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Who Sits on the Deficit Reduction Committee Will Determine Who Has Won the Debt Ceiling Debate

Bookmark and Share    The pending multifaceted, two staged deal on raising the debt ceiling has received mixed reaction. Those on the left despise the fact that the deal does not include any immediate tax increases, or as they have been defined in this debate, revue increases. Those on the right despise the deal because it does not contain any significant reforms on entitlements and does no go far enough in proposing cuts. Then there are those who have no partisan political allegiances. These are for the most part, the average independent, middle of the road voter. These individuals understand that the proposal’s almost $3 trillion in deficit reduction over a ten year period is really only a drop in the bucket that does little to put a dent into our long term debt and is still not enough to maintain the United States’ AAA credit rating.

While the deal is not yet a done deal, despite conservative angst with the proposal and liberal disgust for the bill, it is more than likely going to pass in the Senate. So ultimately, look for passage of the bill.

That brings up another debate. One that is totally based on political perceptions and asks who won this deficit ceiling debate?

Seeing as how the bill raises our debt ceiling and does not reduce our debt significantly enough, there are no winners. At least not immediately. In fact the lack of immediate results makes us all losers here. But at the same time, it is clear that Republicans have settled on a deal that moves things in their direction. Democrats received none of the tax increases they wanted, they received none of the spending increases they wanted, and they were forced to accept some bitter pills. Some of these pills include the Republicans desire to get Democrats on record with a future vote on a balanced budget amendment and immediate spending caps. Another Republican victory in the proposal that is hard for the left to swallow is the automatic wholesale cut of up to $1.2 trillion that will occur if several terms of this bill are not met by the time Congress goes on their Thanksgiving recess in October.

So it would seem that Republicans have advanced their conservative agenda far more than liberals advanced their socialist agenda. Still, the need to reduce the deficit significantly enough to insure that our debt does not continue to exceed our GDP, has not been achieved.

Solving that problem will require deficit reduction actions that more than double the nearly $3 trillion proposed over the next decade. And that will have to be done in the not so distant future.

In the meantime, while Republicans did not have to compromise as much as Democrats were forced to, they are not yet winners in the debate. That will only be determined in October when the newly created Select Committee on Deficit Reduction proposes the $1.2 trillion in cuts and expense saving reforms that the bill demands. From the Republican perspective, the danger here is that this super committee is not limited to spending cuts and entitlement reforms. It could end up proposing tax increases (revenues). The committee could also shirk its responsibility to significantly reform entitlements, something that will be quite hard to pass the Senate anyway.

Given the flexibility that the Select Committee on Deficit Reduction has, the only way the G.O.P. will have proven that they were successful in this recent deficit ceiling debate will come from what the Select Committee on deficit Reduction comes up with.

The committee is to be comprised of 6 Democrats and 6 Republicans, presumable chosen by the legislative leaders of the perspective political Parties. Boehner and McConnell for Republicans, and President Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi for the Democrats.

The Party leaders will initially consider the usual cast of characters as candidates for this committee. People like Tom Kean, Erskine Bowles, Alan Simpson, Lee Hamilton, Judd Gregg, and other seemingly, now non-partisan, elder statesmen. Now while there may not necessarily be anything wrong with the usual cast of candidates for typical D.C., bureaucratic committees, the crisis we are in is not typical. Our debt crisis is so severe that for the first time in history, military experts warn that it has become a national security crisis. Furthermore; President Obama’s leadership has awakened the nation to just how distinct the political ideologies that divide our nation are. People have come to question what kind of nation America will be. Will we be the type of nation with a government that controls more and more of our lives with greater control, or do we want less spending, less government, and more freedom. Including economic freedom.

The ideological differences have become so divergent, that it is incumbent on the G.O.P. to make sure that the 6 members they choose for the deficit reduction commission are true conservatives who believe in limited government. Any one of those who doesn’t hold true to that belief, can easily defect and give the balance of power to the 6 liberals that Democrats will appoint to that committee.

So who should the G.O.P. appoint to the committee?

The first choice should be House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan.

Ryan is a must. He is a deficit hawk who is reasonable but passionate. He understands the need for entitlement reform, supports a balanced budget amendment, is brave enough to stand against the tide of popular opinion and not looking for anything more than getting the job done.

Another appointment should be Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.

Daniels has been there and done that when it comes to the budget, deficits, and spending. As Governor, his state has been one of the most economically stable states in the nation and he brings to the table some first hand experience with the excellent built-in, economic structural aspects of the budget process that Indiana has and that the United States would be wise to adopt.

Former Tennessee Fred Thompson is another excellent choice.

Thompson has proven to have a wealth of understanding for our existing problems and a unique down-to-earth and often blunt approach to the problem that can be refreshing.

Other good choices would be individuals who do not come from the often self-contained alternative reality that is Washington, D.C. People who are students of sound economic policy and people who have operated with and successfully crafted budgets that created jobs. The type of people who come from the real world……the private sector. People like Jack Welch, the most studied CEO of the 20th century, who had a successful 41- year career with the General Electric Company, one of the nation’s most preeminent names in the free market. Lawrence Kudlow is another refreshing suggestion. The CEO of Kudlow & Co., LLC, an economic research firm was a chief economist and senior managing director of Bear Stearns & Company, back when Bear Sterns ran things right, he improper workings of the Federal Reserve Bank regarding open market operations and bank supervision. Kudlow is also the host of The Kudlow Report on CNBC.

With the exception of Paul Ryan, there are probably others who would make even better members than those suggested above. These are the type of people who should have a seat at the table that represents the conservative, free market, economic principles which can get us back on track. Without conservative voices who will stand firm on these values, Democrats will wind up being the real winners of this most contentious recent debt ceiling debate.

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Gabrielle Giffords Makes A Surprise Return To D.C. to Cast a Bipartisan Vote

Bookmark and Share    Gabrielle Giffords made a surprise return to Washington, D.C.  today. After a tweet on Twitter that said Gabriele Giffords returns to Washington to support bipartisan legislation, the Congresswoman walked on to the floor of the House for the first time in over seven months.

In the middle of the final House vote on a bitterly battled debate to raise the ceiling, the Congresswoman entered the chamber to a round of spontaneous applause that lasted for over five minutes. With that, she cast her vote and  added her support for the bill which passed with 269 votes in support and 161 opposed.

Gabby Giffords’ return to Washington was probably one of the most difficult one in the history of the House. While many have endured tough reelection campaigns and some have even had to cope with set backs in their health, none have taken a bullet to the head in the line of duty and none have had to enter a recovery and rehabilitation regimen as difficult as hers. Back in January, while holding a constituent service in her home district of Arizona, the Congresswoman was shot by a madman whose rampage killed several and wounded dozens.

As if the final vote on the contentious debt ceiling bill needed any more drama added to it, the return of Giffords to work on the House floor added an almost surreal, made-for-TV-like flavor to it all. But it also offered us al a dose of reality in the alternate reality that is often D.C. politics. Giffords exhibited the type of strength and stamina that proves to us nothing is impossible and that with the right determination and passion, all odds can beaten and goals can be achieved. That goes too for controlling spending and balancing our federal budget.

No matter what though, Gabrielle Giffords helped end an otherwise ugly and negative process on an positive high note. We should all join in a hearty congratulations to the Congresswoman and her family as well as to thank her for what is an exemplary commitment to public service and dedication to participation in the democratic.

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New Jersey Needs To Act on Market Competition and Consumer Choice…”S2664″

Bookmark and Share   Any day now, the New Jersey State Senate will be taking up important legislation called the Market Competition and Consumer Choice Act (S2664).   The measure is not a topic of discussion at Garden State dinner tables, but it is one that is worthy of  fighting for . Passage of this bill would reform outdated laws that have outlived their usefulness, and hamper the development, expansion, and use of new technologies within the state’s telecommunication industry and among cable providers. The Consumer Choice Act is actually one of those rare pieces of legislation which rectifies legislative inadequacies and instead of suffocating economic development and stifling competition, it promotes competition, the drive for greater customer service, lower prices, and business expansion that creates something sorely lacking these days….. Jobs.

In a day an age when the Obama Administration is causing many Americans to understand that more government and more government regulation is not necessarily a good thing, New Jersey is slowly waking up to the same reality. People like former Governor Jon Corzine helped show us that big government comes with a big price tag, a price tag that costs way more than its worth. More government and more government regulation is a rising tide that lifts all costs. From the cost of utilities and the price of merchandise and services to taxes, over-regulation delivers higher costs and less competition. And with decades and decades of intrusive federal, state, and local regulations, New Jerseyans live within a tangled web of government weaved red tape.  That’s why the Consumer Choice Act is so important to New Jersey.

Newly evolved technological advances in the telecommunications industry have transformed the industry, but New Jersey’s outdated laws, create an obstacle that makes it hard for the benefits of these new technological advances to fully thrive in New Jersey. Yet special interests which profit from the enforcement of oppressive regulatory policies,  want to prevent the New Jersey State Senate from passing the Consumer Choice Act.   Blocking it in the state senate is their last hope because the bill has already passed the State Assembly. In fact, in the Assembly it passed with enthusiastic bi-partisan support.  Even among the leadership of both Parties, in both legislative chambers.

These special interests are literally trying to scare voters into demanding that their State Senators vote against the Consumer Choice Act. They are threatening legislators with the promise of pumping tens of thousands of dollars into campaigns to defeat them during next years state legislative elections. And to motivate voters to their side, these special interests are stooping to scare tactics and lies. They are trying to convince vulnerable, fixed income senior citizens into believing that their phone service will be taken away. They are trying to make sports enthusiasts believe that their favorite cable sports channels will evaporate right before their very eyes.

The problem is, the Consumer Choice Act  is anything but a danger to existing services.  It promises to increase choices, enhance service quality and hold down or even reduce costs through competition.

Current regulatory policies do not properly deal with the realities of the competition that exists in today’s telecommunication market. The way regulations are now, companies like Verizon are able to dominate the market and inhibit consumer choice among alternate technologies such as cable companies, and wireless and competitive local exchange companies. This in turn stymies investment, innovation and growth of the telecommunication industry and among cable service providers. That lack of growth is costing New Jersey desperately needed tax revenue …..  increased tax revenue that could come without raising taxes.

This has been proven in other states which have adopted legislation similar to the Consumer Choice Act. When Indiana adopted such reform legislation, they saw an influx of investment from telecommunication companies that approached half a billion dollars and created thousands of new jobs. But here in New Jersey, we are left to contend with outdated legislation that stifles competition, kills growth, inhibits innovation and discourages employment opportunities. 

Well it is a new day in New Jersey. With Governor Christie at the helm, you might say that it’s finally morning in New Jersey. As such, we now have an environment conducive to getting government out of the business of bureaucracy, untangling the red tape that creates a hostile environment for business and industry, and can reform government in a way that will allow it to enter the new decade that has already begun.  The Consumer Choice Act does that.  It is a reform that allows government to catch up to the times. And at the same time, people need not fear the cries of wolf coming from the special interests opposing this bill. Existing legislation such as the Consumer Protection Act , helps insure consumers against all the evils they try to scare us with.

We live in a state that has an innumerable amount of antiquated and truly stupid laws on the books. Take the Married Women’s Property Act from the 1800‘s. It allows only married women to own, control and dispose of property. Then there is another law still on the books from the 1800’s. It claims that if a woman is raped but then gets married within a certain timeframe, the man can’t be considered a criminal. State Senator Jennifer Beck is trying to get these laws repealed. But there are hundreds of senseless and outdated laws still on the books. One of my favorite state laws makes it illegal for men to knit during fishing season. On the local level, in Newark there is an existing law that makes it illegal to buy an ice cream cone after 6pm without a note from your doctor. How’s that for over-regulation?

Let’s face it folks, New Jersey does not have a problem with too little regulation. The problem is we have too much and much of it is too old to be effective in the 21st century. That is why it’s time to pass the Consumer Choice Act. It’s time for New Jersey to step out from the shadow of our past and into the brightness of the future. And it’s time for the naysayers to take a deep breath and get on the bandwagon before they get run over by it in the 2011 elections.

Call your State Senator and tell them you want market competition and consumer choice in New Jersey.  Tell them you want S2664.

To find your state Senator and their contact information visit the legislative directory link provided here and click on your municipality.

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Scott Walker Addresses The Massive Union Protests in Madison

Bookmark and Share  After nearly two weeks of union protestors surrounding the Madison Capitol building, Wisconsin Governor Scott walker took the airwaves and delievered what he called a “fireside chat” with the voters of his state  (see video below and complete transcript of the speech below that).

In his speech, the Governor addressed many of the concerns that fist pimping union protestors have been screaming about.  He reminded them that that the aspects of collective bargaining schemes his bill restricts , does not are not what give and protect civil servants and their rights.  He made it clear that it was the state’s civil service laws which do that.  He also assured voters that contrary to the rhetoric, the fight he seeks is not with unions or civil servants but with the budget deficit that hangs over Wisconsin citizens head, a deficit that in the upcoming budget willl reach $3.6 billion.

Walker explained that his bill is aimed at protecting Wisconisn taxpayers and allowing Wisconsi families to make ends meet.  He described that his budget repair bills simply asks that collective bargaining be reformed because it is a system that is broke and that it asks civil service employees to give a little towards their own benefits.  Governor Walker quite poigantly pointed out that many working class families, including non-government union employees who wish they had half of the benefits that civil servants receive but contribute nearly nothing to.

The Governor used his 10 minute speech wisely.  He shaped the debate and put the images of near riotous, cursing hoardes of protestors, in to perspective for voters and he assured them that his efforts will not be derailed by protestors from others states who have joined in the festivities surrounding the capitol.

The speech was an appropriate and neccesssary one in which Governor Walker presented a compelling case while looking far more rationa than those carrying posters depicting him as Hitler and comparing him to Nazis.

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Transcript of Governor Scott Walker’s Februaruy 22, 2011 speech relating his budget repair bill and the massive union protests against it:

Good evening.

Wisconsin is showing the rest of the country how to have a passionate, yet civil debate about our finances. That’s a very Midwestern trait and something we should be proud of. I pray, however, that this civility will continue as people pour into our state from all across America.

First, let me be clear: I have great respect for those who have chosen a career in government. I really do.

In 1985, when I was a high school junior in the small town of Delavan, I was inspired to pursue public service after I attended the American Legion’s Badger Boys State program. The military veterans and educators who put on that week-long event showed the honor in serving others.

Tonight, I thank the 300,000-plus state and local government employees who showed up for work today and did their jobs well. We appreciate it. If you take only one message away tonight, it’s that we all respect the work that you do.

I also understand how concerned many government workers are about their futures. I’ve listened to their comments and read their emails.

I listened to the educator from Milwaukee who wrote to me about her concerns about the legislation and what it might mean for her classroom.

That’s why last week we agreed to make changes to the bill to address many of those issues.

And I listened to others like the correctional officer in Chippewa Falls who emailed me arguing that bargaining rights for public employee unions are the only way to ensure that workers get a fair say in their working conditions.

I understand and respect those concerns. It’s important to remember that many of the rights we’re talking about don’t come from collective bargaining. They come from the civil service system in Wisconsin. That law was passed in 1905 (long before collective bargaining) and it will continue long after our plan is approved.

You see, despite a lot of the rhetoric we’ve heard over the past 11 days the bill I put forward isn’t aimed at state workers, and it certainly isn’t a battle with unions. If it was, we would have eliminated collective bargaining entirely or we would have gone after the private-sector unions.

But, we did not because they are our partners in economic development. We need them to help us put 250,000 people to work in the private sector over the next four years.

The legislation I’ve put forward is about one thing. It’s about balancing our budget now — and in the future. Wisconsin faces a 137 million dollar deficit for the remainder of this fiscal year and a 3.6 billion dollar deficit for the upcoming budget.

Our bill is about protecting the hardworking taxpayer. It’s about Wisconsin families trying to make ends meet and help their children.

People like the woman from Wausau who wrote me saying “I’m a single parent of two children, one of whom is autistic. I have been intimately involved in my school district, but I can no longer afford the taxes I pay. I am in favor of everyone paying for benefits, as I have to.”

It’s also about the small business owner who told me about the challenges he faces just making payroll each week. His employees pay much larger premiums than we are asking because that’s how they keep the company going and that’s how they protect their jobs.

Or the substitute teacher here in Madison, who wrote to me last week about having to sit at home unable to work because her union had closed the school down to protest.

She sent me an email that went on to say, “I was given no choice in joining the union and I am forced to pay dues… I am missing out on pay today… I feel like I have no voice.”

I assure you that she does have a voice.

And so does the factory worker in Janesville who was laid off nearly two years ago. He’s a union guy in a union town who asks simply why everyone else has to sacrifice except those in government.

Last week, I traveled the state visiting manufacturing plants and talking to workers – just like the guy from Janesville. Many of them are paying twenty-five to fifty percent of their health care premiums. Most, had 401k plans with limited or no match from the company.

My brother’s in the same situation. He works as a banquet manager and occasional bartender at a hotel and my sister-in-law works for a department store. They have two beautiful kids.

In every way, they are a typical middle-class family here in Wisconsin. David mentioned to me that he pays nearly $800 a month for his health insurance and the little he can set aside for his 401k.

He – like so many other workers across Wisconsin – would love a deal like the benefits we are pushing in this budget repair bill.

That’s because what we are asking for is modest – at least to those outside of government.

Our measure asks for a 5.8% contribution to the pension and a 12.6% contribution for the health insurance premium. Both are well below the national average.

And this is just one part of our comprehensive plan to balance the state’s 3.6 billion dollar budget deficit.

Now, some have questioned why we have to reform collective bargaining to balance the budget. The answer is simple the system is broken: it costs taxpayers serious money – particularly at the local level. As a former county official, I know that first hand.

For years, I tried to use modest changes in pension and health insurance contributions as a means of balancing our budget without massive layoffs or furloughs. On nearly every occasion, the local unions (empowered by collective bargaining agreements) told me to go ahead and layoff workers. That’s not acceptable to me.

Here’s another example: in Wisconsin, many local school districts are required to buy their health insurance through the WEA Trust (which is the state teachers union’s company). When our bill passes, these school districts can opt to switch into the state plan and save $68 million per year. Those savings could be used to pay for more teachers and put more money into the classroom to help our kids.

Some have also suggested that Wisconsin raise taxes on corporations and people with high-incomes. Well — Governor Doyle and the Legislature did that: two years ago. In fact they passed a budget-repair bill (in just one day, mind you) that included a billion-dollar tax increase.

Instead of raising taxes, we need to control government spending to balance our budget.

Two years ago, many of the same Senate Democrats who are hiding out in another state approved a biennial budget that not only included higher taxes – it included more than two billion dollars in one-time federal stimulus aid.

That money was supposed to be for one-time costs for things like roads and bridges. Instead, they used it as a short-term fix to balance the last state budget. Not surprisingly, the state now faces a deficit for the remainder of this fiscal year and a 3.6 billion dollar hole for the budget starting July 1st.

What we need now more than ever, is a commitment to the future.

As more and more protesters come in from Nevada, Chicago and elsewhere, I am not going to allow their voices to overwhelm the voices of the millions of taxpayers from across the state who think we’re doing the right thing. This is a decision that Wisconsin will make.

Fundamentally, that’s what we were elected to do. Make tough decisions. Whether we like the outcome or not, our democratic institutions call for us to participate. That is why I am asking the missing Senators to come back to work.

Do the job you were elected to do. You don’t have to like the outcome, or even vote yes, but as part of the world’s greatest democracy, you should be here, in Madison, at the Capitol.

The missing Senate Democrats must know that their failure to come to work will lead to dire consequences very soon. Failure to act on this budget repair bill means (at least) 15 hundred state employees will be laid off before the end of June. If there is no agreement by July 1st, another 5-6 thousand state workers — as well as 5-6 thousand local government employees would be also laid off.

But, there is a way to avoid these layoffs and other cuts. The 14 State Senators who are staying outside of Wisconsin as we speak can come home and do their job.

We are broke because time and time again politicians of both parties ran from the tough decisions and punted them down the road for another day. We can no longer do that, because, you see, what we’re really talking about today is our future.

The future of my children, of your children, of the children of the single mother from Wausau that I mentioned earlier.

Like you, I want my two sons to grow up in a state at least as great as the Wisconsin I grew up in.

More than 162 years ago, our ancestors approved Wisconsin’s constitution. They believed in the power of hard work and determination and they envisioned a new state with limitless potential.

Our founders were pretty smart. They understood that it is through frugality and moderation in government that we will see freedom and prosperity for our people.

Now is our time to once again seize that potential. We will do so at this turning point in our state’s history by restoring fiscal responsibility that fosters prosperity for today – and for future generations.

Thank you for joining me tonight. May God richly bless you and your family and may God continue to bless the great State of Wisconsin.

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New Jersey and Wisconsin; Same Problems, Same Protestors

Bookmark and Share As cold and snowy Wisconsin heats up due to newly elected Republican Governor Scott Walker’s attempt to get his states fiscal house order by daring to ask that union workers contribute to their own benefits, as a New Jersey Republican I thought it appropriate for the Garden State to send the Badger State a some advice and a little pick-me-up.

It has taken New Jersey more than a decade of a Democrat controlled state legislature and Democrat Governors, some corrupt and some not quite as corrupt, to finally elect someone with the nerve to stand up to those who have had their hands out and in the taxpayers pockets. And as soon as Governor Christie told them that the party was over, they screamed and hollered and some teacher union leaders even publicly called for his death. But Governor Christie is still standing and he does so with many New Jerseyans firmly behind him.

So my advice to all you Wisconsin voters who would rather see a union worker red with anger than your state drowning in red ink, stay firm and stand behind your Governor. Write letters to your newspaper editors, call in to your state representatives and send an email letting them and Governor Walker know your for the cuts. And take a lesson from New Jersey. Just because bus loads of SEIU and AFSCME and NEA members from out of state show up at your state capitol, it doesn’t mean that they are representative of your states citizenry. You elected your representatives.  It just means that union dues and big labor are still hard work trying to nickel and dime taxpayers.

Not more than a few months ago, hundreds of similar bus loads crammed in to Trenton to protest Governor Christie the same way they are now with Governor Walker. But in the end, after all the screaming and yelling, after all the fist pumping and sign waving, voters know that 2 plus 2 equals 4 and that what these big union lobbyists are telling us, just doesn’t add up.

The picture below was taken at one of those union protests in Trenton and it gives me an idea.

What do you say you in Wisconsin keep monitoring your protestors and we in New Jersey will do the same?  Take pictures, videos or just write down your favorite union protestor tale. And let’s see which state has the most ridiculous ones. I’m sure it will be a close contest. After all, many of the protestors there are the same ones we have had here.

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DNC Ad Attacks GOP With CPAC

Bookmark and Share  In what can only be viewed as a sign of things to come, the Democratic National Committee is returning to their attempts at demonizing Republicans by trying to paint their conservative base as heartless fiends and maniacal evil scientists who would dare to experiment with such things as the ability for the free market to improve quality and life in America. In a video put out this week by the DNC, clips from CPAC, the American Conservative Union’s annual Conservative Political Action Conference.

The video uses clips of cheering CPAC audiences as speakers talk of replacing the E.P.A, abolishing the Board of Education and allowing people to opt out of Social Security. After the evil Republicans have their say, Steny Hoyer and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz are spliced in as they discuss how Democrats are making sure that America is competitive enough to insure is a stronger economic future. The video then goes to a clip of President Obama from his State of the Union Address in which he discusses the entrepreneurial spirit of Americans and how as a nation “we do big things.”

What the ad does not tell you is that for Democrats, those big things are big government and big government programs which replace the American entrepreneurial spirit with bureaucratic mandates and regulations that have a return on the dollar that is less than the cost required to implement.

Another interesting thing to point out is that, the way I see it, the DNC seems to also be banking on President Obama’s supposed great oratory skills as means to appeal to the hearts and minds of the American voter. Not that there is anything wrong with that. A President should be able to do so, but one must be able to tap into American sentiments if they wish to be successful at such attempts. One must be Reaganesque if they wish to do that. The problem is we knew Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama is no Ronald Reagan. Nice try though.

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As Goes Texas, So Goes the Nation?

Bookmark and Share    The census numbers for heavily Republican Texas have come in and while the state’s anticipated population growth was going to pick up as many as 4 new Congressional districts, Republicans can’t necessarily count on these seats being Republican districts. For the first time in contemporary history Texas now has a majority of minorities in its population. Conventional thinking is that this will soon turn a heavily red state blue or at least turn it into a swing state and give Democrats a lead in 3 of the 4 most populous states in the nation.

But a look at a few statistics gives Republicans cause for hope.

Texas Republicans seem to be better at appealing to Hispanic voters, the fastest growing minority population, than do most other State Republican Parties. G.W. Bush received nearly 40% of the Hispanic Vote when he ran for Governor and incumbent Governor Rick Perry garnered 38% of the same vote in his last election. These numbers are huge when compared to the typical national average for Republicans. But more than that, in 2010, incumbent Republican Congressman Blake Farenthold was able to maintain his seat in a majority Hispanic district and two of the newest Republican freshmen in Congress who come from Texas are Hispanic …….Bill Flores and Quico Canseco. Additional good news is that many Hispanic Democrats who are elected to the Texas state legislature are conservative and some have defected to the G.O.P.

In the meantime, while Texas’s new majority-minority population status and overall increased population creates 4 new Congressional Districts and electoral votes for the state, all the above factors upend the conventional thinking that they will be quickly occupied by Democrats. Indeed it is likely that 2 new majority-minority districts will be created, but it is not a foregone conclusion that they will elect Democrats.

The culture of Texas and make up of its population has a great part in this. Texas is indeed the Lone State and that spirit of independence runs through the Texas culture probably more so than most other states. But Hispanics in Texas tend to spread out through the state and live in more rural and suburban neighborhoods than do their counterparts in places like New York and California where they tend to be concentrated in urban centers. The rural versus urban culture plays heavily in to voting patterns. People who live in more rural settings where services are far and far and few between, tend to vote more conservatively than do those in the big city/big government regions of the nation.

But that factor is not the sole reason for Republicans being much more competitive among Hispanics in Texas than most other states. The Texas G.O.P. does not ignore Hispanic voters. It focuses on them. It even recruits Hispanic leaders to run for office on the local levels, sort of like a baseball farm team for higher offices.

So while the fact that Texas has now become a minority-majority population should initially scare the bejeezus out of Republicans by signaling the possibility of becoming the next California and New York-like Democrat stronghold, such is not the case. The only real case here is for the G.O.P to apply the Texas approach to Hispanic voters on a national level. The concept is not impossible. After all, look at Texas’ heavily Democratic neighbor New Mexico. It just elected a Republican Governor, a Hispanic Republican, woman, governor, the strong and feisty Susana Martinez.

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New Jersey Celebrates Ronald Reagan’s 100th Birthday with Michael Ragan

Bookmark and Share On Friday, New Jersey Assemblyman Jay Webber held his 8th annual New Jersey Reagan Day Dinner. What started out 8 years ago as a fine and fun cozy event that was first held in a local firehouse, was now held in the grand ballroom of the Sheraton where over 650 people gathered to commemorate Ronald Reagan and celebrate his life and achievements on the 100th anniversary of his birth.

Among the many in attendance included a large number of state senators and assemblymen including Assemblymen Michael Carroll, Anthony Bucco, Alex DeCroce, State Senator Joe Pennachio and a many others from the state legislature. Also attending was former New Jersey Governor Tom Kean. I had the fortune to sit with congressional candidate Anna Little, who has not stopped campaigning as she prepares to force Frank Pallone in to an long overdue retirement in 2012.

Assemblyman Jay Webber

All across America, literally thousands of such events were taking place on this weekend, but thanks to Assemblyman Webber and the Young Americans Foundation, New Jersey’s celebration featured a keynote address by President Reagan’s son. As he noted in his opening remarks, “not the son who dances,”. The speech delivered on this night was by the Reagan son who represents conservative principles and maintains his father’s legacy……..Michael Reagan.

Reagan offered those in attendance, a peek into the personal side of Reagan, but it each personal tale quickly tied in to the political side of our 40th and demonstrated that President Reagan leadership was less politics and more principle. Ronald Reagan was not interested in playing politics. He was not a man who followed polls to determine his policies, he was a man who followed his beliefs in what he thought was best for the American people. And as demonstrated in the stories told by Michael Reagan, those believes were founded in Reagan’s commitment to the conservative values and principles that he helped to make the mainstream beliefs of the Republican Party.

One of the stories Mike Reagan told was about when as a young man in the early 1960’s, he asked his father for a raise in his allowance. Michael Reagan than explained how his father who was the type of person whom if you asked what time it was, would tell you how the watch that told you the time, was made, quickly broke in to a long dissertation about how much it cost for food, maintaining their ranch and how much in taxes the government took away from every dollar earned. Michael Reagan explained that by the time he was done, he offered his father back half of the allowance that he had given him. Then his father turned to him and said, “I don’t want half your allowance back, but I’ll make you a promise. When we elect a President who cuts taxes, I’ll raise your allowance”.

According to Michael Reagan, in 1964, after LBJ pushed through the Kennedy tax cuts, his father told him a promise is a promise and raised his allowance to five dollars. The only problem was in 1964, Michael was in high school and he told the audience, while his father may have thought that was a lot of money, as kid in high school, he sure didn’t. But he always remembered how his father kept his promises.

Reagan cited another example of promises kept when he revealed that the selection of Sandra Day O’Connor to the Supreme Court was the result of a promise made to his daughter Maureen.

During the 1980 campaign, Ronald Reagan’s advisors were concerned with how Maureen’s outspoken support for the ERA would impact on Reagan during the primaries. So they along with her father, approached Maureen about it. Her response was, “I’ll pull back on the Equal Rights Amendment but only if you agree that if elected President, you appoint the first woman to the United States Supreme Court”. Ronald Reagan agreed. And when an opening became available, he appointed Sandra day O’Connor, the first woman on the highest court in the land.

It was this belief in promises being sacred that influenced the direction of the Reagan presidency. As Michael Reagan explained, his father once told him that one of the reasons he wanted to become President was because he was tired of the United States always sitting down with the Soviet Union and given something up in order form to them reach any agreement. As a result Ronald Reagan made a personal promise to change that by insuring that he would bring about a day when  the Soviet Union would give up something instead. Ronald Reagan kept that promise.

There were many more insightful tales and a number of lighthearted but hysterical stories involving the Secret Service. All together, Michael Reagan delivered an address that reinforced the audiences admiration and appreciation for President Reagan and everyone agreed that they felt a strong bond to Ronald Reagan the person, not just the politician.

When it was over, Michael Reagan took questions. One member of the audience asked if he was leaning in a particular direction when it came towards a Republican nominee for President in 2012. Reagan offered no sign of favoritism towards any candidate. However he did have advice for Republicans in 2012.

Mike Reagan told the capacity crowd that he firmly believes no matter who the G.O.P. nominates, they should adhere to the 80/20 rule his father believed in. Ronald Reagan once famously stated “The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally – not a 20 percent traitor.” It is that thinking which Michael Reagan told the audience to remember in November of 2012.

He added;

“Let me put it to you this way, who will you support….Sarah Palin or Barack Obama? Paul Ryan or Barack Obama? Rick Perry or Barack Obama?.

As for the opinions of some of the New Jersey elected officials in the room, I took an unofficial and off the record poll of where they stand right now regarding 2012. While I will not reveal who said what, I can tell you that like Michael Reagan, none endorsed any particular presidential contenders, but as for who they like as we go into the nominating process, names like Huckabee, Daniels, Romney, Giuliani and several others came up. So from the looks of it, there is not any early coordinated effort by the influential elected officials of the state to consolidate support for anyone in particular. That in my view is a good thing. It would be good for New Jersey to have as many as candidates as possible, come to the Garden State and spend their money here while also campaigning among us and earning our support based upon their ideas and abilities.

Now if only we can get our elected officials to change our primary system to a proportionate one rather than a winner-take-all contest. With New Jersey being stuck in between the New York and Philadelphia markets, campaigning here is more expensive than in most states. As such, if candidates for the nomination have no chance at picking up at least a few delegates, they are less inclined to invest any time or money here. That causes New Jersey to lose out. But that is for another day. As for this particular Friday and the New Jersey Reagan Day Dinner held on it, everyone was a winner. However the biggest winner of all was Jay Webber and his exceptional and professional staff and volunteers who pulled off a well planned, well executed, smooth running, memorably enjoyable evening that gave all of us the opportunity to celebrate one of nation’s greatest contemporary American heroes……President Ronald Reagan.

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Michael Reagan Gives Keynote Address at Jay Webber’s Reagan Day Dinner

Bookmark and Share    On February 6th, America will celebrate the centennial anniversary of one our nation’s most popular contemporary Presidents……..Ronald Reagan.

Ronald Wilson ReaganEvents to commemorate the day will be held throughout the nation. But here in New Jersey, one man has championed the cause of our state’s annual contribution to insure the continuation of the Reagan legacy with our celebration.

On Friday, February 4th, Assemblyman Jay Webber is conducting his 8th annual tribute to America greatest modern champion of freedom at a dinner that will be featuring Michael Reagan as its keynote speaker.

Michael is the eldest son President and is a conservative political commentator and the author of several books, including On the Outside Looking In: Twice Adopted and The Common Sense of an Uncommon Man; The Wit, Wisdom, and Eternal Optimism of Ronald Reagan.

Assemblyman Jay Webber

With all the events that are being conducted to commemorate the Reagan centennial during this first weekend in February, to have Michael Reagan join us in New Jersey is a testimonial to Jay Webber, the importance of his annual celebration and the great appreciation that many in New Jersey have for Ronald Reagan. Assemblyman Webber had to pull many strings to pull this one off and the fact that he could get Michael Reagan to attend New Jersey’s Reagan Day Dinner, out of all those occurring on this same night, is an indication of just how influential and respected the Assemblyman has become in conservative politics.

Assemblyman Webber is truly a rising star in New Jersey. He is among the hardest working, most principled, fair minded and conservative legislators the state has ever seen. And like Ronald Reagan, Jay Webber is not an angry conservative, he is an optimistic one, with common sense, and innovative ideas. Webber is also a leader who can articulate the conservative cause in a way that resonates with people of any political stripe. All of which probably accounts for the deep sense of appreciation for Ronald Reagan that led him to become the founder of the annual New Jersey Reagan Day.

According to Assemblyman Webber:

“We owe it to Ronald—to his ideas and historic accomplishments—to celebrate his 100th birthday with freedom-loving Americans and to work together to turn the tide in America toward freedom”.

This year’s New Jersey Reagan’s Day dinner is sure be the best yet—-one that will be fitting for the extra special occasion of a centennial celebration.

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Event details:

  • Friday, February 4th,2011
  • At the Sheraton Hilton
  • 199 Smith Road, Parsippany
  • 6:00 p.m. Doors Open
  • 6:30 p.m. Program and Dinner
  • Tickets: $45.00
  • RSVP’s Required

To request reservations click the invitation below

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