Of Goldwater, Reagan, and the GOP Today

I guess what seems easy for me to understand (because I lived in a Goldwater household) may not be easy to explain to others. My perception of the GOP and I still hold these perceptions to this day is that the GOP hierarchy is not really based on merit. Folks like my Dad, who during the Ike years held the same position as Eliott Richardson, were passed over while folks like Richardson advanced.

The conservative movement, in its early days, was a meritocracy. Perhaps, as a result of the Democratic Party being entrenched in the New Deal and Fair Deal, the Conservative Movement could never have found a home with the Democrats. Instead of beginning a third party, the conservatives found a home in the GOP. It wasn’t an easy fit as the old GOPers resented the conservative upstarts and there really was no political leader for the conservatives after Bob Taft died in 1953. That all changed with Goldwater in 1964.

The disastrous results of the Goldwater defeat caused the conservative movement to retrench but a hardy few saw the talent and the potential for Reagan. His “A Time For Choosing” speech became their mantra. Reagan had brought a certain eloquence and electricity to the Conservative Movement.

Those hardy few patiently waited as Nixon in 1968, called in his political IOUs from his campaigning for congressional candidates in 1966. They waited as Ford won the nomination in 1976, despite the best efforts of the Reagan Raiders. By 1980, it was now or never for Reagan.

The odd part in this drama is how today many people today seem to rewrite the historical narrative as though Reagan’s triumph was a fait accompli. It was not so simple and easy. His triumph has also been misunderstood by many on the Right, as well as many of the newbies who now make up the current conservative movement.

Reagan’s victory in 1980 (as well as 1984) was not the end of journey but the beginning. The problems of “big government” were never going to be cured overnight; yet, many expected Reagan to perform miracles. The conservative movement, now under younger leadership, are inclined to want a seat at the table where decisions are made than continuing the legacy of the conservative movement. Even hardcore Reaganites became part of the DC Beltway Establishment.

By 1988, most of the folks who made the rise of Reagan possible were out of power within the GOP political structure. Since then, we have been treated to lazy ideology from the left and the right. We continue to see conservatism become confused and intertwined with populism and libertarianism. At this point, I doubt we will ever see another 44 or 49 state victory by either the GOP or the Democrats. We will continue to see demagoguery and pandering in the “vital” states to the detriment of all the states.

I see similarities today between the conservative movement of the Goldwater run for President and the Tea Party today. Not for intellectual purity as much as both were treated as ‘red-headed stepchildren’ and minimalized by the “Establishment”. The stakes are greater today.

A Romney nomination and a Romney presidency will spell doom for the Tea Party. The Tea Party will retrench and gains made in 2010 will be lost. The GOP Establishment this week has gone where none ever dare go; trashing the legacy of Newt Gingrich and Ronald Reagan.

The problem for Newt has always been the disconnect between his work before he became Speaker and his work as Speaker. In many ways, it is no different than comparing the work of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison before they became President and after they became President. There is always a difference between the man who is successful as a revolutionary and the man who assumes the mantle of leadership. Historians have documented the tireless work of Adams, Jefferson, and Madison in formulating the United States. They have also chronicled their failures as President. It is a tough balancing act.

Make no mistake, the attacks on Newt are deliberate and in most cases full of calumnies. This is not just a signal to Newt; it is a signal to each and every one of us who do not fall in line and back Romney. We will come under the same scrutiny and worse. The Party of Reagan has now become the Party of Obama-lite. The comparisons of Romney to Reagan are laughable and a sad commentary of how far we have fallen as a Movement.



Rallying Around Romney

You can set your watch to the predictability of the GOP and so-called Conservative Establishment response to events in real time. They do not call in SEAL Team 6 to take out the opposition in the dead of night. They do not lay siege nor seek a policy of containment. No, they seek to destroy by carpet bombing the opposition. In this case, they seek to destroy Newt Gingrich.

I am not a Gingrich supporter but these attacks may make me one by default.

We are treated to anecdotal stories of what Gingrich has done in the past. Many of them are true and many of them are distortions and lies. Gingrich is, by all accounts, a complicated and flawed man. Gingrich has been vetted time and time again. He is a known commodity.
However, what those who attack Gingrich fail to do is vet Romney. We are treated to constant hysterical cries of “he’s the real conservative” and “a vote for Newt is a vote for Obama”. Who is the real Romney?

Is he the same guy who had no ethical issue when he sat on the Board of Staples when Staples decided to buy another Bain business, Claricom Networks, that eventually went bankrupt; per the Boston Globe in 2002?

According to the Globe, Bain did well in the $140 million deal. So did Romney, earning about $100,000 from his share of the profits. Staples shareholders did not: The transaction was written off as a total loss two years later, after the telecom boom went bust. “Inasmuch as he took the profit in the transaction, ethically he was a transgressor,” said Robert Ash, a lecturer on business ethics and former chief executive of Fleet Investment Management.

Is Romney the same guy who eventually drove Dade Behring into bankruptcy?

According to Forbes, Romney conducted a turnaround of Dade beginning in 1994, which sucked the company dry. The turnaround worked out well for Romney and Bain Capital: it extracted $242 million, a return that was eight times its initial investment, plus fees of $100 million. The process worked out less well for others: it drove the company into bankruptcy in 2002 and destroyed some 1,700 jobs in the USA.

According to the NY Times, Romney structured the deal in ways that almost guaranteed that he and his partners would come out ahead. Bain Capital and a small group of investors, including Goldman Sachs, bought Dade in 1994 with mostly borrowed money, limiting their risk. Bain extracted cash from the company in various ways. For a start, they paid themselves nearly $100 million in fees, first for buying the company and then for helping to run it. In this way, even if Romney and his colleagues had lost their entire investment of $30 million, they would still have come out ahead. In 1999, in the absence of a satisfactory offer for the purchase of Dade, Romney had Dade take on loans so that it could buy out half the shareholders. As a result, Bain extracted $242 million out of the business shortly before it went bankrupt.

Is Romney the same person who utilized shell companies in two offshore tax havens to help eligible investors avoid paying U.S. taxes?
According to the LA Times, Romney gained no personal tax benefit from the legal operations in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. But aides to the Republican presidential hopeful and former colleagues acknowledged that the tax-friendly jurisdictions helped attract billions of additional investment dollars to Romney’s former company, Bain Capital, and thus boosted profits for Romney and his partners.

Are the defenders of Romney going to explain his abysmal record as Governor of MA? Are they going to explain to us how these acts of Romney constitute the acts of a Conservative?

Romney’s tenure as Governor:

– Romneycare (after 30+ years of the Democrats trying to pass it)
– Cap & Tax (Romney bragged: “Massachusetts is the first and only state to set CO2 limits on power plants.”)
– single highhandedly allowed Gay Marriage
– gave Planned Parenthood 5 Billion to build abortion clinics
– gave $50 abortions through Romneycare
– forced Catholic hospitals to give out birth control
– Planned Parenthood placed on Oversight Committee
– one of tougher gun laws in country made permanent and vague
– 3/4 of judge appointments Democrat or agenda-driven Independents (Romney bragged: “I have not paid a moment’s notice to nominee’s political leanings.”{–David Souter …. come on down})
– ensuring sanctuary cities get state aid (Shh …. Don’t tell Ann Coulter)
– Raised taxes from 9.3% to 9.9% overall over his time
– Doubled corporate tax rate
– 100s of new “sin” taxes, consumption taxes and carbon taxes (including increasing gas tax, internet sales tax, tax on hunting licenses, etc)
– so much regulation, state only saw 1.4% growth while the Country as a whole witnessed 5.4% over the same time
– 47th in gob creation
– State budget up 37.5%, from $23,011,620,000.00 to $31,649,416,000.00, leaving a Debt per Capita of over $15,000.

Romney received less votes in 2002 than Reagan did in 1980 and 1984. Then again, he never ran as Reagan or as a disciple of Reagan. He did not govern as Reagan. He did not stand up for conservative values. Even George Soros admits, there is very little difference between Romney and Obama. It is time for the Gingrich detractors to start proving Romney is a true conservative. If not, the Specter of 1964 awaits.

Perhaps, it isn’t too late for the Gingrich detractors to get behind the candidacy of Frank Lorenzo, Carl Icahn, or Lucky Luciano. The crack-up continues.


Of Fools and Faith

Of Fools and Faith

Part I


As everyone has realized the political primary season is in full swing. This is the time of year when everyone has an opinion over who not only is the best candidate but who will win the general election. These opinions are held by pundit and voter alike and all of them are most likely to not get one correct lottery number on a Saturday night.

From candidates to pundits to voters, the fools come in various forms and flavors. Candidates like Herman Cain promoted simplistic slogans he could not explain. He got in big trouble when he could not simply explain the Libyan adventure or his exploits with women who were not his wife. Yet, slobbering journalists like Robert Stacy McCain and pundits who have lost their conservative moorings, like Ann Coulter, professed their love and admiration. You see, in their minds, Herman was the one. Cain sold a lot of books to folks who thought he was the one. These books will keep them warm on these cold winter nights.

Michele Bachmann promoted tough rhetoric on defeating Obama. She built her following by playing the victim of Democrat attacks and showing up on any stage promoting herself at TEA Party functions. She was one of us. The problem for Bachmann is the love she felt could not overcome her lying, demagoguery, and an overall lack of legislative accomplishment. She was a show horse, not a work horse. This may explain why she has a problem maintaining a congressional staff. However, before she left the stage, she took down Tim Pawlenty and tried to take down Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich through a series of dishonest lies and demagoguery. The funny thing; she made no such attacks on Mitt Romney. Other than being on her being a prima donna, exactly whose side was/is she on?

John Huntsman ran on his record as a fiscal conservative governor of Utah. He was pro-life and he used to be Obama’s ambassador to China. He also appealed to secularists who mocked evangelicals as Huntsman put science over Faith. Huntsman found financial support from Hilary Clinton supporters. It appears his father has formed an investment partnership with a former CEO of Bain Capital. He basically ran in one state (New Hampshire) and came in third. This was his ceiling and he dropped out a few days later. However, he dropped out just after receiving the endorsement of South Carolina’s largest newspaper, The State. A lot of folks were fooled by the false ascendancy of Huntsman.

The GOP is now down to 5 candidates. I will discuss the five in greater detail later but I want to focus on the Social Conservative leaders who last weekend endorsed Rick Santorum for President. I do not really care who these folks endorse but they are presumably smart people. However, when you take into account Rick Santorum has no money and no organization to run a 50-state race. When you take into account Santorum was trounced by 18 points in his last political race in 2006. When you take into account Santorum has been a big government guy but who is staunchly pro-life and pre-family in an election cycle where big government is the biggest concern of the American voter. When you take into account the rehashed story of Santorum’s wife having a 6-year affair with an abortion doctor before she met and married Santorum. In light of all of these factors, you have to ask; what are you all thinking? Is this wishful thinking based on Faith or some realistic plan to make Santorum viable before Super Tuesday in March? Did you properly vet the candidate or is the idea to have your guy play for the VP slot under Romney?

The funny thing is both Bachmann and Cain (perhaps Huntsman–he wanted to be the anti-Romney but endorsed him upon his exit) seemed to take it easy on Romney during the campaign. There was speculation that both were angling for the VP job. What will Santorum bring to the campaign? PA? The South? The West? Any blue states?

Sometimes, I wonder who is fooling who in this matter; Santorum who is a social conservative but seems to be clueless on economic matters or the Social Conservatives who have put all their credibility on the line on a candidate who is behind in money and organization? When reality strikes both, I wonder what it will do to their reputations?

This is what happens when you abandon Faith in the search for power.