What the birthers believe, from the mouth of the movement’s king…
AK: This seems awfully quixotic. Why continue this clearly fruitless quest?
PB: I think it is bearing fruit. I think significant, about two weeks ago, I put out my latest press release calling for a birth certificate march on Washington. The next day was the national Prayer Breakfast — Obama spoke there at the very end, and I’m paraphrasing…but at the end of the speech, he said: No one should question my faith. Then he paused, and he said, or my citizenship. I think that we’re getting to him by now. It’s the first time that he brought the subject up. Biden jokes about it, but it’s not a joke, it’s for real. And Glenn Beck, who doesn’t touch the birth certificate issue, talked about me for at least three days…I made the blackboard. He’s saying that I am a threat to Obama. I’m not sure what he meant by that…I’m not a physical threat. I’m calling for a peaceful revolution on this issue. For our March of Washington, I’m hoping to get a million people to bring hteir birth certificates, faxing them or e-mailing them to my office.
I think we are bearing fruit. I think the courts are taking their time, unfortunately…if I can raise public awareness, I think the American public will force Obama to either prove he’s constitutionally eligible to be president or they’re going to force him to resign. Because — here’s the thing — American citizens must produce their birth certificate during their lifetime between one and ten times. You definitely need to to do Little League. They keep putting up the COLB — which is not a birth certificate. It’s missing the baby’s length, the baby’s weight, the name of the hospital, and the doctor’s signature. So Obama…even though Chris Matthews shakes it saying it’s his birth certificate, it’s not his birth certificate. And you definitely need it for a passport! Even to travel to — the Caribbean, or Puerto Rico —
AK: But hasn’t he traveled to those places?
PB: I think he traveled his entire life on an Indonesian passport. So that’s why the issue isn’t what happened when he was born, but what happened in Indonesia. In one of his books, he mentioned that he found his birth certificate. And in his book, he mentioned his stepfather, Lolo Soetoro, “returned to Indonesia before my mother and I.”
Well, we have his school record on our site and his name is Barry Soetoro, his nationality being Indonesian and his religion being Islam. Every time since then, when he’s used the name Barack H. Obama, he’s committing fraud. He severed relations from the prior country and took on the parents’ last name, so he hasn’t legally changed his last name. But how did he come back from Indonesia in the United States?
AK: So your contention is that Anne Dunham gave birth to him…
PB: …in Kenya. But even if he were in Hawaii, he would have had his birth certificate in Kenya. Now, there’s a law that says a parent can’t give up their rights for their child. But between the ages of 18 and 21, Obama would have had to renounce that citizenship with Indonesia and reaffirm any citizenship he had in the United States. But because he became a natural of Indonesia, he could not have kept his status as natural-born, even if he was natural-born, in Hawaii, which I don’t beliee he was. I think he went back to Hawaii on his Indonesia passport, never reaffirming his allegiance to the United States between the ages of 18 and 21. There’s a question of — you know — in 1980, when he’s 20, he travels to Pakistan, but he also stopped in Indonesia, I think, to renew his Indonesian passport. Someone put in a FOIA request asking me about his passport and it came back that he had no US Passport, so I think that goes along with the fact that he probably uses his Indonesian passport and from his time as US Senator forward used a diplomatic passport, and see, all this can be cleared up really easily if Obama would just come forth with his original birth certificate, like he said he found it, in his book — now, a COLB is now legitimate for a birth in Hawaii but not anymore, they changed it recently.
AK: Why do you think that Hawaii has Obama’s certificate of live birth on record?
PB: We don’t know if that document came from there. That document was put on the Obama campaign website in 2008 to try to refute questions from the year before that. He put this phony document up, two months before I even got involved in this lawsuit. Notice they have not put any other document up; they keep referring to that COLB as a birth certificate.
AK: See, when I sit around with theorizing with people, we tend to say — well, he’s not releasing it because it causes needless distractions division on the right, and people will look at the radical right, and it will undermine conservatives and Republicans.
PB: How would it undermine anyone? From the time I first found my first lawsuit, I have continuously said, if I am wrong: Obama, prove me wrong, and I’ll withdraw my lawsuit. But he hasn’t. And the reason he hasn’t is because he can’t. Listen, we’re not talking about a stupid person here. Obama…supposedly went to Occidental College…
PB: I’m not sure anymore. Reverend Manning is going to have a trial in May of 2010 over the fact that no one shows — he questions — they interviewed everyone that went to Columbia. No one remembers him being in school at Columbia — students who went to school at the time, and no one recalls Obama at all. I think he did some research but no one remembers him doing the job he supposedly did.
He sealed all his records — and for one main reason: that he received foreign aid for his admission at Occidental and Columbia. There are others who say he never went there, I’m not going there. But he’s not stupid. He went to Occidental, Columbia, and Harvard, and when he graduated he was a tort constitutional lawyer for ten years, so don’t tell me he doesn’t know his status. He knows if he’s legit or not, and I think he’s not, and there’s no evidence put forward that he is legit. He’s the biggest phony in our country’s history, all 230 years…I’m doing this because there’s nothing more important than the US Constitution. I’m doing it for the 305 million-plus citizens who deserve to know the truth, and for our soldiers who have fought overseas to defend our Constitution, and the millions of others who have fought over the years in these battles to protect our Constitutional rights. Arnold Schwarzenegger comes forth, people asking him to run for president — and he says — amend the Constitution, because I’m from Austria. What does Barack Obama say? Basically nothing, but by saying nothing, he is saying that I’m walking all over the Constitution, that I don’t care about the Constitution, and I think it’s a disgrace. Also, who’s a disgrace, the national media. I was interviewed by the New York Times about six months ago and said that I wished I could sue the natioal media for not vetting Obama. Look what they did to Sarah Palin, they went behind every door and under every rock asking lots of questions. What do they do with Obama? Nothing. They have asked him nothing about his past and it’s like — a taboo topic. And the reason it’s a taboo topic is because the major media is owned by three or four corporations. And they say — stay off this birth certificate issues. And that’s why I think a Birth Certificate March on Washington is really going to identify so many people, the initial response in overwhelming…people contacting me, can I help, can I get buses, so we’re gonna pick the date soon.
From a mini press-conference…
AK: I don’t think it’s an accident that you’ve been showing up in Iowa and South Carolina, and that you’ve been making speeches next to Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty at the events of various organizations. Uh…you’re running, aren’t you? [Laughs in the room]
MP: I don’t have any plans on running for president. [Room murmurs — ‘Of course you’d say that!’] But there are two things I want to do. Number one, is to serve the people of Indiana right here in Washington DC. And two, to do everything in my power over next nine months to return the powers of Congress to the American people. I’m someone who really believes — and I said this in my speech today — one of the things that faces us as a movement, and as a party, is focus. And the reality is that we have nine months and it’s halftime in the locker room. And I think if everyone puts their head down and speaks on behalf of the American people, then things will work themselves out.
AB: You talk about taking the House back in 2010, but right now we’re mired in primary season. What do you say to people who might be taking on establishment candidates?
MP: You know, it’s never the bad thing when the American people become more involved in the American political process. And the reality is, we have a number of competitive primaries in Congress in districts where we had a hard time finding a candidate in the past. We have men and women coming forward to contest these seats and I think that is nothing but a good thing. It’s good for America, let the people work their will, let the candidates to their best. But the important thing is, once we get through all of these primaries…it’s gonna be imperative that people who cherish conservative values get over anything that might have happened in the primary and line up behind the conservative candidate.
AB: Do Republicans have an obligation to support Parker Griffith in Alabama?
MP: I’m pleased to see him join the ranks. I know he’s gotten the support of the Republican governor from that state and all the Republican Congressmen from that state. But being in the minority, we’re glad to see someone who has been voting right come our way…it’s altogether appropriate for us to support his re-election. But that doesn’t mean I think it’s not appropriate for people not to let their voice be heard.
Congressman, I live in that district, and I’d rather have a conservative!, someone yelled. Everyone ignored him.
Someone else asked “Do you think you could convince Mitch Daniels to run for president?”
MP: Let me say that it is a great soruce of joy for me to come from the state that has the best governor in the United States of America. And I believe that Governor Daniels has said he’s not running for any other offices, and I’ve known him for about twenty-five years, and he’s a man of his word. We’ll let the future take care of itself, but he’s a great man with courage and great principle.
The conservative alternative to Kelly Ayotte sits down with Race42012. The audio recording got somewhat garbled. Ellipses indicate where that happened, unfortunately.
AK: The most recent Rasmussen poll shows you as the only Republican candidate losing to Paul Hodes — by six points, while Kelly Ayotte wins by seven — and the candidate with the lowest favorability ratings in the field of prospective senators. Why do you think this is?
OL: It’s because I’ve been a conservative activist for many years, with a record of service that makes you controversial, but I think people will rediscover who I am — and that I have the authentic conservative message. I was chairman of the State Board of Education in the 90s. We opposed the Education stimulus package under the Clinton administration…and that made me very unpopular with the education establishment, as you might imagine…that made me controversial…When I ran for governor, we had a hotly-litigated school funding suit that we actually won in the Superior Court, and again…that put me in the crosshairs of the educational establishment, so, when you try to do things that will make a difference and if you champion causes you believe in, you’re gonna draw some criticism. But whoever wins the primary is gonna win the general election, because what Paul Hodes wants is more taxing, more spending, he supports federal funding of abortion…People are gonna see the difference between us, and who has the true conservative principles…
AB: How, then, do you beat Kelly Ayotte in the primary?
OL: It’s a good question*…she’s the establishment candidate, we’re gonna win the old-fashioned way: by organizing the field. We’ll get the right coalition of pro-lifers, Second Amendment supporters, homeschooling, and the anti-tax coalition…
AB: We all know you’re running against Kelly Ayotte — what’s your opinion on Judd Gregg? Is he a good Republican, is he a RINO? Where does he fit into the Republican Party?
OL: Senator Gregg has served us long and well in a lot of respects, but he voted for the confirmation of Justice Sotomayor. He supported the appointment of a blue-ribbon panel to raise taxes and cut spending…it was a commission that wanted to raise taxes. There are some things, I also think that, um, it’s time for a new breed of leaders, who are truly independent, not part of the party establishment. The Republican Party has to bear much of the blame for where we are now, although the Democrats, of course, take it to a new level. But we have to make sure that the Republican candidates really get back to where our principles are — limiting the size of government, national security, really looking at, and consolidating — cutting the size of government.
AB: So then, we’re talking about a new breed of Republican, so how do you feel –vis a vis — you’re not the only anti-establishment candidate running — how do you feel about JD Hayworth? Is that good or is that bad?
OL: Well, keeping in mind that McCain is coming to New Hampshire to campaign for Kelly Ayotte, the establishment candidate, I would point out that the New Hampshire nomination should be left to New Hampshire residents. I think someone who is outside of New Hampshire, would come to New Hampshire — shows a lot about the process. I’ve been endorsed by Steve Forbes, Dan Quayle…they’re outside of the system. But they all represent a certain segment of conservative positions. Senator McCain, you know, has been there a long time, I believe in term-limits, self-imposed and otherwise…I commend JD Hayworth for trying to breathe some new life into that race.
* – This was meant in the context of Adam Brickley asking a good question, not in the sense of ‘Gosh, hell if I know!’
I am pleased to present the following interview with Frank Guinta, who is the former Mayor of Manchester and a candidate for Congress in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District. The seat is currently held by Democrat, Carol Shea-Porter. I wish to say a big “thank you” to Nate Gunderson and Bob Hovic for transcribing this interview.
Dustin Siggins: The first question is just a general question. I’m a former New Hampshire citizen. I was wondering – perhaps you can give me a two minute summary – why you think you’re the best person to win the Republican primary, and also why you think you’re the best Republican to run against Carol Shea-Porter.
Frank Guinta: Well, I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to serve New Hampshire for the entire last decade in different capacities. I started as a state legislature and then moved into city governance as an alderman for two terms, and then for the last four years serving as the state’s largest city’s mayor. I had a great and unique experience over the last ten years in elected office serving people of our city and of our state in different capacities. And I think what people are looking for, not just in their member of congress but in their government, I think they’re looking for a forthright, open and honest, transparent approach to solving problems. Which is how I’ve tried to address issues here in Manchester? I think people, even though they don’t always agree with the outcome, I think they appreciate the process that I have taken to try to get things accomplished, most notably trying to reform government, to be focusing on its basic responsibilities. Secondly, cut spending and cut taxes, which we have been able to accomplish for the first time in more than a decade here in the city of Manchester. And then prioritizing the responsibilities of government, and ensuring that the people receive the services they expect to receive, also to receive them in effective and efficient manner. You look at what is going on in Washington today and I think nationally people are concerned about the very same issues. We have the highest debt and deficits that our country has ever experienced. We have a lack of commitment to providing small and efficient government. Right now there is an approach in Washington to expand the size of government, to take over people’s freedoms and liberties, and to take over certain business sectors, and provide things that are not within the confines and responsibilities of the government. So I think with what’s going on in the country, with what I’ve demonstrated and how I’ve been able to address issues has put me into a very strong position. Not only to be the nominee for the Republican Party, but also to win and serve as the next congressman for the district.
DS: You mentioned the responsibilities of the government. Would you be able to go into more detail where you think those responsibilities lie and what there are limited to?
FG: Well sure. First of all one of the basic responsibilities is to keep people safe. Beyond that we have an obligation, whether you’re at local, state or federal government to adhere to the basic principles of either, in Manchester’s case the charter, in New Hampshire’s case the State Constitution, in case of federal government our U.S. Constitution. I think there are blatant violations of that, of what is articulated in the Constitution, and I think people are angry about it. I’ll give you a good example; look at the health care bill. Not only has the process and procedure been very different from what has been promised, but there has not been a clear articulation of where in the Constitution people feel, or members of congress, or this the majority party feels that its not only right, but it’s the responsibility of the federal government to provide and pay for health care. And if you look at, for example, what happened with Senator Ben Nelson and the fact that he was essentially bribed for his vote. There are at least 13 state Attorney Generals, and probably more, who are willing to sign onto a letter saying that not only is this unfair, because states across the country are being treated unequally, not fairly, which is a requirement of federal legislation.
I think the general public, everyday Americans, fell that not only is there a lack of transparency, but there is a lack of basic fairness in how our country is being governed. When I speak with people throughout the district that is what’s on peoples minds, and I believe its on peoples minds throughout the country as well. I’ve always tried to be an individual A) who would take positions, and I’ve never been afraid to take positions as a Mayor. I think when you are leading that people are demanding that leadership and wanting to know what exactly is important to you and why it’s important. I’ve always taken that approach. Whether it’s having a town hall meeting –we had almost 20 town hall meeting while I was mayor. We had twice a month people had an opportunity to come to city hall and express their public opinion about anything. During our budgets we would have open processes where people could come to budget hearings and make their positions known. Believe me, I’ve done four budgets here as the Mayor. I think that everyone but one of them had more than a thousand people show up at the budget hearings to express their opinions one way or the other. That improved the process. It ensured that the people had the opportunity to have their opinion and their voice heard. Then ultimately at election time people would decide – Ok is this leadership, is this individual the person who is best leading our city, or should we be making a change?
And obviously I was fortunate enough to be reelected, I think because of that leadership, that transparency, and the commitment to making decisions on behalf of taxpayers. And you can counter that with what is going on in Washington. I don’t think people feel that tax payers are being considered. I don’t feel that people feel that there is an open and transparent process going on, and I think that people feel that their freedoms and liberties are being infringed upon.
DS: I saw you speak at Plymouth State University to the Grafton County Republicans. I remember there being rumors you were going to run for Governor. This year you are obviously running for Congress instead. Why the switch?
FG: Well, back at that time there had been a small movement of people encouraging me to run for Governor. I think it was because was leading the states largest city and I was speaking out against issues that were critically important to people. This was back, um I became mayor in ’05. Rather, I won the election in ’05 and started in January ’06. This was a period of time you’ll have to remember, that people weren’t happy with the Republican Party. I came in as a young mayor, I was I my mid 30’s, I was 35 years old. I came in cutting spending, cutting taxes, reforming government, making it more efficient, more accountable. Which is exactly what Republicans expected of Republican, but people in the city, and this is a Democrat city, it leans Democrat and the voter registration is Democrat. I think people in the city appreciated the fact that I, it wasn’t just Republicans it was everybody, was appreciative of the fact that I was focusing in on taxpayer rights and the responsibility of government. When you contrasted that, at the time with what Governor Lynch was doing; he just came off of a 17.5% spending increase for the biannual budget for the state of New Hampshire. People were looking for an alternative to that approach, and I was leading in that area and people were encouraging me to run. So I did publicly explore the idea of running for Governor, and came ultimately to the conclusion that the people of Manchester elected me to serve as Mayor and I’m going to continue doing that. And personal family situation was such that, it’s tough with small children. Our children today are 6 and 5, but back they were obviously younger, and while it’s always difficult to determine how you can best serve and raise a family it just didn’t fit in at that time with the age of the children and the time that was necessary that I spend with them at that young, young age.
And finally, I loved being mayor. You know it was a great job and a great opportunity. There was a lot of work that needed to be done. While I was very honored to be considered to run, and people wanted me to run for Governor, I continued to focus my energies as Mayor. Back in May of 2009 when I had to make the decision whether to run for re-election or not, I had been watching what was going on with the state government and the federal government. And essentially I felt that rather than run for Governor my interest was at the federal level because of the massive changes that were occurring at the federal level. We were coming fresh off the stimulus issue. The federal government appeared to looking for states to be reliant on the federal government. I don’t believe that that’s the way our country and states should be functioning. I got very frustrated like many people that the spending was out of control. The way that the majority was trying to solve the economic issues was by infusing dollars into the economy that people were claiming wouldn’t work, and obviously it hasn’t worked. Our unemployment numbers are over 10% and they have been for several months and they’re going to continue to remain there. I said – you know what? The best place I can serve, the best place I can try to be part of the solution is by running for Congress and tying to bring regular everyday solutions that I’ve had to deal with as a Mayor, and bring those ideas to a congress that doesn’t particularly care about the amount of money they spend. They don’t particularly care about the effectiveness of government, and they don’t care about what taxpayers are concerned about or what they are feeling. So I felt that this would be the best way I could serve.
DS: Ok, we’ll take a little bit of a shift. I was looking on your website and I couldn’t find anything on your views on abortion. Are you pro-life or pro-choice?
FG: I’m pro-life.
DS: Also I doing a background Google search on ‘Mayor Frank Guinta’, and I thought I saw that you had voted against parental notification.
Tim Huelskamp, a state senator from Kansas, is running for the 1st District Republican primary nomination. I saw a piece at Townhall.com that piqued my interest in Huelskamp a few weeks back, and got in touch with his campaign manager to conduct the below interview. He is running for the seat of Representative Jerry Moran (R-KS), who is running for retiring Senator Sam Brownback’s seat (Brownback is running for governor of Kansas.)
Some quick facts about Huelskamp:
-He is the only farmer in the Republican race.
-He has been endorsed by the Club for Growth PAC, Concerned Women for America, Gun Owners of America, Ken Blackwell, Kansans for Life, Evangelical Leader and national radio personality Jay Sekulow.
-He has been featured on RedState.com and given a 100% rating by Americans for Prosperity.
-He is Catholic, and led the fight to defund Planned Parenthood in Kansas.
-He and his wife Angela have adopted four children, including two Haitian-born girls.
-He has a Ph.D. in political science.
Huelskamp is one of seven candidates in the Republican primary race, and he has raised over $420,000 as of an October 2009 press release. Be sure to visit his campaign website here.
Dustin Siggins: I would like to start off with, if you don’t mind, why did you decide to run? There are seven candidates running, four who have raised enough money to be competitive.
Tim Huelskamp: Yeah, that’s a good question, I guess that the question would be for the other six who got in after me. (Laughs)
DS: I didn’t know that; I’m sorry.
TH: No, no, that’s okay. No, not giving you a hard time there. No, I’ve been looking at this seat for a number of years, I’ve been a leader on many issues here in Kansas and particularly a leader in this Congressional district I’ve been active in Republican Party politics as First District delegate at the convention and those kind of things, so I’ve been very active in the district and very active statewide, and I’ve been a conservative leader at the state level and there’s just so much you can do, and given the problems in Washington with where the way Obama and Pelosi and Reid are going we need strong, articulate conservatives and that’s why I’d like to move up to the next level.
DS: So I see in the state senate you were involved with technology, agriculture, education and local government- those were the committees you were on.
TH: That’s correct.
DS: When you go to DC, how would you, what are the issues you would like to concentrate on? I mean, I have your website pulled up, and you’re obviously concentrating on- you’re a farmer, I believe, and you’re really running all, the Club for Growth, Erick Erickson, and all these places are saying great things about you, you’re getting all these positive ratings, what would you say are really the three issues you think need to be concentrated on by Congressional Republicans?
TH: Well, we- well, not we, they- have much to blame for the current situation in terms of providing the groundwork to elect a liberal Congress in ’06 and Obama in ’08, and simply put is because we had a bunch of Republicans- a lot of ‘em- enough that created problems that didn’t stick to conservative principles, and as a result in ’06 and then in ’08 Republicans were seen as the party that spent and that was many times the case.
So the first thing we’ve gotta do is redirect the Republicans back to basic values that we can’t spend our way to prosperity, we can’t spend more than we’re taking in, we can’t run up these type of deficits we’re talking about- and that would be issue number one, I think, and that gets back to the basics for the party and I think it’s the path to victory, to convince Americans again that Republicans stand for those principles and are gonna vote that way.
I’m age 41, got four young children, and I know everybody says that, what they’re gonna do about deficit spending, and roll that back and quit digging the hole they’re digging now, but if you look at my record and what makes me different from all the opponents is we’ve got a record of doing the same thing at Topeka. We’ve got the most fiscally conservative record of any state senator-
I know a lot of candidates in this race and other races talk about a tax pledge, Dustin, but I mean we took the tax pledge 14 years ago (Laughs) and have kept our word and been a leader on that, so that would be our number one issue to deal with, and probably trying to roll back- we’ll see what happens on health care- but there will be a number of things to roll back, with all the new programs that going to be started or attempt to be started in the next year or so, and newly-elected Republicans gotta commit themselves to, “No, we’re gonna roll back, we’re gonna roll back government programs and stay out of the hands of personal freedom, liberty and personal responsibility in terms of health care,” and so those are just a couple of issues that we’ll be working on hopefully in a little over a year.
DS: Back in 1994, David Frum wrote a book called Dead Right- it’s a book I read recently- and he, one of the statements he made, and I think it’s very true, is that the middle class will have to be hit with tax raises or Medicare- or other entitlement cuts- to balance the budget. And obviously entitlements are the key, are the major problems with our budget, and so how would you- what would be the top few things you would do to actually cut the budget, roll back the spending and stop the deficit spending that’s really going to crush your children, my children- I’m only 24- and our grandkids?
TH: Excellent question, and I always first say the first thing we need to do is quit digging when we’re in the hole and that’s what they’re doing in Washington, just piling it all, and that’ll be a battle just to keep them from adding new programs, expanding entitlements, you know, whether it be the Medicare expansion under President Bush that will actually be an issue in the U.S. Senate race here, because one guy voted for it and one of ‘em didn’t, and that was a massive growth of entitlements. One thing I’ve learned at the state level, and I’ve been active on trying to push some reforms, particularly in Medicaid- and they also apply to Medicare- is we have created a healthcare system in which somebody else typically pays the bill, and it’s either big government or so-called big insurance companies, generally, and we’ve lost track in that part of entitlements the role of the consumer, personal responsibility- and we talk about health savings accounts, a great aspect of small reform, but a big reform for health care, and those are the kinds of reform that we need to apply to the Medicare system as well, and to the Medicaid system. We’ve tried to push those through at the state level with Medicaid- we’ve been unable to do so, mainly because the Bush administration (Chuckles) wouldn’t give us the permission to implement some of those, plus we had a governor that wasn’t helpful. That’s one way you slow down the growth of entitlements. On the medical side is you provide the type of reforms that allow free enterprise and free markets to operate, and I think it was a big mistake when this country in World War II moved away from private pay of health care and put it on the employer, or again, put it on the government. That took the American consumer right out of the picture, and that’s been driving many of our health care costs in addition to the lack of tort reform and things such as that.
DS: My main question, or maybe I didn’t ask it correctly, and I apologize, those are long-term future, but if you were to try to cut what’s already been allotted. I mean, for example, would you be willing to cut spending for seniors, which is what the Democrats are allegedly going to do, in order to balance the budget? Would you be willing to say to people 45 or younger, “Hey, I know you’ve been paying into it, but we’ll have to cut payments, we’re going to have to cut that, or we’re going to raise taxes, you know, how would you handle what’s already been allotted, that’s already out of our budget?
At this point, I probably don’t need to rehash my experience interviewing Illinois gubernatorial candidate Adam Andrzejewski. I think his words speak for themselves, and Anthony Dalke did a great job summing it up. The man is a walking encyclopedia of Illinois state government, his enthusiasm is infectious, and his policy is genius – especially the plan to cut billions from the budget using executive orders rather than submitting to a corrupt, Democratic legislature.
I have yet to hear anyone question whether Andrzejewski is the best man for the job, and his policy plans draw rave reviews. The only questions I ever hear are these: can he win and why should we care.
I’ll answer the second question first – you should care because the current post-Blago climate offers us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to seize control and start dismantling the infamous Chicago political machine. A solid, honest, anti-corruption crusader like Adam Andrzejewski could easily take the governor’s mansion from the Democrats right now – and his election would spell doom for the deepest cesspool of corruption in American politics. Not only does he have the drive to succeed, he actually has a foolproof plan to ensure that his policies are implemented regardless of what the machine politicians want (see: executive orders, forensic audit of state government). The only problem is that, while everyone who is exposed to Andrzejewski loves him, he now has a harder primary against former state Attorney General Jim Ryan – the only man on the planet who can boast that he lost general elections against both Rod Blagojevich and Roland Burris – and money-soaked state GOP chair Andy McKenna.
Essentially, he is playing the role of Marco Rubio to Ryan’s Charlie Crist, except there is much more than a vote in the Senate on the line in this race. With so much at stake, and as much as I love Marco Rubio, I fail to see why conservative insurgent groups are investing so much into Florida and so little into Illinois.
As I see it, getting Adam Andrzejewski through Illinois GOP primary should be the single most important mission for the conservative movement in 2010.
This is the biggest potential opportunity that the GOP will have in years, and we cannot waste it by selecting a member of the Illinois establishment as our nominee. Jim Ryan may be a decent guy, but he stands for big government, high taxes, and business as usual. If we are willing to invest so much in to Marco Rubio and Doug Hoffman, races that determine only one vote in huge legislatures, we should be giving twice that effort pushing Adam Andrzejewski past Jim Ryan and into the governor’s office. If there is one primary campaign in the nation that needs the help of the national movement, this is it, and we must get involved before it is too late.
The second question is whether Andrzejewski can win. And yes he can – easily. I’m not usually in favor of polls taken by campaigns – but this one was a brilliant sroke of strategy – Andrzejewski took a poll in mid-November, and found himself in second (11%), with Ryan ahead of the field (30%). He then had pollsters read a brief biography of himself and immediately poll the same people again. On the second round, the Andrzejewski vote quadrupled to 40% and left Ryan in the dust with 15%. This is a name-ID election and Andrzejewski merely needs recognition. Furthermore – in a seven-candidate circus of a primary – it is possible to win with 25-30% of the vote.
Returning to the Rubio analogy – Andrzejewski is much closer to Ryan than Rubio to Crist, and has the benefit of a crowded field. Get his name ID up and he wins – period. It’s far easier than either the Rubio crusade or the Hoffman insurgency.
So, I will repeat myself. If this arguably the most important statewide race for conservatives this cycle – if not this generation – why are we not dumping everything we have into the Andrzejewski campaign?
Call him Illinois’ Rubio, call him the Polish Palin, call him whatever you want, but Adam Andrzejewski should be the top priority for us as conservatives – and he should be getting as much, if not more, attention than we lavished on Doug Hoffman or are now lavishing on Marco Rubio. This is the fight for good government in America in the 21st Century, and not winning this for Adam Andrzejewski is not an option.
As one half of the duo that interviewed Adam Andrzejewski, candidate for the Republican Nomination for Illinois Governor, I figured I’d give my take on what Adam Brickley and I heard.
First of all, Mr. Andrzejewski certainly has done his homework. Although having no elected office experience, he rattled off a bevy of statistics, facts and policy specifics, especially with regard to budgetary issues, that would make Mitch Daniels blush.
Secondly, I have never heard a candidate put so much thought and detail into their proposals to cut spending. Adam does not simply pay lip service to reducing the budget deficit, he means business. And, as he mentioned in the interview, here in Illinois, if a candidate or elected official does not devote themselves to cutting spending, they submit to tax increases.
I would venture to say that although I would consider Adam the most conservative candidate for the nomination, he also has the best chance of winning the general election. Against the infamous Chicago Democrat machine, Republican candidates really have to go above and beyond to win in Illinois. Enter Adam and his ability to tap into the disillusionment and apathy so many Illinoisans have developed with state politics. For Republicans to win in Illinois, they must also perform strongly in the Chicago suburbs and Southern Illinois. Although those two areas have numerous cultural differences, aspects of Mr. Andrzejewski’s platform appeal to both. For the suburbanites, his obsession with eliminating waste and closing the deficit without raising taxes and then looking cut property taxes once the budget generates a small surplus should sound like music to their ears. And for the residents of the southern part of the state, Adam’s outspoken conservative stances on social issues (strongly pro-life and in favor of concealed carry) should draw support away from Quinn. As Central Illinois has consistently voted Republican in recent years and urban regions of the state (Chicago, St. Louis and Quad Cities metropolitan areas) reflexively vote Democratic, Southern Illinois and the Suburbs have become the swing regions of the state. Fortunately, Adam has the greatest potential to show strongly in those areas.
I like how Adam noted that he, like a good businessman, “looked around the country for best practices” on cutting spending. Again, this shows that he means business. His decision to focus on executive orders, instead of legislative action, makes perfect sense; the overwhelmingly Democratic Illinois Legislature (Dems hold 62.7% of the Senate seats and 59.3% in the House, giving them a virtual supermajority) would probably kill or obstruct as much of Adam’s agenda as they could if he chose to go that route. Instead, like Governor Pawlenty, he intends to take matters into his own hands.
Some of his responses in the lightning round surprised me. First and foremost, his tepid reaction to Gov. Romney and strong reactions toward Govs. Huckabee and Palin ran counter to my expectations. I thought he’d take a stronger liking to Mitt, as they both have extensive business backgrounds and primarily focus on fiscal issues. However, his warm remarks toward Huck suggests that he does place a good amount of emphasis on social issues. He did seem to show his hand as a legitimate Palin fan, saying right up front that he believes she should run for President. I imagine he would solicit and cherish an endorsement from Sarah, and she would definitely like what she’d see if she decided to check out this race.
Some commentors have questioned Adam’s criticism of Senate hopeful Mark Kirk. The harsh words likely came at least in part because of Adam’s endorsement of “other people in the primary against Mark Kirk” (presumably Patrick Hughes, Kirk’s top competitor for the nomination). However, Adam ended his comments on a conciliatory note, stating that if both he and Kirk win their nominations, they’ll “have to sit down and talk”. They don’t have to love each other, they should just support each other in their general elections.
All in all, Mr. Andrzejewski extremely impressed me. With a genuinely impressive platform for an Illinois Republican and the ability to both exude charisma and delve into policy specifics, Adam shows tremendous promise for righting the ship of the S.S. Illinois and becoming a major player in the Republican Party. I urge all of you to visit his website, read more about him and donate if you can.
Last Thursday, Race 4 2012’s Adam Brickley and Anthony Dalke were granted an exclusive interview with Republican gubernatorial hopeful Adam Andrzejewski of Illinois. Andrzejewski is an entrepreneur and clean government advocate – he built a small phone-book business into a $20 million corporation that supplied telephone directories to towns across Illinois. After selling his stake in that business, he founded “For the Good Of Illinois”, a non-profit organization that encouraged local governments to post all of their expenses online for public viewing. In the 25-minute interview, Andrezejewski fielded questions on both national and local issue, and faced a “lightning round” where he had to issue quick responses to a battery of 12 national political figures.
ADAM BRICKLEY, RACE42012.COM: First off, for the sake of our readers, we’ve got quite a few questions to squeeze in here, but we wanted to let you introduce yourself quickly in your own words. So, who is Adam Andrzejewski and why is he running for governor?
ADAM ANDRZEJEWSKI: Well, I’m a father. I’m an entrepreneur. I spearheaded one of the most successful grassroots good-government movements in state history, and now I want to take that into our state government. I had noticed just an abject lack of leadership and an abject lack of pushback from Republicans versus the statewide Chicago Democrats over the last number of years. And in the absence of any semblance of leadership on policy and any semblance of pushback against the patronage political class of Illinois, I decided to run for governor, and the message is resonating on the trail.
The people, in this cycle, the people of Illinois, they want reform. And my candidacy is a referendum on the simple fact – if the people are ready for real reform. I believe they are this cycle.
AB: That’s good. And then, for me as a national-level guy – I’m out of D.C. – the one thing that really intrigued me about your candidacy is, you know, a lot of candidates have leveraged the internet, people called Obama the internet candidate. But I think you’re probably the first one I’ve seen that makes the internet not only a central part of your campaign, but a central campaign issue. Your slogan is, “every dime, online, in real time.” I think you’re the first person I’ve ever seen do that. So, what excites you about the internet and its potential that made you make it a central focus in your campaign?
AA: Well, specifically to transparency – and obviously Barack Obama campaigned on transparency and has (inaudible) because he hasn’t implemented his practices and his promises. So I think , with technology, it offers limited government Republicans the opportunity to bring government into the twenty-first century. To be able(technical difficulty)
Specifically in Illinois, our state budget has grown by 45 percent, while our population has only grown by four percent, but Chicago Democrats that are in control tell us that there’s no place to cut in the budget. So, utilizing technology, by putting every dime online in real time, spending cuts can be proven – and the first step to doing that is being able to see it. So, I liken that to online banking for state government. We have it at home.
All this information is public information. In our founding documents, you know, it says that a periodic disclosure and recording of the incoming and outgoing fund of the country should be done on a timely basis. Well, I just believe, in the internet age, that it should be done – that should mean in real time. Real time disclosure.
AB: Okay, that’s good. Okay, Anthony, I think you had a few questions here.
ANTHONY DALKE, RACE42012.COM: I do. Mr. Andrzejewski, your campaign has really focused on state spending, as you were just discussing. Aside from your proposal to put the entire state budget online, what specific areas of the budget – departments, programs, et cetera – would you like to cut?
AA: Well, first of all, I can open up the books of state government through executive order. So, my second executive order would derive full measure and savings from the open books – and it’s a top-to-bottom forensic audit of state spending. I looked around the country for best practices. Kansas did it. They saved one billion dollars – they’re five times smaller than Illinois. Texas, in the early 2000s, did it, and they saved eight billion dollars. So, I believe Illinois can save three to five billion dollars through a forensic audit.
And what it will uncover is, like, a grant that was given to the Chicago Public Schools for 87 million dollars to teach disadvantaged students – and the money was completely misspent. It will also uncover what’s just turned out in the newspapers over the course of the last two weeks here, and that is the State of Illinois owns 16 luxury airplanes. They fly them around the state – politicians – at three thousand dollars an hour, and we spend 30 million dollars a year on our aircraft. Well, all that a forensic audit would turn up, and I would zero out.
A liberal professor at the University of Chicago said that five percent of all state spending is waste, fraud, corruption, and abuse – that’s the three billion dollar figure. Since Kansas is five times smaller than us and they saved a billion, that’s the five billion dollar figure. I figure, by the time we get finished with the forensic audit, we may save more than five billion dollars, because we’ll also iron out all the duplicative services. For instance, mosquito abatement in Illinois is run out of nine separate state agencies. And we’ll streamline government to such a degree that we’ll finally be able to defend the taxpayer in Illinois. So that’s my first step.
Illinois faces a ten billion dollar budget deficit. I’m running against six other opponents in this Republican primary, none of which have identified – with a menu of choices – ten billion dollars worth of spending cuts. My campaign, we’ve done the hard work, the heavy lifting, and we have that menu of choices. And I submit to you that – despite the rhetoric of my opponents – if you’re not running on spending cuts, you’re running on tax hikes, because there’s no other choice. There’s no other option. So, I’ve said, “no new taxes, and here is ten billion dollars worth of option in order to cut spending.”
So, one of the first places that I would zero out is the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Illinois ranked, last year, forty-eighth in job growth. Over a ten year period, we ranked forty-eighth. Over twenty year period, we ranked forty-eighth. This is the department with the mission of growing jobs in Illinois? They’ve had their turn. I would zero them out. That would save over a billion dollars.
State workers and government workers, at all levels of government, need to take a pay freeze – and flat pay, not a pay increase. At the state level, state workers, the union contracts – they’re getting four, five, and six percent pay increases. Flat pay. I will politically force open those union contracts, and they need to take flat pay. Flat pay in a deflationary cycle, like the CPI and the trailing twelve months, is one point five percent negative. In that environment, flat pay is a pay hike. That would save the State of Illionois two billion dollars.
Every single grant that we can put a metric to, that we can’t put a performance measure on – there’s four billion dollars worth of state grants outside of health care an education , the political hot-buttons, I would look at those four billion dollars worth of grants first. And we figure there’s probably a billion dollars that we could zero out. We’ve taken a look at a ZIP code distribution of those grants, Many of them go to Chicago – Chicago/Cook County ZIP codes and (inaudible) as we feel that that’s reasonable.
The capital bill that just passed in the last legislative session is full of – the 31 billion dollar bill. 5 billion dollars would’ve solved the immediate infrastructure need of Illinois. It’s loaded with pork. I would use my recisionary power as governor to hold back on the pork projects, let the dollars accumulate in the capital budget, and spearhead legislation to bring those dollars into the operating budget to help balance it off.
Medicaid and Medicare – the forensic audit would cover at least 1.2 billion dollars worth of fraud. An East Coast think tank says that, in any state, ten percent of that is fraud. Ours is a 12 billion dollar program, that would be 1.2 billion dollars.
The pensions in Illinois have an 80 billion dollar deficit, the Civic Federation of Chicago said that state workers work longer, pay in a little bit more, and have a little less lucrative cost-of-living adjustment once they retire. We can save 165 billion dollars over the next 35 years – that’s on the table.
10 percent of the state income tax goes back to municipalities and local governments. It only represents 2.2 percent of their budget. That’s on the table. I got a call from the Illinois Municipal League the other day complaining about that proposed cut, and I told them that I need their political muscle behind the forensic audit and behind my other causes. So, I’m going to use leverage.
Everything’s on the table. I am not from the Illinois political class, I’m running against it, and that gives me the latitude to make the good decisions to defend the taxpayer and the hardworking families of Illinois.
AD: Thank you….
AA: I’m running against the frontrunner in this race, Jim Ryan. In 2007, he advocated on behalf of the tax-swap plan in Illinois that would have raised the taxes on Illinois taxpayers 5.5 billion dollars. Today he says we can’t raise taxes, quote, “because of the recession.” Jim Ryan will not attack spending cuts, he will not attack the patronage of Illinois government, the bloated contracts, the high salaries, the bloated pensions – and the only reason he’ll hold the line on taxes now is, quote, “because of the recession.” During good times, he would have hiked their taxes by 5.5 billion dollars.
AB: Just real quick because we don’t have too much time, we let you go on the spending issues, because we know that was the focus of your campaign – but, because we have a few questions left. Gant we try to go for shorter answers? (inaudible) I’ll hand it back to Anthony.
AD: Thank you. And thank you for that answer, also. You’ve said we’ll never see another tax cut in Illinois again unless we first see spending cuts. How high would you place tax reform on your list of priorities and should you succeed in reducing state spending to a more – a level more align with the tax revenue, do you have specific taxes you would cut before some other taxes?
AA: Yes. I’d follow the model of Indiana governor Mitch Daniels. He came into office in Indiana with about $1 million budget deficit – Indiana’s a much smaller state than Illinois. What he did was he first balanced the budget by cutting spending – that’s how you limit government. And then he created a small surplus, and then he cut taxes, and the first tax that he cut was the property tax. And that’s exactly my plan. I would – I’m the only candidate in the field of seven letting on my property tax cap, and it caps the levy. So basically it’s last year’s budget for a local unit of government, plus population growth, plus inflation – that’s it. Government needs to start living how we all live at home – basically last year’s salary plus inflation, and that’s very reasonable. In Illinois – if you could believe this – at the local and state level, government – every year- taxes and spends $70 billion. With only a state of 13 million people, that’s $6,000 for every man, woman, and child in the state. Government in Illinois needs to go on a diet.
AD: Okay, that’s fantastic. Thank you. And this is my last question before I pass it back to Mr. Brickley. How do you plan to pass your agenda with the entrenched powers we have in the state legislature? For instance, we have the overwhelming Democratic majorities and House Speaker Madigan.
AA: That’s why I’m running on two executive orders. The people of Illinois – when they give me their support, vote, and their mandate – by executive order I’ll open up the books to 100% financial transparency. And the second executive order – the forensic audit – saves $3-$5 billion so we can pay our bills, make our pension payments on time, and follow the Balance Budget Clause of the Illinois Constitution, which hasn’t been followed in twenty years. All the rest of my opponents – for all of their good policy that they’re running on – they’re going to need – the Chicago Democrats – nearly have super majority control of the Senate – but for one seat of the House they would have super majority control of the Illinois House as well. So they’re all – all of their good ideas – at the end of the day, it’s all dead-on arrival. My two policies of executive orders are the only policies in this campaign that, with the mandates of the people, we can go to Springfield together and reform Springfield’s spending from top to bottom. I don’t need the Chicago Democrats.
AB: Okedoke, that’s great. This is Adam Brickley again. This is the last little segment we have. I figured we’d throw you at least one curveball in this interview, and since a lot of our readers are national, not in Illinois, and are looking for people to support, give money to, etc., etc., we figured we’d try to see a little bit where you stand in the party, and so we devised what we call a lightning round. Essentially, what we’ve done is compiled a list of 12 national political figures – some Republicans, some Democrats, from various wings of the party – various wings of their own parties, and we figured we’d let you have – we’d read them off to you, and then we’d give you five to ten seconds to give us your gut reaction to each name and what you think. We’re going to try get as many of these knocked out as we can, quickly. So, you game for this?
AA: I’m game.
AB: Okay, first name: Mitt Romney. Ten seconds.
AA: Like his business background. I didn’t like his health care programs in Massachusetts and did not like the fact that he did not – that he did not say during his presidential campaign in Illinois that he would keep our federal prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald. Patrick Fitzgerald’s our crime fighter. He’s indicted two governors – sent one to jail, and another one’s going to jail – and he’s for a long time been our only ray of hope. I was disappointed with that set of circumstances from Romney.
AB: Ten seconds: Mike Huckabee.
AA: I like Mike Huckabee. I think he’s a man of good will and strong leadership and personal backbone. He’s a man of good morals. He’s an EXCELLENT public speaker. He’s tremendous on the pro-life issue. I respect Mike Huckabee great – greatly, and I like his plan for a FairTax.
AB: Okay, this one’s going to be hard to keep in ten seconds: Barack Obama.
AA: Barack Obama was brought to you by the Illinois political class. That’s the class that I’m running against. It’s the Chicago way, it’s the Illinois way and Barack Obama’s trying to make it the national way. It’s everything that we all fight against.
AB: Alright, ten seconds: Sarah Palin.
AA: I like Sarah Palin. She put the check register – the checkbook of Alaska online. She took the old boys’ codified permanent, professional political class of Alaska, and she beat ‘em, and she should run for President.
AB: Okay, Ross Perot.
AA: I liked Ross Perot because of his business background, and because he is a leader. I liked his support of the military operation back in Iran. I like that he did run for President. I did not like the fact that he seemed to have issues with black helicopters towards the end of his Presidential race.
AA: Dan Hynes.
AB: Dan – Dan Hynes is a product of the Chicago political class. He’s a second-generation politician. Tom Hynes is his father, a Chicago alderman. Dan Hynes pays lip service to reform but at the end of the day is no reformer. He issues the comprehensive financial report of the state of Illinois a year and a week AFTER the close of the fiscal year. We get a new budget before Hynes, the Comptroller, issued the capper.
AA: Glenn Beck.
AB: Oh, I like Glenn Beck. I think Glenn Beck is that libertarian that social conservatives and libertarians – that’s the marriage that Ronald Reagan created to be the winning majority back when times were good and we brought down the Soviet Union without firing a shot. Social conservatives, like myself, with libertarian leanings, we need Glenn Beck.
AB: Governor Jim Edgar.
AA: Governor Edgar is the last Illinois Governor in the last 87 years to testify in a court of law. The nostalgia on Edgar is that he’s our last good governor. But people forget that his top fundraiser was convicted of bilking the Illinois taxpayer for $7 million, and Edgar testified at that trial. So, Edgar is the last governor in the last 85 years to testify in a court of law. George Ryan never testified, and if Rod Blagojevich doesn’t testify, Edgar will still hold his title.
AB: Okay, we’ve got four more names. Dede Scozzofava.
AA: Isn’t she a Democrat?
AB: (laughs) Well, not really, but that’s close enough. Pat Buchanan.
AA: I believe everybody has a role to play, and although Pat Buchanan didn’t win his races, his view, and his role and his leadership was good for his time.
AB: Mark Kirk.
AA: It’s been said that I’m the antithesis of Mark Kirk.
AB: And l–
AA: Mark Kirk—
AB: Oh, keep going, by all means.
AA: Mark Kirk’s not good on the life issue. He co-sponsored the hate crimes legislation. He’s not in favor of concealed carry. His votes on the Second Amendment are suspect. His fiscal conservatism is in question with his cap-and-trade vote. He voted against the Surge, so his, in my opinion, his foreign policy and military credentials are suspect, as well. I’m supporting other people in that primary against Mark Mirk. If I’m the nominee, and Mark Kirk’s the nominee, then we’ll have to sit down and talk.
AB: Alright, last name on the list: Marco Rubio.
AA: I don’t know a lot about Marco’s race, because I’ve been so involved in my own primary, but I believe that quite possibly I’m the Marco Rubio of Illinois, and this is why: I win the conservative straw polls. Marco Rubio, in Florida, wins his conservative straw polls. It’s my understanding that Marco is running against the business-as-usual, patronage Republican class in Florida, and certainly, I’m doing that in Illinois.
AB: Okay, well thanks, you’ve been a great sport, and before we go, any closing statements that anything we’ve missed?
AA: I just believe that in Illinois, and probably nationally, that the Republican Party needs to be the party of invitation. In Illinois, specifically, I got into this race with the message of it is your turn. Nobody under age 40 in the state of Illinois had been properly invited by my Republican Party to be a part of the party. That’s why we’re getting our butts kicked at every level. We need to rebuild this party with fresh faces and new ideas. Real reform requires new leadership. It’s the premise of my campaign, and I believe that that should be the premise of the Republican Party nationally. We need to welcome new and innovative and creative people with energy and enthusiasm and be able to motivate and inspire those people to be a party of this party, and we’ll start winning again.
–Many thanks to Mr. Andrzejewski for taking time out from his busy schedule to sit down for this interview. Please visit his campaign site here. You can listen to the interview in its entirety below the fold.
Former Bogota Mayor, and current New Jersey Gubernatorial Candidate, Steve Lonegan recently agreed to sit down with me to discuss New Jersey politics, the upcoming Republican Primary, and his vision of Government. He’s currently locked in a tough primary battle with former US Attorney Chris Christie. Here’s the first half the interview. The remainder will be posted at around 7 pm:
MM: First of all, yesterday was tax day and I know you spent it attending 4 tea party rallies, around New Jersey, according to your campaign website…
SL: Four tea parties, we spoke at a Republican club and then I ended up at the Rutgers Republican club, Libertarian Club at 9:30 at night.
MM: So what was the atmosphere like?
SL: (To aides) What was… what was that group called again?…Young Americans for Liberty.
SL: It’s very good to see forty conservative, Republican students , you know, in a room at 9:30 at night.
MM: Did you get to talk to them afterwards?
SL: Yeah, I spoke to them for quite awhile.
MM: Ok, cool…speaking of taxes, how has your past leadership of American’s for Prosperity affected your interest in fiscal issues?
SL: Well, my interest in fiscal issues really began back as a businessman and developed significantly as a mayor, but I really brought that experience, as a mayor, when I went to work for the think tank. So if anything, I brought my experience on fiscal issues to AFP.
Mm: Do you think that’s helped you, you know, with your message. Allowed you to project it to citizens…?
SL: Oh yeah, definitely. It gave me an opportunity to do something I’m passionate about, and that is, work on policy issues and lecture and speak on them…
SL: Because, you know, Americans for Prosperity is an educational foundation, so I had the opportunity to do a lot of writing and lecturing, teaching.
MM: Yeah, I heard you helped stop a lot of tax increases (crosstalk)…
SL: We stopped, I led the effort to stop two ballot questions in 2007. I led the effort to stop the Governor’s toll-hike plan, and a number of other policy issues. And as a mayor, before that, I actually filed a historic lawsuit back in 2000, when we had a Republican Governor, they went out to borrow 8.7 billion dollars without voter approval which was, at the time, the largest bond issue of any state in American History. They tried it without voter approval, which was required under our constitution. And I did that when I formed an organization called Stop the Debt, and I raised the money and I brought that case to the state Supreme Court.
MM. According to the Press of Atlantic City, you’ve criticized the Paid Family Leave Program…
SL: Yes, I have…
MM: Which extends 6 weeks vacation, at 2/3’s pay, to people who have for, instance, they’ve just had a child in the family…I was just sort of wondering…
SL: People could have had a child perhaps, according to the bill, a relative who has psychological, needs psychological comfort, which means that if you’re a guy working in New Jersey, in the wintertime, outdoors and you decide you’ve had enough of that and Aunt Sally down in Florida needs 6 weeks of comfort, you can take off, go to Florida for 6 weeks and get paid. So it’s really cute the way the liberal left likes to wrap up their policies in emotion-based nonsense, but somehow or other, for several thousand years, human beings have managed to raise their babies without a government program, and this is just another extension of the entitlement state and their whole cradle to grave philosophy. ..(crosstalk)…I’m not only a critic of, I fought it tooth and nail, and when I’m governor I’m going to overturn it. It’s kind of funny, they talk about New Jersey’s the second state in the country to have it…you know what the first one was? California. Now that’s a good model, right? So it’s another anti-business policy that gives businesses a reason not to come to this state, because they know that every year, every one of their employees can take six weeks off.
MM: Ok, because well, I know that are some people in the Republican Party who have promoted ideas to maybe double the child-tax credit, and things like that at the national level, to promote families and make it easier for people to raise families, and I wonder do you not see this in that mode or is it…
SL: Oh no, not at all, this is a job destroying bill that encourages people to take time off from work. It penalizes employers…(inaudible). You know people have babies without government programs. You know, when I was building my business back in the 1980’s, when I had my first daughter, I didn’t even have insurance. I’d just started my company, I couldn’t afford it, I had to- my wife had her baby- the next day I went to work, you know. So this whole ridiculous idea that suddenly, a mother having her baby wants her husband home for six weeks, I mean good Lord, I don’t know any wife who wants her husband home for six weeks (laughter).
MM: So this primary race has seen the New Jersey Republican gatekeepers basically close ranks around Chris Christie. They think he’s the only electable candidate. What do you think it says about these Republicans, that even with Corzine’s approval rating in the 30’s, they’re still concerned with nominating the most electable candidate?
SL: I don’t think these gatekeepers have a gate to keep, and they certainly don’t seem to exercise much influence, because last week we filed the state record petition signatures, 11,220. That’s more signatures than Chris Christie and Jon Corzine combined. So what that demonstrates, is we have a powerful grassroots movement, and we have the support of the voters, rather than the support of a few union-influenced, connected, party bosses.
MM: Sure, sure. Speaking of that, according to, as of last weekend, it said you’d raised 700,000 dollars.
SL: We’re over 800.
MM: Over 800? Ok. But, at the time I guess Christie had raised 1.1 million. Are you surprised he hasn’t raised more, considering…
SL: Well, let’s think about this Matt. You’ve got Steve Lonegan and a bunch of grassroots activists and taxpayers, and the entire Republican machine, all the party bosses, could barely raise more money than me. They don’t seem all that strong do they? That’s the best they could do? The entire Republican establishment. Hah! I have, I am closing in right now on 10,000 donors. That will be the state record, for any candidate. They have less than 1000 donors. So I have a massive group of donors who are giving 50, 100, 250 dollars and they have a handful of party insiders who are all getting government contracts for…(inaudible). That’s the problem with New Jersey, it’s the problem with the country. So…
MM: Do you have any idea how much money Corzine will pump into the race?
SL: No. Probably a lot. I really don’t care how much he spends. Doesn’t matter. He can’t spend enough money to sell his failed programs. The whole country’s going to, and here’s the other thing that’s got me, and see this is hilarious…the Republican bosses were actually criticizing me cause 40% of the money I’ve raised is outside the state. I’ve actually raised money from all 50 states, including Wasilla Alaska, by the way. Which is not a state, that’s just a town. I actually have a check from Wasilla, but the point is, I’m raising money from the entire country. So who’s going to be the best to raise money to beat Jon Corzine? Right, the guy who’s only source of income is a few party hacks, or somebody who can inspire people from here to Alaska to Hawaii to donate to a New Jersey campaign.
MM: Speaking of that, I guess, I watched your CPAC speech but at one point you claimed the Wall Street philosophy of capitalism and innovation was under attack. Now I understand what you’re getting at here, but don’t you think praising the wall street philosophy is something that people could take the wrong way?
SL: Well, that’s my job to educate them. But, the wall street philosophy of free market capitalism has done more to elevate this economy then any other philosophy in the world. When my opponent Chris Christies stands up and says this has caused our state’s fiscal ruin, it just demonstrates that he has no idea about economics and believes government’s going to be the answer to the state’s problems. So no, this all-out attack on wall street and free market capitalism has to stop and you were seeing that yesterday at these tax-payer tea parties. People were starting to fight back against this nonsense.
MM: What do you think of the coverage of the tea parties? Have you seen any of it?
SL: I was so busy doing them, I really didn’t get to see how they were covered…so I can’t really answer that.
MM: Because, it seemed pretty ridiculous, other than Fox News.
SL: Well, I figured that.
MM: Ok, I guess I want to talk a little bit about how you’d win in a general election. I read an interesting anecdote in the Daily Record about an independent voter who was registering as a Democrat, just to vote against Corzine in the primary.
SL: Registering as a Republican you mean.
MM: No, no. I guess Corzine has a few Democratic challengers or whatever.
SL: We last week pushed about 1000 people from Democrat to Republican.
MM: Your campaign?
SL: Yeah, we ran a radio spot. We ran a whole change of party project which ran for a couple of weeks, and we were busy for two weeks doing their change of party cards.
MM: Huh, well..this independent voter said that he wanted anybody but Corzine, but he was not so sure about the Republicans. So I guess I’m wondering, yeah Corzine’s massively unpopular, but how do you get people to vote for you, and not just against him.
SL: Well, you draw a line in the sand, and you put forth a vision for a better economic future for all New Jerseyans. Talk about limited government, lower taxes, better economic growth. That’s what people want to hear, especially today. But, if you put up a candidate who’s just going to tinker around the edges, and be vague, and sort of be Democratic-Lite, Republicans will lose again, and that’s the risk they take if they run Chris Christie, cause Chris Christie sounds a lot more like Jon Corzine than he does a Republican.
MM: Do you think that’s really his philosophy, or do you think that’s just something…
SL: I do…well it’s something else I’ve watched in politics in New Jersey over the past twenty years. It’s just, the Republican party has completely failed to stand for its principles and has not had the courage to stand up whether it be Paid Family Leave, project labor agreements, or even ballot questions. Since, the people in New Jersey have not been given an alternative, they say, we’ll just vote for the Democrats.
MM: Sure, sure.
SL: We don’t have two parties in New Jersey, we have one party…the Party of Big Spenders.
On Thursday, I had the pleasure of speaking at length with writer, political commentator, and nine-time Emmy Award-winning journalist (six earned while at CBS News, three as a correspondent for HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel), Bernie Goldberg.
Below are excerpts from the transcript of our wide-ranging interview …
AG: If you were in Michael Steele’s shoes, how would you go about recapturing for the GOP the college graduates, suburbanites, those under 30, who’ve been migrating toward the Democratic Party in recent times.
BG: Yeah, that’s his biggest challenge, because Michael Steele understands that if you’d get every Republican vote, you will still lose every election — and I’m talking about presidential elections. You’re going to lose every election if you only get Republican votes. So, the Republican Party has to figure out how to get younger people, and different kinds of people, and expand the base. I think you need two things, basically. You need a candidate with the right message, which is the same kind of message that would attract Reagan Democrats. In other words, you’ll get Republicans with a conservative message, but you need to have it make the kind of sense that reasonable people who are not diehard Democrats, you know, who are moderates and independents, and young people, may come to you with the right message. Reagan appealed not only to fat cats on Wall Street, but to people making between 25 and 50 thousand a year. He not only appealed to Protestants. He appealed to Catholics. He had a message that seemed to make sense. And so I think the conservative message will make sense, but here’s where the second part comes in. It has to be delivered by somebody who has a great personality. Barack Obama’s magic stems not from his brilliance, which is questionable when he doesn’t have a teleprompter, and not from his politics. It stems from his personality. I mean, that’s what makes him magic — his personality. He’s immensely likeable to most people, and that’s what Reagan was, and that’s what FDR was. It comes along very, very rarely in our lifetimes. And I think the Republicans — the biggest challenge for Michael Steele is to find a Republican — and by the way, it’s not up to him to pick a candidate, but let’s put it this way. It’s incumbent upon the Republicans to find a candidate with the right message and the right persona to sell that message. Just having one and not the other will not win an election anymore.
AG: Do you see any of the potential candidates in the field, within the Republican Party, who are well-positioned?
BG: I don’t see anybody who jumps out at me. I can tell you that Bobby Jindal was popular before his sing-songy speech, and now he’s got problems. I mean, four years is a long time, so those problems may recede into a distant — may become distant memories. I think Mitt Romney has a lot of the goods that you need to win. He’s got the message. He’s got the look. He’s very smart. He’s very articulate. He’s very attractive. He stands a chance. But there’s always the possibility of somebody out there that we haven’t thought about. I mean, who the hell would’ve thought about Barack Obama, before we started thinking about Barack Obama?
AG: Right. And if you went beyond the 2004 convention speech, no one — he wasn’t even a glint in anyone’s eyes.
BG: Right. So, what’s going to happen is — somebody is going to jump out. Somebody is going to jump out, but can I answer this in a way you didn’t ask it? I think the Republicans may have problems for a very long time, and I’m going to use an FDR analogy. In 1940, the American people elected Franklin Roosevelt to an unprecedented third term — never happened before in our history — even though during his first two terms, unemployment never dropped below 10 percent; and for 21 straight months, never dropped below 20 percent. How in the world do you re-elect a president with that record, let alone re-elect him to an unprecedented third term? Because Franklin Roosevelt had this incredible ability to make the American people believe in him, and he had a Republican predecessor to blame for the economy. Fast forward to today, or to use a sports analogy, as that great philosopher Yogi Berra might say: It’s déjà vu all over again. Because now you have a politician who also has the great ability to make the American people believe what he says. And he’s also got a Republican predecessor to blame for the economy. I think there’s a good possibility of, that whatever goes wrong — and this is what I write about in A Slobbering Love Affair — whatever goes wrong may be chalked up to the Republicans and George Bush, and whatever goes right may be in the Obama column, as far as the media is concerned, and as far as a lot of the American people are concerned. Barack Obama may have the same FDR magic.
AG: Well, do you think there’s anything Obama can do, in your estimation, that — a promise he’d rescind on that would cause his disciples to depart from his flock?
BG: Not the Kool-Aid drinkers. That’s for damn sure. Maybe regular voters who vote Democratic one time, and Republican another time — you know, moderates or independents. Maybe if the economy doesn’t get better, and if they start to lose their jobs, or don’t get their jobs back, and their 401(k)’s don’t come back. They may say, ‘Hey, we gave this guy a shot, and it didn’t work, and we’re not voting for him anymore.’ But, they didn’t say that about FDR. Unemployment didn’t drop below 10 percent. That’s quite remarkable.
AG: So, you don’t think there’s a red line? Even if he were to invade Pakistan, or say he’s not closing Gitmo… (more…)