Thursday, January 5, 2012

Is Romney the “Electable” Candidate?

With nothing left in Iowa except the flights out, we have a better picture of what the rest of this primary season has in store for us and what will take place in November. It appears that we’ll have a battle between Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney with Newt Gingrich using what money he has left to throw mud at Romney. There’s also Ron Paul in the mix, but we’ll get to him later.

Each of these three real candidates are attracting different crowds. Rick Santorum is getting people who are looking for the conservative candidate. Ron Paul is getting a rather mixed crowd. Mitt Romney’s supporters are suggesting that he’s the most electable candidate. I’ve had trouble swallowing that last one. As I’ve had the day to digest the results of Iowa and consider each candidate more thoroughly, it becomes very clear that Mitt Romney may not be the most electable. In fact, he may be the least electable of the three.

Now what I’m doing with this article is more of a mental exercise than a flat out statement that I’m right and anyone who disagrees is a moron. But if Romney supporters are going to say he’s the most electable, they need to back it up. Right now, everything I’m seeing is either irrelevant or contrary to that argument.

I’ll start out this mental exercise by bringing up the recent news that 2008 Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain came out and endorsed Romney following Iowa. I would like to remind everyone that this is the guy who lost in 2008 by a final score of 365-173. In other words, he didn’t even get half the score of the opposition. He lost Nevada, Colorado, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, Florida, and Indiana. All of those are states that President George W. Bush won in both 2000 and 2004.

2008 was an embarrassing year for the Republican Party. We can point to the fact that Bush wasn’t too popular and the fact that Obama was practically the rock star of the political world in 2008, but that’s ignoring the fact that McCain wasn’t someone that got people excited. If Obama was the rock star, McCain was the old man shouting “Turn down that music!” Nobody wants to be associated with that guy. Conservatives wanted a country star to go against the rock star.

Losers aren’t known for picking winners

A lot of parallels can be drawn between McCain and Romney, which is why it makes sense that this endorsement took place. McCain was viewed as the candidates who could win. McCain wasn’t Obama. McCain was viewed as the one who paid his dues. McCain was viewed as being moderate enough to pull in the independents. McCain had a number of liberal policies under his belt. One of those policies even had his name (McCain-Feingold). This kept the conservative wing of the Republican Party from getting behind him.

Ask a Romney supporter why they’re backing him and it wouldn’t be uncommon to hear that Romney can win. Romney isn’t Obama. Romney paid his dues. Romney’s moderate enough to pull in the independents. This, all despite the fact that Romney has a number of liberal policies under his belt. One of those policies even has his name (RomneyCare). This is why the conservative wing of the Republican Party is backing another candidate.

McCain had all the characteristics that people claim to be a credit to Romney. And yet, he lost in an election to Obama. Why would it be a different story for Romney, or as I call him, McCain 2.0? 

I did always get a laugh out of the “Paid their dues” argument. Because that clearly mattered in 2008 when the nation elected a candidate who didn’t even serve a full term in the US Senate.

I find these similarities funny since I’ve seen Romney supporters like former Michigan Republican Party Chair Saul Anuzis sharing an ad by the RNC using Obama’s own words against himself. The ad ends with Obama saying “This country can’t take four more years of the same failed policies. It’s time to try something new!”

Shouldn’t we try something different?

This country can’t take four more years of the same failed policies. It’s time to try something new to keep Obama from winning a Presidential election.

Sure, there are probably a few differences between Romney and McCain. But the perception is still what it is. Romney is getting much of the same reaction McCain got from the whole political spectrum. The fact that Romney has welcomed McCain’s endorsement further established the perception. Some conservatives in ‘08 had a hard time getting behind McCain. Romney’s not changing that. The best thing Romney has going for him is the fact that Obama’s been a really lousy President. If he was just okay, I promise you that 2012 would be an exact repeat of 2008.

Now Romney supporters have provided some evidence to back up their “Electability” claim. It’s not all talk. The main thing I’m seeing people point to is a recent national poll that shows that Romney ahead of Obama. That’s great and all, but there are two problems with that poll.

Problem #1: It assumes that the election was held when the poll is taken. Between now and then, there will be debates, TV ads, and news coverage regarding the eventual Republican candidate and Obama. A lot can and will change between now and then. To base a decision today on a poll taken in December about an election in November is a bit foolish.

Problem #2: It’s a national poll. We don’t select our President by a popular vote. There’s this thing called the electoral college. Maybe you’ve heard of it. I’m sure Al Gore is well aware of it. If Romney polls better than Santorum or Paul in California, big deal. I’m pretty sure that that state is going blue November 6th. But what about those states Bush won in 2000 and 2004 but McCain lost in 2008?

But there’s still the possibility that Romney is more moderate and has a better chance of pulling in the independents. Well if that’s the thinking, why aren’t Romney supporters backing Paul?

I’m dead serious about that one. In Iowa, the people who were first time caucus goers or weren’t registered Republicans prior to caucus week tended to side with Congressman Paul. I’ve talked to people who supported Obama in 2008 but now they’re supporting Paul. I’ve seen others on Twitter or Facebook that never had any interest in politics but now they’re supporting the Congressman. “Paulbots,” despite the mocking they receive (and many times, rightly so) are incredibly passionate. It seems like Paul is doing a significantly better job of bringing people into the Republican Party than Romney is doing.

Does Paul’s foreign policy upset a number of Republicans? Yes. I’m deeply disturbed by his refusal to talk tough with Iran (See Jimmy Carter, 1980, for reference on how that works out). Do I have concerns about his drug policy? I can’t say “YES!” loud enough. But the guy does have a lot of conservative ideals (lower taxes and less government) and there’s no doubt he’ll do all he can for those causes.

Now I’ve gone over the reasons why Paul can’t win in November before. This isn’t my call for everyone to support him. But if the one thing a voter is looking for is someone who’s going to bring in more than just the Republican establishment, then the logical and proven conclusion they need to come to is Ron Paul.

If anything, Ron Paul is proof that it’s possible to take a VERY right-wing approach on a number of issues and actually attract people from the whole political spectrum.

“But Dan! He’s the only candidate that has consistently been polling high!” Yes. There’s a reason for that. The rest of us (read: The conservative/paleo-con wing of the Republican Party) have been looking for our candidate. After all, that was the purpose of all of these debates we’ve had up to this point. First we thought it was Rick Perry. Then we learned he couldn’t even make his way on to a junior high debate team. Then we moved to Herman Cain and we eventually learned he had so much baggage even Southwest Airlines would have to charge him. We then bought into Newt Gingrich’s conservative rhetoric until we realized it was just rhetoric. That brings us to now rest on Santorum. That’s why he’s come out of nowhere.

So I’m listening, Romney supporters, why are you backing this guy? I’m not seeing many good reasons.

If Romney get the nomination, I’ll vote for him. He would be better than Obama. There’s no doubting that. But to call him the “Electable” candidate is something that currently appears to be very far from the truth. If Romney’s going to run on that principle, he’s going to need to do a better job of proving it. Right now, I’m just having flashbacks to 2008 and I’m feeling that tug to vote 3rd party or stay home. I’m certainly not very motivated to go out and campaign for him.

And one more thing regarding the “Electability” aspect of Romney. The DNC has put this video out.

This really helps me love Romney

This ad is well done. It features Brit Hume and Neil Cavuto. Both are people in the news media that conservatives love. And then there’s a short clip of Ronald Reagan. It almost appears like they’re going against Romney.

Then there are clips from some late night hosts. That suggests the people who influence the moderate crowd are going to bash Romney from now until November.

The goal of this ad isn’t to get people to go from Romney to Obama. The goal is to discourage conservatives from going to the polls in November at all. That’s the key to get Obama a victory. McCain’s wishy-washy record kept the conservatives home in 2008. If the DNC can expose Romney’s similarly wishy-washy record, they may be able to accomplish the same thing. If only the DNC believed in the “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it” approach to running our country…

I seriously ask Romney supporters to watch that ad three or four times in a row and then tell me it’s not a bit discouraging—because that’s what’s going to happen in September and October. The DNC will run a similar ad at every turn if Romney’s the candidate.

Can the DNC produce similar attack ads for any Republican candidate? Yes. But this one’s a bit like being told that Santa Claus isn’t real. It shatters everything. The person goes to look for evidence to the contrary, but it’s all gone. All the evidence supporting the argument is wiped away.

With other candidates, there are at least some things that can’t be questioned. I challenge the DNC to do this with Paul’s domestic policy or Santorum’s stance on social issues. We can at least hang on to those nuggets no matter what. Conservatives can go to the polls and know that they’re at least fighting for a President who will follow the Constitution or the right to life. They can completely destroy almost every single thing about Santorum for me, but I’ll be able to go into a voting booth and vote for him because at the very least, I’m voting for a solid pro-life candidate.

This is a very important thing to keep in mind with this election, largely thanks to Obama. Because the economy is so poor and we have so many people that are unemployed or underemployed, people have less disposable income. That means they have less to give to a campaign they don’t really believe in. On top of that, who’s going to stand in line for an extended period of time (potentially in the cold in a number of battleground states) for a candidate they don’t really believe in?

“But Dan! He’s not Obama! People want that guy out of office! People will donate and stand in line to make Obama a one term President!”

If that’s the case, and that’s the end of the arguments for Romney, tell me why that doesn’t apply to Paul or Santorum?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Why Rick Santorum Can Win in November

As we approach the Iowa Caucus, there has been a lot of talk regarding the recent surge of Rick Santorum. Santorum was in the single digits for most of 2011, but as we enter the new year, the former Pennsylvania senator has jumped up with some polls having him in 3rd place and a real chance to win on Tuesday.

But the question that’s holding Santorum back among a number of voters is if he can beat President Barack Obama in November. Doubters are everywhere. Candidate Rick Perry even said that Santorum loses elections. I think these people forgot what really happened in 2008. “Obama fever” was running all across the country. People were convinced that he was going to be different from typical politicians. He was practically viewed as a savior. Glenn Beck even put this little song out there.

Our Savior!

The reality of the Obama administration has told a different story. He hasn’t fixed our economy. It’s gotten worse. Our debt is out of control. His healthcare plan isn’t very popular and might be tossed out as the Supreme Court is going to take a look at it. The only thing he can really hang his hat on is that during this time in office, we’ve gotten our troops out of Iraq. And there’s not much to say that that wouldn’t have happened under different leadership.

McCain was also a terrible candidate. While I’ve been a conservative as long as I can remember, I couldn’t bring myself to vote for him. He was too moderate. He had to bring on Sarah Palin to encourage the right-wing part of his base. That felt like pandering to some out there. It’s probably safe to say that the majority of people who voted for him did it just because he was the Republican candidate. McCain did about as bad as a Republican candidate could do in an election with no incumbent with a spectacular history.

So how would Santorum do? Well let’s start with the 2008 map. After all, if he’s going to do as poorly as some are suggesting, we might as well start with the most recent election with a lousy Republican candidate.

But before we do that, we need to consider one thing. We need to change the values of the states on the map as they’ve changed since 2008. A number of states that helped Obama in 2008 aren’t as valuable in 2012 and a number of states he lost gained votes. Texas, South Carolina, Georgia, Utah, and Arizona are all worth more this time around while Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio all lost votes. So before we do anything, we have to take Obama down a peg from what he accomplished in 2008.

After adjusting the map to 2012 numbers, Santorum gets 179 votes instead of the 173 McCain got. Again, this is assuming that he will do just as well as McCain did in 2008 – and I’ll say it again, that was pretty poor. While 179 isn’t enough to win, that’s just the beginning. So let’s start looking at how Santorum in 2012 is different from McCain in 2008.

Santorum is from Pennsylvania. On top of that, Pennsylvania is a state that, in 2010, elected Republican governor Tom Corbett. Also, Obama had 55% of the vote in that state in 2008. So between the fact that Obama’s approval rating is down, the latest state-wide election went to a Republican, and that Santorum is from that state, there’s a good chance he’ll win it. There’s another 20. That means with Santorum as the candidate, he’s at 199. Still not enough to win. But we’re not done.

Pennsylvania wasn’t the only state to get a Republican governor in 2010. Ohio did as well with their election of John Kasich. While it was a slim margin of victory, it does suggest that that state is more conservative than it was in 2008. Let’s also keep in mind that Obama only had 51% in that state in the last election. So there are another 18 votes. That brings Santorum to 217.

Wisconsin did the same as Ohio and Pennsylvania. Their economy is actually on the up-and-up under their Republican leadership. That could mean 10 more votes for Santorum. Make it 227.

North Carolina was practically 50/50 in the last election. The fact that that’s part of the “Bible Belt,” Santorum’s strong stance on social issues could appeal to the voters of that state more than McCain and Santorum could pick it up. Count another 15. We’re now at 242.

Virginia was 53/46 for Obama in 2008 and is in the “Bible Belt” as well. So they’re not too different from North Carolina. That’s another 13 votes, bringing the total 255.

Indiana is also in play as Obama only got 50% of the vote in that state. With Obama’s drop in popularity, Santorum just has to do as well in that state as McCain did. That’s 11 more. We’re at 266 now.

Florida’s another state that has the potential to be in play. Obama had 51% of the vote there. With Marco Rubio’s name being tossed around as a potential VP candidate, that state could be won as well. That could help out in Florida. The 29 votes from that state push him to 295, well above the 270 that’s needed.

There are other states that it’s questionable if Obama can win this time around for no other reason than the fact that he’s not the “Messiah” he was in 2008. He had less than 55% of the vote in Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Virginia. They total 43 votes. These states come into play just because people are starting to notice that Obama is "The Emperor with no clothes.”

Another state that has a slight chance of going to Santorum is Michigan. That state, like Ohio and Pennsylvania, went from a Democratic governor to a Republican governor in 2010. While it would be tough for Santorum to win there, a strong showing could force Obama to invest resources there that might have otherwise gone to other states. And if Romney was the VP selection instead, that would make the state even more likely to go red in November. That’s 16 votes.

The only areas where Santorum might do worse in 2012 than McCain did in 2008 are places like Hawaii, Washington, California, DC, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. But none of the candidates are going to win those states.

He might also not fair as well in Arizona as some of the other candidates. McCain most likely won that state since he’s from there. But then trading Arizona for Pennsylvania is a gain for the Republican Party (Arizona is worth 11 votes).

At this point, some people may think I’m being overly generous to Santorum in some of these cases. But let’s not forget my starting point: McCain in 2008, a horrible year for the Republican Party.

If Santorum won every state that he has the potential to win, that’s 354 votes (for those doing the math at home, I’m also adding in the one vote Obama got from Nebraska in ‘08). That’s 84 more than he needs.So even if we toss out some of these states where him winning isn’t very likely, he can still win the overall election.

As I suggested earlier, Santorum also can do something that McCain couldn’t and a number of the other candidates haven’t been able to do: Energize the conservative base. Romney’s record takes him left of what many had been hoping for in the Republican candidate. Conservatives detest Ron Paul’s foreign policy. Newt Gingrich has so many skeletons in his closet, he has all he needs to start a haunted house. The fact that McCain couldn’t get conservatives excited is the biggest thing that hurt him. They didn’t want to go out and vote for him, donate to his campaign, or volunteer. That’s not the case with Santorum.

Let’s not forget that it was the efforts of the Tea Party that helped the GOP gain control of the House and gain seats in the Senate in 2010. Were they looking for “Electability” or “Middle of the road?” Nope.

Can he appeal to the middle as much as some of the other candidates? No. But will the middle donate to anyone that’s running? Probably not. Keep in mind that with the economy like it is, disposable income is down, meaning a person would really have to believe in a candidate to donate.

Will the middle just vote for Obama instead? Given how I have people who volunteered for the Obama campaign in 2008 telling me there’s no way they’ll vote for him now, I wouldn’t bet on it. The middle will most likely stay home or give the Republican candidate a try for the sake of change.

The fact of the matter is that Rick Santorum can win an election against Obama in 2012. If a person doesn’t like something about his platform, that’s one thing. But saying he can’t win just isn’t a good excuse for supporting another candidate.

Besides, if “Electability” and “Caters to the middle” were the most important characteristics, McCain would have won in 2008 and Ronald Reagan would have never gotten a second term in 1984.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

How Christians are Second-Class Citizens

While news regarding the “War on Christmas” brought this topic to mind, that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. The fact of the matter is that Christians have become second-class citizens in our culture. We are less than other people in our society. It’s a real problem.

I started noticing this when I was in college. I was sitting in one of my education classes. During this class, we did a series about certain students and their needs. This included students that had physical handicaps, students who were special needs, and students that were homosexual. I found the inclusion of the last one to be rather interesting.

We talked about a number of topics related to homosexual students including what to do if a student came out of the closet during class and the fact that we as teachers shouldn’t use phrases such as “That’s gay!” or “Don’t be a queer.” Those phrases that might be offensive to gays who are gay and may or may not be open about it. Fair enough. I don’t want to do offend my students.

But, playing devil’s advocate, I thought of a few arguments that people might use for that whole ordeal. These included things such as “They shouldn’t force their opinion of sexual orientation on me!” “You’re just a nut-job if you believe that that’s natural!” and “Well, that’s their opinion on that topic and I don’t agree with it.” While I don’t approve of the homosexual lifestyle, I don’t believe that these are acceptable arguments and I doubt many would.

Being a Christian, I started thinking about what others have said and done that has offended me, including the teacher that had us go through these sessions. One thing was the fact that people take the Lord’s name in vain. I’m insulted when someone irreverently throws around the name of my Savior. Yet I get a common response when I mention this to someone. It’s usually something like “You shouldn’t force your religious views on me.” “You’re just an overly sensitive nut,” or “Well, that’s your opinion and I don’t agree with it.”

Odd how those seem rather familiar to arguments most people wouldn’t accept for a different topic. But we never had a class discussion about how to not offend Christian students or what to do if a student declares they got saved.

Recent news has shown me that this wasn’t an isolated thing. Fox News’ Eric Bolling recently had a little “discussion” with Dan Barker, an atheist with Freedom From Religion, regarding the “War on Christmas.” During the discussion, the atheist called Christianity a mythology, a superstition, and repeatedly called it an insult. Barker goes off topic to say these things as well. Bolling never asks Barker his opinion of Christianity. The fact that Barker thinks so little of Christianity has nothing to do with if the Nativity Scene in question is okay. And then Barker goes out of his way to attack Christianity a second time after Bolling tries to get Barker back on topic.

Eric Bolling, ladies and gentlemen.

Outside Christian and conservative circles, which are usually connected like a Venn diagram, I haven’t seen any of this hit the mainstream media.

Now compare that to the fact that Kobe Bryant was fined $100,000 for using an anti-gay slur. It was one of the largest fines the NBA ever delivered. His words weren’t as explicit as Barker’s were either. Bryant just muttered a word while Barker went on a full-out assault on Christianity. I don’t approve of Bryant’s actions, but I’m sure a number of players have said things I would find offensive and no fine has been issued that I could find.

Again, there are more examples out there. With Denver Bronco Tim Tebow being so vocal about his faith in God, he’s become a controversial topic. Bill Press had some thoughts during his radio show. Here’s a clip.

For those not up on acronyms, STFU stands for “Shut the F dash dash dash up.”

Press calls Tim Tebow a disgrace and an embarrassment mostly for his faith in Jesus. His argument doesn’t rely on Tebow’s QB rating, completion percentage, or number of interceptions.

Press didn’t finish his rant there. On his blog, he posted “Jesus said a lot of strong things. But one of the strongest things he ever said was: When you pray, don’t be like those hypocrites who like to stand on a street corner and pray, so everybody can see them.”

Press apparently doesn’t know his Bible very well.

Acts 1:8 says “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

Matthew 28:19 reads “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:”

1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 “Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Jesus Christ concerning you.”

I could go with more, but I’ll leave just one more for Press, Proverbs 17:28 “Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.”

As if Press’ comments weren’t disturbing enough already. I look at them with an additional perspective. Growing up in the ‘90’s, I had David Robinson as a role-model. I watched him and was encouraged by his faith in God and the quality of his character.  While I enjoyed watching the Spurs win, it wasn’t their record that caused me to become a fan. It was who they were as a team.
Compare that to the characteristics of so many professional athletes. There’s a large number of them that are getting into drugs, cheating on their wives, getting arrested, and shooting themselves in the leg. With that in mind, why in the world would Press bash Tebow? What message is he sending to our kids? He’s essentially saying that in a world where having a rap sheet is common, talking about Jesus is what makes one a disgrace.

It’s not that big of a stretch to say that Press would have gotten different results from the public if he said such things about an athlete regarding another aspect of who they are. Compare Press’ comments to this clip.

Rush Limbaugh on ESPN

For the record, Rush Limbaugh was forced to resign following those comments. They were comments more focused at the media than anything else, but they were close enough to being offensive that they merited the end of his work with ESPN.

But maybe I’m wrong on this. Maybe I’m picking a few key cases and this isn’t representative of the majority. So I figured I’d turn to the 99%. Enter the Occupy Movement!

The people at Misfit Politics put together a nativity scene at Occupy DC and shared some of the reactions they got. Censorship warning: one hat in this video does have profanity on it.

How ya gonna tweet about the Nativity Scene? “On our iPhones!”

This display showing the religious nature of the upcoming holiday at an Occupy camp is met with questions regarding its legality (oh, the irony!). They’re advised to move it. One man says it’s offensive to him and other people, but the message of the Occupy movement is offensive for anyone who works for a living and is proud to do so. One girl says she’s Jewish and offended by the display. But I don’t know a single Christian who is offended by a menorah. In fact, Fox News’ show “The Five” has a menorah as part of their holiday decorations.

About half of the people interviewed are positive and the other half are negative, but I challenge anyone to find a group of people that would draw that much hate from the Occupy movement (not counting the “1%”).

It’s not just limited to Occupy. When ignoring groups such as the KKK, Neo-Nazis, and the Westboro Baptist Church, it would be a challenge to find a group of people in America that will publicly express distaste for a group of people because of their race, religion, or anything of that sort.

Yes, there are probably some who mumble to themselves a comment about terrorists when they pass a Mosque. There are still some people who privately hold racist views. But publicly, these types of comments just aren’t acceptable. However, a show like Family Guy can totally get away with a “joke” like this and get zero public scrutiny.

This shows a complete lack of understanding when it comes to history

The fact that I have to look for groups like the KKK, the Nazis, and Westboro Baptist Church to compare to people like Barker, Press, and the creators of Family Guy is very telling. It’s not only telling of those who participate in it, but also of those who let it happen.

News on this topic flows in on almost a daily basis. During the holiday weekend, Comedian Bill Maher tweeted "Wow, Jesus just f---ed #TimTebow bad! And on Xmas Eve! Somewhere ... Satan is tebowing, saying to Hitler 'Hey, Buffalo’s killing them'" (censorship mine). Bill Maher still has a job and hasn't been publicly reprimanded by HBO which airs his show.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Latest is Over a

I've been a bit annoyed by the negativity by a number of conservatives regarding 2012. Clearly, we're not happy with the field. We can all find problems with each candidate. I'm not too surprised. Given the mess the past 3 years have been, we've needed the perfect candidate. But we're not getting it. That doesn't mean conservatives should give up on 2012. I wrote about why there's still plenty of good to be had in November.

Check it out!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Why Ron Paul Can’t Win

I’ll never forget the first time I heard Ron Paul speak. It was a little over four years ago. I got a phone call from a friend of mine who was, at the time, attending the University of Michigan. He told me that Congressman Paul was going to be there to give a speech. At first, I was a little hesitant.

After all, despite being a lifelong Wolverine fan, the reason I didn’t personally attend U of M was because as far as politics are concerned, it is extremely left-leaning. So why a Republican candidate would pick that location to give a speech in Michigan was beyond me. Having attended school in West Michigan, I knew that that was a place that was much more friendly to conservatives (maybe that’s why Grand Rapids is in better shape than Detroit, but I digress).

Despite my reservations, I figured at the very least I would get to visit with some old friends, so I went anyways.

As Paul began to speak, I started thinking “This is our guy!” But that started to change as the speech went on.

Paul would say something along the lines of “We need to follow our Constitution as it’s written!”


“We need to secure our borders”


“We need lower taxes and have more personal responsibility!”


“We need to legalize pot!”


“We need to decrease the size of our military!”

Hold on…

I had never gone from loving a guy to hoping that he wouldn’t get the GOP nomination so quickly.

Thankfully, Ron Paul has no chance of winning the GOP nomination. That was true four years ago and it’s true today. The “Paulbots” as some are calling supporters of Ron Paul, need to realize this.

National polls have Ron Paul hovering between 13% and 4%. However, consider this: reports that in a national poll in August 2010, Paul brought in 4% of the vote with 5 choices presented to those surveyed. In November 2010 when the number of choices went to 8, Paul had 5%. What does this mean? People aren’t going to jump from one of the other candidates to support Ron Paul. He gets about the same percentage if he’s got 4 competitors or if he’s got 7. So as the numbers decrease (for example, if Cain drops out as some are suggesting he may), there’s no evidence to suggest that people will join the Paul camp. It doesn’t matter if there are 2 choices or 200, Paul will consistently get anywhere from 4% to 13% of the vote.

In fact, the diversity of the GOP field coupled with Paul having a guaranteed 4-13% is the main reason he took second in a recent Iowa poll. He may have done better than Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, Rick Perry, and Michele Bachmann, but if that crowd was smaller, he would have lost because those that remained would have gotten votes from the supporters of candidates who left the race.

There’s a reason for this. Let’s consider just one part of Ron Paul’s platform: Israel. Here’s what Paul said regarding the US and Israel during one of the debates.

Paul doesn’t stand with Israel

Ron Paul is saying we’re in the way of Israel. He says he wouldn’t support Israel if they attacked Iran to prevent them from getting nuclear weapons. He goes on to say that we “interfere” with Israel.

I challenge any of the Paulbots to find a case where Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says anything similar. I want to hear it right from Netanyahu’s mouth that we’re “interfering” with Israel. Netanyahu makes regular trips to the United States. I don’t get the impression that that’s his key message.

The fact of the matter is that Israel is a friend of the United States. How many standing leaders of NATO nations have had the honor of speaking to a joint session of Congress? Netanyahu has done it twice. And, as Paul pointed out, we don’t even have a treaty with Israel. At least nothing like we have with NATO.

And this isn’t a GOP/Democrat thing. When Netanyahu addressed Congress in May, he said “And I do see a lot of old friends here. And I see a lot of new friends of Israel here as well, Democrats and Republicans alike.” That was only followed by about 20 seconds of applause. It was followed by Netanyahu saying “Israel has no better friend than America and America has no better friend than Israel.” That was followed by about 17 seconds of applause. Not many statements will get that kind of support from a group fairly evenly divided by party affiliation. And yet, Ron Paul has pretty much written off support of Israel. Even if he was elected, how is Paul going to get these people who are standing with Israel to change? As Paul himself says, it’s Congress that declares war. Well look at where Congress is with Israel on your own.

Shorter Netanyahu: US+Israel = BFFs

That’s not all! The Anti-Defamation League put out an article saying the support of Evangelical Christians for Israel is a good thing. It goes on to say “In many ways, the Christian Right stands out as the most consistently supportive group of Israel in America.” It also says that while members of both parties in Congress supports Israel, “…there is no doubt that Evangelical members are notably aggressive in their support, proposing resolutions and speaking out forcefully.” 

It’s not just Christians in Congress. The article also says “…polls of American public opinion reveal, in marked contrast to similar polls in Europe, that the American people support Israel over the Palestinians by a significant margin. A key element in these consistent findings in many polls… is the overwhelming support for Israel among individuals calling themselves Evangelical.” The article goes on and on and on.

If someone said to me that Obama was more pro-Israel than Paul, I wouldn’t be able to argue against that.

Ron Paul’s platform doesn’t sit well with THE biggest voting bloc in the Republican Party. This isn’t to say that Christians will go out and vote for Obama, it’s to say they won’t show up on election day at all. How does a Republican win without them?

Weakened support from Christians for the GOP Presidential candidate will trickle down to Congressional races and the Democractic Party could potentially have the biggest victory in history. A Ron Paul nomination would be the best thing that could happen to Obama and for ObamaCare, Porkulus II, you name it. With a President and a party that ignores the Constitution so much, a Ron Paul nomination would damage that document more than any other candidate in the GOP race. How’s that for irony?

And it’s not just his platform that’s going to sink Paul. He’s not going to be able to replace much lost support by picking up people who don’t identify as Evalgelical Christians. Let’s listen to Ron Paul talk.


When watching this video, I used an old teaching method I was exposed to when I was getting started in radio. It’s called an “um” counter. In short, we count the number of times a person stutters or says something like “um” or “uh.” In 5 minutes, Paul’s “um” counter was at 14.

Now contrast this with President Obama in one of his debates in 2008 race.

No Ron Paul

While Obama stumbles a couple times, he’s clearly a better speaker than Ron Paul. Hillary Clinton even complimented Obama on his speaking ability.

And before any Paulbots say that that shouldn’t matter, unfortunately it does. If anyone disagrees, just do a Bing search on the Nixon-Kennedy debates. There’s a reason Time said “It’s now common knowledge that without the nation’s first televised debate… Kennedy would never have been president.” Any history teacher will say the same. Debates matter and public image matters. Ron Paul can’t win against someone as polished as Obama. That’s especially true considering he’s already alienated the Christian Right by not supporting Israel.

I haven’t even touched on other parts of his platform or the fact that he’s a Congressman (how many people from the House have been elected President in the past 100 years?). To cover all the reasons who Paul can’t win, I’d have to write a book. These are just the key reasons.

So, Paulbots, when a commentator overlooks Ron Paul, don’t act like they’re not giving him a chance. Don’t say that they’re in with Corporate America, are part of the war machine, or anything like that. Wake up and smell American politics. He doesn’t stand a chance.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Real Problem with Herman Cain’s “9-9-9” Plan

It may not seem like it at first glance, but Herman Cain’s campaign has a serious problem. I’m not talking about the women making claims of inappropriate behavior. There has been a bigger problem. The interesting part is that Cain is flaunting it, it’s just that most haven’t put two and two together.

Let’s consider Cain’s “9-9-9” plan. It moves us to a 9% income tax, a 9% business tax, and a 9% national sales tax. If you’d like to get an idea of how it plays out, here’s what Cain’s campaign has put out on it.

Whether or not the plan will work out is currently irrelevant to this discussion. But this plan could be said to be THE key plank in Cain’s platform. It is one part of two key things he’s running on.

The other key plank is the fact that he’s not a career politician. Right now, the race is full of those who have been in politics for some time. This is especially true if one looks at the front runners. Mitt Romney’s father was governor of Michigan, he was governor of Massachusetts, and he’s been in this race more than once. Newt Gingrich was Speaker of the House. Rick Perry has been governor of Texas for about a decade. Cain on the other hand, sells himself as being the political outsider. He’s the only one in the debates that isn’t addressed with a title like Governor, Senator, or Ambassador (however, I do wish they’d stop asking the Ambassador questions). Herman Cain is just Mr. Cain.

And there lies the problem with “9-9-9.” It is a radically new tax code. I would argue it’s not that different of a change from our current tax code when compared to our Constitution and the Articles of Confederation. It’s pretty much a complete rebuild with very few elements of the original surviving.

What Cain is essentially doing is proposing a completely radical change to our tax code and then saying he has no experience in such matters. That seems like quite the challenge.

Think of it like this: Let’s say someone came up with a completely new way of building a house. Their design suggested that the finished project would have lower utility costs, would be more secure from buglers, would cost less to build, and was child-safe to boot. It sounds great and I’m sure people would line up to get this design for their next home. It’d be like if Apple was to release a new iPhone, iPad, and MacBook on the same day.

And then let’s say the person who came up with this design said “And I’m going to build it! Even though I’ve got no experience building a house!” I imagine the people in line would lose their excitement and try to find ways to sneak out of line without being noticed. They might think it’d turn out worse than if it was done by Tim Allen’s character on “Home Improvement.”

We’ll be right back after these messages from Binford!

We see this problem with inexperience in the White House right now. Part of the reason Obama can’t get anything done is because he doesn’t know how. His name isn’t attached to any major legislation prior to becoming President and what has his name attached to it now is pretty much universally hated. He didn’t even finish a single term as a senator.

The only difference is I’m thankful Obama has that problem because I imagine when he was in high school, he’d scribble “I <3 Marx” on his notebooks with puppy dog eyes.

But the combination of Cain’s lack of political experience and his bold “9-9-9” plan are why I believe that if he got into office, he wouldn’t be a great president. He would push this one plan and without a clear mandate from the people (which I don’t believe he’s getting and I don’t think he has the talent to get), it’s not going to happen. His administration would be marked in history as a failure and America would look elsewhere in 2016.

Let’s also not forget that the GOP doesn’t have a majority in both houses right now and it’s not a guarantee that they’ll have a supermajority after the 2012 election either. So Cain would have to get this legislation passed with a sizeable opposition, and that’s assuming he can get every Republican on board. Everything is stacked against Cain getting “9-9-9” passed.

Quite frankly, Cain has what could be a great idea that improves out economy. Cain’s video calls it slaying the tax monster. But I don’t exactly see Cain having a history of defeating dragons, Godzilla, or Nancy Pelosi.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The AT&T/T-Mobile Merger Is a Bad Idea

Some time ago, AT&T looked to pick up T-Mobile USA from their German parents Deutsche Telekom. Since then, it has hit a few road bumps. While many observers said it would be approved without a doubt, things are looking quite different. The FCC has decided that the merger is not in the best interest of the public. I’ve found I’m on a different page than many people expect me to be on this issue. I’m very much opposed to the acquisition.

The very title of this blog points to why that’s the case. I’m a conservative who believes in the constitution and capitalism. It’s the last of the three C’s that defines why I’m opposed to this merger.

Part of being a capitalist is understanding economics and how economics works. One thing to keep in mind is what a monopoly is and the problems with one. Anyone who has taken ECON 101 knows that a monopoly exists without competition and, therefore, crushes the benefits we get with competition. We lose the battle for the best product at the lowest price.

When it’s something that’s esoteric or something that people don’t depend on daily, that’s one thing. If someone opened a Russian and Indian restaurant in a town, it would probably be the only one and would have no competition. However, most people have no need or interest in such a restaurant and there are plenty of products they could substitute it with (like cooking at home). Chyron has historically been the only provider of on screen graphics for television production. But how many of us need a device to do that? Not many of us produce live television broadcasts. We can’t really say the same with cell phones since they’re a primary tool for communications for many people. I know when I don’t have my Windows Phone in my pocket, I feel lost.

Now someone reading this right now is probably thinking that it wouldn’t be a monopoly. We would still have Verizon and Sprint. Fair enough. But it does leave us with just one GSM carrier in the US. Even for those that don’t care about the difference between GSM and CDMA, their choices are still limited more than they would be otherwise. If the merger went through, Sprint would become a distant 3rd in the race and it wouldn’t take much for them to be forced out. Well then we’d be down to two choices.

The thing about capitalism is that the more players there are on the field, the more competition there is. Not only does a company have to compete with competitor A and B, they also have to compete with competitor Z. But as we slowly remove players in the market, the less one has to work to get and keep customers. That’s the problem we have in the cell phone industry today.

With only two players in the market, or a duopoly, we near characteristics of a true monopoly. It’s easier for two companies to engage in price fixing than if there was more competition.

Look at the market right now. Most people have to pay for a texting package if they want to send SMS messages. These packages currently cost as follows (for unlimited texts on a single plan):

  • $20.00/month on AT&T
  • $20.00/month on Verizon
  • $10.00/month on T-Mobile
  • $10.00/month on Sprint

Now here’s the kicker: it costs the cell phone companies next to nothing to send a text message. These rates are about 99.9% profit. That’s not very competitive or consumer friendly. But then that’s what you get when there’s not much competition.

Right now, a cheeseburger and a small fries at McDonald’s costs about $2. That’s about the same price as a Happy Meal, which comes with a toy. Now imagine if for that toy that probably cost McDonald’s pennies to produce, they charged $8 more for the Happy Meal than the alternative of buying the other parts separately. But they don’t do that because they would lose business to Burger King, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Chick-Fil-A, Subway, Jimmy John’s, Arby’s, In-N-Out, A&W, Rally’s Chipotle, White Castle, Dairy Queen, Del Taco, KFC, Sonic, and I haven’t even mentioned all the Chinese places out there. That’s the difference when there are a dozen competitors instead of just a few.

And this is just a tip of the iceberg of this issue. There are a lot of ways the industry could be more consumer-friendly but it doesn’t happen because we’re already at a low number of competitors. In fact, it’s less consumer friendly than it was when I first got a cell phone about seven years ago. When I got my first smartphone in 2007 from Verizon, I had the choice of getting a data package or passing on it. Try doing that now. When I first got my cellphone in 2005, my family had a fairly small number of minutes. Since then, nobody offers a family plan with that few of minutes and when they first got rid of that plan, the new lowest amount cost more than what we were paying.

If conservatives are going to sing the praises of capitalism (and there are plenty and this is in no way to take away from them), they can’t be ignorant of potential drawbacks. It’s foolish.

From a Constitutional standpoint, the federal government has grounds for being involved in this issue. Art I Section 8 gives the federal government the role of regulating interstate commerce. Well when I make a call from my home in Michigan to my brother in Alaska, that’s interstate commerce. I’m using a T-Mobile tower in my home town and the call is being routed to a tower in the home state of Sarah Palin. My cell phone and plan also work if I leave the state and wander somewhere else. No matter how you cut it, the cell phone industry is interstate trade. T-Mobile has its headquarters in Washington. AT&T has their headquarters in Texas. Carriers talk about nation-wide coverage and not state-wide coverage. No matter how you cut it, it’s interstate commerce.

History is even on my side of this argument. There was a phone monopoly a number of years ago before cell phones. That monopoly has been broken up and I don’t think anyone’s saying that that was a mistake. What was the name of the company that was broken up again???

So because of the rules of economics and what’s written in our Constitution, this is really the only possible conclusion for conservatives to come to on this issue. Any other conclusion is a betrayal of what we know about economics and the Constitution.