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.

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