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.

Grist for the mill, crumbs for the Tea Party

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

There’s been quite a lot written about the Florida GOP moving it’s primary up to January 31st, which was made official a few weeks ago. Now, we have to see what the former early primary states will do. In all likelihood, those states will move their primary dates up significantly to maintain their stature as the first primary states.

To quote an article by Stacy McCain at the American Spectator:

Florida’s fateful decision Sept. 30 set in motion a chain of events which, as matters now stand, could result in New Hampshire holding its first-in-the-nation primary as early as December 6, less than two months from now. Although Florida had long threatened to break the RNC-imposed rule protecting the four states (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina) that traditionally hold early nominating contests, the timing of Florida’s final decision — immediately after Herman Cain won a Sept. 24 straw-poll in Orlando — aroused deep suspicions from conservatives.

Worse yet, it seems that Marco Rubio’s chief of staff, Cesar Conda, was a major player in the effort to move Florida’s primary date up. In addition, he’s a huge Mitt Romney supporter who was formerly a major D.C. lobbyist and aide to Dick Cheney.

Take a wild guess who is benefited by earlier primaries? Yep, Mitt Romney. It seems the fix is in for the proverbial “next-in-line”. I can’t tell you how much that pisses me off. Herman Cain was just starting to gain traction as a conservative and he has now been rendered impotent by the change in rules.

Why do I say this? It’s because Herman Cain doesn’t have the resources to compete in a race without having lots of time to get his message out. The best way for establishment Republicans to torpedo his campaign is to shorten the field for Romney.

Think of it this way. Your favorite football team has tied the score against a major BCS team in the 2nd quarter and it’s now halftime. When the 2nd half begins, the rules have suddenly changed. Since your team won the toss to start the game, that major, BCS team will now receive the opening kickoff. But now, you will have to kick it to them from your own 10-yard line. The first team to score will win the game.

What would you do in such a case if you were the next team facing this major, BCS team. I know what I’d do. I’d say screw you and refuse to play this team. Why put your team at risk of injury when they have no hope of winning?

I think this played into Sarah Palin’s decision not to seek the GOP nomination. And I’m not the only one who thinks that way.

Josh Painter has been a past guest on this show and he penned an excellent piece on his blog last Friday. In it, he said this:

The primary shuffling will throw up obstacles that will be very difficult, if not insurmountable, not only for conservative candidates such as Cain, but also for any other candidate not named Mitt Romney. This had to have been a key factor in the political calculus of Sarah Palin, but don’t doubt that it was a consideration for Chris Christie and Rudy Giuliani as well. Not just political instincts, but good political intel were likely involved in all three of these decisions not to run. Christie’s quick endorsement of Romney so soon after he announced that he would not get into the race indicates that not only did the New Jersey governor realize that the fix for Romney was in, but like any political opportunist, he was determined to use it for his own future political gain.

Unlike Christie, Sarah Palin is not for sale and neither are her core supporters. In his follow-up piece for The American Spectator, Stacy attributes the increase in Cain’s poll numbers largely to Palin supporters jumping on board the Cain train following the governor’s announcement that she would not run. But if you look carefully at the polling data, it’s clear that Cain’s rise is almost directly proportional to Rick Perry’s decline. What Stacy seems to have missed is the fact that Sarah Palin’s strongest supporters are in no hurry to jump to any other candidate’s ship. Indeed, her own ship is not sinking. It has only lowered its sails “at this time.” Make no mistake: when a favorable breeze is felt, the canvas will again be hoisted. No one GOP presidential candidate even comes close to offering the complete package Gov. Palin’s supporters still see in her. A few of her fair weather “fans” may go with the flow (or the media’s “flavor of the month”), but her serious supporters know that only dead fish do that, as the governor has often said. No, it will take quite a lot for any other candidate to win the allegiance of the Palinistas. So far, we’re not seeing it from any one of them.

In addition to Josh’s article, Patrick S. Adams wrote another excellent piece that he published on his blog, Patrick’s World, and Conservatives4Palin yesterday morning. His piece was titled “Palin Exposes Problems in GOP by Not Running”. While a lengthy piece, here is the beginning:

More and more, people are starting to see that Sarah Palin’s decision to not run has left a gaping hole in the Republican field. Ever since she hit the campaign trail in 2008, the left wing media has pummeled her and the Republican establishment has been silent – and in some cases complicit. While Republican establishment types cringed behind closed doors fearing a run or weaved their fears tactfully into articles and commentaries leading up to the 2012 race, millions of regular everyday Americans were becoming fans on her Facebook page, with many of them giving time and/or money to support her. Even the most ardent of Palin supporters are finding out now that there was a lot more support for her than even they thought. Now that she’s not running, we’re learning a lot more about the GOP.

I would highly recommend that you to read his entire article. You can find it at Conservatives4Palin or PatricksWorldUSA. I’ll provide the link on my blog after the program.

Having said all that, how do you think the Tea Party feels about now. Well, I consider myself a Tea Partier and I’M PISSED OFF!

What the hell were the 2010 elections about? Damnit! If the GOP tries to cram Romney down my throat, I might just take my vote elsewhere. Screw it! I’ll vote for the conservative in the race and I don’t care if that candidate is part of the Republican Party or not! I am not willing to waste my vote on one more RINO Republican. Let the Republican and the Democrat Parties take responsibility for the downfall of our great nation. I vote to continue our Republic…..you know, the one our Constitution talks about. I will not vote for another establishment candidate for the rest of my life. No way, no how! Period, end of story!

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

Links to today’s quoted articles:

Stacy McCainRepublican Campaign Apocalypse

Josh PainterDid Team Palin uncover an October surprise in September?

Patrick S. AdamsPalin Exposes Problems in GOP by Not Running

Wall Street Journal Online – The Exasperation of the Democratic Billionaire

You can listen to today’s show HERE.

Crony-Capitalism comes front and center

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

Well, well, well. It seems that Sarah Palin was prescient in her Iowa Tea Party speech a few weeks ago. All the news since then seems to be centered around crony capitalism. For the record, I suggested in a blog post immediately after her speech that I would not be surprised if Sarah’s speech became a topic of conversation amongst the other candidates. I wrote:

Sarah’s speech is going to have a profound impact on the current Republican candidates. It will be VERY interesting to see if any of them attempt to co-opt her ideas.

On my show the following day, I said this:

In a absolutely stunning idea, Sarah Palin proposed eliminating ALL corporate income tax, thereby removing the incentive behind crony-capitalism. I have no doubt that this will be scrutinized intensely on today’s Sunday news shows and well into next week, as it should be.

Well, I was wrong on one count. The conversation has lasted far more than one week. In fact, it played a big role in the Republican debate in Atlanta last Tuesday night. Of course, the main target was Rick Perry due to his front-runner status, but the topic of crony-capitalism has now come front and center. It has been the focus of debate on countless news programs and rightly so.
Continue reading