The State of the GOP

I hear a lot of complaining about the Republican Party these days. I share their frustration. How could it come to this? As the fourth year of the Obama era begins the state of the union is shaky at best. In 2008 an inexperienced leftist who donned a centrist disguise beat a weak opponent partly because the electorate was in such a state of shock that they were willing to ignore myriad red flags. I refer to his ultra-liberal voting record, murky background, radical friends and shady political pals. A lapdog media wasn’t interested in doing any vetting — opting instead to just cheer-lead.

The recent State of the Union was full of the same old stuff: congratulating himself for perceived accomplishments and complaining about Republican obstructionism. It’s pure trash and he knows it – but he’s betting that the American electorate will swallow it once again.
Anyone curious enough to look beyond the pliant press would have found that Obama’s speech was in many instances a word-for-word rehash of his previous “SOTU’s” here:

LINK

Further analysis shows his tax claims to be demonstrably false, here:
LINK

With evidence like that this election should be easy right? Obama is a now known quantity and the mask has been ripped off the entire Democrat Party. They marched in lockstep to shove Obamacare down our throats, bypassing an honest legislative process and ignoring the will of the people, including those in uber-liberal Massachusetts who voted for Scott Brown on that issue alone. They have reclaimed the crown as the biggest spenders – quickly eclipsing the Republicans of the previous era. Annual deficits are now running $1.5 TRILLION and we have nothing to show for it.

We should be planning our election night parties – and yet…

It is a mess. Many are fearful that we’re paving the way for Obama to be re-elected. From a very large field full of flawed candidates we’re left with a clueless Mitt Romney fending off desperate attacks from a flailing Newt Gingrich and the Republican Party seems to be doing the Democrats’ dirty work for them. We’re told by self-proclaimed experts that Romney is the only “electable” candidate and yet the guy has no track record of winning. The one time he did he passed a government-run health care bill that paved the way for the mess we’re trying to get repealed.

While Newt’s failures as Speaker of the House have been misrepresented – and his major victories diminished – Mitt is mostly given a free pass. Santorum is the non-Romney of the month but he is a lightweight punching out of his weight class. Ron Paul is given exactly the attention he deserves: credit for his criticism of our dangerous fiscal / monetary policy and scorn for his dangerously naïve foreign policy. Has anyone noticed that he is attracting the youth vote?

But how did the Republican Party let this happen? Well, let’s think about it for a minute. Who is the Republican Party? It’s the candidates who run as Republicans and the people who vote for them. It’s the current crop of elected officials who still self-identify with the party and caucus with them. Let’s not forget the Murkowskis of the world who are only Republican when it’s convenient, or the traders like Jeffords and Specter who changed teams. It is also the RNC – but they really only get involved AFTER the primaries, funneling money where it is most needed in closely fought general elections.

The candidates are a reflection of what we as voters demand. For too long we settled for mushy compromising centrists like Bush and McCain who did nothing to curtail spending or the rampant encroachments on our freedoms. I am not letting the Republicans in Congress off the hook. Spending bills start there. We have a President – not a king. Obama is clearly irritated by that. But the Republicans have not stood united as a party and held their ground. They should have been there all along saying. “We simply cannot afford this level of spending. We can’t defend our country and fund out-of-control entitlement programs. We cannot suspend the laws of economics to give houses to those who cannot afford mortgage payments. We will destroy our economy if we do.”

Nope. They reached across the aisle and danced around the third rails of politics and took the easy way out. McCain was one of them and Newt Gingrich was too. Romney pretends to “Mr. Private Sector” but he didn’t trust it to deal with the health care industry. It is no wonder attacks on him have stuck.

So the Tea Party was born. They are more loosely organized than the GOP. They do not have the big money yet. They only have a few true believers in office now; young leaders like Marco Rubio. Old phonies like Newt are merely pretenders trying to harness their energy. But the Tea Party activists at least have clear principles: smaller, efficient government; low, flat taxes; balanced budgets: strong foreign policy; free markets.

The debates are a disgrace. Who agreed to this? The RNC? This was a blown opportunity to clarify what the GOP platform is to be. We should be discerning not just where the candidates are different but where they agree. Liberal TV commentators should not be involved. Their slanted, “gotcha” questions waste precious time and give the Democrats advantages they should not be granted. Who lets the other team into the huddle?

Who are the party “leaders” who convinced Chris Christie and Paul Ryan not to run? Why didn’t those candidates seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? If Romney wins and does well, he is odds-on to run again and make it an 8 year wait for GOP contenders. Then maybe the pendulum swings left again. If Romney wins and lacks the will to make the bold moves we won’t get the recovery we need. Voters will tire and be susceptible to more “hope and change”. There are lots of ways that it adds up to a 12 year wait for these rising stars. This is their best chance and our best chance.

Now we are in a primary cycle where the voters are unanimous in their support for “none of the above” Not Romney and not the non-Romneys either. I think a brokered election would be thrilling and historic — but wait – the GOP wants to screw that up too. Their idea of a “White Knight” late-entry candidate?

Jeb Bush. (Crickets)

Are they tone deaf? Sure, I know all about Jeb. He’s the smartest Bush. That is beyond irrelevant. This country is not in the mood for another Bush while still suffering from a great deal of the fallout from the financial crisis that began during his brother’s term. Sorry Jeb.

I am still optimistic. True change does not happen quickly in a world still suffering from an epidemic of incumbency. Only we can impose the term limits that are so desperately needed.

They say we get the government we deserve. I am sure I am not the only one who feels I deserve better than this. I work, pay taxes, get informed, get involved and then vote.

There is a battle for the soul of the GOP. There is a call for return to core principles as opposed to watered-down liberalism or “compassionate conservatism”. The Democrats are in a state of denial about theirs. Obama is being attacked from the left for not doing enough. Incredible. “Moderate” Democrats don’t seem bothered that their party has been taken over by de facto socialists.

The silver lining in this mess is that at least Republican voters are showing that they care about character as this search for the non-Romney goes on. Democrats were too eager to embrace scripted charisma in an empty suit. We can do better. We will. Hopefully soon.

Pat Duggan

Romney Wins But Still a Liberal

The only positive development in the wake of the early primaries is that fewer bad candidates are now running.

The GOP is to blame for this. They lack leadership at virtually all levels. The recent negotiations over the Keystone pipeline were completely bungled with Republicans battling Republicans and seizing defeat from the jaws of victory.

They do not have a cohesive message. If they did it would be clear to all that Mitt’s message doesn’t match. McCain would’ve flunked the same test. Now McCain has endorsed Romney. Is that supposed to soothe our collective anxiety about this deeply flawed candidate?

Romney says his experience in the private sector is what qualifies him for the top office. Then why did he think private industry couldn’t handle health care and insurance?

Romney says his plan was appropriate for states – but not OK at the national level.

Please. Here in Illinois we’ll soon have two consecutive Governors in Jail, with 4 of the last 8 convicted. Our state is broke with unfunded pensions that rank us last in terms of fiscal stability. Yup, just let our corrupt politicians run our health care and insurance systems.

This is area of greatest vulnerability and yet his debate opponents haven’t made the point. Instead, they attack him from the left with talking points that sound like they were lifted from a MoveOn.org rant.

His work at Bain Capital is worth noting. Dysfunctional companies were restructured to make them profitable. Profitable companies create long-lasting jobs. Unprofitable ones come begging for bailouts.

Obama “invested” OUR money in Solyndra. That is a stark contrast that should help any eventual GOP nominee. Shame on the other Republican candidates for attacking free-market capitalism.

I’d like to know if Mitt would work some of that magic on the energy and education departments. Would he fire thousands of bureaucrats and make our government more efficient?

Does Mitt understand that while companies benefit from a hands-on management, government serves best when it interferes least?

Why is Romney considered to be the only one who can win when his election record is abysmal? He has won exactly one election. He then promptly “reached across the aisle” to pass a disastrous health care plan that is driving up health care and insurance costs just as predicted.

The GOP can’t afford this. Romney will only further harm the GOP brand. They need a candidate who believes in small government, the constitution and free markets. A true supply sider would set the economy on the road to recovery. Romney is a big government hack who would engage in more Keynesian nonsense. He has pledged a currency war with China and would further devalue the dollar throwing gas on the inflation fire already burning.

We will likely be stuck with Romney. Our principled criticism should not be toned down. What we want transcends party lines: a balanced budget, smaller, more efficient government, fewer encroachments on our personal freedoms, and government completely out of the housing business. I want to hear it in the debates against Obama. It is the only time both sides pay attention.

The various tea party groups have a lot of work to do. They did not have a candidate in this race –despite claims to the contrary. Bachmann and others may have tried to harness their energy but it is the new leaders, like Marco Rubio, who were elected due to their influence. The time will come for someone like him to grab the brass ring. For Now Rubio and Paul Ryan need to work hard to exert the powers of Congress; first to battle Obama, and later to bring reform with a Republican President. Our economy would benefit greatly from a sense that stability was returning. Tax policy that lasts for two months is unsettling for business and markets. Shame on the GOP for going along with such an asinine plan.

In the meantime we should take solace in the understanding that if it’s Romney, he will merely be our President – not king as Obama seems to think.

Pat Duggan

Congress Defaults

The so-called “Super Committee” failed to yield one iota of progress in resolving our debt crisis and credit-rating downgrade. We knew this would be the result the day it was announced. The leadership of both parties and President Obama should be ashamed for supporting this stunt that merely wasted precious time. The notion that 6 Democrats and 6 Republicans could agree on anything was and is ludicrous. That Congress would abdicate it’s duty in this way is shameful. This will be Boehner’s legacy.

I don’t know what is more frustrating: the ridiculous straw man arguments that the Democrats keep recycling — or the Republicans inability to debunk them.

The left has assailed sensible economic policy for decades via this tactic. Reagan’s policies that focused on cutting top tax rates, a strong dollar and selective deregulation were smeared with the moniker “trickle down” — as if that is what the conservatives were hoping would result. In a grand compromise, tax rates were cut with the promise that spending would be cut later. The Democrat-controlled Congress reneged on that pledge and the resulting deficits were blamed on Reagan’s tax reductions. The fact that revenues doubled in 8 years as top rates were cut from 70% to 28% was and is intentionally ignored. It is worth noting that it was Newt Gingrich and the GOP-led Congress that did get things under control resulting in the alleged surpluses of the Clinton era. (This was mostly smoke and mirrors that involved the raiding of the mythical Social Security “trust fund”; an accounting ruse that would land a CEO in jail.)

Now the Democrats are trying to pretend that the GOP has only one solution to every economic ill. They’ve consistently referred to unchanging tax rates as “tax cuts”. Democrats ramped up spending by 25 % in their 2 years of control and we have a jobless, weak recovery with record debt to show for it. Their stimulus failed as every sensible economist said it would. Keynesian economics can now be relegated to the “ash heap of history”.

The truth is that it is the Democrats who are offering a single solution to all our problems: hike tax rates on the top-earning bracket. A quick analysis shows that this doesn’t result in a substantial increase in revenue or a reduction in debt. Why? As always, there just aren’t enough rich people around. When this is acknowledged the next logical question must be: if taxing the top bracket is insufficient and we refuse to cut spending what must happen? And the only possible answer is: tax rates must then be raised across the board or our exploding debt will lead to excessive money printing, hyperinflation and ultimately, default and economic collapse. The middle class would be wise to take notice and vote accordingly.

Polls consistently show that we hold Congress as a whole in utter contempt – yet tend to give our own representative a passing grade. News flash: If your Senator or Representative has been around for more than 2 terms they are the problem.

I suggest Newt or Mitt or whoever make this their campaign theme:

It’s the spending stupid.

At some point spending and taxes must equate. Deficits at any point ensure higher taxes later. Politicians always prefer later. Later is here. We are at a point on the Laffer Curve where higher rates will produce diminishing returns. Comparisons to rates of earlier eras become faulty as local governments raise their taxes ever higher.

The tax demagogues should be confronted with this simple graph:

The lower rates accompany a period of tremendous growth, falling inflation rates and low unemployment. When I see this graph my impulse is to ask: what gives us the right to seize 90% of anybody’s anything? How did this happen? Isn’t our Constitution designed to prevent exactly this type of tyranny?

As for the spending, our next GOP nominee would be wise to choose Oklahoma Sen. (and Dr.) Tom Coburn as VP. He has outlined hundreds of billions in wasted spending – and yes, much of it is earmarked for Republican projects. This is the time for leadership. The GOP must take the first steps and specify where they will make cuts dear to their own constituency for the good of the country.

We have all the ammunition we need to support a conservative plan for real spending cuts – not just smaller increases – and tax reform that would eliminate the loopholes and streamline the filing process. When properly presented this common sense approach reveals the Democrats singular alternative for what it is: a simplistic and naïve approach that has been used before with disastrous results. Their insistence that it be tried once more is not policy it is a tantrum.

If the current President and Congress can’t take the obvious steps we need to fire them and elect a group who will.

Newt vs. Mitt

GOP voters are being told that Mitt Romney is our only chance. Rubbish. This comes from otherwise intelligent types like Michael Medved who committed to pathetic loser McCain early in the 2008 campaign.

The latest anti-Romney is Newt Gingrich. I don’t have to list the complaints here; they are well known — Mitt’s mistakes are also.

What’s maddening is it seems “they” have decided that Mitt’s mistakes are forgivable and Newt’s are not.

Now, sitting on a couch with Nancy Pelosi for a TV commercial is stupid — and doing it to promote the global warming agenda is worse — but many fell into the climate trap and are now reversing themselves. That is the right thing to do if you couldn’t see then that it never passed the smell test.

Yet Romney is forgiven for spearheading Massacare, the precursor to Obamacare. Mitt wants to pretend there are major differences. Nonsense.

If you don’t understand that government control at any level can only make health care and insurance worse then you’re too dumb to be dog catcher, let alone President.

Published in: on November 20, 2011 at 9:09 pm  Comments (6)  
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Romney Spins, Others Whiff

The GOP debates continue to disappoint on all levels.  The formats, the hosts, the questions and the sound bite speeches deprive us of the opportunity to discuss the important issues facing this country as we approach the one-year-to-go mark in the campaign.

They all seem to forget that they’re running for POTUS – not king.  Gimmicks like Herman Cain’s “999” have zero chance of getting through Congress. The candidates need to offer simpler frameworks as a basis for a continuing conversation that will lead to real legislation. Insist on simplifying the tax code so we can all fill out our own returns in less than an hour.  With the FairTax there are no more returns and no more IRS.  That said, the attacks on Cain’s “999” plan were shameful, straw-man arguments.  Mr. Cain anticipated this but did a poor job of pointing out that his opponents were attacking distorted versions of his plan.  He should know better.  This is the history of the FairTax he has supported for years.  As for the other candidates, they have a choice: They either don’t understand the concept of replacing federal income taxes with consumption taxes (in which case they are too stupid to be dog catcher – let alone POTUS), or they are lying. Either way, Herman Cain missed a chance to expose his opponents’ unwillingness to honestly debate.

As for Romney and his health care disaster, why won’t any of the candidates make this key point:  Government has no constitutional right to interfere in the health care or insurance markets at any level, state or federal.

The only thing that is going to bring lower costs is free markets and open competition.  The notion that you are going to suspend the laws of economics and mandate pricing or participation is asinine.  Let the liberals continue to make that mistake.  The GOP needs to take the lead in clarifying the issues.  Health care is the all-encompassing term for the goods and services provided by people who dedicate their lives to it. It’s their career.  It’s a business.  Profits are how those people are paid.  The notion that 1/6th of our economy should function differently is ridiculous.  The profit motive has been the motivating factor that has brought all the developments of modern medicine.  The so-called “rich”, that are so maligned by the left, have paid top dollar for early access to expensive, experimental drugs and procedures. This is a crucial stage in the process that later brings us all the affordable, refined versions.

Health insurance is a risk management tool.  We all need to stop using the terms health care and health insurance as if they are the same thing. The national audience that these debates bring is the perfect opportunity.

Mitt Romney’s unending attempts to split hairs here are despicable.  His role as Governor in bringing about “Massacare” shows a serious and disqualifying lack of judgment and basic economic understanding.  His ongoing effort to obfuscate the issue belies a lack of ethics.

When you add all this to his history of flip flopping and pandering it is clear that Mitt Romney is not a conservative and a poor choice to lead the GOP now or ever.

It is a sad state of affairs that this is the group battling for the GOP nomination.  It is even more telling that every single one of them would make a better President than Obama.

Patrick Duggan

Published in: on October 19, 2011 at 4:09 pm  Comments (2)  

The Debt Ceiling Charade

The so-called debate over the debt ceiling is going nowhere because the elected officials involved have zero experience in problem solving at any level. The only reason this debt ceiling increase hasn’t been rubber stamped like the last 100 times is that the Republican House is attempting to use it as a bargaining chip. With the Democrats in control of the Senate and Obama in the White House they have very little leverage and seemingly no clue as to how to use what they have.

Part of the problem is that Washington politicians know virtually nothing about negotiating. The result of almost every impasse is a “Washington Compromise”, just one more oxymoron from our capital. As every married man knows, a real compromise requires a tradeoff, some sort of sacrifice. You want to play golf this Saturday? Fine, but you’ll be spending Sunday working on that “honey do” list. You gotta give a little to get a little.

In the Washington alternative universe both sides get everything they want. But the laws of mathematics are not so easily suspended. Who does the giving? The tax payer of course. It is because of this habitual way of doing things that the debt keeps mounting.

It is all made worse due to the static scoring that assumes higher tax rates produce higher revenue. History shows us otherwise. The lowering of tax rates under Coolidge, Kennedy, Reagan and Bush II all were followed by increased revenue. Revenues fall during recessions-so let’s stop having them.

The GOP is trying to appear tough right now because they know this is why they won so big in the 2010 mid-terms. They have a mandate to cut spending without raising tax rates. Obama and the Democrats received the same message. Their solution? Stop passing budgets and try to stall until after the 2012 elections.

What should the Republican Party do?

First, get its act together. They are rudderless. There should be a clear plan with a chosen leader to promote it. Plan it before you publicize it. Instead, on the night we pass the “Cut, Cap and Balance” the “Gang of Six” announces a conflicting plan. I am a fan of Tom Coburn. He is one of the few decent people in politics-but he should have his head examined. Why would anyone join a “gang” that included Dick Durbin?

They need to make this a 2012 issue. It goes like this:

We have presented a plan for moving forward. In acknowledgement that the economy is still showing signs of weakness, particularly in the employment sector, we refuse to consider a tax hike. Since government spending requires diverting money from the private sector and prevents growth we are proposing serious spending cuts-not just lower levels of increase. By necessity this includes serious entitlement reform.

If the Democrats in the Senate refuse to work with us-or if the President vetoes this common sense plan-we will have no choice but to pass a series of small bumps in the debt ceiling to prevent a shutdown of government. The American people have made it clear that the growth of government must stop. We agree and we’re willing to take that fight to the polls in 2012.

Pat Duggan

Debate the Bigger Issue

Instead of playing a game of political chicken with Obama, the Republican leadership should grab the high ground and focus everyone’s attention on the big picture. Everyone knows the debt ceiling must be raised. The question is not whether it will peak at 15 or 16 trillion dollars-the cold reality is that it will be a much higher number. The GOP should not get trapped into negotiating around such a puny issue. They need to move the focus on the bigger, more important concerns. The health of the economy and the debt rating hinge on Washington’s ability to change the trajectory of government spending and the debt it generates. Under Obama, spending as a share of GDP has jumped 25% while revenues have dropped, as they always do, due to the deep recession. Current debt is virtually irrelevant when compared to the unfunded entitlement liabilities that exceed $100 TRILLION.

The only way to solve this problem, which was decades in the making, is with a long-term plan that will transcend the 2 year election cycle. The GOP needs to reject the static scoring that puts a price tag on lower tax rates. The Laffer curve demonstrates that the presumed correlations do not exist. Alan Reynolds recently authored a piece in the Wall Street Journal accompanied by a chart showing income tax revenue as a share of GDP as the top marginal rate was lowered from 91% to 28%. Revenues rose as a raw number and a percentage. (More on that here: LINK)

The silver lining in the current economic cloud is that the Democrats with their super majorities were able to give their economic theories a thorough test. The failure is also thorough and evident. The so-called “stimulus” was neither targeted nor temporary. The Democrats are trying to use it as a new baseline for budgeting. The crown for the party of big spending is properly placed once again. The GOP needs to claim victory and move on. The 2010 mid-term elections are their mandate.

This is our moment. We must seize it. Promises have been made for decades that can never be kept. The age of unfunded liabilities is over. True entitlement reform must include a transition to private accounts so that congress can never again spend what should have been in the mythical trust fund. Our health care is our responsibility. It is not a right-it is a basic necessity, just like food and housing-other areas where government meddling wreaks havoc. Insurance is a risk management tool that adds a layer of bureaucracy and the associated costs. It should be used sparingly, and will be, once it is untangled from the insane tax code.

A vibrant, growing economy can eventually dwarf the debt figures and then we can pay it off entirely. A rational energy policy focused on domestic drilling and proven technologies must replace the “green” fantasy. Real jobs will produce real revenue and help slay the inflation dragon that has already brought us $4 gas. Gains in national security are achieved as well. This message, this vision, can clarify the ongoing debate and serve as a national platform for the 2012 elections.

Pat Duggan

Debate Hits and Misses

I think everyone had their good and bad moments in the CNN debate.

Herman Cain makes sense.

Ron Paul seems to be the only one properly worried about the Fed and our currency.

Rick Santorum shows well but is going to have a hard time setting himself apart.

Newt did what I was hoping he’d do before he screwed up his campaign.

Bachmann was the best at utilizing the format-both in scoring applause with campaign-worthy sound bytes and with her official announcement.

Romney was smooth but I don’t think that’s going to be enough to counter the Romneycare debacle and his recent embrace of the global warming hoax. He NEEDS to flip flop!

Pawlenty articulated his economic plan well but blew it when he refused to apply his “Obamnycare” label to the guy it was written for. He came across as a weaselly politician when he tried to spin it as a  hit only on Obama. He will never get a chance to debate Obama if he doesn’t wrestle front runner status from Mitt and to do that he needs to attack his Achilles heel.

Romneycare is 95% the same as Obamacare. Even if Mitt did the necessary thing and denounced it as an obvious mistake, given what we now know about it-it still shows an astounding lack of judgment and a total disregard for the free market principles that the GOP must embrace as the antidote to Obama’s government-mandated mess.

Pat Duggan

 

Published in: on June 14, 2011 at 12:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Anybody But Obama Strategy is Working

There’s very little difference in the media coverage about the wide-open field of contenders for the GOP nomination. Sure the liberal media is more condescending in their attitude and quick to calculate it as an edge to Obama-but even the Fox News crew seems unable to view it optimistically.

I see a very obvious advantage for the GOP in all this. As soon as a clear front runner emerges the Democrat’s attack machine will focus all their talents (and yes they’re good at it) on isolating and smearing that candidate’s record. Until that point the focus remains on the still-weak economy and Obama’s increasingly implausible excuses for it. The anybody-but-Obama polls should be a concern for the White House and the Chicago reelection office.

So let’s keep playing the game. Mitch Daniels drops out and Rick Perry of Texas seemed more interested. Sarah Palin is on a bus tour? Nobody seems to know how to handicap that. I’d say she’s not running but doesn’t want to leave the spotlight. Eventually, the spotlight is going to shine elsewhere.

Tim Pawlenty is a solid #2 in the online betting markets at 18.9% today, behind Romney’s 30.4%. That’s way ahead of declared candidates like Paul, Gingrich, Cain and Santorum. Is he getting the kind of attention from the press that warrants? Hardly.

Intrade Link

Published in: on June 7, 2011 at 3:59 pm  Comments (3)  
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Republican Primary Update

In a recent 24 hour span we eliminated 3 potential GOP primary candidates.

First Mike Huckabee announced he was not running (as predicted here).

Next Donald Trump not only announced he was not running, (predicted by everyone paying attention), he was deprived of the chance to boost ratings for the finale of the unwatchable train-wreck: Celebrity Apprentice.

Lastly Newt Gingrich imploded on Meet the Press in a fashion that exceeded the expectations of even those of us who knew he’d blow it eventually. I just thought he’d liven things up for more than a day. Charles Krauthammer and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor have already declared his candidacy dead, strangled in the crib.

These are all welcome developments. It has been nauseating to watch the left gloat as they charge that the Republican party is in disarray and leaderless. Lost on them is the irony that they are stuck with their own deeply-flawed candidate in Barack Obama. David Axelrod was able to fool the majority of swing voters last time around that Obama was a brilliant, pragmatic centrist. He didn’t fool us and now the gullible ones are angry at having been bamboozled. Those that ignored his spotty record of voting “present”, and his long-running relationships with Rev. Wright, unrepentant terrorist William Ayers and countless others on the radical left will now be confronted with his failed presidency.

The Republican campaign is already established. We are hosting tryouts for the leading role. The mission is agreed upon: Repeal Obamacare, cut spending and reverse the trajectory of an increasingly intrusive government.

Next up? Mitch Daniels-or as some are calling him: Myth Daniels. He has baggage like most of the others. His wife is not supportive of his candidacy and in the past has been unsupportive of Mitch as well. She divorced him for another man leaving behind four young daughters. Oops. He was Bush’s budget director for “No Child Left Behind”, the prescription drug entitlement and an increase in spending and deficits. He has voiced support for a VAT tax and is a global warming Kool-Aid drinker. That’s all I need to know. Find more here: LINK

So where does that leave us? I don’t know if Michele Bachmann will run. It’s all about money and as much as I like her I don’t know if I’d consider her a good investment. Herman Cain will officially announce this Saturday, May 21st, and I’m assuming he’s in. That’s great. Herman is a breath of fresh air, scoring high marks in the first debate. He debunked the myth of Washington “experience” with the punch line, “How’s that working out for you”?

I don’t need to rehash the long-shot status of Ron Paul or Gary Johnson. I’ll simply say that their controversial views on some issues, lead voters to dismiss their very sensible solutions on other issues, as radical.

The hoped for candidacies of Chris Christie, Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio remain unlikely. A late entry by a white knight is fun to consider but for now we need to focus on the reality.

Sarah Palin is not running. She is merely dragging out that announcement for as long as she can. I disagree that she will play a role as “kingmaker”. She is irrelevant.  Her time in the spotlight is soon to end. We’ll have an exciting race to watch and she won’t be a part of it. Even Fox news will be faced with diminishing returns for the money they pay her.

Romney is mortally wounded. He is not taking the necessary steps to save his candidacy. It will be a slow, painful and expensive death.

That leaves us again with Tim Pawlenty. The liberal media is literally ignoring him. What does that tell us? When they conduct polls they still throw in Palin and others who are not running. They are trying to obfuscate the situation. But take a look at “Intrade”, the online betting site. Pawlenty is number two right behind Romney. LINK

Now that the clowns are dropping out Pawlenty is going to get a serious look. He has fewer problems than the rest. That just might be enough. For the last minute potential heroes the question they should be asking themselves now is: Can Pawlenty win and will I feel confident supporting him-or do I need to jump in?

Pat Duggan

Published in: on May 17, 2011 at 11:37 am  Comments (4)  

Brain of Newt

Newt Gingrich is brilliant-just ask him.

He is impressive as he dissects the intricacies of various policies. He delivers precise, sound-bite worthy comments. He shreds Obama and his administration’s countless blunders. An Obama / Gingrich debate would be “must see TV”.

I’d buy a ticket to see it.

But he does really stupid things too. Recently he sucked up to the ethanol crowd while in Iowa. Pathetic.

But nothing can top his TV commercial, sitting on a couch with Nancy Pelosi, agreeing that we just had to do something about climate change. As Jay Leno might say, “What were you thinking?”

Watch it here:

LINK

Newt might run for the GOP nomination for President. I think he’d make the debates lively and bring some needed focus on serious issues. But he’s an egomaniac and blew it when he was Speaker. We have to do better.

Published in: on March 3, 2011 at 4:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Obama Pivots Back

Well that didn’t take long. Obama presented his budget proposal today. It is an insult to the intelligence of the American people. Government spending, taxes, deficits and their impact on the economy are of concern to all tax paying Americans-but apparently not to the President. There was no pivot to the center-just pandering to the voters and a compliant media.

I am not going to go into detail on the numbers or post one link. Any reader can simply go to his favorite news page or turn on the TV. The specific numbers simply provide a laugh track.

The government is currently running ANNUAL deficits of 1.5 TRILLION DOLLARS. Obama is proposing overall spending increases on top of an already inflated base to set a new spending record. He is also proposing myriad tax increases, including a hike in rates in two years when he just admitted that would be harmful for the economy. He combines the tax hikes with  puny spending cuts in targeted programs and voila! He claims he will reduce the deficit by 1 trillion over 10 years.

This is Orwellian double-speak. The deficits and debt are increasing. Period.

The GOP should denounce this for the stinking pile of crap that it is. Every serious Democrat should renounce this. The 2012 campaign starts now. Obama just gave the challengers are huge head start.

Pat Duggan

Build the Right Message

Tony Blankley served as Newt Gingrich’s press secretary form 1990 to 1997. In this column he relates the challenges they faced in implementing the “Contract with America in 1995.

“We lost that battle” (the ensuing public relations battle) “for three reasons: 1) because the shutdown was falsely but effectively framed in the public mind as motivated by the personal pique of the speaker and the desire of the GOP to “cut Medicare in order to give tax cuts to the rich,” 2) the issue of deficit spending and public debt was of much less concern to the public than it is now and 3) we were not able to deliver our interpretation of the issues directly to even our own supporters.

I highlighted the key phrases here because they are still relevant today. First and foremost, we let them set the terms in which the debate would be conducted. It is imperative that the GOP take control of the wording of all the key issues and refuse to debate using liberal talking points. We have the internet and Fox News now. We are not forced to relive Mr. Blankley’s media frustrations. The left has utilized all the latest technologies and social networking was a big tool in the Obama campaign. We can’t let these tools go to waste.

Second, the “tax cuts to the rich” mantra will not go away until we insist on accuracy. All discussions should be about tax RATES and include references to the “Laffer Curve”, the exceedingly high rates currently in effect and the disproportionate burden already carried by the top earning brackets. If liberals want to appear ignorant about the Laffer Curve, let them.

The messaging needs to be clear:

1. The top earners are the job creators and higher tax RATES come at a prohibitive price: extended high jobless rates.

2. Health care is a system of goods and services created by American workers and delivered to American customers. It is no different than the housing market. The best way to make it affordable for all is to unleash the great American free enterprise system and get the government out of it. We’re still reeling from the fallout of the government-created housing mess; let’s not create a health care mess too.

Read Tony Blankley’s fine column here:

LINK

Pat Duggan

Published in: on January 19, 2011 at 4:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

The GOP is Taking a Stand

Count me among the many who’ve lamented over the years that there’s not a big difference between the two major parties. They seem to be two sides of the same coin. Social issues like abortion that provide separation are frequently not the ones that drive our voting decisions. Both parties are guilty of spending our money irresponsibly. Compromise in politics is redefined as both sides get pretty much everything they want without sacrifice. Its all take and no give. The taxpayers are always the victim.

Barack Obama was elected for multiple reasons. He reads speeches well and the GOP under George W. Bush had lost all credibility regarding fiscal responsibility. Voters no longer felt that Republicans were their best bet to get spending under control. They dwelt on the exaggerated budget surpluses of the Clinton era without considering the  role of the GOP Congress or the “peace dividends” that were a result of Reagan-era conservatism. The costs of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars were given great weight while the cost of not defending this country was not considered.

We were quickly reminded what Democrats are capable of when given super majorities. Spending exploded as the economic crisis was exploited with decades of liberal wish-list items shoved through under the guise of “stimulus.” Sentiment turned so quickly that special elections of 2009 were impacted. Republican candidates won governorships and Scott Brown pulled off the big upset by winning the seat held by Ted Kennedy in liberal Massachusetts by promising to vote “no” on the health care bill.

The loss of the 60th Senate seat forced Democrats to turn to dirty political tricks to force that legislation through against the obvious will of the American people. Obamacare was passed without a single Republican vote. The Democrats refused to consider any and all Republican input and then had the audacity to call them the party of “No”.

Voters saw through through the name calling. Conservatives and free-market advocates want our party to say no to socialized medicine, bailouts and climate scams. With help from the Tea Party the reform of the GOP began. There were primary upsets and new faces are now in Washington. Older, “experienced” politicians who helped create the mess are on “double-secret probation”. RINOs are on notice that “reaching across the aisle” is not a virtue when core issues are at stake. The era of permanent government programs is coming to an end.

In Illinois our problems are severe. The political hacks and their patronage armies are so entrenched that change will be slow to come-but there are glimmers of light. The recent vote for a massive tax hike-while spending continues to rise-has tax payers in revolt. One sign of hope was the straight party line vote. Not one Republican State Senator or Representative voted for the tax hike. The Democrats own this.

While our last Republican Governor is still in jail he will have his Democrat successor with him before too long. Everyone is coming to understand the mess that the public-sector worker pensions have become and the Democrats are the undisputed partners in that mess.

The GOP needs to carefully articulate their message. They need to provide separation on the key issues in specific terms. The number one issue that needs attention is the role of housing policies and government agencies in the financial crisis. The scapegoating of Wall Street needs to be replaced with investigations of Fannie Mae and politicians who steered it toward disaster. The parade of Democrats involved will include Chris Dodd, Rahm Emanuel and even Barack Obama. The GOP has a golden opportunity if they will just take advantage of it.

 

Pat Duggan

Published in: on January 18, 2011 at 5:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

One Term Obama?

Here in Illinois we just elected long-time Democrat hack Pat Quinn who finished the term of the disgraced and convicted Rod Blagojevich. He is working hand in hand with the very people who created our fiscal mess to raise taxes instead of making the tough (but obvious) choices to cut spending.

How / why did he win? Because in the middle of a wave election that boosted Republicans across the country, the Illinois GOP nominated Bill Brady.

Jack Kerwick at American Thinker (see link below) fears that Obama will be reelected if the GOP can’t do better than the current group of front runners. I couldn’t agree more. It is for this very reason that our best hope is a drafting of a reluctant candidate such as Chris Christie.

LINK

Published in: on January 5, 2011 at 11:06 am  Leave a Comment  
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Sarah Palin Can’t Win

I like Sarah Palin, I really do. When oil was spiking to all time highs Larry Kudlow interviewed the Governor of Alaska. She was attractive and intelligent and very well versed in the energy arena. Her track record as Governor is impressive. We need a lot more politicians just like her. She started on the City Council, then Mayor and onto Governor, all while raising a family. She remains grounded.

As the VP derby got into swing her name was tossed about but it seemed Pawlenty or one of the others who’d been fully vetted would get the nod. When McCain made his surprise announcement I was pleasantly surprised. She was then and remains now a better candidate and politician than McCain, who has “reached across the aisle” to sponsor some horrible legislation. Who knows, if he were elected we might have passed “cap and trade”.

She made a splash with her convention speech and her vibrant style. But the buzz didn’t last long. It was evident from the start that this was a campaign stunt by McCain and it failed as miserably as his “suspend my campaign” gag.

Soon we heard she had a pregnant teenage daughter. This alone should have steered McCain elsewhere. Then came the interviews where she couldn’t name the papers she reads. Snotty Charlie Gibson posed the “Bush Doctrine” gotcha question.  As sick as I am of slick politicians who don’t give direct answers I am more nauseated by the liberal media. That said her handling of that was amateurish at best. I prefer not to defend her answer. McCain and Palin both had to know that only Mr. 57 states would be cut any slack and anyone who threatened the inevitability of the chosen one would be attacked mercilessly.

I’ve said that I or many of my friends would make a better President than Obama and I am not kidding. Sarah Palin was the best candidate of the four top ticket nominees. Biden is a buffoon and McCain is not even a good senator. Obama is proving to be the disaster many of us warned of.

Sarah Palin is many things Obama is not. She is an unapologetic, patriotic American. She is a capable administrator with an understanding and appreciation of American business and free market capitalism. She would have surrounded herself with the best and picked a competent cabinet. We will never know how good she could have been.

McCain-Palin lost. It’s impossible to know if a proper VP choice, say Sen. Tom Coburn or Gov. Tim Pawlenty would have made a difference. Frankly, I think a president McCain might have done more harm than good. What further damage would he have done to the Republican brand? What would have been the result of the midterms? Who would win in 2012? Probably a Democrat.

As horrifying as the Obama era has been so far, we can hope to repeal much of the horror-but we’ll need a Republican president to sign the bills.

So what candidate gives us the best chance to take the White House? I think there are several quality candidates who are likely to enter the race-and there is Chris Christie. He is adamant that he is not running. The best reason to think he might be persuaded comes from Ann Coulter: “Because the country needs him.” Christie gives us two big things: the right stances on the issues and an incredible ability to speak bluntly. There are many candidates who can deliver the right message but a Christie / Obama debate would be fantastic television.

First let’s toss out virtually the entire 2008 primary crowd. Mitt Romney can’t seem to admit his colossal health care mistake as Governor of Massachusetts. He is not the guy to champion repeal of Obamacare. Giuliani is a great executive and has an interesting blend of fiscal conservatism and social centrism but he seemed unable to run a national campaign. I doubt he can repair that image. Huckabee is a TV huckster now and would not be backed by the tea parties. Ron Paul is too far out.

Newt Gingrich was not a candidate then and I doubt he will be in 2012. He’s thought to be smart but his ego was and is a problem. Sitting on a couch with Nancy Pelosi calling for action on climate change is a deal killer. Shame on you Newt. When smart people do stupid things we are left to wonder.

LINK

Pence, Perry, Thune and DeMint. Don’t think so.

From the short list we’ll hear about Tim Pawlenty, Haley Barbour, Mitch Daniels and Bobby Jindal. I’m ruling Daniels out for his embrace of a VAT tax. That is unforgivable. While his record in Indiana is solid, some of what he tried to do and didn’t, like raise taxes, disqualify him. Jindal can recover from that awful speech. Barbour and Pawlenty are fine. It’s all about the message.

Charles Krauthammer says 2012 will be the year that dull can win. It will be a backlash to the Obama style over substance debacle. I don’t know about that. Charisma matters-but a little can go a long way. It will take a combination of enough charisma and solid, even perfect pitch on the issues.

We need to hear a message about pro-business policies; how low, steady tax rates are essential for the growth that will bring jobs. Our next president will be proud of America and proud to be an American. No more apology tours. He or she will point out that bad government policy led to the economic crisis-not tax rates that were lowered in 2003 and brought years of prosperity and increased revenue.

We didn’t know Bill Clinton just a few years before he became president. Clearly most voters didn’t know enough about Obama before voting for him, no thanks to the mainstream media. It’s possible we will get to know a Pawlenty or other candidate much better in the months to come.

What’s crucial right now is that we avoid recycling the hacks form the past, doomed candidates like Newt Gingrich, Huckabee and Romney. And it is crucial that we do not nominate Sarah Palin.

She is everywhere and not in a good way. There’s the Alaska reality show and her idiot daughter on Dancing with the Stars. Please. She is not helping her image. It doesn’t matter. She is damaged goods. You do not get a second chance to make a first impression.

I don’t care if the GOP base loves her. You win elections by winning the independents. That is what puts you over the top. They voted for Obama in droves. They hate Palin. They think she’s stupid. She’s not. It doesn’t matter. When they vote they don’t have to reveal that they just can’t stand her voice-or whatever.

This country simply cannot afford to re-elect Obama-or will it be Hillary this time? It doesn’t matter. If we don’t repeal Obamacare and get this economy on track we’re in big trouble. We can’t afford a couple more liberals on the Supreme Court. We can’t afford to kick the entitlement pyramid down the road a few more years.

Sarah Palin has a good gig now. She needs to do the right thing and announce right now that she is not running. She should issue a statement that says she will endorse the Republican candidate, whoever that may be. She should express hope that they are free market advocates who believe in American exceptionalism and a strong defense.

The left loves her now because they view her as the unserious, weak and beatable candidate. If Obama breezes into the primaries without a serious challenge from Hillary or another lefty then Democrats can jump over and vote in the GOP primary in many states. The primary system is already a joke. It gave us McCain before we here in Illinois got to vote. We can’t let them pick Palin for us this time.

Sarah Palin is a good American and a good Republican. She needs to bow out now so the serious contenders can duke it out.

Pat Duggan

Published in: on November 29, 2010 at 9:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The GOP’s Missed Opportunity

The election is a week away and the GOP is poised to grab a whole lot of seats. They will almost certainly seize a majority in the House and will draw close in the Senate. It would take a minor miracle to pull that off, but you never know.

So it appears that they have done well with a basic “We’re not them / we voted against Obamacare” strategy but what did they miss?

They missed a chance to set America straight on what really caused the market disruptions and the key role that liberal housing policy played. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and CRA are all scandals that need attention still. And yes, I wish they’d start quick enough to throw a wrench in the gears of the Rahm Emanuel campaign.

Will they take on this mission after the mid-terms? I suggest they do. If we don’t clarify the causes we will not be able to prevent more of the same.

Pat Duggan

GOP Needs to Clarify Their Message

Yes, Republicans are going to win a lot of seats next month. They should take the House and have a decent chance of splitting the Senate. Even with 50 the RINO factor will dilute their power and Obama maintains the veto. Most importantly though, voters are rejecting Democrats more than they are embracing Republicans. Only to the extent that they follow through on TEA party planks and real fiscal restraint will they build momentum going into 2012.

The economy is still a mess. Unemployment is officially 9.6% but everyone understands that the real figure is much higher. Not only have Obama and the Democrats in congress not made this a priority, choosing to jam through a health care bill that a clear majority of Americans opposed, they’ve attempted to obfuscate their non-fix by inventing the ridiculous new talking point that claims they “saved or created” millions of jobs. This attempt to claim the un-measureable only further damages whatever credibility they have left. Voters are reminded that the Democrats’ default economic plan is always to raise taxes and grow government. This has never created a job and it never will.

FDR presided over a long depression. We have term limits because of him. Obama and the Democrats have embraced his failed theories with predictable results. Hammer that home and spell out the solution in short sound bite worthy terms. Free Enterprise and the American Dream.

Obamacare is being revealed to be a 2,000 page package of lies. If the GOP is not 100% committed to repeal of this mess expect the TEA party to abandon ship and launch a true third party. This would do certain short term damage to the GOP. Luckily the Democrat party is self destructing without the TEA party’s help.

The housing mess that is at the core of the ongoing economic crisis was decades in the making and is far from over. The congress could spend the bulk of the remainder of Obama’s first and final term investigating Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Community Reinvestment Act. If they started soon they might be able to derail Rahm Emanuel’s campaign for mayor Chicago. Last I checked there is no such plan. Foreclosures continue and prices are barely stabilizing.

The GOP needs to get on top of this now. The campaign for President in 2012 begins the day after the midterm elections. There is zero chance that the economy is going to recover in any significant way. The FED has short term interest rates at zero and holding. Their “quantitative easing” policy (printing money) is sure to result in a troublesome round of inflation as the gold market is now signaling. They’ve already deployed whatever weapons they have.

That is no substitute for pro-growth economic policy. The Republican Party needs a national campaign that will give voters a crash course in economics that will help them understand the role that liberal housing policy has played in distorting markets and causing the bubble that, when it popped, endangered the banking and economic system.

The solution is what has always worked before: low taxes and a government that gets out of the way and lets business people run their businesses without non-stop interference. The GOP lost their way and their identity. The party needs to circle the wagons and get everyone on the same page. Across the board spending cuts mean there are no sacred cows. Earmarks should be declared dead. Lastly, they need to tell the truth about social security. Chris Christie has shown that constituents can handle the truth. This is the best way to disarm the favorite Democrat TV commercials: “Joe Republican wants to take away your social security”.

The truth is that Congress took it long ago and spent it on bridges to nowhere. The party that tells the truth will be forgiven-sort of. The other one will bear the brunt of the blame. Democrats deserve to be the symbol of bankrupt entitlements. Help them take ownership of it.

Pat Duggan

Published in: on October 12, 2010 at 10:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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This Guy is Brilliant

After all, he agrees with me. 🙂 The TEA party movement is about bigger things. The GOP organization, such as it is, and the professional commentators are in a snit because Delaware voters didn’t follow instructions. Maybe it’s because those prognosticators didn’t foresee / warn / prevent RINO poster boy McCain from seizing and then squandering the GOP presidential nomination leading us to this current predicament. Especially Michael Medved.

LINK

Published in: on September 22, 2010 at 10:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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TEA Party Principles

Principles. The TEA party voters have them. Not every candidate is going to be as charismatic and polished as Marco Rubio. But the TEA party movement is consistent in their standards of rejection.

I continue to disagree with Karl Rove and Charles Krauthammer-not for their analysis, Christine O’Donnell has an uphill battle-but for their at-the-finish-line criticism of the TEA party for holding their ground. We would not be pondering a GOP senate majority if not for this grass roots movement, their rallies and their consistent message. To throw all that away at the finish line and throw our support behind a schmuck like Mike Castle would be throwing in the towel and cutting a deal with the devil. We would become those that we despise.

We may lose this battle but we will win the war. It is not the fault of the upstarts that the entrenched organizations couldn’t draft better candidates. The message being sent will echo as we are introduced to the next crop of primary candidates for the 2012 elections.

Despite the Scott Brown shock it was too late to draft better GOP challengers for this cycle. Illinois and the ridiculous Mark Kirk are proof. I’ll vote for him-and I would vote for Christine O’Donnell without hesitation. Just look at her opponent. Sure most of the people reading this post are more qualified for office than she is. Most of the people reading this post are more qualified to be president than Obama.

We do not always get to vote for people we like. In this election more than any other we are voting for policies-or against them. It has always been simple but now the voters are aware. Vote for free enterprise and small government or sink into a socialist hell.

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