Tuesday, September 25, 2012

It's gutcheck time, Mr. Romney. Are you in or out?

Right now the Romney campaign and their team is at a crossroads. I'm hearing two different rumors conflicting with one another right now. With about a week before the absentees (34% of the vote) and a little less than a month and a half before the November election, it's time for the campaign "experts" and advisors to take a close look at what they are doing, what they aren't doing, and adjust properly.

Now is the time to make a move, and by that, I mean a helluva lot more than just phone calls and lit drop n runs.

I've done a lot of campaign stuff, even after originally planning on doing nothing except my business stuff. Glutton for punishment I guess. I'm not a rookie, and not someone who just armchair quarterbacks after the fact. After 11 years on the inside with politics, I will call out incompetence when I see it. I also do not live in a bubble and come from a family with independents, democrats, republicans, and capital l libertarians. Most of them aren't that political outside of voting and following the issues.

One of the things I refuse to do however are political phone calls. I always thought they hurt us back in the day, and believe more so now. They are a waste of time, money, and resources - ESPECIALLY in a general election campaign. We all know Election Day is in November. People are tired of being called multiple times, from multiple organizations. We have the robocalls, the party calls, the superpac calls, money calls, etc. People don't like to be bothered 7-8 times. It pisses off voters who may very well take actions against that candidate. The insider asks "What are they going to do, vote Obama?" Probably not if it is a base voter (although some have said they will vote for who call them the LEAST), but that voter may very well say "go foxtrot yourself" and stay home, especially for the "electable" candidate that people aren't excited about in the first place. This isn't a race between Romney and Obama (and the 3% of 3rd party votes). This is a 3 way race between Romney, Obama, and staying home.  I don't think it is a coincidence that Romney has dropped in all polls after the major Super Saturday phone calls. Some think Paul Scott was recalled partially due to all the phone calls there as well. Romney always had trouble closing the deal. Don't close the deal against him by 7-8 phone calls. Phone calls also have diminishing returns with caller ID. I know the claim about how 7-8 calls help, but even if that was true then (which I doubt) it is certainly untrue for the past few years. I'll mention more on that after the election, win or lose.

The other thing you can't do is insult the base, especially with bad tactics. When you have hundreds of millions of dollars, you need to spend the money wisely. TV ads are only one part of the budget. Some, so they can bray about their large small donor base, are selling their signs (or giving them out to volunteers only). That's the current state of Romney's campaign in Michigan regarding signs. That is possibly the absolute stupidest idea I have ever seen in politics outside of Akin's comments and McCain and the overrated Karl Rove announcing their quitting to the world. Whoever had that idea has his head up his ass and needs to get fired and blacklisted so he is not an adviser on any campaign ever again. Signs belong on yards in front of houses, not right of ways. They belong out starting at this time, not just at polling locations on election day after 35% of the people already voted. Signs in front of houses build momentum which builds on itself transforming light blue states into late swing states forcing opposition to spend money on TV ads where they did not plan to do so before. Sign momentum and hard work with doors takes candidates who supposedly have little shot to win like Joe Hune in 2002 and have them win. You don't refuse to give them out to supporters and then sell signs to people in yet another nagging push to bother people for money - especially when they are used to just picking up signs. You give signs out, and tell people we're running out and need money to get more of these signs that you are seeing everywhere. People don't waste their money on losers. No signs on lawns = loser. Campaigns selling signs and refusing to give them out = loser campaign dragging down the entire ticket and causing insulted members of the base to stay home hurting all of us. Don't complain to the victory center directors. They are just the Indians and follow orders. It's the fault of the advisors and consultants who live in a bubble and have their heads up their asses. When you have hundreds of millions of dollars with fundraising, there is no excuse - none - for not having signs for any supporter that needs one. If county commission and township races can budget for signs properly, so can presidential.

Romney's campaign has to choose whether or not to be a winner or a loser. I'm hearing two different possible scenarios, one I won't say good but not bad. The other scenario is McCain 2008 in its operation.  This race will be won or lost likely in the next two weeks. If it is doing the same thing it is doing now, it's game over. I'm hearing conflicting reports in the direction it takes. I've also learned a few things from the past several years.

1. Do not donate to non-local Superpacs or National Organizations. They are run by Washington/Maryland/Virginia and Washington/Maryland/Virginia style consultants in a bubble who don't understand reality. If they can't run things properly, they aren't worthy of our money. We don't work for the party. It's supposed to work for us.

2. LONG TERM - Local parties and organizations needs to be self sufficient and if that steps on a few national toes, TS. Every local and district party should have an active federal FEC and state/local Secretary of State account so we don't let national decisions hurt us down the ticket. Since it has been shown over and over again that National doesn't do things properly, we have to take care of things ourselves and be ready and able adapt to all situations. It's time for our political party money to stay home and not go to Ohio. Those local resources then need to be spent our way and on our terms. Precinct Delegates elect local and (through state convention district caucus) district leadership. We can control our party. It's time we take control in case another national campaign does a McCain and hangs us out to dry.

As far as this goes regarding Romney, I've heard two different scenarios. I don't know if he will do a McCain. He was on a lot of damage control because of the overrated Karl Rove's comments regarding Pennsylvania. Right now regardless of what decision he makes, the momentum is against him. The pundit class has him required to run the table to have a chance to win. That's an unacceptable premis that needs to be changed. It CAN be changed because elections aren't in September. Romney needs to - at worst - make sure Obama has to fight in the light blue states, much as Obama did in Indiana back in 2008, and even Bush in 2000/2004 in a pre Chris Christie New Jersey. If Obama dictates the fight, it's game over.

Romney needs some specific plans that are more than talking points, and needs to create momentum. He needs to put signs up in all those sign locations that requested. ASAP. That encourages supporters. Don't sell them. Don't play games with them. Do your job and let your workers and volunteers get their guy elected. 

Are you in or out, Mitt? I'll find out in the next weeks.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

An issue for Romney to run on. We need an America first energy policy

One of my major concerns with Romney, then and now, is that he's running as generic campaign when it comes to messaging. Generic only wins on the presidential level when the other candidate blows it more than you did. Bush in 2000 got lucky that Gore was an arrogant jerk. In 04, Bush had a record, and John Kerry was frankly a traitor (when he accused American soldiers of being war criminals) when he got back from Nam. On paper, Bush probably would have lost that year against most opponents. Kerry was the least electable. Obama in 08 had not only the media in the tank for him, but had Bush fatigue and McCain as an opponent. 

You usually can't beat crap with generic. "The other guy sucks" will get you only so much of the vote. Romney's problem is that he isn't trusted (he should have coasted in the primary on paper), and really for good reason. He's not trusted.  Romney actually has good organization, and a good ground game. However, he needs to take risks with the message and go to specifics. Repealing Obamacare is one issue, and changing due to the economy is part of it as well. He needs to stop being generic and come forward with a plan. People don't have to like him, but one thing Romney can sell is competence.

"This is my plan. I fixed the Olympics. I fixed companies. I fixed Massachusetts. This is HOW I'm going to fix the economy."  How can we get America working again? Energy. Besides energy jobs themselves, they can reduce costs for energy for individuals and other companies.

I've seen Romney hint at this, but never fully got out into detail. One area that is booming is North Dakota with the energy jobs. REAL energy jobs, not snake oil green jobs. Solar can work in Arizona, but have of the time here the sun isn't even out. Wind is variable and even in windy areas, some of their biggest supporters want lots of windmills, but not on their property. 

There are three major problems, both from an economical and national security background with our energy policy.


1. A large amount of our oil imports are from counties that don't like us very much. Saudi Arabia. Venezuelan government. There are also a lot of unknowns with the unrest in the Middle East. Are the new bosses the same as the old bosses? Are they worse from an American standpoint? I don't know. We HAVE energy here. Oil. Shale. Natural Gas. Coal. Nuclear. Wood. The last thing from a national security standpoint, is to put it bluntly, have countries that don't like us have us by the nuts. Leverage is important, and another reason why we shouldn't be raising the debt ceiling, nor continuing to borrow and spend like Obama and to a lesser extent, Bush (and nobody has come close to these two), have done. Don't let potential adversaries have leverage that can be used to control our decisions.

2. Exporting energy. Why are we exporting our energy that we need . I know about comparative advantage economics, but I'm speaking from a security standpoint. Exporting excess energy that we don't need is fine, but exporting what we need is crazy, "World price" or not.

3. Radical Greens and Government restrictions. I consider myself a conservationist. I am not an environmentalist. However, when government is in the way to the extent that it keeps people out of work outside of the snake oil of government's buddies that gets sweetheart deals, we have a problem. I have little time to be worried about global warming and carbon dioxide (which we breath out) when our economy is in the crapper. Global warming may be real and may be bad. Energy shortages and their economic and security effects ARE real and ARE bad.  ANWR needs to be the decision of Alaskans, not the San Francisco Bay Area.

While rich so called progressives in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Seattle, and the university towns aren't affected by this and can afford setbacks, most of the rest of the country is affected, and can't afford the energy price increases and setbacks easily. 

Here's some unforced errors caused by our government. From Reuters

-----------------
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Call it the Keystone of coal: a regulatory and public relations battle between environmentalists and U.S. coal miners akin to the one that has defined the Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline.
Instead of blocking an import, however, this fight is over whether to allow a growing surplus of coal to be exported to Asia, a decision that would throw miners a lifeline by effectively offshoring carbon emissions and potentially give China access to cheaper coal.
Having long ago lost their bid to prevent the extraction of fossil fuels, environmental groups aim to close transport routes that bring those carbon fuels to market, pulling local and state politicians into the fight alongside regulators.
Mining interests won a battle last week when the Army Corps of Engineers called for a quick study of plans to open the first coal port on the west coast at Oregon's Port of Morrow on the Columbia River, a review that will weigh impacts of hauling coal, not burning it.
Coal port skeptics say the ruling is ripe for challenge in the courts and they foresee a drawn-out fight over the review.
"I'm afraid that by choosing to perform a less stringent analysis today, the Corps will ultimately create a longer delay," Oregon Senator Ron Wyden said in a statement. Wyden, who is due to lead the Energy and Natural Resources Committee if Democrats hold the Senate, has said he supports a full review of the project and is reserving judgment until it is completed.
Delay is something miners can ill afford.
Alpha Natural Resources Inc, one of the country's largest coal producers, said last week it is cutting 1,200 jobs, roughly 9 percent of its workforce, as increased use of natural gas for power generation dents demand.
While coal foes in the Pacific Northwest can stymie the projects, the federal government will have the final say.
If President Barack Obama wins a second term, the issue will likely test his determination to curb the use of fossil fuels blamed for climate change, especially since his policies are partly behind miners' yearnings for Asian markets.
Tough new Environmental Protection Agency limits on power plant emissions are often blamed, along with low natural gas prices, for the drop in domestic coal use, but burning the black rock in Asia will have the same impact on the atmosphere.
No matter who wins the election, the intensifying fight ahead over coal ports is raising Keystone-like questions about energy priorities in a time when traditional fuels are still abundant.

---------------

These regulations are hurting us here at home with the rising energy costs. That's why there's export pushes in the first place. However, China certainly understands leverage and doesn't have the same paranoia among its elites as the chattering classes here do with the cult of global warming.

------------
Analysts say Powder River Basin coal must cheaply reach Asia in the coming years to catch the strong demand in China, the world's No. 2 economy, and the rest of the region.
"The United States has no unique advantage in meeting the Asia coal hunger, and that demand will not exist forever," said Ailun Yang, a researcher with the World Resources Institute.

-------------------------

Of course not. They want to buy time before they get to their own resources. China likes having the leverage (like our debt), not getting leverage against them.

As much as I'd like to pin the blame of this all on Obama, I can't. It started with Nixon and the congress from 1970.
---------------

In a courtroom the fight could center on a reading of the National Environmental Policy Act from 1970, which requires federal agencies to study "all major federal actions that significantly affect the quality of the human environment."
Courts now expect climate-change consequences to be weighed under NEPA, so the question is how much Obama or his successor wants to consider the external costs associated with developing and burning coal, says Mark Squillace, who leads the natural resources law center at the University of Colorado.
------------------------

Laws are written too broadly and do not account for unintended consequences. Global Warming didn't become an issue at all until the 90's.  This law was back in the Nixon era. It did not consider the cult of global warming, but real pollution, but laws like that leave an opening.  

Government is in the way, again, of self-sufficiency. Government needs to stop costing jobs with regulations and get out of the way. 



Thursday, September 20, 2012

41 cent gas tax isn't good enough for Rick Snyder - Another reason to vote for Proposal 5 (2/3rd)

When are the 2014 primaries starting again? Rick Snyder needs a primary challenger. He's killing us and our party (and I don't think he's really a Republican to begin with, just a technocrat). I think he's hurting Romney as well. It's always been one step forward and two steps back with this guy. He vetoed the election reforms, and now he's on record - again - for yet another tax increase. Jennifer Granholm was the Matt Millen of Governors, and when it comes to taxes, Snyder is little to no different. Increase them. With Republicans like Snyder, we don't need democrats.

The chattering and government classes in Lansing have long been on a jihad to increase the gas tax and registration fees. That hasn't changed and it has flared up again. From Mlive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Votes cast at the West Michigan Policy Forum identified improved transportation infrastructure as the gathering’s second most important priority.
Gov. Rick Snyder touched on that topic and more during a Thursday question-and-answer session that concluded the two-day event.
He compared raising Michigan’s gas tax and vehicle registration fees to getting an oil change on a new car.
“If you don’t make that investment (in an oil change), how much money is it going to cost you to replace an engine?" Snyder said. "This isn't any different.
“Too often we look at the public sector as a cash-in-cash-out thing. Over a 30-year time period, I think we’re saving money (by raising the gas tax and vehicle registration fees). It’s actually a reduction of cost.


Hey Rick, how much of that current "oil change" is leaked out by the system's piss poor diversion. When over half of the "oil" doesn't go into the engine, it's a Fubarred system. 

This is nothing new with Snyder. He pushed this back in 2011. I've long opposed an increase on the gas tax when it is one of the highest in the country, and gets higher as prices increase. 

Gas Prices are around $4, more in Livingston County. I recently saw it at $4.10 in Brighton. At $4.10, 41 cents for each gallon goes to the State of Michigan. That's not including the federal gas tax which is 18 1/2 cents. 59 cents of every gallon is taxed by government. That increases transportation costs, as well as shipping costs for food and every other item out there that is transported by truck or ship.

If you want more money for infrastructure, get the sales tax off of gasoline. That's 22 cents a gallon that goes to the state and does not go towards transportation. In addition, have the transportation money to to roads and not some BS boondoggles like the WALLY train. The problem is tunnel vision by the government insider class in Lansing who believe the false premise that the gas tax - and only the gas tax - can go to transportation. It's bad thinking. It's incorrect. It needs to change. 

The bad news is that unless the 2/3 proposal passes, eventually this tax increase will pass, likely in a lame duck session. When I don't know, but there's too much of a sustained Lansing insider push from the government class. Click on the gas tax label on the blog and you'll see a ton of it, largely from termed out legislators, road lobbyists, and local governments. It's not just democrats either, but insider republicans (although definitely not a conservative) like Ken Sikkema who gave Granholm almost everything she wanted in her first term. Right now a lot of legislators are scared of this and rightly so, but this could kill us in a lame duck at some point, especially if the governor is also in lame duck. 

This is a big reason why the 2/3rd amendment has to pass. It would have stopped the Blanchard, Granholm, and Snyder taxes that have been passed. It can also stop the gas tax increases whether it is pushed by Granholm, Snyder, or whoever is there in the future. The legislature does not always check and balance the governor who is mistakenly viewed as the leader of the party. Vote yes on Proposal 5.



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Michigan's Ballot Proposals - 2012

One of the major things this election will be the ballot proposals. There's a large number of ballot proposals this election at the end of the ballot. That's important to remember. While I never pull the straight ticket lever and leave, many do. I'd like to see straight ticket voting banned, but that's another issue. It's important to go down the ballot and make a decision in each race and proposal (and that includes voting for blank if one wishes to do so - I've done that many times.)

If I was voting in September, I'd go as follows.

1. Leaning yes, may flip.
2. No chance in hell.
3. No chance in hell.
4. No chance in hell.
5. Hell Yes
6. Leaning no for constitutional amendment purposes, but may flip.

Proposal  1 - Referendum on Emergency Manager Law - Yes approves, No defeats it.

PROPOSAL 12-1
A REFERENDUM ON PUBLIC ACT 4 OF 2011 -
THE EMERGENCY MANAGER LAW
Public Act 4 of 2011 would:
·      Establish criteria to assess the financial condition of local government units, including school districts.
·      Authorize Governor to appoint an emergency manager (EM) upon state finding of a financial emergency, and allow the EM to act in place of local government officials.
·      Require EM to develop financial and operating plans, which may include modification or termination of contracts, reorganization of government, and determination of expenditures, services, and use of assets until the emergency is resolved.
·      Alternatively, authorize state-appointed review team to enter into a local government approved consent decree.  
Should this law be approved?
I'm leaning towards a very reluctant yes. The only reason being that a no reverts back to the old EM law instead of what should happen to bad fiscally run municipalities. Bankruptcy Court. What I don't like about the EM policies is that it is in essence a bailout. The old law is more of a bailout than the current one. In both situations, the EM cleans up the mess of the democrats who screwed it up, and the voters put those same democrats back into office. Elections have consequences and voters who make bad decisions need to pay for it. If places like Pontiac, Hamtramck, and Highland Park keep voting for bums, then my view is TS. The state shouldn't bail them out. Maybe they should quit voting for those democrats over and over. I may yet vote no on this, and push for state cut offs instead. I haven't decided, yet.

Proposal 2 - Government unions.

PROPOSAL 12-2
A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION
REGARDING COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
This proposal would:
·      Grant public and private employees the constitutional right to organize and bargain collectively through labor unions.
·      Invalidate existing or future state or local laws that limit the ability to join unions and bargain collectively, and to negotiate and enforce collective bargaining agreements, including employees' financial support of their labor unions.  Laws may be enacted to prohibit public employees from striking.
·      Override state laws that regulate hours and conditions of employment to the extent that those laws conflict with collective bargaining agreements.  
·      Define "employer" as a person or entity employing one or more employees.
Should this proposal be approved?

This is bad news. It also applies almost STRICTLY to government unions like the SEIU and MEA which are the biggest problems. It also affects some public safety unions who have in statute binding arbitration. That's a law that affects your police and firemen, as they can't strike. Words mean things. What's really bad is the second part - "Override state laws that regulate hours and conditions." That covers everything. Why does this not cover a large number of private unions? That's because most of them are already regulated under federal law and the NLRB. The UAW, Teamsters, etc are already under federal jurisdiction with a lot of their contracts.

Prop 3 - Energy restrictions

PROPOSAL 12-3
A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION
TO ESTABLISH A STANDARD FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY
This proposal would:
·      Require electric utilities to provide at least 25% of their annual retail sales of electricity from renewable energy sources, which are wind, solar, biomass, and hydropower, by 2025.  
·      Limit to not more than 1% per year electric utility rate increases charged to consumers only to achieve compliance with the renewable energy standard.
·      Allow annual extensions of the deadline to meet the 25% standard in order to prevent rate increases over the 1% limit.  
·      Require the legislature to enact additional laws to encourage the use of Michigan made equipment and employment of Michigan residents.
Should this proposal be approved?

Hell No. We haven't even got to the 10% yet which was a previous goal. Green jobs are the fools gold of the 21st century, much as the service jobs revolution was in the 90's. This won't create jobs, but will cost jobs and raise costs of everything. Literally. The only green jobs are moneypits propped up by government subsidies. Those leaders of those companies also write big checks to politicians like Obama who give us Solyndra.

Prop 4 - SEIU in home care.

PROPOSAL 12-4
A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION
TO ESTABLISH THE MICHIGAN QUALITY HOME CARE COUNCIL
AND PROVIDE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
FOR IN-HOME CARE WORKERS
This proposal would:
·      Allow in-home care workers to bargain collectively with the Michigan Quality Home Care Council (MQHCC).  Continue the current exclusive representative of in-home care workers until modified in accordance with labor laws.
·      Require MQHCC to provide training for in-home care workers, create a registry of workers who pass background checks, and provide financial services to patients to manage the cost of in-home care.
·      Preserve patients' rights to hire in-home care workers who are not referred from the MQHCC registry who are bargaining unit members.
·      Authorize the MQHCC to set minimum compensation standards and terms and conditions of employment.
 
Should this proposal be approved?

Hell no, again. I have a real problem with union dues taken from essentially independent contractors to be given to the SEIU's political buddies. If someone is getting in home care from especially familiy members, the state money should go to supporting the patient, not some SEIU goons who haven't done a damn thing to help.

Prop 5 - 2/3 for tax increases.

PROPOSAL 12-5
A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION
TO LIMIT THE ENACTMENT OF NEW TAXES BY STATE GOVERNMENT
This proposal would:
Require a 2/3 majority vote of the State House and the State Senate, or a statewide vote of the people at a November election, in order for the State of Michigan to impose new or additional taxes on taxpayers or expand the base of taxation or increasing the rate of taxation.
This section shall in no way be construed to limit or modify tax limitations otherwise created in this Constitution.
Should this proposal be approved?

Hell yes. This stops the Blanchard taxes, Granholm taxes, and even the Snyder pension taxes from happening again. This proposal dynamic also show the difference between many on the establishment and the base. A lot of people who are elected officials and tied to elected officials quietly oppose this, largely due to their support of the Snyder pension tax. Others don't like losing the power. Some have mixed views and wanted this for Granholm, but not the currently administration.

As far as I'm concerned, bad is bad. A is A, as the late Mark Scott would say. We did not and do not have a revenue problem. The most important thing right now isn't stopping the increase in spending, but actually reducing spending. Until spending is reduced to a manageable level, I don't want to hear any revenue arguments. The MBT needed to go, but a replacement wasn't needed.


Prop 6 - The Bridge.

PROPOSAL 12-6
A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION
REGARDING CONSTRUCTION OF
INTERNATIONAL BRIDGES AND TUNNELS
This proposal would:
·      Require the approval of a majority of voters at a statewide election and in each municipality where "new international bridges or tunnels for motor vehicles" are to be located before the State of Michigan may expend state funds or resources for acquiring land, designing, soliciting bids for, constructing, financing, or promoting new international bridges or tunnels.  
·      Create a definition of "new international bridges or tunnels for motor vehicles" that means, "any bridge or tunnel which is not open to the public and serving traffic as of January 1, 2012."  
Should this proposal be approved?

I really wish this wasn't a constitutional amendment. I signed the petition to get it on the ballot because of turnout reasons. I don't support a tax money supported bridge. I also don't like items such as this to be on the constitution. That's what makes this tough.

At the very end of the ballot are the local proposals. Green Oak has a road millage on the ballot. The City of Brighton has a bond infrastructure proposal. Howell Township is trying yet again with the sewers. Brighton Schools has a millage renewal. Fenton and Byron schools also have tax measures.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

MI-11 Special election - Bentivolio wins a close race

Based on what I see - I THINK Bentivolio is going to win the special election primary.

As of 8:56 Bentivolio is up in Oakland:

Kerry Bentivolio (REP)
51.04%1,327
Nancy Cassis (REP)
38.15%992
Kenneth Crider (REP)
2.46%64
Carolyn Kavanagh (REP)
5.15%134
Steve King (REP)
2.85%74
WRITE-IN (REP)
0.35%9
2,600
How that's just the Oakland part and I've seen NOTHING at this point from Wayne County. That's 14 precincts reported, and 38 precincts partially reported in Oakland.

Looking at the geography, I have no doubt that Bentilvolio is winning Oakland. Cassis split in Novi and is doing well in the areas of Lyon Township and Commerce Township near Novi. Bentivolio is cleaning up Northern Oakland in a sweep. Most of what is to be reported here is in North Oakland.

I'm blind with Wayne County right now and that's the majority of the district. That's why I can't call it for Bentivolio with any confidence. Kavanagh is from Livonia. Novi borders Northville in Wayne County.

Turnout is about what I expect. Jack and squat. Jack left town. If McCotter's people didn't FUBAR the situation, this special wouldn't have needed to occur.

Update at 9:06



PercentVotes
Kerry Bentivolio (REP)
47.58%1,944
Nancy Cassis (REP)
41.43%1,693
Kenneth Crider (REP)
2.30%94
Carolyn Kavanagh (REP)
5.36%219
Steve King (REP)
2.94%120
WRITE-IN (REP)
0.39%16
4,086
Change no doubt to a small doubt.

Update 9:29 - Now it's real interesting.
 56 of 85 Precincts Reporting
PercentVotes
Kerry Bentivolio (REP)
44.76%2,849
Nancy Cassis (REP)
43.14%2,746
Kenneth Crider (REP)
2.56%163
Carolyn Kavanagh (REP)
6.06%386
Steve King (REP)
3.16%201
WRITE-IN (REP)
0.31%20
6,365


Novi is all in though. Commerce (some good Cassis and good Bentivolio areas) still has a lot to report. So does Highland (Bentivolio advantage) and White Lake (probably Bentivolio). I still haven't seen anything in Wayne County.

Update 9:35 - Finally something from Wayne County

Bentivolio is up about  600 votes in early returns in Wayne County. 

Looks good overall for Bentivolio,

Update 9:56 - Everything in Oakland is done outside of three precincts in White Lake.

REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS 11TH DISTRICT (Vote For 1)
82 of 85 Precincts Reporting
PercentVotes
Kerry Bentivolio (REP)
43.76%3,573
Nancy Cassis (REP)
43.66%3,565
Kenneth Crider (REP)
2.76%225
Carolyn Kavanagh (REP)
6.32%516
Steve King (REP)
3.25%265
WRITE-IN (REP)
0.26%21
8,165
This is going to be decided in Wayne County, and I just got some egg on my face from getting cocky after watching 14 precincts in, and underestimating Commerce Township. Nothing new in Wayne County, so it's about a 600 vote lead overall for Bentivolio.

Update 10:12 - Oakland is all reported.

85 of 85 Precincts Reporting
PercentVotes
Kerry Bentivolio (REP)
43.79%3,659
Nancy Cassis (REP)
43.49%3,634
Kenneth Crider (REP)
2.81%235
Carolyn Kavanagh (REP)
6.38%533
Steve King (REP)
3.26%272
WRITE-IN (REP)
0.26%22
8,355
REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS 11TH DISTRICT (Vote For 1)
85 of 85 Precincts Reporting
PercentVotes
David A. Curson (DEM)
99.37%2,693
WRITE-IN (DEM)
0.63%17
2,710

Turnout was almost nothing.  6.93% Bentivolio was up about 600 in Wayne County last I checked. Wayne County is going to decide this one.

Update 10:29 - This one is PROBABLY over
85% in for Wayne County
Bentivolio - 5359
Cassis - 4131

The rest are back in the pack. Kavanagh, King, Crider, in that order. Curson has 7175 votes in Wayne County on the dem side. 

It's probably safe to call the primary for Bentivolio. With this low of turnout, I don't see Cassis making up 1200 votes with Oakland being nearly tied.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Why so many of us distrust so called "moderates" - RINO Trey Grayson is at it this time

Trey Grayson lost to Rand Paul in Kentucky. It turns out he lost for a damn good reason. He's untrustworthy.

From the Washington Post

Giffords, who survived a January 2011 assassination attempt that left her with years of rehabilitation ahead, resigned her seat earlier this year but left open the possibility of a return to politics. With the new PAC, dubbed “Gabby PAC,” she allows herself to continue to be a part of the process.
The formation of the PAC was first reported last week by Politico, but we now have details about who specifically will be involved and whom the PAC will support.
Giffords, a Blue Dog Democrat, is set to announce in a news release that the PAC will be co-chaired by a Democrat and a Republican: former Bill Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich and former Kentucky secretary of state and 2010 Senate candidate Trey Grayson (R).
However, the PAC will only support Democrats.


No wonder Grayson lost. He's a RINO. My definiton of RINO is also specific. It's not a liberal republican or even a (sniff nose in the air) moderate. It's not a John McCain. A RINO backs democrats. Grayson is raising money for democrats. This PAC isn't bipartisan. It only backs democrats. That's all that needs to be said.


In an interview with The Fix, Grayson assured that he remains a Republican and has both Mitt Romney and Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) bumper stickers on his car. But he is very good friends with Giffords.

“I still consider myself a very proud Republican. I run a bipartisan institution that encourages activity in both parties,” Grayson said. He added: “I’d love to run again some day. If I do it, I’m obviously going to do it as a Republican. It would be nice if there were some Democrats from Gabby PAC that I could work with.”
Grayson also quipped: “I’m not the player to be named later in the Artur Davis trade.”
(Davis, a former Democratic congressman who switched parties and spoke at the GOP convention last week, was recently a fellow at Grayson’s institute.)
 
You got to be shitting me. Trey, you are raising money for a PAC that only supports democrats. The only possible excuse that is acceptable is if you are a professional fundraising independent contractor doing a favor. You're job is up at Harvard, so that's not the case. I have friends and family members who are democrats. That doesn't mean I'm going to go out and raise money for other democrats.

The question if Grayson runs again is this. Why the hell would I vote for someone I can't trust? This guy sounds like an opportunist, no different than a Roy Schmidt.  How do I know he's not going to turn into a Arlen Specter, Joe Schwarz, Lincoln Chafee, or Charlie Christ?


Sunday, September 02, 2012

Tim, you forget the most important part

Tim Skubick has a new column out. I don't fully disagree with all of it when it comes to term limits, but the reasoning for repealing it makes it harder for me to support repealing it.  I don't have the shared opinion of his when it comes to "experts"

From Mlive


If you are a schlub about repairing your car, you logically would go to your favorite mechanic for help. Finding an expert is the only sensible thing to do.

So when it comes to governmental issues, why do common folks willfully ignore and even berate the "experts" when it comes to knotty issues that frankly the common folks don't understand?
Not only do they ignore the advice of those on the inside, it gets even worse. When those experts declare this or that, the public says, "Well if they are for it, there must be something wrong with it and therefore, I'm against it."

The bigger question is WHY the common people don't trust the supposed experts on government. There's a reason for it.  Politicians aren't trusted. Too many of them don't do a good job. If I have a bad mechanic, I do elsewhere.

Clint Eastwood's speech at the RNC convention wasn't that good IMO, but he had the best line of the night. "Politicians are our employees." They are not our leaders. They are not our statesmen. They are our employees. We are the shareholders of this company, called the State of Michigan.  We choose a board of directors as well as some of the officers of this company. If they do not obtain the right results, they can be fired, just as our bosses can fire us. 

Just maybe these so called "experts" aren't the experts they and their echo chamber think they are. Here's my message to the "experts." You give me your case and your reasons, and I'll make up my own mind. That's what my clients do when they inquire about my services. They make up their own mind. 

Two exhibits sit out there today.

A battle over how to raise taxes may be in the offing. The Michigan Alliance for Prosperity, incorrectly identified here last week as the Americans for Prosperity, is suggesting that all future tax hikes be passed with a two-thirds, rather than a simple majority vote.
All of official Lansing has come unglued with the prospects of this passing, but the louder the opponents cry out, the bigger the smiles get from the Alliance. It knows this is going to pass if it gets on the ballot.

I signed the 2/3rds petition. If it is on the ballot, I will vote for it. Easily. Government too often screws up and asks the taxpayers to bail them out instead of making the tough choices needed. I opposed the pension taxes awhile back. I still have the same complaint. Too many of these budget fights are over 9 Billion of the 45 Billion or so that is part of the actual budget. 36 Billion supposedly can't be touched.  That's unacceptable.

This 2/3 petition would have stopped the pension tax. Joe Hune was right. We didn't need it. It hurt us. Badly.  

Exhibit B is term limits.

Ever since the voters said yes to that in 1992, official Lansing has groaned a collective ""ugh." You've heard all the arguments against term limits, so no need to regurgitate them here, but regardless, the polls suggest the general public still loves the law as much as the insiders detest it.
Now to the latest wrinkle in trying to change it.
.........
 Former GOP House Speaker Rick Johnson in 2004 came "this" close to launching such a move. He had a GOP lawmaker, former Rep. Larry Julian (R-Owosso) and former Detroit Democrat Rep. Ken Daniels, more than interested, but Johnson reports, they concluded "they did not want the hassle."
Yet Johnson, now a multi-client lobbyist, says he's talked to lots of "friends" and they agree, the courts are the only path to repeal.
Mr. Johnson says you would need three or four former lawmakers from each party and from all corners of the state to make it work. He also thinks you need conservatives, liberals, and independents to give it more voter appeal. And he thinks he can find the recruits among former lawmakers and perhaps some current folks who are on their way out the door in December.

Frankly, Rick Johnson is not the posterboy I'd like to see doing this. I don't think he did all that good of a job and gave Granholm almost everything she wanted during his term as speaker. I agree on repealing term limits, but not so someone like Johnson gets another term. I agree with repealing them so there aren't lame ducks for two years. Term limits did have their good points. Joe Schwarz is gone. Harry Gast is gone. Laura Baird is gone as a state rep. They open up seats for good people like Tom Leonard (although Opsommer's a good guy who was termed out), and Joe Hune.  Unfortunately, some good folks were or will be termed out as well. Leon Drolet, Paul Opsommer, Bruce Caswell, Joe Hune, and Cindy Denby are reasons to oppose term limits. One of the biggest reasons why the GOP took over in the 90's was due to term limits. It's also a reason we lost a lot of spots in 2006/2008.

I also fully realize that term limits aren't going away unless you have a superstar governor and legislature with the popularity of a George Washington. That's not likely going to happen. The best way to get them changed however is to the best job you can do, and have the voters mad that you're gone. Don't start feeling entitled, and getting a big head.

Pick your battles - is it worth it?

There's a lot of inside baseball dust ups and gamesmanship going on right now with RNC convention away from the speeches. There's plenty of blame that could be spread around, and a lot of it could be avoided with common sense.

I preface this by saying the following. I voted for Ron Paul in 2008 and Rick Santorum in 2012 during the primaries. I held my nose and voted for McCain in 08 and will be holding my nose and voting for Romney this year to get rid of Obama, Eric Holder, and the rest of his cabinet. I don't consider myself a "Paulite" and don't follow his supporters 100%  I don't consider myself one that always sides with - or against - "leadership." I call things as I see them. I don't like coronations on any side. Pushing a coronation on me is a good way to get my opposition. That was one of the reasons I did not support Romney - or Paul - in this year's primary. Coronation tactics and takeover tactics. Make your case and I'll make my own decision. That's why we have primaries.

Many conservatives, and almost all the Ron Paul supporters went apeshit at this vote at the RNC convention. Now I support the first part of the rule 16 (primary binding), but not the second part with disavowing if the candidate and state party does not support them. I would support the disavowing for the presidential vote at the convention, but not the other votes with the other committees.

I have three problems with the rule.

1. HOW it was enacted. That's shown at the video posted at Right Michigan Bus games, and an Obama style script from a teleprompter wasn't needed.

2. Would the disavowing delegate occur for the presidential vote only, or for the rules committees and other stuff as well?

3. It wasn't needed. Mitt already won and had the votes. This was probably about avoiding future floor fights from the camera. Now I don't like airing stuff in front of cameras or even in public meetings. If I have a problem with a leadership decision, I'll usually give my gripes in private behind the scenes. It's more effective that way. On the same note, in the era of youtube, that's impossible to do no matter what if something is taped.

But in reality, this doesn't do that much, except potentially protecting themselves from laziness. It wasn't needed and Mitt had the votes. This is a much different era of primaries in 2012 than it was in 1976 with the rise of the internet, cable news, talk radio, and everything else. People harken back to the brokered convention in 76. That was 36 years ago. I wasn't born yet. I've seen a lot of changes in primary elections just in the years I've followed politics.

If you want a "tea party" or "liberty candidate" as the video says - to win, you plan this long before the convention.

This wasn't nearly as bad as the extra delegate which cost Saul Anuzis his position as RNC committeeman. That wasn't needed either and in the end didn't make a difference, but could have potentially been a much bigger problem. I like Saul and he's a good guy who's done a lot for grassroots that is overlooked, but that was a bad decision. We all make them at some point.

What both of those things where -  was equivalent to Terrell Owens celebrating on the Dallas Star at Cowboy's stadium in an infamous football game. 


This was stupid. It wasn't needed. It didn't do much of anything except rub it in the faces of people the leadership do not like. It's bad tactics, just like hostile takeover attempts from the other side are also bad tactics. It's short term thinking that is a long run failure.

I'm repeating myself with this one phrase. "It wasn't needed." Certain people in leadership didn't need to pick the battle. No good was going to come from it. There's other battles that didn't need to be picked. That's not limited to one side either. Some of the Ron Paul folks wanted to try and get a floor fight to replace Romney as the nominee. They lost it after they lost the primaries with their candidate finishing way back in the pack. Shit happens. My candidate lost too. Take your lumps like we did. On to the general election and it's time to improve through downticket races and gaining support of voters so more parts of our platforms become enacted - long term.

Now some (not all) of the Paul supporters want Obama to win out of spite through 3rd party votes in the hopes that future candidates would beg them for support. That won't get support and will cost immensely. That would get the entire Paul movement smashed forever and destroyed by any means necessary - and most conservatives would join in the smashing because as much of a problem Romney is, Obama is that much worse. It won't be "We can control the election, you need us" like some of them want. It will be "F-you. Obama won or almost won. You helped him. Time for your movement to die." If you become viewed as poison, everything you touch - including your issues - also turns to poison because will be tied "with those people."

The most important thing in politics is relationships. While it is inevitable that bridges sometimes get burned, it's important to avoid it when it is avoidable. I've had good relationships with people in the party despite at times being in heated disagreements. We both understood the reasons for our actions, and while there was even some hard feelings at the time, it wasn't personal. They weren't my enemy, and at the end of the day they didn't help THE enemy. Helping the enemy however, is a whole other matter. That's as cardinal of a sin as backstabbing. I will never ever forget the bastards and pieces of trash who were "conservatives" or "republicans" for Obama in 08. They helped give us Obamacare, the stimulus, Eric Holder, bad SCOTUS picks, tax increases, record debt, record deficits, and a vastly increase government. The establishment can't smash those who support different primary candidates, especially those who are willing to work within the party. Those that lose - whether it be the "moderates" (by far the worst offenders), libertarians, Paul supporters, conservatives, or anyone else need to suck it up and not campaign and use threats to spite the winner.


The reality however is this. None of the gamesmanship was needed, nor effective in their goals. In reality, it didn't do much, if anything. It did not effect the outcome. If you want to elect a presidential candidate in the primary, convention is only one small portion of it. You have to win enough delegates in the primaries and caucuses in enough states. RNC rule changes only affect a small portion of this, usually with scheduling of primaries. Most of the power is done through the state level through state committee and also with the state legislature/governor.  Even a lot of the scheduling is done there. 

The way to stop the bad stuff is to make sure we have good committeemen and good state chair and state committee members, and make sure other states do the same thing. That's how bad rules get stopped.  It starts locally, but electing good precinct delegates, executive committee members, county officers, district committee and officers, and state committee members, along with RNC committee members is how it is done. It's long term, and takes a lot of organization, recruitment of good candidates for those positions, and reaching out to swing voters that make decisions. 

Also, there's statutory members automatically on those exec committees. They are your county elected officials (or nominees). Those are important people and will always some of the power regarding county officers. That county commissioner race is important. 

I've been at this 11 years. Some have been around longer. Many have not. Most don't know how to organize. Most who do know how to organize don't know how to convince the swing voters and alienate them (happens with all cliques) with takeover attempts and power grabs (or what seem like them), and airing stuff to the media that should be handled in house. There's battles to fight. There's battles not worth fighting. All or nothing is a failure. Picking the battles at the right time after paying one's dues with the party, is the correct way to handle things. 

In other words, all sides need to think long term, swallow their pride, don't celebrate like TO did, pick the right battles, and stay cool.