Friday, February 25, 2011

The Donald for President? Got Any Hand Sanitzer?

Politico Arena Topic: Would Voters Say "You're Hired" to Trump?

In order to secure the GOP nomination, The Donald would have to overcome his hand-shaking fear. Voters in early primary calendar states such as Iowa and New Hampshire demand old-fashioned retail politicking. They expect candidates to actually be on the ground, in their home, at the fair, in the grocery store, doing things Trump would likely detest—shaking hands and kissing babies. His money could not buy those early states and he likely wouldn’t do well in some of the other early primary states such as South Carolina where his northern roots, accent, and lifestyle would be a huge turnoff.

Should a miracle happen and Trump were to secure the Republican nomination, his personal fortune would certainly come in handy. And his huge name recognition doesn’t hurt either. However, the fact that he has never held political office would raise serious questions for most voters. Ross Perot and Steve Forbes are examples of recent ultra-rich candidates who self-financed their presidential bids. Forbes was never a serious contender in two election cycles. Perot made an impact in 1992 as an independent candidate but fell far short of winning. However, the independent route is where Trump could stir things up should he choose to go that way. Of course, were he to go in that direction, it would likely help President Obama get reelected.

Permalink to Politco Arena comment.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Huck for Prez in 2012?

Politico Arena Topic: Could Huckabee Win in 2012?

First, Mike Huckabee deserves a lot of credit for defending Michelle Obama and her campaign to decrease childhood obesity in this country and opposing the Limbaugh crowd’s vicious attacks. I do think if he is able to raise enough cash that he would be a formidable contender for the GOP nomination. People forget that in 2008 he lasted longer than any other Republican presidential contender except John McCain. As a former governor from Arkansas, Huckabee has a natural advantage over many other potential Republican candidates in those crucial Southern primary states.

Could he beat President Obama in 2012? Sure it’s possible but almost two years out it’s impossible to predict what will happen. In 1991, President George H.W. Bush was so popular and looked so invincible that most big name Democrats refused to throw their hat in the ring. In 1995, many observers were convinced that Bill Clinton would be a one term president. Well, Bush was beaten by Clinton in 1992 and Clinton rolled on to reelection in 1996.

Permalink to Politico Arena comment.

It's All Political

Fox News' Shepard Smith corroborates what I've been saying: the battle in Wisconsin, Ohio, and elsewhere over collective bargaining is not about budgets, it's political. It's about killing the unions and the Democratic Party's only source of big money. Says Smith: "It's all political isn't it? Isn't it just 100% politics?...Have you looked at the list of the top 10 donors to political campaigns? Seven of those 10 donate to Republicans. The other three that remain of those top 10, they all donate to Democrats and they are all unions. Bust the unions, it's over." Couldn't have said it better myself.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

2011 Feels Like 1995

I have recently been added to the list of "players" for Politico's Arena. I will attempt to republish my comments here. Below is the first.

Politico Arena Topic: Government Shutdown-Who Wins Who Loses?

2011 feels an awful lot like 1995. In 1995, you had a Democratic president who had lost unified party control over Congress and was now on the defensive with a resurgent Republican Party riding the wave of a “revolution” to take the government back. Many observers viewed President Clinton as a one-term, failed president, and the presidency itself as “irrelevant.” Republican Speaker Newt Gingrich, riding high from his victory and new found fame, called Clinton’s bluff on the budget and the federal government shutdown - twice. We all know how things turned out - the Clinton White House turned the shutdown into a public relations victory and knocked Gingrich off his pedestal. Clinton sailed to reelection. Gingrich never recovered politically and resigned after his party lost seats in the 1998 midterm election.

We are now several months into the FY2011 budget calendar as the federal government has been operating because of temporary spending bills since October. The latest continuing resolution (CR) is set to expire March 4 and if Congress and the president cannot agree on a new CR, the U.S. is headed for a replay of the events of 1995. Like Bill Clinton before him, President Obama’s Democratic Party got a shellacking in the 2010 midterms, losing control of the House of Representatives. But from the very start of his presidency, Obama has talked the talk of civility and working together with the other party, often extending the hand of cooperation only to have it slapped away. With the GOP now in control of the House, there is an expectation by the public that both parties work together to solve the nation’s great problems. When Obama released his FY2012 budget last week, it was immediately greeted with jeers by Republican leaders and members saying it was “dead on arrival.”

If the federal government shuts down next week, basic services such as the issuing of military veterans’ benefits checks and passports will cease, national parks and museums will be closed, and hundreds of thousands of federal workers will be forced to stay home. The Obama White House will be able to point to Republicans and their tea party members who openly reject the entire notion of negotiation and compromise, and claim that Republicans are responsible for the mess. And a majority of the public will likely agree.

Permalink to Politico Arena comment.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

GOP Takes Aim at Collective Bargaining

It's not just happening in Ohio--it's happening all over the country. In what can only be called either an organized GOP campaign or a very improbable coincidence, Republican governors and legislatures across the land are aiming at disemboweling public employee unions. In Ohio, Senate Bill 5 was just introduced which would:

"Thousands of public employees and supporters converged at a hearing at the capitol here that ran into the wee hours of Wednesday morning to voice their objection to a proposal to cut their benefits and remove most of their unions’ ability to bargain. The show of anger was powerful. Madison schools were closed on Wednesday after scores of teachers called in sick and appeared headed to lobby exhausted-looking lawmakers, who had heard more than 17 hours of comments in a public hearing that began on Tuesday morning. More buses of public workers from other parts of the state were still pulling up near dawn on Wednesday. The target of their fury was a proposal by Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican elected in November, to press through a “repair bill” that would help solve the state’s $137 million budget shortfall by requiring government workers to contribute significantly more to their pensions and health care, while limiting collective bargaining for most state and local government employees to the issue of wages, excluding an array of issues like health coverage and vacations."

This is what dictatorship looks like, not democracy. The democratic process would include real debate and a thoughtful give-and-take (I think given the economic circumstances of the states, the unions would be fairly reasonable in giving up some benefits). Instead, this is an organized campaign by the GOP to kill the teachers’ unions--and eventually tenure—something they’ve wanted to do for a long time. And to do it fast before the opposition can organize. Governor Kasich said on the campaign trail that one of his main goals as governor was to "break the back" of the teachers unions. He’s well on his way.

Are we going to see people in the streets just like happened in Egypt? Is the National Guard really going to be used by GOP governors across the land to put down the protests? I hope not. We had a little incident here in 1970 at Kent State people might remember…

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Never Bet Against the Pack

Never bet against the World Champion Green Bay Packers. That is a lesson learned the hard way by a friend of mine. A lifelong Pittsburgh Steelers fan, he learned that you can root against the Packers but you should never bet against them. The penalty for losing his Super Bowl XLV bet with yours truly: wearing a Packers jersey during his workday.

Frankly I think anyone looks great in the Green and Gold and he should thank me for the oppurtunity to wear anything Packers. Unfortunately for him, I only lent him the jersey and he will have to return it.

Monday, February 7, 2011

True Football Grit

Oh glorious day. I know this is a blog about the White House and politics, but as a lifelong Green Bay Packer fan, it doesn't get any better than this. America's team is bringing the Lombardi Trophy back to where it belongs. In case you were in a cave last night without access to the outside world, the Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Superbowl XLV, 31-25.

For a team that lost 2 of its field captains during the game, 15 players during the season (6 of whom were starters including their running back, tight end, captain on defense, etc.), it is amazing that this team came out on top. In order just to get there, Green Bay had to win its last two regular season games, had to win three playoff games...on the road. True football grit. By the end of the game and because of injuries, the Packers had to play special teams players in their secondary and as per usual, they rose to the occasion. Because of injuries throughout the season, the the Packers were loaded with free agent, waiver wire pick ups forced into starting roles. Didn't matter--they had the grit and determination to finish the job.

The hardware is coming back home to Green Bay--where it belongs. 13 NFL championships. 4 Superbowl victories. Not bad for a sports franchise from a city of just over 100,000 people. People live and die Packers football in Green Bay and the entire state of Wisconsin. We are die hard fans. We are not fair weather fans. It is a town where they take their football team so seriously, they schedule funerals around Packer games otherwise no one would show up. For all of us who stuck with the team through the bleak years of the 70s and 80s and survived the Favre retirement soap opera of three years ago, this championship is for you. Oh glorious day.

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