Tag Archives: Republican Party

Barack Obama – ‘the worst president in history’ – koolaid and destiny

Over and over the faithful repeat the mantra that President Barack Obama is the worst president in history, and the second coming of Jimmy Carter.

Keep drinking the koolaid: The GOP is doing itself longterm damage if it keeps up the mantra that President Obama is the worst president in history. That constant repetition would seem to absolve the GOP of coming up with ideas and having to appeal to people with real alternatives.

Repeatedly saying the worst president in history just means that the rest of America is comprised of idiots if they somehow don’t see it that way. Some of those idiots vote.

Bad news: when it comes to Obama being the worst president in history the rest of America doesn’t see it that way. Not the great majority nor a simple majority see it that way.

Surveys show that fewer than half of Americans blame Obama for today’s economic situation. Two-thirds still blame the Bush Administration — you can’t get to 2/3rds unless a sizeable number of Republicans also believe the same way … and they do.

Surveys show that independents such as myself would like to vote for a conservative candidate … but we aren’t buying the worst president in history mantra. Mitt Romney responded recently to complaints that he wasn’t bashing Obama enough — Romney noted that his own focus groups just didn’t buy in to the storyline of the worst president in history.

Yes, Obama made some promises that he couldn’t keep. As a conservative independent (a real one, not one that votes straight GOP and then claims to be independent), I’m disappointed in a lot of things as regards the Obama Administration. However, I also don’t believe that the GOP has acted in good faith over the last four years. The GOP has shown neither the ideas nor the maturity of real remorse to claim that it can do better than Obama.

I voted GOP and for John McCain in 2008. In 2012 I lean towards Libertarian Gary Johnson but will vote for Obama if it appears that Virginia is on the edge of tipping to Mitt Romney, which at this time it is not.

Yes, I want the GOP to lose. A big loss would be great. Super. I would like the GOP to have a come-to-Jesus moment where it really reflects on how we and it got here.

As a stalwart GOP member from 1980-2009 it hurts me to say that I would like the GOP to go down in defeat in 2012 — but it is also the truth.

For the GOP, the last four years have been all about ‘taking our country back’ … back to what? … and to when? … Occasionally the words get mumbled ‘We could have done better …’. Those few perfunctory words are neither sincere nor followed by examinable public policy that shows the GOP means action, real reform, and not just more empty words that can’t pass a Math 101 review.

President Barack Obama is not the worst president in history.

Chances are good that history will record Obama as a president with a difficult economy that includes an aging population and a revolution in business productivity plus massive outsourcing plus two wars on his hands. History will also record that anything that Obama achieved was done with one of the most intransigent oppositions ever in American history by a Congress that was at a low of 19% approval rating — and has since fallen to barely a 10% approval level lead by folks that want to take us back and to tell us that President Barack Obama is the worst president in history, and the second coming of Jimmy Carter.


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“Pledge To America” Critiqued by the Concord Coalition

Long before there was a Tea Party or Coffee Party or the Beer Party or … there was a group that was concerned about our national debt and deficit: the Concord Coalition.

Formed in the early 1990s, the Concord Coalition has consistently worked proactively to educate and to seek institutional changes in how the U.S. and its citizens manage debt.

Great credit goes to the truly bipartisan effort of the Concord Coalition http://www.concordcoalition.org/ in the late 1990s for supporting policies that not only brought a halt in the growth of our national debt but even put our debt on a reverse course, producing a $1 trillion surplus by 2000.

Below is the Concord Coalition’s view of the Republican’s recently released “Pledge To America”.

Last week, House Republicans offered a “Pledge To America” outlining their fiscal priorities and reform ideas. As with most such campaign manifestos, it is long on base-pleasing rhetoric and short on troublesome details.

The document correctly warns about the dire fiscal outlook and the potential dangers of escalating deficits and debt. Conspicuously missing from the Pledge, however, is any plan to bring deficits down to a sustainable level or even to improve upon the deficit projections in the President’s budget. It is worth noting that such a plan has also been missing from Congressional Democrats this year because Congress has failed to pass a budget resolution.

The net effect of the Pledge policies would do very little, if anything, to rein in our long-term structural budget deficits and may well lead to deficits even higher than under the President’s budget.

Not only would the Republicans cut taxes by more than the President, but they would spend more on defense and repeal cost-saving provisions in this year’s health care reform legislation. In theory, lower spending on non-defense discretionary programs would offset some of this. But savings from discretionary programs, which must be enacted on an annual basis, are far less certain than savings from entitlement reforms or tax increases, which operate on autopilot. Moreover, non-security discretionary spending is not where the major spending growth is projected to occur.

Other Pledge proposals, such as ending the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and canceling unspent stimulus funds, would have virtually no effect on projected deficits. For the most part, these policies have already played out.

Most significantly, the Pledge does not include recommendations to deal with the biggest spending item — projected increases in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. All that is pledged in this regard is to “make the decisions that are necessary to protect our entitlement programs for today’s seniors and future generations.”

That much could be said by AARP or the Democratic National Committee. The issue is not whether such decisions must be made but what those decisions should be. The Pledge leaves us guessing.

On the plus side, the Pledge calls for a “full accounting of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid” along with “benchmarks,” regular reviews and no expansion of unfunded liabilities.”

However, no mention is made of automatic triggers to enforce these benchmarks nor is there an acknowledgment that preventing new unfunded liabilities would still leave us with the unsustainable liabilities we already have. Simply maintaining the status quo is not enough.

Similarly, the pledge to “repeal and replace” the new health care reform legislation leaves open the question of how, and to what extent, health care costs would be brought down. The greatest fiscal risk is that the legislation’s popular insurance reforms will be maintained while its unpopular provisions to pay for them will be dropped. That would leave us with the worst of all possible worlds -– expanded coverage with no discernable means of paying for it.

Unfortunately, with its promises to “ensure access for patients with pre-existing conditions,” “eliminate annual and lifetime spending caps,” and “prevent insurers from dropping your coverage just because you get sick,” the Pledge leaves the impression that these things can be accomplished at no cost and with no mandate to expand the risk pool and prevent an expensive “death spiral” of adverse selection.

What’s missing is any acknowledgement that expanded coverage is going to cost more and someone is going to have to pay for it. It is true, as pointed out in the Pledge, that the new health care law “does little to address the nation’s growing fiscal crisis,” but the law does offset the cost of expanded coverage with a combination of spending cuts and tax increases. Some of those offsets may ultimately fall short, and Republicans may want to enact a different approach to health care reform, but simply repealing the new law would not improve the deficit projections.

Because details are omitted, it is impossible to project with any precision what the deficit would look like if the Pledge policies were followed. It is possible, however, to make certain observations based on official projections. The most telling of these observations is that extending all of the expiring 2001 and 2003 tax cuts would add $4.8 trillion to the deficit over 10 years. Extending the numerous other tax cuts scheduled to expire, sometimes referred to as “the extenders,” would add another $2.8 trillion. That $7.6 trillion addition to the “baseline” deficit of $6.2 trillion would bring cumulative deficits to nearly $14 trillion.

Even assuming that the Republican estimate of roughly $1 trillion in savings from lower discretionary spending could be achieved, deficits would still remain at unsustainable levels. This is not a “path to a balanced budget” or a plan to “pay down the debt” as claimed in the Pledge.

The Pledge To America makes it clear that House Republicans favor low taxes and limited government. That is a consistent and perfectly sound policy. What the Pledge lacks, however, is any indication that House Republicans are prepared to do what is necessary to achieve this goal. Without more detail about the hard choices, it is a pledge to equivocate.

: A Dubious Pledge by the Concord Coalition

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The TEA Party can win primaries. Can they win general elections?

It would be nice if the TEA Party represented a definable belief system.

Yes, I know that the TEA Parties share three common beliefs:

  • Fiscal Responsibility
  • Constitutionally Limited Government
  • Free Markets

But this is a lot like saying that you believe in mom, apple pie and God. I fully support all of the above.

Reality however is that we mostly know what the TEA Party protests against. And we know about their willingness to trash fellow Republicans that are otherwise deemed conservative by virtue alone of their American Conservative Union (ACU) ratings.

As to WHAT the TEA Partyers actually believe and would like to see done in the real world: the reality is that there is no ‘there’ there.

If elected what would they do?

If elected what could they do?

At some point the TEA Party must come to terms that just as they dislike ‘policies’ they themselves must be willing to offer policies.

Policies require 51% of Congressional votes. If every TEA Party candidate was elected would they even have 2% or 3% of Congress’s members?

How responsive would western Republicans (non social conservatives) and New England Republicans (moderates) be when it comes time for cooperation?

The general elections will be very different than the Republican primaries. It is not like anyone believes the TEA Party to be any more than an element of the Republican Party. Surveys of TEA members show that they plan to vote 90-97% Republican … so TEA itself makes no effort to reach out to the center.

November will be interesting.

STRONG TEA Party primary victories could actually cause the Democrats to make a comeback in November — heresy I know but with 99% of Republicans being RINOs in their own party then I’m sure that all of the (dis)unity will cause people to think twice.

I write this as a libertarian conservative independent. Identifying wrong and bad is good. Getting people to believe that you are the right person for the job to fix the problem is harder. Since we have no clue what TEA Partyers are offering as policy, my vote will go to those that offer details.

As an independent some of my votes are going to Democrats and to RINOs. I am not willing to trade normal gridlock for even more gridlock and more chaos. Five minutes after the November elections are over, TEA Partyers and their ultraconservative allies will immediately start their 2012 campaign with intent to evolve the Republican Party from the Party of No to the Party of Hell No!

No thank you.


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So Am I An Independent Or Just A Disgruntled Republican?

An independent votes for whomever appeals to them.

I was a disgruntled Republican as a Republican, and then I left.

I became a Republican way back on November 16th, 1979 when Ronald Reagan announced that he was running for president. Even joined the Reagan campaign staff; one of my treasures still today is an invitation to his inauguration for my work on the Reagan campaign.

But even as a Republican I voted for Democrats as president, for the Senate, for the House, in my state legislature, for governor and for whomever appealed to me as having a clue and that I felt like voting for … so I was independent even as a Republican.

As a Republican I spoke no ill of another Republican. That was Reagan’s 11th Commandment and law enough for me.

Back in late 2009 I publicly declared that I am no longer ‘Republican’. Here in Virginia it doesn’t really matter since we don’t register as members of parties, so it meant something to me at least that I was willing to be public about it — and especially since I was writing as a blogger for ‘RepublicansUnited.us’.
As an independent I spend at least 51% of my time sending flaming arrows towards Republicans by name and by issue. Probably closer to 60% or 70% in reality.

As an independent, I don’t criticize Democrats as much because to me they are  just acting like normal Democrats so why expend the energy — a remaining bias from my ‘R’ days.

Am still conservative. Still fighting the good fight. But I no longer care what party you belong to. Stupid is stupid. Brilliant is brilliant. So stop showing me stupid and start showing me brilliant.

Yes, I am thoroughly independent. If you want my vote then forget ‘wink, wink, nod, nod’ — show me some ideas and the footnotes supporting them.


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A Republican Waterloo – Losing The Health Care Reform Vote May Hurt Republicans More Than Democrats

by Dennis Sanders, RepublicansUnited.us
Commentary by Bill Golden, Bill4DogCatcher.com

David J. Frum is a Canadian American conservative journalist active in both USA and Canadian politics, a former economics speechwriter for President George W. Bush, and founder of FrumForum.com (formerly NewMajority.com), a political group blog.

David Frum lets conservatives and Republicans have it for their intransigence during the health care debate:

At the beginning of this process we made a strategic decision: unlike, say, Democrats in 2001 when President Bush proposed his first tax cut, we would make no deal with the administration. No negotiations, no compromise, nothing. We were going for all the marbles. This would be Obama’s Waterloo – just as healthcare was Clinton’s in 1994.

Only, the hardliners overlooked a few key facts: Obama was elected with 53% of the vote, not Clinton’s 42%. The liberal block within the Democratic congressional caucus is bigger and stronger than it was in 1993-94. And of course the Democrats also remember their history, and also remember the consequences of their 1994 failure.

This time, when we went for all the marbles, we ended with none.

Could a deal have been reached? Who knows? But we do know that the gap between this plan and traditional Republican ideas is not very big. The Obama plan has a broad family resemblance to Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts plan. It builds on ideas developed at the Heritage Foundation in the early 1990s that formed the basis for Republican counter-proposals to Clintoncare in 1993-1994.

Barack Obama badly wanted Republican votes for his plan. Could we have leveraged his desire to align the plan more closely with conservative views? To finance it without redistributive taxes on productive enterprise – without weighing so heavily on small business – without expanding Medicaid? Too late now. They are all the law.

No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed. Even if Republicans scored a 1994 style landslide in November, how many votes could we muster to re-open the “doughnut hole” and charge seniors more for prescription drugs? How many votes to re-allow insurers to rescind policies when they discover a pre-existing condition? How many votes to banish 25 year olds from their parents’ insurance coverage? And even if the votes were there – would President Obama sign such a repeal?

by Dennis Sanders, RepublicansUnited.us

I totally agree. GOP leadership can huff and puff all they like, but they aren’t going muster any votes to take away something that has been given to them. It’s a nice issue to stir up the passions of the base for the next few years, but let’s face it: this legislation is here to stay.

Sure, conservatives and Republicans might have their revenge in November and pick up a few seats-something that will make the hardliners feel good- but in the end, this is victory for the Democrats. We will end up with a bill that will be in effect long after the leading GOP leaders have left Washington.

Ross Douthat has made fun of moderate Republicans in the past for basically becoming the accountants of the welfare state- allowing Democrats to have their big government programs, but making sure these plans were fiscally sound. What would have happened had the party allowed Olympia Snowe to help work out a deal that would have made health care reform more fiscally sustainable? What if an Orrin Hatch (who is not a moderate) or Bob Bennett had been able to force a tax on so-called “Cadillac Plans” that would help fund the deal and also lead to some meaningful reform on costs?

We will never know because the leadership made damn sure no Republican cooperated. I think in the long run, this will be the GOP’s Waterloo, a big spectacular loss. We can’t see it now, but give it five or ten years.

We lost this one, big time.

Bill4DogCatcher.com sez: Tactics may win battles but poor strategy loses or wins wars. The Republican strategy had no tactics except delay and obstruction, and their strategy was to hope that the TEA Party rallied enough support to scare the bejesus out of lawmakers. A war lost due to squandered opportunities to capture the conversation and to work for the American people.

Here is the Election 2010 scenario as I see it: there will be a constitutional challenge to the passage of the Health Care Reform. However, there is a degree to which that really doesn’t matter. Timing will reward the Democrats.

The Supreme Court will not hurriedly accept appeals to overturn the new Health Care Reform Act. Sometime in 2011 may be the earliest that they accept a challenge, late 2010 at the earliest. This is bad news for Republicans.

Between now and late spring 2010 there are no major political issues for Republicans to champion. They have put all of their hopes into a single issue and failed miserably. Their closest allies, the TEA Party in particular, already consider the GOP largely impotent and this just proves it. Republicans can expect to face challenges across the nation in their primaries and in the general election from third party and independent conservatives.

Between now and late summer 2010 the economy will make improvements. These improvements will be sufficient enough to make President Obama and the Democrats look like they are doing good things — although I do predict an economic downturn in late 2010: see 2010 Dog Catcher Predictions – Economics, from January 3, 2010.

The Democrats, despite their historic ability to grab defeat from the jaws of victory, will do well enough in November 2010 to maintain control of one or both houses of Congress. The Republicans — between now and November 2010 — will descend into self-pity, playing pin the tail on the donkey, anger and will remain without a strategy.

There are issues that Republicans can win on in November but they will need to listen to cooler heads — and I think that there are some smart folks in the TEA party that actually have the basis for a winning plan, although TEA must work to overcome their negative imagery: one part deserved and one part the natural way politics works when there is strong disagreement and your opponent wants to paint you as being on the edge … about to fall off.

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Coffee, Tea and Me – 2010 Craziness

Surely 2010 will go down in American history books as one of the more interesting years in American history.

2010 is in many ways a lot like both 1884 and 1992.

1884 gave us the Mugwumps – conservative and moderate Republicans that revolted and openly distanced themselves from the official choices of the Republican Party. In many cases the Mugwumps actively worked against Republican candidates, this includes even the Republican nominee for president. Unlike today, Mugwumps were a top down revolt of Republicans already elected that thought the party was on the wrong path.

1992 — how quickly we forget the anger that existed, to include real concern about our national debt. National polling shows that Americans were much more “angry” at the government back in 1992, significantly much more angry. That anger got channeled however through the candidacy of Ross Perot who stepped forward and very explicitly challenged the political establishment — with charts and predictions in hand Ross Perot made a difference. We later got “Contract with America” which turned out to be: vote us in, we promise to use all of your favorite buzzwords,  and then we’ll do what is best for the party.

Ross Perot got my vote and the vote of 19% of America in 1992.

The lessons of 1884 and 1992 are that populist movements to reform government are usually shortlived. They can linger on for a few years; Ross Perot later formally founded the Reform Party which actually won some elections. We have some few remaining elected officials here in Virginia that are officially Reform Party … this is now a party footnoted in history.

Without structure and organization there is no future for a movement. Perhaps even with structure there is no future; witness the inability of the Libertarian Party to connect, or the Constitutionalist Party — the “fastest growing party in America”  as it bills itself … I don’t think so.

So here we are at 2010. Anger we have plenty of, but alas no Ross Perot to represent us or any central personality capable of convincing America that someone with a name cares. There is no cross-generational Ronald Reagan, whom we literally had decades to know and to mature with and to evolve with. 2010 is all about chaos, impending financial entropy on a scale that we cannot yet imagine … although some are trying hard.

2010 is all about having to represent ourselves against the machine — and the machine is both red and blue.

Tea or coffee? Coffee or Tea?

Until now I have been uninvolved in the TEA Party movement. I don’t do anger. Anger blinds you and makes you do silly stuff. I’m a solutions person. I have never let not knowing what I am doing get in the way of achieving something. Until recently the TEA Party movement has largely been against and not for anything. That is changing.

The TEA movement is maturing, and now that the Republicans (Romney/Rove/Steele) have informed TEA Partyers that they really are Republicans and that they should act accordingly, there is more sober thought among TEAers to consider what comes next. Conservative Texas’ voter thumping of TEA candidates has also caused many TEAers to pause and to reflect.

Now comes this new creature: the Coffee Party. The premise of Coffee is that government is not the enemy. It may not have the answer, but it is not the enemy.

We are the government. If it is wrong then we are wrong. Coffee suggests that ‘we the people’ should focus our energies on helping guide government by being both its watchdog and by being involved. We must do more than be angry. We must be part of the solution.

So for me I will now get involved in both. Although many in TEA distrust Coffee, and certainly Coffee is in reaction to TEA, we are at a crossroads in American history. They both are a distraction and yet they both may hold answers.

One thing is certain: 2010 is the chapter that follows 1884 and 1992.

BTW #1 – some good did come out of 1992. Congress seriously took up the challenge to pass a constitutional amendment to balance the budget. 1995 was the closest that Congress has ever come to voting yes and then allowing the states to consider and to vote on this amendment. That said, the vote was 65 Yea and 35 Nay in the Senate. Here is a brief history of past attempts to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment.

BTW #2 – Republicans claim to be serious about passing some form of a Balanced Budget Amendment if only we give them the chance. Really? Those two wild and crazy South Carolinians Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint (both R-SC) introduced a Balanced Budget Amendment in 2007. Surely you remember!? Don’t you? Surely you do. Anyway, Republicans always run to this ploy when politically in trouble. I believe that Graham and DeMint were serious about it — but where was the rest of the party?

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

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