Archive for September, 2009

Mike Bouchard Announces Terri Lynn Land as His Running Mate

September 16, 2009

Earlier today, Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard made a major campaign announcement: Secretary of State, and former Gubernatorial candidate, Terri Lynn Land would be joining his campaign as his official pick for Lt. Governor.  I first heard the news  a little after 9 this morning, but I’ve been in class until now.

Bouchard posted the following on his website earlier today:

Oakland County- Mike Bouchard, Republican candidate for governor, today announced his selection of Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land as his lieutenant governor running mate, citing her successful record of improving services for Michigan residents while cutting costs.

“Terri Lynn Land’s innovative leadership proves that state government can control spending while offering Michigan residents more,” Bouchard said. “From day one as Secretary of State, she looked to cut costs and make her department more efficient. I look forward to working with Terri as my lieutenant governor to fix Lansing so Michigan can get back to work.”

Bouchard, a former state lawmaker who now serves as Oakland County sheriff, made the announcement at press conferences in Detroit, Grand Rapids and Lansing. After the visits, Bouchard and Land launched a bus tour that will take them across Michigan to talk with state residents.

“I’m honored to join Mike’s campaign to turn Michigan around and again make it a national leader in job creation,” Secretary Land said. “His willingness to make the right decisions for Michigan now instead of focusing on the next election is exactly what Michigan needs. He has the knowledge, experience and backbone to get our state back on the right track.

“As both a sheriff and state senator, he has shown he believes that government should live within its means by reducing spending and cutting taxes.”

As Oakland County sheriff, Bouchard leads one of the nation’s largest sheriff’s departments with 1,200 personnel and has used creative ideas to save taxpayers’ dollars. Oakland County now saves $1.6 million a year because of his efforts to privatize the jail’s food services. As a state senator, his record of accomplishment includes protecting families by leading the push to create the Michigan Sex Offender Registry and passing laws that reduced the state’s real estate transfer tax, saving taxpayers to date over a billion dollars. He grew up in Oakland County and has three children with his wife, Pam.

Before becoming secretary of state, Land served as Kent County’s clerk and register of deeds. Highlights of her time as secretary of state include revolutionizing the branch office environment and employing the latest technology so Michigan residents, whether as voters or branch office customers, can expect fast, efficient service. She has two children with husband, Dan, and lives in Byron Center.

Land sent out the following e-mail:

Dear Friend,

As you remember, I offered my endorsement of Mike Bouchard back in June.

I told you then that Mike Bouchard had the diverse background both legislatively and administratively to fix Lansing so Michigan can get back to work.

Back then, I told you that Mike was a proven vote-getter; that I believed his experience winning a statewide primary in 2006 would be key to his success in November 2010.

Well, I’ve learned a lot in the past few months.

After spending the summer on the road with Mike, I’ve realized that he is even more impressive than I had originally thought.

First of all, Mike is an incredible campaigner.

Mike is tireless. After seven years on the road, I’m used to traveling the highways and byways of this state. Believe me, I know a “road warrior” when I see one! Mike loves connecting with people, learning what they care about, and sharing his vision with them. I am confident that he has the instinct and the heart to win both the primary and the general next fall.

Mike gets it. As a former leader in the state senate, Mike has experience working with the legislature, and as Oakland County Sheriff, he knows how to get things done administratively as well. But Mike is also a businessman. He has signed the front of a paycheck; not just the back. He understands firsthand that Michigan is hurting right now, and what it will take to start the healing process.

Finally, Mike is ready. I’ve been in this business a long time, and I know that sometimes a candidate may have all the “right stuff” on paper, but will have a hard time making that transition once they take office.

Not Mike Bouchard. Mike is ready to lead on Day One.

And Michigan can’t wait for its next governor to waste any time. Our families don’t have the luxury of waiting for our next governor to adjust to a learning curve. We need help now.

For those reasons, I am so pleased to join his team officially as his pick for Lt. Governor.

We believe that my experience traveling the state, streamlining services, keeping a balanced budget and delivering world class service even in these tight economic times will give Mike an advantage when we take office in January 2011.

I am so honored to be part of this team.

I am confident that we have the work ethic, the ideas and the passion to fix Lansing and get Michigan back to work!

Thank you for your continued support, and I look forward to seeing you soon on the campaign trail!

Sincerely,

Terri Lynn Land

Bouchard also held a press conference earlier today in Detroit, saying:

I am really excited to have her on board. Terri Lynn Land’s innovative leadership proves that state government can control spending while offering Michigan residents more.

The people of the State of Michigan see what happens to their tax dollars.

I am willing to be a one-term governor if that is what it takes to fix Michigan. It is long overdue. They have been forestalling tough decisions for the past 6 1/2 years.

Personally, I think this is a great move for Bouchard.  I think everybody knew this was coming.  I predicted it back in June when Land dropped her bid for Governor and endorsed Bouchard.

This will have the biggest impact on Pete Hoekstra, the Republican Congressman from the 2nd District.  Land is also from the West side of Michigan, and her place on a Bouchard ticket will probably impact Hoekstra the most, but we’ll see.

With the addition of a big name like Land’s to the Bouchard ticket, I would put Bouchard as the frontrunner in this race; however, we still have just under a year until the primary, and a LOT of things could happen before then.  This race is far from over.

I’ll continue to follow the candidates and the race, so make sure to check back here for my analysis on the race as we continue to get closer to the primary.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican

President Obama Calls Kanye West a “Jackass”

September 14, 2009

During an off-the-record portion of an interview with CNBC today, President Obama called Kanye West a “jackass” for his storming the stage during Taylor Swift’s acceptance speach for Best Female Video at MTV’s Video Movie Awards.

Then, during an interview today, President Obama called West a “jackass” while the cameras were off.  But ABC News reporter Terry Moran posted the following on Twitter: “Pres. Obama just called Kanye West a “jackass” for his outburst at VMAs when Taylor Swift won. Now THAT’S presidential.”

The tweet was quickly deleted, but not before people heard about the comment.

Personally, I agree with President Obama – I probably wouldn’t have worded it as strongly as he did, but Kanye West is an idiot just looking for some time in the spotlight in my opinion (and I might be biased since I like Taylor Swift too).

Now, while I agree with President Obama here, I would not be happy if I were him.  Moran NEVER should have posted that – it was an off-the-record part of the interview and should have stayed that way.

Since then, ABC has released the following statement:

In the process of reporting on remarks by President Obama that were made during a CNBC interview, ABC News employees prematurely tweeted a portion of those remarks that turned out to be from an off-the-record portion of the interview. This was done before our editorial process had been completed. That was wrong. We apologize to the White House and CNBC and are taking steps to ensure that it will not happen again.

So – here’s an issue where I’ll agree with the President.

On a related note, I found the following video early today that I found pretty amuzing:

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
[digg=http://digg.com/politics/President_Obama_Calls_Kanye_West_Jackass

Live Analysis of President Obama’s Health Care Speech to Congress

September 9, 2009

I know it’s been a while since I’ve done a blog post (other than the one I did yesterday), but I figured this was an important issue to talk about, and I’ll probably be writing a column on health care sometime this week, so this will help me get some ideas down a little early.

President Obama is about to give  a speech to a joint session of Congress, and I’ll be giving my live analysis of his speech.  And this is live, so excuse any typos – I’m not always great at typing quickly.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has just gaveled the session into order, so we’ll begin in about 10 minutes here.

The President’s speech is expected to last about 45 minutes (not including applause), so I’m guessing that it will run close to an hour (maybe a little over) when it’s all done.

Speaker Pelosi has now called the session to order – Vice President Joe Biden by her side.

The Escort Committee is now leaving to follow behind President Obama when he enters the chamber.

Michelle Obama is now arriving.  The Cabinet is now coming into the chamber.

President Obama is now coming into the chamber – and he’s getting a lot of applause (as every President does during these joint sessions).

He’s now up to the podium – Speaker Pelosi is trying to bring the chamber to order.  She is now introducing President Obama.

He’s talking about the last time he spoke here – that it was during the worst economic situation we’ve faced since the Great Depression.  “We are by no means out of the woods … a full recovery is still months away.”  He’s saying that he won’t let up until “those who seek jobs can find them.”

Wow – Hillary Clinton looks out-of-place – she’s wearing this red suit and she’s surrounded by men in black suits.

President Obama is thanking Congress for their help and support in trying to fix America’s economy.  He’s talking about building a future for America, and that health care is central to that future.

“I am not the first President to take up that cause, but I am determined to be the last.”  It’s a nice quote, but there’s always going to have to be reform – things change – nothing will ever be perfect.

He’s talking about Teddy Roosevelt talking about health care reform, and Representative John Dingell (D-MI) introducing a bill every session to reform health care.

Talking about the hardships facing those who are uninsured – not those on welfare, but mostly the middle class.  He’s talking about people being denied insurance because of previous conditions.  “We are the only democracy … the only wealthy nation who allows such hardship for its people.”  But we’re also the democracy who other countries turn to for certain health care needs (such as Canadians needing some quick emergency treatments).

Talking about insurance companies dropping patients in the middle of treatment for bogus reasons such as having acne and not claiming it – and I’ll agree with him here – that’s a problem that SHOULD be addressed.

Talking about insurance premiums going up, and leading to businesses not being able to open/survive because of health care costs.

It’s “placing an unsustainable burden on taxpayers. … We will eventually be spending more on Medicare and Medicaid than every other program combined.”  Again – he’s right here – Medicare/Medicaid costs are getting out of control – it’s just the solution where I disagree with him.

Talking about a single payer system like Canada’s or a plan that individuals should buy their own health care, but both of these are radical shifts that would disrupt the health care system.  He’s saying we should use what works as a template and fix the problems in our current system, rather than switch to a Canadian-style system or a completely individual style system.

He’s now talking about the 5 committees coming up with health care bills in Congress – an amount of reform that has been unprecedented in history – and again – this is a good thing – if we have multiple ideas, we have more to choose from and more discussion going around.

Now he’s talking about opponents to reform using scare tactics and just trying to score political points.  “The time for bickering is over.  The time for games has passed.”  Games and bickering are part of the American political system – it’s a sad fact, but it’s true.  And both parties do it, but getting into a “Well the other party did __________” kind of mentality is bad for America.

“If you already have insurance … nothing in this plan will require you to change what you have. … What this plan will do is make this insurance that you have work better for you.”  It’ll make it illegal for insurance companies to deny you based on a preexisting condition.  And that got a LOT of applause.  It will be illegal for them to drop you when you get sick.

“No one should go broke because they get sick. … Insurance companies will be required … to cover routine check ups … and preventative care. … It saves money and it saves lives.”  And that was all for people who already have insurance.

For those who don’t, this plan will give you an opportunity to get quality insurance.  “We’ll do this by creating a new business exchange.”  Insurance companies will want this because it gives them more customers.

And for those who still can’t afford insurance, tax credits will be provided.  The exchange will take effect in 4 years.

He’s talking about immediate relief for those who get sick before then, citing a plan that Senator McCain proposed during the plan during the 2008 campaign – and Senator McCain just got a huge grin on his face.

He’s saying that some people may not want to pay for insurance, but when they get sick, we wind up paying for their health care when they wind up in the hospital.  “Under my plan, people will be required to carry basic health insurance” just like states require people to have basic auto insurance.

And this is where I disagree with the President.  Personally, I don’t think we should be forcing people to buy insurance; however, I also don’t think that we should then be paying for their hospital visits.  If someone decides not to get insurance, and they get sick, then we shouldn’t be footing the bill – they should just have to pay for treatment themselves or not get it.

Now, moving on to “key controversies that are still out there:”

  • Saying that there won’t be plans to try to kill off the elderly who are sick.
  • No money will go toward illegal immigrants. – and somebody just shouted “Lie!” and Speaker Pelosi gave him a stare of death – whoever it was, that was pretty unprofessional and immature.
  • No money will go toward funding abortions.
  • This will not be a takeover of the entire health care system.

These are all good points, and I’d encourage EVERYBODY to read the bill that finally gets introduced instead of just listening to either the Democrats’ talking points or the Republicans’ talking points.

“Consumers do better when there’s choice and competition.”  And he’s absolutely right about that – but instead of setting up a government program to do this, we should open insurance markets to cross state lines, so that companies can compete nationwide, adding more competition all over the nation.

He’s saying that he doesn’t want to drive insurance companies out of business, just hold them accountable.

He’s saying that he would like a non-profit public option (which that surprised me that he still pushed for that – I figured that he wasn’t going to try to push that tonight).  It would be an option for those who don’t have insurance, and people wouldn’t be forced to chose it.  He estimates that less than 5% of Americans would sign up.  He’s saying that this public option wouldn’t be funded by the government, but would have to be self sufficient.

But what would happen if it stopped being self sufficient?  Would it essentially turn into a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac?

He’s saying that some are suggesting that the public option only go into effect where insurance companies aren’t competing well, or that we have a private co-op instead.  Saying that he won’t back down from giving a choice to people who can’t afford health care.

And the screen just panned over to the Republican section and they really do not look happy about this.

“Now he’s talking about how we’ll pay for the plan – “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficit – either now, or in the future. … Period.”  He’s saying that in his plan, there will be a section that will require spending cuts if the means of saving money aren’t there.  He’s now talking about the past administration making a mistake in passing tax cuts that we couldn’t afford as well as the Iraq War.

And while he does have an excellent point with the Iraq War part (which is a whole separate issue), I don’t think that that jab at the Bush Administration is going to help win any Republicans over – and with Senator Kennedy gone, they’re going to need an additional Republican vote in the Senate.  That was a bad strategic move on the President’s part.

Talking about ensuring that Medicare will be there for future generations.  Saying that seniors pay too much out-of-pocket for prescription drugs.  Saying not to pay attention to “scary stories that your benefits will be cut.”  GOP members don’t look happy.  “I will protect Medicare.”

“Making [Medicare] more efficient will [help make] the entire system more efficient.”  Saying that if we reduce waste in Medicare and Medicaid, that will pay for his plan.  Well why don’t we just reduce waste in Medicare and Medicaid anyway!  Why do you need to add one “good” thing to get rid of one bad thing?  Why not just cut waste out of M&M whether or not the other health care reforms pass or not.

Talking about malpractice reform bringing down costs of health care – and all the GOP members stood up and started cheering – even Biden stood up for that one.  Saying that we need to put safety first and let doctors focus on practicing medicine.  Saying that the Bush Administration wanted to test some of these ideas in individual states, and he likes that plan too.  So now he’s playing to the Republican side a bit – which is good because he’s going to need to do that if he wants this to pass the Senate.

Now talking about it’ll cost $900 billion over the next 10 years, but that’s less than the Iraq War…and I think he said something about the Bush tax cuts – I didn’t catch it.  Whatever it was, the Dems liked it, but the Repubs looked pretty pissed off – Rep. Thad McCotter (R-MI) really didn’t like whatever was said.

Saying he won’t stand by as the special interest groups fight to keep things the way they are.  “I will not accept the status quo as the solution.”  And he’s right – we DO need reform – I just disagree with him on the type of reform we need.

Talking about reforms leading to saving lives.

“We cannot fail … there are too many Americans counting on us to succeed.”

Talking about the late Senator Kennedy (D-MA) on his death bed talking about this year being the year that health care reform will be passed.

Health care reform has been a source of “rigorous and intense debate”.

Obama’s talking about Senators Hatch (R-UT) and McCain (R-AZ) and Grassley (R-IA) working with Senator Kennedy.  That his p”assion was born out of his own experience … having 2 children stricken with cancer.”  He’s saying that “concern for others … is not a partisan” issue.  “We are all in this together, and when fortune turns against us, others are there to give us a helping hand. … Sometimes government has to step in.”

Saying that Republicans and Democrats joined together in 1965 when they created Medicare.

“When any efforts to help people in need are attacked as unAmerican … and we can no longer engage in a civil conversation” … I missed that last part.  Whatever his point was (I’m sure it was something about engaging in civil debate) – I agree here – we need to discuss it, not try to drown one side out.

“I still believe we can act when it’s hard.”  Saying we need to have “civility” and not gridlock the process but make progress.

“I still believe we can do great things, and that here and now we will meet history’s test.  Because that is who we are.  That is our calling.  That is our character.  Thank you, God Bless You, and may God Bless the United States of America.”

Now the Republican response by Representative Charles Boustany (R-LA):

Republicans are ready for reform.  We’ve lost jobs since February.  “Americans want health care reform … [They're saying] it’s time to start over with a … bipartisan plan.”

He’s saying that Obama’s plan will cost Americans more – that even the Congressional Budget Office agrees – it’ll create 53 new bureaus and raise the deficit.  It won’t make the program better for seniors.

“The President [could have] taken government run health care off the table, but he didn’t.”

Americans should be able to get insurance with preexisting conditions.  We should give incentives for healthy choices and preventative care.

“We’re grateful that the President mentioned medical liability reform.”  “Junk lawsuits drive up the cost of medical care.”

We should establish a plan that would enable people to buy insurance across state lines – and that was one of McCain’s big pushes during the ’08 campaign that I really agreed with.

“This Congress can pass meaningful reform soon … working together in a bipartisan way, we can lower the cost of health care.”

Alright – I wasn’t able to catch that much of the response because there weren’t any pauses in that speech, but it was basically the same thing that McCain said during his Presidential campaign.

Overall, I think the President did a moderately good job.  I wish he would’ve gone into detail a little more than he did, and there are some things that I definitely disagree with, but there were some good points:

Malpractice/tort reform is a huge part of the plan that will help lower costs of health care.  Eliminating waste in Medicaid and Medicare is another great thing that we need to do.  Ensuring a way that people can keep their coverage even when they get sick is another necessity that almost everybody agrees with.

I disagree with the public option, and I disagree with forcing people to have some sort of insurance plan.

I wish that he would consider adopting the plan to allow people to cross state borders to purchase health care plans.

Overall, it was a good speech, but I think he took a couple too many jabs at Republicans and the Bush administration (he’s going to need some Republicans’ votes, and that wasn’t a way to win them over).  I also wish he would’ve had more details of his plan, but with only having 45 minutes, that’s hard to do.

I’m not sold on the President’s plan, but I do think there are some good parts of the plan that I’d like to see develop.

We’ll see what’s introduced and what Congress does with the bill(s).

Done Analyzing,

Ranting Republican

President Obama’s Speech to Students Was No Big Deal

September 8, 2009

Recently, I’ve heard a lot of concerns from conservatives saying that President Obama’s speech to students today was going to be a means for him to indoctrinate students with socialistic and liberal ideals.  Personally, I doubted that this would happen – I figured that the President’s speech would be nothing more than the basic “Stay in school.  Don’t do drugs.  Strive to be the best you can be” speech that presidents have been giving for years.

And I was right.  I didn’t find anything indoctrinating or partisan about the President’s speech to the students of Wakefield High School (Arlington, VA).

If you’d like to see a video/transcript of the speech, those are available here, courtesy of ABC.

It was honestly a good speech to students – he emphasized the importance of staying in school, saying, “If you quit on school, you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country.  What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country.  The future of America depends on you.”

He talked about the responsibilities of parents: “I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don’t spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox.”

And he made some good points encouraging students not to just give up and make excuses: “But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude.  That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying.”

So, I think the lesson that some people need to learn from this is, not everything has to be political.  A speech to high school students about staying in school really can be just that.  Just because we disagree with President Obama on health care or other issues doesn’t mean that we need to cry “Foul!” and run around screaming “Socialism!” and “Indoctrination!” all over the place, because that degrades the level of debate that we should be engaging in politically and brings the entire political system down to a level of grade school childishness.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican


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