June 20, 2012

Poll Watch: Gallup 2012 Daily Presidential Tracking Survey

Gallup 2012 Daily Presidential Tracking Poll

  • Mitt Romney 47%
  • Barack Obama 45%  

Survey of approximately 3,050 registered voters was conducted June 13-19, 2012. The margin of error is ±2 percentage points.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 11:59 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

The RAISE Act Debate Shows the Desperation of Unions & Their Allies

In recent weeks unions have been making major national news. First it was the failed Wisconsin recall. Next it was micro-unions, which have D.C.-based business interests very concerned about gerrymandering within individual businesses that could end up causing many businesses, including retail and grocery stores, a great deal of financial harm. Most recently, though, it is the Rewarding Achievement and Incentivizing Successful Employees (RAISE) Act, introduced in the Senate, that has caused a great deal of back-and-forth among varied interests this month. Below are four prominent opinions expressed in recent days and weeks.

Yesterday, Florida Republican Senator and RAISE Act sponsor Marco Rubio wrote a blog post for National Review’s main blog, The Corner, promoting the benefits of the RAISE Act, which would allow union employers to encourage better results through pay incentives — essentially eliminating current caps in union bargaining agreements. The legislation is expected to be voted on today.

I contacted Senator Rubio’s office to ask about the post to ask the following questions:

  1. Under what constitutional basis was the Supreme Court case the Senator referenced in his post (NLRB vs. C & C Plywood Corp. (1967)) decided?
  2. Will the RAISE Act be in conflict with the SCOTUS decision? If so, what could be the ramifications of the Act with regards to the original decision?

A Rubio aide responded in a phone call:

  1. The legal basis for the determination in NLRB v. C&C Plywood Corp., which is being used as the case that determined that premiums or bonuses could not be paid to employees based on their merit was that doing so violated the National Labor Relations Act. The NLRA established that workers had a constitutional right to engage in collective action for mutual aid and protection and that includes the right for unions to choose to collectively bargain for favorable contract terms with their employer. The Supreme Court in this case found that under the facts, what the employer did was violate the terms of collective bargaining agreement because they made this change in wage levels for particular “groups” of employees after the collective bargaining agreement was entered into.
  2. The RAISE Act will not run afoul of Supreme Court precedent. The case cited above dealt with a clause in the contract that said the employer could provide pay increases to “specific employees” but what the employer did was promise to pay a higher “wage level,” not a “bonus,” to particular “groups” of employees, in that particular case it was “glue spreader crews.” This was done so following the collective bargaining agreement entered into by the union and the employer. This is used today as the rational for why employers are prohibited from giving any union employee a bonus for a job well done. To that end, our bill only affects future contracts; it will not supersede anyone’s contract rights.

I was first made aware of this issue by Heritage Foundation Senior Labor Fellow James Sherk. Sherk informed me that he was writing a paper on the RAISE Act. In the paper, he wrote the following:

Should Congress pass the RAISE Act, the average union member’s salary could rise between $2,700 and $4,500 a year. The RAISE Act would restore union members’ freedom to earn individual merit-based raises — a freedom that federal labor law currently denies. With many American families struggling financially in the aftermath of the recession, Congress should lift the seniority ceiling on workers’ wages.

I called Sherk to ask him about this section of the paper, since we are in tough economic times and thus potential pay increases may simply not be available due to a lack of available monies. He responded with the following:

The increased pay comes from the productivity that the employees’ increased efforts produces, so the company can pay higher wages because it also has higher profits. The beauty of performance pay is that it’s not a zero-sum game. Companies can lead employees to be more productive via performance pay, so both parties are better off.

One opponent of the RAISE Act has been Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), a long-time union supporter. I contacted the Senator’s office for this post to ask his press staff why the Senator said the following on the Senate floor (via a non-official transcript on June 05, 2012):


I contacted the Senator’s office regarding the following questions, but at press time had not received an answer to two e-mails and a phone call:

  1. I understand Senator Durbin strongly opposed the RAISE Act on the Senate floor earlier this month, for reasons including nepotism. Given that raises, bonus incentives, etc. are given every day by employers across the country for work-related performance, what evidence leads the Senator to believe nepotism and non-performance bonuses and pay incentives will be provided at the expense of union employees?
  2. Does the Senator believe that non-union employers should be allowed to provide performance-based pay for individuals on respective work forces?

Finally, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters sent out a letter on June 7 accusing the RAISE Act of being yet another attack on collective bargaining. The letter made a series of other accusations. I left two voice messages with the Teamsters press office to ask several clarifying questions, but never received a response. The questions I planned to ask are below.

  1. Upon what empirical data does the Teamsters base its accusations of nepotism?
  2. How will increasing the ceiling for wages lead to “a road to lower wages for middle-class families?”
  3. Senator Rubio’s office informs me that contracts will not be allowed to be broken in the RAISE Act, which is consistent with NLRB vs. C & C Plywood Corp. (1967). What is the basis for this concern?

All in all, the debate over the RAISE Act appears to be yet another stage in the fight over employee/employer rights and unions grasping at straws to maintain what was once a solid grip on the American private-sector worker. This Act seems to be pretty straightforward in providing what should be a common-sense right of employers to provide incentive to workers for better results for the company, and the right of employees to be rewarded for quality performance. Unless opponents can provide a better response than “employers will be free to give employees more money for accomplishing duties better,” I think the Teamsters, Senator Durbin, and others are going to find themselves on the other side of yet another decision by the public that, given the economic harm they cause, American unions are simply not worth supporting.

[Originally published at the American Spectator blog.]

by @ 3:50 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

Poll Watch: PPP (D) Washington 2012 Gubernatorial Survey

PPP (D) Washington 2012 Gubernatorial Poll

  • Rob McKenna (R) 43% (42%) [40%]
  • Jay Inslee (D) 40% (42%) [38%]
  • Undecided 17% (16%) [22%]

Favorable / Unfavorable {Net}

  • Rob McKenna 40% (39%) [34%] / 30% (29%) [26%] {+10%}
  • Jay Inslee 33% (36%) [30%] / 29% (28%) [21%] {+4%}

Survey of 1,073 Washington voters was conducted June 14-17, 2012. The margin of error is +/- 3 percentage points. Party ID: 36% (36%) [39%] Democrat; 28% (32%) [30%] Republican; 36% (32%) [31%] Independent. Ideology: 28% (28%) [30%] Moderate; 24% (20%) [22%] Somewhat liberal; 23% (21%) [21%] Somewhat conservative;  12% (17%) [16%] Very conservative; 12% (14%) [11%] Very liberal. Results from the poll conducted February 16-19, 2012 are in parentheses. Results from the poll conducted May 12-15, 2011 are in square brackets.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 5:00 am. Filed under Uncategorized

May 7, 2012

Another Liberal Myth Down the Drain

Last week, a New York Times piece by Floyd Norris, Chief Financial Correspondent for the NY Times and The International Herald Tribune, claimed government spending has gone down under President Obama. The claim, which relies on half-truths and incorporates only certain areas of spending in the federal government, has been debunked by others – Morgen Richmond already hit it on the Hot Air main page, for example – but I think it deserves further shredding.

First, this canard has been proven wrong before. Just Facts President Jim Agresti debunked this myth just over 18 months ago, when Paul Krugman and Ezra Klein made the same argument. Jim pointed out that according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, not only had spending not gone down under Obama, but

furthermore, since Krugman’s central premise in these articles is that government spending is a salve that heals unhealthy economies, why does he limit this question to spending “under Obama”? The recession officially began in December 2007, when total combined government spending was $4,637 billion. Thus, from the outset of the recession through the second quarter of 2010, spending has risen 19% in a period with 4% inflation.

On top of this, in the four years leading up to the recession, total combined government expenditures grew by 21% with 13% inflation.

2. As Richmond aptly noted, The New York Times piece did not include transfer payments in its analysis of the federal budget, which includes – but is not limited to – Social Security and welfare payments. Since when do Social Security and welfare not count in federal spending? In reality, total federal spending has grown significantly over the last three years (See Chart 2), and the totality of local, state and federal spending combined has gone up as well. (See Chart 1)

CHART 1                      CHART 2

[Credit for the creation of both graphs goes to Agresti]

3. When I mentioned this myth to an economist friend, he guessed the argument from the left would be that tax revenues are too low. Liberals are correct that tax revenues are low by historical standards – according to the Tax Policy Center (TPC), revenues are near record lows as compared to Gross Domestic Product, and have been at these low levels for longer than any three-year period since just after World War II. However, this argument only goes so far. Consider:

A. According to TPC, last year’s revenues were 15.4% of GDP. If revenues hit 20% of GDP in 2011 (a percentage surpassed only three times since 1934, which is as far back as the TPC chart goes), this means revenues would be up by 30%.

B. 30% greater revenues is a significant amount of money – about $690 billion.

C. However, $690 billion is barely more than half of the $1.3 trillion deficit the nation boasted in 2011.

D. To recap: if revenues hit near-record levels in 2011, we would still have had a deficit in 2011 of $610 billion.

High spending didn’t start with President Obama or even President Bush, but both of these men have been the Executives who let the problem get out of control. Few in either party are willing to step up and prevent the coming fiscal collapse that people like Senator Coburn (R-OK) are predicting, yet it must be done. If we don’t start slashing spending, eliminating federal bureaucracies, eviscerating fraud/waste/abuse/duplication, aggressively reforming entitlements and starting over on the tax code, my generation (the “Debt-Paying Generation”) will suffer greatly. Unfortunately, people like Norris who should know better are willing to create cheap (no pun intended) talking points instead of informing Americans of this reality.

[This post was originally published in the Hot Air Green Room.]

Dustin Siggins is an associate producer with The Laura Ingraham Show and co-author with William Beach of The Heritage Foundation on a forthcoming book about the national debt. The opinions expressed are his own.

by @ 9:25 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

May 2, 2012

A Word from Professor Ronald Reagan

This is amusing….so enjoy!


by @ 8:45 pm. Filed under 2012 Misc., Conservatism, Culture, Uncategorized

April 30, 2012

Obama Uses Taxpayer Dollars to Campaign Yet Again

This time it was next to the Japanese Prime Minister, where President Obama launched a snide, silly attack on Mitt Romney regarding the killing of Osama bin Laden. This attack has been proven wrong for almost five years, and even PolitiFact has to stretch to call the President’s claim a half truth.

This campaigning on public dollars is getting rather ridiculous. Over the last two weeks, my boss Laura Ingraham has on numerous occasions pointed out that President Obama has used tax dollars to campaign across the country. Last week, the Republican National Committee took the initiative of going to the Government Accountability Office with their own complaint, and in between ABC’s Jake Tapper hammered White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on the matter.

Now the President is “attacking but not really attacking” Mitt Romney in front of a foreign dignitary on the public dollar. Is this what the Presidency has sunk to? Or am I just ignorant of what Presidents have done in the past?



Dustin Siggins is an associate producer with The Laura Ingraham Show and co-author with William Beach of The Heritage Foundation on a forthcoming book about the national debt. The opinions expressed are his own.

by @ 4:48 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

March 25, 2012

A Much Needed Break

Let’s not lose track of what’s really important, which is so easy to do on a website such as ours.


Take the time to watch, listen, and ponder this. It is well worth your 2 minutes. It puts things in perspective.


by @ 11:48 am. Filed under Uncategorized

March 22, 2012

Poll Watch: Rasmussen Virginia 2012 Presidential Survey

Rasmussen Virginia 2012 Presidential Poll

  • Barack Obama 51% [49%] (45%) 
  • Mitt Romney 42% [43%] (46%)
  • Barack Obama 53% [51%]
  • Rick Santorum 39% [43%]

How would you rate the job Barack Obama has been doing as President?

  • Strongly approve 34% [31%]
  • Somewhat approve 19% [20%]
  • Somewhat disapprove 5% [8%]
  • Strongly disapprove 40% [38%]

Survey of 500 likely voters was conducted March 20, 2012. The margin of error is +/- 4.5 percentage points. Results from the poll conducted February 21, 2012 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted September 28, 2011 are in parentheses.

Inside the numbers:

Both Republicans have a very slight edge among male voters in the state, while Obama leads among women by more than 20 points. The president leads Romney and Santorum by similar margins among voters not affiliated with either major party.

Romney is viewed favorably by 46% of Virginia voters, Santorum by 38%, a six-point drop from a month ago.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 5:09 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

March 11, 2012

Public Service Announcement: Daylight Savings Time

Daylight Savings Time began last night. For those of you living in areas affected by it, did you remember to move your clocks forward an hour?

by @ 10:07 am. Filed under Uncategorized

March 8, 2012

Poll Analysis: Rasmussen Daily Presidential Tracking Poll

Kavon has posted Rasmussen’s daily Presidential tracking poll for today. I’ve taken the raw data and produced the following graphical chart:

There is one inescapable conclusion from the above chart; Obama leads all Republican candidates except for brief periods of time. While it is true that Santorum led Obama for a single day a month ago, and Romney managed to lead or tie Obama for three days straight just two weeks ago, the fact of the matter is Obama is nearly always on top.

Am I concerned? No, not really. The nature of this poll is such that a number of supporters of Candidate A will always claim they will vote for Obama against Candidate B, yet in real life very few will. Once we Republicans settle on a candidate, that sort of gamesmanship will end.

Here is the above data viewed as Santorum vs. Romney:

As can been seen above, Santorum spends most of his time below Romney. His glory days were the second week of February when he was the fresh new ABR candidate everyone was excited about. Once vetting started, however,  the public’s enthusiasm for him quickly cooled. Since then, he has struggled to best Romney in these ratings. Romney has led 15 days during that time period, Santorum has led 6 days, and they have tied five times.

by @ 11:58 am. Filed under Poll Analysis, Uncategorized

March 1, 2012

BREAKING: Andrew Breitbart – 1969-2012

Internet publisher and conservative activist Andrew Breitbart has died last night of natural causes. The LA coroner confirmed this morning. He made a huge impact on the world of news world through his various endeavors and will live on as the fight against liberalism and the mainstream media continues. Keep his family in your prayers.

Here’s more from Big Hollywood.

by @ 8:32 am. Filed under Uncategorized

February 22, 2012

Poll Watch: Rasmussen 2012 Daily Presidential Tracking Survey

Rasmussen 2012 Daily Presidential Tracking Poll

  • Barack Obama 46%
  • Rick Santorum 43%
  • Barack Obama 47%
  • Mitt Romney 41%


by @ 1:49 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

January 30, 2012

Gingrich’s Ego Vows to Fight for Months Until the Convention

According to the Wall Street Journal, last night at a campaign stop in Lutz, Florida Newt Gingrich had this to say:

A pugnacious Newt Gingrich reiterated his intention to stay in the Republican presidential primary “all the way to the convention,” telling reporters Sunday morning that he believed that “this is going to be a straight-out contest for the next four or five months” between him and Mitt Romney.

Mr. Gingrich said after attending a morning service with 2,000 worshipers at the Exciting Idlewild Baptist Church that he didn’t agree with polls that show him trailing in Florida, and in any case, he’s not bowing out of the race.

“I think that the election will be substantially closer than the two polls that came out this morning,” he said, adding that he was eying support for Rick Santorum as potential source of votes in the coming months. “When you add the two conservatives together we clearly beat Romney,” Mr. Gingich said. “I think Romney’s got a very real challenge trying to get a majority at the convention.”

Mr. Gingrich knocked back suggestions that prolonging the primary campaign could damage the party’s chances in November. “The long campaign of 2008 between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama led them to win the presidency. There’s no reason that a long campaign has to be a bad thing,” he said.

“This is a campaign about the future of America and the future of the Republican party. Do you want an insider who’s part of the city which has been accepting huge amounts of taxpayer money to prop up giant institutions or do you want somebody who’s prepared to challenge our system head on and insist on very dramatic change in Washington? I think that’s worth a serious debate and I think that debate will go all the way to the convention.”

The only thing bigger than Newt Gingrich’s mouth is his ego. Assuming the leads for Romney in Florida hold true for thirty-six more hours, Mitt Romney will be our nominee. It will be all over but the shouting.

Apparently, Newt Gingrich intends to do a lot of shouting.

Let me count the ways that Newt’s moon-colored glasses are not allowing him to see reality here:

1. “Mr. Gingrich said… he didn’t agree with polls that show him trailing in Florida.”

Of course Newt Gingrich is not losing Florida! How could Newt Gingrich be losing Florida? There must be something inherently wrong with the last eleven polls from the state showing Romney winning now, because everybody knows there can’t be anything wrong with Newt Gingrich. Of course, living in this obtuse state of denial easily reminds one of the well-worn political axiom: everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts. It is also strangely reminiscent of Mike Huckabee’s declaration in 2008: “I believe in miracles, not math.” I’d advise Gingrich to learn Huckabee’s lesson: math is what takes you to the nomination, not denial of reality.

2. “When you add the two conservatives together we clearly beat Romney.”

Well, let’s test this theory of yours, shall we, Newt? Rasmussen Reports – specifically one of the polls Newt mentioned – has Romney at 44% this morning. Gingrich + Santorum combine for 40%. Oops. The other poll, from NBC/Marist, has Mitt sitting at 42%. Gingrich and Santorum account for a total of 43% — technically more, but certainly not “clearly” so, as Newt intoned.

3. “I think Romney’s got a very real challenge trying to get a majority at the convention.”

As much as a brokered convention is a political nerd’s dream, it is simply not going to happen. I’ll cover this more in a post later this week. Suffice it to say Gingrich is dreaming while grasping at straws here.

4. Mr. Gingrich knocked back suggestions that prolonging the primary campaign could damage the party’s chances in November. “The long campaign of 2008 between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama led them to win the presidency.

As noted here on Race before, and at other blogs as well, there is a massively important idea that Gingrich is missing in his assessment here. Although Hillary and Barack were locked in combat for five months, it never got nearly as ugly as the Gingrich/Romney battle has gotten. Hillary had plenty of ammunition with which to attack Obama; she chose not to use most of the damaging attacks at all, and chose to use other attacks sparingly. She refrained from attacking Obama from the right (for instance, on BAIPA) and didn’t use attacks that ended up in RNC television ads. In short, she did not utilize scorched-earth tactics against the eventual party nominee; that is why it didn’t harm Obama’s electoral chances. Obama emerged from the Democratic nomination process as a victor; if Gingrich continues his desperate and deceitful assault on Romney for the next five months Romney may come out as damaged goods.

And that’s not to say there is no value in a bruising primary. There most certainly is, and people can be stronger general election candidates because of it. But when a GOP primary contender consistently has his attacks echoed in DNC talking points and advertisements, five more months of it will only cause harm to our eventual nominee. And if you think Newt’s attacks are desperate now, wait until you see what he’ll be coming up with five months down the road…

5. “This is a campaign about the future of America and the future of the Republican party. Do you want an insider who’s part of the city which has been accepting huge amounts of taxpayer money to prop up giant institutions or do you want somebody…”

I have to admit, I chortled a little bit out loud when I read this part. For Newt Gingrich, the ultimate Washington insider, to try and cast this race as an Insider (Romney) versus an outsider (Gingrich) is simply beyond the pale, and I still have a hard time believing he’s attempting this tact. It’s unbelievable, in a really humorous sort of way.

And so, in a single speech in Florida, Newt Gingrich has managed to illustrate exactly what is wrong with his campaign. Here’s hoping his ego is deflated enough after a slew of losses to do the right thing – for the Republican Party and, ultimately, the country.

by @ 7:00 am. Filed under Uncategorized

January 21, 2012

A Preview of Florida

The race in South Carolina is over and first off, congratulations to Speaker Newt Gingrich on his win. Now, with a different winner in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina it’s up to Florida to break the tie. So, as a courtesy to folks outside of the state, here’s a little preview of the Sunshine State.

First off, there are actually three states in Florida: North Florida, Central Florida and South Florida. Understanding that is very important to understanding Florida. Voters in Pensacola have little in common with voters in Key West or Miami. It’s also big as in really, really big. It takes 10 hours to drive from one tip of Florida to the other. There are 67 counties in this state and 8 media markets, making it a very expensive state to play in. In 2010, our current Governor, Rick Scott spent $70 million on his way to the Governor’s Mansion.

Of the three sections, North Florida is more like South Carolina than any other area of the state. The joke in Florida is that the further north you go in the state, the more like the South it is. Pensacola in the western Panhandle is a very military-oriented area; Escambia County went for John McCain by 9 points over Mitt Romney. Tallahassee is a Democratic stronghold, but 25,000 Republicans voted in Leon County last time around and they went for John McCain by 11 points. Northeastern Florida, centered around Jacksonville was Mitt Romney’s best area overall in 2008. He crushed the rest of the field in Duval County winning 41-27 over John McCain and swept 9 counties in the area. The rest of North Florida is predominantly rural and religiously conservative. Mike Huckabee won 4 counties in Florida, all of them were in the Panhandle.

Heading south you come upon the most important part of Florida; the I-4 Corridor of Tampa to Orlando to Daytona Beach. Roughly 40% of Florida voters reside in this area. Mitt Romney won 4 counties in this area back in 2008. The main prizes are Tampa-St. Petersburg, which are Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. This was Charlie Crist’s political base while he was in politics, so it’s more moderate than other areas of the state. Orange County, which is anchored in Orlando, was very close in 2008; McCain got 32.29% and Romney got 31.89%. The coastal counties of Volusia and Brevard had averages that were very close to the statewide results.

The final section of the state, South Florida, is actually 2 distinct areas; Southeast and Southwest Florida. Southeast Florida is the Miami-Dade, Ft. Lauderdale area. This is where the Cuban vote is so critical. Rudy Giuliani, who assiduously courted the Cuban vote, got some of his best totals in all of Florida down there (he came in 2nd in Miami-Dade). Southwest Florida is a Republican stronghold, especially in Naples, where Governor Scott’s powerbase is. Collier County (Naples), was Romney’s single best county in 2008; he got 44% of the vote here, winning it by almost 20 points.

As has been noted, over 400,000 absentee ballots have already been mailed out to Florida voters and over 100,000 have already been turned in. Early voting starts this week and the polls will close in most of the state at 7:00 pm EST on January 31st. However, as the rest of the country found out in 2000, there are several counties (including Escambia County/Pensacola) that are in Central Standard Time. They will close their polls at 8:00 pm EST.

Just going by county of course doesn’t give a full picture. There are a lot of different groups in this state too; Catholics are much more prominent in Florida than in almost every other Southern state (both white and Cuban Catholics), Cubans who are very different than other Hispanic subgroups, Midwest transplants in Central Florida and Northeastern transplants in South Florida, rural evangelical North Floridian crackers. And of course, senior citizens, the most important and politically active citizens in the state.

As you can see, Florida’s a big, complicated, and frankly hard state to run in. Any candidate that can put together a coalition to win rural North Florida, suburban Central Florida, diverse South Florida and everything in between is to be commended. It’s going to be a wild ride over the next 10 days but here’s just the lay of the land down here in the Sunshine State

by @ 9:00 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

December 26, 2011

2011 Awards

Since it’s the end of the year I thought it’d be a nice thing to do the bests and worsts of 2011.

Most Impactful Politician-Paul Ryan: Aside from the President (who would always win) the politician with the most impact this year is House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan. His Path to Prosperity has been the most discussed, analyzed, and debated policy paper of the year. His colleagues in Congress think the world of him; every Republican in the House signed on to the Path to Prosperity budget. At age 41 he has a bright future ahead in whatever he decides to do.

Most Overrated Political Story-Occupy Wall Street: If there was one group more overhyped, over-covered by the news, it has to be the OWS movement. The news media tripped over themselves to proclaim that this was the left’s answer to the Tea Party, the next great protest movement, the way to revive the Democratic Party, what every you wanted to call them, the media did. Now however, the OWS movement has been shown to be what it always was; a pathetic joke.

Luckiest Politician-Mitt Romney: Mitch Daniels didn’t run. Paul Ryan didn’t run. Mike Huckabee didn’t either. Chris Christie is his top surrogate instead of top opponent. Tim Pawlenty has been out of the race for 6 months. Now, with 8 days to go before the Iowa Caucuses, his top opponents are Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich. If that isn’t a lucky hand, I don’t know what is.

Unluckiest Politician-Rick Perry: On paper, the Texas Governor should be one of the front-runners for this race. He comes from the largest consistently red states in America, he’s been Governor for over a decade, he raised a ton of money, and right as he jumped into the race, he was at the top of the polls. Yet in a year where debates have dominated the process, the Texan’s disastrous performances have sent his numbers tumbling. While an Iowa comeback is possible, it’s certainly not the scenario that Perry and his campaign envisioned when the Governor jumped into the race back in August.

Biggest Flash in the Pan- Herman Cain: The pizza mogul surged to the top of Republican polls after the Florida Straw Poll and was bolstered by his catchy (although hardly practical) 9-9-9 Plan. Two months later, dogged by accusations of sexual harassment and unfaithfulness, Cain was out of the race.

Biggest Disappointment- Tim Pawlenty: The Minnesota Governor was hailed as the man who would be king; the guy who would be the alternative to Mitt Romney. George Will hailed him as the most likely nominee. But Pawlenty never caught on. His one moment in the spotlight was his bizarre attack on “Obamneycare” on Sunday and then refusing to say it again in at the New Hampshire debate on Tuesday. It made Pawlenty look weak, and he never recovered.

Biggest Losers- Dictators and Terrorists: Tunisia’s Zine El Abidine Ben Ali deposed. Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak toppled. The Mad Dog Qaddafi put down. The Dear Leader Kim Jong Il is now the dead leader. Vladimir Putin’s return to the presidency of Russia is looking less certain. Bashir al Assad’s regime is looking precarious in Syria. And most pleasingly, Osama bin Laden came down with a nasty case of bullet to the face. It wasn’t a great year for tyranny in the world.

If there are any more categories or different choices for the above categories, have at it in the comments.

by @ 8:04 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

December 21, 2011

JibJab 2011 End of the Year

It’s that time again. Enjoy:


by @ 4:45 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

December 16, 2011

A Nice Victory Against the Nanny-state

Politico reports:

The shutdown-averting budget bill will block federal light bulb efficiency standards, giving a win to House Republicans fighting the so-called ban on incandescent light bulbs.

GOP and Democratic sources tell POLITICO the final omnibus bill includes a rider defunding the Energy Department’s standards for traditional incandescent light bulbs to be 30 percent more energy efficient.

DOE’s light bulb rules — authorized under a 2007 energy law authored signed by President George W. Bush — would start going into effect Jan. 1. The rider will prevent DOE from implementing the rules through Sept. 30.

Few overreaches of the nanny-state have created more ire than the ban on 100W incandescent light bulbs that was set to take effect this New Year’s Day. Signed into law by George W. Bush, it is a prime example of the so-called “elites” deciding that we mere mortals are incapable of making our own decisions, and therefore they must make them for us.

Well, it’s nice to know that the ban has been postponed to at least September 30th next year — about a month before election day.

Of course, our moral superiors didn’t give up without a fight.

Environmentalists and clean energy types have tried to mount a last-ditch defense, with plans for a Friday press conference that includes representatives from the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, Philips Electronics North America, Consumers Union, the Alliance to Save Energy and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Republicans for Environmental Protection also hoped to shame its GOP brethren into backing down.

“In the real world, outside talk radio’s echo chamber, lighting manufacturers such as GE, Philips and Sylvania have tooled up to produce new incandescent light bulbs that look and operate exactly the same as old incandescent bulbs, and give off just as much warm light,” said Jim DiPeso, the group’s policy director. “The only difference is they produce less excess heat and are therefore 30 percent more efficient. Same light, lower energy bills. What’s not to like?”

Umm, the price? Those new bulbs also cost more. That seems to be a detail these busy-bodies have forgotten to mention for some strange reason. I can’t image why.

by @ 12:30 am. Filed under Uncategorized

December 14, 2011

Weird Scenario 1: The Late Entrant

The turmoil of the Republican nomination process, and the unhappiness of a large part of the party with all the choices, has led to recent speculation that we might have a brokered convention and/or the nominee might be someone not in the current field.

In the interests of full disclosure, I must note that I am not an unbiased observer on this point, since I count myself among those who look at the current field with disappointment (well, okay, ‘disappointment’ is a weak word – ‘revulsion’ is more like it).

Sean Trende assessed the possibility of a brokered convention, and rated the chances as low, which I think is fair. But that there is any realistic chance is remarkable – it has been sixty years since either party’s convention has gone past the first ballot.

So what are the factors that could cause a brokered convention this time?

  • The two leading candidates are deeply flawed in the eyes of many in the party
  • A substantial portion of the delegates will be selected by proportional methods
  • There is a strong third candidate (Ron Paul) who has the resources and the will to stay in to the bitter end

The factor that, added to the above, may mean a late entrant has a chance to emerge as the nominee from a brokered convention is that the nominating process is back-loaded.

  • Several large states are going late, with winner-take-all delegations
  • A significant number of states have relatively late filing deadlines

Let’s examine that last point first, because it brings into question the idea that it is now impossible to enter the race. Let’s say that someone decided to enter after Iowa and New Hampshire (it would, of course, have to be someone who has the name and the establishment support to credibly do so). The following fifteen states have filing deadlines three weeks or more after New Hampshire votes, giving time (maybe) to get on the ballot:

  • Arkansas (3/1 deadline) – 36 delegates
  • California (3/23) – 172
  • Connecticut (3/2) – 28
  • Delaware (2/24) – 17
  • Indiana (2/10) – 46
  • Kentucky (1/31) – 45
  • Montana (3/12) – 26
  • Nebraska (3/7) – 35
  • New Jersey (4/2) – 50
  • New Mexico (3/16) – 23
  • New York (2/9) – 95
  • Oregon (3/6) – 29
  • Pennsylvania (2/14) – 72
  • South Dakota (3/27) – 28
  • Utah (3/15) – 40

These states have a total of 742 delegates and most vote in April-June, giving a new candidate time to campaign. The strategy would probably be to concentrate on New York and Pennsylvania, which vote in April. Victories there would lead to May-June wins in other states (see the chart on Sean’s article for voting dates). A candidate who captured a big piece of the 742 delegates could prevent anyone else from getting the nomination and would go to the convention with a strong argument as to why he (to randomly select a pronoun) should be the compromise choice.

Let’s say that when the dust settles in June, the scoreboard looks something like this:

  • 800 Gingrich
  • 800 Romney
  • 400 Late Entrant
  • 200 Paul
  • 88 Everybody Else

In this scenario, Romney and Gingrich have so soiled each other that they are unacceptable to too much of the party and are too wounded to battle Obama. After a nasty campaign, it’s unlikely that 350 Romney delegates could be persuaded to switch to Gingrich, or vice versa. That leaves Late Entrant and Paul. We know it won’t be Paul, so …

As the headline should make clear, this is not a prediction. I’m not even saying it is at all likely. But I do think it is just barely possible, and its slim chances seem to be growing.

This has been the strangest campaign I’ve seen in my five decades of following politics. There’s no reason to think it can’t get weirder still.

One final point: Can we put a name to the Late Entrant? The obvious choices are Daniels, Christie, Ryan, and Jindal. My pick, of course, would be Daniels, but unless the Women’s Caucus of the Daniels household has had an epiphany, that isn’t happening. Christie has endorsed Romney and this scenario involves Romney staying in all the way (I don’t see a brokered convention if he’s knocked out early), so eliminate Christie.

Jindal would be possible if Perry is eliminated after Iowa or New Hampshire. Ryan has not endorsed, so he could still get in. John Thune? Suggestions are welcomed.

Here are a few other assessments of the chances for a brokered convention or a Late Entrant: Brian Bolduc in National Review, Rhodes Cook at the Crystal Ball, Nate Silver at NYT.

by @ 12:46 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

More Evidence of the Craziness of This Cycle

As segments of the GOP have moved more towards Paul’s views we have the first rumblings that he could actually pull off a win. Internal polling from Mitt Romney and Rick Perry shows Newt Gingrich slipping, according to Politico.

“Sources didn’t provide specific numbers on how far he’s slipped, but it’s perceptible in both camps’ numbers… The person who is holding strong, according to the internal numbers, is Paul, who has a true shot of winning the caucuses, according to several Iowa Republican insiders surveying ground games and energy.”

by @ 3:11 am. Filed under Uncategorized

December 5, 2011

Funny new Ron Paul Add

I’m not a particular fan of Ron Paul, and I’m not going to vote for him, but I do kind of like this add:

No word on the size of the buy, but Politico reports it will be…ahem…big.

by @ 7:15 am. Filed under Uncategorized

November 20, 2011

SNL Presents Mitt Romney, Unleashed!

As always, posted without comment.


by @ 7:41 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

November 16, 2011

Poll Watch: SurveyUSA 2012 Presidential Survey

SurveyUSA 2012 Presidential Poll

  • Barack Obama 46%
  • Mitt Romney 44%
  • Barack Obama 51%
  • Newt Gingrich 40%

Among Independents

  • Barack Obama 43%
  • Mitt Romney 43%
  • Barack Obama 52%
  • Newt Gingrich 36%


by @ 12:42 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

November 13, 2011

A National Education

Just returned from my annual trip to Washington DC with my 8th graders and was once again awed by the wealth of educational experienced there offered at no out of pocket cost. Notice I did not say it was free. I am fully aware that the Smithsonian, monuments and various educational centers are paid for with tax dollars. However, I think this is a good use of our tax money and would support more of it. Where that money should come from is the budget of the Department of Education.

For anyone following the recent GOP presidential debates the idea of eliminating the Department of Education will come as no surprise. Ron Paul has long made the case for killing it, and Rick Perry added it to his plan as well. (At least I think he did; he of course wasn’t too sure of what he thought). This has actually been a rallying cry in the conservative movement for decades.

I do not disagree with the idea that the D.O.E. is actually detrimental to public schools. It puts out unfunded mandates, tries to micro-manage local curricula and generally meddles in the way all overly-large bureaucracies do. A local school will almost always be run better by the locality.

One example is in the federal push towards technology. While there are certainly benefits to teaching technology to our students, the government works at such a necesarily slow pace that by the time ideas and procedures filter down to the local level they are often already outdated. And that is to say nothing of the fact that it is in reality impossible to train students for the jobs of the future. If recent history has taught us anything it is that we can not predict what the jobs of the future will actually be with any technical certainty.

Schools need to focus on teaching what is timeless: critical thinking, rhetoric, logic and problem solving. No matter what changes the future may bring, these skills will always stand by our students.

The liberal knee-jerk reaction to the idea of eliminating the fed from public education is to cry out that if we do we would have public schools resorting to teaching creationism or some other hot button issue.

To this I respond, so what?

What is the goal of a school? It is to foster intellectual curiosity and provide students with the tools to satiate that curiosity. No single curricula point is going to derail that. There are plenty of well educated, thoughtful and honest citizens of this country who hold that creationism is true. Just because I personally do not agree with them, does it really make me a better citizen, community member or productive member of society? Of course not.

Where I differ from the Rick Perrys and Ron Pauls of the world is that I still believe the federal government has a role to play in educating the citizenry. This is what my recent journey to our nation’s capital reminded me. The fed gets the most bang for it’s buck when it focuses on grand scale education rather than micro-managing the day to day teaching of students. The Smithsonian Museums are a perfect example of public education spending done right. Here anyone can go to view, learn and participate in a variety of educational activities.

I live in Massachusetts and in Boston we have an excellent science museum. However, if you are a family of four or five the cost of visiting this museum can be prohibitive. If the government wants to foster true intellectual curiosity in an egalitarian fashion why not subsidize a museum rather than throw money into a black hole of bureaucratic red tape throughout the public school system.

Another idea based off of the DC model would be to fund state historical museums/living history centers. Even the most jaded American can’t help but feel some pride when visiting the Jefferson or Lincoln Memorial in Washington. Why couldn’t this concept be duplicated on a more local scale?

The Occupy crowd have clearly gone too far, but one of their underlying motives is understandable. They have a lack of connection to the system. They have no sense of community, no sense of being in this together. Therefore they operate from a more selfish, “what-can-the-government-do-for-me perspective. The government should do more to foster a sense of national pride.

I am not naive. I am also not suggesting that a few museums are going to solve our nation’s problems. But I am suggesting that we may want to look at how we promote intellectual curiosity and civic pride and that perhaps re-purposing the D.O.E. could be a place to start.

After all at it’s core a conservative is one who wants to conserve. Our collective past and educational future need conservation too.Cutting spending is always good, but sometimes spending smartly also helps.

by @ 1:07 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

November 8, 2011

Ohio Nixes Public Sector Republican Reforms

Tonight’s off-year elections come complete with a depressing development out of Ohio, as a massive majority of the state’s voters cast ballots to repeal Republican reforms to public sector collective bargaining:

In a political blow to GOP Gov. John Kasich, voters handily rejected the law, which would have limited the bargaining abilities of 350,000 unionized public workers. With more than a quarter of the votes counted late Tuesday, 63 percent of votes were to reject the law.

Given Gov. Scott Walker’s successes at keeping the public behind his own attempts to reform the public sector in Wisconsin, as demonstrated by the Prosser victory earlier this year, as well as by the Democrats’ failed attempt to win control of the Wisconsin state senate via recall elections, today’s results in Ohio call into question the political potency of Gov. John Kasich. A former congressional bean counter, Kasich made a brief run for the presidency during the 2000 election cycle, culminating in a lackluster and short-lived single-digit candidacy. It’s certainly possible that John Kasich is simply a poor politician who was ushered into office during the wave election of 2010 and who lacks the necessary skills to move the dials of public opinion rightward in the state of Ohio.

Whatever the case, this sort of lopsided result may suggest that Ohio will be significantly less “red” in the coming election cycle than it has been in the last few presidential elections. It’s possible for Republicans to win the White House without Ohio, but to construct such a scenario is challenging. The reality is that a Republican victory will probably include the state of Ohio, though it’s not outside the realm of possibility that Ohio actually gives Republicans a narrower margin of victory than a few formerly bluer states such as Wisconsin and New Hampshire.

by @ 9:27 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

November 4, 2011

Is Rick Santorum really more-conservative-than-thou?

“I like to think that every time in the debates that Rick Santorum boasts about his rock-ribbed willingness to make the tough choices and indisputable conservative bona fides, Sen. Patrick Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania, shoots a mildly icy glare at the television. He probably doesn’t, as he’s one of the nicest guys in politics.” Jim Gheraty, National Review.


OK, so I’m a little bit bitter. I like Rick Santorum, and always have. I think a lot of the slurs against him perpetrated by the left range from unfair to disgusting. But something about his current more-conservative-than-thou schtick has got my back up. Maybe it’s because, in 2004, I was an organizer for Students for Toomey, while Santorum was telling Pennsylvania voters that “Arlen [Specter] is with us on the votes that matter.” But I think it’s a bit rich for one of the guys who pretty much ensured Arlen Specter’s primary victory in the closely-fought 2004 primary race to be talking about other people’s conservative apostasies. Let’s recap: Pat Toomey was exactly the sort of rock-ribbed conservative Santorum was in the senate; pro-life, a fiscal hawk and a seriously thoughtful policy wonk. He had a history of winning in what started as a pretty strongly Democratic district; this was by no means an O’Donnell candidacy, and his general election opponent would have been an ultra-liberal Philadelphia congressman of the quite probably beatable variety.  Arlen Specter was…pretty much still Arlen Specter. I’m not one for casually throwing around the term RINO, but that’s partially because, having had Arlen Specter as my senator, I know what the term meant before it was robbed of all meaning. But Rick Santorum made the political calculation that it was better to have the fifty-percent-with-us-on-a-good-day Specter, who would trash liberal Joe Hoeffel in the general, than Pat Toomey, a rock-ribbed conservative who might have had a more difficult time in November. Did Santorum’s endorsement matter? Well, Specter beat Toomey by 1 percent of the primary vote, and Rick had iron-clad popularity with the Republican base, so I’ll let you be the judge. I don’t begrudge Santorum this calculus, though I still think he was wrong. He certainly wasn’t alone in making it (I’m looking at you Karl Rove and the entire GOP establishment circa 2004), and Arlen certainly betrayed a lot of people, deeply and personally, when he switched parties. But for Santorum to act now like he’s the only “real” conservative in a room full of compromisers and flip-floppers is just the slightest bit disingenuous, no? Every candidate who runs for President has, at some point in their political life, said or done something that will displease the party faithful. As my one-time favorite Tim Pawlenty put it, we’ve all got some “clunkers”. Maybe you think Mitt Romney’s comments on abortion in 1994 or 2002 trump Santorum’s tireless and effective efforts to reelect hard-core pro-choicer Arlen Specter in 2004, or Cain’s recent muddiness on the issue. But there’s no such thing as a perfect conservative in this or any race, if you measure “conservatism” along strictly ideological grounds. I was certainly willing to let by-gones be by-gones with Rick in 2006, when I volunteered for his unsuccessful re-election campaign. But none of these guys or gals ought to be pretending to be a “perfect conservative”, because in no case is it actually true. It’s up to primary voters to determine who the most electable conservative in the race is. But if any of them claim to have a perfectly unblemished record, don’t buy it.

by @ 7:49 am. Filed under Uncategorized

October 29, 2011

How “Western Electric” Got Its Name

At one time, AT&T held a monopoly on almost all telephone service in the US. Their manufacturing arm was a company called “Western Electric”. My first job out of college was working for them.

Western Electric was founded in Chicago in 1869. I found that curious. When I asked the old-timers of the company why it was called “Western” Electric when it was founded in Chicago which even then was in the middle of the country, they replied that the original owners were from New York, and to them anything west of the Hudson River was considered “Western” America.

I experienced a similar phenomena growing up in Oregon. The vast majority of the state’s population lives west of the Cascade Mountains in the Wilmette Valley. I grew up in Ontario. Ontario sits right on the banks of the Snake River, the boundary between Oregon and Idaho. You can’t get much further east in Oregon and still be in Oregon.Yet when I mentioned to someone who lived in the Wilmette Valley that I was from “Eastern Oregon”, the most common response I got was, “Oh, so you’re from Bend?”.

Now if you look at a map of Oregon, you will find that while Bend is east of the Cascades, it is actually west of the state’s center-line. Yet because it was “east” of the people living in the Wilmette Valley, they considered it “Eastern Oregon”.


by @ 9:54 am. Filed under Uncategorized

October 20, 2011

Bold Ideas Department: Distributism?

Herman Cain has received a lot of attention and traction in the polls largely due to his 9-9-9 plan. It is understandable why. It is catchy, easy to remember and most important bold. If there is one thing groups as diverse as OWS and the Tea Party can agree on it is that we need to do something large and creative to get out of our current situation.

Cain should be applauded for getting this conversation started. It is in the spirit of this conversation that I write this post. I wrote a while back on another site about the concept, or philosophy, of Distributism. I am neither an expert in, nor a proponent of, this idea but I think it deserves an honest vetting.

It has been getting some play lately in certain traditionalist conservative circles. Rod Dreher has brought it up in connection with OWS; and British Red Tory, Phillip Blond discusses its potential in the Washington Post.

For those unfamiliar with this nearly 100 year old idea here is the CliffNotes version from Wikipedia:

According to distributism, the ownership of the means of production should be spread as widely as possible among the general populace, rather than being centralized under the control of the state (state socialism) or a few large businesses or wealthy private individuals (laissez-faire capitalism). A summary of distributism is found in Chesterton’s statement: “Too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists.”

While Cain’s 9-9-9 plan seems to be lacking in intellectual rigor, Distributism has a well thought-out philosophical grounding. Whether a Republican candidate could tailor it to appeal to a primary audience I do not know. So I ask the grassroots readers here. What do you think?

Steve blogs regularly at his own site.

by @ 6:38 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

October 17, 2011

Does Rick Perry have an online problem?

All of the FEC reports are out now. Here’s my rundown on Rick Perry. (See the Mitt Romney rundown here).

Top level numbers first:

Perry Q3
Receipts $17,009,441
itemized $16,310,621
No itemized 10,091
Ave. itemized $1,616
unitemized $698,820
% unitemized 4.11%
Disbursements $2,098,466
COH $15,078,415
Debt $339,119


That is a solid kick off quarter for Perry. (Note: the quarter that you kick-off your campaign should be one of the strongest.)

Perry didn’t eclipse Romney’s Q2 kick-off of $18 Million but his $17 Million take in Q3 means this race is far from over.

Here’s my question though. Perry’s unitemized number is extremely low in my opinion. For a guy who kicked off his campaign at a Blogger’s forum I would expect the lower-end donations to be larger than 4% of the total donations. By comparison, Romney saw 14% of his donations unitemized. (more…)

by @ 10:05 am. Filed under Uncategorized

October 16, 2011

SNL’s Latest Republican Debate Spoof

Thought I’d share this with you all. I can’t figure out how to get NBC’s videos embedded but here’s the link to RealClearPolitics which has it. Enjoy.

by @ 8:45 pm. Filed under Misc., Uncategorized

October 14, 2011

Romney Q3 FEC Rundown

Here are the just released top level fundraising numbers for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign for Q3 and the primary cycle-to-date:

Romney Q3 Romney Q2 Romney CTD
Receipts $14,222,571 $18,383,257 $32,302,689
- itemized $12,080,051 $17,130,766 $29,210,817
- No. itemized 13,815 45,014 58,829
- Ave. itemized $874 $381 $497
- unitemized $1,988,416 $1,103,457 $3,091,873
$12,281,100 $5,668,385 $17,683,084
COH $14,656,966 $12,715,495

Romney is on a higher burn rate in Q3 now that the campaign is until full swing. While the number of itemized donors was down, the average dollar amount was up. In other words, Romney was able to bring in significant money with fewer high end contributors. Also note the decent uptick in unitemized contributions. An excellent sign that Romney can grab the Internet donors as well.

Here’s a select comparison of Q2 and Q3 disbursements with top dollar differences.

Type Q3 Q2 Diff
DIRECT MAIL PRINTING AND POSTAGE $2,721,308 $696,715 $2,024,593
FUNDRAISING CONSULTING $2,175,770 $669,961 $1,505,809
STRATEGY CONSULTING $915,732 $186,250 $729,482
PAYROLL $1,150,864 $576,710 $574,154
FACILITY RENTAL $429,209 $1,807 $427,402
WEB DEVELOPMENT $598,797 $329,485 $269,312
RENT & UTILITIES $280,285 $108,729 $171,556
CAMPAIGN PROMOTIONAL ITEMS $152,233 $10,109 $142,124
PAYROLL SERVICES/TAXES $305,685 $168,819 $136,866
NETWORK SUPPORT $157,773 $25,012 $132,761
LEGAL CONSULTING $147,712 $35,042 $112,670
DATA MANAGEMENT SERVICES $271,854 $173,296 $98,558
COMPLIANCE CONSULTING $141,039 $49,626 $91,412
PRINTING & DESIGN SERVICES $106,413 $30,492 $75,921
AUDIO VISUAL SERVICES $75,520 $871 $74,649
PHOTOGRAPHY SERVICES $62,726 $6,191 $56,535
SECURITY SERVICES $106,567 $50,462 $56,104
POLICY CONSULTING $45,775 $5,000 $40,775
TRAVEL: AIR $271,120 $233,688 $37,432
MERCHANT FEES $242,382 $208,231 $34,152
MOBILE PHONE EXPENSE $32,381 $3,487 $28,894
SELECT CATEGORY TOTALS $10,391,147 $3,569,984 $6,821,163

Notice the direct mail costs are kicking in which is common after 2 quarters. (For example, the mail cost billing can be deferred by the vendors for 90 days). Romney had about 30+ staff members in Q2 and is now pushing 60.

Bottom line: Romney is still in great position but needs to build on the momentum to win the money game in Q4.

Cross-posted on iHartPolitics.com

by @ 9:59 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

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