Saturday, January 03, 2009

"We have duties, for the discharge of which we are accountable to our Creator and benefactor, which no human power can cancel. What those duties are, is determinable by right reason, which may be, and is called, a well informed conscience."

--Theophilus Parsons the Essex Result, 1778
A husband and wife are shopping in their local Wal-Mart.

The husband picks up a case of Budweiser and puts it in their cart. "What do you think you're doing?" asks the wife.

"They're on sale, only $10 for 24 cans," he replies.

"Put them back, we can't afford them," demands the wife, and so they carry on shopping.

A few aisles further along the woman picks up a $20 jar of face cream and puts it in the basket.

"What do you think you're doing?" asks the husband.

"Its my face cream. It makes me look beautiful!" replies the wife.

Her husband retorts: "So does 24 cans of Budweiser and its half the price."

On the PA system: "Cleanup needed on aisle 25, we have a husband down."

Friday, January 02, 2009

Saturday, December 27, 2008 12:22 PM
By: Dave Eberhart

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has been busy testing the waters since Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., announced this month that he won’t seek reelection in 2010.

According to Politico, sources indicate the president’s brother hasn’t yet made a final decision, but Republican Party leaders are giving him a thumbs-up. And President Bush has already said his brother would make an “awesome” candidate and senator.

"Everything indicates that he's in," said David Johnson, a Republican strategist and the CEO of Strategic Vision. "You're not making calls and laying the ground work for fundraising unless you're clearing the field for your candidacy."

Even with his brother’s low, low popularity ratings, GOP leaders are of the mind that the Bush family name won’t be a hindrance if he decides to enter the race.

"Quite the opposite, actually," said one source close to Jeb Bush. "What he's found is that everyone is encouraging him to run. It's actually been a little overwhelming," according to the Politico report.

Indeed, the possibility of another Bush entering a crucial national race seemed to excite both politicians and veteran observers in Bush’s home state of Florida over the weekend. Until rising stars like Sarah Palin or Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal are better tested, Bush could bring some much-needed gravitas to Republican circles, according to several observers.

Susan MacManus, a political science professor at the University of South Florida and an expert on Florida politics, said Bush's phone calls around the state are "a good sign" that he could be jumping in the race, something that she says is "music to the ears of Florida Republicans."

"Nothing could have come at a better time," MacManus told Politico. "Republicans here in Florida were so down after the election. The mere mention of Jeb's potential Senate run has put Republicans in a much more festive holiday mood."

In the Orlando Sentinel on Sunday, Fla. State Rep. Dean Cannon, who is slated to be the speaker of the state house in 2010, wasted no time in throwing his support to Bush.

“As Floridians ask who would best succeed Martinez in the Senate, I believe that the best and most logical successor is Jeb Bush — not because he has proven that he can win, but because he has proven that he can lead,” Cannon, of Winter Park, Florida, wrote.

”Bush led, not only on issues that were popular, but on issues that were so difficult and so full of political thorns that a generation of politicians before him chose to simply ignore them in the hopes that they would go away or resolve themselves.”

Although there was some speculation that a veteran business leader and former chief executive of his state might hesitate at being just one voice among 100 in the Senate, most seem to think that Bush’s sense of public service would outweigh his ego.

Mark Silva, a veteran Florida politics reporter, wrote in the Chicago Tribune’s Swamp politics blog: “For anyone who has known Jeb Bush a long time, the thought of him even thinking of the Senate came as a surprise — he is the chief executive's chief executive, not the go-along, get-along sort of compromiser that life in a legislature requires. Yet anyone who has known him also knows that he takes his politics, and more importantly, public policy, seriously. He sees a certain void in his party at the moment: An absence of someone in Washington with a pulpit to advance the opposition's cause in a reasoned and methodical manner.”

Another source added, "I think he was a little surprised by the magnitude of support. It was so broad and so deep."

Bush left the governor's office two years ago with high approval ratings, was praised for his hands-on role in handling several destructive hurricanes and has held on to his popularity as a private citizen.

"The support is there," a source said. "Fundraisers are calling him. The money will be there."

But Jeb Bush might face some formidable competition from Gov. Charlie Crist, who is also among those eyeing the empty Senate seat. So is Republican Bill McCollum, the Florida attorney general and former congressman.

Among the Democrats, Alex Sink, the state's chief financial officer, and Reps. Allen Boyd and Ron Klein are also considering a Senate run.

© 2008 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


I hope Jeb does make a run. I believe that he would be better than either of our current senators. For that matter, I believe he would do a good job based on his time as Florida's governor. I don't agree with everything he did in office, but I think he did a better job as governor than I really expected. And I personally don't care about his family connections, although I know some wouldn't vote for him just for that reason alone.

I'm not so interested in a candidate who can win the seat. That can be accomplished by being a major fund raiser (to pay for TV, radio and print advertising and make yourself known. Remember what it did for Obama). I'm far more interested in a candidate who can lead and lead with the best interests of his (or her, of course) constituency in mind.

As I said, I don't agree with everything he did as governor; only a sycophant agrees with everything another person says or does. Of course, there is also the person who just can't, or won't, think for themselves. The difference between the two is that a sycophant may not agree, or believe in the person they are fawning over, but they think it's to their advantage in some way to do so. The other is a person who's just too lazy to be bothered to think for themselves; of course, it is to their advantage because they don't have to do the work to find out why they should agree or disagree. Now that I think of it, there is a third type. That's the person who agrees with the last person they talked to.  In any case, Jeb Bush does not fall into any of the three categories.

He's a proven leader. Florida was hit by four hurricanes in 2004. Florida was further ahead than Louisiana or the Federal Government before, and after, Katrina. I personally will not blame GWB for the Katrina debacle. I'm not going into that here. It's in the past and not part of this issue. Jeb was on top of the situation from the beginning, not waiting for, or relying on, the Feds to take control.

Based on his performance during the hurricanes, I do believe he will do a fine job as a Senator representing the Great State of Florida. Time will tell, of course. I thought the same of Martinez and was sadly disappointed. 

I've been told that the first video was removed from YouTube (and here) because it violated music copyright laws. I don't know about that (I'd appreciate if anyone would advise that this is true; I wouldn't intentionally post something that would be illegal). I checked with my favorite source,, but they didn't have information on it with any of the keywords I used. 

Maybe someone has more information?
One Flaw In Women

Women have strengths that amaze men.
They bear hardships and they carry burdens, but they hold happiness, love and joy.
They smile when they want to scream.

They sing when they want to cry.
They cry when they are happy and laugh when they are nervous.
They fight for what they believe in.

They stand up to injustice.
They don't take 'no' for an answer when they believe there is a better solution.
They go without so their family can have.

They go to the doctor with a frightened friend.
They love unconditionally.
They cry when their children excel and cheer when their friends get awards.

They are happy when they hear about a birth or a wedding.
Their hearts break when a friend dies.
They grieve at the loss of a family member, yet they are strong when 
they think there is no strength left.

They know that a hug and a kiss can heal a broken heart.
Women come in all shapes, sizes and colors.
They'll drive, fly, walk, run or e-mail you to show how much they care about you.

The heart of a woman is what makes the world keep turning.
They bring joy, hope and love.
They have the compassion and ideas.

They give moral support to their family and friends.
Women have vital things to say and everything to give.
However, if there is one flaw in Women, it is that they forget their worth.
"It will not be denied that power is of an encroaching nature and that it ought to be effectually restrained from passing the limits assigned to it. After discriminating, therefore, in theory, the several classes of power, as they may in their nature be legislative, executive, or judiciary, the next and most difficult task is to provide some practical security for each, against the invasion of the others."
--James Madison, Federalist No. 48, 1 February 1788
AP IMPACT: Wall Street still flying corporate jets
Dec 21, 5:19 PM (ET)

NEW YORK (AP) - Crisscrossing the country in corporate jets may no longer fly in Detroit after car executives got a dressing down from Congress. But on Wall Street, the coveted executive perk has hardly been grounded.

Six financial firms that received billions in bailout dollars still own and operate fleets of jets to carry executives to company events and sometimes personal trips, according to an Associated Press review.

The jets serve as airborne offices, time-savers for executives for whom time is money - lots of money. And some firms are cutting back, either by selling the planes or leasing them.
Still, Wall Street's reliance of the rarified mode of travel has largely escaped the scorn poured on the Big Three automakers.

(AP) Graphic shows 2007 personal use of corporate aircraft by CEOs of financial firms that received...
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Insurance giant American International Group Inc. (AIG) (AIG), which has received about $150 billion in bailout money, has one of the largest fleets among bailout recipients, with seven planes, according to a review of Federal Aviation Administration records.

"Our aircraft are being used very sparingly right now," AIG spokesman Nicholas J. Ashooh said. "I'm not saying there's no use, but there's very minimal use."

To cut costs, AIG sold two jets earlier this year and is selling or canceling orders for four others.

Five other financial companies that got a combined $120 billion in government cash injections - Citigroup Inc. (C), Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), Bank of America Corp. (BAC), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Morgan Stanley (MS) - all own aircraft for executive travel, according to regulatory filings earlier this year and interviews.

A cross-country trip in a mid-sized jet costs about $20,000 for fuel. Maintenance, storage and pilot fees put the cost far higher.

Many U.S. companies are giving up the perk. The inventory of used private jets was up 52 percent as of September, according to recent JPMorgan data on the health of the private aircraft industry.

A few big U.S. companies have shunned jet ownership. Chip maker Intel Corp. (INTC), for example, requires executives and employees to fly commercial. Intel occasionally charters jets for executives on overseas trips for security reasons, though.

For automakers, the public relations nightmare exploded last month when the chief executives of Ford, GM and Chrysler were criticized for flying on corporate jets to Washington to ask Congress for federal bailout money.

"Couldn't you all have downgraded to first class or jet-pooled, or something, to get here?" Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., asked the CEOs.

When the executives went back to Capitol Hill two weeks later for a second round of hearings, they traveled by car.

So why were Wall Street executives spared from the corporate-jet backlash? One reason is that they didn't have to go before Congress to request bailout money, so no one asked how they traveled to Washington.

But an AP review of Securities and Exchange Commission filings and FAA records offers a glimpse of Wall Street firms' ownership and use of private aircraft. Among the findings:

- CITIGROUP: Has a wholly owned subsidiary, Citiflight Inc., that handles air travel for executives. Citi spokeswoman Shannon Bell refused to comment on the size of the firm's fleet but said it has been reduced by two-thirds over the past eight years. FAA records show four jets and a helicopter registered to the company.

In 2007, then-CEO Charles Prince used company aircraft for personal trips for security reasons. Those trips cost the company $170,972 for that year. Current CEO Vikram Pandit began reimbursing the company for all personal travel on company planes since being appointed in November 2007.
Use of Citigroup's aircraft currently is confined to a "limited number of executives," Bell said. "Executives are encouraged to fly commercial whenever possible to reduce expenses."

- MORGAN STANLEY: Has reduced its executive jet fleet size from three planes to two since 2005, company spokesman Mark Lake said. FAA records show two Gulfstream G-Vs as registered to the company.

In 2007, CEO John Mack's personal use of company aircraft totaled $355,882, according to a February proxy filing. Mack is required to use company aircraft for personal trips for security reasons.

- JPMORGAN: Registered as the owner of four Gulfstream jets, including a 2007 ultra-long range flagship G550 model, FAA records show. A G550 ordered for delivery that year would have cost roughly $47.5 million.

CEO Jamie Dimon is required to use company aircraft for personal trips; In 2007, his personal use of company jets totaled $211,182, according to a May filing with the SEC. Company spokesman Joe Evangelisti refused to comment on whether the bank has changed its policy on corporate aircraft use since accepting $25 billion in TARP money.

- BANK OF AMERICA: Registered as the owner of nine planes, including four Gulfstreams, FAA records show. Company spokesman Scott Silvestri refused to say whether the company has changed its policy on corporate aircraft use since taking $15 billion in bailout money.

CEO Kenneth Lewis, also required to use company aircraft for personal trips, racked up $127,643 in such travel last year, according to a March filing with the SEC.

- WELLS FARGO: Owns a single jet that "is strictly for business purposes under appropriate circumstances," spokeswoman Julia Tunis Bernard said. "No (government) funds will be used for corporate jet travel," she added.

SEC rules require publicly held companies to disclose executives' personal use of corporate aircraft. But there's "a lot of gray area" in how they do it, said David Yermack, a finance professor at the Stern School of Business at New York University who has studied the matter.
"If you use the plane for a personal trip but make one business call, should you report it?" he said. "Or if you're playing golf with potential business partners, does a company report that as business or personal?"

As mounting losses force companies to cut costs, some are becoming stingier about personal use of the company plane. Merrill Lynch & Co. (MERPO), for example, has banned such trips, according to company filings.

Experts say other companies that took bailout money will probably follow suit.

"The personal use of these planes is virtually indefensible at this point," said Patrick McGurn, special counsel at shareholder advisory firm RiskMetrics Group. "Once you're on the federal dole, the pressure is going to become immense on these firms to cut these costs."

Private jet manufacturers say the debate over executive travel has been overblown.

"What people don't understand is that business jets are mobile offices," said Robert N. Baugniet, Gulfstream's director of corporate communications. "If time has any value to you, then you'll understand why people use business jets."

He said the dustup hasn't hurt orders for new planes.

Still, some firms have avoided corporate jet ownership. Goldman Sachs Group, whose executives in past years have been among the highest-paid in the industry, has never owned its own aircraft since going public in 1999, spokesman Michael DuVally said.

The company does make private planes available to some executives through a fractional jet agreement, a timeshare-style arrangement, according to filings. Duvally refused to say how much the company spends on its fractional agreement.

Wary of being perceived as opulent, most companies fly in unmarked jets. Aviation buffs can usually track planes over the Internet using aircraft tail numbers. But many companies, including AIG and Citigroup, have blocked the public's ability to do so for security reasons.
Some corporate chieftains make no excuses for flying the private skies.

After years of railing against such costs, billionaire investor and Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRKA) CEO Warren Buffet broke down in 1989 and bought a Gulfstream IV-SP using $9.7 million in company funds. He named the aircraft "The Indefensible."

Do I really need to say anything? Wall Street takes our money, then continues to bleed money by using corporate jets. Now, look, if I had a business, and the business were profitable enough (or shoot, I was just rich enough) to purchase, maintain, and operate a private airplane, I'd have one too. It's got to be the best way to travel. No going through TSR lines, comfortable seating, plenty of legroom, and travel on your timetable instead of the airlines.

But, when your business is in danger of going under, and especially when you take public money to keep it afloat, you have to show that you are cutting costs and trying to economize. Flying commercial is cheaper than flying privately, even if you have to fly on someone else's schedule. 

AIG had that lesson shown to them. Remember, they were scheduled to have a retreat at a resort spa that was going to cost thousands? And this was after they got emergency bailout money. Only after the ....uh, news...about the retreat hit the fan, was it canceled. AIG didn't look so good in the glare of the spotlight when it was found out that the execs planned to continue the retrreat. Had it been canceled when money got tight (meaning before Washington came across with the cash to save their buns), AIG would have looked a whole lot better.

I keep saying perception is everything. If Wall Street, Detroit, and anybody else going before Congress for their handout flies to Washington in a private jet, or doesn't make the effort to cut costs, the public just won't buy that they need the money. 

In these economic times, the average, and even the not so average wage earner has to cut back somewhere. We don't want to see a business go hat in hand to Washington begging for a handout so they can stay in business, but fly there in private jets, stay at 5-star hotels, use limos while in Washington, all the while planning a corporate retreat, planning to payout the alphabets (CEO, CFO, etc) severance packages and so on. It's just not prudent to continue on as if nothing changed. The company has to cut costs, fly commercial, stay at the local Howard Johnson's, and use public transportation go Capitol Hill. 

If you want the public's money, you gotta play the game. Sorry, but them's the rules. We've all had to play the game at some time in our career, or in our lives, why should Wall Street, Detroit, or any other entity that comes begging to the public fountain be any different? 
A guide to the RNC chairman race
By: Alexander Burns
December 18, 2008 01:13 PM EST

The six contenders for Republican National Committee chair are rolling out every gimmick, plan and endorsement in the hopes of gaining an edge - any edge - in the tight contest for the GOP's top job.

Just Tuesday, Ken Blackwell, the former Ohio secretary of state, announced that he was forming a ticket with Texas Republican Party Chairwoman Tina Benkiser, who is running for national co-chairwoman of the party. Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele unveiled a set of ethics regulations designed to polish the GOP's tarnished public image.

Earlier this week, Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis contacted RNC members to advertise his "Blueprint for a GOP Comeback."

Not to be outdone, incumbent Chairman Mike Duncan, who confirmed his intention to seek a second term last week, is making plans for the formation of a new conservative think-tank, the Center for Republican Renewal.

The attention-grabbing stunts are a necessity in a race where the candidates don't have many chances to confront each other directly. Two of the few opportunities will take place during the first week of January, when candidates will face each other at a debate hosted by the fiscal conservative group Americans for Tax Reform and then later that week when they compete for support from the RNC's Conservative Steering Committee, which will hold a straw poll and release a list of approved candidates.

There's still a ways to go in the race, and experienced Republicans point to the 1997 contest for RNC chairman - when Jim Nicholson upset a crowded field in the party's last competitive leadership election - as evidence that anything can happen.

Here's a look at each candidate's prospects six weeks out from the start of the RNC's winter meeting on Jan. 28.

Mike Duncan - As the current committee chairman, Duncan knows the party's insiders better than anyone else in the running. And while his present term in office has left Republicans with mixed feelings - his prolific fundraising doesn't quite make up, in some leaders' minds, for the GOP's devastating November losses - he's ended on a strong note thanks to Saxby Chambliss's victory in the Georgia Senate runoff and the GOP's two House wins in Louisiana.

Most of all, Duncan is benefiting from a divided field of opponents who haven't developed a consistent critique of his leadership and against whom he could quickly become an unobjectionable consensus candidate.

"If there was a movement that could push Duncan out, I think it would be identifiable at this point," said one Republican strategist who expects Duncan to be reelected. "I just do not get the feeling that there is going to be some great change."

Saul Anuzis - Among the field of candidates seeking to become the anti-Duncan, Anuzis stands out for his energetic campaigning and his emphasis on technology. The Michigan GOP chair announced his bid on Twitter and has been hammering away at the theme of tactical innovation. Multiple Republicans noted Anuzis's big, colorful personality - he rides a Harley-Davidson and sports a goatee as an asset in a race where candidates are struggling to distinguish themselves from an ideologically homogenous field.

Anuzis has also rolled out more public endorsements than any other candidate, drawing heavily on support from blue states like New Jersey and Connecticut and shaping a perception that his candidacy is picking up steam.

"If I had to assign momentum in what has been a very, very sleepy race, I'd assign it to Anuzis," said another Republican strategist.

Anuzis's weakness? Michigan has been very tough ground for the GOP in recent cycles, and the support he's receiving from Republicans back home may not be quite enough to kick voters' suspicion that he just hasn't delivered the wins an RNC chair needs.

Michael Steele - Steele, a former state party chair who served as Maryland's lieutenant governor before losing a Senate race in 2006 to then-Rep. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), is essentially tied in second place with Anuzis. Steele announced his candidacy on Fox News Channel's "Hannity and Colmes" to great fanfare, touting his skills as a political communicator at a time when Republicans lack a high-profile leaders on the national stage.

Steele's campaign hasn't gone quite the way he expected it to, according to some Republicans, who believe Steele expected his star power to carry him farther than it has in a race in which many RNC members would prefer to elect one of their colleagues on the committee.

And though he's consistently reaffirmed his commitment to conservative social positions, his association with the moderate Republican Leadership Council has some RNC members uneasy.

"I don't think there's any question that he is personally pro-life. I think the only question is how he views the role of social conservatives within the party," said James Bopp Jr., the influential social conservative who serves as national committeeman for Indiana.

But despite these hiccups, Steele seems destined to make it to the finish line with the clout to make it through multiple ballots. And if he can edge out Anuzis on the first vote he could give Duncan a run for his money.

Katon Dawson - Running a little behind his fellow challengers, but still mounting an energetic and serious campaign, is South Carolina Republican Party Chair Katon Dawson. With a better win-loss record than Anuzis and a closer rapport with RNC members than Steele or Blackwell, Dawson could ride a wave of conservative and Southern support into the late stages of balloting - particularly if the Blackwell-Benkiser gambit falls flat.

The Palmetto State Republican is billing his campaign as a vehicle for outside-the-Beltway competence and emphasizing the need to return control over the RNC to successful state-level leaders - a message that's certainly in tune with the mood on the committee.

Dawson's major obstacle is, in a word, Southernness. At a moment when some are labeling the GOP a regional party, Dawson may not look (and sound) like the change the GOP needs. And his critics are only too eager to hype up a damaging story that Dawson belonged to an all-white country club as recently as last summer.

Ken Blackwell - The former Cincinnati mayor and Ohio secretary of state entered the RNC campaign late - on Dec. 5 - and has lagged behind the other contenders. While his candidacy hasn't exactly caught fire, it got a potentially significant boost this week in the shape of his partnership with Benkiser, who could help Blackwell appeal to the significant social conservative bloc on the committee.

Blackwell has also moved forward with a series of moves that appear designed to capture the RNC's fiscal conservative vote, receiving the endorsements of publisher Steve Forbes and Club for Growth head Pat Toomey. Endorsements don't necessarily pack much of a punch in an internal election like this one, but every little bit helps.

Like Steele, however, Blackwell's not a member of the RNC and he still faces skepticism about both his qualifications and his viability. The Ohioan still has some catching up to do in this race and a running mate alone won't do the trick.

"He's a very plausible candidate," said one member of the RNC, who cautioned: "He's neither fish nor fowl. He's not a figure with national prominence and he's not a figure with experience keeping the trains running on time."

Chip Saltsman - A former chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party and campaign manager to Mike Huckabee, Saltsman has more to gain than any other candidate from a protracted, multi-ballot knife fight for the chairmanship. The 40-year-old has been running a vigorous race against more established candidates, though he's had to distance himself from the Huckabee campaign in a race where no one wants to support a stalking horse for 2012.

Saltsman knows he's an underdog, but as a student of GOP politics he also knows that once an RNC race gets past the first or second ballot, all bets are off. If Saltsman can become a second- or third-choice candidate for a significant number of RNC members, and survive the first ballot, he could try and follow the Jim Nicholson path to victory. Yet even if he is unsuccessful, he's established himself as a name to be taken very seriously in years to come.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Mike who?
By: Shawn Steel
December 20, 2008 09:38 PM EST

A friend of mine recently attended a "where do Republicans go from here?" session with a selected group of high-powered politicos - congressmen, legislators, donors, party leaders and activists - in the Republican citadel of Orange County, Calif. It was a group closely attuned to GOP politics.

As a test, one of the congressmen queried the group, "Who is the chairman of the Republican National Committee?" drawing blank expressions as attendees racked their brains. Only two could come up with the correct answer - Mike Duncan - and only because they had Googled it when the same question had crossed their minds earlier that day.

This "Mike Who?" incident isn't unusual. Duncan has been the Invisible Chairman, installed in January 2007 by Karl Rove to be unobtrusive - a mission he has carried out brilliantly. Many, if not most, Republican leaders and activists don't know who he is. For example, when Duncan was a guest recently on the Hugh Hewitt Show, the radio host asked Duncan why this was the first time this RNC chairman had ever asked to come on the show and address millions of his fellow Republicans.

Duncan couldn't give an answer other than he'd been busy for the past year. I suppose that's one way to look at it. Another way is he hasn't provided the kind of leadership the Republican National Committee needs in this day and age.

Despite his wraithlike RNC chairman, Duncan is slightly favored for reelection as chairman at the end of January. It should be cause for alarm when the chairmanship front-runner is a "Mike Who?" under who's watch the GOP suffered its worst drubbing in decades.

In fairness, Duncan isn't solely responsible for the Republican roof caving in for the past two years. The Republican in the White House and the Republicans formerly running the show in Congress must shoulder that blame.

But Duncan is basing his reelection campaign on his experience as RNC chairman. How can he take credit for any success while escaping any responsibility for reversals on his watch? It's like a weatherman taking credit fort the sunshine but saying he has no control over the rain.

The next RNC Chairman has a tall order to fill. The coming leftward lurch from Congress and the Obama Administration will stir up the base, but the next RNC chairman needs the argumentation and media skills to not only direct that energy, but restore the GOP brand as the only party trustworthy to protect individual liberty, ensure economic growth and decentralize power from Washington to the states and local communities.

Mike Duncan is a good man who may possess those qualities, but it says something that after nearly two years as chairman, we don't know.

The Republican Party needs a fresh start. We can find the qualities of a successful chairman in someone unconnected with either the Bush administration or the spendocracy formerly known as the Republican Congress. Reelecting Mike Duncan would signal we've learned nothing from the last few years and can expect more of the same, when what we need is something different - like appealing to voters on time-tested conservative principles.

There are a number of strong RNC chairmanship candidates. But we can learn from how Democrats' responded to their resounding 2004 defeat by reaching outside Democratic National Committee ranks to elect former presidential candidate Howard Dean as chairman. Dean strengthened the grass-roots base of the DNC and implemented a 50-state strategy that built up the party's presence in previously red area implemented.

Similarly, the RNC needs a chairman of national stature, someone who 1) has instant media credibility, 2) has organizational grit to change the RNC culture to winning election instead of playing defense, and 3) not only knows how to raise money from big donors, but by utilizing new technologies.

The Republican Party will come back. The question is whether the next election is a more like 1994 or 1934. Electing the right chairman is critically important: he or she will the face of the Republican Party as the public debates Obama administration policies. The Republican Party needs a chairman with the stature, innovation and deftness of mind to lead, not someone who blends into the tapestry.


In Republican circles, this election is probably more important than any election in recent history, including the 2004 Presidential election. It has to be because of the losses sustained by the Party in the last two election cycles. Republicans have to understand that someone has to stop the bleeding of seats to the Democratic Party if the Republicans are to be a viable Party in the future. 

Let's remember one thing: what goes around, comes around. The Republican Party is taking its turn in the barrel right now, and the Democrats will also take their turn at some point. Another thing to remember is that when a party goes into the barrel, they've usually put themselves there, or at least standing on the edge with one foot ready to step in. It only takes  a few mistakes for the fickle electorate to push them in. 

Obama and his campaign used the hatred for President Bush, the war in Iraq (although not necessarily the war on Terrorism which is much more nebulous), and the Republicans inability to do anything substantial that could be translated into something for the public (among much more) into the need for change. It became a slogan that the masses could understand and take to heart.  Who doesn't want change? Only those who want the status to remain quo and who are. yes, I'll say it, out of touch.

Another thing Obama and his campaign used brilliantly was the Internet. They connected with a generation who are known for thinking they can change the world. Most of us have gone through that stage of life. It's only after they've spent some time in the "real" world (not the MTV Real World), have matured (some of whom maintain their liberal outlook - which in itself isn't at all bad), and realized that there are things, that no matter what good and great intentions they have, will not change, that they realize they have to deal with the problem in another way. 

I'm the first to admit the I know little if anything about the inner workings of the Republican Party. And I'm certainly not one to promote a candidate in this election. But, there are a few things I can suggest:

1. Get in touch with the core of the Party; the grassroots. Find out what Joe and Jane Sixpack really want. Don't talk with Party leaders; don't even talk with politicians. Go to the local level and talk to the people who worked the campaigns on the local level. 

2. Go to the colleges and recruit from there. This is the future of the Party leadership. There are conservatives on the college campus, it's up to the Party to find them and show what the RNC can do for them. 

Make a place for all conservatives. The RNC won't get all of them, of course, but by not being inclusive (and I really hate that word), the RNC fails to broaden its base. Notice I didn't say lose; you can't lose what you don't have to begin with. To be inclusive, the membership can't say someone can't belong because they don't fit. It's up to the Party to make a place for that person or group. 

3. Use technology to it's best advantage. Computers are our friend and are more than just someplace to keep a database. Establish the Party on the social networking sites. Make an effort to find the sites that cater to the college age and above. Not everyone is on Facebook and MySpace. I personally don't have accounts on either one and don't intend to do so. In fact, it might be worthwhile for the Republican Party to set up a social networking site devoted to the Republican Party. Allow groups to form that are devoted to a particular interest. Gardeners, while exchanging information about aphids, may also discuss tax reform. Those same gardeners may join another group devoted to tax reform. In that group (or in the gardening group, for that matter), the Party will find out just what the members think would make good tax reform. 

Shawn Steele, the author of the above article, discusses the three things needed for the next RNC Chairman. Steele wrote that the next chairman needs to have instant media credibility, have the organizational grit to change to a winning mindset and knows how to raise money not from big donors but also by new technology.

If you read the article, and you probably did if you are reading this, you most likely don't have any better idea of who Mike Duncan is than I do. I'm not knowledgeable about the RNC, but when even those active in the Party say "Mike who?" it's not a good thing. We all know Howard Dean heads the DNC, but Mike Duncan? Who is he? 

To get credibility, the Chairman needs be out there, making speeches, making himself (or herself) known, getting donations, but even more importantly, making the Party known to to the public. The Chairman needs to be the face of the Party, not the "person behind the curtain".

The Chairman needs to be open minded enough to know that there are credibility problems facing the RNC. These problems need to be dealt with, not given lip-service to, but appropriately dealt with so that the public sees that the RNC is serious about changing it's image, changing from a defensive to an offensive posture, and challenging it's membership to being proud of being Republicans, win or lose. 

The Chairman must also be knowledgeable in current technology and how to use it to the best of its abilities. The DNC has found that out with the Obama campaign and the Republicans must learn the lesson as well. If the Chairman can't or won't use the technology, then it must be delegated to someone who knows how to use it. We know live in the technology age, and if it's not used, the RNC will fall too far behind to catch up. It's that simple. 

This isn't rocket science. 
Dr Belinda Noah for the US Senate

America's first President, George Washington, would be very proud of Dr. Belinda Noah, because she is the only candidate running for the Florida United States Senate in 2010, who is supporting the FairTax legislation that is currently before Congress!

The FairTax legislation eliminates the income tax system which will enable the economy to prosper. The FairTax legislation will put more more in your pocket to personally "bail out" any company or person of your choosing because you will take home your entire salary and you are only taxed on new items that you purchase. Also, you will receive a rebate for any taxes that you pay for necessities, such as food, shelter and clothing. The FairTax is a winning piece of legislation that I support 100 percent and it is based upon the principles upon which this country was founded. If you want your voice heard while turning the American economy into a successful one, you will vote for Belinda Noah for United States Senate!

Best regards,

Dr. Belinda Noah, Attorney
Candidate for the United States Senate
On the Education of Youth in America

"The virtues of men are of more consequence to society than their abilities; and for this reason, the heart should be cultivated with more assiduity than the head."

--Noah Webster, 1788

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Speculation has been rampant that MSNBC host Chris Matthews will seek Republican Sen. Arlen Specter’s seat in Pennsylvania in 2010. But if he runs, he’ll likely face serious heat from liberals over his on-air comments.

The left-wing group Media Matters for America fired an early volley against the “Hardball” host with a lengthy diatribe castigating Matthews for, among other things, expressing admiration for President George W. Bush and ridiculing Democrats.

“Few politicians are as aggressive as Chris Matthews in purporting to speak for average voters — or as quick to declare [liberal] politicians to be out of touch with those voters,” the group’s Web site states. “But there is no real accountability in cable news . . . Should he run for the Senate, however, Matthews might finally have to answer for his dubious track record.”

Included in that “track record” are a number of comments cited by Media Matters:

In 2005, Matthews said of Bush: “I like him. Everybody sort of likes the president, except for the real whack-jobs, maybe on the left.”

The following year, Matthews referred to Bush as “a wise man.”

When Bush gave his “Mission Accomplished” speech in 2003, Matthews lauded his “amazing display of leadership” and said, “He won the war. He was an effective commander. Everybody recognizes that, I believe, except a few critics.”

Later that same day Matthews gushed, “We’re proud of our president. Americans love having a guy as president, a guy who has a little swagger, who’s physical.”

When Bush discussed his “strategy for victory in Iraq” in late 2005, Matthews praised the move and derided Democrats as “carpers and complainers.”

While Matthews has praised Barack Obama at times, he told viewers during the campaign that the candidate’s bowling form was insufficiently “macho,” and asserted that his lack of bowling skill “tells you something about the Democratic Party.”

When Matthews interviewed conservative pundit Ann Coulter and she called former Vice President Al Gore a “total fag,” Matthews said of Coulter, “We’d love to have her back.”

Matthews has also been criticized for his treatment of women. He said the reason Hillary Clinton was a senator and candidate for president "is that her husband messed around." He also said point-black, “I hate her,” and called her “uppity” and a “she-devil.”

He described House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as “scary” and said she would “castrate” House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer.

Media Matters opined, “If Matthews does run for the Senate, he may soon discover that Pennsylvania Democratic primary voters share neither his hatred of Hillary Clinton nor his view that Barack Obama is insufficiently ‘macho.’”

The group’s Web site added that Matthews may also find those voters to be “less indulgent of his cheerleading for Bush, his near-constant ridicule of Democrats, and his frequently offensive treatment of women.”