Friday, May 13, 2016

From Sunday, November 16, 2008 Musings of an average Republican

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Musings of an average Republican

Musings of an average Republican

Republicans need to concentrate on the next presidential election and the Congressional races in four years. (But they must careful not to give up any seats in the Senate in two years. Republicans must always keep the number 60 in view.) I think Republicans have that time. I believe Obama will be forced by his desire for re-election in 2012 to govern more in the center, or center-left, not the far left. Though this depends on his strength in standing up to the wildly left Congress and labor union leaders. If he wins in 2012 his deep-seated socialist, anti-business philosophies may well burst forth for him to establish his legacy. Until then, Republicans should be able to block through filibuster much of the overreaching demands on the new President, but need to do so with clear, simple messages. The brilliant political strategy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt sliced and diced the electorate into purchasable minority blocks has been the core of Democratic success over the past nearly 75 years: unions, farmers, elders, blacks, artists and writers (in the media as well as artistic), “intellectuals”, the poor and downtrodden. As FDR created his Democratic Party, it continued to oil new squeaky wheels. Anti-war, Abortion-advocates, homosexuals and other affinity groups were given what they demanded by the Democrats. And Democrats virtually created the trial lawyer industry. Obama used all of them brilliantly.

Democrats are at war with Republicans. Make no mistake. Democrats want power. They are using the lie of “Socialism” – equality for all – versus Capitalism – equal opportunity to all -- to gain and retain power. Democrats want to command how companies are run. Democrats want to control how we live our lives. If Democrats don’t get their way (California Proposition 8, or Seattle’s third runway are only two of thousands of examples) they throw tantrums and either demonstrate or sue, never accepting defeat. Republicans seem to accept defeat and go on. Of course many conservatives are building or managing companies, their first responsibility. Republicans are in a fight as critical to the survival of America as was the Civil War. Voters do not seem to understand this. The Republican Party has failed. Republican leaders do not seem to understand this. The Democratic Party has been engaged in a massive 75-year propaganda effort to discredit capitalism. Many Democrats work for government, quasi-government, or non-profit entities and can devote more time to politics.

I believe Obama won the presidency in 2008 with his charisma and The Big Lie (or, if he actually can perform, The Big Buy) that he’ll cut taxes for 95% of the country and years of press-brutalizing of President Bush. (Interestingly, some recent poll indicated only 17% of voters indentified Republicans with cutting taxes.) Of course Obama was aided by the October Surprise which turned out to be the melt down/bail out (“MDBO”) which shifted emphasis to the “economy” which for some reason Democrats were thought to be able to better manage than the Republicans. But the election – the Presidential Competition 2008 -- is over and Republicans lost. While the actual reasons may be elusive and debated for years, the Republicans lost. Going forward, Republicans need to, if not coordinate, at least unify on a message of pithy simplicity using powerful words that but based on clear ideas. Republicans must not blame. Yes, perhaps Obama was shilled by the media (incorrectly labeled the “popular” or “mainstream” media; Republicans should stop using these terms and substitute the more accurate Left-leaning or Far-left Media or even the Obama Info-media); yes, perhaps he had unsavory friends and promoters; yes, perhaps he voted as the Senate’s #1 liberal; but he won. Republicans must not blame, but must take a positive attitude, cheerily accepting that Obama won.

Our country is something like 35% “liberal”, 40% “conservative” and 25% “independent”. Depending on which polls one reads (some indicate liberals only 22%, conservatives 34% and 44% moderates, which is defferent than independent; varying definitions abound but all map out similarly) but a majority of Americans are center-right and believe that bigger government is not better government and cannot solve all our problems. Republicans must be honest and up front with what government can do and cannot do.

Republicans must get back to the basics. Wealth and jobs are created only by businesses. Successful businesses create products and services that consumers want to buy. Business thrives under markets allowing their founders and managers the freedom to create things and get rich doing so. Businesses succeed or fail for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that consumers don’t want their products or services. Some go out of business, creating disruptions for workers and customers. But typically the disruption is short, workers go to other companies which produce things someone wants to buy. This is the up and down of the business cycle. While “Wall Street” is being blamed for the meltdown (and deregulation) by the Left-leaning Media and Democrats, part of the problem that even Republicans (including Senator McCain) express their belief that Wall Street is like a gambling casino. There is no understanding of its core utility in capital raising. “Wall Street” has financed America since 1792 with the founding of a predecessor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Market- and business-cycles can never be prevented because they emanate from innovation, coupled with opportunity, then success and sometimes greed follows success ending in short-term collapse; all of these are the heart of America having become the greatest economic force in history and the freest nation ever invented. The natural human emotions of greed and fear cannot be squelched, only understood, usually after the fact. Governments cannot prohibit these human emotions, only restrain them by blocking opportunity for people to better themselves. It was against these continuing static classed societies (and religious persecution) that America was founded. It was founded on freedom; to take freedom from loss away is to take freedom of action away. At the very core of this freedom, and America’s success, is the entrepreneur. While today some entrepreneurs are celebrated -- Bill Gates comes to mind -- it is not about the businesses he created, but what “good” is done with the personal wealth created. What needs to be understood and admired in this country is the business – businesses – created. Microsoft changed the world of computing and humanity itself by standardizing software. It created thousands of support and peripheral companies, hundreds of thousands of jobs and countless millionaires and otherwise “rich” people from all walks of life. It also encouraged efficiency, communication and knowledge. Republicans need to personalize the “rich” who have created these jobs, wealth and improved lives. Liberals personalize victims. Republicans need to counter by unabashedly personalizing and praising accomplishment. It should outline and describe the number of people positively impacted by such accomplishment. Today, the face of business is primarily the over-sized compensation of some top executives. [An aside: much of this money was gained from incentive stock options. The widespread use of such options came from a law signed by President Clinton which disallowed companies from expensing executive compensation for earners of over $1 million, so directors substituted incentive stock options and the rising stock market caused options to become absurdly valuable. It is an unintended consequence of a Democratic Party-passed law. Sort of like the Alternative Minimum Tax to hit something like 50 taxpayers which has impacted millions. And to put executive and employee comp in perspective, General Electric has over 300,000 employees. If $100,000,000 were taken out of executive compensation it would only give a $28 monthly raise to each employee.] There is no mention of jobs, wealth created, product innovation, price decreases, increases in standards of living, or extensions of life itself. There seems to be no desire to understand or communicate how truly difficult it is to manage a large company. And, of course, the Left-leaning Media promotes the unfairness of the “stagnation” of middle-class compensation (as if ever-increasing pay is guaranteed in America.) It is against their message to explain the vastly more important concept of “standard of living” which includes what people can actually buy with their dollars earned. The standard of living in the United States has continued upward for decades, but is difficult to measure. Consider the continuing price decreases and increasing utility of computers, cellular phones, the Internet and flat-screen televisions, Blackberrys, global positioning systems, for a few examples. But there is rarely any counterbalancing argument about “income equality” from Republicans.

Republicans must begin to offset the Left’s negative attitude toward “business” which has become pretty mainstream. Where is the proud announcement that union-leader-hated Wal-Mart added over 30,000 employees to nearly 1.5 million, during 2008? The citizenry must be informed. 3.+

Americans in their core do not like to lose. The next step after improving the image of “business”, Republicans must unleash – then own -- the competitive spirit of Americans. We are in direct business competition with foreign countries not just among ourselves. China and India for example, but also England, France, Germany, Japan, Vietnam, South Korea and on and on. Global competition is here to stay – nothing can wind it back. The world’s financial meltdown will accentuate globalism as countries get together to collectively solve economic issues. We as Team/USA must decide to win or lose. Of course,”to win” means continuing to create wealth and better standards of living to struggling peoples all over the world. It is what competition in the free enterprise system has done for the world for over a century. Americans want not to just compete, but to win. To do so means supporting business in America. We need to think how to surge forward, not cut back into ourselves. Republicans need to shout out how “business” not government has created our wealth. Government’s role should be to support business. While the “trickle-down” theory has been discredited by liberals, another snappy term needs to be coined and repeated, over and over. Obama’s Big Lie of cutting taxes for 95% of America was repeated thousands of times and helped win the day for him. Republicans need to repetitively repeat how wealth is only created by business which creates the lasting, productive jobs government cannot create.

What then are the biggest impediments to the support of business and to the success of business itself in the United States? Unions. To gain and retain their selfish pursuit of power, union leaders cast business as negative and unions as positive. Yet, nowhere in the recent Presidential Competition was there anything about unions. Are Republicans afraid of union leaders’ power? What is there to be afraid of? They overwhelmingly support and finance Democrats. And although not necessarily following their leaders’ political leanings, private sector workers who belong to unions are only a small minority of the private work force anyway. Seven-and-a-half percent. The number is twelve percent of government workers. What’s to fear? Yet the leaders of this minority of population pretty much control the Democratic Party. Republicans need to publicize this disparity of power in the hands of a small number of power-hungry union officials. Republicans need to hammer on the fact that unions are not even needed for the workers anymore. The liberal media will holler. But look at what union leaders’ demands have done for what’s left of the airline, steel, and automobile industries. “Follow the money” (as Deep Throat famously said in “All the President’s Men”) and the money flows from union members’ dues to the Democratic Party with union leaders as paymasters. Republicans need to paint union leaders as the self-serving power brokers they are. Young voters under 30 voted two-thirds for Obama, putting him over the top, yet they are the generation wanting freedom of choice. Union leaders try to curtail workers’ freedom and this must be communicated. [And speaking of the young: the Democratic Congress is engaged in internecine warfare among their geriatrics. Henry Waxman, age 69, is challenging 82-year-old John Dingell for chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Recently Dingell called Waxman "an anti-manufacturing, left-wing Democrat" on a Detroit radio station. Is this the “politics as usual” that Obama is against? No doubt it's politics as usual, not change, but I don’t see much written about it in the Left Info-media, or by Republicans for that matter.] But back to the unions. Republicans, business and perhaps the Chamber of Commerce need to develop a future strategy which embraces workers explicitly. Give workers – “labor” – a voice the union leaders don’t really give them. Team/USA is competing with the world and to win it must be a team that includes management and labor working together to support business. “Business” must be more all-encompassing and include “labor” as a partner. It can be done. In order for America to win, Republicans must win.

Impediments to business (Part 2): class action trial lawyers (“CATL”). Their typically-unpublicized riches come directly from the consumer through price increases with business as collector and paymaster. It is not widely known that only a tiny amount of each settlement ends up in the hands of a single “victim” (as defined by trial lawyers and their paid, so-called experts) while the winning lawyers buy yachts and jets. I didn’t hear McCain or Palin discussing this “tax” on consumers which, certainly in the case of the tobacco settlement, is highly regressive and damaging to consumers and business.

Businesses, and for that matter individuals too, need stability to operate. Stability in the dollar, which the Bush Administration opposed, needs to become a beacon of the Republican Party. In an increasingly international world currencies need predictability.

I have noticed that Congress seems to be changing the rules continually. It is impossible to plan for the future if one doesn’t understand what the law will be. Part of the “rule of law” must be to have laws that aren’t changed on a whim or headline.

To succeed takes leaders. What about Republican leaders? Here is a most critical single factor to success in anything. Think about the “Front Man (or woman)” of a rock band. (S)he delivers the message and the band together creates the music behind it with producers, writers, and other support people. It wasn’t so much the Democratic Platform which won the 2008 Presidential Competition, but Obama as a young, charismatic Front Man with a disc jockey voice, tall, lean and handsome. He won votes with his charisma coupled with the “tax cut for 95% of Americans” (“The Big Lie”) labeled “change”. Compare Obama’s charisma to President Bush’s or Senator McCain’s. Or don’t. Republicans need to vet – now – its future potential leaders for the “coolness factor” if they want to win. Its next candidates need to stand tall, be proud, positive, and Paul Newman-like (in Cool Hand Luke.) (S)he needs to command respect and be statesmanlike. Gov. Palin was unable to gain that respect. Whether from the incessant and unfair bashing by the Obama Info-media or her own presentation, it doesn’t really matter, she lost. If she’s to remain on the national scene she needs coaching. The Republicans Party must forget democracy when selecting potential leaders. It must select a handful now and watch, guide and support them, like the up-and-comers in a corporation. Republican, Inc. If Republicans are the “party of business” why doesn’t it act like it? Whenever President Bush spoke, I cringed. I found him an uninspiring, mumbling speaker who wasn’t always able to stay on message. Obama however is the opposite. We live in a world of image. Many Obama voters did not know, did not care, about his programs or stands, they simply wanted the man. On television the other night there were a smattering of “comedians” shown whom to a person said they were unable to impersonate or make fun of Obama because he was “cool”. The complete opposite of McCain. Truth certainly can be trumped by image. Obama won in Florida, Arizona and California yet in each state voters supported, for example, eliminating gay marriage, to which he was opposed. The image and issue diverged.

But along with image must come preparedness. Democrats are a formidable enemy who want at any cost to anyone to win. They have formidable allies: paymasters, brainwashers, and foot soldiers. Clearly, Obama led a well-prepared, highly-effective campaign. Obama recruited four million donors and two or three times that to doorknock, phonebank, rally and, of course, vote. His ground game was based on a sophisticated data gathering capability and state of the art computing and Internet use which apparently contains upwards of ten million names with demographic information. His effective grass-roots game may have gotten its foundation from Obama’s early community experience with ACORN. It increased Democratic turnout 2.6% over 2004 (Republicans lost 1.3%). But while Obama’s machine was well-oiled, it was his image that simply swept away the emotions of many.

Republicans need to get off defense, define the playing field and plot offense; it needs leaders like Vince Lombardi with a ”fire in the belly” to win; winning must be life for future Republican candidates. But Republicans must strive for quality on the high road, because the road of the Republicans is the high road. It wants better standards of living for humanity, freedom of thought and action, the pursuit of happiness and equal opportunity, not outcome. These core beliefs must be clearly communicated and the banner carried by a winner. The Republicans’ main “special interest group” is “business”: the creator of jobs, wealth, a higher standard of living, and the entity from which all government funds come. Why doesn’t the public understand this?

Republicans faced hugely-negative headwinds from President Bush and his Congress and McCain did OK, but lost with an undisciplined campaign and little charisma. He could have successfully run against the corrupt Congress (approval rating – zilch), I think that bodes well for the core of Republican beliefs, but not for what it presented.

If a corporation is the metaphor, Republican, Inc.’s potential voters are its customers. And like all customers, they want to gain satisfaction from their “purchase” – their vote. They want to be both excited and comforted. I believe Americans inherently are positive not negative. The continuing message from the Left is negative. “The Bush tax cuts for the richest Americans”; “The rich get richer”. “The middle class is stagnating”. “Executives are corrupt, paid too much and do little”. “Deregulation caused the MDBO”. “The free enterprise system doesn’t work, vote for government”. Voters – the customers – don’t want these messages of denigration and negativity. Yet, Republicans only respond to the Democratic messages, they don’t create their own positive statements. Reagan won by communicating positives. Voters want to feel good about programs and trust their leaders to execute as they promised. Voters feel good – even giddy -- about Obama. And here Republicans need to go on the offensive. Voters as a whole expect much from Obama, not necessarily concrete specifics, and his implicit promises. Each voter will define Obama’s “change” as (s)he sees it. Such fuzzy expectations are impossible to fulfill. (Seventy per cent of voters believe race relations will automatically improve.) “Obama”, the image in which they believe, not the person, may backfire with disappointment and Republicans need to be there to commiserate with the voters, expressing disappointment, and feel sad not glad. Republicans need to be bipartisan and voice support, encouragement and hope for Obama, the image. Sex sells and Obama sold it. Republicans need to verify that it was a good choice voters made and that when he fails to deliver on his promises, it is Obama’s failure, not the voters’. Disappointment will run deep. Republicans can help boost expectations by promoting Obama’s promises, celebrating them and hoping he will make them come true. Democrats will attempt to blame Republicans for the abandonment of “Pay Go’, a higher deficit, the recession and Obama’s inability to deliver. Republicans must be ready and prepared with effective responses or begin an offense to undercut the Democrats’ excuses.

After 9-11, President Bush held the esteem of the country. After the war wasn’t immediately “won”, his approval began a downward run. How did that happen? Was it pushed by the Far-left Media, the New York Times, NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN? Exactly how was that successful debasement of Bush accomplished? Republicans need to study the power, reach and messaging of the media and develop strategies and objectives for its messaging. Apparently Fox News and the Wall Street Journal aren’t sufficiently partisan; they seem to think people need fair, balanced and accurate “news”. Perhaps Republicans should study whether the Obama Info-media orchestrated the Clinton failure and McCain candidacy. More people read the Wall Street Journal than the New York Times; more people watch Fox News, but it seems the Left-leaning media establishes the playing field. A number of issues – real or propaganda – led to the Republican demise in Congress in 2004, 2006 and again in 2008. To simplify: the war, the deficit and "corruption". Each issue seemed framed and presented by the Far-left Media and hammered into the consciousness of the American people. Republicans did not fight back. Yes, the initial execution of the war was not effective; no, the deficit was not Republican-abirthed; no, Republicans do not have a monopoly of corruption or “morals” issues. But Bush was bashed badly and continually for 6 years. Why? The “why” should be understood, but not copied. And at least one writer suggested that the New York Times positioned McCain to be the Republican nominee and then pulled the rug from under him. While Republicans believe that foreign dictators should not be trusted and believed, they seem to trust and believe in the Democratic Party that wants to take down Republican America. Bush and his Republican Congress expanded government and entitlement programs and other than cutting taxes for the rich, did little one could define as “conservative”, and for what reason, I cannot fathom.

Some other truths. Republicans must ask African Americans, "Just what have the Democrats really done for you?" The answer, in my opinion, is to keep you down for three generations. Union-staffed inner city schools, the vast majority of the student body of which are minorities. Graduation rates hover around 50% against upwards of 75% for whites and more for Asians. What have the Democratic-backed unions done for African Americans? Crime? Something like half the prison population is African American and young. What have liberal judges done for African Americans? "Illegitimate" (unmarried) pregnancies? Abortion? Fatherless families? All are far higher for African Americans than other populations. The Democrats have been in charge of Congress for most of the last 50 years. They have taxed Americans to feed a Democrat-voting civil rights bureaucracy ("CRB" or "CRIB") in the government that has been less than useless to African Americans. In fact, I argue that the CRB has and has had huge incentives to keep the African American population down. That way they can have funded all flavors of liberal activities which need management and workers. More power for CRIB's management and leaders. Much of these liberal activities consist of pounding the message in to African American psyches that they cannot get ahead because of slavery a century ago and discrimination by whites. Think what would happen if African Americans told the Jesse Jacksons/Al Sharptons of the CRB, "Get lost, we can start companies, create wealth and jobs all by ourselves, we are as smart and enterpreneural as anyone"? All of a sudden, the CRIBs wouldn't have anything to do and as it folded, so would fold a strong and loyal Democratic bloc. Democrats can't allow that to occur. But are Republicans afraid of the Left Info-media's response? Would Republicans rather be liked by liberals than control the politics of our country and steer it where it ought to go? Seems so. Does anyone in rationally thinking about the issue, really think the Democratic Party has helped the African Americans gain independence and self-respect? If not tell the voters!

Republican incompetence gave away the Hispanic vote. “Immigration” hammered Republicans this year. Hispanics voted 44% for Bush but left the Republican Party, voting only 33% for McCain. Some argue it was the Republican stand, others poor communication. No doubt immigration will continue as people want to come to America, but it can certainly better managed. The successful disposition of “illegal” immigrants is a core issue in America. Republicans have done a poor job of dealing with it and communicating. Hispanics are a growing percentage of the population with many values in synch with Republicans. They need to be given a voice in the Republican Party.

While expressing freedom in markets, Republicans seem to want to also control personal social issues. I will discuss below. But Republicans should concentrate on business, jobs and a free economy. The umbrella of successful free-enterprise can allow special interests to pursue their goals under it. Choice and right-to-life; gay marriage; campaign financing; [drugs; crime; welfare; ?] Will it lose some Republicans? Yes. But notice Democrat African Americans, Hispanics, coupled with the Mormons and the “religious right’ to vote down the right for gays to marry in California, Arizona and Florida. Republicans need to concentrate and focus on creating a free, wealthy, inclusive and opportunistic economy under which these special and affinity groups can operate.

Republicans should be silent on abortion. It does not belong in today’s world as a campaign issue. Most of the country believes in a woman’s right to choose to have or not an abortion. This belief can’t be rolled back. Republicans should leave personal social issues alone not for political purposes but to support individual freedom.. Certainly Republicans can promote education for women so they don’t have to make a choice. It can promote easy, safe adoption. But leave personal social issues alone. Gay marriage is another personal social issue. It, as abortion, is in the province of religion and one’s beliefs. Government should not interfere. Individuals are becoming independent of party.

Republicans should promote real campaign finance reform but opening it up to individuals but making it transparent where an Obama cannot hide from where his millions came. Prohibit coercion by monopolies such as labor unions. Let the leaders spend their own money not union dues, the same for corporate leaders, but not corporations, and lobbyist organizations. There should be “whistle-blower” laws about campaign contributions.

The Democratic Party has split the citizenry into affinity groups – which can be obnoxiously loud and throw tantrums when their way is thwarted by such things as a majority of the voters -- financed by the rich to gain its power. Republicans must get to the rest, the quiet center offering: economic freedom, with true “safety nets” such as the FDIC for those who really can’t make it., not vote-getting welfare. Republicans must make being responsible cool, fight earmarks and corruption in Congress and Washington DC, and let those in the silent majority that they have been taken for saps. It can win by offering opportunity not guarantees; freedom not control; low, not burdensome taxes; effective, honest government; It can stress honesty and fair play.

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