Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Getting here took a little creativity, by which I mean the Provo marathon had closed off several roads. I had to wait for people to clear and eventually drove down a few blocks where I thought it might be easier to cross.
Tons of pamphlets and fliers being handed out, tons of signage everywhere. You'd think this was the caucus.
Sen. Lee spoke first. He said DC tried to take away our guns and he said no.
Rep. Chaffetz was next. Gave a plug for his upcoming FNS appearance to discuss Benghazi.
Gov. Herbert was able to rattle off several statistics on how well Utah is doing, and briefly addressed his recent visit to Israel.
They passed around some glass collection boxes for money.
Now to the candidates.
For Utah County GOP Chair
David Acheson: Asks for vote based on strength of fact that past 2 years have proven productive and healthy. What have we accomplished together? Two years ago we couldn't even agree on an agenda at our meetings. We actually leave meetings with plan of action. What have we done with money raised? We've rented schools for meetings, hosted successful Lincoln Day dinners, donated $34,000 to Republican candidates. We're going to take back the 4th district in 2014. Utah County GOP party donated $10,000 to Mia Love's campaign. SLC GOP Party donated $0.
Casey Voeks: I ran Mia Love's campaign in 2012. I will engage the youth. To improve our party fundraiser, I will find new donors. As a chairman, I will improve our outreach. I will fulfill all the duties of chairman.
For Utah County GOP Vice-Chair
Randy O'Hara: He brings his wife and child up with him. I wanted to run because we have a fractured party that diminishes our elected officials. I do not believe in the tyranny of the minority. We should have a vote and move on. Focus on what we have in common. Then he talks about his DUI for a while and finally withdraws and endorses Acumen. Outgoing vice-chair leaps up and grabs his mike.
I know he's trying to reform his image but that was NOT the way to do it. Left a bad taste in my mouth.
Daryl Acumen: 1st, we need to stop demonizing each other. I grew up with Democrats. I know who the enemy is. The enemy is Barack Obama, Jim Matheson, Robert Reich, Louis Farrakhan. We have so many Republicans here that sometimes we forget who the enemy is and we look at each other instead.
Patrick Holman: I am a white middle-aged heterosexual male, therefore the press considers me intolerant. Why do we tolerate a Democrat representing the most Republican county in the most Republican state?
For Utah County GOP Secretary
Christy Kane: Spoke about raising her flag in her yard. Teared up when talking about her father's example to her. I'll make sure you get the information you need.
Kirby Glad: I accept personal responsibility and don't seek to blame others. I ask you to take more responsibility as well, help us to defeat Matheson. I replaced the last secretary who was removed. We need to reach out to youth and new citizens.
They announced the delegate count and it was 49%. Only 49%? This is what happens when you cram the caucuses with one-candidate delegates; they shirk on their duties after the election.
Within my own Senate district, we vote on the committee members. Nine ran for four spots. Adrielle Bowler (the only woman to run), Jared Jardine, Arturo Morales-Ilan and Brandon Beckham won.
Then the sexy part of the evening: voting on amendments to party documents! Clarifying the LD Vice-Chair's duties passed. Adopting a Chief Technical Officer passed. Standing Committee Duties did not pass. Softening of the immigration language did not pass.
I had to run right after that so I didn't get to say Hi to most people I wanted to, but Lisa, Joey, Daryl, Mike, etc., thanks, congrats, catch you next time! And remember, if you're not going to go to any of the meetings, don't run to be a delegate!
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Utah's newly-elected attorney general is an embarrassment. Former Senate candidate Dan Liljenquist has called for his resignation. Daniel Burton gives a pretty good summary of some of his problems. Mark Shurtleff's handpicked successor needs to recognize the damage he's doing to his office.
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Getting a drink of water.
That said, the GOP needs to stop doing their response with one person staring at a camera. They should have them in a roomful of people, get some organic crowd reaction. Give the speech to them. No one ever looks good in those response to the State of the Union bits.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
7:17 - "The Constitution makes us partners for progress." - JFK
7:19 - He says corporate profits are at an all-time high but wages are stagnant. Says government needs to work for the many not the few. Says the nation doesn't expect us to agree on every issue but they do expect us to put the nation before party. Wants $9 an hour minimum wage.
7:22 - The sequester was supposed to be a bad idea!
7:24 - "At the beginning of the next decade..." Let me stop you right there.
7:26 - Obama talking a lot about fairness, leading up to more tax reform, calls for a simplified tax code that closes loopholes for billionaires.
7:28 - Now talking about how doomed our country will be if we let the seqeuster happen. Jobs will be lost, economy will plummet, cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria. Says let's pass a budget that replaces reckless cuts with smart savings. (Didn't his last budget get zero votes?)
7:30 - "Can't believe I have to sit here and listen to this crap." - Boehner thought-bubble
7:32 - Every grin from Biden looks shark-like to me now.
7:34 - "We must do more to combat climate change" gets a standing O.
7:36 - There's a shot of Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Republican senator from Alaska. She's still there, and Sarah Palin was fired by Fox News.
7:38 - "Let's cut in half the energy wasted in our homes and businesses over the next 20 years." Hoo-boy, what's he about to propose? Federal incentives for energy-efficient buildings. More investment in infrastructure, bridges, etc.
7:39 - Bizarre three color thing going on with POTUS and the two men behind him. Joe Biden has a straight lavender tie, Obama has a straight blue tie, and Boehner has a solid salmon tie (with little dots).
7:42 - Pre-K for every child in America? Paid for how?
7:45 - We'll reward schools that focus on science, engineering, technology and math. Taxpayers can't keep subsidizing higher and higher costs. Colleges must do their part.
7:46 - "Now's the time to pass comprehensive immigration reform." Loudest applause since speech started. His outline sounds a lot like proposals I've seen from Republicans and Democrats. That's one promise I think he'll be able to keep.
7:55 - Train Afghans to take over their own security. Al Qaeda is a shadow of its former self. We don't need to "occupy" other nations.
7:57 - "Now is the time" for a diplomatic solution to Iran, to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon.
8:00 - Will do new trade agreements with Europe.
8:02 - I saw progress in Burma, where thousands flew American flags and said they wanted their country to be like US.
8:05 - When any American are denied right to vote, because they can't afford to wait 5-6 hours to cast their ballot, we're betraying our ideals. Let's improve the voting process in America.
8:10 - Laying it on thick here with emotional appeal for gun control.
8:13 - Desilene Victor is 102-year-old voter. Very nice moment. Also, Brian Murphy, the officer shot 12 times in stooping the Sikh temple shooter. The personal stories are usually the best part of SOTU.
8:16 - Huh, it's suddenly over.
I recorded CBS so now Bob Schieffer's breaking down the speech. He loved it.
Next will be Marco Rubio. Lots of pressure on him. We all remember how Bobby Jindal was panned for his SOTU response.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Let's take a looky at what Obama is actually proposing.
1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.
2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.
3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.
4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.
5. Propose rule-making to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.
6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.
7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.
8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).
9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.
10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.
11. Nominate an ATF director.
12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.
13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.
14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.
15. Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies
16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.
17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.
18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.
19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.
20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.
21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.
22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.
23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.
Here's what he plans to do legislatively:
- Require criminal background checks for all gun sales. (a.k.a. closing the "gun show loophole.")
- Reinstate and strengthen the assault weapons ban.
- Restore the 10-round limit on ammunition magazines.
- Protect police by finishing the job of getting rid of armor-piercing bullets.
- Give law enforcement additional tools to prevent and prosecute gun crime.
- End the freeze on gun violence research.
- Make our schools safer with more school resource officers and school counselors, safer climates, and better emergency response plans.
- Help ensure that young people get the mental health treatment they need.
- Ensure health insurance plans cover mental health benefits.
Now let's see how he plans to do that with a GOP House of Representatives.
Friday, December 14, 2012
It's been less than 24 hours since the shooting, and yet it feels like longer.
At this point, it sounds like we know the shooter was 20-year-old Adam Lanza. His parents divorced when he was 17 and he lived with his mother Nancy. The guns he used were in her name, so I don't know what background check she could have failed in purchasing them.
He killed her at their home. He then went to the school where she worked as a substitute teacher.
Now this is the point where it gets really senseless. Maybe police will find a note or manifesto somewhere that might shed some light on things. Adam could have stopped with killing his mom and committed suicide right then. But no. He had to do more. Like all mass-murderers, he had to spread his narcissism out. He had to destroy as many lives as possible. He had to die notorious.
So he went to the school, got through their security system, and started shooting.
The morning announcements were going on, and so the whole school heard the chaos on the loudspeakers. When it started, the principal - a mother of five - ran out to stop him, as well as the school psychologist. He murdered them both. He then found his mother's kindergarten class and killed 20 children.
I can't fathom having the mentality of shooting little kids. I can't fathom starting, and seeing these little kids die and cry and scream and bleed, and continuing. He kept firing. How does a person's soul not scream out in the middle of such an act?
Now that he'd killed 20 children and 7 adults, counting his mother, he killed himself. When people do these murder/suicide sprees, I really wish they'd do the suicide part first.
Now tomorrow, and next week, and next month, we'll get new information. Could be some of the things in this evening's narrative are wrong. But I saw an interview with a young man who knew Adam, and he said it was a complete surprise, that Adam seemed like a normal kid.
My five-year-old died about six weeks ago, so I feel I have an inkling of what these families must be going through, and yet not, because Tabitha wasn't murdered.
Saturday, November 17, 2012
I remember that moment, and I remember the faith speech he gave prior to the Iowa caucus. He didn't want to address his religion so early in the campaign, but with staunch anti-Mormonism from the religious right, stoked by Huckabee's whisper campaign ("Don't they believe Jesus and Satan are brothers?") Romney gave his speech. He did it in a way that didn't put religious bigotry to rest, but it at least dampened it. Romney had other problems in 2008, like running as the "social conservative" in the group, but his camp believed the "Mormon question" had hurt him.
Four years later, it didn't matter so much. Romney had the money and experience to make him a stronger candidate. Even though the Republicans didn't want him as the nominee, always picking someone else with him as second choice, all the other candidates wilted under the spotlight. At different points, Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum led in the GOP polls. For all the hand-wringing now, does anyone really believe one of the those five would have done better?
The 2012 cycle took longer, partly due to some dissatisfaction with John McCain wrapping it up so early in 2008, a clearly flawed candidate. And so Mitt Romney had to play the games one plays in primary politics. He flanked Perry to the right on immigration. He had to defend RomneyCare against ObamaCare and explain why what was good for Massachusetts would be disastrous for the nation. His campaign took turns with attack ads on whoever was the frontrunner, but each and every frontrunner took their best shot on him and couldn't topple him. It took its toll though. Perry supporters didn't instantly switch to Romney supporters. Same with Santorum's or Gingrich's. Ron Paul supporters never switched to Romney, even if Paul was the one guy on stage he made a point not to attack.
While Romney was finishing them off, the Obama campaign was already planting the seeds. They followed the playbook of George W. Bush in 2004. Ironic much? The Bush team canvassed their states and identified their voters and got them out. It was about turnout of the base. They also had to weaken their opponent, so the Bush team went after John Kerry's Vietnam tour with the Swiftboat Veterans. Kerry never recovered.
The positive campaign the Obama team ran in 2008 wasn't going to work a second time around. They didn't have the luxury of the high ground. Plus with Super-PACs in play, neither candidate could keep control of their message. Who can forget the ad that implied Romney gave a woman cancer?
Romney's strength was his economic prowess, so that's what they went after. Romney was now Gordon Gekko, an evil corporate raider who destroyed companies and made millions. The image stuck for enough people.
So what could he have done differently?
1. Tell the truth. Romney has a certain cavalier attitude toward truth in politics. It's as though he believes everyone's going to lie, and he's here to play the game. Like Survivor. But it was too easy to look at how he ran for Senate in 1994, how he governed in 2002, how he campaigned in 2008, and how he campaigned in 2012 that made people wonder. "Who is the real Mitt Romney?" There were answers he'd give in the primary debates where I felt like he was telling the far-right what they wanted to hear but wouldn't really govern that way if elected.
2. Change the Convention order. It may have seemed like a coup to get Clint Eastwood to speak ("former Republican mayor"), but it shouldn't have been in primetime. There was a series of speakers who came to the podium one by one and shared brief stories of acts of service or kindness they'd received from Romney. It not only humanized him but underlined how compassionate a man he could be. It was a side of him the electorate needed to see, and a side he'd never boast of. It was a side that few people saw, because it didn't happen in primetime. Instead his own speech wasn't that memorable, and all people could talk about was The Chair.
3. Pick a different Vice-President. Romney figured he needed a pick to excite the base, so he doubled-down on the economic question and picked Paul Ryan. Trouble is, Ryan had a budget the Obama team could criticize. It didn't matter that Obama hasn't had a budget in three years; Ryan's suggestions were full of those that would raise the tax burden on poor and middle-income families. And if Ryan was a such a fiscal conservative, why did he support Medicare Part-D and TARP and the bailouts? He was just another white male Republican.
4. Get out of the echo chamber. Romney was a numbers guy, but the team around him was giving him bad numbers. "Oh, don't worry about Nate Silver. He's biased. Look at Rasmussen! Look at our own internal polling." Romney believed with all his heart on Tuesday he was going to win. His consultants were charlatans.
5. Campaign for everyone. How many times did we hear "small business"? What about the people who don't own a small business? He needed better articulation on why his plans would help everyone, not just the rich and entrepreneurial.
6. Don't criticize the "other." The Obama team did a good job of "otherizing" Mitt Romney. He's not one of us. But Romney fell into the trap when speaking to some wealthy donors, telling them what they wanted to hear. There's a reason the "47%" comment was leaked in September even though he'd said it in May. He may or may not personally feel disdain for those who don't pay federal income tax, but hey Fox News portrays them as freeloaders, so let's follow that narrative. I make a decent living, but once I take my earned income tax credit, child tax credits, charitable deductions, mortgage deduction, and medical expenses deduction, I paid very little federal income tax last year. I imagine plenty of other families out there making $30, $40, $50, $60,000 a year find themselves in the same boat. It showed a disconnect.
7. Give a vision for the future. Obama kept talking about moving "forward." Romney's campaign was more about hearkening back to Reagan's America, a military superpower, a shining beacon on the hill of low taxes and low regulations. Each president is right or wrong for their time, and Reagan was right for his time. But fellas, that was thirty years ago. Nostalgia has never won a campaign. Maybe Grover Cleveland.
So now the dust has settled, and Romney, unfortunately, rather than fading into the sunset, made some more conference calls to donors and supporters, and had the "gifts" gaffe. The 2012 election was one of the smallest and shallowest in history, not to mention the most negative. Big Bird, Binders of Women, "You Didn't Build That", etc. And the "gifts" comment is a postscript to it.
That one word has emboldened other Republican leaders to condemn him and push him aside, Gov. Bobby Jindal first and foremost. The fight for 2016 starts now, and the GOP would like a new leader.
Victory has a thousand fathers but defeat is an orphan. I don't see Romney settling into an elder statesman role for the party. Looks like most of the establishment guys are eager to get rid of him. A lot of "I told you so" columns being written.
Romney never had many friends in the Republican Party. His selling point was his management style. His electability. Now that he lost his election, that his team wasn't as well-managed as the other guy, they might come back to him for money, but that's about it. The Romney candidacy is going to be like the second term of George W. Bush: something the Republican Party would like to forget ever happened.
Thursday, November 15, 2012
After every presidential election, there is soul-searching, and if the Republicans want to get anywhere, to stay vital, to have a voice, they need to look within, and it needs to be more than a cosmetic gaze. National Review's Ramesh Ponnuru had one of the better essays on what the GOP needs to do.
Republicans don't like being labelled as racist, sexist, homophobic, etc., but they make it too easy sometimes. Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock lost two "gimme" Senate seats because they didn't know how to not bungle a rape question. Gains that George W. Bush made in attracting Latinos to the GOP were lost in the 2008 and 2012 elections when hard-liners made illegal immigration their #1 issue. Most Latino-Americans want our borders secured too, but I saw more than one FB post from conservatives with the parable of Joe Legal and Jose Illegal. When a candidate would say "We love legal immigrants" it rang hollow.
The vast majority of African-Americans voted with Obama in 2008, and even if most of them wouldn't switch for any reason, there needs to be a long game played. Harping on the "New Black Panther Party" and bringing up the birth certificate issue over and over did nothing but hurt feelings now and deepen distrust for the future.
The media and pollsters are obsessed with demographic breakdown, and it's clear certain demographics just favor Democrats more. The GOP needs to resist the urge of demographic pandering but more importantly, they need to stamp out the appearance of demographic dismissal. Saying "Oh, single women voted 67% for Obama? Eh, they just want big government as their sugar daddy" will do nothing to leave the door open to sway single women in the future.
This time around would be tough because of the primary process, regardless of who won. It was also tough because of which candidates chose to run. Perfectly qualified, interesting people like Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson and Buddy Roemer were ignored in favor of sideshow candidates like Herman Cain and Michelle Bachmann. Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, et al., had ZERO chance in a general election, and everyone knew it, but they were still allowed on stage. The debates, while entertaining and informative, also did long-term damage. And it's not just the candidates' fault. Who can forget the audience booing the gay soldier, or booing the Golden Rule?
There's also conservative media to consider. We live in an age where people can get news from an infinite numbers of sources, most of it unreliable, and more and more, people are consuming news that reaffirms their world-view. If you only watch MSNBC and read Daily Kos, for instance, you'd think Mitt Romney was one of the most evil men to ever run for president. And a conservative may nod and feel superior to that silly notion. But it sure seems like there are plenty of conservatives out there who only listen to Rush Limbaugh, watch Fox News, and read sites like WND for their info.
Mitt Romney was a flawed candidate, but I think he would have been a good president. I'll do a separate piece on him specifically, but the American people rejected the Republicans this year. Sure, we can argue turnout, margins of victory, voter fraud allegations, etc., but the Democrats did soul-searching in 2004 when they lost by similar margins and they came out better for it. Time for the Republicans to do the same.