Romney: Barely 47 Percent Of A Good Candidate

So Mitt Romney is having big problems. What a newsflash, ranking right up there with the Japanese bombing Pearl Harbor.


That Romney is a severely-challenged candidate is no great revelation. What should be a surprise, but isn’t, is that the Republican hierarchy pushed such a flawed candidate in the first place, one who had to be dragged across the nomination finish line.


And now, the seeds of that ill-fated decision are bearing fruit. Problem is, it’s rotting on the vine, and the harvest is still seven weeks away.




At the risk of sounding like so many on the “Ronald Reagan Is God” bandwagon, it is nonetheless true that the Gipper was the last quality Republican candidate.  For those in the GOP who struggle with math, that’s over three decades ago. How is that possible? Because as Freindly Fire has pointed out on so many occasions, the Republican Establishment prefers coronations over elections, strong-arming nominations for those with big wallets and whose “turn it is.”


How have they fared since Reagan and his 49-state near-sweep in 1984?  Bob Dole and John McCain were pathetic. George Bush I was elected only because of A) Reagan’s legacy, and B) the Democrats put up an even weaker candidate (Dukakis).  And George W. Bush was an unmitigated disaster, paving the way for Barack Obama.


Given the President’s dismal performance the last four years, this election should be a slam dunk for Republicans. It is the GOP’s to lose, and more than likely, that’s exactly what they will do.


Enter Romney.




Romney’s immense wealth and access to big donors made Party leaders come down with amnesia, totally forgetting Mitt’s debacle four years ago when he lost to McCain, whose campaign was literally bankrupt.


By pushing Mitt in the primaries, the Establishment showed that it had forgotten something else: listening to the rank-and-file. And that mistake became an embarrassment. The grassroots were so distrustful of Romney that seven out of ten were routinely voting “No” on Romney in the primaries, even after he had all but locked up the nomination.  It was so bad that Romney received only 16 percent of the caucus vote in Minnesota, placing third, down from his 41 percent, first- place finish in 2008 against a much stronger field.


Such abysmal results, after campaigning for six years and spending over $100 million, should have been a clue.


It’s bad enough that Romney is viewed warily because of his wealth and Mormon religion (a huge concern for many), but he has done nothing to improve his standing among his base, let alone the Independents, centrist Democrats and undecideds who always sway presidential elections. Consider:


-Romney is arguably the biggest flip-flopper, on any political level, of all time. And not just on the hot button issues of guns, gays, and abortion, but on virtually everything.  Hell, he couldn’t even decide whether to release his tax returns during one of the primary debates. It is simply unfathomable that he hadn’t made up his mind on that issue since A) he ran before and had to address it, B) his father pioneered the concept, and C) he knew it would come up again. Which it did— all summer long.  Indecisiveness is not a compelling trait to voters.


Note to Ann Romney: Your response to Mitt’s Republican critics of “Stop it. This is hard. You want to try it? Get in the ring,” is woefully misguided. Just because campaigning is difficult, and others don’t have your husband’s $300 million net worth allowing them to get into “the ring,” doesn’t mean they’re wrong. Neither of your reasons justify Mitt’s lack of core and inept campaign.


– Many refuse to support someone perceived to lack core convictions. By contrast, the President’s convictions are, and always have been, on full display. He promised nationalized healthcare, increased spending, a larger, more regulatory government, higher taxes on the rich, and a pullout in Iraq. Well, mission accomplished. Conversely, Romney is all over the map on most issues, offers no specifics, and is now perceived as abandoning “47 percent of the electorate” as he states in the now infamous video.


-Has it dawned on Mitt that instead of writing off half the country, he might take a page from the Reagan playbook and try to win hearts and minds with ideas that benefit everybody? Just a thought.


-Give Romney the benefit of the doubt that he would be an effective President.  His problem in getting there.  Obama may be an unpopular chief executive, but he is a stellar campaigner.  And since we are in a campaign, that’s all that matters.


-No one “likes” Mitt Romney. That isn’t a cheap shot, but a fact reflected in every likability poll. And make no mistake. Many will go for the person with whom they feel most comfortable. Obama has always been light years ahead of Romney in this regard, and that gap will only widen as the one-third of the electorate who didn’t have an opinion of Romney get to know him.  The latest videos don’t help.


– Closely linked is “relate-ability” — does this candidate understand our issues, from college affordability to job security to housing foreclosures? Well, installing an elevator for your cars in your beach mansion somewhat kills the “I can relate to you” line. The double whammy is that Romney’s judgment will be questioned yet again, with many asking why he couldn’t have just waited until after November to install the lift.


Not surprisingly, a recent Esquire/Yahoo! News poll found that a whopping 75 percent of Americans feel little or nothing in common with Romney.





Can Romney “win?” No. Obama can lose. There’s a difference.  Thus far, Romney has demonstrated an inability to articulate a bold vision for America. If that doesn’t change quickly, look for a concession speech by yet another coronated, crestfallen and clueless Republican candidate.


Column is published in numerous entities, including Delaware County Daily Times and Philadelphia Magazine’s Philly Post:


Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau,  His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at





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September 24, 2012 at 11:50 am Comments (0)

Hey Chris Christie, Get On The Treadmill — You May Be President

Don’t Be Surprised If Romney and Gingrich Bow Out At The End


About the only job better than weatherman — where you can get it wrong half the time and still remain employed — is political pundit.  These guys make an art out of looking dumb, and doing so with authority.


In the last few years alone, we have been told that Obama had zero chance of beating Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney was sure to be the GOP nominee in 2008, and now, the President can’t win re-election because Romney will beat him.  That last prediction, of course, is predicated upon Romney winning the Republican nomination, which the pundit brain trust is now telling us is a done deal after Mitt’s victory in Florida.


But just as it wasn’t over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor, as Blutarsky taught us in Animal House, this race is far from over.


And the most comedic part is that the “experts” don’t even know it.  If they just took a walk outside their ivory towers, they would discover that there are still many elections — not coronations — yet to come, and that Newt Gingrich hasn’t been vanquished.


This is not to say that Romney won’t end up the winner.  In fact, that’s a good bet since he has money and organization advantages over Gingrich. But to say it’s all but over is simply foolish.


Cutting through the pundits’ white noise, it is worth looking at where the race really stands. Never before have there been three different winners in the first three contests, so that alone should be a caution sign for traditional predictions. Mitt Romney has won two of the four contests, including the winner-take-all state of Florida, and yet the total number of delegates awarded so far amounts to just five percent.


Ron Paul and Rick Santorum, for various reasons, cannot win the nomination, but they can and will garner delegates, as many states award delegates on a proportional basis based on popular vote.


Without question, Gingrich will be in the hunt for the long haul. Following a disappointing fifth-place finish in New Hampshire, after which the “experts” wrote him off for good, he roared back to a thundering victory in South Carolina. In all likelihood, he will win a number of states on Super Tuesday, and in the contests that he doesn’t, will post strong second place finishes.


(There is another reason for Gingrich to stay in the race: the possibility that Romney will say or do something that would catastrophically implode his candidacy.  Mitt came close this week when he said “I’m not concerned about the very poor…You can focus on the very poor, that’s not my focus.” Such blunders run in the family, as his father, former Michigan Governor George, crushed his quite viable presidential aspirations by stating he was “brainwashed” into supporting the Vietnam War.  The game was over the very instant he uttered that word.)


Short of a Romney implosion, Gingrich won’t win the nomination outright, but the impact of his candidacy could be substantially greater: he may deny Romney the prize.  If the three “challengers” to Romney can keep Mitt from attaining that “fifty percent plus one” number, it’s a whole new ballgame.


And while such a scenario was unthinkable to many pundits just a few weeks ago, it is becoming increasingly plausible.


An often overlooked but extremely important factor in determining the nominee is that many of the states have different legal rules concerning their delegates.  A handful of states, including delegate-rich Pennsylvania, do NOT require their delegates to commit for the candidate who won the state.  Put in layman’s terms, come convention time, delegates from the Keystone State can cast votes for any person they wish, whether or not the candidate won the state or even participated in the primary process.


Obviously, in normal election years, Party unity is assured because the nominee is determined early in the process.  But this year is anything but normal.  And there is precedent for delegates breaking ranks.


In 1980, George H.W. Bush handily won the primary election in Pennsylvania over Ronald Reagan.  The Reagan folks knew they weren’t going to win, so they pulled a coup by ensuring that the delegates elected were loyal to The Gipper. So despite Bush winning by 100,000 votes, Reagan emerged with roughly 70 percent of the state’s delegates morally committed to him.


Given that situation, a major concern for Romney is getting the right delegates to achieve the right majority.  But since Mitt has been running for President for five years, spent hundreds of millions in that endeavor, and still can’t come close to getting 50 percent of GOP primary voters, that might be a daunting task.


While still a “long shot” scenario, don’t be surprised that, after all the states have voted, no one emerges a winner.  If neither Romney nor Gingrich can successfully make a deal with Paul or Santorum to acquire their delegates, the country may see two men who despise each other hold a joint press conference announcing that, for the good of the Party, they are withdrawing from the campaign and releasing their delegates.


And then it would become the Wild West. Backroom conventioneering would take on a life of its own, with countless deals being struck to choose the most unifying Republican ticket to take on Obama.


And who might top that list?  Well, put it this way. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie would do well to start using a treadmill. More than anyone else, Christie’s ability to tell it like it is, take no prisoners, and bulldog his way to success — despite major Democratic majorities in the state assembly — make him a Party favorite.  He is one of a very few who commands respect by the Establishment, rank-and-file grassroots activists, and Tea Parties alike.


Republicans, Democrats and Independents may not always agree with Christie, but they always know where he stands, and his speak-from-the-heart style is a breath of fresh air in a world of sound bites, talking points and focus groups.


Christie may have foreseen this scenario, possibly explaining why he declined to run in the brutal primaries. And for those who predict Christie as a Romney VP, forget it.  He is nobody’s Number Two, and almost certainly would not sign on to a meaningless ceremonial post when he could have, quite possibly, captured the top prize for himself had he wanted to do so.


Should Christie decline an offer made at a brokered convention, the list of frontline candidates grows relatively thin, but undoubtedly Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and, dare we say it — Jeb Bush! — would certainly be in play.


This scarcity of good candidates is testament to what happens when a political party refuses to build its bench with folks who actually believe in things, instead promoting those whose “turn it is.” Look no further than Bob Dole and John McCain. It’s pretty sad that in the election many Republicans are calling the most important in American history, the GOP can muster so few viable contenders.


No matter how it eventually plays out, the battle for the Republican nomination will go on for at least the next four months, and that’s a good thing. Despite the conventional wisdom as postulated by pundits that divisive primaries only serve to weaken the Party’s candidates and needlessly give an advantage to the opponent, the opposite is true. Combative and lengthy primaries make candidates stronger, sharper and better prepared for the rigors of a general election presidential campaign. Barack Obama proved that in his protracted battle with Hillary.


And given that Obama is in the driver’s seat to emerge victorious in November, a long primary season — and even a brokered convention — could be just what the doctor ordered to energize the Republican Party and unify what is now a very discontented base.


President Christie, anyone?

An accredited member of the media, Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau,  His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at




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February 4, 2012 at 11:18 am Comment (1)

Gingrich Is Right To Shoot For The Moon

Romney, McCain are visionless dream-killers who should be ashamed


In May, 1963, the astronaut sitting atop the Mercury-Atlas rocket “went higher, farther, and faster than any other American…for a brief moment, Gordo Cooper became the greatest pilot anyone had ever seen.”  So were the ending words of The Right Stuff, an incredibly inspirational film which followed the brave exploits of America’s space pioneers, as chronicled in Tom Wolfe’s famous book of the same title.


Heroes they were: Chuck Yeager, Alan Shepard, John Glenn, Neil Armstrong and all the others who volunteered to charge into the unknown, routinely working on projects that more often resembled suicide missions than scientific research.  While they garnered glory and headlines, these men were deeply driven by something far more important: the opportunity to put America on top in the Space Race, and in doing so, become part of arguably the most exciting time in all of civilization.  These explorers opened the door to the final frontier, an astounding achievement that taught the whole of humankind that no dreams were too big, and that men and women could aspire to do things greater than themselves. They literally made true the can-do spirit that “the sky is the limit.”


But their road was paved by ridicule and doubt. Just years before these men — and the countless unsung heroes at NASA — achieved the impossible, their ambitions were considered folly. Putting a man into space? Pure science fiction.  Landing on the moon? Unthinkable, unattainable, unwise.  Reaching for the stars? Grow up.


Yet a mere 58 years after the Wright brothers first took  flight, America put those cynics out to pasture as Shepard blasted into the record books, with Armstrong later taking the greatest “step” in human history.


In addition to the lofty goals of exploring worlds beyond our own, the Space Race fostered something else: a fierce sense of nationalism that unleashed America’s competitive spirit as never before.  And for good reason. The Reds beat us into orbit, hell-bent on dominating Outer Space. From that point, it was “game on.”  And you know what? We won. Repeated trips to the moon, deep space probes, interplanetary missions, permanently manned space stations and newly discovered technologies that later benefitted Americans in every aspect of their lives.


That undisputed American leadership was as bold as it was purpose-driven, the result of generations inspired to study mathematics and science like never before, all for the opportunity to do things no one else had ever done — to be on the cutting edge not just of technology, but of humanity.


The United States still had its problems, of course, but there was never the slightest doubt that it would continue to achieve unparalleled greatness as the most benevolent nation the world had ever known. From attaining civil rights for all its citizens to being the beacon of hope for oppressed peoples the world over — and yes, to push the envelope in space — America embodied the spirit that it would always be on an upward trajectory.  Mediocrity, timidness — and fear itself —were not part of the American vocabulary, and dreams were simply visions soon to be realized.


But somewhere along the way, we lost that spirit.  And oh how things have changed.


Now we find ourselves in the midst of The Great Decline — a situation we have brought upon ourselves — slogging through a tragedy which only seems to be accelerating.


We haven’t been back to the moon to unlock its vast secrets in nearly four decades.  We have all but abandoned plans for a manned mission to Mars. And most telling, we no longer possess any means of transporting Americans into space, instead relying on the Russians to get us to the (misnamed) International Space Station — you remember, the one America engineered, constructed, financed and put into orbit.  Yes, the same one which the Ruskies have decided to eventually abandon, allowing it to fall back to Earth as a crumbling fireball, a once-proud testament to American ingenuity vaporizing right before our very eyes. The symbolism to America’s fate is sickening in its reality.


And now we have a new adversary rising, challenging America at every turn. In addition to owning much of our debt, China now possesses the fastest trains, the biggest dams, the most dynamic growth, and an aggressive space program. That’s not an endorsement of the Chinese, but an angry lament that they have taken a page right out of America’s playbook, and worst of all, that this nation is paralyzed to counter it. Instead of rising to the occasion, as we always did before, the United States seems impotent, content to just watch the events unfold without so much as a last gasp.


The best example?  Mitt Romney, campaigning for the most important job in the world — leader of the Free World and Sentry to American Dreams — lambasting Newt Gingrich’s plans to erect a permanent base on the moon, cut NASA bureaucracies, and incentivize the private sector to reinvigorate America’s space program.  Romney went so far as to say he would “fire” anyone who dared propose something so bold.


Is that the kind of leadership America needs to get back on track?  Think big, and you’re out the door?


But it wasn’t just Romney who attempted to kill Newt’s admirable vision.  So many of the Republican Establishment who have been part and parcel to the deterioration of The American Dream weighed in, none more noteworthy than the Grand PooBah of Incoherent, Spineless and Worthless Political Hacks, John McCain, as he skewered Newt’s space vision by saying that “we ought to send Gingrich to the moon.”


How pathetic have America’s “leaders” become when they can’t separate partisan politics for even one minute to agree on that which should be a no-brainer: a rejuvenated space program is so eminently important that it should be a centerpiece of any Administration?


Of course, the cost factor arises, as it should. But that is an issue that should be settled in budgetary debates.  Instead of thinking big, as our leaders once did, the Romneys and McCains openly delight in mocking the dreams that still inspire so many Americans. And for what? Miniscule partisan advantage? Shame on them.


How can we afford to fund such a grand endeavor?  The bigger question is, “How can we afford NOT to?”  But it is a legitimate question, so here’s the answer:


First, it is imperative to use the presidential election platform as a bully pulpit, explaining to the American people how their money — and by direct extension, their dreams — have been wasted to fund ridiculous projects of absolutely no value, including so many entitlement programs which are simply unaffordable. It is necessary to identify the mistakes —by both Parties —so that they aren’t repeated.


Second, find concrete ways to save money.  Ending the pointless quagmires of Iraq and Afghanistan — which have cost Americans trillions of dollars — would free up huge amounts of capital. Reorganizing the military so that it isn’t guarding Western Europe from a Soviet land attack would also be a good idea, since that threat evaporated 21 years ago.    And of course, common sense entitlement reform would free up trillions more.


Third, grow the American economy to increase tax revenue.  We cannot tax out way out of recession and into prosperity, nor can we simply cut our way out, as that only places more people on the welfare rolls. But responsibly utilizing our vast (and unused) domestic energy resources to become energy independent will allow America to compete with foreign labor costs. Having the cheapest energy on the planet would be more than enough to resurrect American manufacturing and permanently jumpstart the economy.

A thriving economy means bold space exploration would once again be taken for granted. And if and when that happens, something else far more important would occur: the indomitable American spirit would once again nurture the achievable dreams of young children who fall asleep while looking out their bedrooms windows, gazing upon the moon and stars overhead with but one thought:

“…Someday I’ll be up there….”


An accredited member of the media, Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau,  His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at






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February 2, 2012 at 1:56 pm Comments (0)

No Electoral Change Needed If GOP Does Its Job

After his victory in 1980, Ronald Reagan chose the best, the brightest — and make no mistake — the most politically powerful to fill his cabinet. In an acknowledgement to the Republican might of Pennsylvania (a state he won), he chose three cabinet officials from the same county! Drew Lewis (who fired the striking air traffic controllers), Alexander Haig, and Richard Schweiker all hailed from Montgomery County.

In 1994, Pennsylvania was the most Republican state in the nation in terms of elected officials.  The GOP controlled the two U.S. Senate seats, the Governorship, the state legislature, all statewide row offices, and a majority of the congressional delegation. 

And in 2010, five congressional seats flipped to the Republicans, Tom Corbett trounced his gubernatorial opponent, the State Senate remained in GOP hands, and Republicans seized control of the State House with a ten-set majority.

Yet the biggest prize of all has eluded the Party for a quarter-century: a win for their presidential candidate.  Not coincidentally, the southeastern counties, home to nearly half the state’s population, have trended Democratic in that timeframe, with the former-GOP strongholds of Delaware and Montgomery Counties abandoning Republican nominees since 1988.

So it’s no surprise that leading Republicans, including Governor Corbett and Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, have come up with a plan to change how the state’s presidential electoral votes are awarded. Under their proposal, one electoral vote would be allocated for each congressional district a presidential candidate wins, as opposed to the current system, which is winner-take-all.

We’ll get to the real reason behind this naked political ploy, but first, let’s look at why the plan is a bad idea:

1) It politicizes the election process in an unprecedented way: Congressional districts would be gerrymandered like never before, drawn by the Party in power to suit its candidate’s needs in order to win the most districts.  This is NOT what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they designed the system, and most definitely puts the politicians ahead of the people.  It’s supposed to be the other way around.

2) It sets the stage for the system to constantly change: Although labeled a plan offering “electoral fairness,” it is being pushed simply because the GOP now controls Harrisburg and wants to bolster the Republican nominee’s electoral total any way it can.  Remember, the Democrats need Pennsylvania to win the White House, whereas the Republicans do not.

And since this change would be enacted by simple legislation, where does it end?  If Pennsylvania Democrats regain control in 2014, and a Republican occupies the White House, would we then see the winner-take-all system come back into play?  The electoral system in constant flux would only breed resentment and confusion, which could not come at a worse time.

3) It’s a wash on the national level: If enacted nationally, this system would ultimately be a wash, or even negatively impact the GOP. For example, Republicans would no longer win all of Texas’ 38 votes, perhaps only taking 25. Taking it even further, it is possible that in 2004, despite George W. Bush winning 31 states, he might have lost the election, since he only won the Electoral College with 16 votes to spare.

4) The system works as it is: It is not easy to pigeonhole the American people’s voting preferences. For example, Montana and North Dakota, both Republican states in most presidential elections, have Democratic Senators, as did solidly Republican Georgia a short time ago.  Indiana, with a GOP governor and legislature, had voted for Democratic for president only once since 1940 — but that changed in 2008. Obama also won the normally-GOP states of North Carolina, Virginia, Florida and Missouri.  Yet the Republicans are darn close to winning the traditionally progressive states of Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin.  Bottom line: Voting patterns are not set in stone. The more competitive elections are, the more engaged the electorate.  The Electoral College works, so why mess with a good thing?

5) It all comes down to having good candidates who can articulate a message with charisma and passion. When Republicans instead coronate those whose “turn it is,” they get clobbered.  Bob Dole and John McCain are prime examples.  Neither had any business being the presidential nominee.  Not much has changed, as the GOP is in total disarray heading into what many Republicans call the most important election in history. The truth is, there are only two candidates capable of winning the nomination, both of whom carry tremendous baggage.  Yet McCain, the Party’s patriarch, just stated, ““We have the deepest bench in the Republican Party now that I have ever seen.” And that says it all.

On the state level, it’s much of the same, as Lynn Swann and Mike Fisher proved all too well. 

Which leads us to the The Pennsylvania story.


The GOP’s demise in the Keystone State can be attributed to two things: the lack of quality candidates and the colossal failure of leadership.  Fix both, and they win the state — and the White House.  But the electoral system shouldn’t be changed just because the entrenched Business As Usual GOP hierarchy is the poster boy for incompetence.

The combination of running untenable candidates, valuing insider contracts and solicitorships over issues and choosing laziness over grunt work has caused it to lose huge chunks of the political landscape.

There has been little effort to groom candidates, and absolutely no initiative to stop the hemorrhaging from Philadelphia, where Republican statewide candidates routinely face half-million vote deficits.  As a result, the Party is in the strange position of sitting on massive gains from the tidal wave of 2010, but taking a pass on challenging vulnerable Democratic Senator Bob Casey. The GOP leadership doesn’t seem to realize that the big swings in 1994 and 2010 were not mandates for the Republicans per se, but a demand that real solutions be enacted to solve monumental problems. 

When Republicans talk about the issues, they win — and win big.  President Reagan innately understood that, which is why he won 44 and 49 states, respectively, with massive Electoral College victories.  Even George H.W. Bush learned that lesson, as he too galloped to victory with 40 states and 426 electoral votes.


Thirty years ago, when someone moved into the Philadelphia suburbs, they were always greeted (usually within a week) by the local Republican committeeman. The conversation went something like this, “Oh, I see you moved here from the city. Well, we have safer streets, better schools, and lower taxes — because our municipality and county are run by Republicans.  Here is a voter registration card…I’ll be back in a few days to see how we can work together.”

That recruiting effort built the Party into a well-oiled machine, and the county organizations could be relied upon to deliver for national and statewide candidates.

But all that ended, and with it, the GOP’s dominance. Issues gave way to power trips and petty infighting, the Party lost its energy and brand. Now, door-knocking and personal visits are virtually non-existent. And the numbers illustrate that failure: in the largest Republican wave since 1946, neither Tom Corbett nor Pat Toomey won Delaware or Montgomery County. Given that the GOP isn’t making the necessary changes, it’s a good bet that trend will continue, with Obama and Casey again winning the state.

Republican woes aside, letting the genie out of the bottle by fundamentally altering the hallowed electoral system established by our Founding Fathers — one that has served us so well — for short-term political gain is anathema to everything uniquely American.

The folks pushing this change should look in the mirror and ask themselves if they are truly the leaders they purport to be.  If so, they should abandon this foolhardy plan and seize the day, winning the hearts and minds of the electorate the old-fashioned way — through hard work.

The Founding Fathers knew a thing or two about how government works best.  Honoring them by not punting a good thing is the least we should do.


An accredited member of the news media, Chris Freind is an independent columnist,
television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news
bureau,  His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest
cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania.

Freind’s column, “Freindly Fire,” appears nationally in Newsmax and regionally in
Philadelphia Magazine’s Philly Post.  It is also published regularly in a number
of the state’s largest newspapers, including The Delaware County Daily Times, Chester
County Daily Local, Norristown Times Herald, Pottstown Mercury and Bucks County Courier
Post. Readers of his column, “Freindly Fire,” hail from six continents, thirty countries
and all fifty states.

His work has been referenced in numerous other publications including The Wall Street
Journal, National Review Online, foreign newspapers, and in Dick Morris’ bestseller





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October 5, 2011 at 10:38 am Comments (2)

GOP Choices for President And PA U.S. Senate Are Slim

Business As Usual Still Holds In Critical Pennsylvania

“This is the most important election in American history…if we don’t beat Obama and take back the U.S. Senate, the country won’t survive…”

Such is the rallying cry of many Republicans across Pennsylvania and the nation. 

Several things come to mind:

1) The United States will “survive,” even if Barack Obama is elected to a second term. Sure, more spending and bigger government will push the country further down the wrong path, but the GOP would do well to tone down the sky-is-falling rhetoric and concentrate on the actual issues. And for the record, it’s a pretty good bet that America, the most powerful nation the world has ever known, is strong enough to survive a liberal President for a term or two.  If one man really can “destroy” the nation, the ballgame was over long ago.

2) The electorate has shown itself to be extremely volatile, with huge swings in the last three elections.  Those power shifts were not mandates for either side, but a message for Washington to solve the nation’s economic problems.

That trend looks to continue in 2012, and as of now, seems to favor the GOP. In such a “wave,” some candidates will win solely because they have an “R” next to their name. That type of “right place, right time” luck should never be a strategy for victory, but in several key races, that appears to be the GOP plan.


What does it say about the Republican Party that, heading into what should be a banner year, it has only two top-tier presidential candidates (and as of two weeks ago, just one)?

And in the all-important electoral swing state of Pennsylvania, there remains no frontrunner to take on vulnerable freshman senator Bob Casey? As a matter of fact, not only isn’t there a “big name” challenger, there is only one announced candidate, only months before the April primary. (Marc Scaringi, a former Rick Santorum staffer).

While it’s still feasible for candidates to enter either race, it is the fourth quarter, and the clock is running. 

The Iowa caucuses take place in just five months, barely enough time for a late entrant to organize a grassroots ground-game and raise the huge sums necessary to compete. So short of a nationally known figure with a solid track record jumping into the fray (which pretty much comes down to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie), the GOP field is set.

Two candidates? That’s it? In the “most important” election in history to many Republicans, it’s come down to a mere two?  (Texas Governor Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney). 

And before the partisans cry foul about that analysis, let’s be honest about the field.  Congressman Ron Paul has the most loyal supporters, and more than anyone, shapes the debate.  But his numbers will stay the same, not nearly enough to win the nomination.

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, while also having passionate supporters, was dealt a severe blow by Perry’s entry, as many Republicans looking for the “conservative with the best chance of winning” have defected. And neither Paul nor Bachmann have history on their side, as only one congressman has ever been elected president (Garfield).

The rest of the field consists of has-beens and also-rans. None can win and labeling them “second-tier” is being entirely too generous.

At least there were four top-tier candidates in 2008 (McCain, Romney, Giuliani, and Thompson) with guys like Paul and former Congressman Tom Tancredo nipping at their heels.  But to only have one up until recently begs the question: of all the Republicans nationwide, how is it possible to have so few viable candidates?


On the state level, it’s even worse.

Scaringi is a solid candidate with a firm grasp of the problems facing America, and, truth be told, would be a good U.S. Senator.  And if he wins the nomination by default because no other candidates step up, he may just be that senator if anti-incumbency fever runs high in Pennsylvania. (Although it is important to note that no Casey — father or son — has ever lost a general election).

But he has no name recognition, little money and hails from a sparsely-populated area of the state.

So where is everyone else?

Oh, the Party hierarchy is working hard, doing everything in its power to recruit a wealthy businessman who could self-fund the race, which is codespeak for them not wanting to do their job. Their qualification for Party support? “How big of a check can you write?”

To the business-as-usual establishment, policy positions don’t matter, nor does damn near anything else.  Irrelevant is one’s knowledge of the issues, and how well that person can articulate those positions. 

How long have you been a Republican, and how closely aligned to the GOP platform are you? Can you relate to the voters? Will you run the campaign the way it must be run to win — aka visiting all 67 counties in the dead of winter? And are you a candidate of good character?

All secondary to the Party establishment. The only thing that matters is the size of your wallet.  And that is a major reason why Bob Casey, despite plummeting approval numbers, still maintains the advantage.

Several months ago, this author wrote a column stating that the GOP had no frontrunner to challenge Casey, and was roundly criticized by the same folks who are now scrambling to find a viable candidate.

Some things never change.

And why is that? 

Because the GOP, both nationally and in Pennsylvania, too often choose candidates not on merit — as in, who can best defeat the Democratic opponent —, but instead, on whose “turn” it is or who can fund the race.  In the mold of choosing Bob Dole and John McCain, Pennsylvania’s nominees may look great to Party insiders, but fare dismally when put before the voters. 

There has been little effort to groom candidates for the future, and absolutely no push to stop the hemorrhaging from Philadelphia, where Republican statewide candidates routinely face half-a-million vote deficits.  So now the Party is in the strange position of sitting on massive gains — having won a U.S. Senate seat (Toomey), Governor (Corbett), and winning back the State House (a ten seat majority) — but potentially taking a pass on the Casey seat, which could well be the deciding vote as to which Party controls that legislative body.

You reap what you sow, and the critical harvest is upon the GOP.

The biggest irony is that a strong senate candidate could help put Pennsylvania back in the “red” column nationally, as the state is still in electoral play (Bush lost by only two points in 2004).  And while Republicans can lose Pennsylvania and still win the White House, the same is not the case for the Democrats.  Take the Keystone State away from Obama, and you send him packing.  It’s that simple.

But with scant Republican leadership in Pennsylvania, it’s not a good bet that will happen. Incumbents don’t usually lose unless they’re challenged by viable, first-tier candidates.

With Rick Perry now in the race, Obama is sweating.  But Bob Casey is playing it cool, thankful the GOP is acting like his biggest campaign supporter.

An accredited member of the media, Chris Friend is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau,

Readers of his column, “Freindly Fire,” hail from six continents, thirty countriesand all fifty states. His work has been referenced in numerous publications includingThe Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, foreign newspapers, and in Dick Morris’ bestseller “Catastrophe.”

 Freind, whose column appears regularly in Philadelphia Magazine and nationally inNewsmax, also serves as a frequent guest commentator on talk radio and state/nationaltelevision, most notably on FOX Philadelphia.  He can be reached at







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September 2, 2011 at 10:46 am Comment (1)

Martin Luther King: A True Republican

Up until the 1930’s, the majority of blacks were Republican, proud to be in the Party of Lincoln.  The song that would become the national anthem of the NAACP, Lift Every Voice and Sing, was written by a black Republican in 1900 to celebrate President Lincoln’s birthday.  Nine years later, on Lincoln’s 100-year birthday, the NAACP was formed, with a number of founders being white Republicans.

Fast forward to the 2000 presidential election.

George W. Bush captured a mere eight percent of the black vote.  Eight percent!


A)    How did that happen?

B)    More important, how can the GOP rekindle the relationship with one of its most natural constituencies?


A)    Incompetence, a lack of foresight, political expediency—and FDR’s New Deal.

B)    Bold, aggressive leadership that ignores political correctness. This means going for the jugular of all who label real solutions “racist” or “bigoted”.

Answer B, applicable to solving most of our problems, is simple, just not easy.

 So has the GOP made progress? Unequivocally, the answer is No.

It’s been ages since the Party ran a presidential candidate who could heal the wounds and be a uniter, and 2012 looks to be more of the same.

For evidence, look at what happened during the last campaign. The four GOP frontrunners — McCain, Romney, Thompson and Giuliani — deliberately skipped an important debate on race relations, citing lame excuses for being no-shows.

Truth is, they refused to attend for a simple reason. They looked at how many blacks vote Republican, and, figuring they would get pummeled by the primarily black audience (it was held at historically black Morgan State University), stayed away. 

After that act of cowardice, “Freindly Fire” rained fire on those Republicans:

“Any Republican who believes the status quo is acceptable—and a deliberate absence at such an event makes that their position— doesn’t deserve to lead our nation.  Running for President should not just be about cozy fund raisers and scripted speeches to friendly audiences.  It must be about tackling the most pressing issues, even if it means walking into the lion’s den, standing your ground, and outlining your vision for success.”

John McCain epitomized the status quo, and, not coincidentally, got crushed in the election.

The Republicans are in desperate need of a leader willing to stand up and embrace Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., someone who can credibly remind blacks about their former alliance with the GOP.  But most of all, a leader who can explain to blacks that they are still Republican in their values, and to show them the way home.

Dr. King espoused Republican ideals more eloquently than most.  Look at the words in his most famous statement: “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”.  Is there anything more Republican than that?  True Republicans strive to live in a color-blind society, where people are judged by their deeds, not their skin pigment.

Ironically, many GOP leaders who advocate merit over skin color fail to practice what they preach.  Courted for their “blackness,” Michael Steele….

Read the rest and post a comment at Philadelphia Magazine’s Philly Post:

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau,

Readers of his column, “Freindly Fire,” hail from six continents, thirty countries and all fifty states. His work has been referenced in numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, foreign newsApapers, and in Dick Morris’ recent bestseller “Catastrophe.”

Freind, whose column appears nationally in Newsmax, also serves as a guest commentator on Philadelphia-area talk radio shows, and makes numerous other television and radio appearances, most notably on FOX.  He can be reached at

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January 17, 2011 at 10:42 am Comment (1)