Friday, September 27, 2013

Balance the damn budget and cut the spending

When it comes to budget leadership in DC, I've haven't seen Jackshit since then Congressman Mike Pence and the Republican Study Committee fought Bush in 2006 over the deficit. That goes for most in both parties.

Once again the debt ceiling argument is back, along with the continuing resolutions and no budget. Here we go again.

From Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Congress, struggling to avert a government shutdown next week, was warned by the Obama administration on Wednesday that the Treasury was quickly running out of funds to pay government bills and could soon face a damaging debt default.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew pleaded with Congress to raise the $16.7 trillion debt limit and said the government would not be able to borrow funds past October 17.
After that date, only $30 billion would be left in the Treasury's checking account, putting the country on course to miss crucial debt payments, Lew said.
Amid Treasury's dire default warning, lawmakers grappled with another potential crisis: federal agency shutdowns that could begin with the new fiscal year next Tuesday unless Congress comes up with emergency funds.

Every few months it's the same old song and dance. 16.7 Trillion.

Bush Start 5,807,463,412,200.06
Bush Finish 11,909,829,003,511.70

Eight years, 6.1 Trillion. 3.4 of that in the last term when the dems took congress.   That's extremely unacceptable, and the 2006 Republicans blundered in the extreme for not listening to Mike Pence and the RSC. For some of the more radical wings of the tea party that want "split control" due to caving republicans like the worthless Lindsay Graham, this is what that sometimes gets you - RECORD spending. Split control from 06-08 was a disaster.

Obama Start -  11,909,829,003,511.70
Current - 16.7 Trillion 

And we still got over 2 years left with the Peter Principle in Chief. Obama and Congress both deserve the blame. This keeps going up and up and up because you have House leadership wanting to "balance" the budget over 30 years (not good enough) with a halfway job and Obama and the Senate (Both dems and the beyond worthless McCain/Graham) calling a cut in the growth of increased spending a "cut" when it really is a spending increase. The goalposts are shifted way too far with those proposals and "negotiations". Paul Ryan is no Mike Pence. John Boehner is at the point where I can't even comment except to say that he's making our jobs here much more difficult. This is unacceptable. It's killing us. We get tainted by DC even though Livingston County does such a good job with budget issues that they aren't even in our league. Budgets are always balanced and taxes aren't increased here.

It's not too much to ask for DC to balance the budget without raising taxes. It can be done. It just takes something that isn't there in DC. Guts and a plan.

The price for increasing the debt ceiling needs to be this (at a start) with a take it or leave it.:

1. Zero based budgeting of all departments. All of them.
2. Anything not needed needs to go. That includes the BATF.
3. Repeal Obamacare
4. Repeal the TSA

That's a start and by no means a finish.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Mackinac Conference report 2013

It was a good trip up north. Almost went one on one with a still-velvet covered 6 pointer yesterday.....with my Ford. Luckily it had good brakes and I was paying attention.

It was an interesting convention at Mackinac. I think two things were missing however that need to be addressed as it comes to campaigns.

1. Candidates - Be Yourself.  Consultants should enhance candidates, not handcuff them.

Much to the chagrin to the left, probably the most popular pol in Livingston County based on election results is Joe Hune. What's Joe's number one strength? Authenticity. Whether people like him or not, everyone knows where he stands.One of the things that kills candidates, especially national candidates is the handcuffing by national consultants. They are so afraid of offending someone that they offend everybody by trying to be all things to all people with bad platitudes that anyone can see through. Candidates need to be who they are. At the same time, some of the more raw candidates need to take a page out of Mike Pence's book and remember that being a true conservative doesn't mean being in an angry mood. 

2. Don't forget fundamentals.

There's a heavy push towards technology by state party. I think it IS important. I don't think it is a cure all. Technology should be embraced for what it is - a tool to help succeed. When it comes to campaign tactics, don't forget the fundamentals. Knock on doors. Get out the vote. Get/Stay in touch with your community. If I am a candidate, I can't run my campaign from my computer. I run my campaign from my Ford. If the technology is tested (currently in works), perfected, and in the hands of people who know what they are doing, then it can be a great asset to accompany the campaign in the fundamentals required to win.

Full disclosure. I'm not a tea party guy. I'm not an anti tea party guy. Sometimes I agree with various tea party individuals and sometimes I am in opposition. I want to make that clear.

The straw poll was out and there was two races there listed. Lt Gov and President 2016. It is way early at this point and I haven't made up my mind. In that straw poll I voted for Mike Pence and Wes Nakagiri. I voted for Wes because of the gamesmanship from the "friends of the program." If you've seen the James Caan college football movie "The Program" you would understand the reference. It's where shady activities are involved by those close to but not directly related to the program. Some shady tactics were going on right before Mackinac related to "anti-Wes" activity and I wasn't happy about it. I know Wes being from the same county as he is. Those fake emails weren't his work. I don't know Brian Calley personally, although I've met him and he seems like a nice guy and I've heard that from others. 

My vote for LG, like any other office will be determined by who helps the ticket the best. To me, that means the hardest worker for the campaign will get my vote. LG is about three things. 1. Getting the gubernatorial nominee elected. 2. Tie-breaking vote in the senate. 3. Ability to be governor if sometime happens to the governor (not applicable since the disaster Bill Milliken took over for George Romney after he took a cabinet post).

I don't want to see BS gamesmanship here. I don't care which side it comes from. I want to see candidates campaign and make their case. No more Romney primary tricks, nor Paul Scott 2010 Sec of State tricks.

For President, I'm not concentrating much on that right now, but it was interesting with the results. Mackinac is not a heavy tea party crowd. Still, Rand Paul won the straw poll, and it wasn't close. I saw Rand Paul speak and he did a good job. He had the right mix of ideology and pragmatism in his speech. He said how things were as much as how things could be. What is interesting it that this may show a shift back towards more Goldwater/Reagan style conservatism instead of Bush style neo-conservatism. I'm not a complete isolationist, but we've gone too far into the other direction as a party post 9/11. I don't see how the TSA made us safe. I'm not convinced that some of the new leadership in some Middle Eastern Countries is any better (in some cases worse) that the old leadership when it comes to the US. At home, I don't see how giving up freedoms or politically correct security measures makes the US safer at all. In fact, I'm more concerned about out of control government bureaucrats than I am about the next Bin Laden. I'm more apt to run into the next Mike Nifong or Angela Corey than I am a foreign terrorist. That's not to say that terrorism isn't an issue and a problem. Giving up our freedoms isn't the answer.

I haven't made my decision for 2016, but I'll give Bobby Jindal, Rand Paul, John Thune, and Scott Walker all a fair shake. They were at Mackinac, and I'd put all of them head and shoulders ahead of the 2008 and 2012 fields.

US Senate candidate and former Sec of State, Terri Lynn Land was there. There's been some gamesmanship going on there along with whisper campaigns about her campaign ability. I'll say this. I remember the 2002 Secretary of State campaign. Land outworked the other candidates. I saw her at events all the time. After she won in 2002, she still showed up at events, and does so today. Hard work earns my respect. She won twice. She's doing something right. If another candidate thinks they can do better, make your case. If not, then go out and concentrate your fire against Peters the yesman.

One of the issues brought up at a panel was no longer making state bar dues mandatory. This is largely in response to the state bar making noise about judicial campaigns. I have mixed views about this. I do think the state bar has no place in politics on any level. Period. It does not need to follow the paths of unions which are now all about politics and nothing about contracts. On the same note, what will replace a state bar when it comes to discipline measures and bar admissions for attorneys? Bad attorneys can really have bad consequences for people whether it be criminal matters, civil matters, or property matters. I'll have to see any actual proposal to comment, but there does have to be checks and balances.

It'll be interesting to see what happens.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Groundhog Day

The Michigan Republican Mackinac Conference is coming this weekend. It's the unofficial campaign start and people want to make a splash there. It's similar to a convention in some ways but there isn't any major votes unlike actual conventions. One thing that does happen is momentum pushes and jockeying for perceived frontrunner status.

I haven't made up my mind for Lt Gov. I don't plan on making a decision until I see more during campaign season. I did get two emails supposedly from "friends of Wes." I was born at night but not last night. Those emails obviously wern't from Wes Nakagiri's campaign (but the 2nd email they wanted to look like it came from that campaign). They didn't even have the right address. I don't think it came from Calley either. It was from what I call a "friend of the program." If anyone has seen the movie "The Program" they get the reference. I have my suspicions from where this came, but I can't prove it.

 One of the dirtiest conventions I've ever seen came in the 2010 Secretary of State campaigns. Those two (one in particular) emails reminded me of that. That's why I titled this Groundhog Day.  Irony is that the two candidates I thought ran clean campaigns (Cameron Brown and Ruth Johnson) went on to the runoff eventually won by Ruth Johnson. This stuff doesn't help and these friends of the program don't help matters and need to be kept in check. The gamesmanship isn't impressive. I prefer the Joe Hune, Cindy Denby, and Don Parker style of campaigning of hard work, smart tactical campaigning, and being yourself. It works.

My vote will go to who helps the ticket the best to defeat the actual enemy. Don't play games. Don't tell me the other person sucks, especially in a primary/convention. Make your case,  work hard, and I'll make my decision.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Anti-Freedom Colorado Senate President John Morse FIRED in recall election

The Colorado senate president John Morse has been fired due to being recalled. He was a leader in implementing California style gun grabs in Colorado. The price was his job and a message sent to other politicians.  Security, escort this clown out of the building.

From Denver Post

COLORADO SPRINGS — Colorado Senate President John Morse thanked and urged fellow lawmakers to continue fighting Tuesday as voters ousted him from office for his support for stricter Colorado gun laws.
"It has been an honor to represent the 11th Senate District," said Morse, who is the first Colorado lawmaker to be recalled and thrown out of office. "It's been hugely rewarding."
With about 86 percent of returns counted in the historic recall election of Democratic Senate President John Morse show 52 percent have voted "yes" and 48 percent "no."
Morse called the legislative session where he and Democratic colleagues passed stricter new gun laws a successful one.
"We as the Democratic party will continue to fight," Morse said.

Lesson for politicians. Take away our 2nd Amendment rights and we'll take your job away. This was a 58-59% Obama district that included Colorado College, so this wasn't exactly Livingston County here.

Updated - If the Morse firing isn't enough of a message, Angela Giron's firing is a bigger one. Giron represented a democrat district out of Pueblo. Pueblo is a union stronghold with a sizable Latin American population. This recall wasn't as expected.

Also from Denver Post:

PUEBLO — State Sen. Angela Giron has been recalled and retired Pueblo deputy police chief George Rivera voted in as her replacement.
With 100 percent of the votes counted, about 56 percent called for Giron to be unseated. About 44 percent voted for her retention, according to final results reported by the Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder.
A stunned Giron conceded just after 10:30 p.m. Tuesday.
"We couldn't have done any more," she told the crowd gathered at Pueblo Union Depot that had shrunk to about 50 from about 200 at the height of what began as a victory party.
"I'm a little perplexed. This is what I know: I know that I have not one iota of regret from what I voted on,"

And there's no regret from voters firing you and giving your buddy Michael Bloomberg the one finger salute.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Peter King Running for President

This guy isn't my first choice, but he's the first to announce. We need to make sure we have a good candidate in 2016. There's a lot of maybes out there for 2016, but I'll give Peter King credit for not playing games and just saying that he's in.

From the Hill

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) is running for president.
In a radio interview this week, the Republican lawmaker told a New Hampshire station that he was in the state “because right now I’m running for president,” according to The New York Daily News.

The visit was King’s second of four trips to the traditional home of the nation’s first presidential primary.  The announcement makes King the first Republican to officially declare their intentions to run for president in 2016.

King and I differ on a few issues. He's a lot more neoconservative than I am. He's also no friend of the 2nd Amendment. I wouldn't call him a RINO. He's a Northeastern Republican who represents part of Long Island and that has to be taken into account with his views. It is what it is up there, and I'm not going to balk at people representing their districts. I'd rather have Peter King there than the next Carolyn McCarthy.
I haven't decided yet for 2016. We need to get past 2014 first. 2016 is to early to tell who is a possible frontrunner. Back in 05, George Allen was speaking to an event. Many of us thought he was "the next in line" for 2008. He lost re-election in the 2006 wave. That ended that.
There's a lot of talk about Obamacare and defunding it and everything else. If you really want to slay the dragon, solve the actual problem and slay the dragon. The problem is the Senate and Presidency. Take them out. At least someone's stepping up to the plate even if I'll probably be voting for a different candidate in the primary. 

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Primaries, Tea parties, establishments, Obamacare, and the Icaucus poll

There's a lot of talk right now about primaries and potential primaries.

My view is that primaries (which should be closed) aren't a bad thing if done right. It demonstrates that candidate x is the choice of Republicans (or Democrats in their primary) to be their nominee in the November election. It gives people a choice. The establishment is not entitled to the nomination solely due to incumbency. The tea party does not necessary deserve the seat either because they are "the true conservative". That's why we have primaries. Candidates - on all sides - need to earn nomination. 

Former State Rep Leon Drolet is expecting to challenge incumbent State Senator Torry Rocca in the 10th District (SD-10)

Anti-tax activist Leon Drolet sounds ready to take on Republican Sen. Tory Rocca of Sterling Heights, who is part of the Lansing Gang of Eight. Rocca’s surprising pro-Medicaid vote came on the heels of a vote against right-to-work legislation last December.
As only Drolet can do, the former state representative tried to fireproof himself while throwing gasoline on the blaze.
He told the Lansing-based Gongwer news service that, if he challenges Rocca, Macomb County Republicans will have a choice to make: “Would they rather be represented by a principled gay conservative or by a big government RINO who, frankly, screws them more than anybody else. If the focus of that primary becomes who’s screwing who, one thing has become exceptionally clear: Tory Rocca screws Republican primary voters.”

That's a tough labor friendly district, although with Roseville out, a much easier district to hold. 

In other primary news that surprised few people, David Trott is challenging incumbent Kerry Bentivolio. Bentivolio From Crain's

David Trott, chairman and CEO of Farmington Hills-based Trott & Trott PC who also owns Attorneys Title Agency LLC and co-owns Dietz Trott Sports & Entertainment, announced today he is a candidate to replace U.S. Rep. Kerry Bentivolio in Michigan's 11th congressional district.
Trott, a Republican, will likely appear on the Aug. 5, 2014, Republican primary ballot as a candidate against Bentivolio, who lost a partial term election last November to Democrat David Curson, but won a separate election to a full two-year term in the seat for southwestern Oakland County and northwestern Wayne County.
Bentivolio is expected to seek a second term in November 2014, but Bentivolio communications director Matt Chisholm could not be immediately reached for comment.
Campaign co-chairs for Trott will be former state Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, Wayne County Commissioner Laura Cox, Former Congressional candidate Rocky Raczkowski, and Ronna Romney McDaniel.

Bentivolio won due to McCotter not making the ballot. However, Bentivolio is stronger now as an incumbent. I don't think this is going to be a shoo-in for Trott or anybody. I know Trott is well known among Oakland County's party leadership, but he's not that well known with voters, at least yet. I also expect a heavy tea party vs establishment battle there.

As far as gubernatorial primaries go, here's the latest from Icaucus Michigan

Survey Reveals Snyder and Calley Vulnerable to August 2014 Ouster
CEDAR SPRINGS – A statewide survey conducted in Michigan last week shows Governor Rick Snyder to be “clearly vulnerable” and Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley to be “likely vulnerable” to being removed from the 2014 Michigan Republican ticket instead of re-nomination for a second term, according to Kevin Heine, Chief Strategist for iCaucus Michigan.  This survey was paid for by iCaucus (a private, non-profit corporation headquartered in Cheyenne, Wyoming), and is not associated with any sitting elected official, any known or potential candidate for the 2014 election cycle, or any political party.
The survey sample consisted of 744 republican convention delegates and alternates, and was drawn from the master delegation lists for the last three Michigan Republican Party state conventions (May 2012, September 2012, and February 2013).  This is the same delegation pool that elected Dave Agema as National Committeeman by a 7-to-3 margin, but also reelected Bobby Schostak as State Chairman (though by the much smaller margin of 3.86%).  The survey was conducted during the timeframe of August 26th thru 30th, used email-link polling, and has a margin of error of ±4.08% at the 95% confidence level.  (The survey sample includes 29 respondents from a test run conducted during the previous week.)

I saw the Icaucus poll about whether the Governor Rick Snyder should have a primary challenger or should be replaced in the primary. Two things that should be taken from any poll. Unnamed always wins. "Generic challenger" is always the non-existent person you think should be the nominee from that party. I never endorse "generic" for that reason and always take the generic candidate with a grain of salt. One sports analyst I read always says the "unknown is undefeated" and that is true for politics as well. The grass is always greener on the other side until it isn't when the "generic" is replaced by a human. All candidates have their flaws.

What I liked from the Icaucus poll is that it actually had some names out there. The pool of voters for this survey were those who attended recent republican state conventions. It's a part of the base. Keep in mind is that this is probably Snyder's low water mark among Republicans over the Medicaid Expansion vote. I expect his numbers to improve some next year.

The results there showed

Snyder Approval - 55.78% - Disapproval - 34.41% - Neither 9.81%

Does Snyder deserve a primary challenger? (Generic question)

Yes - 48.39%, No 38.71% - Unsure - 12.90%

Does Calley deserve a primary challenger? (Generic question)

Yes - 39.65%, No 35.08% - Unsure - 25.27%

As shown here, the generic always wins. The unknown is undefeated. However, the numbers change with real people. 

Snyder vs Agema:
Agema 42.34%, Snyder 32.39% - Unsure - 25.27%

Agema is well known among state convention attendees due to his successful challenge of Saul Anuzis for RNC Committeeman.

Snyder vs Bishop:
Snyder 36.83%, Bishop 24.19% - Unsure 38.98%

Somewhat surprising. I figured Bishop would have stronger numbers.

Snyder vs Butler:
Snyder 38.98%, Butler 11.29% - Unsure 49.73%

Butler ran for Senate in 2006. Among tea party activists, he's probably not well known as most got involved around 2009 or 2010.

Snyder vs Betsy DeVos:
Snyder 40.59%, DeVos 18.41% - Unsure 40.99%

Tea party probably views DeVos as establishment.

Snyder vs Glenn
Snyder 39.11%, Glenn 30.78% - Unsure 30.11%

Glenn is a good organizer, but he's also ticked off a lot of people over MI4CS and the senate campaign.

Snyder vs Hoekstra
Snyder 47.04%, Hoekstra 21.77% - Unsure 31.18%

Not surprised after 2012.

Snyder vs Schuette
Schuette 39.44%, Snyder 31.85% - Unsure 29.70%

Not surprised here, although I figured Schuette would poll best instead of Agema.

What this shows is that there's a lot of grumbling, but on the same note, the base (meaning both establishment, tea party, and regular old conservatives) isn't going to push for just anybody to be a challenger. Despite the current environment and current noise, a good 40% or so are going to stay with Snyder period as things stand now unless Agema or Schuette run. Both of them have won conventions there in the past. I can't see Schuette challenging Snyder at all. Agema is popular from his run for RNC Committeeman. Third closest here was Gary Glenn who is a good organizer whose campaign people (MI4CS, etc) have more influence than I'd like at these conventions. I'm pretty sure Glenn's running for state rep instead in Midland. Snyder's best showing was against Hoekstra, and I bet 95% of that was due to the 2012 campaign. That was reassuring because it shows that campaign ability matters to convention attendees.

If asked whether I am open to voting for a primary challenger to Snyder (or anyone else), my answer is as follows. "Depends on the candidate." My criteria is as follows.

1. Candidate must be electable in the general election. I'm well aware of Mark Schauer's record over the last 15 years. I'll say it very eloquently. Schauer's record absolutely sucks. He does what leadership tells him to do. Most democrats do what they are told, and Schauer does that even more than most.

Electable does not necessarily mean "moderate" (often confused with demeanor)  as ideology is only one aspect - and I think a relatively small one - in general electability. I've seen far right and far left candidates both very electable - and very unelectable. The same goes for moderates, some of whom are awful candidates. Nothing personal against moderate-conservative Pete Hoekstra whom I personally like, but he was as electable as Sharron Angle (lost due to mouth) who has every bad stereotype one has about tea party. I determine electability through demeanor, work ethic, ability to raise money, ability to avoid foot in mouth disease, and elective history. Some of the names in that list are electable and some are not.

2. The candidate must have a plan and be able to adjust. "I'm the true conservative" won't get my vote in and of itself. Mouths are cheap, and I'm tired of them.

3. Must have a strong work ethic. If you are going to primary Snyder, you better have an insane campaign work ethic - because you'll have to finish the job against Mark Schauer. You'll need a Joe Hune 2002 or 2010 level of work ethic. If you're not willing to do that, don't bother as you're wasting everyone's time, not to mention unelectable.

Many are irked about Medicaid expansion and Obamacare as the reason for primaries. People are looking for someone to stand up to Obamacare. There is little that can be done on the state level (nullification is a pipe dream - whether it should be or not, don't count on it) to fight it. That doesn't mean Medicaid Expansion should have passed, but not passing it wasn't going to mean Obamacare wasn't going to have its tentacles affect Michigan as well, jackboot style. 

The best way to get rid of Obamacare is to slay the actual dragon. Obamacare, it's individual mandate, costs, medical device taxes, IRS power expansion, and prison sentences,  all passed due to 59 dem senators, a massive house majority, and Obama. Despite what some say, one branch of the house can not defund Obamacare on its own without a government shutdown. The US House has voted twice to repeal Obamacare. That's what it could do. It hasn't even been taken up for a vote in the Senate. Harry Reid is to blame for that. Michigan needs to do its part by denying Gary Peters a promotion. After that, then give the Peter Principle in Chief an offer he can't refuse.

Ideals are important. Getting them executed and having the ability to do it is more important. These are marathons, not sprints. Four years isn't a long time when it comes to trying to repeal bad laws. It took 8 years to get shall-issue CPL passed in Michigan. The best way to stop Obamacare is to elect a good senator instead of yesman Gary Peters. That's the next head of the dragon that needs to be slain - the senate. In 2016, getting the presidency back is key. Then actually repeal the damn thing.