Toomey 4 Blackwell


On a phone call with me, Pat Toomey, president of the Club for Growth said of Ken Blackwell: “He’d make a great (RNC) Chairman, I’m delighted he’s running, and I hope he wins.”

Toomey also described Blackwell as a “great Free Market economic conservative” and said Blackwell (who serves on the Club’s board of directors) could reach out to new voters into the GOP…

It’d be interesting to know which of the RNC chairman candidates will be in NYC next week for the Pennsylvania Society events.

December 6, 2008 at 11:40 am Comments (0)

Fred! Steele, or Saltsman for RNC Chair

To Quote Dr. House “I really think there are no bad choices in this group”.

The race for Republican National Chairman now has 3 noteworthy contenders, Actor, former Senator from Tennessee, and former Presidential Candidate Fred Thompson, Mike Huckabee’s Campaign Chairman Chip Saltsman, and former Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele.

All have their Merits.

Fred obviously has Star Power and is an “All Three” Conservative, Social, Fiscal, Defense. He’s an articulate speaker and has a southern charm but a dry whit that plays very well in the Party. His downside is that he seemed to lack the all important “Fire in the Belly” as a Presidential Candidate. However, as a spokesman, I believe he is well suited to the role.

Chip Saltsman took Mike Huckabee from “Who?” to the last man standing in the race against John McCain. He did alot with a little and is an excellent architect type of figure, however, as a Party Figurehead, he may not have the celebrity shot-in-the-arm the Party needs right now.

Michael Steele is a true Republican Rising star. He narrowly lost a bid for US Senate in very Democrat Maryland in a toxic environment for Republicans back in 06. He’s a great communicator and has been rumored to be working with Newt Gingrich for the Republican top spot. On the downside Steele has strong ties to the Liberal Main Street Republican group.

On balance I’m supporting Fred! but I will be happy with any of the three. All of them will take our party in a positive direction and ultimately I believe keep us grounded in our Conservative roots.

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November 16, 2008 at 3:08 am Comments (0)

Re: Couric, Steele and the 21st Century

After being away for a few days, I’m catching up on the posts.
After reading Lisa’s piece on the $15 million hooker’s remarks, I went to the previous post about drafting Michael Steele as RNC chair.

Oddly enough, when you register to support him, you have to enter your cell phone number to keep in touch.

Isn’t that what Queen Katie just hailed Obama for? Why no press on this? Or are we now going to be subjected to a “yawn, been there, done that, Obama was first” attitude from the MSM?

You can’t win for losing…..

November 14, 2008 at 3:37 pm Comments (0)

GOP Can’t Win Something With Nothing!

The GOP Can’t Beat Something With Nothing

Give President-elect Obama credit for one thing. His central campaign theme was correct. Time and again, he pounded home the message that the policies of the last eight years have failed.

Most of them did.

The irony is that they were NOT Republican policies. They were spendthrift, traditionally Democratic policies trumpeted by a very wayward Republican Party.

The unfortunate part is that much of the GOP bloodbath was absolutely preventable. But as Voltaire always said, “Common sense is not so common.”

Common sense tells you that you can’t win something with nothing, but that’s been the Republican Party’s unchanged strategy for years.

Only when you look back at your mistakes, and commit to learning from them, can progress be realized. The sheer simplicity of this rule makes it seem obvious, yet it remains a foreign concept to the GOP.

The Republicans controlled the White House and enjoyed substantial majorities in both houses of Congress for six straight years. By calling all the shots, the Party’s fate would live or die on what it – not its opponents – did. The results are apparent:

1)The national debt doubled since 2000, topping $10 trillion. It is now so large that the National Debt Clock in Times Square ran out of numbers earlier this year. Deficits are also at record levels.

2)Claims by many Republicans that Congressman Barney Frank and the “liberal Democrats” are responsible for the economic crisis, especially in regards to the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac debacle, need a refresher in Civics 101. Only the Congress can appropriate money. Not the President, and not the minority party; just the party in power. Despite Frank’s desire to spend, spend, spend, the Republicans did his bidding, placing its imprimatur on every bloated budget and pork-filled spending bill. And blaming Bill Clinton didn’t sell, either, because the GOP controlled both chambers for six of his eight years in office.

3)The Republicans had no messenger. No one can be upset at John McCain for being the Party nominee, but clearly, he was the default candidate in a very weak field. This highlights one of the GOP’s most glaring weaknesses: no bullpen. There are very few younger Republicans being groomed to take the mantle of the Party. Instead, the “It’s your turn” mentality still runs rampant throughout the Party hierarchy. Instead of choosing the best candidates, the GOP seems to coronate the old guard simply because they have “been around” for a long time. Bob Dole and John McCain are two prime examples. It is nearly impossible to have a message of “reform” and “reinvigorating ideas” resonate when the party leader is a 30-year Beltway insider who never held a private sector job in his career. While Obama’s resume is paper-thin, he had the advantage of playing the outsider against an unpopular incumbent party.

4)Despite all the aforementioned issues, the presidential race could have, and should have, been significantly closer. Many voters still felt uneasy about the President-elect, but pulled the lever for him anyway because they viewed the McCain campaign as “more of the same.” Incomprehensibly, the true Republican message was never articulated.

There was never any love lost between John McCain and George Bush, so why the Republican nominee didn’t differentiate himself from the unpopular president remains a mystery. While campaigning on optimism and hope for the future is important, McCain should have hammered home how he was different from the President. In doing so, he would have energized an irritated base and gained immense credibility with the Independent swing voters who no longer knew what the Republican Party stood for. And since McCain was always known as a fiscal-hawk “maverick,” he would have been convincing.

He could have said that it wouldn’t take him seven years to veto his first bill, seven years to call for domestic drilling, seven years to build a border wall, and seven years —and counting— to make the tax cuts permanent. He could have also highlighted his 2004 statement of “no confidence” in Donald Rumsfeld, and that he repeatedly called on the Bush Administration to listen more closely to America’s military leaders regarding Iraq War planning.

Instead, the campaign changed themes on a regular basis and only at the end drew distinctions from a Republican Party that had gone adrift.

Because the Party lost its identity, and forgot what it was and where it came from, it can now only play defense in an attempt to block Obama Administration policies. That only gets the Party so far. If the GOP ever wants to again be proactive in shaping the hearts and minds of America, it needs to eradicate party hacks and return to its core principles. Only when the Republican Party rediscovers its roots in the mold of Ronald Reagan will it be able to lead America once more.

Chris Freind is a columnist whose home newspaper is The Philadelphia Bulletin. His 300 columns have received thousands of responses from 6 continents, 30 countries and 50 states.
He can be reached at

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November 8, 2008 at 10:47 am Comments (0)

RNC2008: The Final Wrap Up

I should finally get around to the final RNC2008 post.

St Paul is one of the neatest cities I’ve been too. Outside of the oddly gridded, yet not gridded, street layout there’s not much to not like. Especially the architecture. A number of the bigger buildings appear to be from the 1920s or 1930s…

The curving gridded layout leads to some epic sights on the horizon, especially the view up towards the State Capital and the St Paul Cathedral.


“Minnesota Nice” is absolutely 100% true. The people of Minnesota were hyper nice and always willing to help out with questions.

Without a doubt, the Texas and Alaska delegations were the friendliest… and always willing to BS. Hard to explain… but it seems like everyone I had long conversations with were from those two states. Odd.

The protesters really disappointed me. Not because I didn’t get to see their antics… I saw some… but I resented riding a bus from the hotel with a police officer on board and then driving into a double-gated convention compound. Quite seriously, the 10 block area around the Xcel Energy Center was a fortress, with limited access in or out. Because of the hippie gates.

Conservatives protests and protestors are always a lot classier and, with all seriousness, are non threatening. Leftists always want to cause trouble.


Big red marks to the RNC for the way the bloggers were treated. The bloggers I talked to were, for the most part, self funded travelling on their own and reporting on their own.

Blogging from the center was not easy.

Unless you were one of the elite top shelf bloggers, you got to sit in “behind” the stage. Not great. Seating was totally within their control… there were allegedly 200 of us there. That’s a couple rows … in the center… hell, up high is fine. No matter where we sat, there was still the question of power. You can’t run a laptop for the four to six hours from your seat, so you need to plug in somewhere.

There was no wi-fi at the center, so you were on your own for internet access… (crucial to a blogger)

See also here.

I ended up camping out at a concession stand’s cafe area, hogging a table (though sharing with other bloggers / journalists) and it’s two plug outlet. It was about 10 yards from my blogging area over to the top of the section, so I could snap pictures and watch speeches and run back to my computer. There were some TVs in the cafe showing the networks, as well as the live feed and the audio was pretty decent.

Oh… and the biggest complaint? Where’s the master list of bloggers blogging the convention? I still don’t know who was there? I met some bloggers at some of the events around town… but was that all of them? Were all 200 there?

But meeting a bunch of bloggers I’ve been reading for a long time was definitely a big highlight for me.


Despite those complaints, I still had a good time. But it was awful lot of work… my heels are still recovering from the blisters that I broke on the first day walking around and looking for protesters in the city.

St. Paul is a great place and I look forward to visiting again.

Will I go back in four years? That’s an eternity in the blogosphere (though I have been blogging since 2002, I think)…. maybe as a delegate. 😉

Thank you all for reading and kind words of encouragement.

September 6, 2008 at 9:30 pm Comments (0)

How Palin Beat the Establishment

Here are several more reasons to like Sarah Palin courtesy of the Wall Street Journal.

How Palin Beat Alaska ‘s Establishment
September 5, 2008; Page A13

If you’ve read the press coverage of Sarah Palin, chances are you’ve heard plenty about her religious views and private family matters. If you want to know what drives Gov. Palin’s politics, and has intrigued America , read this.

Every state has its share of crony capitalism, but Big Oil and the GOP political machine have taken that term to new heights in Alaska. The oil industry, which provides 85% of state revenues, has strived to own the government. Alaska’s politicians—in particular ruling Republicans—roll in oil campaign money, lavish oil revenue on pet projects, then retire to lucrative oil jobs where they lobby for sweetheart oil deals. You can love the free market and not love this.

Alaskans have long resented this dysfunction, which has led to embarrassing corruption scandals. It has also led to a uniform belief that the political class, in hock to the oil class, fails to competently oversee Alaska ‘s vast oil and gas wealth, the majority of which belongs to the state—or rather, Alaskan citizens.

And so it came as no surprise in 2004 when former Republican Gov. Frank Murkowski made clear he’d be working exclusively with three North Slope producers—ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips and BP—to build a $25 billion pipeline to move natural gas to the lower 48. The trio had informed their political vassals that they alone would build this project (they weren’t selling their gas to outsiders) and that they expected the state to reward them. Mr. Murkowski disappeared into smoky backrooms to work out the details. He refused to release information on the negotiations. When Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Irwin suggested terms of the contract were illegal, he was fired.

What Mr. Murkowski did do publicly was instruct his statehouse to change the oil and gas tax structure (taxes being a primary way Alaskans realize their oil revenue). Later, citizens would discover this was groundwork for Mr. Murkowski’s pipeline contract—which would lock in that oil-requested tax package for up to 40 years, provide a $4 billion state investment, and relinquish most oversight.

Enter Mrs. Palin. The former mayor of Wasilla had been appointed by Mr. Murkowski in 2003 to the state oil and gas regulatory agency. She’d had the temerity to blow the whistle on fellow GOP Commissioner Randy Ruedrich for refusing to disclose energy dealings. Mr. Murkowski and GOP Attorney General Gregg Renkes closed ranks around Mr. Ruedrich—who also chaired the state GOP. Mrs. Palin resigned. Having thus offended the entire old boy network, she challenged the governor for his seat.

Mrs. Palin ran against the secret deal, and vowed to put the pipeline back out for competitive, transparent, bidding. She railed against cozy politics. Mr. Murkowski ran on his unpopular pipeline deal. The oil industry warned the state would never get its project without his leadership. Mrs. Palin walloped him in the primary and won office in late 2006. Around this time, news broke of a federal probe that would show oil executives had bribed lawmakers to support the Murkowski tax changes.

Among Mrs. Palin’s first acts was to reinstate Mr. Irwin. By February 2007 she’d released her requirements for pipeline bidding. They were stricter, and included only a $500 million state incentive. By May a cowed state house—reeling from scandal—passed her legislation.

The producers warned they would not bid, nor would anyone else. Five groups submitted proposals. A few months before the legislature awarded its license to TransCanada this July, Conoco and BP suddenly announced they’d be building their own pipeline with no state inducements whatsoever. They’d suddenly found the money.

Mrs. Palin has meanwhile passed an ethics law. She’s tightened up oil oversight. She forced the legislature to rewrite the oil tax law. That new law raised taxes on the industry, for which Mrs. Palin is now taking some knocks, but the political background here is crucial.

The GOP machine has crumbled. Attorney General Renkes resigned. Mr. Ruedrich was fined $12,000. Jim Clark—Mr. Murkowski’s lead pipeline negotiator—pleaded guilty to conspiring with an oil firm. At least three legislators have been convicted. Sen. Ted Stevens is under indictment for oil entanglements, while Rep. Don Young is under investigation.

Throughout it all, Mrs. Palin has stood for reform, though not populism. She thanks oil companies and says executives who “seek maximum revenue” are “simply doing their job.” She says her own job is to be a “savvy” negotiator on behalf of Alaska ‘s citizens and to provide credible oversight. It is this combination that lets her aggressively promote new energy while retaining public trust.

Today’s congressional Republicans could learn from this. The party has been plagued by earmarks, scandal and corruption. Most members have embraced the machine. That has diminished voters’ trust, and in the process diminished good, conservative ideas. It is no wonder 37 million people tuned in to Mrs. Palin’s convention speech. They are looking for something fresh.

September 6, 2008 at 9:08 am Comments (0)

40 Million!


Barack Obama apparently isn’t the only “rock star” in presidential politics this year.

After days of intense media coverage about Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s qualifications, more than 40 million Americans tuned in Wednesday to see for themselves what they thought of her.

The huge audience for Palin’s acceptance speech rivaled that for Obama’s address at the Democratic National Convention six days earlier, and set a tough standard for the top of her own ticket. John McCain was to accept the GOP presidential nomination on Thursday.

Thank you, MSM, for screwing up the coverage of Sarah Palin for an entire week, driving the interest level to bigger than Obama.

September 5, 2008 at 3:51 am Comments (0)

Oooooooohhhh…. Sarahcuda!

My video from the upper deck:

… and you’ll never hear it again.

September 4, 2008 at 11:55 pm Comments (0)

McCain Rocks the House

This just in from the Vampire shift…

Senator john McCain knocked one out of the park tonight. As Sarah Palin did last night, so did John McCain tonight firm up my resolve…This is the perfect team to run our country for the next four years.

Senator McCain’s speech tonight had one poignant moment that showed me the wealth of his character (emphasis mine):

I’m not running for president because I think I’m blessed with such personal greatness that history has anointed me to save our country in its hour of need. My country saved me. My country saved me, and I cannot forget it. And I will fight for her for as long as I draw breath, so help me G-d.

McCain is a class act. So is Sarah Palin. G-d bless them, and G-d bless America!

By the way, when they played “Barracuda”, I laughed out loud…and once again got funny looks from my co-workers. As a political junkie, this is my World Series and my Superbowl, all wrapped up in one package…deal with it!

(cross-posted on writemarsh!)

September 4, 2008 at 10:58 pm Comments (0)

RNC2008: The Final Live Blog

Opening Benediction by his Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Church….


Robert Duvall narrated video. I sure hope these things get on the internet…. they are fantastic.

Governor Huntsman of Utah, recovering from a cold, discusses Sarah Palin, and the crowd start chanting “Sarah! Sarah!”…. and officially nominates her.

After a brief seconding by the Alaska delegations, a huge seconding, “the ayes have it,” and more chanting.

Minnesota Gov Tim Pawlenty warms up the crowd with…

He will force government to live within its means, just like families do.

He knows that small businesses are the job growth engine for our country.

He knows the last thing they need is MORE taxes.

John also understands that health care costs are budget busters for too many American families.

He’ll provide help but will put consumers and their doctors in charge, not the federal government.

John also knows it’s getting tougher for us to afford to fill-up at the pump.

His energy plan is classic McCain – bold and aggressive.

In this time, we don’t need a president who can just read a poll or momentarily thrill a crowd.

We don’t need rhetoric or empty promises.

We need a president who has the integrity and courage to make the tough choices so America will be stronger and safer.

I believe the times call out great leaders.

This time, our time, calls out for John McCain.

Overall, the crowd here seems to be a lot more sedate… there’s no mountain of anticipation for Palin…. though there is a Palin video on the agenda tonight that was skipped due to time last night. It’s good… look for it.

Here’s to hoping Cindy McCain is a great speaker.

Brownback gets the biggest applause of the evening. Did he run for President in 2008?

Poingant video called “World Stood Still” which Democrats will trash because of 9/11 references, etc….. ended with chants of “USA USA USA”

Big applause for Gold Medal Decathlete Brian Clay.

Huge applause for NFL Coach and NASCAR owner Joe Gibbs

A happy mother and son from New Jersey.


The Palin video was, as you can imagine, well received.

… and Tom Ridge gets a nice round of applause as recalls pal-ing around with John McCain.


Who for his country, has worked to preserve, honor and protect the great land of the free.

That’s John McCain.

John dares to think differently, to act boldly and to put country before self.

He dares to believe that we are all called to serve as long as we call ourselves free.

He dares to embrace the founding principle that our responsibility to one another extends from a national crisis to an individual need – from nation to nation – community to community – in this, the greatest community ever formed.

So may we rise to the occasion, to the moment, to the vision of our Founding Fathers.

May we summon ourselves to our best efforts and call this maverick forward.

Let us elect a man who has firmly and unequivocally laid out his vision of where this country can go.

Who offers a better way…a better day…and a greater say – for all who call this great country home.

That’s John McCain.

The crowd starts chanting “That’s John McCain!”

Anheiseur-Busch gets applause and cheers during the Cindy McCain biopic.



A very measured dignified speech from Mrs McCain.

But I have also seen the resilience of the American people. I’ve heard stirring stories of neighbor helping neighbor, of cities on one end of the country offering help to fellow citizens on the other.

Despite our challenges our hearts are still alive with hope and belief in our individual ability to make things right if only the Federal government would get itself under control and out of our way.

Gets big applause.

The crowd is still enraptured by Sarah Palin. Every mention of her gets a massive reaction. It’s amazing.

McCain biopic is great…I’ll say it again, the RNC needs to put these on the web somewhere.

McCain enters to huge applause.

I don’t know about the green grass background.




It must gall the left to no end, when the chants are “USA USA USA” not “O-Ba-Ma”… and the protestors, are really classy.

But McCain handles them well…

WOW! Great speech… I have never heard McCain’s POW treatment from him personally… it’s always been from someone else. Incredibly powerful…. love of country.




oooooooh……. sarah-cuda

Perfect song.


They’ll be dropping balloons here for a half an hour.

Senator McCain’s full remarks are after the jump, I’ll post more later..


September 4, 2008 at 8:20 pm Comments (0)

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