The Governors

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Governors

Republicans were supposed to lose governor seats. Instead, they picked up nine or ten. That’s huge, because governors become presidents. Executive leadership is different from coalition “leadership,” and governors are real executives. Look for the GOP’s gubernatorial wins to play big roles in 2016 and 2020.

This Morning (New York Times):

Democrats seem to have their best shot in Florida, where the state’s former Republican governor, Charlie Crist, is running as a Democrat against the Republican incumbent, Rick Scott. The polls also show up-in-the-air races in Michigan and Wisconsin, where the Republican incumbents, Rick Snyder and Scott Walker, appear to hold nominal leads.

If the Republicans lose one or two of these races, it will complicate what might otherwise be an impressive performance for them in governors’ contests nationwide. Republican governors in competitive states have no business losing in what should be a good year for the party.

Tonight (Reuters):

Republican governors in Florida, Kansas, Michigan and Wisconsin fended off Democratic challengers on Tuesday in four hard-fought contests that proved wrong predictions of punishment for incumbents over an uneven economy and fiscal problems.

Republicans also won back the governorships in three Democratic strongholds, Massachusetts, Maryland and President Barack Obama’s home state of Illinois, according to projections after polls closed in most of the United States.

Biggest winner: Chris Christie. At chairman of the Republican Governors Conference, Christie worked to raise money and campaign for both likely winners and for dark horses. They all won. Christie immediately became the frontrunner for President in 2012

Biggest losers:

  1. Barack Obama. The one campaign he worked on was his buddy’s in Maryland. Maryland’s as blue as a Marine’s dress pants, and Obama’s law school pal, Anthony Brown lost.That red stripe on those on those Marine dress pants got wide, fast.
  2. Abortion. Wendi Davis corralled a lot of Democrat cash in a race to make abortion an issue. She did. And she lost.Big:

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Turns out the only late term abortion in Texas was Wendy Davis’ campaign.

— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) November 5, 2014

  1. Hillary Clinton. Hillary campaigned for a dozen losers. I’ve said for two years I don’t think she’ll run for president. She’s a terrible campaigner, and she’s more powerful as king-maker. Now, she’s almost limited to that role.
  • BarackObama. Obama a two-time loser? Of course. Illinois elected Republican Bruce Rauner to end an embarrassing stretch for the Land of Lincoln. Obama’s home state (politically) is Illinois, where the President still enjoys a 50 percent approval rating. But Rauner beat incumbent Pat Quinn.

  • This election means the GOP nominee in 2016 will rise from the ranks of governor. Christie has the best shot. But don’t count out Scott Walker.

    Tomorrow, I’ll write my thoughts on what tonight’s election means to Obama’s legacy. And it might shock you.

     

    Democrats Have Just One Chance for October Surprise

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    The White House and its corrupt Department of Justice has one chance to change the election’s outcome.

    According to Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog, the GOP has a 62.1 percent chance of a Senate majority. With nine days left until the election, and with President Obama’s approval and likability plunging, the Democrats face a huge loss.

    Apathetic Democrats

    Many political observers blame Democrat voter apathy, particularly among African-Americans. The black vote that swelled in 2008 and 2012 with Obama on the ballot shows signs of deflating in 2014 as it did in 2010.

    Barack Obama can’t campaign for anyone. When he showed up to support long-time friend Anthony Brown in Maryland last week, the crowd left. Even dedicated Democrats are sick of his shtick.

    But this is the most corrupt White House since Nixon. It’s unlikely Obama will let the Senate fall without firing all his ammo. And the only arrow left in the Democrat’s quiver could land in the heart of St. Louis County.

    Race and Sex Division Is All They Have

    The Democrats rely on race-baiting and sex-baiting. With polls showing women favoring Republicans this year, the sex arrow is broken. That leaves race.

    The Justice Department has been leaking evidence from its investigation into Michael Brown’s shooting for a week. It even released the official autopsy to the New York Times. There must be a reason. And that reason could be the election.

    In Obama’s cynical mind, he might decide the best chance to energize African American voters is to announce that the Justice Department will not prosecute Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who shot Michael Brown. The White House would then let career race-hustlers like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton blame the Supreme Court’s past rulings on deadly force by police officers..

    Voter Intimidation

    If the DOJ releases such a statement, look for groups like the New Black Panther Party to descend on key states with close Senate races. They’ll try to use intimidation to drive down turnout while the Democrats’ vaunted election-stealing machine fires up to manufacture a margin of victory for their side.

    Is this a cynical view? Yes. But not nearly as cynical as the Obama White House.

    Whatever Happened to the Party of Ideas?

    Reading Time: 3 minutes

    From about 1978 until the Monica Lewinsky fiasco, the GOP was called “the party of ideas.” I miss the ideas.

    William F. Buckley helped. Buckley liked big ideas and smart people. He liked politicians who gave legs to great ideas and governors with the guts to experiment. Governor Ronald Reagan appeared on Buckley’s Firing Line shortly after the Gipper became California’s governor. Reagan talked about many ideas he was trying or hoping to try. My favorite: allowing states to keep a portion of the federal taxes and fees generated within a state instead of cycling everything through Washington’s bureaucracy.

    That idea now exists in the form of Transportation Empowerment Act.

    The Idea People

    Jack Kemp, the former congressman, HUD secretary, and football quarterback, championed all sorts of ideas. Some of Kemp’s ideas offend a few modern Tea Partiers, but he at least promoted ideas and tests. He gave the Republican Party (and conservatism) an idealistic, enthusiastic, and optimistic face. Buckley called Kemp “America’s leading enthusiast.”

    How many of those exciting ideas from the 80s and 90s began with a Heritage Foundation paper? All of them? Most? Well, Heritage is still there, still pumping out ideas. And Heritage has add Heritage Action to help activists push ideas upon their members of Congress.

    What Are Ann Wagner’s Big Ideas

    I wonder, though, why so many modern Republican politicians avoid ideas like the plague? Take Rep. Ann Wagner. She’s interested in issues, or so she says. I believe her. She’s very interested in issues involving potential donors. Or issues that Republican pollsters discover a demographic for.

    Ideas, though, are another matter for politicians like Wagner. Ideas don’t come with checks. Ideas can get you into trouble. Ideas demand hard thinking to plan and explain, and hard work to promote and execute. Why do all that work when you could be raising funds from wealthy donors, instead?

    Sometimes, big ideas become the topic of discussion at candidate forums. Jack Kemp loved promoting his ideas with people unlikely to jump aboard, including Democrats. Or communists. Or anyone willing to discuss big ideas. I can’t imagine Kemp ducking a candidate forum or a debate.

    Rep. Ann Wagner, on the other hand, avoids idea sharing, future planning, or philosophical discussion. Wagner won’t show up at a candidate forum with her opponents, Libertarian Bill Slantz and Democrat Arthur Lieber. Mrs. Wagner, apparently, will be busy knocking on doors during the candidate forum next Wednesday, October 22. Those doors, according to her official schedule, are in northern Virginia, where Wagner will be raising money for a candidate there.

    When I was young and Republican in the 1980s, the ideas attracted me. Jack Kemp’s enthusiasm and William F. Buckley’s brilliance and Ronald Reagan’s lovable charm made my job of attracting other young voters easy. I remember the 1987 Low Country Stump Days in Charleston, SC. I was surrounded by people in their twenties. We were guided by retirees, but we knew we were the stars because we were young and conservative and full of ideas–ideas we borrowed from Heritage and Buckley and Kemp.

    Conservative Names | Liberal Names

    I’m not so sure the left has any monopoly on ideas today. Democrats mostly just want to keep blacks poor and Hispanics isolated so that government programs look like a good deal. What bothers me is that so many Republicans treat Fortune 500 companies the same way Democrats treat the poor. It’s all about creating dependency. It’s all about addicting people to government largess. It’s all about becoming the arbiter of happiness so people have to grovel.

    The left, though, does a good job of pretending to have ideas. They use photoshop, videos, comedians, and actors to make cynicism feel like philosophy. Cynicism sounds original and smart to a kid.

    It’s no surprise, then, that lists of the most conservative and most liberal names  present such starkly different images. As Katherine Miller writes on Buzzfeed:

    The liberal names generally sound like a group of women in their late 20s; the conservative names sound like the members of a large bluegrass band from the 1930s.

    In the 1980s, I was still playing the banjo, so Ms. Miller’s characterization is only 50 years off.

    Young people have a life to look forward to. They’re not so interested in holding onto what they’ve got, because don’t have anything except a ton of debt. They want ideas. They expect those of us who’ve lived to provide some of those ideas.

    The reason I can’t vote for Ann Wagner isn’t because she doesn’t go to candidate forums; it’s because she wouldn’t have anything to talk about if she did.

    The candidate forum will be held at 7 pm, October 22 in the Meramec Community College Student Center, 11333 Big Bend Road. This is a great chance to meet a candidate with ideas, Bill Slantz.

    How Can I Possibly Vote for Rick Stream for County Executive?

    Reading Time: 2 minutes

    Maybe this logic sucks, but this is my logic.  When I vote, I ignore my positions on issues.  Instead, I use my vote to advance two objectives:

    1. I want my vote to improve policy towards liberty.
    2. I want my vote to maximize my political power.

    A simple test that I ask myself is this: If I vote for A, do I expect resulting policy to be more or less to my liking?  And how should I vote to maximize my power?

    Let’s see how this logic plays out in two races: my Congressional District and St. Louis County Executive.

    Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District Race

    If I vote for Wagner, I expect policy to be less to my liking.  That’s because I think Ann Wagner will win her 2014 re-elect no matter how I vote.  Therefore, a vote for her will be lost in the sea of votes.  Historically, Wagner should get between 60 percent and 65 percent of the vote.  There will be about 282,000 votes cast in her race, so my vote would count for 1 in 176,250.

    If I vote against Wagner, I expect she’ll still win, but I might be able eat into her margin.  If that happens, her power and influence in both Missouri and Washington wane.  More of her considerable campaign funds will go to her own re-elections, which means she’ll have less money to buy influence from other Republicans.

    To counter that loss of influence, Wagner has a choice: she can move left and hope to pick up support from Democrat voters or she can move right to regain support from liberty voters.

    I expect she will do the latter.

    Therefore, by voting against Wagner in 2014, I think I will increase my influence, and policy over the next two years will be more to my liking.

    St. Louis County Executive Race

    Different dynamics prevail in the St. Louis County Executive race. Rick Stream is likely to lose if I, and people like me, vote against him.  Further, I believe that there is a 100 percent chance that either Rick Stream or Steve Stenger will win. So, if Stream loses, Stenger wins. Therefore, I expect St. Louis County policy to be more to my liking if I vote for Rick Stream and less to my liking if I vote for anyone else. Which is why I’m voting for Rick Stream.

    You can argue with my logic, but it’s internally consistent.  I can, in good conscious, vote for Bill Slantz for Congress and for Rick Stream for County Executive.  I believe that this combination of votes maximizes my influence, and will improve policy in Congress and St. Louis County.

    That’s how I’m optimizing my power in 2014.

    John Diehl Doesn’t Want You to Know There’s a Big Press Conference Tuesday

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    My phone and inbox lit up all morning.

    Missouri Republicans are FREAKING OUT that Speaker Apparent John Diehl could go down to defeat at the hands of conservative/libertarian grassroots activists. The freak-out is over a press conference in Queeny Park at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 30.

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    I heard of the Stop Diehl project last week. On Saturday, mostly Republican volunteers began a door-to-door campaign in Diehl’s district to block re-election. That door-to-door effort continues through the election. According to Missouri Leadership Project’s press release:

    These Republicans want a change in the process by which House leadership is selected because the current method consolidates power and invites corruption. John Diehl’s actions as Floor Leader illustrate clearly how such power can be abused.

    John Diehl is the Missouri House Rep from the 89th district. He was designated by GOP leadership several years ago as the next Speaker of the House. Sort of the way crime families identify future Dons. The process disenfranchises incoming House freshmen.

    So John Diehl got the nod as the next Don of the House. Or Speaker. Whatever.

    The trouble is, the way you get to be Speaker is you raise a LOT of money. Then you spread the money around to other House Republicans in exchange for their promise to vote for you for Speaker. Again, very similar to the mob.

    In raising all this money, sometimes Republicans have to cut deals with anti-liberty, anti-freedom, anti-conservative cronies. Examples: the companies that make touchscreen voting machines, the companies that make red light cameras, and the publishers who make billions from Common Core. According to Missouri Leadership Project:

    The “Speaker Presumed” solidifies his official election by distributing money he received from special interests to the campaigns of other representatives, who then feel beholden to him. The result is a “pay-to-play” political insider environment that squeezes citizen involvement out of the legislative process. Clearly illustrating this political pay-to-play environment is the fact that Diehl’s campaign receipts swelled to around $1,000,000 since he became the heir apparent to the Speaker position.

    Those crony capitalists have low expectations for the politicians they buy. The politicians rise to positions where they can block legislation, and they block it. They never have to go on the record as supporting the crony companies. They just protect their cronies from competition. For example, on the issue of paper ballots:

    As Floor Leader, Diehl blocked the passage of bills with broad popular support – bills that enhanced liberty, election integrity, and the property rights of Missourians. Instead he pushed through bills that increase taxes and benefit special interests. According to Laura Hausladen, with Missouri’s Coalition for Transparent and Secure Elections, Mr. Diehl emphatically stated that he would never allow a paper ballot bill on the floor of the House for a vote, even though that bill had passed the Senate with a large majority.

    I believe Mr. Diehl’s words were, “I don’t care what the people want.”

    If this strategy works to deny Diehl his term in the Speaker’s throne, Missouri Leadership Project may upset Missouri’s crony capitalism system for a long time to come.

    Here’s the press release:

    Grassroots Republicans against John Diehl (R-089) to hold press conference Tuesday

    ST. LOUIS COUNTY: Grassroots Republicans across Missouri have begun to work against the re-election of Rep. John Diehl (R-089), the current House Majority Floor Leader and presumed Speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives for the next two legislative sessions.
    A press conference is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 30, at Queeny Park, in Diehl’s St. Louis County district. (South end of the main parking lot reached from the Weidman Rd. entrance)
    Leaders of various movements ranging from stopping Common Core, ending red light cameras, election integrity, as well as 2nd and 10thAmendment issues will be available to field questions and explain their concerns about a Diehl speakership.
    Rep. Diehl has been the majority Floor Leader the past two years and is the pre-selected pick for Speaker of the House in the 2015 and 2016 legislative sessions.
    Volunteers began going door to door this past weekend in the 89th District to let voters know why Diehl as Speaker would be bad for Missouri, and ask them to do what only voters can do—see that he does not receive enough votes to win back his seat.
    These Republicans want a change in the process by which House leadership is selected because the current method consolidates power and invites corruption. John Diehl’s actions as Floor Leader illustrate clearly how such power can be abused. As Floor Leader, Diehl blocked the passage of bills with broad popular support – bills that enhanced liberty, election integrity, and the property rights of Missourians. Instead he pushed through bills that increase taxes and benefit special interests. According to Laura Hausladen, with Missouri’s Coalition for Transparent and Secure Elections, Mr. Diehl emphatically stated that he would never allow a paper ballot bill on the floor of the House for a vote, even though that bill had passed the Senate with a large majority.
    House Republicans pre-selected Diehl as Speaker more than a year ago, so newly elected Representatives are effectively denied a voice in the election of the Speaker they are expected to serve under. The “Speaker Presumed” solidifies his official election by distributing money he received from special interests to the campaigns of other representatives, who then feel beholden to him. The result is a “pay-to-play” political insider environment that squeezes citizen involvement out of the legislative process. Clearly illustrating this political pay-to-play environment is the fact that Diehl’s campaign receipts swelled to around $1,000,000 since he became the heir apparent to the Speaker position.
    The Republicans mounting this effort believe that stopping John Diehl from becoming Speaker would give the Missouri House, the legislative body that is designed to be closest to the people, the chance to choose a Speaker who could lead the body to find and implement changes in the power structure of the House, and to eliminate the present concentration of power which they believe has corrupted the legislative process. 
    The citizens engaged in the effort against John Diehl fully agree with this Thomas Jefferson statement: “It is not by the consolidation or concentration of powers, but by their distribution, that good government is effected.”  
    For more information see www.MOLeadershipProject.org
    More than 20 organizations are

    Rick Stream Probably Didn’t Know I Knew His Old Career Counselor

    Reading Time: 3 minutes

    When people asked me to get behind Rick Stream, I first wanted to make sure that was the right thing. I remembered that I have a friend who helped Rick a while ago. So I asked her.

    Rick Stream is “a quiet leader.”

    “I didn’t see him as a politician,” she told me. We were talking about Rick Stream, the candidate for St. Louis County Executive.

    Representative Rick Stream (R-Kirkwood) chairs the House Appropriations Committee. (photo courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications) . Clipped from http://www.missourinet.com/

    The woman was a transition career counselor a decade ago. She was helping people transition from a Department of Defense organization to the civilian world when their operation shut down.

    “I worked with Rick for a month, I think. He was sort of a quiet leader. Some of the guys were a lot more vocal and hard-headed, but even the loud ones would respond to Rick. They all looked up to him.”

    I asked her what kind of County Executive Rick might be.

    “Rick’s boss told me, ‘If Rick said he’d do it, it got done.’ So did the other people who worked with him. He is quiet with a dry sense of humor. Very detail oriented.”

    Why did you not see him as a politician?

    “Oh, it’s not that he wouldn’t be a great leader. He was definitely very senior with the government, and everybody looked up to him and followed his lead. But he was quiet and thoughtful. He wasn’t one to just jump up and give a speech like most politicians. And he is such a good man. He wanted to help people. I mean, really wanted to help, not just talk about it.”

    Why a good man entered the nasty field of politics.

    When the career counselor asked Rick Stream what he’d like to do, he told her “well, I’ve always been a history fan. I think I’d like to go into politics.”

    “Why don’t you do that, then?” she asked.

    So he did. He became a Representative in the Missouri House. He served as chairman of the House appropriations committee. Then he decided to run for St. Louis County Executive against my friend, Tony Pousosa. You probably know that I endorsed Tony.

    It’s not easy to support a guy who beat your friend in a primary. So why am I doing this?

    My conversation with someone from Rick Stream’s past mattered to me.

    It’s one thing to hear political people talk about a candidate. It’s another to hear a report from a woman who knew the man 10 years ago, before he first ran for office. At the time my friend worked with Rick Stream, Rick was in no position to do anything for her.

    Now, I know whatever I do to help elect Rick Stream, I’ll be helping a good man who wants to help people, who is a highly competent manager, detail oriented, and respected by everyone who works with him.

    St. Louis County, after a decade of Charlie Dooley, is in danger. St. Louis County is in decline. Wages in St. Louis region are flat. Job growth lags most similar size cities across the country. Municipal courts and small town police departments have intimidated, impoverished, and alienated residents through obnoxious and corrupt courts. Ferguson has become a symbol of government failure. And many county school districts are failing.

    Rick Stream may not be a flashy, glib politician like Charlie Dooley and Steve Stenger. Thank God. St. Louis County doesn’t need another corrupt narcissist who uses the power of government to transfer tax dollars to friends.

    St. Louis County needs:

    • thriving new businesses,
    • more jobs with climbing wages,
    • more quality school choices for parents,
    • more trust in government, and
    • an end to rampant corruption.

    In November, we will choose between  Dooley Light and a respected leader.

    This right-leaning libertarian is voting for the respected leader, Rick Stream.

    I hope you will, too.