Friday, December 31, 2010

2012 GOP Potential Candidates the Media A-List in Review

2012 GOP Frontrunners (as of December 2010): Romney, Palin and Huckabee: image:
As 2011 is upon the political horizon, the year that those who will run for the office of the President of the United States are either in the process of, or have already made a commitment to run in the GOP 2012 primary. A great deal of speculation has taken place; it seems as if the question of who would run began to take shape as soon as the current occupant at Pennsylvania Avenue was sworn into office.

Every news outlet has its opinion on who is in the “pack” of potential candidates, a selection of network news, online blog, a news magazine and a national newspaper were chosen for this overview to show how the speculation differs, or remains the same, depending upon the medium.

According to ABC News the list of primary contenders includes: Frontrunners: Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee, they list “Chief Challengers”; Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Mitch Daniels, Haley Barbour and John Thune. The last category “Wild Cards” includes Mike Pence, Ron Paul, George Pataki, Rick Santorum and John Bolton. One of the “Wild Cards” is now considering a run for Governor of Indiana, that would be Congressman Mike Pence.
(The Wall Street Journal analysis of Pence as a potential candidate follows the logic of one who has built “stature” within the GOP.)

The conservative National Review online offer no less than 24 possible candidates:

Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, John Thune, Tim Pawlenty, Mitch Daniels, Mike Pence, Rick Santorum, Haley Barbour, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Paul Ryan, David Petraeus, Ron Paul, Jeb Bush, John Bolton, Bob McDonnell, Jim DeMint, Chris Christie, Herman Cain, Gary Johnson, Judd Gregg, Marco Rubio, and Rick Perry.

The author, Jonah Goldberg, goes on to narrow the field to eleven, “Romney, Gingrich, Palin, Pawlenty, Santorum, Bolton, Daniels, Cain, Johnson, Paul, and Thune.” He further eliminates those who might not have the traction during the primary contest to make the authors top five: “Romney, Palin, Gingrich, Pawlenty, and Daniels”. His reasoning for eliminating Mike Huckabee, generally considered to be the top if not tied at the top contender in all polls: : “there’s growing buzz that Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and a fierce defender of his top-tier contender status, may not run because he’s got a big new contract with Fox News in the works.”

Finally, USA Today follows the money to bring the top five potential GOP frontrunners to the table. vis a vis, money raised through individual PAC’s (Political Action Committees). USA Today employed CQ MoneyLine and the Federal Election Commission data to reach the following Conclusions as to which of the above mentioned (in all articles) will likely rise to the occasion based on the dollar amounts raised by their respective PAC’s as well as monies donated by those PAC’s to GOP candidates and committees. The amounts are based on the 2009-2010 filing/election cycle.

The breakdown:
*Haley Barbour (Governor, MS), Haley’s PAC, $1.1 million, disbursed $233,590 to GOP
*Mike Huckabee (Former Governor of Arkansas), HuckPAC, $1.8 million, disbursed $137,500
*Newt Gingrich (Former House Speaker), American Solutions PAC, $705,279, disbursed: $224,750
*Sarah Palin, (Former Governor of Alaska), SaraPAC, $5.4 Million, disbursed $516,500
*Tim Pawlenty (Minnesota Governor), Freedom First PAC, $3.3 Million, disbursed: $214,111
*Mitt Romney (Former Governor Massachusetts) Free and Strong American PAC, $7.4 Million, disbursed $827,708.

Therefore, if one “follows the money”, and granted these are PAC’s not campaign contributions generated by the individual candidate, however, for the sake of speculation, this scenario places the contenders in the following order: Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, Mike Huckabee, Haley Barbour and Newt Gingrich. The political capital gained by disbursing funds will also come into play, however, of note: Mike Pence, who is missing from this list, crisscrossed Indiana this year in support of local Republicans, contributing over $84,000 to their campaigns and attending 30 events for state legislative candidates. (Wall Street Journal),. The aforementioned goes to intent as to the office of the Governor rather than that of President.

That said, one must recall the battle of Iowa in 2008, where one Mike Huckabee, with an estimated $80,000 dollars, outspent by Mitt Romney who invested millions, and won the day. It is, therefore, a necessary combination of willingness to take the heat, the ability to inspire a true grass roots following, and the ability to raise enough money to run a successful campaign through the primary to gain the nomination. In that case, Grass Roots would go to both Palin and Huckabee, Palin also will score higher on fundraising, while, Mitt Romney’s strength is in cash alone. (Of course, all analysis is based on the assumption that the aforementioned will run at all, and will end up being in the position of front runner).

Furthermore, should this scenario unfold as likely,(with the three most visible GOP contenders as of this moment), one must look to the obvious: which one of these three would be able to hold enough states necessary to win the primary and then go onto hold those states to win a general election. Romney has proved that he can hold the Northeast (coast), the West (coast), the northern states (MI, WY, UT), but fails in the Midwest and the South. Huckabee, on the other hand, may have trouble in the Northeast (specifically more liberal states and states that Romney calls home), but can handle the South and the Midwest. In looking at states where Huckabee and McCain competed in the 2008 primary, the point differential was minor between the two candidates, and with Romney in the mix, he was normally third. Palin, who is, like the current occupant of the White House, more controversial, yet appealing to the same conservative base as Mike Huckabee, should do well in those very same states.

Should these three be locked in a battle, it would, in this opinion, boil down to two candidates Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin. That is if Huckabee, will, as some sources in Arkansas have already indicated, run in 2012.

Of note: both Palin and Huckabee have used the media (specifically Fox and other outlets) in order to maintain a national spotlight.

An excellent bio of all ABC’s potential candidates is available with the article

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Gallop: Obama’s Approval Stagnant at 47% Despite Lame-Duck Successes, Mike Huckabee - 2012 Speculation As Challenger to Obama

2012 Hypothetical Race: Huckabee vs. Obama

Gallop released their daily presidential tracking for Dec. 30th with the President’s Approval rating remaining stagnant at 47%. 46% of the nation continues to disapprove of the Presidents job performance. Meanwhile, the 2012 GOP speculation heightens. A recent MSNBC report (video shown below), is tagged with the headline “MSNBC Promotes Huckabee”. The gist of the MSNBC report is a positive/negative look at the potential 2012 presidential candidate, former Governor Mike Huckabee. Huckabee is noted as being a conservative who does not immediately attack Democrats or the President, rather assesses each individual issue, on the other hand, the report begins with the, now typical moniker assigned to Huckabee: Baptist Minister. The “Baptist Minister” citation is a liberal “call to alarm”. The left views Governor Huckabee as “right wing religious nut” rather than his more updated calling as two and one half term Governor of the State of Arkansas. One would think that in a political arena, the fact that Huckabee was a successful Republican Governor in a traditional southern Democrat state might trump the fact that he was, in his lifetime, an ordained minister.

Huckabee, in 2005, was one of Time Magazines “American’s 5 Best Governors":

Huckabee has approached his state’s troubles with energy and innovation, and he has enjoyed some successes. Most notably, he created ARKids First, which offers health insurance to poor children and has helped reduced the percentage of uninsured Arkansans under 18 to 9% in 2003-04, compared with the 12% for the nation and 21% for neighboring Texas. Since he became Governor in July 1996, welfare rolls have declined by nearly half, and last year the state’s economy grew 4.4%, beating the national average of 4.2%.

The attacks on Huckabee during the 2008 GOP General Primaries were based on his fiscal policy – the man who created a budget surplus in Arkansas, raised the level of education, and generally improved almost every aspect of the State’s government (Again winning not one, but two terms as Governor in a heavily Democratic state), actually increased taxes. The New York Times ran the following article on Huckabee and the attacks from a particular right of center fiscal “Club for Growth”:

During Mr. Huckabee’s tenure as governor, he did raise taxes to improve the state’s roads and schools, with the support of both Republicans and Democrats in the state legislature. He ended his tenure with an $800 million budget surplus.
Mr. Huckabee lowered some taxes as well. But, on balance, he raised more than he cut and that’s behind the Club’s disdain for Mr. Huckabee.

What was left out of that particular article, as well as advertisements denouncing the Governor, was the fact that several states were forced to raise taxes due to: Federal Mandates increasing State's services.. Additionally, one must also be reminded that America’s best President (blog opinion), Ronald Reagan also raised taxes on more than one occasion.

As conservatives try to out-Reagan one another, the one man that can lay claim to actually having governed like the “Gipper” is that rascally Baptist Preacher and former 2-1/2 term Governor of the State of Arkansas. Should Huckabee actually decide to run, he would do well to counter the naysayers with a bit of historical fact.

As of this moment, however, every prominent Republican is included in the list of possible candidates, and the President may have dodged a primary challenge from the left of the Democrat party (Charles Rangel), however, it remains to be seen if a challenge will be mounted by a more moderate Democrat (Dick Morris via Fox News as well as rampant speculation from the press in general). It is simply, a time to speculate, with no clear idea of who will actually aspire to the nation’s top job in 2011-2012.

Note: Huckabee led Obama in hypothetical match up as of 11/4/2010 in CNN poll,(Politico) The poll referred to on MSNBC is from Quinnipiac Nov. 22nd, in which overall voters would prefer another candidate to Obama: 49-43%


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2012 General Elections Beginning to Take Shape – Democrats and Republicans Alike Early Eyes On Congress and the White House

2012 - The Games Begin - image

For months news of David Axelrod, Obama’s 2008 Campaign Manager and White House Advisor, move to Chicago in early 2011 to start the President’s 2012 election campaign has made headlines. As 2010 closes, CBS News (via Politico) is reporting that Obama will campaign for reelection from Chicago, rather than D.C. or nearby Virginia as his predecessors had done.

On the GOP side, the AP via Boston Globe is reporting on potential Senate Challenges in 2012. With 33 Senate Seats up for reelection as well as the entire Congress, those that are considering challenging incumbents are beginning to come forward.

Polling on the Presidential contest has been taking place for the past year, with hypothetical match-ups against a variety of well-known Republicans versus Obama, with one of the latest a CNN polls showing 2008 Candidate, former Governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee, leading the pack of “hypothetical’s”. Huckabee, a virtual unknown in 2007, went on to win the Iowa caucus in 2008, eventually bowing out to John McCain after all states had a choice in the primary contests. 2008 saw speculation that high-profile Republicans such as Condoleezza Rice, former Bush administration, Secretary of State would seek the nomination, which she did not.

One thing is certain, after the 2010 mid-term Democrat losses in the Congress based on public distaste for runaway government spending, high unemployment, and the health care reform bill, the issues that will surface as challenging for either party in 2012 are, as of this point, unknown. The fact of the matter is that the economy may remain strained for the next two years, as it undergoes recovery, the new Congress, with a good percentage of the members part of the Tea Party movement will, undoubtedly, be more vocal than the average politician, specifically when it comes to spending, however, they must buck a Senate controlled by Republicans and Democrats alike who are less fiscally conservative. Depending on which side of the economic coin the President stands, along with Democrat members of the House and Senate, will either make or break the nations focus on the economy and who is to "blame".

The last hours of the 111th Congress, and the passage of several bills that appeased the Democrats Progressive wing of the party, has, according to NY Congressman, Charles Rangel staved off a primary challenge to Obama from the left. That does not, however, mean there will be no primary challenge to the President, as hopes of his compromises with Republicans on the Bush Tax Cuts would appease those in the middle, has yet to be determined.

As both major American political parties, as well as the independents and minor party hopefuls, begin to play their cards for 2012, it will be, as always, what makes the United States of American one of the most unique and inspiring nations in world history. The fact that any U.S. citizen, regardless of socio-economic, religious or ethnic origins can rise to the occasion, run for political office, and be elected by a majority of the citizens, continues to engage the world.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

It Must be Winter – U.S. Consumers begin to feel pinch from Increase in Fuel Prices – OPEC seeks price-setting at $100 Barrel.

OPEC, $100 per Barrel on the table - image Latest News

When the need for fuel increases during the winter (heating) and summer (anticipated vacation bound drivers), the price of fuel appears to increase with demand. As January approaches, the price at the gas pumps has risen to over $3.00 per gallon, or up 7 cents in a week. (Reuters). Meanwhile, OPEC is, once again, asking for an increase in price per barrel, up to $100 Saudi Arabia wants pricing set at approximately $75/per barrel, while Libya, Iran and Venezuela prefer the higher price per barrel. This is causing some anxiety amongst oil importers such as Japan, and, yes, the U.S. (Bloomberg).

OPEC has historically toyed with the vast wealth of oil at its disposal, during the 1970’s, under the Ford, then Carter administrators, Carter, when pressed by rising OPEC prices, fixed prices in the United states, which resulted in an embargo and subsequent gas lines at the pumps. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, March 1st, 1974). Carter’s response was to offer a tax on U.S. consumers in order to manage consumption which ultimately failed to pass the Congress. (Washington Afro-American). Additionally, always attempting to tax his way out of a problem, Carter, instituted a “Windfall Profit Tax on “Big Oil”, which resulted in a backlash of fewer barrels of oil being refined in the U.S.

With President Obama reading Reagan’s blueprint for a productive nation, perhaps he’ll pick up on the Reagan Plan of drilling both offshore and in Alaska to boost production crippled under Carter. (Merced Sun-Star).

He might want to get a few pointers from the former Governor of Alaska, who trimmed $231 Million from the Alaskan budget, and then went to battle with Oil Companies to boost production

Palin, during her tenure as Governor of Alaska,

1) Created Alaska's Petroleum Systems Integrity Office to oversee maintenance of oil and gas equipment, facilities and infrastructure, and a Climate Change Subcabinet to prepare a climate change strategy for Alaska.
2)Passed major legislation that began a competitive process to construct a gas pipeline and overhauled state ethics laws.
3)Served as chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.
(National Governors Association)

Palin also served as Chair of the NGA’s Natural Resource Committee

With a new move to the middle by the Leader of the Free World, all things may be possible, but it remains to be seen whether he will follow the lead of Carter or take advantage of a Tea Party Congress and it's hero's and heroines: Reagan and Palin

Monday, December 27, 2010

Speculation: Clinton Returns to Private Sector – Replacement: NM's Bill Richardson – Clinton Presidential Run Still Not Out of the Question

Hillary Clinton 2003 - Life Magazine Profile

The Examinerled with the question: Will outgoing New Mexico Governor, Bill Richardson replaces Hillary Clinton as Sectary of State? Richardson, who had been offered positions within the Obama White cabinet in 2008, was one of the key Super-Delegates in Obama’s win at the 2008 Democrat convention However, at the time he was asked to join the Obama cabinet Richardson represented one more “scandal” in Obama’s cabinet choices, and declined the offer until the Indictments were cleared (Google news: Moscow Pullman Democrat, January 1, 2009).

The speculation on Hillary’s “retirement from public life” began with a few quotes from Clinton herself when queried whether or not she would seek the Presidency in 2012 – both were asked and answered on foreign soil, in early December from Bahrain and again from New Zealand, neither the time nor the place to make an announcement of that sort. She then answered the question on Fox News Sunday – once again, a resounding no to the question of a run against Obama in 2012.

Clinton, who had served as a New York State Senator, and ran against Obama for the 2008 Democrat Presidential Nomination, according to recent reports, is stepping aside to spend more time with her family. Clinton has spent the last two years working the globe and holding her own in the Obama administration - considering the vitriol of the campaign trail and the subsequent “Super Delegate” coronation of Obama over Clinton (who had the popular vote) at the Democrat Convention in 2008, her tenure with the association is nothing short of diplomatic acumen on steroids. That said, it could very well be that Hillary Clinton is tired, and wants to spend time with family and friends.

Meanwhile, David Axelrod hints at Obama’s run in 2012, and a “shake-up” at the White House, and Administration Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, denies any major changes will be taking place. Obviously, something is afoot. Axelrod left for Chicago early in order to set up the campaign strategy for Obama’s 2012 bid, and has been the mastermind behind the Obama elections since he first rolled out Massachusetts Govenor Deval Patrick as test case for Obama in 2006. Axelrod used the same Massachusetts strategy for Obama’s 2008 bid, down to the slogan: “yes we can”. On the eve of the November mid-terms, Patrick was, this time, in a battle for the Governor’s office, however, what aided the most unpopular Govenor in Massachusetts in his reelection (by 2 points), was the former Democrat turn Independent Patrick staffer, Timothy Cahill, running as an independent. This move effectively pulled independent voters away from the Republican Challenger, to tip the scales towards Patrick. As of now, Michael Bloomberg, believed to be the national Tim Cahill, has denied he would run, however, watch for an unexpected change of heart from a semi-plausible Democrat turned independent in 2011-2012 with an announced intention to run against Obama and Brand X Republican. This scenario is not out of the question.

Back to Hillary Clinton: According to Republican Strategist, Carl Rove, via the Huffington Post, Hillary will run in 2016. Speculation perhaps that should Obama run again in 2012, regardless of the number of times he invokes the name of Ronald Reagan, he does not have the time to pick up enough of the independents that he lost over the past two years, therefore, a Republican would win the election in 2012. Thereby, the preceding scenario would open the doors to a Clinton run in 2016.

Of course, Hillary Clinton may be finished with politics, for now and she has repeatedly denied an interest in seeking the White House, hasn't she?: from CNN: 2003:

Former first lady Hillary Clinton says she has no plans to launch a bid to become the country's first woman president in the next two elections.
It has often been speculated the former first lady would make a bid for the White House, but in two interviews Sunday, she said she had "no intention" to run for president in 2008 -- and would turn down invitations to run in 2004.
Clinton said she is enjoying her current political role as a senator for New York.

The fact of the matter is that no-one, at the present time, knows who will run in 2012 on either ticket (or in the case of Axelrod’s campaign strategy, who the “straw man”may be). However, with Clinton free of the White House, and the potential candidacy of the likes of Mitt Romney, Mike Pence, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, and, of course, Sarah Palin, with a Republican controlled Congress and the more than likely 2012 Republican controlled Senate, would the need to run, both for the Democrat Party and for her own vindication, be out of the question? It may be far too early to place any bets, however, one might be tempted to look at Clinton for 2012. She would be a formidable candidate, both during a campaign against Obama (who has the Progressives, but not the overwhelming numbers of Moderate Democrats), and a national campaign against a right of center conservative. This former Goldwater Girl would be able to run directly at the middle. In the aforementioned scenario, the Press would, after a brief period of mourning for their candidate of choice, get behind Clinton in droves, as she would be more representative, at least in part, of the ideologues who are the U.S. press.

Of course, at the present time, it is clearly speculation, but in the opinion of this writer, Clinton would have been the clear choice in 2008 (based on her record in the senate alone), should Hillary Clinton decide to run in 2012, it would be for the love her political Party and her County. What one has to ask, is there anyone else that can match Hillary Clinton on the horizon for 2012, and would one rather have four years of one party rule beginning in 2012? As a nation, we have seen what can happen when one political party is left to its own devices while holding the Executive and the Legislative Branch, (both the Republican and Democrats). It would, to be certain, a sacrifice on Clinton’s part, but will she have the ability to turn her back on her country and the Moderate Democrats? Only time will tell.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Massachusetts – State Lures One Corporation with Tax Cuts – It must be Christmas.

The President May Have Embraced the Tax Cut, Will He Play Santa in order to Move the Economy Forward? - photo telegraph UK

TheSpringfield Republican reports: The Commonwealth of Massachusetts needs taxpayers to offset the ever increasing deficit; therefore, one Corporation with roots in Massachusetts, Smith and Wesson, has been given a 6 Million dollar incentive (tax cut) to move a manufacturing plant from New Hampshire to Massachusetts – creating 270 plus jobs. The direct result of cutting corporate taxes is an increase in employers who hire – the resultant taxes from the employees hired buffer the state’s coffers. If Massachusetts would cut the corporate tax rate, across the board, how much better off would the Commonwealth be?

Massachusetts currently ranks 32nd out of 50 states in Corporate Tax Climate (Tax Foundation), with the higher number meaning a more tax friendly state; one which would invite corporations to invest, build and hire. That said, globally, Massachusetts remains non-competitive due to the addition of Federal and Local Taxes, so much so that, as of 2009, Massachusetts ranked 3rd Globally, with the combined tax rate of 41.2, with the U.S. as a whole, ranking 34th, behind U.S. states and the nation of Japan. The lowest tax rates for Corporations can be found in Europe, in these tables, with Ireland at approximately12 %. China and India are not included in the data. (Tax Foundation)

Should the state decrease the current corporate rate by half, in a concerted effort to draw businesses away from other U.S. states, and Japan, one would find that the employment rate in the Commonwealth would substantially decrease, there would be need to import population (see current loss of population and subsequent loss of a U.S. Congressional Seat), and perhaps export the unpopular trend of cutting Corporate Taxes so that the U.S. could enjoy parity with the rest of the world. It will remain to be seen if the incoming Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee will work toward cutting the national corporate tax rate. However, given the fiscal conservative nature of Republican Dave Camp(MI), there may be a review of the national corporate rate. It will also be interesting to see if that occurred how President Obama and his new found religion (tax cuts) would react.

This should work to make the U.S. competitive as long as the Unions are left out of the mix; specifically as regards to ridiculous pension policies and other benefits that would effectively negate any tax savings: (See auto industry bailed out and immediately moving out of the U.S. to build where no unions exist.)

To those who would continue to blindly follow the ideology of the Corporation as evil, and a chicken in every pot, one must at the very least introduce a bit of sound logic. Although Corporations might be evil, they do hire individuals do to jobs, which results in an increase in the tax revenues both state and federal, while lowering the unemployment rate. One can either be an unemployed ideologue (of course, that does not include journalists, college professors, and the students at Universities nationwide, along with the leftover hippies happily ensconced in Massachusetts (and neighboring states) or a gainfully employed taxpaying member of society.

On the level of personal taxes, one may want to look at an across the board Consumption or Fair Tax, which is a sales tax on all goods at one level, regardless of income, and would replace any other Federal income taxes and associated fees. That said, a radical reformation of the current tax system does not appear likely, unless and until like minded fiscal hawks have complete control of the House and the Senate and learn to shout a little louder than the opposition.

Imagine, if you will, the State known as the most Progressive Blue State, cutting corporate tax rates in order to attract businesses to increase jobs? Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Clause.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Study Concludes Teachers Should Be Laid Off Based on Low Student Test Scores Not Seniority, Nation Teachers Union Predictably Disagrees

APvia ABC News reports that a new study by the The Center for Education Data and Research at the University of Washington concluded that teachers layoffs should be based, not on seniority, but on the teachers ability to effectively do the job at hand – proficiently educating students. The study was based on schools in Washington State, with the criteria of teacher effectiveness based on a percentage of student proficiency graded on standardized testing. The notion that standardized testing might indicate a teachers ability was pooh-poohed by the President of one of the national teachers unions – one Randi Weingarten, head of the American Federation of Teachers. Apparently Weingarten, following union standards of seniority trumping ability: “criticized the research, saying it could further push school districts toward evaluating teachers strictly on student test scores.”

This same “Union Boss” recently went to bat for teachers who were fired from a Rhode Island School due to the 7 percent pass rate in math proficiency of the junior class, among other issues, such as teachers showing up for work. (Boston Globe). The argument from the unions: lousy teachers may “connect better” with students.

It should be obvious to those outside the spectrum of the unionized school, that students, who are proficient in test scores, will be more successful in life than those who are not, thereby becoming an asset to the nation, rather than a liability. The parents (taxpayers in some instances), are given the option of either allowing their child to fail in union dominated public schools, or placing them in a private educational facility, either a parochial or private secular college preparatory school, and/or homeschooling, in order for those children to beat the “odds” of individual school districts and have a chance of succeeding.

Massachusetts rankings as of 2009, (available online here shows school systems such as Springfield, MA, with a graduation rate of 54.5% and Lawrence, MA at a rate of 48.1%, joining 68 out of 285 school districts who have a less than 80% graduation rate. Only 11 out of 50 states are graded by the U.S. Department of Education based on standardized testing. Massachusetts students tested slightly above the national average in one subject area (Mathematics). The fact that the Commonwealth competed for the honor of scoring “above average” out of 11 states does not negate the fact that over 25% of the Commonwealth's school districts are performing at sub-standard levels. What of those states where there are no measurements and or standardized testing?

The problem basing a school systems performance on standardized tests is obvious; it would indicate whether or not students are being taught to a specific grade level by competent educators. Up until the 1960’s only 330,000 teachers were union members – nationwide (state university encyclopedia of education), standardized testing was the norm, and graduation rates ”peaked in the 1960’s", falling throughout the decades (George Mason University) in direct correlation to an increase in numbers of unionized (or union protected) teachers.

Therefore, one can conclude that the blame for failure to educate America’s students falls directly on the shoulders of the Teacher’s Unions and those City and Town governments that continue to sign union contracts for their teachers. What is necessary is leadership on State and Local levels that have the backbone (spine) to break the Teacher’s unions and allow competitive hiring of competent teachers in order for our nation to progress. Unions have their place in the workforce, where blue-collar, non-degreed workers, in substandard and dangerous working conditions need representation in order to defend themselves. The public school arena does not fit that particular criteria and the Union Boss, with the following pedigree: “ degrees from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations and the Cardozo School of Law; a lawyer for the Wall Street firm of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan and an active member of the Democratic National Committee.” is qualified enough to find gainful employment should the Unions be dissolved. The problem with today’s American education systems is glaringly apparent: political clout trumps America’s future.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Massachusetts Redistricting Games Begin – Democrats Would be Best Served by Merging 10th and 4th Districts – Analysis

Odd man out? 10th District Newly Elected Bill Keating (D-) - Photo

In what the Boston Globe is dubbing”a game of survival” between the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation one name that does not pop up in the initial articles regarding the loss of one U.S. House seat in the Bay State, is that of newly elected 10th District Representative, Democrat Bill Keating. In the 2010, 9 of the 10 Congressional districts were challenged, with Keating invested in the most competitive race in the State; he narrowly won victory over Republican Challenger, Jeff Perry. Although Richard Neal (D-MA2) and Barney Frank (D-MA4) had to campaign for “their” seats for the first time in decades, they managed to garner a 10 point lead over their challengers, Republican newcomers, Tom Wesley and Sean Bielat respectively. (The anticipated outcome by the New York Times for the MA2 district was Neal 71%/Wesley 26%, with the actual results of Neal 57% to Wesley’s 43%. The highest percentage of returns went to Olver (MA1) 60%, Markey (MA7) 67%, and Lynch (MA) with 68%. The most vulnerable and holding the smallest district in size and population appears to be Keating – the 10th District, which is also known to be stronger for Republican’s, encompasses Cape Cod, and would, therefore, be an easy and natural merger with the MA4th. The Democrats do benefit from a bit of extra press, in all the posturing, Neal and Olver have received more press in the Local Media over redistricing than they did during their 2010 campaigns.

Democrats could easily “kill two birds with one stone” by merging the 4th and 10th, adding the larger Democrat friendly urban areas of New Bedford and a large section of Fall River to the smaller towns and villages on the Cape. One, they reduce the political opportunities for a challenger to the Democrat Controlled Seat, and would save the nation’s highest profile Congressional Representative, Barney Frank, from extinction.
Although rumors of Frank’s retirement have been constant over the past few election cycles, the legislator fought tooth and nail in 2008, and would, one would gather, be the last one of the current delegation to retire. Frank is a Democrat Icon, revered by the Progressives, and the target of Conservatives would focus on Frank in any upcoming election, essentially taking the heat off Representatives such as Tierney (scandal: his wife made the 5 top political scandals list for her indictment in a mob related money laundering schemeduring the 2010 campaign). Niki Tsongas (D-MA5) would be safe as the “token” woman, (Massachusetts being such a stalwart champion of women’s rights under Democrat rule.)

Deval Patrick, Democrat Governor, is still, according to CBS3 Springfield MA holding to the myth that the Democrat Congressional Delegation from Massachusetts will continue to have clout in the Congress, even with the redistricting. Although Massachusetts is somewhat of an “island unto itself”, and therefore, many who hold higher office may have missed the fact that the balance of the 49 states (with few exceptions), elected a majority of Republicans to the Congress, and almost managed to take the Senate in 2010. Those Congressional Representatives who survived in Massachusetts, including the Govenor, did so with either narrow margins (Patrick did not win a 2nd term by mandate, he won over Baker, by 3 points, (see addition of 3rd candidate, Democrat turned independent, turned Democrat, Tim Cahill in Governors Race), or with a lot of help from unions and community service organizations getting out the vote in a massive 13 hour attempt, as it appeared that an extra 20,000 voters were needed here and there in order to maintain the total Democrat advantage.

The Massachusetts Democrats, who pulled out of these races, went to a lame duck session of Congress only to find that the clout they once had, appears to have disappeared. Neal, (D-MA2) who was vying for the Chair of the Ways and Means, and then after the loss of Democrat Power, was vying for ranking member – lost that honor to Sander Levin of MI. Both Neal and Olver, however, are reliable progressive votes. Therefore, it would appear that the only reason one would consider eliminating a Western Massachusetts District over a merger of the 4th and 10th Districts, would be that one currently holds a seat out towards Boston, and Boston traditionally treats Western Massachusetts as a source of tax revenue, nothing more, nothing less.

That said, according to an article from PBS station, WBUR, it is Washington who will have the final say, not Beacon Hill. If that is the case, then the new Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi will have some input into the decision as to which seat to “cut”. Considering how close the former Speaker is to Frank and Neal and Olver, it is doubtful that, if this is correct, any one of those aforementioned would be added to the unemployment rolls.

Therefore, as the Boston Globe and those East of the Worcester Line, begin to eye two Western Massachusetts Districts, for more taxes and a Congressional seat, they may want to take a look at the new kid on the block, and the advantages of a 4th and 10th district merger.

What else is in involved in a redistricting effort? There are state representatives that will lose “careers” regardless of which District is merged or redrawn, and this is where Beacon Hill comes into play. With the Governors ties to the Administration, as strong as they are, his stated “minimal” involvement in the process versus State Legislators slated to redistrict the Commonwealth, one would gather that his input from Washington as to who stays and who goes in Congress would trump any fights on Beacon Hill for state representatives positions.

Of note: Secretary of State William Galvin (D), has called for an independent counsel to decide the redistricting according to the Globe and was summarily told where that idea might be shelved by Massachusetts Senate President Therese Murray and Massachusetts House Speaker DeLeo. Incidentally, the Senate President hails from Plymouth which is part of the 10th District.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Barney Frank (D-MA-4), Will Be Up for Re-Election in 2012

Barney Frank(D-MA4) will be up for reelection in 2012 - photo wikipedia

Barney Frank, (MA-4) will, once again, be up for reelection in 2012. In 2010 Frank faced his first serious challenge in decades, and won by, what can be considered a narrow margin in Massachusetts, receiving a total vote of 126,194 to Republican newcomer, Sean Beilat’s 101,517. The 24,677 votes in Franks favor is a far cry from the 2008 election where Frank received 203,032 votes to Republican Earl Sholley’s 75,571 votes,or what was anticipated happening in 2010. As more voters become aware of Frank’s involvement in the Financial Sector over his long tenure in the Senate, dissatisfaction sets in; it is the candidate who will drive home this point in 2012 that will best Barney.

Frank now has several negatives playing against him, one of which is the “power factor”, Frank will be the outgoing Chairman of the Finance Committee, but will still serve as a member of the Committee in the House of Representatives, a position from which he oversaw the Federally backed mortgage giants, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Up to the very end of his Chair, Frank remains steadfastly progressive, an interview with CNBC (below), gives Franks perspective on voting against the tax cuts instituted by President Obama and a bipartisan committee of legislators. According to Frank, “taxing the rich”, (or those who create jobs), is a no-brainer, and those who inherit “estates” should be taxed to the hilt, because “they didn’t earn the money”. Perhaps Frank would be wise to visit a family farm, where everyone works, and where an estate tax of the magnitude preferred by Frank, would result in the loss of the farm by heirs, otherwise known as sons and daughters.

Additionally, Frank, who’s 4th district is home to some of the highest unemployment in the Bay State, was given a helping hand in this past election, when those supporting the Dream Act, got out and in 13 hours, across Massachusetts, found enough votes to push each and every Congressional incumbent over the top to a win. It is doubtful, with Massachusetts in the firm grasp of like-minded progressives, that the situation will change any time between now and the next election.

Finally, the anti-incumbent mood in Massachusetts was not lessened by the results of the 2010 elections, specifically on the Congressional side, where each challenger gave the incumbent Democrat a serious run for their money, the end result being that those war chest heavy incumbents had to spend the money at home defending their turf, instead of spreading it across the nation, allowing Democrats to hold seats. Contrary, the mood is one of although the Congressman was reelected; the gap was much narrower than in the one previous contest, and, therefore, the Republican candidate who does end up as the Frank Challenger will be well armed. The candidate will most likely be a strong fiscal conservative, who sat out the last election, and has the wherewithal to go toe to toe with Frank.

Frank’s district should escape any redistricting attempts as the Census due out today, may indicate a loss of a Congressional seat in the Bay State due to a drop in population. The most likely target will be those districts in the Western end of the state currently held by Olver (D-MA1) and Neal (D-MA2).

Monday, December 20, 2010

High Tax Rates and Cost of Living Causes Tax-Payer Population Shift to Sunbelt and Tax Free States

Entitlements Pull Indigent and Illegal Immigrants - Massachusetts May Lose Population in 2010 Census

Massachusetts has one of the highest tax rates in the nation, with Govenor Deval Patrick pushing through a round of new taxes in 2009 on everything from cell phones to an increase in the sales tax, and promising more upon his reelection n 2010 and as a result, people move. The outcome is thatthere is less income for the Commonwealth to meet its entitlement budget.

States Progject to Gain population (Green) verus Lose (Brown)

The likelihood of Deval Patrick proposing new taxes to cover the ever burgeoning deficit is high, and it is unlikely he would be willing to make the cuts to programs necessary to balance the budget. Further, he would be opposed to tax cuts necessary to give incentive for individuals or corporations which would bring jobs to the State.

The inability of Democratic Governors over the decades to cut taxes, and cut programs has caused a population shift south and west to more tax friendly climes and states that have lower cost of living. From an increase of approximately 26% in groceries over the previous year (save your receipts, it’s stunning), to rising heating costs during the winter months, to a lack of jobs due to high corporate tax rates, those that can, move out of Massachusetts. During the 1970’s under Michael Dukakis (who’s philosophy of tax and spend is similar to Patrick’s), watch the state’s unemployment rate soar as factory after factory closed, and moved to the Sun Belt. Moving into the state were those who found an environment friend to those who preferred to survive by government assistance. Massachusetts is ranked 7th in illegal immigration in the nation.

Therefore, as the Department of Revenue continues to announce shortfalls, and the Governor continues to provide more benefits from the State - the 2010 Census (due out today) (Boston Globe) may show a shortfall in population once again. The result is the loss of a Congressional Representative, and Deval Patrick and Company trying to find a way to increase fees (taxes) and taxes (taxes) in order to cover the budget.

What is most startling, is that information on bad governing practice by predecessors is available in history books, online news clipping, one’s memory if it serve one correctly, and or a myriad of places that anyone with the wherewithal to become Governor might look to find a virtual “how not to” book on the subject. From the state to the Federal government, historical figures (many of whom as living, breathing, guides to the window of historical economic buffoons abound, Carter, Dukakis, etc.) who, if one (Governor) took the time to study (or reflect using long-term memory), the policy of tax and spend, then these cyclical migrations to states other than Massachusetts, would not occur.

Although it is difficult to say what will occur, as the results will be released today at 11:00, (as the Boston Globe notes), the aforementioned bad fiscal policy may have resulted in a loss of population, or at the very least a loss of taxpayers, as well as a Congressional seat.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Massive Earmark Budget Killed in Senate – Obama-GOP Tax Cut Package Passes at Midnight Hour - Analysis

Obama and Republican Leaders Put American on Road to Recovery - image csmonitor

The Senate effectively squashed a 1.3 trillion dollar “budget” that was laden with earmarks after Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) handed Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid (D-NV) the option of continuing operations until the Senate reconvenes in January . The government has run on this type of spending measure since early this year, as Democrats have failed to put together a budget. The Omnibus Bill that Senate Democrats had attempted to ram through in a lame-duck session, included 1900 plus pages and $1.3 trillion dollars in spending, which lawmakers would not have had time to read or debate before the end of this session. Massachusetts Senator John Kerry (D), yesterday asked why lawmakers in the Senate would need to read the bill (video of Kerry included:source Real Clear Politicts) – a comment that was earnest in his support for earmarks and spending projects hoped for by Democrats and some Republicans prior to the Congress changing hands with a fiscally restrained Republican Majority in January. Of import to Kerry were several items in the bill, including $8 million in spending for the Kennedy Institute in DC as well as $600,000 to study scallops! When the nation’s taxpayers are tightening their belts, and doing without, these types of debt heavy projects, adding to future individual tax burdens, are a slap in the face of Kerry’s and like-minded Lawmakers on Capitol Hill’s constituents.

After dropping the budget, the Senate and Congress agreed in a show of bipartisanship rarely seen in Washington since 2006 when the Democrats took control of both Houses, a bill to extend the Bush tax cuts, and additional tax cuts proposed by President Obama, was passed at midnight and sent to President Obama for his signature. The bill, worked out between the Obama administration and Republican members of the House and Senate, includes an extension of unemployment benefits in 26 states that participate in the Federal program for up to 13 months at a time when the unemployment rates is near 10%. With the tax cuts extended for two years, businesses that have been holding back on hiring, should begin to hire, incentives are included for new businesses that would add additional private sector jobs badly needed to support the government in new tax revenue. The tax cuts combined with the unemployment benefits are projected to add $800 billion to the deficit, however, that projection may change as entrepreneurs and small businesses develop (and pay taxes) and all businesses hire employees (more taxes from employees), effectively reducing the unemployment rolls (reduction in Federal Spending).

One cannot anticipate an overnight “fix”, however, as with previous tax cuts, the unemployment rate and increase in Federal and State Revenues were realized within a one to two year time frame. That said, with the elimination of a pork laden budget, which will be revised with the Congress reconvenes in January under new Republican leadership, with promises from Speaker Boehner (D-OH), to introduce spending cuts by the week, while producing a budget that is fiscally responsible, coupled with tax cuts designed to boost hiring on the parts of business and spending on the part of consumers with more money in their pocket, the process of recovery may be expedited.

The following year should be one which keeps those watching the Capitol on their toes, as Obama appears to be more than willing to work with the new majority who has indicated they will do the same, running the government as it should be, on compromise and openness with the American Public. However, once the 2012 campaign season kicks off – it may be difficult for those who will be on the campaign trail (including the President, all members of Congress, and over half of the Senate) to maintain this level of bipartisanship, or have the time to accomplish much while the various members are on recess to campaign. In that wise, the American taxpayer receives a double bonus, as a government that is run on a premise of fiscal responsibility for a year, will have the same cast of characters in 2012 that are adverse to passing bills without a thorough reading and debate.

The healing has begun and will continue with the new Congress in the first week of January 2011. That said, one issuer to see headlines regarding Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Reid, espousing the “tax the rich” dogma, and attempting to stymie the Republicans from effectively downsizing government at every turn. It is, without the majority Democrats enjoyed for four years, akin to making a lot of noise and spitting into the wind while the Republicans and those likeminded Democrats govern with the President. It will be interesting to see which side the press of the nation takes, as this unfolds, one would have to lay odds against the President and the Republican controlled Congress – chances are that Pelosi and Reid will receive a great deal more airtime complaining about everything and anything. Not exactly the best strategy for winning hearts and minds for the “Progressive” cause of big government.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Massive Federal Budget Bill – MA Democrats Scramble for Earmarks – Scott Brown (R-MA) name erroneously placed on earmark request!

The 1900 plus page budget for the United States Government is now available for viewing online HERE . Included in the budget are billions in earmarks for a variety of projects that, depending upon ones point of view, might be shelved – permanently. The earmarks are so extensive that separate tables are available for public viewing by department. The Financial Services Earmark Chart at (here) includes 5 pages in small type by line item and Congressional Representative requests or “earmarks”. There is also an 11 page Agriculatural Earmark Chart (here), a 29 page table on each spending item requested by each Senator and/or Congressman (here). (and multiple tables follow) The later, includes a mere $600,000 request from Barney Frank (D-MA) and John Kerry (D-MA) to study scallops. The Bill, from start to finish is peppered with two words in particular: research and salaries. The sheer size and scope of the Government can only be appreciated when one does a search for “salaries” in this document. For example: (from the Bill text) “ For salaries and expenses of the House of Representatives, $1,371,172,000” – one might ask does the Citizen legislature seriously require 1.3 Billion dollars for salaries? Of course, compared to the balance of the budget, that may be considered “chump change”.

Understanding why the Massachusetts Congressional Representatives and one Senator (Kerry) might not understand the publics distaste for Earmarks (otherwise known as wasteful and/or unnecessary spending) due to their keeping their jobs in 2010 (by the skin of their teeth and a lot of help from “Dream Act” voters). They are clearly deluded into thinking that Massachusetts ever shrinking pool of taxpayers actually supports the process. There is clearly no excuse for those in the 111th Congress who did not lose their jobs in the mid-terms and are (including the Massachusetts Congressional Reps) all up for reelection in two short years, to so clearly ignore the general public in the waning hours of the Democrat Controlled 111th Congress by loading the next budget (late as it may be) up to the hilt with unnecessary spending.

The lone Republican in the Massachusetts mix, Senator Scott Brown (MA-R), had his name erronealy attached to a pork spending project by an appropriations committee aid. He requested it be removed. (Boston Globe) Brown is clearly aware that the election in 2012 depends upon his (and any other Congressional Representative or Senator) paring down the budget, not adding “junk” items, or items that are clearly unnecessary. Apparently the balance of the Democrats and some Republicans in both houses don’t understand what happened on the 2nd of November 2010, of course, a good percentage of those that do not, were not faced with an electorate, and will not, again, be up for reelection until 2012.

Some of the projects deemed worthy by Boston Globe Standards include the following: $8 million for the Edward M. Kennedy Institute which, as noted by the Globe has already received 30 plus million in public funding There is also a $600,000 grant to research scallop fishing stock in New England. It is difficult to fathom, that while those taxpayers who are struggling to get by, watch $600,000 go to a University in order to study scallops, which, at $13.00 per pound in most grocery stores, is out of reach to the average household. As to the legacy of Edward M. Kennedy and an institute in Washington DC receiving any funding, let alone an additional $8 million, is purely frivolous.

In total the Massachusetts Democrat Delegation had requested 576 earmarks worth $1.4 billion which was “narrowed down in committee to merely 174 earmarks worth $213.4 million. (Boston Globe)
Therefore, as the 111th Congress, controlled by the Democrats, continues to throw away taxpayers dollars until the last hour of their tenure, it is hoped that those incoming Republican’s will do the job they were sent to D.C. to do, and reign in this nonsense. Incoming Speaker of the House, John Boehner has promised weekly spending cuts. As to all the Congressional Representatives and Senators who are looking to 2012, understand that the issue of being fiscally responsible will directly impact ones chances of reelection regardless of Political Party Affiliation.

Best quote from a MA Congressional Representative in the Globe article goes to Richard Neal (who lost his bid to Sander Levin of MI to become the ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee)

Representative Richard Neal, the Springfield Democrat, said yesterday that the earmarks for Massachusetts in the bill support jobs and would be helpful to the state’s economy.
“What’s missing in this discussion about earmarks,’’ said Neal, is that attempts to ban them “would transfer spending authority from Congress to the White House. I have always resisted anything that weakens congressional authority. I like to say, ‘You can get a meeting with your congressman. Try getting a meeting with the president.’ ’’

One might suggest to Congressman Neal, that is what’s missing from his fallacious argument is the fact that earmarks are a rather recent addition to the budget process and have nothing to do with taking away or giving any powers to the Executive Branch (which does have the power of line-item veto) as it stands.
Kudos to Scott Brown for not requesting any earmarks.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Massachusetts Faces Budget Cuts – State Cannot Afford Mass Universal Health Care Coverage For “Financially Challenged” - Now Limits Enrollment! reports that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is facing up to a 1.5 billion in spending cuts due to shortfalls in the State’s income. Massachusetts has run out of taxpayers sufficient to cover its ever burgeoning give away programs, and with the “stimulus” set to expire, the reality of spending beyond what reality supports has hit home. Under the leadership of Governor Deval Patrick and a Progressive Democrat heavy legislature, the Commonwealth has experienced round after round of tax increases, with Patrick now asking for additonal funds for in-state college tuition for illegal immigrants, (While under new Federal Guidelines, parents of students up to age 24, must complete loan and grant applications in order for their children to apply to college under new laws enacted by the Board of Education. In addition, under the new National Health Care program, parents must carry their children until age 26, regardless of where this “child” lives or if they are married. The Federal Government falls short of demanding parents cover their 26 year old child, spouse and children. Therefore, while taxpayers are increasingly being forced to cover “depending children” past the age of majority (21 in most instances); the State is giving benefits to those who are not residents of the State and or nation.)

The heaviest burden to the Massachusetts taxpayer is the Mass. Health Connector, which apparently has passed a new law no longer allowing enrollment at will, rather restricting enrollment periods to twice yearly. Therefore, if one misses a deadline, one is without insurance coverage from the “low cost” state plan. Additionally, steps have been taken by the state to exempt those who meet certain criteria for financial hardship to possibly eliminate the fees assessed by the Commonwealth’s Department of Revenue for not carrying “mandated” coverage. Perhaps increasing the Commonwealth’s citizens access to insurers (now limited to a handful) would spur competition and, not unlike the Commonwealths’ Auto Insurance reform, which allowed for more competition among insurers) drive down the costs, making health insurance as affordable as auto insurance.

One cannot get blood from a stone applies to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts taxpayers. The states loss of revenue is in direct correlation to those residents fleeing in droves to states where taxes are less likely to occur with such frequency. In addition, this phenomena is also about to cost the Commonwealth a seat in the U.S. Congress.

The solution is for Deval Patrick and company to begin to make hard choices in regards to which programs to ax and which to keep. The Commonwealth’s SNAP program (formally known as “Food Stamps”) which cost the taxpayers billions last year, currently comes in the form of a credit card, and anyone who is within the state boundaries is eligible, regardless of residency status. This card, according to the states records, has been used in the states high end grocery stores as well as convenience stores, which are not the most cost effective places in which to procure food. It is not without compassion for those who go without daily sustenance, however, management of this type of program would be better served by vouchers which would have specific guidelines limiting the program to actual “food groups” to be procured in specific grocery stores only, in order to order to prevent outright fraud and abuse. (Similar to WIC, a program in place that offers food assistance to Massachusetts residents paid for by the Federal Government.)

It is not a question of compassion, but a question of ensuring that those who do need assistance will not wake one day to find that the Commonwealth can no longer beg, borrow, steal or tax enough in order to cover their basic needs. If these services were provided to legal residents of the Commonwealth, and who met specific hardship criteria (living out of one’s car after losing one’s house would be a place to start), and were managed with an eye towards giving a hand-up not a hand-out (tired but true statement) the budget would find itself in fair shape in short order. (This of course, would be coupled with a cut in the corporate tax rate, to give incentives to businesses of all types to migrate to the Bay State and set up shop, hiring individuals, creating more taxpayers in order to help the truly needy.)

Of note: a new politically correct “ism” appears to have occurred: “financially challenged” - defined as someone who has no money - i.e. broke. This should apply to those taxpayers left in the Commonwealth.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Health Care Reform Act – One Ruling Will Negate Entire Bill - The Commerce Clause and Lack of a Severability Clause.

Article 9 of the U.S. Constitution - Clear and to the Point - see

Obama Vows to be the President of “No”.

When a Federal District Judge in Virginia, ruled that the Health Care Legislation which mandates all U.S. Citizens purchase health care insurance violated the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, the hastily crafted, poorly written legislation that was rammed through Congress, was written without a severability clause. An Aid to the Democrats who were drafting the law, told a WSJ reporter that members had discussed a severability provision but deemed it wasn’t necessary (source: Kansas City Business Journal)

That’s what happens when one is in a rush to put one over on the general public, when it is clear that the public is not on board with a specific bill – mistakes happen. The mistake in this instance is the lack of a “severability clause”, without which, should one piece of the legislation be found unconstitutional, the entire bill collapses.

The Commonwealth of Virginia brought suit in Federal Court and won a ruling on the Commerce clause this week based on a State Law Virginia had the foresight to pass in March, of 2010 prior to the Congressional Passage of the Bill. Now the case goes to the Supreme Court, which is, by ideological makeup of the justices, has changed little with the inclusions of the Obama appointees who replaced likeminded justices. Therefore, should the suit brought be adjudicated by a majority along strict Constructionist standards, the Virginia ruling will hold, and the entire bill will negated. This will allow the current Congress and Senate to work with the President to craft a bill that will work; one which might include the ability of individuals to buy insurance across party lines, which is a proven model for driving down the costs of insurance.

This may prove difficult overall, as the new Congress is controlled by Republican’s whom the President has vowed he will resume fighting as soon as he gets the tax package/unemployment extensions passed. In trying to pacify the screaming leftists in Congress, Obama vowed not to work with Republicans, brilliant on the part of the Leader of the Free World to issue a statement one might hear on the playground. Perhaps he should call in Bill Clinton for that work as well; something might get done. It is no secret that both Congress and the President need to work together in order to further the interest of the nation. For far too long the partisan nonsense on the part of Pelosi and crew has held American hostage over ridiculous attempts by the then minority to stall passage of reasonable bills, and push for the ridiculous, which they promptly managed upon taking control of the House in 2006. It is not as if they have not had the time to accomplish much, yet, they have done nothing but tee off the American Public by passing legislation that a majority opposed, instead of working with Republicans (who were willing and able) to come to some sort of compromise that owl benefit the public. (Those people who members of Congress work for and without the “little peoples” support, will be out of a job – see midterm elections 2010).

What are the chances of any Congressional Representative, Senator or President being reelected if this nonsense persists and they are perceived to be the cause? Zero.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Women journalist and the next Speaker: Leslie Stahl’s Take on Boehner – The Quintessential American

Stahl: “I Really Liked Him, I did, I thought He was so Authentic.” Politico appraises Boehner’s Fashion Sense.

Leslie Stahl’s take on John Boehner has been interpreted as being partisan by some , bloggers however, the video (shown below), regardless of the perceived intent of Ms. Stahl, paints a picture of the man who will be 3rd in line to the Presidency, as not only a product of the American Dream (which is pivotal), but as someone who will do his utmost to move the nation forward. In an interview with editor, Ann Silvio, on the Boehner piece, (shown below), Stahl goes through her interview, stating emphatically; “I think people are going to like him”.

What the public learns about Boehner in the 60 minute segment is that the next speaker is a regular guy, a Catholic, who was born into a large family, and worked his way through college, through business and through politics. Boehner, was a Democrat until the Reagan revolution, a man who has no problem showing his emotion (which Stahl defends), and someone who will be tough when he needs to be, although one who is willing to cross the aisle. In other words, Boehner is the perfect Speaker of the House – from a seemingly left of center woman’s point of view. This speaks volumes about John Boehner’s ability as a politician: the fact that he is perceived by Stahl to be a regular all-around good guy and the support he may receive from Stahl's CBS’s viewership going forward. According to Neilson’s Sunday’s rankings 60 minutes averaged 12 million viewers the prior week.

It is difficult to comprehend (partisanship aside) a negative, especially with women: The final frames in the 60 minutes segment is of Boehner’s on being the next Speaker of the House – fading into the one final comment: “Welcome to America.”

It will be interesting, going forward from January to see how Boehner’s relationship with the Press will take shape. As of now, it appears that John Boehner has won more than one woman. Over at Politico, Karan Tanabe and Amie Parnes have dubbed Boehner as ”D.C.'s own Mr. Blackwell” Comparing Boehner to Blackwell gives an impression of wit and fashion sense.

Welcome to American indeed, where in Boehner’s vision, one is able to rise from humble beginnings, work their way through college, and one day become one of the most powerful figures in the U.S. Government. Regardless of one’s “take” on Ms. Stahl and other Journalist, both right and left, (not discounting CBS’s suspect brand of journalism - See Dan Rather’s story on George Bush’s service in the National Guard that was – fabricated, and the infamous 7 hour interview with Sarah Palin that Katie Couric and a team of editors pared down to Palin’s detriment.) one has to give credit where credit is due - Boehner for going into the “Lion’s den of 60 minutes” and Stahl for giving an honest presentation.

Profile of Leslie Stahl

CBS 60 Minute Segment on John Boehner

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Obama Ditches White House Press Conference – Bill Clinton takes charge - Democrats Posture for Progressive Base

President Clinton took time to give a little help to Obama, taking over at the White House Press Conference - image Yahoo

President Obama brought a little help with him to a recent White House Press briefing - former President Bill Clinton. Obama did not stay to answer questions, rather turned the podium over to Clinton, who then defended the Presidents stance on reinstating tax cuts. Using the excuse that his wife was waiting for him, Obama walked away leaving Clinton virtually in charge, a move that was not unappealing to some pundits, including MSNBC’s Chris Matthews.

As Obama has been faced with what amounts to a slap in the face (mildly put) from the hard left faction in his Congress (Pelosi, et al), he appears to require the need to bring in Clinton, the moderate, in order to deal with those who are fighting hard for the progressive line. It has gotten to the point, where some of the less sane members of the Progressive caucus, are considering letting the tax cuts expire as well as the unemployment insurance that is tied to those same tax cuts, in a deal brokered by Obama. In a recent interview one house member Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN)suggested that in allowing the tax cuts to expire along with those unemployment benefits, Republicans would then take the blame. In other words, forcing the Republicans to capitulate on letting the tax cuts expire while pushing through the unemployment extensions. This is clearly not in the cards, Obama knows it, Clinton knows it, and the American public is now aware of the fact that Congress is the problem, not the President nor the GOP in this instance.

Apparently, Ellison, under the erroneous impression that tax cuts are not popular with the American public in general (there are conflicting polls on this subject, he must be using selective polling choices in order to get to frame his point of view, always a dangerous move, especially if one, has either been booted out of office, or will be booted out of office in 2012. What the remaining Democrats in the House, and most certainly those in the Senate, that do understand the tie between prosperity, buskin and the basic tax cuts, are likely to do in the event that nothing is done prior to the Christmas Break, is run the same deal January 5th, when the new Congress is installed, effectively putting everything into place retroactively.

This leads the base to believe that certain members are fighting for the Progressive platform, however, in reality, they surely cannot so dense in intellect that they are not aware this will take place with or without them, thereby making Ms. Pelosi, and all others statements and posturing nothing more than political in nature.

As to Obama leaving the podium to Clinton, appearances are everything and he should have, in this opinion, held his ground, using Clinton as the cheerleader when the need arose. To simply bolt with a weak excuse, leave the President appearing disengaged.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Flashback August 1962: “There is some powerful Democratic opposition in Congress to a cut now.” It may be time for Obama to Channel Abraham Lincoln.

Analysis and Opinion

Pelosi and Company in Opposition to Obama and Tax cuts, image Washington Post

Funny thing about history, repeating itself, no matter what the era, or whether a Chief Executive of the United States (i.e. The President), has a Congress controlled by his party or the opposition party, one can pretty much wager on Democrat opposition to Tax Cuts.

In 1962 when John F. Kennedy proposed a round of tax cuts in order to stabilize the economy, he was challenged, not by Republican’s, rather by the rank and file Democrats in Congress. Again in 1982, President Ronald Reagan experienced ”opposstion from the House Democratic Leadership” (Gadson Times, August 17, 1982).

George W. Bush, experienced much the same, ”The Democratic leadership in Congress that opposes President George W. Bush's tax-cut plan…..”Columbus Leger Enquirer, February 12, 2001

Opposition to Tax Cuts, historic Democrat pastime

The anti-tax cut mantra, which includes “tax the rich”, is normally in place prior to a President (CEO), cutting taxes across the board, which then, amazingly accomplishes an increase in revenue (taxes) from increased employment due to business confidence and additional available funds. It is a simple concept, that regardless of the political affiliation of a sitting President, Democrat members of Congress, specifically those who hold leadership positions, prefer to oppose based on ideology rather than concrete economic grounds.

President Obama is faced with that trial now. Perhaps the tax cuts to the “rich” mantra is instilled in the President, however, he compromised with Republicans in order to move our nation forward, clearly signaling he understands that there’s a good probability that cutting taxes on those so-called “rich”, i.e. Businesses, would cause unemployment to remain high. The problem Obama faces is from the far left, including the “old guard media”, who are amazed that Obama would dare to work with Republicans in order to advance a theory that had worked for the aforementioned past Presidents, all were opposed by those Congressional Democrats, in different decades, with only two possible reasons which come to mind.

Perhaps one reason why Obama is faced with such transparently rabid revolt, including crass language in the Congress by a member who used an extremely base and childish expletive in referring the Chief Executive, and a refusal by Democrat Leadership to bend on tax cuts, is pure ideology. The “progressive base" of the party (i.e. the Socialists who have co-opted the Democrat Party as not one of them (with the exception of Bernie Sanders in Vermont but – it’s Vermont), would be elected if they ran on the Socialist Party ticket (and yes, there is one). That tactic has been taking place since….well, the “Red Menace” of the early 1900’s (Communist run Labor Unions and riots in the United States).

The other possibility is that they (Pelosi & Company) believe that the tax money collected from working American’s truly belongs to them; for funding projects that are just shy of ridiculous and also costly. Either way, this Democrat opposition can squawk all they like, as the Congress changes hands on the 5th of January, and it is a good bet that a tax cut would pass in a heartbeat without their votes.

Although the President has indicated he is in a rock and a hard place, trading off tax cuts in order to keep unemployed Americans in weekly checks for another 13 months, it is with an understanding that do to nothing at this point is detrimental to both the economy and millions of American’s. He may have compromised under pressure; however, he understood the necessity to do so. Those “Democrats and Democratic Leadership” in Congers who are blathering and name calling at this moment in time, are doing nothing more than grandstanding, just like their predecessors, and, as history as proven, the tax cuts worked, under Kennedy, under Reagan, under Bush, and they will work under Obama.
Should the President bow to his “base” he would risk a humanitarian, economic and political humiliation, which is, apparently, no concern to Ms. Pelosi, or her Progressive Socialist in the Congers who have their knickers in a bunch?

Lastly, CBS News has been touting an in-house poll which implies that a majority of American’s favor a tax on the “rich” and have been broadcasting that information as well as support for the House Democrats who oppose tax cuts 24/7. (CBS – often referred to as the Communist Broadcasting Corporation – beginning circa 1980).

However, NPR (also not know for leaning right), ran an article contrary to CBS regarding the polls on Tax cuts as being somewhat confusing. The reason being Gallop also polled the same questions, and results were far different than those of CBS. Gallop is considered the “gold standard” of pollsters and not one that leans particularly far right or left. This type of pandering by media outlets to a political ideology has the historical reference of letters between those Founding Fathers (see Federalist Papers) who engaged in heated debate regarding allowing for freedom of the press, due to the ability of a press, at some point in time, disrupting the Republic.

As Barack Obama is a fan of Abraham Lincoln, surely he is aware that historically Lincoln was the one President who suspended the Constitution and jailed the editors of newspapers who were not specifically behind his efforts. (Treatment of Lincoln and Constitution here) (Conservatives might point to that as the only reason Barack Obama is a fan of the 16th Republican President.) Journalist might be jailed and the constitution suspended. One might suggest that would apply to the current situation whereby certain journalist that have a large share of voice and are in disagreement with the President, might face the same fate as their 1860’s counterparts.

Al Sharpton might have Rush Limbaugh (Conservative Radio Talk Show Host) in mind, (see interview where Sharpton also believes that American’s embraced socialism when they elected Barack Obama) however, muffling CBS, the NYTimes and the core media would, at this point, be in the Presidents’ best political interest. Mr. Sharpton, and those who sit sway over the FTC , specifically Commissioner Copps, who is seeking to monitor all media, including the internet, might want to review the recent calls against talk radio, the internet and cable news outlets lest they too find themselves without a voice. If Obama has the will of his predecessors in standing up to those Socialist Congressional Representatives who would “tax the rich” and thereby, sacrifice millions of unemployed in the deal, he just might take it one step further.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Richard Neal (D-MA2) and Sander Levin (D-MI12) Fight for Top Dem Slot on Ways and Means Committee – Neal “"Globalization is not about to retreat"

Richard Neal (D-MA2) Battles for Rank Position on Ways and Means image urbancompass blog

On the one hand Congressman Richard Neal was recommended for the top Democrat Slot as “Ranking Member” of the House Ways and Means Committee by a group of Democrat House Leaders, according to Business Week. The Democrat Steering Committee for the House recommended Neal by a vote of 1 over Sander Levin, who is the current Chair, and was appointed by Nancy Pelosi to fill the slot previously held by disgraced member Charles Rangel (D-NY). Sander immediately protested, noting that one member, Maxine Waters, who supports Levin, was missing and has requested a rematch according to Politico. With Waters in the mix, the Committee would be tied before either Neal or Levin would be chosen by the full Democrat Caucus.

The Chair of the Committee going into the New Congress is Dave Camp (R-MI4) . Camp, played a pivotal role drafting the legislation for welfare reform under President Bill Clinton, and not unlike Richard Neal, keeps a fairly low national profile. Camp has been serving his MI district since 1991. Camp will take up the gavel on the 5th of January 2011 when the new House is in session.

Neal or Levin would still hold influential posts on the Committee, which overseas tax codes, Social Security and Welfare; of the two men, both hold progressive views, although Neal tends to break with his fellow Democrats on rare occasions. Neal, a Catholic, voted against federal funding for abortion in the new Health Care Reform Legislation, and is a staunch support of Ireland. He has been credited with helping to broker a peace between the outlaw party Sein Fein (Irish Republican Army) and the British Government. For decades Irish Catholics fought for parity with British and Irish Protestants in Ireland, with Sein Fein using terrorist tactics in order to make their point.

Levin, according Business Week, has cast his support behind labor unions; while Neal spends his time working with Washington based tax lawyers. Both men are “Progressive Democrats”. From Politico comes this exchange that highlights the very real similarities and differences between the two would-be “ranking members”

"I have been an effective chair this year, and I believe I am the best person to meet the challenges our caucus faces in the 112th Congress. I have demonstrated principled, active leadership and the ability to press the administration to hold firm to our basic principles and take on Republicans who want to turn back the clock on our accomplishments," Levin wrote.
Neal said it's time for Democrats to look to the future and stop "recycling" arguments.
"Globalization is not about to retreat," Neal said.

It appears that Dave Camp is more than capable of working with either Levin or Neal, and has the temerity to stick to his guns. In the capacity of “Ranking Member”, Neal Ranks 58 in the Democrat Party, while Levin ranks 34th. Levin’s higher party rank includes a member’s success in moving legislation forward and ability to influence members. Based on these statistics from 2008 on, one would think Levin would have the juice to best Neal, if he forces the tie with Maxine Waters vote, then the full caucus may reject Neal’s campaign for the role.

Neal, who had to face a tough reelection campaign from a newcomer Tom Wesley (R), won reelection with the help of community organizers getting out the Democrat vote in the last 13 hours of the election. The final tally was not as excepted, with Wesley taking 42.7 percent of the vote, a clear indication that Neal’s run in 2012 may not turn out as expected by both the beltway pundits and Neal. Levin, fared much better than Neal in his district, with the opposition garnering only 24% of the total vote. Levin, may have more “staying power” in the eyes of his colleagues than Neal, although Neal may appear to be more of a moderate in sheep’s clothing; deemed more capable of brokering deals with the current Republican majority.

All this backroom dealing, caucusing, and posturing on both sides of the aisle, will result in the election to positions within the Congress of those who will be watched more closely by both the media, but especially the voters. Going into the 2012 general election, with all house seats once again up for reelection, a majority of the Democrat Senate seats up for reelection and of course, the President up for reelection; should the current political climate continue, both Levin and Neal will either be out of jobs, and/or holding on to “high ranking” minor roles in the Congress until at least 2014.

Of note: Both Levin and Neal voted “yea” on the 11th hour tax bill that would have extended tax cuts to families making less than $250,000 and increase taxes on business (Full roll call vote at here), which failed in the Senate. The President, meanwhile, had been in negotiations with Republicans on a bi-partisan measure, which, the actions of both Neal and Levin indicate that they were willing to vote with the Speaker, (Pelosi current) than the President. The MA2 District, although having lost the majority of its manufacturing jobs over the past decades due to high corporate state tax rate, and although the vote was most likely made in an attempt ot pacify the Progressives in Neal and Levin’s districts, it tends to make those independent voters leery of both men who would not join in the clear effort by both President Obama and Republicans to move the nation forward. Finally, in addition, the MA2 and MA1 districts may be melded with another district due to the Commonwealth's loss of population. This would pit Neal and Olver against Democrat and former state Sen. Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr., a Pittsfield lawyer in a 2012 contest.

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