Archive for the ‘Endorsement’ Category

Michigan Proposal 1 of 2012: The Emergency Manager Law

October 25, 2012

Back in 2008, I went through and analyzed each of the proposals, so I figured I would do that again.  And there’s no better place to start than Proposal 1.

To start off, here is the actual ballot language:

PROPOSAL 12-1

A REFERENDUM ON PUBLIC ACT 4 OF 2011 –

THE EMERGENCY MANAGER LAW

Public Act 4 of 2011 would:

  • Establish criteria to assess the financial condition of local government units, including school districts.
  • Authorize Governor to appoint an emergency manager (EM) upon state finding of a financial emergency, and allow the EM to act in place of local government officials.
  • Require EM to develop financial and operating plans, which may include modification or termination of contracts, reorganization of government, and determination of expenditures, services, and use of assets until the emergency is resolved.
  • Alternatively, authorize state-appointed review team to enter into a local government approved consent decree.
  • Should this law be approved?

YES ____

NO ____

Now, in 2008, I analyzed the whole text of the amendment, but since this is a referendum on an already-passed bill, I’m going to skip that, and go straight to my analysis.  A copy of the full text can be found here.

Emergency managers are not new to the state.  This is actually a bill that amends Public Act 72 of 1990.

There were two major criticisms of the original law:

  1. Emergency financial managers were put in when it was too late.
  2. Once they were put in, they could do too little.

So, the Legislature tried to remedy this.  They added more triggers for when an emergency could be declared, and they gave the managers more powers.

Two of the powers the managers were given were especially controversial: the ability to remove elected officials from the municipality, and the ability to change or void collective bargaining agreements that the municipality had entered into.

Unions especially hated the latter provision, and they characterized it as a means of union busting.  But ultimately, it was a necessary provision, because time and time again, in struggling school districts and municipalities, unions have refused to give concessions, even when keeping their current contracts means the municipality will go bankrupt (and then, ironically, they would not get paid at all).  It was the stubbornness of the unions that made the provision necessary.

The second criticism was that it removed citizens democratic rights to elect their municipality leaders.  Ultimately, this is not a Constitutional right guaranteed to the people of Michigan.  The ability to hold municipal elections is not a Constitutional provision, and the state can take this privilege away if it so chooses.

My criticism was unlike these two and had to do with the expansion of when an “emergency” took place.  It included a clause that essentially said that an emergency could be defined as when the state executive branch says it’s occurring, and I viewed this as an overstep by the executive branch (although it did have weak limited checks and balances).

So that was my reason for initially thinking I would vote, “No”.  But as I thought about it more, I realized that my opposition was the minority opposition, and if it failed, it would fail because of provisions that I thought were good.  And if the law failed, it probably wouldn’t be introduced again.  Ultimately, there is more good in the law than bad, and I believe that the Legislature can (and should) fix the law if it passes the referendum.  The problems in the law should be fixed in the Legislature, not at the ballot box, and that is why I am supporting Proposal 1.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican

Mike Huckabee Endorses Mike Cox (R-MI) for Governor

March 3, 2010

Well, in an interesting move that I’m still trying to figure out, former Governor and Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee (R-AR) has endorsed Attorney General Mike Cox for Governor.  Here’s a copy of the press release that I received today.  I’ll give my analysis after the press release:

Mike Huckabee Endorses Mike Cox in 2010 Race for Governor

Huckabee: “Mike Cox best described as Michigan’s Pro-Life, Pro-gun conservative candidate for Governor”

     LIVONIA, MI— One of America’s most respected conservative leaders, former Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee today formally endorsed Mike Cox in the 2010 race for Governor.

     “Mike Cox is best described as Michigan’s Pro-Life, Pro-gun conservative candidate for Governor,” said Huckabee. “Mike is an innovative, strong leader who is not afraid to take a stand on an important issue. He is opposed to the runaway tax and spend policies we are seeing at the federal and state levels.”

     Cox’s message of less spending, lower taxes and reformed government has set him apart in Michigan’s race for Governor. Cox recently drew a crowd of 1,200 families, activists and community leaders to a Rally for Michigan’s Future in Oakland County and hundreds more last weekend to the Grand Opening of his campaign headquarters in Livonia.

     “Mike Huckabee is one of our nation’s most respected leaders,” said Cox. “Mike Huckabee continues to fight for more liberty and less government. I am proud to have his support and am honored he is standing beside me as we fight to bring jobs back to Michigan.”

     Cox announced Huckabee’s endorsement first today via social networking websites like Facebook, Twitter, U-Stream and conservative bloggers across Michigan.

     Huckabee has been called an early frontrunner for the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination scoring well in many polls including last November’s Gallup-USA Today poll. Mike Huckabee polled ahead of President Obama as recently as January 2010.

     “Mike Cox has also fought hard to protect Second Amendment rights in Michigan,” Huckabee continued. “I am proud to endorse Mike Cox for Governor of Michigan.”

     Cox is the only candidate for Governor to release a comprehensive 92 point plan to put Michigan back to work, including proposals to cut billions of dollars out of the state budget, cut taxes on job providers and families by $2 billion, make government more transparent, reform education, and revitalize our cities. The plan is available at www.mikecox2010.com. The Mike Cox 2010 Campaign also recently announced that it raised $1.8 million in 2009 – with roughly $1.5 million cash on hand. The funds came from over 2,500 individual donors – with roughly 1,000 of the contributors donating less than $100.

     For more information on Mike Cox’s campaign for Governor, please visit www.mikecox2010.com or call the campaign office today at 734-525-5035.

     About Gov. Mike Huckabee: Prior to his 2008 presidential campaign, Huckabee served as the 44th Governor of Arkansas from 1996-2007 and as the state’s lieutenant governor from 1993-1996. As a young adult, he served as a pastor and denominational leader. He became the youngest president ever of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, the largest denomination in Arkansas. Huckabee’s efforts to improve his own health have received national attention. He is the author of 6 books, the most recent being “Do the Right Thing,” which spent its first 7 weeks of release in the top ten of the New York Times Bestseller list. He is currently the host of the top rated weekend hit “HUCKABEE” on the Fox News Channel, and is heard three times daily across the nation on the “Huckabee Report.” Huckabee and his wife, Janet, live in North Little Rock, Arkansas. They have three grown children: John Mark, David and Sarah.

#30#

Alright, so my analysis… this honestly confused me when I saw it.  I’ve been wondering for the past few hours why a Presidential candidate would jump into the gubernatorial race here in Michigan.

One thing is for sure, this is by far the biggest endorsement that I can think of for any of the current gubernatorial candidates.  The announcement definitely gives Cox more momentum than he already had (which is quite a bit – he’s been battling Congressman Pete Hoekstra, with both of them leading the polls at one time or another).  But will it help him in the long run?

In the 2008 Presidential Primaries, Huckabee got 16.08% of the vote in Michigan, with Romney winning with 38.92%, and McCain coming in second with 29.68%.  Huckabee did worst in Cox’s area of the state, but better in central and western Michigan, so that might help Cox a little bit, by diversifying his support.  So, I’d say that the best endorsement to get would’ve been Romney’s but Huckabee is still a major player in the conservative movement, and as of now, polling well for 2012.

Now, another thing that I thought about was Huckabee’s stances on law and order issues.  One of the major problems I’ve always had with Huckabee (don’t get me wrong – I like the guy) has been his stances on law and order issues as governor.  He issued a lot of pardons and commutations as governor of Arkansas (most notably, the recent scandal with Maurice Clemons who shot and killed 4 police officers in 2009).  Being an Attorney General, I’m not sure if Huckabee’s endorsement is the best thing for Mike Cox’s law and order record, but I may be reading into this more than I should.

Huckabee’s endorsement will help Cox with social conservatives, a group that may be hesitant to vote for him because of his affair back in 2005, but I think most people have (rightfully) moved on from that issue.  But the pro-life movement in Michigan is very strong, and Huckabee’s endorsement will go a long way for Cox when it comes to social issues.  Then again, with the current emphasis on the economy, social issues probably won’t be the deciding factor in who voters do vote for (although in the Republican primary, it’ll be more of an issue than in the general election).

But the most interesting thing about this, and I’ve been wondering this all day, is why would a Presidential candidate endorse a gubernatorial candidate in a primary race?  There’s 3 answers that I think it could possibly be:

  1. Huckabee has given up running for President (at least for 2012), and is going to focus on his PAC and getting Republicans elected around the country.
  2. He’s gambling that Cox will end up winning, and will help him here in Michigan in 2012.
  3. Huckabee is already counting Michigan as lost to him in 2012, and isn’t afraid of losing a few potential delegates by angering non-Cox supporters.

Option 2 and 3 make the most sense to me.  I don’t think he’s given up on running, but I don’t think Huckabee can win Michigan in 2012 if Romney runs.  Romney’s biggest competition here in Michigan was McCain, and without McCain, I think Romney would’ve gotten close to, if not more than, 50% of the vote in 2008.

He may not be publicly saying it, but I don’t think he plans on winning Michigan.  My guess would be that he’s hoping Cox will bring in some supporters (and money) in 2012, so that can offset the voters that Huckabee may lose because he’s supporting Cox.

But no matter what the outcome is for Huckabee, this definitely gives Cox a decent boost for now.  Whether or not is does anything for him come August 3rd, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Done Analyzing,

Ranting Republican

New York 23rd District Election Prediction: Hoffman Wins

November 2, 2009

I already put out my predictions for the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial races.  The other major race going on tomorrow is the special election for the New York 23rd Congressional District.  Originally, there were 3 main candidates running: Republican Dede Scozzafava, Democrat Bill Owens, and Conservative Doug Hoffman.  Hoffman entered the race because people had criticized Scozzafava as being too moderate, some saying she was even more liberal than the Democrat.  Top Republicans were split in who they supported, with some Republicans like Newt Gingrich supporting Scozafava, and Sarah Palin supporting Doug Hoffman.

Last week, Scozzafava dropped out of the race and endorsed Owens.  At that point, Scozzafava was trailing in the polls by over 10%, and the race between Owens and Hoffman was close.  Since Scozzafava dropped out, Hoffman has skyrocketed in the polls, and I now expect him to win.

Even though Scozzafava dropped out, it’s too late to change the ballots, so she will remain on the ballot.  Here’s my prediction:

  1. Doug Hoffman (C) – 53%
  2. Bill Owens – 42%
  3. Dede Scozzafava – 5%

I really don’t see Hoffman having any problems now that Scozzafava has dropped out – the district leans Republican and hasn’t gone for a Democrat running for the District since 1992.  I see Hoffman winning pretty easily tomorrow, but we’ll see – it’s been an interesting race so far – there could always be another surprise.

Done Predicting,

Ranting Republican

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

Terri Land Ends Bid for Michigan Governor & Endorses Mike Bouchard

June 25, 2009

Earlier today Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R) held a press conference where she was expected to announce her intentions to run for Governor in 2010.  Instead, she announced that she was putting and end to her exploratory committee and was endorsing Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard.

The following is an excerpt from her comments during the press conference:

I have decided to withdraw my name from consideration as a Republican candidate for Governor in 2010.  To my colleagues seeking the nomination, I wish you the best of luck.  The challenges ahead are great.  I believe Michigan needs a leader like Mike Bouchard.  I’ve worked with Mike for many years.  I have always been impressed with his ability to make tough decisions.  And I also appreciate his resourcefulness and grit: Mike is a real bulldog who won’t let challenges go unmet.

We’re both worried that our kids will be forced to leave Michigan to find jobs.

Mike realizes that it took a long time – and a lot of bad decisions – for our state to get here.  He knows that there aren’t any easy fixes or simple solutions to turn things around. Mike will do what’s right rather than what is popular.  And that’s the kind of leader we need to get Michigan working again.

And here’s some of what Bouchard said:

I’m really happy to have Terri’s support – it means a lot to me and my campaign.  Terri’s well respected across the state.  She’s a consensus builder who isn’t afraid to make the touch choices.  From day one as Secretary of State, she looked to cut costs and make her department more efficient.  We need more leaders like Terri who are working to turn our state around.

Terri’s endorsement is another big step forward for my campaign.  She is respected across the state as a true leader.  As Governor, I know that by working with leaders like Terri, we will fix Lansing so Michigan can get back to work. 

When asked “Where will you look for a Lieutenant Governor?”

Bouchard responded, “One [candidate] who would be and should be on anyone’s short list is standing here,” as he nodded toward Land.

The two also released the following video:

If you would’ve asked me who I honestly thought would win the race, I would’ve said Terri Land, so this comes as a shock to me.

But I think I may see where she’s coming from – a lot of people have said that as a woman, she’d be disadvantaged in the race, since she’d be running right after Granholm, who’s seriously screwed up the state.  Personally, I don’t think people will blame the state’s problems on electing a woman governor, but I may be putting too much faith in Michigan voters.

I think this move does tell us one thing though: Mike Bouchard has most likely picked a running mate, and I’m willing to bet that that running mate is Terri Land.

I was still undecided as to who I was supporting, but Land was up toward the top for me, and now that both her and L. Brooks Patterson have dropped out, I’m pretty much back to square one for figuring out who I’ll be backing.

I’ll continue to cover the race up until Election Day in 2010.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican

Results for the Republican National Committee Election: Michael Steele Wins

January 30, 2009

Michael Steele has just won the race for Republican National Committee Chairman.

The votes were as follows:

Mike Duncan: 52 votes
Michael Steele: 46 votes
Katon Dawson: 28 votes
Saul Anuzis: 22 votes
Ken Blackwell: 20 votes

2nd round (numbers in parenthesis indicate: votes gained or lost from last round / votes gained or lost since first round):

Mike Duncan: 48 votes (-3/-3)
Michael Steele: 48 votes (+2/+2)
Katon Dawson: 29 votes (+1/+1)
Saul Anuzis: 24 votes (+2/+2)
Ken Blackwell: 19 votes (-1/-1)

3rd round:

Mike Duncan: 44 votes (-4/-8)
Michael Steele: 51 votes (+3/+5)
Katon Dawson: 34 votes (+5/+6)
Saul Anuzis: 24 votes (0/+2)
Ken Blackwell: 15 votes (-4/-5)

Mike Duncan dropped out.

4th round of voting:

Mike Duncan: (-44/-52)
Michael Steele: 60 votes (+9/+14)
Katon Dawson: 62 votes (+28/+34)
Saul Anuzis:  31 votes (+7/+9)
Ken Blackwell: 15 votes (0/-5)

Blackwell dropped out and endorsed Steele.

5th round of voting:

Mike Duncan: (-/-52)
Michael Steele: 79 votes (+19/+33)
Katon Dawson:  69 votes (+7/+41)
Saul Anuzis:  20 votes (-11/-2)
Ken Blackwell: (-15/-20)

Anuzis dropped out:

Mike Duncan: (-/-52)
Michael Steele: 91 votes (+12/+45)
Katon Dawson:  77 votes (+8/+49)
Saul Anuzis:  (-20/-22)
Ken Blackwell: (-/-20)

Congratulations to Michael Steele, the new chairman of the Republican National Committee!

Here’s a copy of the speech he gave right after he won:

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Live Results of the Republican National Committee Chairman Election

January 30, 2009

I am currently watching the election for Republican National Committee Chairman.  Currently, the RNC members are voting.

UPDATE (11:40 A.M. EST): They are now going up and depositing their ballots (just like “kindergarten graduation” according to the Co-Chair, Jo Ann Davidson, from Ohio).

UPDATE (11:44 A.M. EST): We’re a little over half-way through the ballots being cast.

UPDATE (11:49 A.M. EST): We’re now done with the voting.  The ballots are now being counted.

UPDATE (12:05 P.M. EST): They’re annnouncing the results.

UPDATE (12:09 P.M. EST): Here are the results of the first round of voting:

Mike Duncan: 52 votes
Michael Steele: 46 votes
Katon Dawson: 28 votes
Saul Anuzis: 22 votes
Ken Blackwell: 20 votes

With no candidates having reached 85 votes (a simple majority), another round of voting will occur.  The committee is in a 15 minute recess.

UPDATE (12:33 P.M. EST): Calling the roll again.

UPDATE (12:42 P.M. EST): I lied – they’re voting now.  Almost done casting the ballots.

UPDATE (12:45 P.M. EST): The ballots are now being counted.

UPDATE (12:59 P.M. EST): The following are the results for the second roud of balloting (numbers in parenthesis indicate: votes gained or lost from last round / votes gained or lost since first round):

Mike Duncan: 48 votes (-3/-3)
Michael Steele: 48 votes (+2/+2)
Katon Dawson: 29 votes (+1/+1)
Saul Anuzis: 24 votes (+2/+2)
Ken Blackwell: 19 votes (-1/-1)

UPDATE (1:12 P.M. EST): OK, I guess it’s some time for some analysis.  It’s pretty safe to say (in my opinion) that Duncan is done.  He had to rely on the first couple of rounds to get really close, and he didn’t.  He’ll have a huge drop-off over the next 2 rounds of balloting.  I really don’t know where his people will go, but I’m guessing that  it’ll probably go to Saul Anuzis and Katon Dawson.  Maybe a few will go to Blackwell, but I think people may not “waste” their votes on him since he’s at the bottom right now, but who knows.

UPDATE (1:31 P.M. EST): They just finished the third round of voting and are now counting up the ballots.

UPDATE (1:42 P.M. EST): third round of voting:

Mike Duncan: 44 votes (-4/-8)
Michael Steele: 51 votes (+3/+5)
Katon Dawson: 34 votes (+5/+6)
Saul Anuzis: 24 votes (0/+2)
Ken Blackwell: 15 votes (-1/-5)

Blackwell and Duncan are done.  I’m surprised that more people went for Steele here.  It looks like Anuzis is done, but Dawson could be in this depending on who drops out and when.

UPDATE (1:51 P.M. EST): OK, time for more discussion – I think Blackwell will drop by round 6 of balloting, and that should give Steele enough votes to push him over the edge.  I think Steele’s biggest competition now is Dawson, but I think Steele’s got it.

UPDATE (2:13 P.M. EST): A friend just passed on to me rumors that a deal may be in the works right now.

UPDATE (2:13 P.M. EST): Mike Duncan is speaking – about to drop?

UPDATE (2: 17 P.M. EST): Duncan just dropped out and is now thanking his campaign staff.

UPDATE (2:19 P.M. EST): There was a motion for a recess, but i was voted down by a voice vote.  Voting has now started.

UPDATE (2:22 P.M. EST): Apparently the co-chair had trouble actually getting a ballot from the teller or whoever was passing them out, so there was a little bit of a funny moment just now as she tried to get that.

UPDATE (2:24 P.M. EST): They’re now calling the roll and depositing the ballots in the box.

UPDATE (2:49 P.M. EST): 4th round of voting:

Mike Duncan: (-44/-52)
Michael Steele: 60 votes (+9/+14)
Katon Dawson: 62 votes (+28/+34)
Saul Anuzis: 31 votes (+7/+9)
Ken Blackwell: 15 votes (0/-5)

Wow – I really didn’t expect Dawson to get that many votes.  Steele may NOT have this in the bag yet.  I do expect Blackwell to drop soon, and that may push Steele over the top, but if Blackwell stays in, Dawson may get there first.

UPDATE (2:59 P.M. EST): Blackwell isn’t expected to stay in past the 5th round of balloting, so if he drops 1 round early, and all of his 15 go to Steele, Steele would have it.  If stays in for a while, I think Dawson may get it.

UPDATE (3:01 P.M. EST): Blackwell is about to speak.

UPDATE (3:03 P.M. EST): They found Ken Blackwell (he had been missing), and he IS in fact about to address the committee.

UPDATE (3:09 P.M. EST): “I cannot change … this electorate, nor would I want to.”  He’s talking about us being the party of Lincoln.  He’s talking about choosing the “path of conviction over the path of convenience.”  “I withdraw my name … and put my support fully behind … I believe that the next chairman must inspire hope … create opportunity and must have the leadership opportunity … to first pull us together and then pull Americans together. … Great nations don’t come from governments … but from people. … I put my full support behind Michael Steele.”

OH YEAH BABY!  CALLED IT!

Alright, the voting has now begun.

UPDATE (3:10 P.M. EST): The roll is now being called.

UPDATE (3:26 P.M. EST): Steele is on the phone.

UPDATE (3:35 P.M. EST): 5th round:

Mike Duncan: (-/-52)
Michael Steele: 79 votes (+19/+33)
Katon Dawson:  69 votes (+7/+41)
Saul Anuzis:  20 votes (-11/-2)
Ken Blackwell: (-15/-20

Saul is withdrawing, but no endorsement!  This is gonna get interesting.

UPDATE (3:40 P.M. EST): Alright, time for some analysis.  I honestly think this race is over.  Steele only needs 6 more votes, and Saul had 20 available, so as long as Steele gets 30% of Saul’s supporters, he wins.  I don’t see Dawson winning this one, although he has come a LOT farther than anybody thought, and he has been doing really good in gathering support from dropped candidates.  He’s received no endorsements so far, but he’s gained the most from the first ballot to the current ballot (the second number in the parentheses).  They should be coming back in 3 minutes, so hopefully we’ll have a chair by around 4:00.

UPDATE (3:45 P.M. EST): The Proxy Committee report has been approved and the seargent at arms is distributing the ballots.  This should be the last ballot.

UPDATE (3:47 P.M. EST): You have to figure that Keith Butler (MI) will go for Steele, so that means that Steele would only need 5 additional delegates after Butler.

UPDATE (3:49 P.M. EST): The roll is now being called.  We’re almost half-way through the roll call.

UPDATE (3:58 P.M. EST): The ballots are now being counted.

UPDATE (4:05 P.M. EST): Here are the results of the 6th and final balloting round:

Mike Duncan: (-/-52)
Michael Steele: 91 votes (+12/+45)
Katon Dawson:  77 votes (+8/+49)
Saul Anuzis:  (-20/-22)
Ken Blackwell: (-/-20)

Congratulations to Michael Steele, the new chairman of the Republican National Committee!

UPDATE (4:11 P.M. EST): Steele is now speaking.  He’s saying “it’s time for something different, and we’re going to bring it to them. … We’re going to bring this party … to every community. … To those of you who wish to obstruct, get ready to get knocked over. … I want to thank all of you especially. … I never thought this day would come. … I would like to especially thank my friends in the territories … who will help grow this party in a way that we have never seen before. … To my friends in the Northeast: get ready baby, it’s time to turn it on. … We’re gonna win again in the Northeast.  We’re gonna continue to win in the South.  We’re gonna win in a new storm in the Midwest.  We’re gonna get to the West and lock it down there too. … I cannot do this by myself. … This is about empowering you. … We stand proud, as the conservative party of he United States, and we will work hard to make sure those values … that made us the party of Lincoln … are part of thoe issues. … So, my first official act, as your new chairman, is to end this speech right now, because we have a few more races to do. … God bless you.  God bless our party.  Thank you.”

UPDATE (12:46 A.M. EST 2-1/09): Here’s a video of Michael Steele’s acceptance speech.  It’s a great speech, so take the time to watch it:

And with that, I’m done with my coverage – I have to go drop off a lab report for my physics class!

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Former Secretary of State Colin Powell Endorses Obama

October 19, 2008

Well, this is a blog post I did NOT expect to be writing.  General Powell had made it clear before that he would not be endorsing anybody in this election, so I’m surprised that he has come out and actually made an endorsement.  He is endorsing Senator Obama, but he stressed that this is more for reasons dealing with the economy, and the Supreme Court and the general direction of the Republican party rather than Iraq.  He noted that he still opposes a set date to withdraw from Iraq.

Here’s a transcript of MSNBC’s Meet the Press, courtesy of MSNBC:

MR. TOM BROKAW: Our issues this Sunday: He served as President George W. Bush’s secretary of state and was once called the man most likely to become the nation’s first African-American president. He has been courted by both the Obama and McCain presidential campaigns and said this last month:

(Videotape)

GEN. COLIN POWELL (RET.): I have been watching both of these individuals. I know them both extremely well, and I have not decided who I’m going to vote for yet.

(End videotape)

MR. BROKAW: Is he now ready to make an endorsement in this presidential race? What are his thoughts on the major issues facing the country and the world? Our exclusive guest this Sunday, former Secretary of State General Colin Powell.

Then, with 16 days to go, Decision 2008 heads into the home stretch. What states still are in play? We will hear the latest on some new state polls with NBC’s political director, Chuck Todd. Also, insights and analysis on the race to the White House with David Brooks of The New York Times, Jon Meacham of Newsweek magazine, Andrea Mitchell of NBC News, and Joe Scarborough of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

But first, General Colin Powell, welcome back to MEET THE PRESS.

GEN. POWELL: Thank, thank you, Tom.

MR. BROKAW: We indicated in that opening, there is a lot of anticipation and speculation about your take on this presidential campaign. We’ll get to that in a moment. But in your old business we might call this a tour of the horizon. Whoever’s elected president of the United States, that first day in the Oval Office on January 21st will face this: an American economy that’s in a near paralytic state at this time; we’re at war in two different countries, Afghanistan and Iraq; we have an energy crisis; we have big decisions to make about health care and about global climate change. The president of the United States and the Congress of the United States now have the highest disapproval ratings that we have seen in many years. In all your years of public service, have you ever seen an incoming president face such daunting challenges?

GEN. POWELL: No. I have seen more difficult times in our history. I think about the early ’70s when we were going through Watergate, Spiro Agnew, Nixon period, that was not a good time. But right now we’re also facing a very daunting period. And I think the number one issue the president’s going to have to deal with is the economy. That’s what the American people are worried about. And, frankly, it’s not just an American problem, it’s an international problem. We can see how all of these economies are now linked in this globalized system. And I think that’ll be number one. The president will also have to make decisions quickly as to how to deal with Iraq and Afghanistan. And also I think the president has to reach out to the world and show that there is a new president, a new administration that is looking forward to working with our friends and allies. And in my judgment, also willing to talk to people who we have not been willing to talk to before. Because this is a time for outreach.

MR. BROKAW: Given the state of the American economy, can we continue our military commitments around the world at the level that they now exist?

GEN. POWELL: We can. I think we have to look as to whether they have to be at that level. But we have the wealth, we have the wherewithal to do that. (Clears throat) Excuse me, Tom. We have the ability to do that. And so, first and foremost, we have to review those commitments, see what they are, see what else is needed, and make sure we give our troops what they need to get the job done as we have defined the job. We have that ability.

MR. BROKAW: If you were called into the Oval Office on January 21st by the new president, whoever it happens to be, and he said to you, “General Powell, I need from you your recommendation on where I begin. What should be my priorities?” Where would you start?

GEN. POWELL: I would start with talking to the American people and talking to the world, and conveying a new image of American leadership, a new image of America’s role in the world.

The problems will always be there, and there’s going to be a crisis come along in the 21st or 22nd of January that we don’t even know about right now. And so I think what the president has to do is to start using the power of the Oval Office and the power of his personality to convince the American people and to convince the world that America is solid, America is going to move forward, and we’re going to fix our economic problems, we’re going to meet our overseas obligations. But restoring a sense of purpose, a sense of confidence in the American people and, in the international community, in America.

MR. BROKAW: What’s not on the screen right now that concerns you that should be more prominent in the minds of the American people and the people running for president?

GEN. POWELL: I think the American people and the gentlemen running for president will have to, early on, focus on education more than we have seen in the campaign so far. America has a terrible educational problem in the sense that we have too many youngsters not finishing school. A third of our kids don’t finish high school, 50 percent of minorities don’t finish high school. We’ve got to work on this, and my, my wife and I are leading a campaign with this purpose.

Also, I think, the new president has to realize that the world looks to America for leadership, and so we have to show leadership on some issues that the world is expecting us to, whether it’s energy, global warming and the environment. And I think we have to do a lot more with respect to poverty alleviation and helping the needy people of the world. We need to increase the amount of resources we put into our development programs to help the rest of the world. Because when you help the poorest in the world, you start to move them up an economic and social ladder, and they’re not going to be moving toward violence or terrorism of the kind that we worry about.

MR. BROKAW: Well, let’s move to the American presidential campaign now, if we can. We saw at the beginning of this broadcast a short tease of what you had to say just a month ago. Let’s share with our viewers now a little more of Colin Powell on these two candidates and your position.

(Videotape, September 20, 2008)

GEN. POWELL: I’m an American, first and foremost, and I’m very proud–I said, I’ve said, I’ve said to my beloved friend and colleague John McCain, a friend of 25 years, “John, I love you, but I’m not just going to vote for you on the basis of our affection or friendship.” And I’ve said to Barack Obama, “I admire you. I’ll give you all the advice I can. But I’m not going to vote for you just because you’re black.” We, we have to move beyond this.

(End videotape)

MR. BROKAW: General Powell, actually you gave a campaign contribution to Senator McCain. You have met twice at least with Barack Obama. Are you prepared to make a public declaration of which of these two candidates that you’re prepared to support?

GEN. POWELL: Yes, but let me lead into it this way. I know both of these individuals very well now. I’ve known John for 25 years as your setup said. And I’ve gotten to know Mr. Obama quite well over the past two years. Both of them are distinguished Americans who are patriotic, who are dedicated to the welfare of our country. Either one of them, I think, would be a good president. I have said to Mr. McCain that I admire all he has done. I have some concerns about the direction that the party has taken in recent years. It has moved more to the right than I would like to see it, but that’s a choice the party makes. And I’ve said to Mr. Obama, “You have to pass a test of do you have enough experience, and do you bring the judgment to the table that would give us confidence that you would be a good president.”

And I’ve watched him over the past two years, frankly, and I’ve had this conversation with him. I have especially watched over the last six of seven weeks as both of them have really taken a final exam with respect to this economic crisis that we are in and coming out of the conventions. And I must say that I’ve gotten a good measure of both. In the case of Mr. McCain, I found that he was a little unsure as to deal with the economic problems that we were having and almost every day there was a different approach to the problem. And that concerned me, sensing that he didn’t have a complete grasp of the economic problems that we had. And I was also concerned at the selection of Governor Palin. She’s a very distinguished woman, and she’s to be admired; but at the same time, now that we have had a chance to watch her for some seven weeks, I don’t believe she’s ready to be president of the United States, which is the job of the vice president. And so that raised some question in my mind as to the judgment that Senator McCain made.

On the Obama side, I watched Mr. Obama and I watched him during this seven-week period. And he displayed a steadiness, an intellectual curiosity, a depth of knowledge and an approach to looking at problems like this and picking a vice president that, I think, is ready to be president on day one. And also, in not just jumping in and changing every day, but showing intellectual vigor. I think that he has a, a definitive way of doing business that would serve us well. I also believe that on the Republican side over the last seven weeks, the approach of the Republican Party and Mr. McCain has become narrower and narrower. Mr. Obama, at the same time, has given us a more inclusive, broader reach into the needs and aspirations of our people. He’s crossing lines–ethnic lines, racial lines, generational lines. He’s thinking about all villages have values, all towns have values, not just small towns have values.

And I’ve also been disappointed, frankly, by some of the approaches that Senator McCain has taken recently, or his campaign ads, on issues that are not really central to the problems that the American people are worried about. This Bill Ayers situation that’s been going on for weeks became something of a central point of the campaign. But Mr. McCain says that he’s a washed-out terrorist. Well, then, why do we keep talking about him? And why do we have these robocalls going on around the country trying to suggest that, because of this very, very limited relationship that Senator Obama has had with Mr. Ayers, somehow, Mr. Obama is tainted. What they’re trying to connect him to is some kind of terrorist feelings. And I think that’s inappropriate.

Now, I understand what politics is all about. I know how you can go after one another, and that’s good. But I think this goes too far. And I think it has made the McCain campaign look a little narrow. It’s not what the American people are looking for. And I look at these kinds of approaches to the campaign and they trouble me. And the party has moved even further to the right, and Governor Palin has indicated a further rightward shift. I would have difficulty with two more conservative appointments to the Supreme Court, but that’s what we’d be looking at in a McCain administration. I’m also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said such things as, “Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.” Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer’s no, that’s not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, “He’s a Muslim and he might be associated terrorists.” This is not the way we should be doing it in America.

I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son’s grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards–Purple Heart, Bronze Star–showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn’t have a Christian cross, it didn’t have the Star of David, it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life. Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourself in this way. And John McCain is as nondiscriminatory as anyone I know. But I’m troubled about the fact that, within the party, we have these kinds of expressions.

So, when I look at all of this and I think back to my Army career, we’ve got two individuals, either one of them could be a good president. But which is the president that we need now? Which is the individual that serves the needs of the nation for the next period of time? And I come to the conclusion that because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities–and we have to take that into account–as well as his substance–he has both style and substance–he has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president. I think he is a transformational figure. He is a new generation coming into the world–onto the world stage, onto the American stage, and for that reason I’ll be voting for Senator Barack Obama.

MR. BROKAW: Will you be campaigning for him as well?

GEN. POWELL: I don’t plan to. Two weeks left, let them go at each other in the finest tradition. But I will be voting for him.

MR. BROKAW: I can already anticipate some of the reaction to this. Let’s begin with the charge that John McCain has continued to make against Barack Obama. You sit there, as a man who served in Vietnam, you commanded a battalion of 101st, you were chairman of the Joint Chiefs, you were a national security adviser and secretary of state. There is nothing in Barack Obama’s history that nearly paralyze any–parallels any of the experiences that you’ve had. And while he has performed impressively in the context of the campaign, there’s a vast difference between sitting in the Oval Office and making tough decisions and doing well in a campaign.

GEN. POWELL: And he knows that. And I have watched him over the last two years as he has educated himself, as he has become very familiar with these issues. He speaks authoritatively. He speaks with great insight into the challenges we’re facing of a military and political and economic nature. And he is surrounding himself, I’m confident, with people who’ll be able to give him the expertise that he, at the moment, does not have. And so I have watched an individual who has intellectual vigor and who dives deeply into issues and approaches issues with a very, very steady hand. And so I’m confident that he will be ready to take on these challenges on January 21st.

MR. BROKAW: And you are fully aware that there will be some–how many, no one can say for sure–but there will be some who will say this is an African-American, distinguished American, supporting another African-American because of race.

GEN. POWELL: If I had only had that in mind, I could have done this six, eight, 10 months ago. I really have been going back and forth between somebody I have the highest respect and regard for, John McCain, and somebody I was getting to know, Barack Obama. And it was only in the last couple of months that I settled on this. And I can’t deny that it will be a historic event for an African-American to become president. And should that happen, all Americans should be proud–not just African-Americans, but all Americans–that we have reached this point in our national history where such a thing could happen. It will also not only electrify our country, I think it’ll electrify the world.

MR. BROKAW: You have some differences with Barack Obama. He has said that once he takes office, he wants to begin removing American troops from Iraq. Here’s what you had to say about that: “I have found in my many years of service, to set arbitrary dates that don’t coincide with the situation on the ground or what actually is happening tends not to be a useful strategy. … Arbitrary deadlines that are snatched out of the air and are based on some lunar calculation is not the way to run a military or a strategic operation of this type.” That was on February 10th of this year on CNN. Now that you have Barack Obama’s ear in a new fashion, will you say to him, “Drop your idea of setting a deadline of some kind to pull the troops out of Iraq”?

GEN. POWELL: First of all, I think that’s a great line, and thanks for pulling it up. And I believe that. But as I watch what’s happening right now, the United States is negotiating the–an agreement with the Iraqi government that will call for most major combat operations to cease by next June and for American forces to start withdrawing to their bases. And that agreement will also provide for all American troops to be gone by 2011, but conditioned on the situation as it exists at that time. So there already is a timeline that’s being developed between the Iraqis and the United States government. So I think whoever becomes the president, whether it’s John McCain or whether it’s Barack Obama, we’re going to see a continued drawdown. And when, you know, which day so many troops come out or what units come out, that’ll be determined by the commanders and the new president. But I think we are on a glide path to reducing our presence in Iraq over the next couple of years. Increasingly, this problem’s going to be solved by the Iraqis. They’re going to make the political decisions, their security forces are going to take over, and they’re going to have to create an environment of reconciliation where all the people can come together and make Iraq a much, much better place.

MR. BROKAW: Let me go back to something that you raised just a moment ago, and that’s William Ayers, a former member of the Weathermen who’s now active in school issues in Illinois. He had some past association with Barack Obama. Wouldn’t it have been more helpful for William Ayers to, on his own, to have renounced his own past? Here was a man who was a part of the most radical group that existed in America at a time when you were serving in Vietnam, targeting the Pentagon, the Capitol. He wrote a book about it that came out on 2001, on September 11th that said, “We didn’t bomb enough.”

GEN. POWELL: It’s despicable, and I have no truck for William Ayers. I think what he did was despicable, and to continue to talk about it in 2001 is also despicable. But to suggest that because Mr. Barack Obama had some contacts of a very casual nature–they sat on a educational board–over time is somehow connected to his thinking or his actions, I think, is a, a terrible stretch. It’s demagoguery.

MR. BROKAW: I want to ask you about your own role in the decision to go to war in Iraq. Barack Obama has been critical of your appearance before the United Nations at that time. Bob Woodward has a new book out called “The War Within,” and here’s what he had to say about Colin Powell and his place in the administration: “Powell … didn’t think [Iraq] was a necessary war, and yet he had gone along in a hundred ways, large and small. He had resisted at times but had succumbed to the momentum and his own sense of deference–even obedience–to the president. … Perhaps more than anyone else in the administration, Powell had been the `closer’ for the president’s case on war.”

And then you were invited to appear before the Iraq Study Group. “`Why did we go into Iraq with so few people?’ [former Secretary of State James] Baker asked. … `Colin just exploded at that point,’ [former Secretary of Defense William] Perry recalled later. `He unloaded,’ Former White House Chief of Staff] Leon Panetta added. `He was angry. He was mad as hell.’ … Powell left [the Study Group meeting]. Baker turned to Panetta and said solemnly, `He’s the one guy who could have perhaps prevented this from happening.'”

What’s the lesson in all of that for a former–for a new secretary of state or for a new national security adviser, based on your own experience?

GEN. POWELL: Well, let’s start at the beginning. I said to the president in 2002, we should try to solve this diplomatically and avoid war. The president accepted that recommendation, we took it to the U.N. But the president, by the end of 2002, believed that the U.N. was not going to solve the problem, and he made a decision that we had to prepare for military action. I fully supported that. And I have never said anything to suggest I did not support going to war. I thought the evidence was there. And it is not just my closing of the whole deal with my U.N. speech. I know the importance of that speech, and I regret a lot of the information that the intelligence community provided us was wrong. But three months before my speech, with a heavy majority, the United States Congress expressed its support to use military force if it was necessary. And so we went in and used military force. My unhappiness was that we didn’t do it right. It was easy to get to Baghdad, but then we forgot that there was a lot more that had to be done. And we didn’t have enough force to impose our will in the country or to deal with the insurgency when it broke out, and that I regret.

MR. BROKAW: Removing the weapons of mass destruction from the equation…

GEN. POWELL: I also assure you that it was not a correct assessment by anybody that my statements or my leaving the administration would have stopped it.

MR. BROKAW: Removing the weapons of mass destruction from the equation, because we now know that they did not exist, was it then a war of necessity or just a war of choice?

GEN. POWELL: Without the weapons of mass destruction present, as conveyed to us by the intelligence community in the most powerful way, I don’t think there would have been a war. It was the reason we took it to the public, it was the reason we took it to the American people to the Congress, who supported it on that basis, and it’s the presentation I made to the United Nations. Without those weapons of mass destruction then Iraq did not present to the world the kind of threat that it did if it had weapons of mass destruction.

MR. BROKAW: You do know that there are supporters of Barack Obama who feel very strongly about his candidacy because he was opposed to the war from the beginning, and they’re going to say, “Who needs Colin Powell? He was the guy who helped get us into this mess.”

GEN. POWELL: I’m not here to get their approval or lack of approval. I am here to express my view as to who I’m going to vote for.

MR. BROKAW: There’s a summing up going on now as, as the Bush/Cheney administration winds down. We’d like to share with our audience some of what you had to say about the two men who are at the top of the administration. At the convention in 2000, this is Colin Powell on President Bush and Dick Cheney at that time.

(Videotape, July 31, 2000)

GEN. POWELL: Dick Cheney is one of the most distinguished and dedicated public servants this nation has ever had. He will be a superb vice president.

The Bush/Cheney team will be a great team for America. They will put our nation on a course of hope and optimism for this new century.

(End videotape)

MR. BROKAW: Was that prophetic or wrong?

GEN. POWELL: It’s what I believed. It reflected the agenda of the new president, compassionate conservatism. And some of it worked out. I think we have advanced our freedom agenda, I think we’ve done a lot to help people around the world with our programs of development. I think we’ve done a lot to solve some conflicts such as in Liberia and elsewhere. But, at the same time, we have managed to convey to the world that we are more unilateral than we really are. We have not explained ourself well enough. And we, unfortunately, have left an impression with the world that is not a good one. And the new president is going to have to fix the reputation that we’ve left with the rest of the world.

Now, let me make a point here. The United States is still seen as the leader at the world that wants to be free. Even though the numbers are down with respect to favorability ratings, at every embassy and consular office tomorrow morning that we have, people will be lined up, and they’ll all say the same thing, “We want to go to America.” So we’re still the leader of the world that wants to be free. We are still the inspiration of the rest of the world. And we can come back. In 2000, it was moment where I believed that the new administration coming in would be able to achieve the agenda that President-elect Bush had set out of compassionate conservatism.

MR. BROKAW: But it failed?

GEN. POWELL: I don’t think it was as successful–excuse me (clears throat)–I don’t think it was as successful as it might have been. And, as you see from the presidential approval ratings, the American people have found the administration wanting.

MR. BROKAW: Let me as, you a couple of questions–quick questions as we wrap all of this up. I know you’re very close to President Bush 41. Are you still in touch with him on a regular basis? And what do you think he’ll think about you this morning endorsing Barack Obama?

GEN. POWELL: I will let President Bush 41, speak for himself and let others speak for themselves, just as I have spoken for myself. Let me make one point, Tom, both Senator McCain and Senator Obama will be good presidents. It isn’t easy for me to disappoint Senator McCain in the way that I have this morning, and I regret that. But I strongly believe that at this point in America’s history, we need a president that will not just continue, even with a new face and with some changes and with some maverick aspects, who will not just continue, basically, the policies that we have been following in recent years. I think we need a transformational figure. I need–think we need a president who is a generational change. And that’s why I’m supporting Barack Obama. Not out of any lack of respect or admiration for Senator John McCain.

MR. BROKAW: And finally, how much of a factor do you think race will be when voters go into that booth on November 4th?

GEN. POWELL: I don’t know the answer to that question. One may say that it’s going to be a big factor, and a lot of people say they will vote for Senator Obama but they won’t pull a lever. Others might say that has already happened. People are already finding other reasons to say they’re not voting for him. “Well, he’s a Muslim,” “He’s this.” So we have already seen the so-called “Bradley factor” in the current–in the current spread between the candidates. And so that remains to be seen. I hope it is not the case. I think we have advanced considerably in this country since the days of Tom Bradley. And I hope that is not the case. It would be very unfortunate if it were the case.

MR. BROKAW: Finally, if Senator Obama is elected president, will there be a place for Colin Powell in that administration? Maybe as the ambassador at large in Africa or to take on the daunting task of resolving the Israeli/Palestinian issue?

GEN. POWELL: I served 40 years in government, and I–I’m not looking forward to a position or an assignment. Of course, I have always said if a president asks you to do something, you have to consider it. But I am in no way interested in returning to government. But I, of course, would sit and talk to any president who wishes to talk to me.

MR. BROKAW: You’re not ruling it out?

GEN. POWELL: I would sit and talk to any president who wishes to talk to me, but I’m not anxious to rule it in.

MR. BROKAW: General Colin Powell, thank you very much for being with us this morning. Appreciate it.

GEN. POWELL: Thank you, Tom.

MR. BROKAW: Coming up next, Decision 2008, the home stretch. We’ll look at the states and strategies in play with David Brooks, Jon Meacham, Andrea Mitchell, Joe Scarborough. And Chuck Todd, our political director, will take us through the electoral map.

Overall, I think that this won’t really have a huge effect on the campaign for either side.  I don’t think Obama is going to win many more people over with this.  I think that the people that this could have swayed have already been won over to one side or the other, but I can definitely tell you that this won’t help McCain.  It was a blow to the McCain camp.  A small blow in my opinion, but it’s a blow that McCain really can’t afford to take right now.

And the fact that General Powell won’t be campaigning for Obama will make his influence a lot smaller than Obama would like.

Done Reporting,

Ranting Republican
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Ron Paul Endorses Chuck Baldwin (Constitution Party Candidate) for President

September 22, 2008

OK, back on September 10th, I had meant to post Ron Paul’s  “endorsement” speech, but some crazy things happened in my life and I didn’t get to it.  Well, none of that really matters now.  The basics of his speech there (which I have just below) were that he’s endorsing all of the 3rd party candidates – basically don’t vote for McCain or Obama.

Here’s Paul’s speech to the National Press Club:

The coverage of the presidential election is designed to be a grand distraction. This is not new, but this year, it’s more so than ever.

Pretending that a true difference exists between the two major candidates is a charade of great proportion. Many who help to perpetuate this myth are frequently unaware of what they are doing and believe that significant differences actually do exist. Indeed, on small points there is the appearance of a difference. The real issues, however, are buried in a barrage of miscellaneous nonsense and endless pontifications by robotic pundits hired to perpetuate the myth of a campaign of substance.

The truth is that our two-party system offers no real choice. The real goal of the campaign is to distract people from considering the real issues.

Influential forces, the media, the government, the privileged corporations and moneyed interests see to it that both party’s candidates are acceptable, regardless of the outcome, since they will still be in charge. It’s been that way for a long time. George Wallace was not the first to recognize that there’s “not a dime’s worth of difference” between the two parties. There is, though, a difference between the two major candidates and the candidates on third-party tickets and those running as independents.

The two parties and their candidates have no real disagreements on foreign policy, monetary policy, privacy issues, or the welfare state. They both are willing to abuse the Rule of Law and ignore constitutional restraint on Executive Powers. Neither major party champions free markets and private-property ownership.

Those candidates who represent actual change or disagreement with the status quo are held in check by the two major parties in power, making it very difficult to compete in the pretend democratic process. This is done by making it difficult for third-party candidates to get on the ballots, enter into the debates, raise money, avoid being marginalized, or get fair or actual coverage. A rare celebrity or a wealthy individual can, to a degree, overcome these difficulties.

The system we have today allows a President to be elected by as little as 32% of the American people, with half of those merely voting for the “lesser of two evils”. Therefore, as little as 16% actually vote for a president. No wonder when things go wrong, anger explodes. A recent poll shows that 60% of the American people are not happy with the two major candidates this year.

This system is driven by the conviction that only a major party candidate can win. Voters become convinced that any other vote is a “wasted” vote. It’s time for that conclusion to be challenged and to recognize that the only way not to waste one’s vote is to reject the two establishment candidates and join the majority, once called silent, and allow the voices of the people to be heard.

We cannot expect withdrawal of troops from Iraq or the Middle East with either of the two major candidates. Expect continued involvement in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Georgia. Neither hints of a non-interventionist foreign policy. Do not expect to hear the rejection of the policy of supporting the American world empire. There will be no emphasis in protecting privacy and civil liberties and the constant surveillance of the American people. Do not expect any serious attempt to curtail the rapidly expanding national debt. And certainly, there will be no hint of addressing the Federal Reserve System and its cozy relationship with big banks and international corporations and the politicians.

There is only one way that these issues can get the attention they deserve: the silent majority must become the vocal majority.

This message can be sent to our leaders by not participating in the Great Distraction—the quadrennial campaign and election of an American President without a choice. Just think of how much of an edge a Vice President has in this process, and he or she is picked by a single person—the party’s nominee. This was never intended by the Constitution.

Since a principled non-voter sends a message, we must count them and recognize the message they are sending as well. The non-voters need to hold their own “election” by starting a “League of Non-voters” and explain their principled reasons for opting out of this charade of the presidential elective process. They just might get a bigger membership than anyone would guess.

Write-in votes should not be discouraged, but the electoral officials must be held accountable and make sure the votes are counted. But one must not be naïve and believe that under today’s circumstances one has a chance of accomplishing much by a write-in campaign.

The strongest message can be sent by rejecting the two-party system, which in reality is a one-party system with no possible chance for the changes to occur which are necessary to solve our economic and foreign policy problems. This can be accomplished by voting for one of the non-establishment principled candidates—Baldwin, Barr, McKinney, Nader, and possibly others. (listed alphabetically)

Yes, these individuals do have strong philosophic disagreements on various issues, but they all stand for challenging the status quo—those special interest who control our federal government. And because of this, on the big issues of war, civil liberties, deficits, and the Federal Reserve they have much in common. People will waste their vote in voting for the lesser of two evils. That can’t be stopped overnight, but for us to have an impact we must maximize the total votes of those rejecting the two major candidates.

For me, though, my advice—for what it’s worth—is to vote! Reject the two candidates who demand perpetuation of the status quo and pick one of the alternatives that you have the greatest affinity to, based on the other issues.

A huge vote for those running on principle will be a lot more valuable by sending a message that we’ve had enough and want real change than wasting one’s vote on a supposed lesser of two evils.

Well, Bob Barr (Lib) didn’t like that too much, and he bugged Dr. Paul to endorse somebody, and today, Ron Paul did.  He endorsed Chuck Baldwin, the Constitution Party candidate.  Here’s what Dr. Paul released today:

The press conference at the National Press Club had a precise purpose.  It was to expose, to as many people as possible, the gross deception of our presidential election process.  It is controlled by the powerful elite to make sure that neither candidate of the two major parties will challenge the status quo.  There is no real choice between the two major parties and their nominees, only the rhetoric varies.  The amazingly long campaign is designed to make sure the real issues are ignored.  The quotes I used at the press conference from insider Carroll Quigley and the League of Women voters strongly support this contention.

Calling together candidates from the liberal, conservative, libertarian and progressive constituencies, who are all opposed to this rigged process, was designed to alert the American people to the uselessness of continuing to support a process that a claims that one’s only choice is to choose the lesser of two evils and reject a principle vote that might challenge the status quo as a wasted vote.

In both political education and organization, coalitions are worthwhile and necessary to have an impact.  “Talking to the choir” alone achieves little.  I have always approached political and economic education with a “missionary” zeal by inviting any group in on issues we agree upon.

This opens the door to legitimate discourse with the hope of winning new converts to the cause of liberty.  This strategy led to the press conference with the four candidates agreeing to the four principles we believe are crucial in challenging the political system that has evolved over many years in this country.

This unique press conference, despite the surprising, late complication from the Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate, hopefully will prove to be historically significant.

This does not mean that I expect to get Ralph Nader or Cynthia McKinney to become libertarians, nor do they expect me to change my mind on the issues on which we disagree. In the meantime, why can’t we be friends, respectful of each other, and fight the corrupt process from which we suffer, and at the same time champion the four issues that we all agree upon which the two major candidates won’t address?

Many practical benefits can come from this unique alliance.  Our cause is liberty —freedom is popular and is the banner that brings people together. Since authoritarianism divides, we always have the edge in an intellectual fight.  Once it’s realized that the humanitarian goals of peace and prosperity are best achieved with our views, I’m convinced we win by working with others.  Those who don’t want to collaborate are insecure with their own beliefs.

In the past two years at the many rallies where I talked and shook hands with literally thousands of people, I frequently asked them what brought them to our campaign.  There were many answers: the Constitution, my consistency, views on the Federal Reserve, the war, and civil liberties.  The crowds were overwhelmingly made up of young people.

Oftentimes I welcomed the diverse groups that came, mentioning that the crowd was made up of Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Liberals and Progressives with each group applauding.  Even jokingly, I recognized the “anarchists” and that, too, was met with some applause.  In conversations, many admitted to having been Democrats and members of the Green Party and supporters of Ralph Nader, yet they came to agree with us on all the issues once the entire philosophy was understood.  That’s progress.

Principled people are not shy in participating with others and will defend their beliefs on their merits. Liberals and progressives are willing to align themselves with us on the key issues of peace, civil liberties, debt and the Federal Reserve.  That’s exciting and very encouraging, and it means we are making progress.  The big challenge, however, is taking on the establishment, and the process that is so well entrenched.  But we can’t beat the entrenched elite without the alliance of all those who have been disenfranchised.

Ironically the most difficult group to recruit has been the evangelicals who supported McCain and his pro-war positions.  They have been convinced that they are obligated to initiate preventive war in the Middle East for theological reasons.  Fortunately, this is a minority of the Christian community, but our doors remain open to all despite this type of challenge.  The point is, new devotees to the freedom philosophy are more likely to come from the left than from those conservatives who have been convinced that God has instructed us to militarize the Middle East.

Although we were on the receiving end of ridicule in the reporting of the press conference, I personally was quite satisfied with the results. True revolutions are not won in a week, a month, or even a year.  They take time.  But we are making progress, and the momentum remains and is picking up.  The Campaign for Liberty is alive and well, and its growth and influence will continue.  Obviously the press conference could have been even more successful without the last-minute change of heart by the Libertarian Party candidate by not participating.  He stated that his support for the four points remains firm.  His real reason for not coming, nor letting me know until forty minutes before the press conference started, is unknown to me.  To say the least, I was shocked and disappointed.

Yet in the long run, this last-minute change in plans will prove to be of little importance.  I’m convinced that problems like this always seem bigger at the moment, yet things usually work out in the end.  Recovering from the mistakes and shortcomings of all that we do in this effort is not difficult if the message is right and our efforts are determined.  And I’m convinced they are.  That’s what will determine our long-term success, not the shortcomings of any one person.

The Libertarian Party Candidate admonished me for “remaining neutral” in the presidential race and not stating whom I will vote for in November.   It’s true; I have done exactly that due to my respect and friendship and support from both the Constitution and Libertarian Party members.  I remain a lifetime member of the Libertarian Party and I’m a ten-term Republican Congressman.  It is not against the law to participate in more then one political party.  Chuck Baldwin has been a friend and was an active supporter in the presidential campaign.

I continue to wish the Libertarian and Constitution Parties well.  The more votes they get, the better.  I have attended Libertarian Party conventions frequently over the years.

In some states, one can be on the ballots of two parties, as they can in New York.  This is good and attacks the monopoly control of politics by Republicans and Democrats.  We need more states to permit this option.  This will be a good project for the Campaign for Liberty, along with the alliance we are building to change the process.

I’ve thought about the unsolicited advice from the Libertarian Party candidate, and he has convinced me to reject my neutral stance in the November election.  I’m supporting Chuck Baldwin, the Constitution Party candidate.

Honestly, this is a detramental blow to Barr.  And it’s a huge sigh of relief for McCain.  Barr was on the ballot in 45/51 states (counting Washington, D.C. as a “state”), but Baldwin is only on 37.  He’s a write-in in Indiana, where Barr was on the ballot.  That greatly helps McCain.  In Montana, the Constitution Party rejected Baldwin and selected Ron Paul.  Who knows how this will effect that whole situation.  In North Carolina, Baldwin can’t even be a write-in, where Barr was on the ballot.  Again, this will help McCain in a state that could be close-ish.  In Pennsylvania, Baldwin will be a write-in; Barr is on the ballot.

Overall, this move helps McCain.  Baldwin will probably beat out Barr now, which will be pretty humiliating for Barr, considering that the Libertarian normally beats the Constitution candidate by 200%-300%.

I find it funny that Barr pushed Paul and Paul said, “Fine, it’s not you.”

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Michigan Ballot for 2008: Proposal 2: Stem Cell Research

September 18, 2008

EDIT: Now that WordPress has a little option to put polls in your blog posts, I’ve added a poll at the bottom of my post (the end of the blog post, not the end of the comments).

Alright, as promised, I will now be discussing Michigan’s Proposal 2, “Proposal 2008-02: A proposed constitutional amendment to permit with certain limitations stem cell research in Michigan.”  My analysis of Proposal 1, which legalizes medicinal marijuana is available here.

So, let’s first take a look at the ballot language:

 Stem Cell Research Ballot Question Committee

Ballot Wording as approved by the Board of State Canvassers

August 21, 2008

 

 PROPOSAL 08-2

 

A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION TO ADDRESS HUMAN EMBRYO AND HUMAN EMBRYONIC STEM CELL RESEARCH IN MICHIGAN

The proposed constitutional amendment would:

  • Expand use of human embryos for any research permitted under federal law subject to the following limits: the embryos –

– are created for fertility treatment purposes;

– are not suitable for implantation or are in excess of clinical needs;

– would be discarded unless used for research;

– were donated by the person seeking fertility treatment.

  • Provide that stem cells cannot be taken from human embryos more than 14 days after cell division begins.
  • Prohibit any person from selling or purchasing human embryos for stem cell research.
  • Prohibit state and local laws that prevent, restrict or discourage stem cell research, future therapies and cures.

 

Should this proposal be adopted?

Yes o

No o

100 WORDS

So that’s what will actually be on the ballot.  Here is  a copy of the actual amendments that will be made to the Michigan Constitution if this passes.  I’ll have my analysis throughout the amendments as well as a summary at the end:

 INITIATIVE PETITION AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION

A Proposal to Amend the Constitution of the State of Michigan by adding a new Article I, Section 27 as follows:

Article I, Section 27.

(1) Nothing in this section shall alter Michigan’s current prohibition on human cloning.

(2) To ensure that Michigan citizens have access to stem cell therapies and cures, and to ensure that physicians and researchers can conduct the most promising forms of medical research in this state, and that all such research is conducted safely and ethically, any research permitted under federal law on human embryos may be conducted in Michigan, subject to the requirements of federal law and only the following additional limitations and requirements:

(a) No stem cells may be taken from a human embryo more than fourteen days after cell division begins; provided, however, that time during which an embryo is frozen does not count against this fourteen day limit.

(b) The human embryos were created for the purpose of fertility treatment and, with voluntary and informed consent, documented in writing, the person seeking fertility treatment chose to donate the embryos for research; and

i. the embryos were in excess of the clinical need of the person seeking the fertility treatment and would otherwise be discarded unless they are used for research; or

ii. the embryos were not suitable for implantation and would otherwise be discarded unless they are used for research.

This is where I need to bring up a key flaw in the whole debate over embryonic stem cell research (ESCR).  You have the camp who opposes ESCR because they believe that life begins at conception, and I fall into this camp.  Then you have the camp who argues, “But they’re going to be discarded anyway.”  And this is where the ESCR opposition has somewhat failed.  Many don’t address this issue and simply say, “Well, we shouldn’t be doing research on them.”  That’s not the point.  The point needs to be that instead of making EXTRA embryos for in vitro fertilization, we should be making embryos AS NEEDED.  Sure, it’s costlier, but it doesn’t create embryos that will be destroyed.  Now, if you don’t believe that life begins at conception, then this point is irrelevant.  I just wanted to point out that the issue for pro-lifers should NOT be that ESCR is the problem, but that the creation of EXTRA embryos is the main problem.  Once we stop this, ESCR will become irrelevant.

(c) No person may, for valuable consideration, purchase or sell human embryos for stem cell research or stem cell therapies and cures.

Good provision.

(d) All stem cell research and all stem cell therapies and cures must be conducted and provided in accordance with state and local laws of general applicability, including but not limited to laws concerning scientific and medical practices and patient safety and privacy, to the extent that any such laws do not:

i. prevent, restrict, obstruct, or discourage any stem cell research or stem cell therapies and cures that are permitted by the provisions of this section; or

ii. create disincentives for any person to engage in or otherwise associate with such research or therapies or cures.

(3) Any provision of this section held unconstitutional shall be severable from the remaining portions of this section.

I understand that this is a common practice in proposals, but with this being such a small proposal, I think that if a section of this proposal is held unconstitutional, ESPECIALLY in section (2)(b), the whole proposal will become extremely weaker than initially intended.

Overall, I don’t like the proposal.  I don’t think we should be making ANY extra embryos, and justifying it by saying, “Well why let those embryos go to waste” will inhibit us from ending the bad practice of making excess embryos.

Plus, adult and umbilical stem cells have proven to be way more helpful than ESCs, which have given us NOTHING so far.

So, I’m sure you’ve guessed it by now–I will be voting “No” for this come November.  As of now, my prediction is that this proposal will fail with voters voting somewhere around 43-57%.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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