Paul Ryan’s Kemp-Inspired Crusade Against Poverty

By Steve Parkhurst

While I admit to being one of those people that thinks Washington D.C. is incapable of controlling and patrolling itself, and that something like The Liberty Amendments proposed by Mark Levin are in order for us to rein government back in, there is something to be said for the efforts of Congressman Paul Ryan.

This is an interesting story in the Washington Post, or as I prefer to call it, Pravda on the Potomac. Still, this article is pretty well done:

Paul Ryan is ready to move beyond last year’s failed presidential campaign and the budget committee chairmanship that has defined him to embark on an ambitious new project: Steering Republicans away from the angry, nativist inclinations of the tea party movement and toward the more inclusive vision of his mentor, the late Jack Kemp.

Since February, Ryan (R-Wis.) has been quietly visiting inner-city neighborhoods with another old Kemp ally, Bob Woodson, the 76-year-old civil rights activist and anti-poverty crusader, to talk to ex-convicts and recovering addicts about the means of their salvation.

Ryan’s staff, meanwhile, has been trolling center-right think tanks and intellectuals for ideas to replace the “bureaucratic, top-down anti-poverty programs” that Ryan blames for “wrecking families and communities” since Lyndon B. Johnson declared a war on poverty in 1964.

Next year, for the 50th anniversary of that crusade, Ryan hopes to roll out an anti-poverty plan to rival his budgetary Roadmap for America’s Future in scope and ambition. He is also writing a book about what’s next for the GOP, recalling the 1979 tome that detailed Kemp’s vision under the subtitle, “The Brilliant Young Congressman’s Plan for a Return to Prosperity.”

Of course, that “1979 tome” was Jack Kemp’s An American Renaissance. But I digress.

Ryan’s new emphasis on social ills doesn’t imply that he’s willing to compromise with Democrats on spending more government money. His idea of a war on poverty so far relies heavily on promoting volunteerism and encouraging work through existing federal programs, including the tax code. That’s a skewed version of Kempism, which recognizes that “millions of Americans look to government as a lifeline,” said Bruce Bartlett, a historian who worked for Kemp and has become an acerbic critic of the modern GOP.

“They want to care,” Bartlett said of Ryan and modern Republicans. “But they’re so imprisoned by their ideology that they can’t offer anything meaningful.” Ryan has explained the difference by noting that the national debt has grown enormously since Kemp ran for president in 1988, nearly doubling as a percentage of the economy.

Kempism. Stay tuned in future months for more on that.

In the mid-1990s, crime and poverty were hot national issues. Kemp was a font of innovative ideas for reviving inner-city commerce, rebuilding public housing and overhauling the welfare system. He was pro-immigration, pro-equal opportunity and, above all, pro-tax cuts, which he viewed as government’s primary tool for promoting growth.

Unlike other Republicans, Kemp also frequently visited black and Hispanic voters and asked them directly for their votes.

Two days after Ryan was introduced as Romney’s running mate, he pushed to do the same. Advisers recall Ryan in workout clothes in a Des Moines Marriott, telling campaign officials in Boston that he had two requests: First, to meet the staff in person. And second, to travel to urban areas and speak about poverty.

No one said no. But with Romney focused relentlessly on Obama’s failure to improve the economy for middle-class Americans, the idea always seemed off-message. “We struggled to find the right timing to dovetail it into our messaging schedule,” Romney strategist Ed Gillespie said via e-mail.

Ryan adviser Dan Senor said Ryan argued that “47 million people on food stamps is an economic failure.” But Ryan did not get clearance to deliver a speech on poverty, his sole policy address, until two weeks before the election.

Great point: “47 million people on food stamps is an economic failure.”

Ryan had sought Woodson’s help with his poverty speech. The two reconnected after the election and began traveling together in February — once a month, no reporters — to inner-city programs supported by Woodson’s Center for Neighborhood Enterprise. In Milwaukee, Indianapolis and Denver, Woodson said, Ryan asked questions about “the agents of transformation and how this differs from the professional approach” of government social workers.

Like Woodson, the programs share a disdain for handouts and a focus on helping people address their own problems. In Southeast Washington, Ryan met Bishop Shirley Holloway, who gave up a comfortable career in the U.S. Postal Service to minister to drug addicts, ex-offenders, the homeless — people for whom government benefits can serve only to hasten their downfall, Holloway said.

At City of Hope, they are given an apartment and taught life skills and encouraged to confront their psychological wounds. They can stay as long as they’re sober and working, often in a job Holloway has somehow created.

“Paul wants people to dream again,” Holloway said of Ryan. “You don’t dream when you’ve got food stamps.”

Trips to Newark and Texas are slated for later this month. Woodson said Ryan has also asked him to gather community leaders for an event next year, and to help him compare the results of their work with the 78 means-tested programs that have cost the federal government $15 trillion since 1964.

The takeaway for Ryan, a Catholic, has been explicitly religious. “You cure poverty eye to eye, soul to soul,” he said last week at the Heritage forum. “Spiritual redemption: That’s what saves people.”

How to translate spiritual redemption into public policy?

If you don’t have goosebumps at this point, what’s wrong with you?

“There’s definitely a feeling that conservatives need to get in this arena,” Winship said. Otherwise, “the voices on the left are going to have the entire conversation to themselves.”

A point Newt Gingrich has been making for many years now, and something we fight against here at GPH. To paraphrase Gingrich, you can’t get real solutions offered if you have two Leftists debating on stage, and Republicans standing off to the side yelling “no!” Conservatives and Republicans have to get into the less comfortable debates and have real discussions with people; start connecting with the community. As Jack Kemp used to say, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Also worth noting before closing, the swipe at the “angry, nativist inclinations of the tea party movement” is both senseless and pointless. It tells me that the Left is worried that Paul Ryan and those few like him may be on to something here. If they aren’t worried, then this was just another swipe at the tea party. You decide.

Advertisements

Steve Parkhurst Reviews Mark Levin’s The Liberty Amendments

This review was first published at Big Jolly Politics:

Levin TLA

Mark Levin’s newest book, The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic, is a different sort of attempt at a national dialogue than any we have seen in recent history.

As national dialogues go, in 2011 President Obama disgraced himself in his attempt at a “dialogue,” which escalated into demagoguery, after the horrific shooting of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. As you will recall, the president spoke that month in Arizona at a mini-DNC rally disguised as a memorial service, where he quickly resorted to typical left-wing tactics, attacking the Second Amendment and calling for tighter gun laws, restrictions and bans. The Presidents attempt at a “national dialogue” was short lived, poorly planned and altogether un-serious.

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich has attempted to initiate a few dialogues, including one in 2010 where he spoke to the Mackinac Policy Conference in Michigan and suggested ways for Michiganders to save Detroit. Gingrich was attacked, as usual, and earlier this year, well, we all know what happened to Detroit.

Congressman Paul Ryan authored the Roadmap to Prosperity, a plan to reform some aspects of government and start to reverse negative trends while providing the chance for individuals to choose an alternative to the failing social security system. As usual, the Left went on the attack, lying their way into history as defenders of the failing status quo. You may recall the commercial where a faux Paul Ryan pushes a senior citizen in a wheelchair over a cliff. Yes, that was “Leftist Dialogue for Dummies” if there ever was such a title.

Fast forward to 2013 and Mark Levin has authored a very important book that since its release two weeks ago has taken me some time to read, comprehend, appreciate, embrace and now fully advocate. This attempt at a national dialogue is more serious and substantive than anything attempted by the permanent campaigner. Levin begins his premise from the United States Constitution, where he takes Article V (not to be confused with the Fifth Amendment) and shines a new light on it. (the underlined portion is the aspect that The Liberty Amendments focuses on).

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.

This look at federalism is refreshing and modern, and Levin is a great writer with a pristine intellect, as he demonstrates here:

Clearly there is much political, social, and economic diversity among the states. Some states respect the individual more than others. Some are downright oppressive in their imposition of regulatory and tax schemes. But people can move from state to state, and often do, to escape one state’s burdens for another state’s opportunities. Federalism is not about any single state or small faction of states imposing their will on the nation. It is about states serving, in the aggregate, as an essential buffer between the central government and the people, safeguarding the citizen from authoritarianism’s consolidated rule, thereby preserving and promoting self-government. After all, self-government is a fundamental feature of a constitutional republic. As Thomas Jefferson wrote, “It was by the sober sense of our citizens that we were safely and steadily conducted from monarchy to republicanism, and it is by the same agency alone we can be kept from falling back.

We can all agree to disagree on the specifics of Levin’s actual proposals (not that I personally disagree with any of these). Things like term limits for members of Congress and the Senate. Term limits for members of the Supreme Court. Having state legislatures, those officials most responsible to the people, go back to selecting the United States Senators. Significantly reducing out of control and unregulated bureaucracy. Calling for a 30 day period between the time a bill is completely written and the time it is voted on. Strengthening voter ID laws. Reforming the tax system.

The bigger issue is this idea, an idea as old as the Constitution itself, that the people can take back power from the federal government and return it to the states when they have had enough of the oppressive, heavy hand.

The founders did not intend that politicians would make a career out of “serving the people.” They reasonably figured someone would be elected from their community, would serve a short time, and would then return back home to their community, and their career. The idea of the career legislator, the professional politician, serving 20, 30 or 40 years, would have been a foreign concept to those great men. As Levin points out though:

“History demonstrates that republics collapse when demagogues present themselves as their guardians to entice the people and cloak their true intentions.”

What Levin is advocating for will not happen overnight. It will not happen in the next election cycle, or the election cycle after that. This will be a long, time-consuming effort. The effort will be frustrating. Is this endeavor worth the effort? Levin offers this thought in Chapter 1, for those not willing to undertake the challenge or even consider doing so:

“Still more may be resigned to a grim future, preferring lamentation to the hard work of purposeful action.”

Let that sink in.

The Liberty Amendments is chock full of notes and references, including much high praise for founders like James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and George Mason. The book is well researched, the writing is very good, it is not hard to understand or comprehend but on the contrary, it is very informative.

Pick up a copy of The Liberty Amendments. Give it a chance. If you agree with the underlying idea, that Article V provides a way out, get involved locally. Take “purposeful action.” Have meetings with small groups. Share ideas and get people thinking and talking. When you meet legislators or candidates, educate them and demand they consider these ideas. Those who refuse to listen, there is always another election cycle. Mark Levin is on to something here, and those ready to take part now have a guide.

As a note on modern politics, campaigns will have to go on as usual. Politics will still exist. We will still debate, argue and converse. This new concept that Levin is promoting will not take hold after 2014, or after 2016. But the slow work, the longer task, is to build up a grassroots army of individuals and legislators willing to take this next step. So, while you are preparing for 2014 and 2016, find a way to also advocate for Article V and a return to federalism. For in the end, it may be the last best hope at controlling Leviathan.

I will end this review with the words Levin used to close out his book, for he can say it much better than I ever will:

In the end, the people, upon reflection, will decide their own fate once their attention is drawn. As President Reagan stated, “You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope for man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children’s children say of us that we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.”

Let us do all that can be done. Let us be inspired by the example of our forefathers and their courage, strength, and wisdom. Let us be inspired by the genius of the Constitution and its preservation of the individual and the civil society. Let us unleash an American renaissance in which liberty is celebrated and self-government is cherished. Let us, together – we, the people – restore the splendor of the American Republic.

Time is of the essence. Let us get started today!

We The People

Gingrich Puts Consultants On Notice

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich has a very good column today in which he takes the old model of political consultants to task, along with a few of those practitioners. The column is very lengthy and I didn’t want to post it in its entirety.

After the column open, Speaker Gingrich begins to hit his stride here:

It is appalling how little some Republican consultants have learned from the 2012 defeat.

It is even more disturbing how arrogant their plans for the future are.

Of course these consultants have made an amazing amount of money asserting an expertise they clearly don’t have.

They have existed in a system in which the candidate was supposed to focus on raising money and the smart consultant would design the strategy, spend the money and do the thinking.

This is a terrible system.

Watch the movie “Lincoln.” This was a politician who thought long and deeply.

Read Craig Shirley’s histories of the 1976 and 1980 campaigns (or watch the documentary Callista and I made, “Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous with Destiny”). Reagan knew what he believed, why he was running, and what he wanted to accomplish.

Republicans need to drop the consultant-centric model and go back to a system in which candidates have to think and consultants are adviser and implementers but understand that the elected official is the one who has to represent the voters and make the key decisions.

This part of Gingrich’s column cannot be ignored (this is Gingrich’s writing, and the STEVENS quote is from a joint tv appearance with Romney consultant Stuart Stevens):

The depth of Republican obsolescence on communications technology was highlighted in this comment:

“STEVENS: Really made — if I had tweeted in this campaign this whole discussion we’ve been having about the second amendment would probably be replaced one about the first amendment and whether it should apply to tweeting.”

Cute but insulting. Republicans will not understand why we are losing younger Americans so badly until we realize how many of our consultants don’t have a clue and don’t intend to change.

Finally, Stevens said something profound but I don’t think he understood how profound it was:

“Listen, I don’t think — it would be a great mistake if we felt that technology in itself is going to save the Republican Party. Technology is something to a large degree you can go out and purchase and if we think there’s an off the shelf solution that you can go out and purchase for the Republican Party it’s wrong.

“You know, we’ve had a lot of chance now since the campaign to spend time with the Obama folks and sometimes they had better technology, some cases we have better technology. We don’t have 140 character problem in the Republican Party. We have a larger problem that we have to look at and be patient about it. And trying to think that there’s one solution like this, I just don’t think…”

I went on to agree with him but I don’t think he understood my agreement. In effect I was repudiating the entire structure, budget and culture of the campaign he dominated:

“GINGRICH: I think the way Stuart just said it is exactly right. The technology problem is a culture problem. I mean the Democrats had 54 data analysts and were hiring Ph.Ds in advanced math because they were using the most advanced decision processes in the country. They were bringing in behavioral scientists. They were trying to figure out how you talk to 311 million people and do so in a way that you can survive 8 percent unemployment and get re-elected and it worked.

“Now, I think it’s actually — he’s right in a sense it’s a cultural problem. None of our consultants would have imagined hiring 54 people in the decision area, none of them would have imagined having 24 people [who] did nothing full time except e-mails and then blind tested the best e-mails to see which ones worked. I mean, this — they are a Super Bowl team that we ought to respect deeply. And we are currently a midlevel college team floundering around and I agree. It’s not just — you can’t just go out and buy this, this is a fundamental rethinking of how you relate to the American people.”

As Reagan biographer Craig Shirley told me, “Commercial radio was a new technology in the early 1930′s and Reagan adapted to it. Talking movies were a new technology in the late 30′s and Reagan adapted to it. Network television was a new technology in the early 1950′s and Reagan adapted to it. If Reagan were alive today, he’d be tweeting.”

That final point about Ronald Reagan is exactly right. Reagan would be tweeting today. We have to get tech or die trying, this current approach is seriously hurting our cause.

As you can well imagine, this closing by Speaker Gingrich made my day:

The debate over Rove-Stevens versus the new 21st century model may be the most important intra-Republican debate since the emergence of Reagan and Kemp to challenge the old order in the 1970s.

Newt Gingrich has long advocated a different model of political consulting from the one that current exists. We at GPH Consulting have striven to be different, it probably doesn’t take much looking around to realize that we are indeed different. Engage us here on the blog, tweet with us or pin with us and discover for yourself.

Kondracke: “Kempism” Beginning To Emerge

Occidental College - GPH Consulting

Morton Kondracke spoke last week in Los Angeles at Occidental College at the first Kemp Scholar lecture, a new program created at the college from which Jack Kemp graduated. We have posted the thoughts of Mr. Kondracke previously, as he has become a bit of an expert on Jack Kemp in his writing a much overdue biography.

Last week’s Kondracke visit is reported here. The best part of the report comes when Kondracke got into specifics about Jack Kemp Conservatism, which he dubbed “Kempism”:

“Jack was the first and chief advocate for a new idea called supply-side economics,” Kondracke said. “He’s the one who sold Reagan on what became Reaganomics.” His new biography will argue that Reagan and Kemp, acting in concert on both domestic and international policy, won the Cold War. The book’s working title, he said, is Jack Kemp: the Quarterback Who Changed the World.

While Kemp was a principled conservative, “he also was an idealist, passionately dedicated to the well-being of all Americans, regardless of race or gender or income,” Kondracke said. “He thought that ideas could change the world, and he fought his battles on that level, even though that cost him during his political campaigns.”

Were he alive today, Kemp would not write off 47 percent of the electorate, as Mitt Romney did during last year’s presidential election, he said. Kemp opposed Proposition 187, the 1994 California initiative aimed at undocumented workers, and believed supply-side incentives could have a powerful positive effect on communities of color.

“As Newt Gingrich once said, Jack has showered with more African-Americans than most Republicans have ever met,” Kondracke said. “Jack honestly believed that the GOP could once again be the party of Lincoln, that if the economy provided jobs that extended into the ghetto, African-Americans would vote Republican.”

In the wake of Romney’s defeat, Kondracke added, “We have seen the beginnings of the emergence of ‘Kempism’” from such figures as Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin (who counted Kemp as a mentor), Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. “What the Republican Party needs is what Jack provided—a conservative message that would appeal to average, ordinary citizens.”

It’s clear that Jack Kemp Conservatism is the definitive remedy for what ails the Republican party today; a solid message that appeals to and benefits every American.

Stay tuned to our efforts, whether here on the blog, via Twitter or via our Jack Kemp project email newsletter. We have some very interesting things in the works and the best way to hear about them will be via one of those three methods. We have made recent additions to the GPH Consulting team and together there will be new things you have not seen from a political consulting firm before.

Jack Kemp Project QR Code GPH Consulting

Newt Gingrich On SOTU And Marco Rubio’s Defining Response

Newt Gingrich has written about Tuesday’s State Of The Union address. The closing portion of the column is worth posting here:

Last night was not a very encouraging evening if you are looking for a realistic, practical approach to America’s problems from President Obama.

The response by Senator Marco Rubio, on the other hand, was a breath of fresh air. He spoke to common sense and basic American values.

After you have listed all the new government programs, new bureaucracies and new taxes outlined by President Obama, take a careful look at the speech by Senator Rubio for a real contrast in bringing to bear the established principles that for over 200 years have made America the most successful, safest and freest country in the world.

I, for one, am delighted Senator Rubio so ably communicated our values, our principles and our hopes to the Latino Community. This is clearly an area where we Republicans must improve: If Governor Romney had received just 36% of the Latino vote, he would have gotten more votes than President Obama.

There is no reason conservatives need to be embarrassed or shy about reaching out to every American of every ethnic background and offering them a better future based on solid conservative values. That is exactly what Senator Marco Rubio did last night, and Republicans should be proud.

Senator Rubio has positioned himself well with his response, as is evidenced by the reactions on the Left over the last 24 hours. Rubio’s Spanish version of his response has gone a long way toward reaching beyond the traditional Republican base, and if you needed more proof that it is working, watch the lemmings on Left (including the media) try to slander and demean the Senator.

Gingrich: An Immigration Debate Based On Reality

Today, Newt Gingrich published this very good op-ed on the immigration debate. I felt this was worth sharing in its entirety because of its depth.

By Newt Gingrich

Campaigning for president last year included the opportunity to participate in a number of memorable televised debates.

As I think about what the Republican Party must do to rebuild, a particular set of exchanges from these debates stick out as a lesson.

We, the candidates, were asked repeatedly what we would do with the 12 million illegal immigrants currently in the United States, “many of whom have been in this country a long time.”

I always laid out two critical pieces of any immigration solution: the urgent need to secure the border, and the creation of a guest worker program.

But it was also important to answer the real question with intellectual honesty.

There are 12 million people in this country who have come here illegally. It wasn’t our choice for this to happen, but their presence is a fact. So we must decide: Are we really going to deport all 12 million people, many of whom have deep ties here?

My position was that people who have come here recently, have no ties to this country, should go home. But the-size-fits-all deportation of 12 million people, without regard to their circumstances, would constitute a level of inhumanity the American people would never accept.

As I said in a Florida debate, “We as a nation are not going to walk into some family…and grab a grandmother out and then kick them out.”

In response to this call for discretion and humanity, while at the same time enforcing the law, several other candidates — including our party’s eventual nominee — had repeatedly accused me of amnesty.

At an earlier debate Governor Romney replied to my suggestion by saying, in essence, “Amnesty is a magnet…people respond to incentives. And if you can become a permanent resident of the United States by coming here illegally, you’ll do so.”

The Democratic National Committee actually cut an attack ad against Romney based on this very exchange, which you can see here.

The ad below was produced by the Democratic National Committee

It is difficult to understand how someone running for President of the United States, a country with more than 50 million Hispanic citizens, could fail to acknowledge that the American people should not take grandmothers who have been here 25 years, have deep family and community ties — and forcibly expel them.

When asked in a Florida debate if, in light of his criticism, his own immigration proposal would round up 12 million people and deport them, he replied, “Well, the answer is self-deportation.”

And we wonder why the Republican Party achieved historically low levels of support among Latinos in 2012?

As we study what happened last year, we’ve discovered the data support the intuition that this rhetoric can kill the Republican Party among Latinos.

An August 2011 Univision National Poll in collaboration with the Mellman Group and the Tarrance Group found that only about a third of likely Hispanic voters had an unfavorable impression of Governor Romney. Roughly a fifth had a favorable impression, a quarter weren’t sure, and the rest had never heard of him.

The poll showed that 41 percent of likely Hispanic voters were still persuadable — they were weak Obama supporters, or they were undecided or favored Romney. There was opportunity for Republicans.

An election eve poll of Latino voters found that a year later, only 14 percent thought Governor Romney “truly cares about Latinos.” 56 percent said he “does not care about Latinos,” and 18 percent said he is “hostile toward Latinos.” 66 percent, meanwhile, said President Obama “truly cares.”

When asked about Governor Romney’s statements on immigration, including specifically his claim that illegal immigrants would “self-deport,” 57 percent of Latino voters said it made them less enthusiastic about him. Only 7 percent said it made them more enthusiastic, meaning on that issue he was underwater by 50 points.

He went on to be defeated by wide margins among Latino voters.

In fact, if he had won even 36 percent of them, Governor Romney would be President Romney today.

I do not write this to single out Mitt Romney. He worked hard for a long time and his campaign was up against skilled opponents. But the sad fact is that the Republican Party for too long has failed to communicate to Latino Americans a positive vision for the future. Our slide among Asian Americans has been in the works for a generation.

I write this because as the current immigration debate heats up it is critical for us to recognize that words and attitudes really matter. Understanding what people hear matters. We may not mean to say what people hear we say. After decades in politics this is a lesson I have learned the hard way.

As a party, we simply cannot continue with immigration rhetoric that in 2012 became catastrophic — in large part because it was not grounded in reality.

Senator Marco Rubio has done an important service cutting through some of the baloney with the observation that what we have now is de facto amnesty. It is reality. The 12 million people are here, living and working. Many of them are bound together by the web of human relations — family, friends, neighbors — and the American people will not support mass deportation.

That is the reality — the starting point of the debate about what we, as a country, should do.

This does not mean we as Republicans should give up on our principles, or on the priority of securing the border.

It means we must recognize, as I tried to do in that primary debate, that politics is always an intersection of principles and people.

A party that appears to ignore people won’t get the chance to make the case for its principles — any of them.

You can sign-up for Newt’s emails directly.

Why Romney Lost

By Maurice Atkinson

Romney was a unique candidate with a unique opportunity.  We all knew he was wealthy beyond the scope of average comprehension which drew some suspicion from both the right and left.

I’m not bashing on Romney, but there were deficiencies in his campaign that nuked him. From my perspective, he never painted the picture but used 5 point broad generalities.

One of the things we did successfully on the emergence of Cain’s candidacy was “paint a picture”.  Cain’s message was well honed in sound byte, as only he can do.  However, it was understandable (i.e.., scrap the tax code, start over; surround yourself with strong people, etc.)  Romney could have done himself INCREDIBLY well if he had pulled a Ross Perot and aired a 20 min. Town Hall Meeting that clearly defined the problem and roadmap to the solution.

Additionally, he NEVER presented an adequate rebuttal to Bain attacks.  They were introduced during the Gingrich campaign as Romney was trashing Gingrich.   Sure he created jobs and the Free Enterprise System can be messy.  That’s the nature of business.  However, he never articulated an adequate response.  Having a Town Hall Meeting in the middle of the rust belt would have changed the whole thing (define the national problem, provide a roadmap to the solution), IMO.

Romney’s communications were SCREWED UP.  Sending begging letters via U.S. Postal service multiple times a week and endless emails begging money may help raise funds, but it doesn’t communicate an ACTION PLAN or show appreciation for the vast field of volunteers   Romney would have been better served mailing a bumper sticker to everyone and asking them to put it on their car.

Anyhow, now we have to recognize the losses and retool our message for 2014.  Voter EDUCATION (we have an ignorant electorate), Voter Registration and Voter Stewardship (GET INVOLVED in the process), will correct the course.  Yes we lost the White House, but we gained in Governors’ races across the country.  Over 30 Governors are GOP.

My ramblings, for what it’s worth.

This post originally appeared here.

DeMint might throw Akin a lifeline

The Hill reports today that Senator Jim DeMint may yet rally the troops to Congressman Todd Akin’s side. A few key passages:

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) will attend a $500-per-plate fundraiser for Akin on Monday. He told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Republicans need Missouri to win the Senate.

“I don’t see how the Republicans are going to win the Senate if they throw away a seat like Missouri,” he said.

Missouri Republicans have a bold streak of social conservatism — Rick Santorum handily defeated Romney in the Missouri primary — and they have shown far more willingness to stick with Akin than GOP leaders in Washington.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who has a strong following among social conservatives, slammed party leaders in August for abandoning Akin.

Polls show Akin has kept pace with McCaskill despite the decision by the NRSC and the pro-GOP super-PAC Crossroads GPS to pull television ads in the state.

A survey by Rasmussen Reports last week showed McCaskill with a 6-point lead, 49 percent to 43.

 But DeMint said polls show Missouri is a more likely Republican pick-up than Maine.

“The polls would suggest it is,” he said.

DeMint and Cornyn clashed during the 2010 election cycle, when DeMint supported conservative insurgents such as Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Cornyn backed more centrist candidates. 

If you’re so inclined, click on the sticker below and consider a contribution to the Senate Conservatives Fund.

It's The Senate Stupid. Senate Conservatives Fund.

Gingrich Is Quitting the Race (Just Give Him a Little Time)

This NYT piece was so funny to me it could have been printed in The Onion.  Highlights are my own.

By 

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Newt Gingrich arrived at the Penske Racing plant here on Thursday accompanied by a large security detail protecting him from a big threat — of rain.

Otherwise, Mr. Gingrich, the former speaker of the House and presumptive campaign dropout, pretty much had the run of the place. He was unbothered by persuadable voters, supporters or media fuss. His staff consisted of a young traveling aide. He appeared exhausted, his hair sticking up in the back as he walked with a weary stutter step — literally limping to the finish.

Yet Mr. Gingrich still retained a sense of childlike fascination that has been as much a hallmark of his campaign as his bombastic statements, staff dysfunction and debate star turns.

“I am learning about cars,” Mr. Gingrich explained to a lone reporter on the fringe of an entourage that otherwise included local Republican officials, Penske executives and about 12 people wearing earpieces.

“It’s pretty amazing,” he marveled. “Everywhere we’ve been, we’ve learned something new and different about how complex this country is. This is part of the reason we’re doing this.”

The rest of his rationale for still campaigning is unclear, especially since he indicated after getting trounced in five more primaries this week that he would leave the race. “The campaign will go bye-bye,” he said definitively at a luncheon here Thursday.

But not just yet. He had committed himself to several events in North Carolina, he said. He wanted to honor those and not disappoint anyone who had planned to see him. What’s a few more days?

In financial terms, it costs taxpayers about $40,000 a day to pay for Mr. Gingrich’s Secret Service detail. His campaign was $4.3 million in debt as of the end of March, according to filings. There is also the intangible cost to Mr. Gingrich’s stature and the threat to party unity behind the inevitable nominee, Mitt Romney — whom, Mr. Gingrich says, he will support and campaign for.

Mr. Gingrich seems not to care in the least about the stature and party unity thing. On Thursday, he cared about cars.

“This is absolutely astonishing,” he said, transfixed while caressing a gray engine block in a prototyping lab. He walked slowly across a factory floor that resembled one of those blinding white rooms in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. The place was largely vacant, as many employees had decamped to Brazil for a big race this weekend.

Mr. Gingrich gave a thumbs-up to a guy driving by on a maintenance cart and popped his head into an office. “Hi, I’m Newt,” he said to the startled occupant, Felicia Thomas. “I know who you are,” she said.

He lingered, in no rush at all.

One of the quirky indulgences of modern campaigns is that candidates announce their intent to run for president on multiple occasions — essentially, stunts to milk media attention. They announce the formation of exploratory committees, announce that they intend to run, announce that they are actually running, etc.

Ever the innovator, Mr. Gingrich has applied that ritual to quitting. While he has had no realistic chance of overtaking Mr. Romney for several weeks, he maintained until recently that he would stay in the race all the way to the Republican National Convention.

But at some point, Mr. Gingrich started referring to the race in the past tense. He shed nearly all of his staff members. He pinned his hopes on Tuesday’s primary in tiny Delaware, saying that he would reassess if he lost — which he did, by almost 30 points.

On Wednesday, Mr. Gingrich indicated that he would suspend the campaign next week with a speech. He will offer some form of official endorsement of Mr. Romney.

A familiar analogy is to the Japanese soldiers who turned up in remote areas long after August 1945 and had no idea that World War II had ended. But Mr. Gingrich knows that his war is over, and while not exactly fighting, he is not surrendering yet, either. His wife, Callista, was appearing at events nearby.

How would he characterize his current status?

“I am a citizen,” he said. “And I will continue to be a citizen.”

(As a practical matter, Mr. Gingrich is a citizen who is being protected by that taxpayer-supported Secret Service detail. His campaign spokesman, R. C. Hammond, said, “It is at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security when they will cease protecting the candidate.” That was expected to occur Thursday night.)

Befitting his citizenship, Mr. Gingrich then headed to a lunch with fellow citizens at the Charles Mack Citizen Center in downtown Mooresville, a few doors from the Anything’s Possible tattoo parlor.

He pulled up in a caravan of four S.U.V.’s, two North Carolina state trooper patrol cars and other unmarked vehicles. About 20 people showed up inside, many of them the same local dignitaries and party officials who were at the Penske plant . Again, Mr. Gingrich appeared completely unbothered.

“It’s a small enough group that we can really chat,” he said, and proceeded to do nearly all of the chatting for close to an hour. He stood in front of a Gingrich 2012 sign and delivered the same kind of Newt-ian stemwinder that he used to deliver in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. That was back in the zestful days when Mr. Gingrich suddenly found himself at the center of the national conversation. Back when important voters were still listening to him.

At the citizen center Thursday, Mr. Gingrich zigzagged forth on a diverse set of topics: the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner, bladder transplants, his fascination with the human brain, shale gas, the threat of “cyberpenetration,” his visit Wednesday to two impressive charter schools and a few other things. Near the end, he mentioned something about Mr. Romney.

But enough about him. Mr. Gingrich had some final points to make before departing to a small but hearty standing ovation. He said he planned to spend the next few months staying active as a citizen, doing what he could to defeat President Obama. He planned to spend next week working the phones, thanking donors and no doubt hitting some of them up to help him retire his campaign debt. He then has to make some money himself.

“It’s been a long and expensive two years,” he said. “But it’s been fun.”