That maxim is now being thwarted by the policies of our federal government in its pursuit of power.

The power to control our lives is tantamount to our existing government’s ability to enrich itself at our expense. In my lifetime, I’ve seen the detrimental effects of government’s insatiable desire to control us. It has unraveled our foundational principles and made us totally subservient to it. It no longer governs as “We the People”.

If you have connections, however, you can game the system to your advantage. As government grows larger and larger, the influence of special interest becomes entwined within the bureaucracy. It’s like allowing Morning Glory to grow in you flower bed. At first, the plant might stay where you put it and help populate your trellis with a blanket of leaves and the morning flowers. Left unchecked, however, it will quickly take over everything within reach and begin altering the intended appearance of your flower bed. If left to go to seed, you will spend the rest of your life trying to keep it from coming up every spring.

Our government has reached the stage of a garden overrun with Morning Glory. It can no longer be contained within its intended boundaries. It has morphed into a hideous weed that threatens to destroy any appearance of a garden. It’s now providing cover for other undesirable elements like rodents and herbivores, which we call lobbyists and legislators. Mosquitoes and bureaucrats hide in the shade of its leaves during the day and then attack us at nightfall.

There is only one answer to correcting such a state. The garden must be completely uprooted an tilled over before you can replant. It might take a few seasons to rid yourself of unwanted growth, but in time, the garden will once again take on its intended appearance. Never again can Morning Glory be allowed to take hold.

As Sarah Palin likes to say, the only answer is sudden and relentless reform.

You can listen to my interview with Peter Schweizer HERE.

Special thanks to Stephen Bannon for arranging this interview. Stephen, you ROCK!

Crony Capitalism

What follows is the monologue from today’s Roderic Deane Show.

Crony Capitalism. Perhaps a way to describe it would be legalized corruption. This is how Dictionary.com defines corruption:

(noun)

1. The act of corrupting or state of being corrupt.

2. moral perversion; depravity.

3. perversion of integrity.

4. corrupt or dishonest proceedings.

5. bribery.

6. debasement or alteration, as of language or a text.

7. a debased form of a word.

8. any corrupting influence or agency.

Now, here is how BusinessDictionary.com defines crony capitalism:

An economy that is nominally free-market, but allows for preferential regulation and other favorable government intervention based on personal relationships. In such a system, the false appearance of “pure” capitalism is publicly maintained to preserve the exclusive influence of well-connected individuals.

Anytime money can be used to influence a governmental outcome to one’s own advantage, it could be described as a form of corruption. Why? Because once you allow a governmental system to become skewed toward a special interest, that governmental system can no longer be described as “of the people, for the people and by the people”, a phrase coined by Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address.

Crony capitalism has grown exponentially as our government has become more complex. The legalistic mumbo-jumbo of legislative language does not serve we, “the people” when the least of our members is powerless to comprehend the impact of a legislative outcome on his or her own life. The people can no longer be described as self-reliant when they become dependent on someone else to explain a law or regulation that affects them. It is that self-reliance that has propelled the citizens of The United States to achieve more than has ever been achieved by any group of people in the history of the world. That spirit of self-reliance has been corrupted to the point where it is no longer recognizable.

For those of us that continue to live our lives in that spirit of self-reliance, our current government is also no longer recognizable. Although we cannot place singular blame on crony capitalism for our current state of government, it has been a significant contributing factor in our government’s devolvement from its original design. The power of our governing institutions has grown so much that there is barely any aspect of our lives that it doesn’t touch and seek to control. As Lord Acton so famously put it, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Today, we are seeing the effects of crony capitalism on the integrity of our elected officials. Common law is no longer the law of the land. It has been usurped by the willingness of elected officials to turn a blind eye toward its basic principles. These officials now march in lockstep with the special interests that pad their pockets with campaign dollars. These campaign dollars allow the politician to maintain power and the corrupting nature of that power is obvious to anyone outside its influence. Unfortunately, once inside the prism of government, the light of that knowledge bends away from those we most desperately need it to shine on. We have but one alternative and that is sudden and relentless reform.

You can listen to the show HERE.

Letters and Rumors and Chuck Heath, Jr.

Update: Judging from the comments here and elsewhere, it’s become obvious that Chuck Jr. did NOT dispel the rumor of Governor Palin’s reconsideration. I have modified the next sentence accordingly.

News Flash: Chuck Heath, Jr. attempted to dispel dispelled rumors that Governor Sarah Palin is reconsidering her decision not to run for the Presidency.

What follows is the monologue from today’s Roderic Deane Show:

Well, the last eight days have been very interesting. No more than 15 minutes after we concluded the very first Grizzly Fest event, I was busily downloading the audio file and breaking it into 3, one-hour chunks to post on the GrizzlyFest.com website. After I finished doing that, I prepared the Post-Show to premiere on last week’s Roderic Deane Show. When I was finished with that, I was pretty much spent and headed off for bed. I knew I needed to get some sleep before Sunday’s show.

When I got up on Sunday, I reviewed my show notes, made my NFL picks for two online pools I’m in and then starting perusing the news. One of my favorite sites is “Hot Air”, although I must admit that Allahpundit gets on my nerves at times. I saw a post about Herman Cain and allegations of sexual harrassment. I clicked through to the Politico piece, read about a page and a half and stopped. I knew right then and there that Politico was doing a hatchet job on Herman Cain. I turned my attention to final preparations for the Roderic Deane Show.

After the show, I decided that I needed a break from political news and spent the rest of the day watching various NFL games. I’d check email every now and then to see if there was any news about the preceding Saturday’s Grizzly Fest. C4P posted a link to a story that appeared on ABCNews.com regarding Grizzly Fest. It was written by Shushanna Walsh, who is generally a pretty fair and unbiased reporter regarding anything relating to Sarah Palin.

To her credit, she posted an article to “The Note” and described our online summit. Unfortunately, her take-away from the 3+ hour event was a comment from Chuck Heath, Jr. that he would work on Governor Palin to re-consider her decision not to seek the Presidency.

My first thought was “bummer”, that sound-bite did not capture the scope of Grizzly Fest. Then I thought about the old maxim from Hollywood, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity”. I was pleased with the fact that at least someone in the mainstream noticed what we had done!

On Monday, the Herman Cain story was the main topic in the political world. I think Mark Levin devoted a big chunk of his entire week discussing it. And for good reason. The disgusting lack of journalistic integrity was on display for ANYONE to see. Herman Cain was assumed guilty unless he would provide details of his innocence. The problem was, Herman Cain wasn’t privvy to the settlement process surrounding the charges.

The feeding frenzy went unabated for the few days, but on Wednesday, something new hit on my radar screen. Dr. Gina Loudon had interviewed Lee Davis on her show and Davis stated that he had inside information that, given the events of the week, Governor Palin was taking another look at getting into the race.

Wow!

I want to get to the bottom of this. Coming up on the program, I’m going to read a letter that was published on a website asking Governor Palin to reconsider. It’s gotten an awful lot of exposure in the last few days since it was published. Then, I want to get to the bottom of this rumor that was first broadcast on the Dr. Gina Loudon Show. Stay tuned!

…and that’s my two-cents worth for the week.

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Joining me on the show today:

Jelayne Sessler – Defending Sarah Palin

Dr. Gina Loudon – The Dr. Gina Show

Chuck Heath, Jr. – Alaska resident, brother of Governor Sarah Palin and soon-to-be author.
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You can listen to today’s show HERE.