â€œI have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedomâ€¦..And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents’ “interests,” I shall reply that I was informed that their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can.â€
– Barry Goldwater, Conscience of a Conservative
Perhaps more than any other politician of the twentieth century, Barry Goldwater captured the essence of the American spirit – ferocious independence. This spirit depends upon the Constitution for its life and energy. Without our Constitution, our nation is nothing more than another geographic location; nothing but more real estate.
The Goldwater wing of the Republican Party has been asleep for decades, as the economists espousing Keynesian and Chicago School theories on the benefits of inflation became trendy and the American political aristocracy banished the Constitution to the wilderness, to be replaced with a holy mission to spread democracy with armed drones and replace civil liberties with state-managed dependency – what Barack Obama once referred to as â€œpositive rights.â€
Our nation is bankrupt; the unemployment rate is falling, not because people are finding work but because people are giving up and staying at home. While we still import millions of barrels of oil every day, we now export refined gasoline. As the Federal Reserve printed money to inflate the tech bubble, the housing bubble, five military conflicts, the bailout, the wealth conflagration referred to as the Stimulus, and the Treasury bonds sold to raise the money to pay the interest on the bonds sold to pay the interest on the bonds that were sold by Lyndon Johnson. The M2 supply (the number of dollars floating around out there) has more than doubled in the last ten years; as a result each individual dollar is now worth less. By doing nothing more than holding Canadian currency, the Canadian people now have the purchasing power to essentially outbid us for our own gasoline. This is what inflation looks like.
Prior to 1964 no American politician had ever referenced inflation in a political advertisement, and then Barry Goldwater did it. As Lyndon Johnson proposed to pay for a war in Vietnam and the Great Society programs of increased social spending, Barry Goldwater condemned the entire charade as a swindle, a hoax, and a fraudulent promise of perfect prosperity – if we print enough money, we will all be rich.
As the 1960â€™s gave way to the 1970â€™s, the bills began to fall due, and the government realized that its promises exceeded itâ€™s abilities. With little more than a speech, Richard Nixon took us off of the gold standard. As it turned out, William McChesney Martin (then the Federal Reserve Chairman) had printed so much money to pay for Johnsonâ€™s war on poverty that the gold reserves were no longer adequate to back it up. Bye-bye gold standard.
Hello fiat currency. Since 2001, the Fed has expanded our money supply by upwards of $6 trillion dollars. They distributed it to the government – to pay for social programs that are necessary, not perhaps for our national strength, but for the reelection of our politicians, as well as to banks so that they could write mortgages to people who couldnâ€™t pay them back. Nobody cared if the mortgages went bad; the banks had sold them to Fannie Mae, created by the government in 1939 specifically to buy mortgages from banks. Then, in 2008, the Federal Reserve printed the money needed to buy to bonds the Treasury needed to sell in order to fund the bailout of Fannie Mae and the banks.
In his pamphlet â€œConscience of a Conservative,â€ Goldwater blasted what he called delusional dreams of the â€œJacobins and leftists.â€ We in the conservative movement are not supposed to be allowed the luxury of idle utopian dreams, be they making the world safe for democracy, or making our domestic economy so wealthy (through housing and stimulus) that we simply wouldnâ€™t need to save money, manufacture things, or export anything other that Treasury bonds. These goals are fantasies; they have led us to quagmires of humiliation, poverty, and degradation.
Will anyone dare to ask Barack Obama why, when the United States was consistently running trade deficits in excess of $40 billion per month, he believed our problem was a lack of demand? Will anyone ask why he simply assumed that if we paid people to buy new (foreign-made) cars, then our economy would improve? A trade deficit, by simple, logical definition, is the consumption of goods in excess of your ability to produce. Stimulus accomplished nothing more than the further impoverishment of the nation. Who will challenge Barack Obama on this issue?
Enter our Republican candidates, most of whom seem to think that we desperately need to print money to pay for a war with Iran. Is this really the best we can do? A choice between inflationary games to pay for socialism, and inflationary games to pay for a war that we cannot otherwise afford and could easily be prevented? Only one candidate warned of the inflationary bubble in housing as early as 2001. Only one candidate understands the fundamental problem of our economy – too much debt; too little production. Too much urgent government initiative; too little freedom.
â€œExtremism in the defense of liberty is no vice; moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.â€ Barry Goldwater was roundly condemned as an extremist for these sentiments. We live in an age of bankruptcy, fear, and disappointment. Candidates of firm conviction, shrewd talents, or competent judgment are frequently passed over in favor of the candidates with the darkest nightmares, the most delusional promises, or the most artificial of Cheshire Cat grins, with their insistence that spending borrowed money will make us rich and powerful, and if you disagree then you are clearly a cynical malcontent, playing politics at a time when action is required; that is American politics in the 21st Century.
The Goldwater wing of the Republican Party – fanatical adherents to the Constitution, ferocious nationalists, resolute defenders of liberty and individual rights- has been asleep for decades. Without our Constitution, the United States of America is nothing more than real estate. The Goldwater wing of the Republican Party is awake now; and they demand to be taken into account. So far, only one candidate has.
Photo Courtesy of Dave Davidson, his fabulous work can be viewed at http://prezography.blogspot.com/
Courtesy of State Central Committee member Gopal Krishna, my wife and I had great 8th row seats for the Iowa GOP/Fox News Presidential Debate.
The debate included: Speaker Gingrich; Governors: Huntsman, Pawlenty and Romney; Senator Santorum, Representatives Bachmann and Paul; and businessman Herman Cain.
Iâ€™m writing this post on Sunday morning, August 14th.Â I intended to write it before the Straw Poll, but I didnâ€™t get it done.Â My observations will include some thoughts about the Straw Poll, although I was not able to attend it in person.Â I donâ€™t believe in titling people as â€œwinnersâ€ or â€œlosersâ€ so I will define my analysis in terms of my personal expectations.
Governor Romney â€“ Mitt Romney spoke powerfully and articulately on every opportunity.Â I was particularly impressed with his handling of the â€œgotchaâ€ question about the Bain Capital investments in businesses that later failed and lost jobs.Â His answers on Romneycare are consistent with what can be expected of a Republican governor in a liberal state.Â I believe the 10th Amendment has meaning, so I respect his answer.Â Â He did not compete in the Straw Poll.
Senator Santorum â€“ Rick Santorum sprinted from anonymity to relevance with his precise, powerful responses on his legislative achievements related to welfare reform and middle east foreign policy.Â For me, his clash with Ron Paul made me consider again the Congressmanâ€™s views on foreign policy.Â His debate performance helped him to 4th place in the Straw Poll.
Speaker Gingrich â€“ Newt Gingrich had a great start when he criticized Chris Wallace for asking â€œgotchaâ€ questions. The crowd was 100% with him.Â Unfortunately, he finished weakly with an oddly placed plea for citizens to contact their representatives now because we canâ€™t wait until 2012â€™s election for leadership.
Representative Bachmann â€“ Michele Bachmann had an overall good night.Â I thought she had the most difficult of the â€œgotchaâ€ questions when she was asked if she would be submissive to her husband as President.Â She showed great control over her emotions.Â She came across as thoughtful and confident in her responses.Â I thought she relied too much on lines from her scripted stump speech.Â She is the Iowa leader coming into the debate and I thought she held her own, as confirmed by her 1st place showing in the Straw Poll.
Failed to Meet Expectations:
Representative Paul â€“ Ron Paul should be in my wheelhouse.Â I have strong Libertarian leanings in my political ideology.Â I thought he made a mistake engaging in the cat fight with Senator Santorum.Â He came across as a little shrill in his efforts to defend Iran and criticize past U.S. foreign policy.Â Â I imagine President Obama was nodding in agreement.Â Most of all, I donâ€™t understand why he does not ask his ardent supporters to show respect and refrain from aggravating the many people who attended the debate to hear candidates, not activists.Â Of course, he nearly won the Staw Poll, but Iâ€™m skeptical that his national polling numbers will improve based on the debate.
Herman Cain â€“ Herman Cain should also be in my wheelhouse.Â I believe strongly in capitalism as the engine of prosperity for America and the world.Â Hermanâ€™s strength is his ability to provide short understandable answers to complex questions.Â He has not moved quickly enough from process to solutions. I thought he performed at about the same level as the South Carolina debate, but that is not good enough at this point.
Governor Pawlenty â€“ Tim Pawlenty looked petty in the way he engaged Representative Bachmann.Â I realize that some of this was driven by the questions, but he would have been well served to remember Reaganâ€™s 11th Commandment.Â Â Given the time and effort he has put into his Iowa effort, his % of the vote in the Straw Poll confirms that he did not meet expectations in this debate. He had the organization, but he did not have the committed voters like Bachmann and Paul.Â Â I understand now why McCain did not pick him as his VP in 2008.
Editorial Note: My comments were finished before Governor Pawlenty dropped out.
Governor Huntsman – Jon Huntsman is a Republican.Â I donâ€™t understand why Dick Morris keeps saying he should run in the Democrat Party.Â Â I appreciate his willingness to stick with positions that he knows are unpopular with a meaningful segment of the Republican base.Â That takes character and integrity.Â I think he has those qualities. I thought his demeanor lacked sparkle and emotion.Â His responses were not crisp.Â He has not spent much time in Iowa so the Staw Poll doesnâ€™t mean much for his candidacy.
In closing, I would like to emphasize that I would be willing to work hard and support any of these candidates, Rick Perry or Sarah Palin should they win the Republican nomination for President.Â Each of them would be a far better President than Barack Obama, who has turned out to be the most partisan, divisive President of my lifetime.
An update on our friends in the Republican Party of Iowa State Central Committee. Â You may recall that we had addressed the issueÂ of some members of the committee actively working on campaigns. Â Wednesday evening the Central Committee met and considered the issue (after deferring it due to lack of time at their last regular meeting).
There was an extensive discussion on the topic, initiated by John Ortega, that generally included comments to effect that committee members had heard from numerous constituents in their districts expressing concern about committee member involvement on campaigns. Â Mr. Ortega read a rather severe message that he had received that pressed for removal or at least reprimand against the members who were being paid to work on campaigns.
A motion was made by Jeremiah Johnson and amended by David Chung, which read as follows:
Those State Central Committee members with paid staff or consultant positions on campaigns in contested primaries or caucuses are required to disclose those relationships to the State Central Committee.
The motion was passed 10-4 with one abstention.
Although it does not go as far as I and other would like, it does establish a sense of accountability within the board membership, and clarifies that contested primaries and caucuses are specific areas of concern. Â I think that is an essential message for people to hear even if the overall affect of the measure more or less a non-event.
So, quick breakdown.
One of the “no” votes was cast by a committee member who has been concerned about this issue. Â That member voted against the measure simply because the measure did not go far enough.
The abstention was from Wes Enos. Â Wes mentioned during discussion of the topic that he saw this as a serious concern and that he plans, while serving on Michelle Bachmann’s campaign, to abstain from any votes that impact the Caucus. Â I applaud Wes for taking a strong step in acknowledging the fact of the appearance of a conflict of interest, and acting in a way that helps mitigate the issue. Â That demonstrates responsibility and character.
The other three “no” votes came from the other three committee members who are working on a campaign. Â I find it odd that they would take a combative position on such a non-intrusive measure. Â Voting for the measure would have cost them nothing and would have given them a positive appearance. Â Instead, the message it sends is that they do not see themselves as accountable to the Committee, and the impression it leaves with me is sour… it increases the appearance that their participation on the committee is geared more to their own personal agenda than it is for the sake of the party as a whole. Â If that’s true, it is very disappointing.
It is worth acknowledging that several members of the committee would have probably liked to see something more drastic occur. Â An amendment to the Â motion offered by Bill Schickel, to require that committee members abstain from operation votes, failed. Â All of the members were very considerate of each other, emphasizing the issue as one of appearance and not an actual question of integrity, and in seeking a sensible solution worked to a compromise that probably accomplished as much as could be reasonably done at this juncture.
Specific constraints against the voting rights of the members would have likely been untenable. Â Such a measure, or anything more substantive, would probably need to be considered at the State Convention next year as a bylaw change. Â Based on follow up conversations with committee members, it is very likely that such a measure may be presented to the convention in some manner.
This past weekend, RPI Co-chair Jim Kurtenbach told members of the Republican Party of Iowa Central Committee who are serving as leaders of Michelle Bachmann and Ron Paul’s campaigns that they need to decide who they were going to represent at the Iowa Straw Poll in August: the Republican Party of Iowa or the candidates they were openly working for.
That may cause a bit of a quandary for the four, but they are evidently resolute in maintaining their positions with feet firmly planted in both roles.Â But it makes sense that one would have to make this decision, since they really can’t act out one role at the event without seeming half hearted at the other.
While the Iowa Straw Poll is an important event for Iowa Republicans, for the candidates who are looking to come out in at least the top three spots in the poll, and for many across the country who see it as the first real test of the candidate field, it’s not the whole point in this issue, but is part of it.Â The integrity and importance of that event can be called into question if people get the idea that the people running it are stacking the deck in favor of their candidate.
As can the Iowa Caucus itself.Â Nothing can likely destroy the importance of our first-in-the-nation status as questions about the integrity of the process.
Last week, we discussed the situation of the four members of the Republican Party of Iowa Central Committee.Â Recapping, out of these four members, one is currently serving on Michelle Bachmann’s campaign, and the other three are working on the Ron Paul campaign.Â All of them are in some type of leadership position on their respective campaigns.
And none of them considers this a conflict of interest.
Evidently, some of them even consider it inappropriate for party leadership to sit on the sidelines during primary and caucus season.
At this past weekend’s meeting, the committee worked on plans for the Iowa Straw Poll.Â There had been talk that the committee might address the question of the involvement of committee members on presidential campaigns prior to the caucus.Â The meeting apparently ran long enough that the committee did not have time to properly address the question.
But before they wound up their meeting, one of the committee members (not one of the four) brought the issue up.Â The group was not keen on extending the meeting since there was a physical walk-through of the event facility scheduled shortly after this.Â Another member of the committee pressed the issue and the group agreed to hold another meeting on June 1st (a 10 day notification lead time is required) to discuss the matter by phone.
In talking with members of the committee, it is extremely important that Republicans contact the members of the committee that represent their district.Â I’ve provided the names, districts and contact information for each of the committee members below so that you can provide input to your committee person.
To Identify Your District
Here’s Who To Contact
Statewide Party Leaders >>>>
|(Email) Matt Strawn (Chairman)
(Email) Jim Kurtenbach (Co-chairman)
(Email) Kim Lehman (National Committeewoman)
(Email) Steve Scheffler (National Committeeman)
If your Congressman is: Bruce Brayley
If you live in one of the following counties:
Butler, Bremer, Fayette, Clayton, Black Hawk, Buchanan, Delaware, Dubuque, Jones, Jackson, Clinton, Scott
|(Email) Jeremiah Johnson (Dubuque)
(Email) John Ortega (Bettendorf )
(Email) Chelle Adkins (Cedar Falls)
If your Congressman is: Dave Loebsack
If you live in one of the following counties:
Linn, Johnson, Cedar, Muscatine, Washington, Louisa, Des Moines, Lee, Henry, Jefferson, Van Buren, Davis, Wapello, Appanoose, Wayne
|(Email) David Chung (Ceder Rapids)
(Email) Emily Lofgren (Muscatine)
(Email) Trudy Caviness (Ottumwa)
If your Congressman is: Leonard Boswell
If you live in one of the following counties:
Grundy, Tama, Benton, Iowa, Poweshiek, Jasper, Polk, Marion, Mahaska, Keokuk, Lucas, Monroe
|(Email) Gopal Krishna (West Des Moines)
(Email) David Fischer (Altoona) (On Paul’s Campaign)
(Email) Wes Enos (Des Moines) (On Bachmann’s Campaign)
If your Congressman is: Tom Latham
If you live in one of the following counties:
Emmet, Palo Alto, Kossuth, Winnebago, Hancock, Worth, Cerro Gordo, Mitchell, Floyd, Howard, Chickasaw, Winneshiek, Allamakee, Pocahontas, Humboldt, Wright, Franklin, Calhoun, Webster, Hamilton, Hardin, Greene, Boone, Story, Marshall, Dallas, Madison, Warren
|(Email) A.J. Spiker (Ames) (On Paul’s Campaign)
(Email) Drew Ivers (Webster City) (On Paul’s Campaign)
(Email) Bill Schickel (Mason City)
If your Congressman is: Steve King
If you live in one of the following counties:
Lyon, Osceola, Dickenson, Sioux, O’Brien, Clay, Plymouth, Cherokee, Buena Vista, Woodbury, Ida, Sac, Monona, Crawford, Carroll, Harrison, Shelby, Audubon, Guthrie, Pottawattamie, Cass, Adair, Mills, Montgomery, Adams, Union, Clarke, Fremont, Page, Taylor, Ringgold, Decatur
|(Email) Tim Moran (Council Bluffs)
(Email) Craig Williams (Manning)
(Email) Monte Shaw (Panora)
Monday night I got to see essentially the same man I saw a year ago at the 2010 Polk County Republican Spring Banquet.Â This is a guy who has spent the past 12 years of his life dedicated to working with smart people to come up with solutions to America’s problems, and who comes across as thoughtful, smart (make that brilliant), and ready to work.
I say “the same”, because even a year ago, Newt Gingrich already seemed like a man bent on the idea that we can fix the American healthcare system without creating a yet another new bureaucracy incapable of bending to the people’s will.Â A year ago he was pressing substantive health care reform ideas that acknowledged the deepest problems the Federal government has with running programs like Medicare… the government is just incapable of managing the fraud and abuse that have become one of the largest tax-payer boon doggles of all time.
I say “the same”, because a year ago Newt came to Des Moines with not only an air of confidence in himself that comes from decades of experience in the public eye, but a sense of purpose in his own life beyond giving a speech to a room full of Republican activists.Â He seemed a man already on a mission, perhaps already trying to find ways to do the job of president without the title.Â Some would call him a “statesman”.
But let’s say he was also a different man.
On Monday, the former House Speaker seemed to have eschewed the grim demeanor he carried in 2010.Â It was almost as if making the decision to run for President had taken a weight off of his shoulders instead of putting it on.Â He answered questions from the press and from a very receptive audience of about 200 with ease.Â He handled the big question of the day, regarding his comments on Sunday on Meet the Press, (where he confounded conservative Republicans by apparently criticizing Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan as “too big a jump” to the right), with a good explanation of his comments.Â For those of you who are interested, he essentially stated he had not communicated his thoughts well and was concerned about making dramatic changes to a program that impacts every single person in America.Â His emphasis seemed to be on caution and taking more of a phased approach to any changes in Medicare.Â Frankly, the transcript from Sunday’s program seems to say about the same thing, so I’m struggling with why people are upset about his comments.
Perhaps if people took the time to read the transcript instead of the headlines. Just sayin’.
With the last in mind, I will say, “the same”, because he does and may for some time, struggle slightly with how he communicates a message that may have significant research, analysis, and a team of high-valued brain-power behind it, in a way that can be understood by folks who have not had time to walk through the thought-process with him.Â He seems sometimes to suffer from a mild form of “Keyesitis” (for those of you who recall the enigmatic and hyper intelligent former US Ambassador and former Presidential Candidate Alan Keyes), or a predilection to speaking exactly what’s on his mind, even if the listener is unable to grasp the meaning easily.Â More simply put, he can sometimes be too smart for his own good.Â I don’t think he lacks the ability to explain himself, but in an age of entertainment, technology, and the 15 second sound bite, it is substantially more difficult to get these ideas across when the attention span of your listener is so severely limited, and the assumption that everything one needs to hear can be boiled down to a dozen words.
I suspect that as his campaign proceeds, he will work with his staff to formulate a message that can be more easily understood.Â His biggest risk may be answering questions for which he has not prepared a clear and simple answer, unless he can get to where he can regularly think and explain himself candidly at the level of a high school student or college undergraduate.
It was good to see Newt again, and I’m looking forward to seeing other candidates as the lead up the Iowa Caucus continues!
More comments on Newt’s Des Moines event can be found at Kathie Obradovich’s blog.