Tag Archives: politics twenty-four seven

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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CPAC Fills Keynote Position With Congressman Allen West

Bookmark and Share    This weekend’s annual Conservative Political Action Conference was originally suppose to have former Alaska Governor and G.O.P. vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin  give it’s closing keynote address.  Unfortunately with only a few days notice, Palin informed CPAC that a “scheduling conflict” would make it impossible for her to deliver the address.

Palin is sponsoring a Friday evening event at the conference, so her inability to deliver on her speech, is most likely due to circumstances beyond her control and not some kind of intended sleight.

Nevertheless, CPAC was left with the task of trying to find someone who was both willing to give the closing speech and

Rep. Allen West

 able to make it a powerfully memorable speech that would end the CPAC convention on a high, inspiring note.

Well they have done it.  In fact, with no offense to Sarah Palin, they have probably wound up with a speaker more powerful and articulate than Palin……..newly elected Florida Congressman Allen West.

Now I must reiterate that I really do not mean any offense to Sarah.   In 2007, I was an early activist in the draft Sarah Palin for Vice President effort.  And after the presidential, I even named my new cat Sarah-cuda, or Sarah for short.  So I appreciate Governor Palin and know her abilities.  But when it comes to Allen West, I can’t help but admit that he is probably one of only  a handful of new generation republican leaders who offer the G.O.P. the type of leadership that can keep the Party and more importantly, the nation, strong.

Sarah-cuda

In  previous POLITICS 24/7 posts, I blogged about the virtues of Allen West.  The most recent one highlighted him as one of the ten most promising freshmen in the 112th Congress.

One of the most exciting things about West is his ability to not just articulate the conservative cause, but to excite and inspire you with it.  West is a true believer.  He is a true believer in independence, personal responsibility, including the responsibility to be personally charitable and he is a believer in American exceptionalism.  Allen West believes in peace through strength and limited government.  He believes in free markets that are not held back by undue government regulation and he has true faith in state rights, not to mention God and country.  And when Allen West is given the chance to address those beliefs within the context of the conservative cause, few have more of an ability than him to make you believe that the blood that courses through his veins is red, white and blue, not just red.

That said, I urge all of you to make it a point of catching Congressman West’s CPAC ketnote address, this Saturday, February, 12th, 2011.  He is sure to make you proud to be a Republican and even prouder to be an American.

In addition to Rep. West, CPAC will be featuring dozens of scintillating speakers.  Many of them are potential and likely candidates for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.  The schedule is as follows;

  • THURSDAY, February 10:
    10:00 AM: Michele Bachmann
    1:00 PM: Newt Gingrich book signing.
    2:00 PM: Rick Santorum
    4:30 PM: Paul Ryan
    6:15 PM: A reception co-sponsored by SarahPAC.
  • FRIDAY, February 11:
    10:30 AM: Mitt Romney
    1:30 PM: John Thune
    3:00 PM: Tim Pawlenty
    3:30 PM: Ron Paul
    4:00 PM: Rick Perry
    4:30 PM: Herman Cain
    7:30 PM: Mitch Daniels
  • SATURDAY, February 12
    9:30 AM: Haley Barbour

Allen West should bve delivering his speech at around 5:30 PM EST on Saturday. 

In  the meantime, POLITICS 24/7 invites you to join with our sister site, White House 2012, and participate in its newest poll.  Each year CPAC holds one of the most most highly anticipated and watched presidential straw polls of the year.  POLITICS 24/7 and White House 2012 would like to know who you think the winner of their poll will be. 

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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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Reince Priebus Elected Chairman of the Republican National Committee

Newly elected RNC Chairman Reince Priebus

Bookmark and Share    On the seventh ballot Reince Priebus (pronounced /raɪns ˈpriːbəs/),  the Chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party was elected chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Priebus went in to the race as a frontrunner and as a favorite of the grassroots.  He was also supported by Republican activist, prolific fundraiser and lobyist, Henry Barbour, nephew of Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour.

On the final ballot Priebus garnered 97 votes to Saul Anuzis’s 43 and Maria Cino’s 28.

85 votes are needed to win.

In his acceptance speech, Priebus urged all of the Republican National Committee to come together and promised to work with everyone. “We all recognize that there is a steep still ahead and the only way to face it is to work together” said Priebus

He reminded delegates that each of them are the employees of the Republican voters and that it will be their responsibility to restructure financial operations, hiring top notch staff and beating President Obama in 2012.  Priebus also stated that he wanted to shape the GOP into a truly conservative Party that elected conservative candidates.

Some suggest that being supported by the nephew of the influential Mississippi Governor and former RNC Chairman Haley Barbour,  this is a signal that Governor Barbour is on track to winning the G.O.P.’s presidential nomination.

But aside from rumors of  Haley Barbour’s influence in this election for Chairman, Reince Prebius in his own right came to the position of Wisconsin State Party Chairman in 2007 and by 2010 he took a considerably blue state and helped win a U.S. Senate from Democrat stalwart Russ Feingold, took back the historically Democrat seat of powerful Congressman David Obey as well as other House seats and helped capture the statehouse with Republican Scott Walker.

The election of Reince Preibus marks the beginning of a new page for the Republican National Committee after some of its most historic electoral gains in history. While Mike Steele was energizing force that had a part in those election victories, he did little to insure that the RNC developed a strong and reliable fundraising operation and left the RNC with a large debt. Steele was also criticized for not reinforcing an effective organizational strategy for strengthening the grassroots of the Party.

More About Reince Priebus:

Priebus was born and raised in Kenosha, Wisconsin and graduated from George Nelson Tremper High School in 1990. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and English in 1994 from University of Wisconsin–Whitewater (where he was student body president), worked in the Wisconsin Legislature for a year, and then went to law school, receiving a law degree from University of Miami School of Law in 1998.  During his time there, he interned for the NAACP legal defense fund in Los Angeles.  In 1998, he joined the law firm of Michael Best & Friedrich LLP in Milwaukee.

In 2004, in his first bid for public office, Priebus unsuccessfully challenged incumbent Robert Wirch for a seat in the Wisconsin Senate, where Priebus reportedly spent $384,486 to Wirch’s $182,595.

Priebus was elected state GOP party chair in 2007,  the youngest person ever elected to that position.  In 2009, he became general counsel of the RNC under chairman Michael Steele.

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Fallout From the Tucson Memorial Service

Bookmark and Share    Recently I have been receiving some sharp criticism from the side of the aisle that I sit in. My fellow followers of conservative ideology were taken back by my praise of President Obama’s handling of the tragedy in Tucson and the speech he offered at the Tuesday evening memorial service on the campus of Arizona University.

Indeed some of the voices on the right that I most respect were not in agreement with my positive characterization of the President’s handling of the situation and the speech he gave. Leading conservative radio talk show host Mark Levin denounced the Arizona memorial and in his own way essentially described the event as a campaign rally and equated it to the shamefully exploited and disrespectful memorial service that was given some years ago in Minnesota for Senator Paul Wellstone.

Wellstone’s tragic death in a plane crash, just weeks before Election Day, was turned into a political convention that launched the campaign of Wellstone’s replacement on the ballot, former Vice President Walter Mondale.

Another acquaintance of mine wrote on Facebook “it was a pep rally…they passed out t-shirts for God’s sakes….”

Sentiments like hers were most common. They are also hard to dispute.

T-shirts certainly were handed out and although I question the poor taste of such branding, I do not question the intentions and I am also cognizant of the fact that the T-Shirt gimmick was not the inspiration of the White House or DNC operatives. This was all initiated and coordinated by the University of Arizona and its president, Robert Shelton. But here too, I do not believe that the University leadership meant any real political message. I believe that as is the case with most institutions of liberal bends, the ingrained fear of deep psychological wounds scaring mass groups of youngsters for life, led them to try and create a theme that could help insure that students walked away from the memorial with something positive to focus on. In this case they tried to make that focus one which stated that from this tragedy, hope can rise if we unite against the type of hate and anger that led to these shootings.

No matter what the intention though, it was not one that was orchestrated by President Obama or his political operatives.

Other aspects of this memorial service worthy of critical discussion were the often inappropriate cheers that rang out from the audience and even worse, the boos that were offered when Arizona’s Republican rose to speak.

While uncalled for and disturbing to me, this too I can not blame on President Obama.

The audience was predominantly made up of University of Arizona students, a group of young, not so bright, cocky, college age kids, kids of the age group that went gaga for the President when he ran in 2008 and voted for him in historic numbers. They are of a liberal mentality, a mentality that is often based on hypocritical thinking. That is why they led partisan cheers and jeers while they sat at a memorial service for the dead, and  demonstrated their partisan tendencies, while wearing their T-Shirts that touted the importance of unity and listened to a speech by the President that called for us to tone down our differences. No one ever claimed that today’s college kids were a particularly bright and respectful lot.

However, I feel it is important to separate the audience’s actions from the Presidents.

That distinction is quite important and if conservatives fail to make that distinction, they will be putting our cause at a great disadvantage. If we fail to properly acknowledge the fact that President Obama tried to change the national storyline which blamed the shootings on conservative, anti-government dialogue, and if we fail to acknowledge the meaning of the words he spoke and the message sent in his handling of the shootings in the days that followed, then we will be risking our own ability to be taken seriously.

The best example of the harmful atmosphere created by not giving credit where credit is

due, can be seen in the years of George W. Bush’s presidency. No matter what President Bush did, he was attacked. Once the shock of 9/11 wore off, the left lambasted President Bush and hung him in effigy for everything and anything that he did, regardless of its merits. For many of us, it got to the point where we knew that no matter President Bush did, he would be attacked. This in turn led conservatives to ignore the left’s criticisms of the President. We just could not take their irrational treatment of him seriously.

Now in turn, conservatives can stoop to the same level which our loyal opposition held for many years or we can approach our political differences of opinion in a way that will give people no reason to not take us seriously. In this case, by not acknowledging the positive way in which President Obama held the nation’s hand during this unsettling event, will be weakening the position that we will be in, the next time that we disagree with the President on those policy positions that we find most important.

As I stated in my initial assessment of the President’s speech at the memorial service in Tucson, he rose to the occasion. He convincingly did his best to diffuse the national debate that tried to lay blame for the shootings at the feet of people like Sarah Palin and groups like the TEA Party and he did so in a way that still honored the victims in a respectful and dignified manner. For this we must thank the President, not attack him. For this we must depart from political partisanship and as Americans support our President. If we fail to do that, we will be acting just as distastefully and disrespectfully as the audience at the memorial service that booed Arizona’s Governor.

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Steele Withdraws from Reelection for RNC Chairman on 4th Ballot

Who Will Be the Next Republican Chair?Bookmark and Share   Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Steele has pulled out of his bid reelection to a second term as chairman. The move indicates that he knew he could garner enough delegates to win.

The process that elects a Republican National Committee Chairman usually consists of multiple counts until one candidate has a clear majority and in hammering that majority together, an intense deal making machine goes in to work. For his part in that process, after the fourth round of balloting Steele withdrew from the contest and threw his support behind Maria Cino. What deal was made, no one knows, but if Cino can hold on to all of Steele’s votes, she would be able to win on the fifth ballot

After the fourth ballot, the count stood at; Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Reince Preibus had 58 votes to Former Deputy RNC Chairman Maria Cino’s 29, Michael Steele’s 28, former RNC Co-Chairman Ann Wagner’s 28 and Former Michigan Republican Chairman Saul Anuzis’ 24.

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President Obama Rises to the Occassion and Helps the Nation Heal and Unite

Barack ObamaBookmark and Share   Last night at a memorial service for the victims of the Tucson shooting tragedy, President Obama confronted what is a time of great suffering and grief for our nation with dignity and skill. The President deftly paid due tribute to those who were killed and wounded in the massacre and while never allowing the focus of his remarks to stray far away from them, he also led the nation in a corrective direction for the storyline that has since followed the tragedy.

In a very poignant statement, President Obama successfully used the power of the bully pulpit to rise above politics and lay to rest the partisan political exploitation of the tragedy that some have pushed in the days following the massacre.

“Yes, we have to examine all the facts behind this tragedy. We cannot and will not be passive in the face of such violence. We should be willing to challenge old assumptions in order to lessen the prospects of such violence in the future.  But what we cannot do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on each other. That we cannot do. That we cannot do. As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility. Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let’s use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy and remind ourselves of all the ways that our hopes and dreams are bound together.” said the President.

He added “at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized — at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who happen to think differently than we do — it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we’re talking with each other in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds“

On this somber occasion, President Obama and the entirety of his speech provided our nation with some much needed positive perspective and unifying hope. He successfully combined the somber sentiments of the situation with a mix of enthusiastic optimism for our ability to heal, in a way that few have the oratory skill to fuse together in one speech.

“I want our democracy to be as good as Christina imagined it. I want America to be as good as she imagined it. All of us — we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children’s expectations.” said President Obama.

Tonight President Obama acted and led in a way that should make us all proud. As is the case with most who find themselves charged with the responsibility of presiding over our nation during times of crisis, President Obama rose to the occasion and all of us should be proud and grateful for that.

In some perverse way, the tragedy in Tucson afforded President Obama with an unintended opportunity that he unintentionally took advantage of, an opportunity for the American people to gain greater confidence in him, his leadership and his judgment. Of course, the totality of all the issues facing this nation will quickly test that confidence and his political judgment and leadership, but for one of the first times in his presidency, President Obama has bonded with the American people and afforded himself a wealth of wiggle room in the months ahead.

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TEA Party Must Have A Say In the Redistricting Process

Bookmark and Share  After a year when millions of Americans began taking their civic responsibilities more serious than ever and joined together in the TEA Party movement in an attempt to change government for the better, it would be a shame to see that activity end after just one election cycle. It would be an even greater shame to see all that they have achieved in such a relatively small amount of time, reversed by politics as usual. Having gotten involved in the elections and having changed the results of those elections, the TEA Party has a responsibility to see their efforts through. Not only must they stay involved and keep those officials they carried to victory true to their words, they must now take the time to deepen their political involvement and effect those areas of politics which often get little attention but carry more weight than the results of just any one election cycle.

In 2011 one such area which requires their attention is the redistricting process.

This once every decade event, shapes the political landscape of every state in our nation as well as national government. It determines the districts which we elect our leaders from. Everything from City council lines to legislative districts and congressional districts are drawn. Left to their own devices, in the hands of politicians the process becomes one known as gerrymandering. It is an underhanded practice that divides communities not along geographic lines but along political lines. Left in the hands of politicians and political parties, redistricting is based on how they can draw districts that contain a majority of votes for their Party’s candidates.

This gerrymandering process undermines the electoral process. It helps determine election results before campaigns have even started by insuring that a minority of one Party and the majority of the other constitute the makeup of enough districts to elect a majority in state legislatures and the House of Representatives, thereby insuring one Party or the other, control of those legislative bodies and the legislative process.

Gerrymandering is the reason why so few seats in Congress are competitive. It is why the defeat of less than 14% of incumbent House members in 2010 was considered a political landslide. It is why out of 435 seats in the House of Representatives, only an approximate number of 100 of them were really contested. The other 335 were forgone conclusions.

This is unacceptable for those who have a vested interest in fair elections and the democratic process. This should be unacceptable to those who consider themselves a part of the TEA Party and are fed up with political games as usual and political sleights of hand. It should be intolerable to those who wish to see their elected officials elected based upon their qualifications, their beliefs and their effectiveness, not just simply their Party registration.

That is why it is important that the TEA Party not rest on their laurels for too long. They have tasted victory in 2010 but that now means that in 2011 they have a responsibility to fulfill. They can’t just effect the outcome of one election and retreat back to their less civic oriented days of casual or occasional political involvement or concern. They must continue to learn about the behind the scenes political process that cheats us all out a fair process. They must work as hard as they did to effect the elections of 2010, to now effect the process that effects those elections.

During the next few months, state legislatures across America will be begin to slice and dice the political maps. In the vast majority of states, the process is run and determined by each state’s upper and lower houses of the legislature and the Governor. For some states that means one Part is in total control of the process. In other states it means that Republicans and Democrats are both involved in hammering the new district lines together. But even in those cases, political deals are cut in order to save one legislator other.

That is why the very next mission of the TEA Party must be to interject itself in to the redistricting process. They must educate themselves about the process, establish their own suggested guidelines in drawing the new district lines and demand that those guidelines are heard and applied, fairly and properly.

In New Jersey, thanks in large part to Assemblyman Jay Webber, the Chairman of the Republican Delegation to the New Jersey redistricting Commission, at least four public hearing swill be held in order to get the publics input on the redistricting process. It is an opportunity which we she seek more of and must take advantage of.

Those hearing are currently scheduled as follows;

  • Wednesday, January 12 6 pm Rutgers Law School, Newark
  • Thursday, January 13 6 pm Hudson County Community College, Jersey City
  • Tuesday, January 18 6 pm Rowan University, Glassboro
  • Thursday, January 20 6 pm Ocean County Administration Building, Toms River
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Arizona Shooting Prompts Lawmaker to Make Percieved Threating Symbols and Speech a Federal Crime

Bookmark and Share   Pennsylvania Congressman Robert Brady is drafting proposed legislation that would make the use of threatening language and/or symbols in regards to federal officials, a federal offense.

The move is a political reaction to the tragic assassination attempt of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords which took the lives of six and injured 14 others including the Congresswoman.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, most political leaders acted quite responsibly and instead of trying to politicize the massacre and exploit it for political points, they offered respectful messages of unity and heartfelt condolences and prayers. But a din of noise did come from other sectors of the left as they quickly tried to connect the shooting rampage to conservative, anti-government sentiments and personalities such as Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin.

Now only two days after the tragedy, some politicians are trying to jump out in front of the issue by proposing legislation that is suppose to prevent future such massacres.

Brady’s proposal may or may not have good intentions. His desire to not even wait till the first of the victims are buried before he politicizes the event by turning it into legislative action, makes one wonder if he is just trying to get his name out there or really trying to solve the problem that we face with violence of the likes that we saw in Tucson. Further reason to question his intentions is his proposed legislation’s inability to actually prevent a repeat of what we just saw.

The motives behind the attack in Arizona are still not fully understood and all the facts surrounding the case are still not public. Yet Brady’s unwillingness to wait for these facts has him proposing a legislative solution to an incident that he does not yet know all the facts about. But beyond the lack of knowledge regarding the situation Brady is trying to propose a solution to, is the lack of viability that his solution has.

Brady proposes to make the use of language and symbols that can be perceived as threatening, illegal. Whose perception will be the rule of thumb? Who will determine whose perceptions are used to declare a symbol or a string words as threatening? Just how much speech and freedom of expression would Brady’s new measure eliminate from public use?

Perhaps Rep. Brady should take a deep breath and allow all facts to come out before he tries to implement a new gag order on the American people as whole. Maybe he should begin to understand the message that Americans sent during the 2010 midterm elections when they said they want less government, not more government and an even bigger nanny state than we had before those elections.

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