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Although the chances of a brokered convention this summer in Tampa are now greater than getting hit by lightning, winning Powerball, or seeing the New York Mets vs. the Baltimore Orioles this October in the World Series, it is still not as great as a blizzard on Easter (4/8/2012), the Yankees not participating in the coming World Series, or Obama and Boehner agreeing and supporting a bill to be passed by Congress and signed into law by the President.  Nonetheless, since first place is not good enough, one must go to the convention with at least 1,144 delegates to be ensured nomination and for the convention to be just air time for the nominee and selected VP, pundits on both sides continue to have fun speculating.  As Bob Shieffer on CBS’s Face the Nation and the syndicated McLaughlin Group have mentioned, it may not be Romney or Santorum or even Paul or Gingrich.  Many states with late primaries have not closed their deadlines on candidates entering the race and being on ballots in their respective caucuses and primaries.  Albeit after Super Tuesday (3/6/2012), any late comer could achieve 1,144 delegates, one could succeed in keeping anyone else from achieving that magic number.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has decided to endorse Romney and is unlikely to agree to it.  But names like Mitch Daniels, Marco Rubio, Nikki Haley, Bob McDonnell, a revival of Tim Pawlenty, and Brian Sandoval, whose names have been kicked around as VP hopefuls; any one of them can get in as a late arrival, use the caucuses and primaries as more of a pulpit than vehicle for the nomination, and work on getting chummy with power brokers who could be pressed into service in Tampa.  If the convention is brokered, it is not guaranteed to end in four days.  There is not guarantee any one candidate will go over the top on one ballot and candidates, delegates, and media will all be detained in the Sunshine State.  The nomination of Wendell Willkie by the G.O.P. in 1940 was the last time this process was used.  Sight modifications were made for the Republican National Convention in 1964, where several states wrote in the name of Henry Cabot Lodge and Mr. Lodge chose to take an ambassadorship and declined to run for president.  Also in Chicago for the Dems in 1968, where the assassinated Robert F. Kennedy was the frontrunner; there was an unusually high number of uncommitted delegates who had open votes to cast.  In both cases though, Barry Goldwater and Hubert Humphrey respectively were nominated on the first ballot.

Once the Republican delegation has a nominee, [he] will need a vice presidential running mate.  The usual procedure is for the candidate to choose [his] running mate and on the last night of the convention, the delegation votes to confirm the choice.  This was not the case in 1956 when Democrat candidate Adlai Stevenson chose to let the convention select his running mate; the delegation selected Estes Kefauver from Tennessee.  This is yet another possibility in Tampa.  I am not sure if None of the Above gets nominated, but if either Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum is nominated in a brokered convention, this would be my advice.  With Romney having issues of being “not conservative enough” for the G.O.P., and the reluctance for even the most conservative groups to endorse Santorum with too much uncertainty of him beating Obama in November, either man would have to unify the party.  If everyone is going to be detained in Tampa beyond the allocated four days in July anyway, this would be a fitting conclusion.  This would get the candidate off the hook if the choice does not satisfy or please a high percentage of voters, committees, or the RNC itself.

Hall of fame third baseman Wade Boggs played eleven seasons with the Boston Red Sox and five seasons with the New York Yankees.  He had notable accomplishments on the field and at bat in both uniforms.  As any baseball fan knows, the Yankees-Red Sox is the biggest rivalry in Major League Baseball and the two teams hate each other.  When the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown gave the nod; he had make a choice and if he had chosen one, it would have angered the other team’s fan base.  He played his final two seasons with the Tampa Bay
Rays where his performance was for the most part, ignominious.  Nonetheless, he chose to go into the Hall of Fame as a Tampa Bay Ray to get out of the loop.  The HOF committee stated that would make a travesty of the Hall and Boggs and the committee agreed to let the committee pick for him and the other fan base could blame them and not Mr. Boggs.  The committee chose the Red Sox and the rest is history.  For Romney or Santorum to allow the delegation to select his running mate, especially if the convention is brokered, would be best for the candidate to not have to choose between the best conservative running mate or the running mate that adds the most to produce a winner in November, and it is in the party’s best interest for the same reason.  If we are going to be brokered, let’s be brokered right to the endpoint.

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Interesting, the debating process among presidential hopefuls, we must be playing “pin the tail on the donkey.”  When Romney wins a primary or collection of primaries, the target is on his back and Santorum wins the next echelon, then the target is on Santorum’s back and Romney emerges.  Are we on the verge of the first brokered convention since 1940?

For most of the party nominating process over the last seventy years, even in close races, all but one candidate drops out, usually for lack of funds, and the delegates are released and most go with the frontrunner that emerges, goes to the convention, and wins on one ballot.  But suppose there are at least two hanging in there to the day the front doors of the convention hall open for business?  Gingrich claims he can get funding and Santorum received a key endorsement with funds to keep his campaign going.  Romney is the wealthiest candidate in the history of this country.  Suppose Romney and Santorum can keep at it with Gingrich playing a spoiler role?

These are not baseball standings, ladies and gentlemen.  Even if you are in first place to stay, you still need 1,144 delegates to win.  If no candidate reaches that magic number, no one goes to Tampa, Florida to partake in an inevitable formality.  If there are not enough uncommitted delegates to put any one candidate over the top, which can happen if none of the final four drop out (or even if Ron Paul is the only one to drop out) and their respective delegation is not released, the only option is the convention has to be open; this means caucus and primary results are discarded and all delegates can vote for anyone they want.  Since the old school power brokers have not been used in all these years, each state’s Republican committees would have to conjure one up on the fly.  Furthermore, they would not be limited to the current field.  Bachmann, Perry, Cain, could get back in albeit Herman Cain is right now as much as a marked man as that other guy named Cain you read about in the Bible.  Sarah Palin or Chris Christie, who did not get in at the get-go, could conceivable get in.  This could get interesting, ugly, or both.

It took the G.O.P. ten ballots to nominate Warren Harding in 1920; in 1912, it took the Democrats one-hundred sixteen ballots to nominate Woodrow Wilson, who was not even in the race before the convention opened.  My father who earned a living covering state and national politics for The Bridgeport Post back when it was a real newspaper would be in Seventh-Heaven, but would not know how long he would be detained in Tampa.

All things equal, Mitt Romney would have an advantage in a brokered convention since his is both the RNCs choice and Tea Party and other conservative and conservative groups are backing him on the basis he is most-likely to beat Obama in the general.  The afore mentioned would have to be convinced Rick Santorum or a Johnny Come Lately true conservative could beat Obama before that would change.

I consider Rick Santorum to be the loose cannon in this process.  The key is he cannot drop out of the race.  He can stay in as long as he can fund it.  We will know more after Super Tuesday on March 6.  If it tips toward one guy, most-likely Romney, expect Romney vs. Obama in November.  A divided Super Tuesday can make it interesting, if Santorum can survive financially after March 6.  Stay tuned, America!

 

As the Arizona debate closes (2/22/2012), I hear the same rhetoric on the first debates of late 2011 on the economy, immigration, balancing the budget, limiting government, and the Middle East, but with four instead of eight.  There is a lot to consider, but I have discovered one bone of contention I do have with my fellow Republicans.  It has to do with proposals for the federal government to shed some of its baggage that runs up the deficit and [dumping] it on the states.  I blogged back in December 2011 that no big government means no big government, passing the woes and debts onto the states is not the answer.

Health care, Social Security, and education were the prime examples.  The suggestion that federal government eliminate these services as federal entitlements and have the states take over was mulled over by the final four.  Hate to break it to you, but states, counties, cities, and towns have deficits of their own.  Turn it over to the states, the money the federal government saves on administering the programs it will end up spending on federal aid to the states setting the fed’s finances back to square one.  There is a case to be made with respect to education.  Although I am pro-education, Ron Paul was right in stating that the federal government has no constitutional obligation to education; not what teachers and boards of education want to hear, but factually accurate.  Standards aside, the scenario is the federal government would get out of the education business turning it over to the states.  The states, unable to finance it, would then turn it over to the local branches of government.  The states would have to aid to the local boards of education, taking us back to square two; then the states would need federal aid to provide state aid to the locals, back to square one.  As I said on my last article, the only bridge open is the private sector.

To make an example out of education, the government should be involved in one and only one capacity, standards setting.  Standards setting does not require an entire dedicated department with a few thousand or even a few hundred employees, just one Education Minister.  The federal education minister would not have absolute authority nor would he or she need it—he or she would be in conference with fifty-one [state] education ministers for the fifty states and the District of Columbia.  Education would be owned, operated, and financed by private sector companies.  That’s right, private sector companies like General Electric, Proctor and Gamble, Aetna Insurance, Pratt and Whitney and the like who have a vested interest in educating our youth.  The ministers would endure reading and math skills, that Shakespeare is read in senior year in high school, that science and computer technology are as much part of the standard curriculum as reading, writing, and arithmetic.  But private sector companies would pay for classroom materials, books, computers, and would pay teachers’ salaries.  Most likely a non-union environment, but the private sector could provide a much better package than any teachers’ union ever could.  Why is this better?

It is with great pride that I tip my hat to a man named John Higgins, CEO of a company called Neutex, a manufacturer of LED light bulbs.  Mr. Higgins went against the grain, as it were and closed a factory in China; that’s right, I said China.  He is relocating his manufacturing operation and opening a factory in Detroit, Michigan USA; you heard right, he is moving manufacturing into the United States!  Though China’s new $6.00 an hour minimum wage is still a lot less than what you pay an American, Higgins claims American workers are more productive than Chinese workers.  Halleluiah!  Manufacturing!  Right here in the United States!  Private Sector Jobs!  Catching on, folks?

No question about it, this is priority one, factory workers are the epitome of the middle class and need to be taken care of first.  But what about the white collar workers they will need in their corporate offices, also located in Detroit?  Families of young people spend thousands and thousands of dollars for a college education for their offspring they will be sending into the working adult world, so they can earn more money and do better than factory work.  In the 1990s, into the turn of the twenty-first century, I got my email and Internet services from Earthlink.  I would call tech support and would get some guy in India, whose accent was difficult to comprehend on the cordless phone technology of the day.  It is just as important that Neutex has a made in America Office too, setting precedence for companies similarly inclined.  Can the private sector run education in America efficiency and proficiently?  Absolutely!  Their future depends on it as does America’s.  The good news is many call centers are moving back to the states since many problems can be resolved online and call centers are getting more complex questions.

I hope the next president has the good sense to turn over government services to the private sector, not to state and local governments.  As I said in December, no big government means no big government!

Our goal as conservatives, compassionate or otherwise, is to ultimately reverse the entitlements resulting from the New Deal and restoring this great nation to its lofty status as the land of opportunity.  Is it required to be a compassionate conservative to achieve this?  Yes, if we want to do it constitutionally.  If we don’t want elderly and disabled people on the streets, we have ensure two things: (1) that we replace the New Deal entitlements with opportunities to be prosperous during youth, to work their respective American Dreams so that when it is time to retire or if they become disabled, they won’t need entitlements, and (2) that we not take away from those for whom pursuing opportunities is no longer feasible.  Now before you lambaste me for veering away from the Republican conservative edicts, let us realize that one cannot call oneself a conservative without at least a rudimentary understanding of the Constitution.  And as most constitutional scholars love to quote articles and amendments, let us not underestimate the Preamble, which is the very foundation for the legitimacy of all articles and amendments:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

While provide for the common defense implies we always maintain a strong military defense so we can fight our enemies who threaten our freedom, and promote the general Welfare, albeit our Founding Fathers never conceived of what we now refer to as a Welfare state, indicates we actually do have a minimal obligation to ensure those who are unable to provide for themselves are not left out in the dust.  What is important to understand is that the Constitution is not a document of algorithms; mainly because the Fathers wanted to ensure the nation would be metamorphic enough to adjust to changing times, yet we [the people] would never be led astray from the fundamental principles of which this nation was founded.  As we delve further into the Constitution, as well as The Federalist Papers, The Declaration of Independence, and other documents that emerged in our two-hundred-thirty plus years of existence, America as a nation of opportunities, not entitlements, was what the Fathers had in mind and if we could recreate that pre-FDR America, not only would we have a balanced budget, but most Americans would be happier as well as more prosperous.  The key is we have to create those opportunities before we shut down all the entitlements and we must provide for those unable, i.e., for those who can’t, not those who won’t.

The Catch-22 is we have to meet this constitutional edict, yet we cannot afford to do so.  The best bridge to get us there is privatization, meaning we outsource the services that allow America to promote the general Welfare to private sector companies.  There are two possible algorithms for privatization of say, Social Security.  One is to allow all private sector related businesses, in this case investing and financial services companies, offer their own alternative solutions, similar to the way health insurance companies are now handling Medicare Parts B, C, and D; hope you can figure it out, because I sure as heck can’t.  The other alternative is for the federal government to outsource Social Security to only one financial services company (a company like Fidelity Investments Corp.) to be the sole provider of Social Security services and set their corporate tax rate to zero in return for administering the services.  I know what you fellow conservatives are thinking—doesn’t that discourage competition?  I am the first to admit that flaw, but right now I see it as the lesser of three evils for allowing the federal government to meet its constitutional obligation stated in the Preamble while taking the financial burden off the government.  This ensures one uniform standard, one company is easier to keep in line than several companies, and  the federal government can continue to collect fair and equitable corporate taxes from all other financial companies.  Once the last person born into the entitlement nation is dwelling in the Kingdom of God, this scenario can gradually phase itself out as a majority of Americans will utilize the opportunities in their youth and those who still need to be provided for will be a small enough number that America will be able to handle it one way or another.  Right now, our two choices are the limited government vision of Tea Party and other conservative groups, or national bankruptcy.

To get started, those empowered must make an A-list, a B-list, and a C-list of the current roster of entitlements.  The A-list should be what we absolutely do not need, or can be consolidated with another department.  The B-list should be what if phased out with no alternatives provided, would not only be uncompassionate, but would result in failure to meet the afore mentioned constitutional edict.  And the C-list would be those items on the B-list that can be privatized.  The two goals would then be to privatize what can be privatized, and then to start building the opportunity zones so the youth of America can get started in preparing for a life without the entitlements, and in return prosperity, life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and security in their later years without needing government entitlements.

 

 

I was saddened to hear of the passing of former Mets catcher Gary “The Kid” Carter.  I have been a Mets fan since 1968, a year before that miracle season of 69 and I have seen in my lifetime more than my share of first place, last place, and mediocre seasons.  I knew when Fred Wilpon and Nelson Doubleday purchased the team in 1980, they would be good again; this was long before there was any word about the Wilpon’s faux-pas investment practices.

With the acquisition of Keith Hernandez from the St. Louis Cardinals in 1983, Doc and Darryl (Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry) becoming the face of the franchise in 1984, the acquisition of “Kid” from the now defunct Montreal Expos (became Washington Nationals) in 1985 was the final piece of the puzzle that made the 1986 world championship possible.  During the last days of pre-Internet, cell phone, Facebook and Twitter, and before anyone thought of any non-first place teams (wild cards) in post-season play, I have fond memories of the 1986 Mets. Shea Stadium (torn down and replaced by Citi Field in 2009) was my summer home and I spent many a summer’s afternoon or evening in the loge or mezzanine keeping score and rooting for my Boys of Summer.

The passing of Gary Carter albeit it too young at age 57 is just another way I show my age. During that magical year of 1986,  I had just graduated the University of Connecticut, only five years out of high school, still living in Norwalk, Connecticut, my father still living, my buddy now residing in Mehanicsville, VA (suburb or Richmond) still living next door sharing memories, and myself able to move quickly without pain.  With Kid’s passing, a part of me dies.

I hope the Mets make a point to retire number 8 in the near future.

As my fellow grass roots conservatives and I light our proverbial candles for Rick Santorum, we need to face the reality that in all likely-hood, Mitt Romney will be our nominee.  He now has the endorsement of most conservative groups and although Santorum pulled three simultaneous victories in those caucuses, the delegation out there is minimal and the consensus is Mitt is the most-likely to defeat Barrack Obama in November.  Pundits continue to ask if Mitt is conservative enough for us Republicans.  Mr. Santorum along with the conservative media such as Rush Limbaugh think he is most-likely to beat Obama because he is the most like Obama—a race between two liberals puts the focus on the fact that one of the two liberals has shown too much failure to lead.

As we age (myself included), we tend to forget the ninth grade Civics continuum:

Radical—–Liberal—–Center—–Conservative—–Reactionary

Taking a good look some thirty-six years later, we are reminded that there is something to the right of conservative, the term reactionary.  As someone who considers himself Republican Establishment, not Tea Party, it seems to me that we are the conservatives and the Tea Baggers are the reactionaries.  The term reactionary implies being overactive, panicking  at the thought of change and reacting by taking action to take us back to the past; alas, the term reactionary is not a marketable term to the general public so they elect to label themselves conservative, which is marketable.  Undoubtedly, Mitt Romney is not a liberal or a centrist; he may be conservatively deficient in some areas, but placing him right of center makes him conservative, which by default places the Tea Party on the reactionary part of the continuum.  He is definitely conservative enough; and if elected, would have to make some concessions to conservatives (and reactionaries) backing his campaign.

This is in no way to discount the views and visions of people farther right such as Mr. Santorum.  The Tea Party vision of limited government must be seriously considered in our quest for a balanced budget.  As stated in an earlier blog article, limited government has become a Hobson’s Choice.  It is important that whomever we send to Washington in both the executive and legislative branches this November, they must work with a keen awareness that we have to make a difficult choice between limited government and national bankruptcy.  Though I will always consider myself a Ronald Reagan Republican conservative establishment, i.e., right of center at about the dividing line between conservative and reactionary, I support the vision of those farther right than me for limited government to get a balanced budget as the ultimate reward, which is a main ingredient for creating the twenty-first century American Dream and making American once again, the land of opportunity.

Over the past twenty some odd years, we have experienced government shutdowns and have seen many areas of war between the two political parties.  No one wants to reach across the aisle and create a bipartisan solution, and even the rare occasion when they do, bipartisan solutions are not always any more effective than one party winning over the other.  While the occupiers protest and the class warfare between the ninety-nine and the one metastasizes, the folks in Washington are beyond the one, but the one-tenth of one; huge salaries, health insurance benefits better than either the government or private carriers provide for the masses, and insider stock trading information.  So how do we fix it?  Well, it cannot be fixed until it is actually broken.

OK, I agree with most of you about the cast of characters and their ethics.  The fix for that is to exercise your right to vote and vote in different people.  To maintain your political philosophy, vote in primaries in your own party as well as general elections.  But the system is not really broken.  The concept of gridlock is actually supposed to be the norm, the Federalist Papers explain the federal government is not supposed to do very much.  Many past generations understood this until Franklin Roosevelt got elected and New Deal legislation got past as though the congressional process was a dynamo; and generations to follow got accustom to expect it.  If gridlock is the norm, the federal system is not broken.

Our Founding Fathers wanted us to be a self-governing people; by being self-governing, there would be no need for supermen in government; this equalizer would minimize (not eliminate) corruption in government and allow us to isolate it and railroad out the bad guys in a timely fashion—because John Locke said power will inevitably corrupt.  Self-governing is defined as Exercising control or rule over oneself or itself, in other words autonomous.  A self-governing society allows us to not overpower our representatives.  The way America evolved two-hundred and thirty some odd years later with respect to technology and becoming an anchor in a world economy, a self-governing society has to be a highly educated society—that’s what’s broken.

Our educational system needs to be fixed, and this requires recalling it, returning it to the dealership to have the original defect repaired, then looking at what it was before it declined.  The defect goes all the way back to America’s one and only birth defect as a nation—slavery.  The tolerance of slavery from the birth of our nation to the end of the Civil War and the thirteenth amendment taught future generations through the 1950s to discriminate, resulting in and education system that provided Americans with among the highest quality education in the world, but we did not open it to all Americans.   Then we did the right thing, we passed Civil Rights legislation in the 1960s and opened our school system to all, but we watered it down, lowering quality, standards, and what should be taught.  The New Deal entitlements established in the 1930s detracted even more from valuing our education as it was perceived most Americans would end up in the entitlements anyway.  We became not educated enough to be self-governing.  We must reestablish ourselves as a self-governing people.  This means we must do two things: (1) we must create an education system that of the quality of early America to about 1956 and open to all, and (2) we must reestablish ourselves as an opportunity nation and create the opportunities, reducing the entitlements.  To do this, we must limit the role of government so both the education system and the opportunities can be created affordability.  By making alternative choices very limited, taking one’s education for granted will not be an option for survival and the opportunities will be the only alternative to hand-to-mouth living.