Frank Keating for Vice President? Will Mitt Romney Consider making the Former Oklahoma Governor His Runnig Mate?

Bookmark and Share The Herd is a special White House 2012 series covering the obvious and not so obvious potential choices to be selected as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate on the Republican presidential ticket. Each day, White House 2012 will introduce you to one of the many Republicans which we believe will be at least considered for for the vice presidency by the now inevitable presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.

In addition to biographical information and a brief assessment of each potential nominee and their chances of being selected by Mitt Romney, White House 2012′s coverage also includes each potential nominee’s voting records, as well as a listing of their public statements and links to their web sites and records.

Today White House 2012 takes a look at the former Governor of Oklahoma, Frank Keating.

Former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating

Born Francis Anthony Keating (1944-02-10) February 10, 1944 (age 68) St. Louis, Missouri
Political Party Republican
Spouse(s) Cathy Keating
Profession Lawyer, Lobbyist
Religion Roman Catholicism

Frank who?

Many, non-Southerners may not know or remember Frank Keating, but they should because he’s worth remembering.   He is truly one of the most successful conservative leaders and genuinely nice guys politics has ever known. As such, those of us who do remember Frank Keating are stirred by feelings of respect and confidence, when we think about him. Which is why when considering people as prospective vice presidential nominees, Frank Keating should be considered by Mitt Romney.

Keating, a former two term Governor of Oklahoma began his career in law enforcement and his good work in that area eventually led President Ronald Reagan to appoint Keating to be the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma, where he served with distinction from 1981 to 1984. In 1984 he ran for Congress in Oklahoma’s 1st congressional district and lost but came close to defeating House Budget Committee chairman Jim Jones

Following that loss, President Reagan appointed Keating to serve as an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury and later as United States Associate Attorney General, where he became the third ranking official in the Department of Justice. In these positions, Keating managed both the Justice and Treasury departments’ law enforcement agencies, as well as the U.S. Customs Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the United States Marshals service, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and all 94 United States Attorneys.

Following the election of George H.W. Bush in 1988, Keating continued on in the Justice Department but in 1990 was elevated by the first President Bush to serve as General Counsel and Acting Deputy Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under Secretary Jack Kemp. He began his work there in 1990 but on November 14th of 1991, Bush nominated Keating to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Keating stayed on as Acting Deputry Director at H.U.D as he waited for his nomination to be taken up the Senate, but with Democrats in control, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and their partisanship caused them to sit on the nomination and never bring it for a hearing and vote. This allowed incoming Democrat President Bill Clinton to nominate a fellow partisan Democrat instead. The Democrat controlled Senate did act on that nominee in a timely fashion. Keating finally left his post with H.U.D. in 1993, after the Clinton Admimistration replaced him in that job too.

Keating then headed back to Oklahoma where after a years in the private sector, he decided to run for Governor of Oklahoma and in November of 1994 he defeated his Democrat opponent by 17 percentage points.

Within just three months of taking office, on April 19, Governor Keating became a man in charge of what at the time, was the greatest single act of terrorism in the United States. It became infamously known as the Oklahoma City Bombing and ground zero was the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. One explosion ignited within the confines of a large U-Haul truck that was parked in front of the building killed 168 Oklahomans and injured 800. The blast tore down the Alfred P. Murrah Building and destroyed or damaged more than 300 buildings in the surrounding area, leaving several hundred people homeless and shutting down business.

Governor Keating orchestrated an unimaginable mobilization of relief and rescue teams to handle the tragic event. His leadership help coordinate the efforts of over 12,000 people in the days following bombing and his masterful handling of it all earned him worldwide attention for his efforts to help the victims and their families.

Aside from the testing of Governor Keating under fire through the tragedy of Oklahoma City, Keating undertook an aggressive political agenda that included environmental protection, road building, tougher law enforcement, economic development,education reform, public safety, tax relief. he even initiated the creation of an innovative public-private partnership that assured care for the indigent as well as a stronger medical education program. Passage of these initiatives was not east and despite several bitter battles with the Democrat controlled state legislature, most of Keating’s initiatives were passed.

His first major success was passage of the first welfare reform law in the nation in 1995. By y 2001, those reforms had reduced Oklahoma’s welfare rolls by over 70%., but it’s early success was so great that success made Keating’s reforms a national model that was mimicked by the historic welfare reform act of 1996.

From there, Keating moved on to other memorably successful efforts. As a law and order politician, Keating used his career in law enforcement to serve Oklahomans. He implemented tough parole policies and introduced the landmark truth-in-sentencing legislation. Keating also showed little amnesty when handling death sentence criminals, allowing many of those sentenced to death to be executed. Keating also raised the salaries of Oklahoma’s state troopers from the lowest in the nation to the 24th highest.

But the greatest success of Keating’s first term came in 1998 when he become the first Governor of Oklahoma in 50 years to successfully maneuver the passage of a cut in the state’s income tax. Something that was made all the more remarkable given the fact that he had already successfully reduced the states unemployment tax, sales tax, and estate tax. The sum total of these policies and cuts created over 130,000 new jobs in Oklahoma Oklahoma and amounted to the largest tax break in the state’s history.

In his second term Keating set four goals for Oklahoma for his second term:

  1. Ensure one out of every three Oklahomans has a college degree by 2010
  2. Decreasing Oklahoma’s divorce rate by 50% before 2010,
  3. Raising Oklahoma’s Americas College Testing scores to the national average by 2005
  4. Raising Oklahoma’s per capita income to reach the national average by 2025

This focus led to an agenda that focussed on education by introducing charter schools in to the system and by increasing spending on the enhancement of vo-tech and higher education facilities. It also led Keating confront the problems involving substance abuse , child abuse, and out of wedlock births.

Other extraordinary achievements of Keating included

  • A criminal justice bill that reformed Truth in Sentencing (TIS) to Oklahoma and ensure that violent and repeat offenders remained in jail
  • Overseeing the largest road construction project in Oklahoma history.
  • Leading his state through the historic and devastating tornado season of 1999
  • Raising more than $20 million in private money to replenish a state fund that went dry during WWI and was meant to complete the Oklahoma State Capitol with a dome.

Since leaving office, Keating has enjoyed much success in the private sector sector where he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Council of Life Insurers. In 2002 he wrote a children’s book about famous Oklahoman Will Rogers and in 2006 he authored another children’s book. This one was about Theodore Roosevelt. Then in 2008 came Standing Bear, his third book for children.

On January 1, 2011, Keating became president and CEO of the American Bankers Association.

During his post gubernatorial days, Keating flirted with the thought of running for President. However in 2008, he decided that compared to the earlier starts by the McCain and Romney campaigns, it was too late for him step in to the race.

Between his experience, personality and accomplishments, Governor Keating is probably more qualified to be President of the United States than any one who is or who were running for President in 2012. From a conservative standpoint, Keating is brilliant. From a non-partisan standpoint, Keating is a level-headed doer who looks beyond the obvious problems that needs fixing and dives full on in to a mission to fix them, but also has the vision to make sure that they won’t need to be fixed again in the future.

Governor Keating is a charming, inteligent, experienced, knowledgeable, accomplished leader who avoids partisan political bickering and reminds his colleagues that voters do not care about politics, they care about policies, policies that work. The type of Keating policies that increase, jobs, grows the economy, limits government, and is willing to accept the fact that government is not the answer to everything, but that government can help to unite the private sector in a way that allows them to do a better job than government ever could have.

Keating also has something that only a handful of other potential VP nominees have. Signature achievements that bring a level of undeniably proven credibility. The type of credibility that has also withstood the test of time. Frank Keating has truly walked the walk not just talked the talk. He has a proven record that if given the attention it deserves, could impress more than a few voters and make them say “we need someone like him to do for our nation, what he did for his state”.

It is simply a shame that Frank Keating didn’t become a candidate for President in 2012.

His record as Governor is one which not only demonstrates how good he was, it shows us a man who was ahead of the times. While many states are only now struggling with right-to-work laws, Frank Keating addressed them before they could become institutionalized problems in his state. While many states are finally trying to deal with the often tragic results of a lack of truth in sentencing, Frank Keating long ago solved that for the people of his state.

Be it matters of infrastructure, education, taxes, jobs, or the economy, Frank Keating has created road maps that have taken people in the direction before and there is no reason to believe why he can’t again. And he has even been successful at changing the dynamics of late which have people believing that all things must rely upon government. As Governor, Frank Keating was able to demonstrate the benefits of having government rely on the private sector and in so doing, proved that the private sector can do better than government. Between that and his having more hands on experience in the areas of public safety and law enforcement and what you have is a man who few are looking at now, but many could be wanting once they are reminded of who he is.

Pros:

  • Incredible experience in law enforcement
  • Has a record of governor that is full of reform, innovation, fiscal success, and managerial expertise, all of which touch upon important issues in this election.
  • Respected among the conservative base that Romney needs to excite and get behind him with enthusiasm

Cons:

  • Does not bring any needed extraordinary geographical pluses to the ticket
  • His post-gubernbatorial work in the private sector as a lobbyist for bankers and insurers will be turned in to something evil by the left
  • At 68, some may try to subtley use his age against him
  • His representation of Banks as the ABA President will be used to try paint a Romneky/Keating ticket as an out of touch, rich Republican team of banking and Wall Street special interests as a part of the ongoing liberal class warefare startegy

General Assessment:

Keating is everything that conservatives want and more. Not only has been there and done that when it comes to every issue that we are discussing today, he has taken those issues by the horn and in his state, solved the problems surrounding those issues. As a candidate, Keating would be a strong, articulate candidate who people could relate to and with whom they could connect. He also comes from a school of politics that when compared to today’s politics, is much more mature and non-partisan. And although many people might not exactly recognize the name, once his story is told, people will automatically respect him for both who he is and what he accomplished. However I do not think Mitt Romney wants to have to tell Keating’s story. Doing so would drive some unwanted contrasts between Romney’s record and Keating’s record that Mitt may not want to have to address. And finally, I think Mitt may want to try to bring a relatively fresher face to the stage.

But I could easily be, and in many ways hope I am wrong, because if anyone would make a good Vice President, it would be someone who would make an excellent President, and Frank Keating would make an excellent President. In the end, as much as glad as I would like to see Keating tapped for the nomination, I think he is a longshot for the job because of the lack of geographical electoral benefit he brings to the ticket and because of the propoganda rich image the left would be given because of Keatings representation of insurance interests and as the President of the American Banking Association, banking interests.

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Frank Keating On The Issues

International Issues Domestic Issues Economic Issues Social Issues
Foreign Policy Gun Control Budget & Economy Education
Homeland Security Crime Government Reform Health Care
War & Peace Drugs Tax Reform Abortion
Free Trade Civil Rights Social Security Families & Children
Immigration Jobs Welfare & Poverty Corporations
Energy & Oil Environment Technology Principles & Values

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Other White House 2012 pages dedicated to potential vice presidential candidates include links to the websites, and Facebook pages of the candidate it focusses on. Keating’s lack of political inolvement since 2002 has left Keating without a need or desire for such pages so there were none to link to. Inlieu of such pages, we have instead provided several video interviews of the Governor.

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Recent Interviews of Frank Governors

Frank Keating, the former Oklahoma Governor who was named chief executive officer of the American Bankers Association, talks about his work on the Bipartisan Policy Center’s proposal for changes to the U.S. budget.

ABA CEO Frank Keating speaks at the ABA’s 2011 Convention about the Dodd-Frank Act and the importance of banks in building strong communities.

Former Governor Frank Keating talks about anger in America 15 years after the Oklahoma City Bombing with CNN’s John King.

The Herd: A Look at The Republican Vice Presidential Candidates. Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels

Bookmark and Share   The Herd is a special White House 2012 series covering the obvious and not so obvious potential choices to be selected as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate on the Republican presidential ticket.  Each day, White House 2012 will introduce you to one the many Republicans which we believe will be at least considered for for the vice presidency by the now inevitable presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.

In addition to a biographical information and a brief assessement of each potential nominee and their chances of being selected by Mitt Romney, White House 2012′s coverage also includes each potential nominee’s voting records, as well as a listing of their public statements and links to their web sites.

Today White House 2012 takes a look at  Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels

Born: April 7, 1949 (1949-04-07) (age 61), Monongahela, Pennsylvania

Spouse(s): Cheri Lynn Herman Daniels

Children : Meagan, Melissa, Meredith and Margaret

Residence : Governor’s Residence, Indianapolis, Indiana

Alma mater: Princeton University, Georgetown University Law Center

Profession: Businessman (pharmaceuticals)

Political Career :

  • Worked on the unsuccessful U.S. Senate campaign of William D. Ruckelshaus.
  • Interned in the office of then-Indianapolis Mayor Richard Lugar.
  • Worked on Lugar’s re-election campaign, joined then Mayor Lugar’s staff and soon became his Chief of Staff.
  • When Lugar was elected to the U.S. Senate, Daniels joined him in Washington as an administrative assistant and eventually as one of his top aides.
  • Daniels went on to become executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee,
  • He was also the campaign manager of three successful Senate campaigns for Richard Lugar.
  • In 1985 Daniels became a part of the Reagan Administration when he became chief political advisor and liaison to President Ronald Reagan.
  • In January 2001, Daniels accepted President George W. Bush’s invitation to serve as director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) where He served from January 2001 through June 2003 and in that role after proving to be a real cutter of budgets, he earned the nickname “the Blade”
  • Daniels also served as a member of the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council.
  • In 2004 and 2008, Daniels was elected Governor of Indiana.

(Click here for Mitch Daniels’ White House 2012 page)

By all rights, Mitch Daniels should have been the frontrunner, not just for Vice President, but for President. He has sailed Indiana through the tough seas of a terrible national economy and created a state that is one of the three best to do business in and for job creation. He came in to office with an $800 million deficit and by the time he was running for reelection in 2008, that deficit was turned in to a $1.3 billion surplus.

That is one reason why he won his 2008 reelection by an 18% margin. Not a bad margin of victory, especially when you consider the fact that at the same time, while a majority of Indiana voters pulled the lever for Barack Obama for President, Mitch Daniels received more than 20% of the African-American vote for Governor. That is an unusually high percentage of the black vote for any Republican, anywhere. But on top of that, the makeup of Mitch Daniels reelection victory was comprised of 51 percent of the youth vote, 67 percent of the elderly, 57 percent of independent voters and even 24 percent of the Democrats in the state. All of which means that Mitch Daniels has crossover appeal.

And like John Thune, Daniels has that Middle American appeal that can allow him to connect with Midwest voters, including and especially those in his own state of Iowa and neighboring Illinois and even the more important delegate rich state of Ohio.

While this Harley Davidson riding governor is understated and even meek, when he starts talking you know you are dealing with a man who like Newt Gingrich, is the smartest person in the room. But unlike Newt, Mitch Daniels’ homespun, midwestern, charm puts you at ease and makes you realize that while he is smart, he is not an elitists. He’s the type of guy who never forgets that he puts his pants on one leg at a time. While some like John Thune may be considered consistent conservatives, Mitch Daniels is consistent but comes across as more of a commonsense conservative. He has an uncanny dry wit, that will slowly rise and surprise you with a slew of knee-slappers. Mitch is both a policy wonk and people person. And what is probably most important of all is that his area of expertise is in the budget…….the budget that has now reached a crisis level, something which Mitch has repeatedly warned us about.

After coming close to running for President but deciding against it largely due to concerns about the pressure on his family, it is unclear if Mitch Daniels would suddenly believe that the pressure will be any less if he runs for Vice President. But you never know. Combine that with the fact that he would be a balancing force on any ticket, and has the experience and ability to lead our nation in the right direction and what you have is absolutely no reason why Mitch Daniels should not be on anyone’s short list.

Pros:

  • A highly successful, popular two term Governor
  • The favorite son of a state Republicans need to win the 270 electoral votes required to take control of the White House
  • His expertise on the economy and budgets will help dwarf any claim of expertise that the Obama Administration will boast
  • Has great appeal in the all important Midwest region
  • Executive experience
  • Considered a budget hawk
  • Has proven to appeal to African-American voters, even winning a majority of them in his state during the same 2008 election that saw Indiana voters elect Barack Obama President

Cons:

  • Daniels’ marriage, divorce, and remarriage to his wife may be come an issue and the Daniels’ are discouraged to seek higher office because of the lack of privacy that would come with such an office
  • Evangelicals were turned off by remarks Daniels made suggesting that social issues needed to go on to the back burner until we resolved our economic problems
  • Daniels is not a firebrand that typically fires up the forces
  • His position as Budget Director for G.W. Bush will provide the opposition with powerful rhetoric linking the economic downturn to Bush, Daniels and ultimately Romney.

Assessment:

Mitch Daniels is one of my prefered candidates for the job. The only thing that would make him the perfect composite for all that the G.O.P. could want their vice presidential nominee to be would if Mitch Daniels was actually Mitchie Danielsita, a Latina Governor of Florida or Ohio.  But shallow demographics aside, not only is Mitch Daniels one of the most responsible choices a presidential nominee can make, he would be a strong and effective voice on economic matters, and has a way of being able to bridge the political divide without caving on conservative principles. He is a solid, stable figure who is methodical, efficient and innovative.  Despite small pockets of criticism to the contrary, his credentials are impeccable and he is an extremely intelligent and likeable fellow. Mitt Romney may be inclined to pick Daniels for many reasons including his gravitas on the economy, his expertise in matters of budgets and his handling of Indiana’s budget, his strong and consistent anti-abortion record and his political demeanor. But criticism about Daniels comment suggesting that social issues must take a backseat to economic matters, may cause Romney to seek a running mate that could help bolster his own standings among social conservatives who still view Romney with great skepticism. Another hitch in this nearly perfect picture is Mitch Daniels relationship to the Bush Administration.  Having held that position, the left will paint him as the architect of the existing federal budget deficit and economic problem we’re in.  However Daniels served only 29 months as Budget Director and in that time most of the cuts Daniels proposed were not passed by Congress.  Such was the case in 2001.  when he helped craft the Bush tax cuts. At that time , the $2.13 trillion budget that Daniels submitted to Congress included deep cuts in many agencies in order to accommodate for those tax cuts.  But against Daniels’ own judgement, very few of the spending cuts were actually approved by Congress.     But try to explain that to the nation when President Obama is pumping a billion dollars into an effort that tries to deny those facts and to make Mitch Daniels the fall guy.

It’s a close call but if Mitt is not afraid of how the left will try to distort Daniels’ record during his time at OMB, Romney’s proclivity for playing it safe may just make Mitch Daniels his near perfect running mate.  I for one will be ecstatic if Mitt picks Mitch.

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Recent Key Votes

SB 1 – Authorizes the Use of Force Against Law Enforcement Officers in Certain Situations

Legislation (Sign)

March 20, 2012

HB 1269

Legislation (Sign)

March 19, 2012

HB 1149 – Prohibits Smoking in Public Places

Legislation (Sign)

March 19, 2012

More Key Votes

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Mitch Daniels on the Issues

International Issues Domestic Issues Economic Issues Social Issues
Foreign Policy Gun Control Budget & Economy Education
Homeland Security Crime Government Reform Civil Rights
War & Peace Drugs Tax Reform Abortion
Free Trade Health Care Social Security Families & Children
Immigration Technology Corporations Welfare & Poverty
Energy & Oil Environment Jobs Principles & Values

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More “Muppet” than “Buffet” – Obama goes for populist message instead of leadership on tax.

President Obama’s “Buffet Rule” Tax push on millionaires represents most of what his term in office has come down to; lots of rhetoric filled with theatrics and little or no long term beneficial substance for the nation. President Obama himself said Wednesday, “Just taxing millionaires and billionaires, just imposing the Buffett Rule, won’t do enough to close the deficit, Well, I agree.”

The so-called Buffett Rule, which aims to set a minimum tax rate of 30 percent for Americans who earn more than $1 million annually. The president theatrically surrounded himself with some wealthy campaign contributors to make another pitch for a higher tax rate on the country’s biggest earners, even at one stage suggesting President Reagan would have supported it.

I use the term Muppet, instead of Buffet, as the current administrations cynicism, theatrics and contempt at which they treat the public is bordering on a scene from the “Muppet Show.” The White House honestly believes ordinary Americans, and others,  are not intelligent enough to see this latest stunt as nothing more then politicking at its worst.

If the President respectfully was serious about addressing the nations’ financial woes and put as much effort into getting the United States Democratic Controlled Senate to pass a budget, that would do more good for the nation and the economy, then the $49 billion the Buffet rule would bring in over ten years. The U.S. Senate has not passed a budget in almost 1080 days surely as president and leader of the nation, this serious matter deserves more than a fleeting moment of his time and attention.

President Obama’s claim that the Buffett Rule “is something that will get us moving in the right direction toward fairness” would be more convincing if his actions where more reflective of such rhetoric too. Three years into his presidency, President Obama has not introduced a plan for comprehensive tax reform, arguably the most important aspect for repairing America’s finances and boosting long-term economic growth. The fact is, this is a president who appointed the Simpson-Bowles commission only to then completely ignore its findings and is devoid of  purposeful ideas. He has failed to lead on tax reform and will no doubt return to more rhetoric about Congress failing to act, when it is voted down in Congress next week.

Where the president and Washington have got it wrong is their disregard for the ordinary person. Yes inequality is a huge and growing problem across America, and in other countries however; it is not a “Fair-Share” as President Obama argues that people want pushed. People want a “Fair-Society” where there are opportunities for personal and business growth, success and financial reward.

It should be every leader’s aspiration to create the circumstances to get as many people into the workplace as possible, not become dependent on the state for handouts. How can it be a “Fair-Share” when you are penalised for success if you attain it. If government steps back and respects individual liberty, successful people will reinvest in the economy and it will involve more people in the work environment ultimately delivering a better, more prosperous and “Fair-Society.”

Make no mistake about President Obama’s attempt to frame this as an issue of social equality; it has nothing to do with equality, or any tangible benefit except for the president, as the “Buffett Rule” polls well.

How much time has the president spent trying to sell this $49 billion Buffet Rule to the American people compared to solving the spending and deficit issues in Washington? American’s and others looking on, are not stupid Mr. President. It is a pity that a presidency which promised so much at the outset has become so arrogant in their belief that they can treat their public likes a bunch of Muppet’s.

The fact is yesterday’s speech and this populist token exercise has nothing to do with growing the American economy or tackling the more serious issues facing the nation. It does not serve the American people, it is fundamentally and solely electioneering at its worst.

Unfortunately, this presidency has lacked any real ambition or effort at meaningful tax reform. If the president and his administration believe the “Muppet Rule” will fool the ordinary American in exchange for their vote well, I believe ordinary American people are a lot smarter for themselves then the Obama administration believe them to be. Sadly, sound bites have well and truly replaced substance in modern American public service and politics while the people fail to be served.

A Populist CPAC, but where are the ideas?

Bookmark and Share Meeting Donald Rumsfeld today, the man who knows his knowns from his unknowns, he saw my media badge saying WhiteHouse12 and asked me “You’re from the White House?” I explained I was not, and we are a website covering the election, but I can’t be sure whether he was disappointed or not.

Being an election year, you would expect CPAC 2012 to be a populist fest of election themes, peppered with attacks on the Obama administration, and today’s line-up did not disappoint on that front. The worrying thing is that the slate of speakers, while inspiring the crowd, did not have ideas to inspire the folks with outside the conference hall. The speakers were long on broad principles but short on specifics.

CPAC 2012 Kicked off with a populist energy, but are speakers offering enough?

Marco Rubio got the crowd all whipped up, ready to be severely unwhipped by a windbag speech from Mitch McConnell. The House Senate Majority leader did the math well when he said that if you lose your job in the Obama economy it will take you 40 weeks to find a new one. However, his math failed him when he exceeded his 10 minute slot by some 20 minutes. Some disciplined editing down to 10 minutes would have given him a better speech. When he got a cheer at the end I couldn’t work out whether it was for his message or the fact that he had finished.

The schedule ran 30 minutes late for the rest of the day, and Michele Bachmann followed. Her speech was probably the most detailed of the day, focused on the series of foreign policy failures by the Obama administration. The former candidate launched a sustained attack on the policy failures, and blasted the president for not backing Mubarak, saying “Obama failed to stand by Mubarak and that helped fuel the revolution in Egypt … The president spurned the President of Egypt when he took his first foreign trip to Cairo. In an absolutely shocking move, he invited the Muslim Brotherhood to hear his speech when Mubarak’s policy was to keep the Brotherhood at arm’s length.”

Bachmann attacked the president for not standing by Israel, “Before Obama was elected, no one had ever heard of a United States president saying to the world that the United States is not a judeo-christian nation.  I am here to say we are.” She concluded “The president’s foreign policy does change the history of the world, which is why Barack Obama cannot have a second term as president.”

Rick Perry got the crowd going as well, focusing on the economy he said “Success on Wall Street shouldn’t come at the expense of Main Street.” With the crash on the way, Perry said “Folks on Wall Street who saw it coming, they made millions; folks who didn’t see it coming, they got bailed out.” His parting shot was intended to strike an ominous note, saying “I’m fearful of what the score’s gonna be if we let the president start the second half as a quarterback.”

More populist notes were struck by Herman Cain, who told CPAC “A lot of people thought that after the character assassination that was launched against me that Herman was going to shut up and sit down and go away… Ain’t going to happen.” On his 9-9-9 plan, Cain told conservatives to press candidates for federal office to embrace his flat-tax solution before they are elected. He also invited “Joe The Plumber” Samuel Wurzelbacher, who is running for Congress in Ohio’s 9th District, to take a bow.

None of the main speakers offered endorsement messages for the 2012 GOP nominees, preferring instead to talk more generically about the need to stop a second Obama term. A late addition to the speaker slate was Rand Paul who arguably matched, perhaps exceeded, the rapturous applause received by Cain. Paul asked if the President hated rich people and poor people with jobs, but then went on to state “The president doesn’t really hate all rich people, just those who don’t contribute to his campaign.” He then rallied “If you’re a crony, if you’re a buddy, just stop by the White House.”

Paul rightly reminded attendees of Ronald Regan’s “optimism,” a president who he said “turned a whole generation of Democrats into Republicans.” His parting shot was “Who will be that next Ronald Reagan?” This gets to the heart of what folks are feeling, which ran though this whole first day, feeling the need for inspiration, the need for a positive approach, the need for American exceptionalism.

What was lacking was any real depth to the conservative messages today, and it will take more than the invocation of the name of Ronald Reagan and repeating the wrongs of the incumbent to put a conservative into the White House. Reagan brought more than sunny optimism to the White House, he brought some strong and deep ideas on the economy and foreign policy as well. I didn’t hear the equivalent depth of ideas today.

Tomorrow will see Gingrich, Romney and Santorum take the stage, but will they bring any more than today’s speakers? I may not know the knowns or unknowns of what tomorrow holds, but I know I won’t be holding my breath.

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Time to Stand

Bookmark and Share    One of the greatest problems plaguing the political scene is cowardice. More particularly it is ideological cowardice. It is an admitted fact that candidates run to the fringe during primaries and then run to the center for the general election. That is considered good politics. Unfortunately, it makes for bad government.

The level of disgust with our elected government is astonishing. If it were just political partisanship, we could expect that approval ratings would be somewhere around 50%. Yet that is not the case. Approval ratings have dropped into the single digits numerous times for Congress and into the 30s for Presidents. Clearly the people are disappointed even in their own party’s elected officials.

The reason is simple. Politicians are cowards. They are for something one second and against it the next. Recently we’ve seen an uptick in the “I’m for it, but not for how it is being done” or “These are special circumstances that require measures I wouldn’t normally support.” They are two different ways of saying, “I don’t want to look like a flip-flopper but I want to be on the side of political expediency.” It is as if almost our entire elected government has become filled with Arlen Specter clones.

It is difficult to find a candidate that you can really believe will do what he or she claims. It is difficult to find a candidate that consistently speaks from an ideological foundation that is firm. The one thing all our “greatest” Presidents had in common was their willingness to stick to their principles and govern as they promised. Granted there were some Presidents who were equally consistent and failed, but at least the people knew what they were getting and they could decide whether or not to support those men. Today we treat ‘political conversion’ or ‘position adjustment’ as some sort of normal behavior.

Let’s look at this from another perspective. Is it normal to convert from Catholicism to Islam and then again to Lutheran? Such a thing would be considered absurd. But how are ‘political conversions’ any different? Sure, decades ago someone might go from Democrat to Republican because the parties themselves were transformed – BUT the reason for the change in party affiliation was based on a desire to be in the party that represented that person’s UNCHANGED positions on issues. Such changes are more like a member of the Episcopal Church becoming a Lutheran because that person did not support changes in the Episcopal Church doctrine (such as ordaining gay clergy). The person’s beliefs never changed, but the group to which he belonged changed in a way that was incompatible with those beliefs. That is not what is happening in politics today.

What we have today are people who are claiming to have changed their beliefs or to have found exceptions to their beliefs. That’s like a man saying he’s straight, but another guy at the gym was unusually attractive and in that extraordinary circumstance it made sense to have gay sex. Be it abortion or government bailouts or foreign affairs, it seems that ‘anything goes’ is the new normal. Whatever the political winds of that day happen to be, so too are that candidate’s “convictions”. It is disgraceful.

What will a candidate do if elected? Who knows? Maybe their record will shed some light on that and maybe it won’t. Maybe their previous positions will shed some light on that and maybe they won’t. It all depends on which parts of those they agree with today and which ones they see as ‘mistakes I’ve learned from’. Of course, today’s convictions may be tomorrow’s ‘mistakes I learned from’.

These ideological void candidates are not the only problem. We, the people, are equally to blame. We are cowards ourselves when we fear our beliefs might bring us criticism. We allow critics of our beliefs to bully us into silence about them rather than be labeled ‘extremists’. We end up supporting a candidate based not on what they truly believe and whether that matches our beliefs, but rather on who we dislike least of those ‘who can win’. We sell ourselves out first and then are upset when the person we supported does the same thing. We feel betrayed that the candidate that didn’t really share our views governs in a way that is contrary to our views instead of in the way promised during a campaign.

I have been one of those cowards this year. I have strong ideological beliefs. Yet, I refused to support the candidate that most reflects those views because I didn’t think he could win. I bought into the lie that we should support the one who can win over the one who is right. I took the side of those who refused to support Goldwater in ’64 and Reagan in ’76. I tried, in vain, to find another candidate who could serve as a ‘good enough’ choice and that ‘could win’ according to the pundits. I was an ideological coward.

Today that changes. Today I set aside my indecision between candidates I don’t really agree with who pundits say can win and throw my support behind the candidate with whom I am in the most ideological agreement. Maybe he can’t win the nomination. If he doesn’t, then I’ll support who does as any of them are better than Obama. But, this is my vote. This is my party. This is my ideology.

My endorsement for the 2012 Republican Nomination goes to Congressman Ron Paul.
Congressman Ron Paul

I fully recognize Ron Paul’s limitations. He has never been a chief executive. He’s not supported by the leadership of his party. He’s not a great speaker. His foreign policy scares the establishment. All those things were said about Barry Goldwater in 1964 but history proved that he would have been far better than what we got. His campaign sparked a movement that eventually brought us Ronald Reagan and the Republican Revolution of 1994.

We live in a different world than in the days of Reagan. An evil empire is not our chief concern and primary security risk. Today we face isolated terrorist cells around the world and the threat of economic destruction through control of energy, currency manipulation and cyber attack. Our national debt is greater than our GDP and our economy is built upon pushing money around more than actually creating anything of real value. Our entitlement system has grown so precariously huge that it threatens to bankrupt us within the foreseeable future.

There is only one candidate who sees that these issues are the greatest threats facing us. There is only one candidate who will use the power of the Presidency to force real cuts in spending and not just in the rate of spending growth. There is only one candidate who will rethink the old Cold War era military thinking and re-position us for responding to the threats of the 21st century. There is only one candidate who has been ideologically consistent for decades and who has correctly predicted the problems we are faced with today. There is only one candidate who won’t be corrupted by polls or pundits or lobbyists. There is only one candidate who believes more in governing within the confines of the Constitution than in finding excuses to circumvent it. There is only one candidate who put his life on the line for his country. There is only one candidate for me.

That candidate is Ron Paul and he has my endorsement and support.

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32 Years Ago Today, Ronald Reagan Showed Us What a Difference a Debate Can Make

Bookmark and Share  Tonight the Republican presidential candidates will be gathering in New Hampshire for a presidential debate and in a matter of hours, they will be having another one on Sunday morning.

Both of the debates may not change the outcome of the New Hampshire primary being held on Tuesday, but they will have effect on it and the momentum that is established will play a role in the  South Carolina primary that follows New Hampshire’s contest.  How much af an effect is the big question.

My opinion is that of all the candidates still running, Newt Gingrich is the candidate skilled enough to maximize these two forums and use them to his advantage in ways that far exceed the others on the stage with him.

But the right opportunity could just prove to be pivotal to any of the participants.

Exactly 32 years ago today, Ronald Reagan literally established himself as a man  to reckon with in  politics when the moderator of another New Hampshire debate tried to silencehim.  When that man asked that his mic be turned off, Reagan turned to him and shouted, “I am paying for this microphone, Mr. Green”.

From that point on, in the minds of voters, Ronald Reagan established himself as fighter who will stand up to anyone and say it like it like it is.  He also established himself as a determined man who will stand up for all that he believes in and who was not afraid to do so.

As seen in the video below, Reagan’s forcefulness received not only a rousing standing ovation of shouts, cheers, and applause, you might also note that the men he was running against, stood behind Reagan and were giving their own energetic round of applause to their opponent.

Such a moment may not come up tonight or tomorrow morning, but you can rest assured that each man on stage tonight will be looking for the just the opportunity to repeat history and follow in Ronald Reagan’s footsteps.

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Where is America’s Fighting Spirit? Ending the Malaise Presidency

These days it seems Captain America has been overpowered by MalaiseMan. President Obama is MalaiseMan. He told a fundraiser on Tuesday, October 25 that America is in decline, which is the central theme of his presidency. People are buying it too, which is what the Occupy Wall Street movement and Tea Party is a symptom of; they are two sides of a coin that says America is in decline.

More MalaiseMan than Captain America

This takes us back to the evening of July 15, 1979. Gas prices had skyrocketed, there were severe shortages and the endless economic decline seemed much longer than the lineups at gas stations. Carter preached, “In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does but by what one owns.”

We have heard similar malaise from President Obama. In fact, where Carter spent hours and days at Camp David in what Reagan biographer Steven Hayward tagged “the most remarkable exercise in presidential navel-gazing in American history” and delivered his message in minutes, President Obama decided in minutes and is spending days and hours preaching malaise.

It is being believed on the streets. The Hill newspaper reports that over two-thirds of voters say the United States is declining, and the next generation will be worse off, with 83 percent of voters worried about the future of the nation. Their results conclude that Americans don’t view the country’s current economic and political troubles as temporary; they see this decline as stretching out for years.

President Obama’s policies tap into the malaise, which is why he has managed an economy of decline, failing on jobs, the deficit, healthcare, home foreclosures and rising gas prices.

However, there are signs of improvement. Economic growth in America picked up in the last quarter, showing signs of some recovery as the nation’s total output of goods and services grew at an annual rate of 2.5 percent from July to September, almost double the 1.3 percent rate in the previous quarter.

This is because the economy has its own laws of gravity: what goes down will get back up again. The economy does this, not the government. We have become so risk averse we want the nanny state to kiss us better every time the economy hurts us. The President Obama re-election campaign is one of kissing everyone better, what is the Republican message?

Ronald Reagan defeated Carter by offering Americans a vision that was so optimistic it cancelled out Carter’s pessimism. The economy will improve, and a Republican needs to get the message across that America will return to full strength with a gleam of defiance in its eye, not a tear of pity. Which candidate can do this? Which candidate can bring on Captain America to defeat MalaiseMan?

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