Tag Archives: Independents

Americans abandon Democratic and Republican Brands – U.S. Political Party Identification as of September 2012

U.S. Political Party Identification

For the first time since polls began asking the question ‘Do you consider yourself a ______’, both the Democrats and Republicans have significantly lost brand association with Americans.

I consider myself ‘an Independent’ overtook both Democratic and Republican brand identification in early-2011 and has held its #1 identification spot ever since.

Voter Identification by Party as of 2012.09.30

Voter Identification by Party as of 2012.09.30 PollTracker

The biggest loser appears to be the GOP.

Loss of identification with being ‘Republican’ is strange since the the percentage of Americans that consider themselves ‘conservative’ remains a strongly dominating 46% over the 20% that identify as ‘liberal’. The Conservative brand has remained strong since 1980, never once dropping below 40% per Gallup.

Voter ideologic identification - 2012 0900

Voter ideologic identification per Gallup.com

One response from some Republicans is that loss of identification with the GOP just represents those conservatives unhappy with the party itself, and thus they declare themselves to be independent.

HOWEVER, when Independents are asked which party they lean towards then the Democrats have consistently come out ahead (Gallup Sep 2012) which can only be interpreted as a significant number of center-right Americans find it difficult to sympathisze with the Republican Party itself as the better choice over the Democratic Party.

Party Identification as of 2012 0900 per Gallup.com

Party Identification as of September 2012 per Gallup.com

Sources: http://polltracker.talkingpointsmemo.com/contests/us-party-identification and http://www.gallup.com/poll/15370/party-affiliation.aspx

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Who is Bill4DogCatcher.com? 2011 Summer Update.

I am conservative on the libertarian side.

I aspire to one day be appointed to the position of Advocatus Diaboli — am also willing to take my chances in an election.

Am centrist by nature. I am ALWAYS right but realize that I am responsible for convincing others of my wisdom; failing persuasion a deal may be needed.

Was born a Democrat (in a state that hadn’t elected a Republican to office in 100+ years) but joined ‘Democrats for Nixon’ in 1974 and have this really neat thank you letter from a guy known as Jeb Stuart Magruder.

Was active in the 1980 Reagan campaign as a regional college organizer (even put on a rock concert for the Gipper with my role being ‘the producer’).

1980 and thereafter I maintained my partisan independence as a person that still voted for the individual over the party — but when I didn’t know either candidate I voted Republican. Since I was in the military I adhered to a strict stance of non-political for any candidate or political party. Although I still sent $$ to the NRC and have a 1983 memento in the form of a plastic NRC membership card with ‘Sargeant William Golden’ embossed — just like a credit card except that I sent them money and got Reagan in return.

My faith in the Republican Party began to waiver strongly in 2003 with the Iraq war and the faux conservatism of much of the Republican Party. By 2009 I called it quits on being an ‘R’ and am now a devout independent.

Will drink beer/wine/coffee/tea with anyone … that is buying.

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Bill4DogCatcher to launch his own political party. All dogs in the neighborhood invited. Cats also welcome … maybe.

As DogCatcher in a good neighborhood, I don’t always have a lot of critters to be chasing down.

Now if I were in your neighborhood I would be concerned.

That’s the way politics works. My stuff is OK but you have problems.

Since dogs aren’t good at observing boundaries it often seems that your problems become mine, and mine yours.

Have tried TEA. Have tried coffee. Have met a lot of good people. Haven’t met a lot of other dog catchers.

So I was thinking: what if there was a group for fiscally conservative, socially liberal and pragmatic people. Centrists. Whether they lean right or lean left matters less than they all believe that we are one people of different hues all in this together. What if?

We could be a party. We could be an advocacy group called a party. We could be a philosophical grouping of people that became a party. We could just have a party and draw straws as to who does what next.

My line of thought is to form something called a party and to work out the details when we have a second member. We would endorse candidates in 2012 and look to run candidates and/or endorse candidates in 2014.

We do not even have to be an exclusive party. Whether now or in the future, if a Democrat or a Republican or an Independent fits the bill then we could endorse them and they can remain whatever they are, or want to be. Let’s not reinvent the wheel. Let’s get people of 80% likemindedness together where they have a political home without having to lean left or right.

(And it is amazing how some have managed to avoid tipping over the edges of known reality.)

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The BIG Question

I posed the question on Facebook: Who is for starting the LDP – Libertarian Democratic Party?

Don’t worry about the name too much. We can fix that. Suggestions welcome.

All the good names are taken: Beer Party, Coffee Party, Tea Party, Fizzy Cola Party.

My thoughts about the LDP – Libertarian Democratic Party.

Libertarian – there needs to be a solid focus on both freedom of the individual and on personal responsibility. I do believe in minimal government, but that requires that people and institutions be responsible for their actions. With freedom comes responsibility. Let’s talk and focus on that. Let’s also recognize that Americans come in different colors and often prefer to hold hands with different people than you or I might choose. Let’s balance budgets, build roads, foster great schools and not focus on excluding people because of their preference for strawberry ice cream with lime over just vanilla or chocolate.

Democratic – this word makes some people crazy. My thoughts here are that it needs to be understood that we are open and working for all Americans. You could be conservative. You could be liberal. You could be permanently undecided. You could be so independent that your vote changes 4 times between your car and the voting booth. The question though is whether you are willing to work for the greater good of all Americans.

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George asks …

Over the last year or so while exploring I met George. George is one tough guy.

You know the two cranky guys up in the balcony in the Muppets? George can out-critique the both of them.

Just as Pinocchio had Jiminy Cricket to keep him on the straight and narrow, I have George.

Not that I am Pinocchio but hopefully you get the drift of where I am going with this … George keeps me honest in a grumpy 24/7 reviewer-in-the-balcony kind of way. He never seems to run out of tomatoes and slightly aged eggs.

So George read my Facebook entry and asked:

I suppose if you are serious about running for office, you must first decide at what level. If it is to be at the federal level, how do you plan to:

A. Solve the debt problem?
B. Create jobs?
C. End the wars?
D. Fix Social Security and Medicare?

Next question–if you do run for office at any level–what are you going to do on the second day you are in office?

A. Start working on getting reelected?
B. Start working on the problems as you perceive them?
C. Go on some lobbyist sponsored trip/cruise/flight to see ???

If you don’t have answers to these questions–why bother?

George is dependable like that. He has questions and he already doesn’t like the answers … even before he gets them.

I like George … we all need Georges in our lives.

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Dear George and Bill4DogCatcher.com Readers:

Assuming that people elect you to fulfill some level of promises made during the campaign I would start to work on those promises.

As for the four issues that were raised by George:

Federal Debt and Deficits

How to solve the debt problem — the shortterm fix is to slow or halt the growth of the debt. The U.S. paid out approximately $436 billion just in interest payments during 2010. Should our credit rating be downgraded to AA then the interest rate on our borrowing would probably rise to 3-4% and the interest paid out could almost double … we are only paying 1-2% now with our AAA rating.

>> How to slow: require that all expenditures have a funding source.

There are two major challenges here: war expenses and entitlements. It would probably be fruitless to insist that the black hole known as national defense actually be paid for but it we should try. Almost half of 2010’s deficit spending — $840 billion — went just to discretionary spending for defense and security. Add the regular defense budget to that and about 1/10th of American GDP went just to funding war in 2010.

The second major challenge is entitlement spending. Medicare is beyond broke on the financial side of the house, with an estimated $38 trillion never collected for the trust fund but which will be needed over the next 20 years. Put another way, to rescue medicare as we know it will require about 1/7th of annual U.S. GDP for 20 years. Medicare needs triage: it needs to become means tested, higher copays, and the basic medicare tax needs to be raised.

>> Whatever we can do make it more efficient just goes without saying as medicare is not a program full of pork.

On the debt in the longer term, we need to raise taxes by 5-7% and rescind the Bush tax cuts. The 5-7% tax increase should be sunset provisioned so that the tax goes away automatically once the debt can be serviced via other measures such a increased revenues or when it falls below a certain level.

Jobs Creation

How to create jobs — this is a tricky question for me. I believe that we are undergoing a permanent realignment of how people work and that the very definition of ‘work’ and ‘career’ is changing. The skills are changing too.

>> I firmly believe that we are in a period where new jobs in raw numbers will be almost non-existent between now and 2024. Jobs for junior professionals will begin to open up in 2016-2017. Maybe. Our market will not reach equilibrium until we begin to reach the end of the Boomer generation leaving the work force.

Creating jobs — my immediate focus would be on getting credit markets to provide low cost loans to small businesses. Small business finds credit hard to come by, yet small business has created 2 out of 3 jobs since 2007.

I would also focus on infrastructure and education as a way to create jobs.

Infrastructure — very high speed internet needs to be everywhere. It must be so common that no one evens thinks about having access to it. The Internet is a huge enabler and cost reducer for business.

Physical infrastructure also needs attention. I believe that states, counties and cities should take the lead in this. Rather than block grants I believe that very low cost loans need to be made to these more local governments to fund specific projects.

Education — There is no good reason that a college degree should be so expensive. We can not dictate to schools what they should charge for a quality education, but we should encourage certain behavior via funding low cost education loans for students that attend schools with high graduation rates for those skills that are in demand within communities.

Ending the Wars & War in General

The wars — Thomas Jefferson said that the best way to prevent most wars from happening is to ask people to pay for them as they occur.

>> Jefferson “It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.”

Short of a declared war, and short of our ability to pay for it, we should pay for defense in full, just like all other parts of the federal budget should be paid for via balanced budgets.

We do not need credit card wars except with threat is imminent and we have not had time to prepare.

I would also encourage the greater use of special forces, remote and standoff attack capabilities such as drone warfare and drone overwatch, and I would grow the capabilities of our human intelligence elements on the ground.

I am not an isolationist. We should be very proactive in the world and I would like to see our forces prepositioned and stationed around the world as much as possible. This is good not only for having a highly experience force but also for developing an understanding of the world.

We need to stop reacting. We need greater cultural awareness and relationships with other countries. The world needs to know that we are not going to become isolationists due to our overreach in both Iraq and in Afghanistan.

Social Security and Medicare

>> Medicare I’ve addressed as part of national debt.

>> Social Security — there are issues but they are not insurmountable. Social Security is now an American institution and absolutely essential to the prosperity of the country as a whole — we cannot return to the days when retirement often meant a lowered quality of life for many Americans, perhaps 1 in 3.

To stabilize Social Security, I would support:

— raising the retirement age to 69, or unchanged for those that are disabled and prevented from working before age 69.

— means testing for two levels of benefits. Social Security survived its 1937 Supreme Court challenge because the Roosevelt Administration argued that it was not an insurance program. It was to be a tax that provided assistance to those that needed it — that was the argument.

We can probably make sure that those need it actually get it by means testing.

I would also consider capping the annual payout so that it matched available trust funds. For example, if someone were scheduled to receive $1750 per month and the trust funds fully supported that with no red ink projected then $1750 would be the check received.

However, if trust fund were low and the trust only supported $1600 then the payment would be lowered to $1600.

This would be adjusted monthly.

This approach could be seen as ‘not keeping the promise’. Payout according to funds availability is much better than the program collapsing due to lack of funding.

People need to feel the effect of their economic decisions. If the trust fund is running low and Americans support higher taxes or alternative funding methods then good, else the budget must be balanced.

… as for what I am really going to do on my second day in office, the questions that George gave me were:

A. Start working on getting reelected?
B. Start working on the problems as you perceive them?
C. Go on some lobbyist sponsored trip/cruise/flight to see ???

My answers, having been a DogCatcher for awhile:

A — Day 2 is always the first day of your next campaign.

B — Yes, start working on problem solving … and learning the ropes of how things work once the door is closed. As someone that is independent minded it will take a while to gain the trust and the shared insight of those that are reelected incumbents and that control the real processes at work.

C — =^) … with my luck and junior status a junket for me would probably be to watch potatoes grow in Idaho as I move up the agricultural committee foodchain.

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Republicana & Reagancrats – Summer of 2011 – Shoals or Era of Accomplishment?

I’m an answers person. Show me your footnotes and I’ll show you mine.

Not too long ago (2009) I was a Republican, and had been ever since I switched back in November 1979 when Ronald Reagan announced he was running for president.

So reality is that I was probably always a RINO: a Reagancrat and Republican in Name Only.

As a Reagancrat I did not get all hot and bothered about what Hayek may or may not have said. It is not like he ever had a real job of his own, or as if anyone has ever put his economic theory into action. Yet, the spirit of Hayek rules the Republican Party today.

As a Reagancrat I wanted a more efficient government that minimally got involved in my life, balanced the budget and provide a safe world for me and my kids to live in. Dogma and doctrine were for the other folks.

The challenge through the years is that Republicans came to believe that dogma and doctrine were reality. All things in moderation. Reality is that Republicans are no longer pragmatists. We Reagancrats love pragmatists.

Here is a quote that summarizes how I see the Republican mindset at work today:

“I can believe things that are true and things that aren’t true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they’re true or not.” — Neil Gaiman

A problem for us Reagancrats is that there is no other party to go to once we raise the white flag on being Republican. I am a self-declared independent and probably will be for life … or until I find a new home. Certainly there is no home for us Reagancrats in the Democratic Party.

Will the Republicans return to pragmatism as a way of life?

Patience may be the only plan. The Republicans will find themselves in dangerous waters this June and July. They have painted themselves into a corner on economic issues and pronouncements. THEY have responsibility for producing the 2012 national budget by mid-July. THEY have to lead the negotiations in taxes and debt management for 2012. And THEY have to devise a plan that can pass the senate and get the president’s signature before the country absolutely runs out of money on August 12th.

So far the Tea Party has been successful largely because they have not been responsible for anything — not under the Tea Party name. Their activist base has adopted the Republican Party and pragmatism is being held hostage. Lots of Reagancrats in the rank and file, but not comfortably. Reagancrats probably agree a lot more with Ron Paul than Newt Gingrich and the 24/7 I’m mad as hell and don’t have a plan gang that want to return America to something that it never really was.

It is easy to spout Jefferson (whom I do like greatly) and to sling verbal flaming arrows at a President that inherited a disaster, but Republicans must soon enough put their names and ideas to paper.

As I see it, being hopeful as well, Republicans, the Tea Party and their encouragers will fracture badly by late summer of 2011. The challenge will be whether this moves them further to the right (paranoia is seldom self-healing) or whether they agree that they cannot agree — this could be the opening per se for pragmatists to play a greater role in the party … but probably not. The force is strong against pragmatism.

There will be no rise in pragmatism within Republicana until after the results of the 2012 election, when the pressure to maintain viability will cause the party to relook its housecleaning efforts of RINOs, the folks that are the real Republicans — one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for ALL.

If the summer of 2011 and the 2012 election does not cause rethinking then I am not sure that the party is capable any longer of introspection. Republicans are already in deep trouble once we hit 2014-2015 due to major demographic changes so let us hope that this summer causes them to see the light sooner than too late.

Maybe we Reagancrats should just remain wandering gypsies in America’s political fabric — flipping party control from one election to the next. Hmmm….

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Bill4DogCatcher sez about Dems, Reps, Weasels, Cojones and Unemployed Circus Clowns

I am just amazed. As a fiscal conservative there are a ton of things that I would do to rein in spending. And I bet that we could get Democrats on board too.

Hooray for the Gang of Six.

As a responsible fiscal conservative I also understand that you have got to give to get. Some might call that compromise. It depends on whether you are selling your pride or your principals for cheap.

Pride should never be allowed to get in the way. And you aren’t selling your principals for cheap if you get most of what you want.

Charles Krauthammer — arch conservative — had a great piece in the Washington Post this morning on Paul Ryan’s budgetary plan. Called ‘‘After Ryan’s leap, a rush of deficit demagoguery“, even Krauthammer doubts that there is a Republican other than Ryan that even has a clue about the numbers and that can explain what they mean.

As to Krauthammer’s point, Republicans are already pulling the rug out from under Paul Ryan by having introduced an ALL NEW plan yesterday.

Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio and his allies essentially say that transitioning society to a different self-sustainable way across 50 years is about … 41 years and 9 months too long. We either get right by 2020 or sooner.

BTW – the Jim Jordan plan: some talking points. The essence of the Tea Party (and the meandering left, too): talking points, ideology, no math, no evidence balancing social programs with critical stuff such as credit card wars, blank check security spending, etc.

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As for the federal shutdown soap opera: what a mess WE created.

We are the collective American voters that claim we want an independent-minded Congress and yet continuously elect people that vote the party line, of both parties.

However, we wouldn’t be arguing about an impending shutdown if the last Democratically-controlled Congress passed a budget, or even made an attempt.

To their credit, the current lineup of Democrats have compromised/agreed to much more than the $30 billion in cuts wanted by House Speaker Boehner and the Republican leadership. Hooray for meeting the Republicans more than half-way.

Although the Republicans then filled the spending agreement with poison pill programmatic bill riders that no self-respecting Democrat would vote for — note: Democrats have a long history of doing the same so there! Weasels.

Sober up folks! A shutdown might be good.

To the Democrats that are crying in their hands about how unfair and uncaring Republicans, especially Tea Partyers, are, then I have a few thoughts for you:

    #1 – What Wusses! You had 59 votes in the Senate for all of 2010 and yet you were too scared to take a vote on the budget in the lame duck Congress for fear of a Republican/Tea Party filibuster? Hello, did someone just invent filibusters?

    #2 – You, the Democrats never even finalized a budget bill. There was no Senate version that matched a House version. So a vote was not even possible until that happened, yet you say that you didn’t vote because of the threat of a filibuster.

    #3 – After the election you could have called a special session and worked on the budget until the Senate and the House resolved the wording and came up with a single plan.

    #4 – Screw the Tea Party. Democrats need to stop being afraid of their own shadows and need to hire an unemployed circus clown to bring some organization to the party. Many Americans may think that Republicans are mean, scary and could care less BUT why not just rename your party ‘the Jellyfish Confederation’ and be done with it.

    Tip: Ask Bill Clinton to explain what cojones are.


Bottomline:

When Congress and the parties come to understand that ‘We the people’ includes a whole spectrum of beliefs other than the snakeoil-of-the-day being peddled by individual congressmen then maybe, just maybe, we will have a better government capable of passing next year’s budget before next year is almost half over.

A pox on them all!

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If you want my vote: ‘Just the facts’. No garbage, please.

Even though a chart is technical correct, being correct can also mislead.

The Daily Kos chart below is fairly impressive and would seem to support Democrats as being good for business.

Reality is that the market responds quite well under Democrats. So let’s not take away from that by seriously misleading as to how current Dow Jone Industrial Average (DIJA) stock performance is or has performed.

The chart below comes from an article entitled ‘Just the facts, please: Stock performance under Clinton, Bush, and Obama‘.

Just the facts should be just that.

However the Daily Kos chart misleads as to how well the market is responding under President Obama.

The DIJA is responding well — but it is not better than at the height of the Bush Administration. The market has just recovered to where it was, although this chart makes it seem that it is far better than it ever was under Bush.

In the chart below I have added the annual performance of the DIJA  since 1992 (’92 3.1K) and added a corrected market performance depiction for 2007/2008 (the thin red line).

My point is that I look forward to accuracy.

As an independent I vote for members of both parties, and the occasional independent or libertarian if I believe that they can win.  We have elected independents and some Reform Party officials in my part of Virginia so voting for them is not a wasted vote.

My point is that it bothers me greatly when an article that has much going for it so biases its data that its validity as a whole becomes questionable.

If you want our votes as independents, and our votes pick the winners in the general election, then don’t feed us garbage.

I look forward to just the facts.
Sources:

Original Chart: Just the facts, please: Stock performance under Clinton, Bush, and Obamahttp://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/03/31/962053/-Just-the-facts,-please:-Stock-performance-under-Clinton,-Bush,-and-Obama

DIJA Annual Performance: http://www.1stock1.com/1stock1_139.htm

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One Year Later — I’m not Satan, and you ain’t Lucifer … even though you drink coffee, tea and/or koolaid.

One year ago today on a very cold, snowy Saturday I got up and went to the national kickoff of the Coffee Party, here in Prince William, Virginia.

Later that day I sat down and wrote my observations in “I’m not Satan, and you ain’t Lucifer … even though you drink coffee, tea and/or koolaid.”

I also explored the TEA Party, even becoming a local chapter founder and coordinator.

Have since gone inactive with both TEA and Coffee. But along the way I met some of the most amazing people.

The Prince William Coffee Party had a very short life. Stuff happens. However, I have made a number of lasting relationships with these folks. And I look forward to working with them for years to come.

As an independent-minded American I have questions. Am looking for answers. Life is complex. I want more than simplistic answers.

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I’m not Satan, and you ain’t Lucifer … even though you drink coffee, tea and/or koolaid.
— 2010.03.13

OK, so I did it. I went to the local Coffee Party on Saturday, March 13th.

I’m conservative with a long track record of supporting whatever walks the right side of the street. Although born a Democrat, back in 1972 I even joined the ‘Democrats for Nixon’ campaign as a highschooler — in Florida there were no Republicans elected to state office until 1978. None. Long story short: I have never identified with liberal or Democratic groups, even though I was born a Democrat — registering as a Republican only when that other former Democrat ‘God bless Ronald Reagan’ ran for president.

Bottomline: I wasn’t sure how these Coffee folks would take to someone with an NRA ballcap, who openly describes themself as conservative, or how they would deal with someone willing to discuss issues from a more conservative perspective. Certainly I have seen how more liberal-minded people were treated by the opposing view in my community — not a pretty sight.

There were a few things said by fellow attendees that made my ears twitch. At one point a group moderator even pointed me out and said “OK, so you smiling. So why the smile?” Blink. Blink. “Oh, crap” thought I. “She mistaked my smirk for a smile.” Time to put up or to shut up. So I did. Blink. Blink. “OK, well that’s a helpful perspective to understand a different view”, said she … and on we moved in the conversation. Hmmm …

Our group conversation focused on issues that we all individually believe should be of interest and worthy of group investigation. The issues added up: 15, 20, 25 … perhaps 30 different issues got listed. Then each participant got two votes to select two issues that they personally would like the group to focus on. Issues with the most votes were rolled into four study groups.

Hmmm … so the rumors that I heard beforehand that this was just a disguised group pimping for liberal causes or the Democratic party were … they were … bogus. Solidly bogus.

By the day’s end I found myself in the ‘Financial Oversight’ issue study group responsible for issues such as taxation, banking regulation, etc.

Boom! So now we would get our agenda if it were ever to happen. Someone would surely guide the study groups to what breadcrumbs should be followed. Nope. Didn’t happen.

We six group members decided what topics we wanted to study, set our own agenda for meeting, created a Facebook page to exchange info and to build whitepapers that can be used within the group and for approaching our legislators. The Coffee leadership didn’t even get involved in asking what we had decided upon. They’ll find out when we report back later in the month.


I’m not Satan, and you ain’t Lucifer … even though you drink coffee, tea and/or koolaid.

America stands at a crossroads. We are always arriving at some crossroad but the issues today are huge and imminently in front of us. The outcome will directly affect our children and grandchildren, leaving them incredible debt. We owe trillions to foreign countries and investors (and to Americans, too) — almost $2 trillion is due in October 2010 to pay back money borrowed in the early 2000s.

We have major healthcare issues that are at an impasse; our system is one of the best medicine that people can buy. Yet we rank just ahead of Cuba in the general health of our population. Obamacare to me is an abomination that will bankrupt the country and yet the alternative is “personal responsibility” — even though healthcare insurers are a monopolistic industry and some recently announced hikes of 25-36% in annual premiums.

Enough of labels. Enough of political party hacks and support groups — both the Democratic and Republican parties are focused on the next election. Neither can be trusted to hold real discussions and to make hard decisions. Each put party before country.

As for all the liberals, moderates, conservatives and wingers of every stripe: I’m not Satan, and you ain’t Lucifer … even though you drink coffee, tea and/or koolaid.

If you want to sit down with me and discuss issues then good. Check your name calling and label machines at the door — I don’t have time for you or that if that is what you are about.

Here is what I am about: God bless the U.S. Constitution, the 10th Amendment has real meaning, don’t put your hands in my pockets to pay for programs — unless we are both paying the same, and we should pay as we go. I don’t believe that “cut taxes” is the answer to everything, but taxes should be minimal and government intrusion into our lives should also be. But be assured “we” includes both you and me. We are both Americans — and I’ll drink any beer that you buy me. … :^)

I’ll meet with you any time and any place — except Sunday afternoons when I’m either enjoying my Second Amendment rights or playing soccer, or doing both.

BTW – I drink both tea and coffee. Both are OK with me.


This post by Bill Golden, aka Bill4DogCatcher.com, an independent observer of American political life, economics, and workforce issues.

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