The Genius of Choosing Paul Ryan

Yesterday, Mitt Romney chose Paul Ryan to be his vice-president. There were the usual calumnious brickbats from the Left. Surprisingly, I was intrigued by the skepticism from several conservatives that choosing Ryan was a sign of desperation by Romney and that Ryan may have hurt his future on the national stage.
The choice is classic Romney.

This choice reminds me why he chose Kerry Healey to be his Lt. Gov. in 2002. He endorsed her in the GOP primary. He needed Healey to meander through the landmines of state government. He needs Ryan to meander through the landmines of the federal government. Romney understands his weakness includes not knowing the ins and outs of government. Thus, he finds and supports the best qualified person to help him in this area.

I think before today, Romney was at best a 50/50 proposition to win in November. Romney is raising and holding a boatload of cash but he is not generating much excitement on the ground. Team Romney sees Obama as vulnerable but were trying to win with the “not Obama” mantra. It isn’t enough. Romney isn’t about to lose this race which he has a damn good chance of winning.

Romney needed to tap into the TeaParty mindset that won huge victories in 2010 at the federal and state levels. The Tea Party mindset is one of fiscal conservatism and nowhere near the views of the “birthers”. Folks like Portman, Rubio, and Christie may tickle the fancies of conventional thinkers but choosing Ryan is truly inspired thinking. This is not about just winning 270 electoral votes. It is about putting some traditional blue states in play. It is why I think Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, (where some of the huge victories occurred) are now in play. There will be others like Pennsylvania. This will also force Obama and the Democrats to spend money needed in battleground states to save normally safe blue states.

To be sure, the talking heads on the Left will be parroting the mantra of “pushing Grandma off the cliff” and “teabaggers”. Team Obama has nothing in their arsenal that resemble good ideas and solutions. Their arsenals are replete with demagoguery, divisiveness, and hate. IIRC, Ryan caused Obama to scratch his face with the middle finger in response to Ryan’s questions about ObamaCare. There was also a subsequent public insult made to Ryan by Obama during a public speech at Georgetown University.

Most of all, this choice is a signal to the MSM and the Left that Romney is ready to go mano a mano with Team Obama. They are not afraid of anything the MSM and the Left will throw at them. The GOP House candidates openly embrace the Ryan budget while more and more Democratic candidates are running away from Obama. Perhaps, Obama can proficiently explain why the Federal Government has gone 1200 days without a budget.

While Romney has been raising and saving a lot of cash, Obama has been burning through his raised cash. There is more excitement among the nut-roots to raise money for Elizabeth Warren’s run for the U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts than there is for Obama.

Team Romney now needs to put a consistent message before the American voter. If that message is Paul Ryan, Romney will win and it will not be close. If Romney pulls a Bob Dole and under-utilizes Ryan, it will be a disaster.

Spartan

Romney Needs A Wyche Fowler Moment

Back in 1986, Fowler was running for the US Senate in Georgia against the GOP incumbent Mack Mattingly. Mattingly was to debate Fowler on a local Atlanta station and Mattingly at the last moment cancelled or was delayed. Fowler used his airtime to blast Mattingly. Newt Gingrich called the radio station and asked if Fowler would like to debate him in lieu of Mattingly.

Wyche’s response: “Oh, Newt, I’ve been trying all over this state to debate the organ grinder-I’m sure not going to debate his monkey.” Fowler won that election.

Lately, Romney has been under attack from Obama’s surrogates in the media and in politics.  He has been assailed for not making public his tax returns.  Harry Reid, the Democratic Senate majority leader, insinuated that Romney would not make these returns public because he had not paid any taxes during the years in question.  This calumnious charge extended the shelf life of a non-story.  Even worse, Obama’s superPAC released an ad in which a husband blamed Romney for his wife’s death from cancer.  The ad patently untrue and showed the depths Team Obama will go to destroy their opponent.  The media, which is still in the tank for Obama, demands Romney respond to  each and every allegation.  After all, they know Obama cannot win reelection based on his record in office nor on the substance of his ideas.

In response, Romney needs to drop the gauntlet on Team Obama.  Romney needs to directly challenge Obama to cut out all the surrogates and make this mano a mano between Romney and Obama.  Obama is too dependent on teleprompters and surrogates. The president is like the boxer who amassed a 20-0 record because his manager fixed the bouts. No one’s laid a glove on him. This isn’t a time to pull punches.

Then, Romney needs to hit Obama on issues of substance.  I’d also love to hear Romney weigh in on outsourcing, especially since the president doesn’t understand the word. Something like, “For a guy who doesn’t like outsourcing, he sure does it a lot. The stimulus? He didn’t make that law. He outsourced it to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. Obamacare? He didn’t make that law. He outsourced it to a bunch of special interests groups. The key elements of his entire agenda were outsourced. The president says he has a problem with outsourcing. So do I. I have a problem with a president who outsources leadership. That won’t happen in a Romney administration.”

It is time for Romney realize just how weak Obama is as an incumbent.  This is not only a winnable race but also a realization that the Emperor wears no clothes.  In this case, Obama should be exposed as an empty suit.

Spartan

The Reluctant Mr. Roberts

It has been 14 hours since the news broke that the ObamaCare mandate was held unconstitutional;  at least that was the initial report.  Unfortunately, the report was amended that the ObamaCare mandate was upheld 5-4 on the basis that the mandate was a tax.  What was most shocking was the deciding vote was cast by Chief Justice John Roberts.  There has been reasonable speculation Roberts was actually siding with Scalia’s opinion but changed his conclusion at the last moment.  This allowed folks to wonder whether he was bullied by Obama or merely did not want to confront Obama and the Democrats.  What ever the reason, Roberts exemplified judicial cowardice.

The apologetics, concerning Roberts’ decision, from the Left and the Right has been an assortment of wishful thinking and delusion.  Glenn Reynolds compared Roberts to Chief Justice John Marshall in the Marbury case.  Reynolds does point out that Senate rules do not allow a filibuster when the bill under consideration has to do with imposing or repealing a tax.  Thus, if the GOP take the Senate and the presidency, they will not need 60 votes to repeal the individual mandate. Ezra Klein, of Journalist fame, praises Roberts for putting himself above partisan reproach.  It is funny how such praise emanates from the political left when they get their way.  Roberts will likely earn a “Profiles in Courage” award from the Kennedy family.

What Roberts and his apologetics missed is the version of ObamaCare that became law originated in the Senate.  Article 1, section 7, clause 1 of the Constitution stipulates that all tax bills must originate in the House.

Some will continue to believe that such an omission was unintentional.  I submit such omissions are intentional.  After all, the Supreme Court decided in favor of McCain-Feingold in spite of the explicit language in the First Amendment which states:  “Congress shall make no law …” .  The same Supreme Court that can find rights of life and liberty for everyone but the unborn.

Some people will continue to look for silver linings in this decision.  The end result is this decision allows Congress to tax inactivity.  There are no limits now to what Congress may tax.

The Supreme Court, which used to be the buffer between a zealous Congress, an ambitious President, and the American people, has lost any sense of independence;  something every American lost with this opinion.

Spartan

Today, Our Flag Is At Half-Mast

Early Sunday morning, my father-in-law passed away at the age of 80.  His heart, ravaged from the effects of Agent Orange could not circulate enough blood throughout his body.  Eventually, he lost his right leg and part of his left foot.  In his weakened condition, he caught a bacterial infection and his kidneys began to shut down.  He suffered during his last few days but he fought valiantly against all odds.  Then again, that was his nature.

He had served in the U.S. Army for 20 years.  He earned two Purple Hearts;   one during the Korean conflict and the other during the Vietnam War.  After spending some time with the infantry, Robert wanted to join the Airborne.  Because of his short stature, his superiors were skeptical he could make it in the Airborne.  With grit and determination, Robert not only became a member of the Airborne but he also became a Pathfinder.  He was a member of the first team to successfully jump out of a jet plane.  In time, Robert wanted to attain the rank of Jump Master.  Once again, his superiors were skeptical he could succeed in attaining the rank.  With the same grit and determination, Robert became a Jump Master.  In fact, if you or someone you knew was ever thrown out of a perfectly good working airplane at Fort Benning during the mid-to-late 1960’s, the odds were pretty good you were tossed out by the shortest man ever to become Jump Master.

Robert was an ordinary man who performed extraordinary feats.  He maintained his humility at all times.  He never bragged about his exploits nor was he willing to cross swords with fools who desired to belittle his tenure in the Army.  Along with his Purple Hearts, he was awarded a Silver Star and a Bronze Star.  He also earned good conduct medals (6) and other military citations.

However, his personal life was not as idyllic.  His first wife, with whom he had three children, passed away from cancer at the age of 33.  Three months before her death, their son Ronnie was killed by a drunk driver at the age of 11.  He remarried and remained married for 43 years until she also passed away from cancer.  He battled many health issues but that did not stop him from enjoying life.  He enjoyed fishing off the pier at Panama City Beach and shooting golf at Tyndall Air Force Base.  He also would volunteer his time to the local police department and his church.  He was quite the handyman;  adept at carpentry, plumbing, and as an electrician.

What was idyllic was the time he spent with his only grandchild, my daughter.  He loved to take walks with her through the “ jungle” and swim with her in the pool.  The two even shared a helicopter ride.  I remember one instance when his wife was concerned that he had not taken his prescribed medication for almost 2 hours.  He soon walked into the condo with his granddaughter showing no effect from the lack of medicine.  His wife remarked that he looked very good despite he had not taken his medicine.  I guess love is always the best medicine.

After the death of the second wife, I was driving him for a round of golf.  He remarked that he could be buried in three locations.  I knew the answer to the first two locations and asked him what was the third location.  He responded:  “Arlington”.

Since his passing, my wife and her brother have had a terrible row over where to bury their father.  My wife initially agreed with me that he should be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.  Her brother desired to have him buried at Fort Benning.  My wife was willing to compromise with her brother but everything blew up when he learned that only I had authority to sign checks on my father-in-law’s account.  He never realized/knew that his father had changed his will and made my wife executrix of his estate.  Only the mere fluke of an employee of the Georgia Department of motor vehicles misspelling my wife’s name on her driver’s license kept her from having that authority.  It’s funny how these things work out.

In accordance with my father-in-law’s wishes, a small service will be held in Atlanta (likely Monday) and he will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.  His granddaughter will be the recipient of the flag.

Godspeed Robert P Sherman

Spartan

Chuck Colson RIP

Chuck Colson passed away yesterday at the age of 80. I never had the honor of meeting him but he was one of those political characters from my youth. My father once told me of a political dirty trick instigated by Chuck Colson in 1966 on behalf of Elliot Richardson in the Massachusetts race for Attorney General. The target was Francis X Bellotti, the Democratic nominee for AG. With about a week before the general election, a rumor was floated through the media that Bellotti was taking campaign money from members of the Mafia. The rumor was not true but by the time the truth came out ( remember, this was before the Internet), Bellotti’s support imploded and Richardson won the race.

Chuck Colson later became an advisor to Richard Nixon. Colson, a former Marine, was not only politically astute but was mentally and physically tough. He was the epitome of the saying: “No greater friend, no worse enemy.”
Chuck Colson had power and prestige. He also ended up in legal trouble for using his political office to go after Daniel Ellsberg and spent time in jail. It was this time in prison when Chuck Colson became a great man. Colson accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior and began a 40 year journey preaching the Gospel word to prisoners and non-prisoners. To be sure, he had many skeptics who (still) believed that his conversion was an act to minimalize his prison sentence. His dedication to his ministry and personal humility belie such silly speculation.

Unfortunately, we still live in a society incapable of forgiving political sins. For many, Chuck Colson’s greatest sin was becoming a Christian. These folks never will understand the essence of life. Perhaps, the legacy of Chuck Colson will influence them and continue to influence many others.
Godspeed, Chuck Colson.

Spartan

The 11th Commandment and Rule 11

With Rick Santorum dropping out of the GOP primary, it appears Mitt Romney will be the GOP nominee for president this November.  Romney, relying on his money and organization, destroyed his competition.  The constant barrage of negative advertising on Gingrich and Santorum made it impossible for either candidate to maintain a message.  Romney did have assistance from Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann taking out contenders Rick Perry and Tim Pawlenty.  It strikes me as odd that Romney, who has been seen by some as the next Reagan, would violate Reagan’s 11th commandment;  thou shall not speak ill of other Republicans.  (It should be noted the phrase was first spoken by Gaylord Parkinson, the California GOP chairman in 1965.) I still believe that the negative attacks by the Romney campaign and his SuperPAC will have consequences come November.  Romney is still not trusted by many conservatives and appears to continue to try to grasp conservative principles.  I am not sure if anyone knows what Mitt Romney will do when/if he becomes president.  Romney will be spending the next several months trying to win over his adversaries and the conservative base.  Unfortunately for Romney, this will take away from postulating a positive and embracing message for the general election. It will be a tough balancing act to win over social conservatives while trying to woo the support of moderate women.

Romney’s opponent in November is Barack Obama.  Obama is unable to run on his record.  Outside of taking out bin Laden, Obama’s domestic and foreign policies have been a disaster.  However, Obama has two cards left to play;  political warfare and Rule 11. Rule 11 comes from Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals:  “ Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” We have seen this in the attacks on Ann Romney.  This was no accident, no slip of the tongue.  I use the plural “ attacks” because it was not just a statement by Democratic operative Hillary Rosen.  It was the after effect of Rosen’s statement when thousands echoed her comment except they used much coarser language.  This is quite shameful.  I am not much of a fan of the feckless Mitt Romney but from all appearances his wife Ann seems to be completely genuine.  These kind of attacks are politically stupid.  It also says a lot about the Democratic base if they need these kind of attacks keep up their enthusiasm for Obama.

However, Romney himself is more susceptible to rule 11. I can see attacks on Romney’s record as governor of Massachusetts, his record at Bain Capital, his wooden personality, his wealth, and even his Mormon religion is not out of bounds. Lawrence O’Donnell, the vitriolic and venomous MSNBC pundit has made it quite clear that Romney’s Mormon religion is very much germane as a campaign issue.

I am sure the Romney campaign will complain about these attacks but the media will be doing the vetting that the GOP and the GOP primary voters failed to do. This will be the same media that failed to vet Obama in 2008 and continues to be on his side. The Romney campaign will complain about fairness, but in light of their scurrilous attacks during the primaries, the complaints will fall on deaf ears.

Obama will also create  various “ wars” to distract the electorate from his meager record.  We have and will see wars against women, wars against the rich, wars against the poor, wars against conservatives, wars against Israel, and wars against the speculators.  Most of these “ wars” are phony but unfortunately, Romney has a very bad habit of agreeing with Obama’s observations.  This kind of “ me-tooism” will further erode Romney’s potential support. In the rush to make Romney the next Reagan, some people have forgotten not only Reagan’s 11th commandment but they have also forgotten Reagan’s clarion call of “ raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people”.

Some people see Romney as Reagan,  I see him as another George H W Bush.  We live in very interesting times.

Spartan

On Wisconsin

On March 12, 2012, Stanley Fish wrote the following in the New York Times:

“I know the objections to what I have said here. It amounts to an apology for identity politics. It elevates tribal obligations over the universal obligations we owe to each other as citizens. It licenses differential and discriminatory treatment on the basis of contested points of view. It substitutes for the rule ‘don’t do it to them if you don’t want it done to you’ the rule ‘be sure to do it to them first and more effectively‘. It implies finally that might makes right. I can live with that.”

Now, this article was trying to make the case to justify war on Rush Limbaugh but not a war on Bill Maher. I posit the same principles are being utilized to justify the ongoing political war being waged by the Democratic Party and the public service unions in Wisconsin against Gov. Scott Walker and other elected officials. If you believe all will be well in the US if only President Obama were defeated this November, then I submit that Wisconsin is the proverbial “canary in the coal mine”.

In November of 2010, the GOP swept Wisconsin politics. The governor, the lieutenant governor, the State House, the State Senate, and the U.S. Senate seat held by Russ Feingold were won by the GOP. In 2011,Gov. Walker introduced a bill to restrict the right to collective bargaining by the public unions. This was done to relieve some of the financial pressure on the state and municipalities. The Democratic Party and the unions did not take this lying down and led a movement that not only facilitated the fleeing from the state of Democratic legislators but included public demonstrations utilizing violence, threats of violence, and intimidation. When this failed to stop the passage of the bill, the Democratic Party and the unions utilized Wisconsin’s recall law; targeting for GOP state senators. The unions spent close to $30 million and only won two of these races. The state Senate remained in the hands of the GOP.

In November of 2011, emboldened by the rejection of a similar collective bargaining bill by referendum in Ohio, the Democratic Party and the unions embarked on recalling not only Gov. Walker but the lieutenant governor and four state senators. Of course, this was all done under the guise of nonpartisanship.

The Democratic Party and their union allies submitted over 1 million signatures to recall Gov. Walker. Their allies in the media were thrilled. Despite cases of people bragging of signing the recall petition 80 times and signatures of Donald Duck, Bugs Bunny, and Adolf Hitler, the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board decided it would not check signatures. So much for ensuring the integrity of elections in Wisconsin. However, a county circuit Judge ruled that the state GAB needed to take more aggressive action to vet recall signatures stating, “counting the signature of Bugs Bunny is something only a lawyer make seem okay”.

There is an air of desperation from the Democratic Party and their union allies. A recent report showed that membership in organized labor unions in Wisconsin dropped by 16,000 according to the latest data from the US Bureau of Labor statistics. This is almost a 1% decrease from 2010. Although labor unions gained members in 19 states last year, union membership nationally dropped from 11.9% of the employed population in 2010 to 11.8% in 2011; continuing a decades long trend. Union members also tended to be older than nonunion members, according to the BLS data. Union membership is 15.7% among workers 55 to 64, but 4.4% for those 16 to 24. The Democratic Party is in danger of losing not only a base of power but also the millions of dollars the unions would generate for political campaigns and causes. Recalling Gov. Scott Walker is a matter of political life and death. At this time, it appears the primaries will be held on May 8 and the general election June 5; that is assuming that GAB request is granted.

It should be noted that the anti-Walker forces are leaving no stone unturned. They have challenged the state voter identification law and a Wisconsin judge has struck down said law. Oddly, the judges and other government officials who have ruled against Walker and these laws have also signed the recall petition against Walker. Most people would consider this a conflict of interest; but obviously not in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin has always been notorious for a lax voter standards. Anecdotes range from Marquette University students registering and voting multiple times on election day to people crossing state lines in order to vote on election day. The Democrats have never been keen on cracking down on potential voter fraud. The obvious reason is voter fraud is one of the very few things they are really good at.

They have also caused one of the GOP state senators, who was subject to the recall, to resign. It appears she was the target of a harassing e-mail campaign by an AFSCME Union official. Although she stated her health was her reason for leaving, her statement, “for the sake of the electorate, I hope that better days are ahead for this institution”, seems to allude to the threats and intimidation she and others have had to encounter since taking on the Democratic power structure.

The events in Wisconsin seem to prove the observation that in a state of confusion the actions of a few committed people can have devastating consequences to the opposition. The blame for these events should be placed on the few whose desire for power is greater than the need for civility. This country was founded on ideas. For better and worse, this country has changed politically because of ideas. However, we have always been civil and have accepted the consequences of elections.

Something has changed in the last 20 years. The level of incivility is unsustainable. As a result, there is a lack of dialogue to change arcane and unsustainable policies. It is a “win at all costs and take no prisoners” attitude established by raw emotion instead of logic. Instead of embracing the concepts and beliefs of conservatism or liberalism, proponents seek to strong-arm and/or destroy those who do not embrace their beliefs.

It will be interesting to see the results of this recall in Wisconsin. I understand the fear and dread the Democratic Party and their union allies have over the policies of Scott Walker. Residents of Wisconsin have seen their property taxes stabilize for the first time in many years. Will they give in to these tactics of threat and intimidation by the Democratic Party and their union allies?

A loss by Walker and the GOP will end not only the idea of fiscal responsibility to the cash strapped local governments but it will embolden Democrats and their union allies to intimidate and threaten any entity or person who dares interfere with their power structure. It will not just be contained to Wisconsin. It will become a national movement to counter any change to their entitlements. These folks care nothing for ideas and civility. They have no respect and venomous contempt for anyone who disagrees with their views.

A victory by Walker and the GOP will bring shivers of terror to the national Democratic Party. It will change an area of the country the national GOP abandoned 15 years ago. This is the paradigm shift. It is truly on Wisconsin.

Spartan