As chairman of the Maryland GOP, Michael Steele helped increase individual contributions by 300%, and increased Republican registrations significantly.
In 2003, Steele made history when he was elected Lt. Governor of Maryland, the first African-American elected to statewide office there. His was the first Republican administration in that state in better than 40 years.
Currently, Steele is a successful fundraiser and chairman of GOPAC.
Lt. Governor Steele is a gifted orator, a talented fundraiser, and a master debater. He is also what we may call a “Huckabee Republican,” one who puts family values first. His commitment to life is strong and long-standing. This is an area from which the current GOP has strayed, choosing to focus more attention on issues related to the enconomy and national security. The Washington Times said
“Mr. Steele is staunchly pro-life (parting with many Republicans who support abortion in cases of rape and incest) and he is a free trader… The Washington Times is pleased to endorse Michael Steele for the U.S. Senate.”
I encourage you to support Lt. Governor Steele for Chairman of the RNC.
Join us at SteeleforChairman.org.
As Mike Huckabee’s book, “Do the RIght Thing” is going to be a topic of some controversy for the next few weeks, I think it’s more helpful for people to know the facts about the book rather than go on and on about excerpts. So, over the next few weeks, I’ll be blogging 1 Chapter a day. Today, I’ll take the Prologue: I Love Iowa
Caucus Night Remembrance
Huckabee opens the book with an unglamourous account of having to get a ride to the airport from a stranger due to the car they were supposed to take being blocked in.
Of course, this gave way to euphoria from Huckabee supporters when his plane touched down in Des Moines.
“Throughout the campaign, one of our great challenges was trying to manage with far fewer staff members than was reasonable or realistic. It meant that all of our mostly young and inexperienced staff had `would be called on to do the tasks of several people…
“But on this night, no one was complaining. Our courageous army of volunteers and underpaid kids were euphoric, and they had the right to be: The kids had worked their hearts out to prove that conentional politics of money and sophisticated political strategy could beaten by sticking to core convictions and finding creative ways to communicate those convictions. A bunch of unknown, ordinary people had beaten “the best in the business.”
Huckabee wrote that when he actually got up to speak, “It hit me that this was not our victory, it was their victory.” Every good political story begins with a victory night celebration and this was their “We Shocked the World” moment.
The controversial passages about Mitt Romney’s concession call (or lack theeof) is in this section. Reading the Prologue, it seems that the Governor really didn’t have “bloggers who followed campaign stories religiously in mind.” Huckabee’s book is targeted towards those who may not have paid attention to the 2008 process on the GOP side extremely closely. He takes time to explain the players and the process.
He talks about Fred Thompson running a “feeble” campaign in Iowa, failing to spend a lot of time in the state and having poorly attended events. I know that some people will make a big deal of this, but really for those of us who followed the campaign, the worst Huckabee deserves is a “Master of the Obvious” award. But, as he’s writing to people who may not have followed the race as closely, it reads more background than anything else.
I have to confess that I got caught in the “Fred” thing because of the fact that I focused on the professed rule that if you finish in the top 3 in Iowa or the top 2 in New Hampshire, you are a legitimate contender. However, even at the time, I was a little concerned that even though Fred Thompson finished 3rd in Iowa, he did it with a smaller percentage of the votes than Alan Keyes got in the 2000 Iowa Caucuses. I think someone needs to rewrite this political rule of thumb, “To win the nomination, you have to win Iowa or New Hampshire.” That meshes more with reality than the top 3 rule, because those of us who thought Fred would get enough momentum out of 13% in Iowa to win South Carolina were slightly delusional.
Huckabee stood waiting backstage as a matter of courtesy for the customer congratulations call from his opponent. The reason for this is that candidates want to avoid stepping on each other’s toes, particularly since the media will often cut from the losing candidate’s speech to the winner. Both McCain and Giuliani could find the phone, but for whatever reason, Romney could not and Huckabee finally went out at 10 PM to declare victory.
My final note is that this section serves to bat down rumors that have spread on various Talk Shows, news stories, and the Internet. Huckabee writes that there was no “nefarious collusion” between his campaign and that of John McCain. Even though, both McCain and Giuliani were pleased that Huckabee’s Iowa win had punctured Mitt Romney ‘s best Presidential victory scenario of running the board in early contests. The reaction was similar to that of a baseball team being happy that their division rivals lost and allowed them to gain a game in the standings. It’s not a conspiracy if the Toronto Blue Jays are glad the Boston Red Sox lost to the New York Yankees (or to the Arkansas Travelers if they were a major league team in the AL East.)
There’s been a series of very nice photos going on called 52 to 48 which began with some Obama supporters (52% of the nation) sending a message to the rest of us (48% of the nation.) It’s a somewhat simplistic collage, but with a good message of understanding and mutual love on what binds us together: our common Americanism. It’s a sweet sentiment.
But some of my colleagues in the conservative blogosphere aren’t feeling it. Bob Owens over at Confederate Yankee writes:
Yes, I saw your messages. Dozens and dozens of them. How wonderful that you want to reach out now, after the last eight years.You do remember the last eight years, right?
You lost in Florida. Remember how you reacted? “Selected, not elected,” and “Not my President” were the order of the day. But that was just the beginning. You kept nursing your grudge, cultivating it, stocking it, and formed insular, community-based realities to echo and increase your hysteria…
And so it is very obvious that you want us to buy into his Presidency not because you want us to share his great visions of hope and change and unicorns, but because you’ve suddenly realized what kind of disaster you put into the White House. You don’t want to share success; you want cover when it all comes apart.
So enjoy your two years of unquestioned power, 52. We’ll see you at the midterms, and see if you’re still smiling and reaching out when it isn’t so self-serving.
Bob, I love you like a brother who I’ve never met and link to twice a year, but have you seen some of the kids in this montage? Some of them look like they were 11 in 2000, if that.
I have news. Not everybody who voted for Barack Obama was in the streets screaming bloody murder about Florida. Political activists are a small slice of the population. The Majority of this country takes a passing interest in politics, with time spent on the subject being measured in minutes or hours, not days like for your average political blogger.
You average “52″ voter isn’t rabid about their politics. They aren’t enemies. Heck, they aren’t even our opponents. Many of these folks will go on to vote Republican. Many are open to persuasion. Our problem is that for too long we haven’t even bothered with an argument, and our current administration hasn’t helped.
While I’m not buying into this administration, I will buy into the concept of respectful debate and engagement. And I appreciate the thought behind the gesture.
Regarding the Obama election, I am extremely proud of my country. Just 40 years ago, this did not seem possible, and now it is reality. Although I disagree strongly with President Obama, he is now my President and will have my respect. To those Democrats reading this, I challenge you: Consider how you have treated President Bush for the last eight years. I will not treat President Obama in that way. I will call him out when he’s wrong, support him when he’s right, but will always respect the office he has been elected to.
Am I happy that the GOP lost in a landslide across the board? Of course not. I supported Palin (Not so much McCain) and wanted that ticket to win. The GOP needs to return to the principles it was founded on: personal liberty, economic responsibilty, and the rule of law. This election was a good wake-up call. And in 2010, we are coming to take back congress.
Finally, my predictions for 2012. Those who obviously will not be in the running: John McCain, Rudy Giuliani. Likely candidates: Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal. Those who will be running: Ron Paul, Alan Keyes.
John McCain ran an honorable campaign, but still came up short. Any Republican would have trouble in this environment, with the state of the economy, the President’s approval rating, the inter-party battle for the nomination, and the lack of major domestic achievements in President Bush’s second term all were millstones around McCain’s neck.
Were this 2000 or 2004, Senator McCain arguably could have won, but in 2008, what was required of McCain was absolute perfection. He missed the mark, and there are some lessons for Republicans to take away from his loss:
Not every election is about national security: The GOP nominated John McCain because they thought he was going to be strong on prosecuting the War on Terror. The problem? That wasn’t the issue this election revolved around. This was a domestic issues election and during the primary, Senator McCain delivered a classic line indicating that he didn’t know that much about economics. There was no indication this would be a foreign policy election in the Republican Primaries, yet Republicans made it a prime determinant. This was particularly odd as only Ron Paul, among McCain’s primary opponents, was uncommitted to the war on terror.
Military Service Optional: Neither President Clinton nor President-elect Obama served in the military. President Bush only served in the National Guard. Looking at the three most talked about names for 2012: Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, and Mike Huckabee, you see not a day of personal military service. With an all-volunteer Army, the “Did you serve?” question as an accusatory statement is dead and buried.
The Idea Deficit: While McCain talked a lot about the federal deficit, what his campaign suffered from was an idea deficit. McCain, as a candidate, believed that what he offered to the nation was himself: A leader who would bring people together to solve problems. Similar to Bob Dole in 1996, first came the candidate and then came the ideas. McCain’s spending freeze proposal was added in the middle of the financial crisis, his “drill here, drill now” mantra was a departure from his Senate career that occurred because of high gas prices. McCain, throughout the campaign, remained a legislator whose craft was fine tuning legislation to help it get through the Senate. A key example of this was his return to Washington. Rather than offering a radically different alternative to the Bush Administration’s $700 billion bail out, McCain proposed amendments.
This was an election where people saw big problems looming, and they wanted big solutions. McCain instead offered a timid platform. McCain was running like it was 2000. In 2000, nobody really wanted big ideas. They just wanted a President that wouldn’t embarrass them.
The Reality of the Vertical Voter: Conventional wisdom has been, “Politics is not won at the right or the left, but at the center. Therefore, you nominate centrist candidates to appeal to the political center.” This election blows that theory to kingdom come.
While I know some people who might fit the profile of a centrist ideologue, this election illustrates that people just don’t grope for the candidate closest to the center. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has stated that most voters are not voting to move the country right or left, but up or down. Liberal Blogger Big Tent Democrat of Talkleft.com has said, “Politics is not a battle for the middle. It is a battle for defining the terms of the political debate. It is a battle to be able to say what is the middle.”
Though, it was said by a Democrat, I would like it tattooed on the face of every pundit who goes about telling us about how the GOP needs to nominate centrists. No, the GOP needs to nominate Conservatives, and define the debate by convincing the American people that our policies will move the country upward.
Cultural Conservatism is Not a Losing Issue: The marriage Amendment in Florida ran 14 points ahead of John McCain and the Marriage Amendment in California ran 15 points ahead. There’s an opportunity for Republicans who will choose leaders who seriously believe in social conservative ideas rather than merely using social conservative ideas as election stunts and wedge issues.
Public Financing=Political Suicide: If Republicans are smart, taxpayers will save more than $40 million under Barack Obama, as no candidate in their right mind will ever take public financing again. The system, as it exists currently, is little more than a provider of welfare checks for mediocre politicians. The huge Republican fundraising disadvantage, while not the only cause of Obama’s victory, was a huge contributing factor.
Campaign Finance Reform=Political Crock: Our Campaign Finance laws are nonsense. Whatever arguments you can make about it being politically corrupt to let someone just walk up to a politician and write a $1 million check, it could not be worse than our current system, provided that there is full disclosure.
Time to Modernize the GOP: The Republican Party needs to become more savvy in its use of the Internet as an organizing and fundraising tool. Also, in a country where early voting is becoming increasingly popular, its time to give the old 72 Hour Get Out the Vote campaign a makeover. These are new times and despite GOP gains, the Democrats are still way out front in terms of running a 21st century campaign.
“We see America as the greatest force for good in this world. Our opponent though, is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country.”
Of course, William Ayers’ wrong actions took place when Obama was only 8 years old. Why should Obama be associated with that? Here are a few reasons:
- Obama called Ayers “mainstream” and “respectable.”
- Obama’s political career was launched at a fundraiser in William Ayers’ living room. Ayers also held numerous other fundraisers for Obama’s campaign. Obama did not object.
- Obama and Ayers served as co-chairmen for the Chicago Anneberg Project board, a leftist board.
- Obama chose to live three blocks away from Ayers in Chicago. He also bought the home with help from convicted felon Tony Rezko.
Okay, so maybe Obama did not help with the bombings. But he did associate himself with the man responsible for the bombings. The equivalent would be if I chose to run for office and had a relationship with Osama bin Laden. After all, I was only eight years old on 9/11.
Senator Obama, next time you decide to run, maybe you should cut your ties with anti-American extremists.
The much anticipated show of the former governor of Arkansas and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, premiered as an oaisis of reason during the frenzied 24 hour coverage of the Bailout madness on Capitol Hill this weekend, and amidst the furious post presidential debate spin.
Fox premiered its new show ‘Huckabee’, after a two hour debate analysis special of Hannity and Colmes which should have secured a fairly strong retention of viewership, if the feverish anticipation of Huckabee’s election supporter base would not have been enough in and of itself to secure good ratings.
The show featured the innovative format of an unscripted audience ‘townhall style’ Q and A along with more traditional elements of talk shows like the requisite host monologue and guest segments.
A few things stood out to viewers and new fans of the show. Huckabee did not make himself the ‘star’ of the show. He was a brilliant facilitator, in the sense that he actually allowed his guests to fully answer questions or make commentary without interruption; a lesson that the Hannity’s and O’Riley’s of the talk world would be well advised to learn. As a result there was almost no crosstalk to devolve into a shouting match, and the feeling tone of the entire show was much more reminiscent of an Oprah or Ellen sit down than a pundit’s sound off. He was warm, personable and funny without being over the top.
This is not to say that the show was not substantive. It was very much so. The segment with Elizabeth Hasselback of The View, which could have had the potential to devolve into a fluff piece about her role on the show, actually featured the roll out of the now infamous God ____ America clip of Rev. Wright as the set up for Elizabeth’s commentary of her interrogation of Obama for his relationship with Wright on an episode of The View. Without sensationalizing or editorializing about Obama himself, Huckabee provided a forum for a discussion of some of the concerns that association raised. This was significant, mainly because to date, Rev. Wright has been off the table for discussion during the campaign, and the inclusion of the clip could provoke an outcry from hardcore Obama supporters.
The segment signaled two things, Huckabee will not be afraid to take on controversial subjects, and that while he will be ‘vertical’ or positive and forward looking in his commentary, he is still a conservative. This first guest spot was clearly a red meat nod to the base.
Also featured in this opening show was some substantive economic commentary by a first rate line up of guests: Alexis Glick, producer of one of the Fox business shows, David Ramsey, popular host of his own business show, and Geraldine Ferrarro, whose role was to give some congressional perspective on what might be going on behind closed doors during the bailout talks.
While there was a sense of urgency about the need of the bailout package discussed, it was with distinctly comforting overtones. Ferraro pointed out that we’ve made money on previous similar deals, Ramsey postulated that the world did not come to an end when no deal was brokered by Friday, and Glick redirected attention to the root cause of the problem which she tied to the Democrat sponsored and pushed Community Reinvestment Act. Huckabee himself proposed the stimulation of the economy via the elimination of the capital gains tax as one example of something that could be part of a non-bailout package which he is deeply opposed to.
Interspersed between segments and ads, were the audience interaction segments where audience members were able to direct questions to both Mike and the guests at different points in the program. The connectivity and authenticity of those moments are sure to be a major part of the appeal of this show, and I think those moments should be increased, even if it means cutting the length of one of the guest segments.
The creation of the Fox news house band was a stroke of genius. There is a certain appeal to seeing folks you have known in front of the camera in one capacity, in another. Especially if they actually have talent. Further, by reaching out into the Fox family and giving them a sense of ‘ownsership’ in the program, Huckabee will begin to neutralize some of the resistance that there may have been to him there in some quarters. Make no mistake, Huckabee will run for office again someday, probably for president. He’s young enough to wait 20 years if he has to, and as we have seen this election, things are so much easier when you’re not fighting the media all the way through the process.
While no details have yet surfaced about how the show did ratings wise, or in MSM commentary, feedback in the netroots has been positive where discussion has been taking place. The consensus was that an hour of Huckabee is not enough.
Following are a sample of some of the comments posted to Huckabee’s PAC blog and on other message boards around the web.
We had –actually still having–a “watch party” for Huckabee. The best description comes from a neighbor who was not a Huckabee supporter during the primary. He said it was about time there was a talk show host who was not only smart and funny but also kind. If he had known more about Mike during the primaries, he would have voted for him instead of Thompson.
Loved Huck’s new show and the first place I went was to shoot an email to Fox letting them know it was GREAT!! I also ps that the band idea, pulling folks from Fox with all different types of jobs there was pure genius!! Like America, diverse!!! Loved the question section at the beginning where Mike just answered off the cuff. He is so good at that!!! Loved the interview with Elizabeth. The bailout disucssion seemed a little rushed (everyone tried to talk too long), but other than the fact that maybe Fox needs to give Mike 2 hours instead of one, it was GREAT!!! I will be watching tomorrow night when I have folks coming over for dinner. We are having a “Huckabee” party.
Didn’t really know what to expect from the show, but I thought the whole format was very well conceived and executed. There wasn’t a moment of the show where I felt uninterested in. I like the fact that Mike lets his guests speak without interrupteing them (e.g. Hannity). The economic discussion was excellent except that I wished it had gone on a bit longer so the guests could have debated the subject a bit more in depth (darn time constraints). Wasn’t sure what to expect from the band, but they were pretty good too.
My dad and I watched the show and enjoyed it very much.
loved the question and answer part. the response to the question about barrowing from a 401 to pay off high credit bill. was one that our family had struggled with the thought of. glad to find the answer, before we made the mistake. Thanks.
Almost 100 comments have been posted to the pac blog thus far, and I’m sure many more will come once the Sunday night viewers get their opportunity to experience the show first hand. If you haven’t had the opportunity to catch the show, do so. The repeat showing should air at 8pm ET tonight assuming that news of a deal on the bailout doesn’t trump regular programming.
Former members of the Huckabee campaign observed to an attendee at the taping yesterday, that the show was not scheduled to begin airing until Janurary, obviously the Fox bigwigs know a cash cow when they see one. Huckabee will be very profitable for the network if his track record of maximum reward with limited investment holds true.
The full tale has yet to be told, but as a first at bat, ‘Huckabee’ definately makes a solid base hit.
Links to review commetary
If you don’t do the Paulson plan, what do you do?
There are several options. The first is to do nothing and let the economy slide into a hole. Not really a responsible option, but one that House and Senate Democrats are looking at if they can’t get enough Republican votes. Senator McCain said it best on this point:
But when he was asked by ABC News’ Ron Claiborne what he would do if the fate of the bill was in his hands, he said Senate Democrats should not use his vote as the determining factor on the success of the bill.
“This issue should be – and their vote should be determined in how we can resolve this crisis and get America going again,” McCain said. “This is a huge crisis. We know, in the words of many experts and mine, this is the greatest financial crisis since World War II. So to somehow, for the Democrats to say that their vote is going to be gauged on my vote frankly doesn’t do them a great deal of credit.
“Their first and only priority should be making sure this economy recovers and get back on our feet again,” McCain said.
True, Senator, but that whole, “country first” thing ain’t their motto. For starters, both campaigns have asked for modifications of the plan. John McCain asked that there be a bi-partisan board to oversee implement of the program, that there be a path to taxpayer recovery of the bailout money, that there will be transparency in the process as to what companies are bailed out, limits on executive compensation set at $400,000 per year for companies that are bailed out, and finally, that no earmarks get included in the bail out.
Obama’s demands are similar except he didn’t specifically raise transparency on the companies being bailed out and didn’t object to the possibility (i.e. probability) of earmarks being inserted into the bill and an insistent that the bill include help for people to stay in their homes.
If the changes Senator McCain proposes were made to the bill, I could live with it. I’m not a big fan of the Senator’s, but I do appreciate the seriousness with which he’s coming at the issue, and I think Senator Obama is closer to the right track than usual. Though, the insertion of bailing out people who are facing foreclosure is actually a bit of a poison bill. The point of the bail out is to stop the economy from having a train wreck and at $700 billion, the price tag is high enough.
Of course, there is a third option to do nothing or to letting the economy go down the tank, based on proposals from the Republican Study Committee, Mike Huckabee, and personal finance guru Dave Ramsey. We’ll call it the Huckabee-Ramsey plan as a compositie of the three ideas:
1) Suspend the Capital Gains Tax for 2 years. Yeah, it’s really expensive and will run a deficit. But guess what, it’ll be a lot less expensive. The RSC says, “By encouraging corporations to sell unwanted assets, this provision would unleash funds and materials with which to create jobs and grow the economy.” Adds Mike Huckabee, “If Congress is going to lose money, let them lose it with lower taxes, not with public dollar bailouts of private market mistakes.”
2) Authorize a temporary change to accounting rules to free the market up. Says Ramsey:
However, it (Sarbanes-Oxley) does make each company each day restate what their assets are worth if sold on the market. This accounting procedure is mark to market accounting–you need to remember that. It’s a good concept and keeps companies from having loaded balance sheets.
However, it’s part of what’s caused this in the news now. Merrill Lynch was sitting with $30 billion are tied up in sub-prime loans with houses. Stupid! They get what they deserve for doing that, and I’m with you on that. Those houses didn’t become worthless all of a sudden because those people couldn’t sell their bonds. Since they couldn’t sell them, they basically gave them away for 22 cents on the dollar. Now do you think all those houses lost 80% of their value underneath that deal? No, they didn’t, so they gave them away for 22 cents on the dollar (about $6 billion total) because there was no market for them. Nobody wants to buy sub-prime bonds because they suck. They’re junk bonds. But at 22 cents on the dollar, it’s a bargain because even if you foreclosed on every one of the houses in there, you’d probably get $20 billion back out of $30 billion, and so the company that bought those for $6 billion got a deal! But there’s no market for them. That’s where these companies are stuck. They can’t sell this stuff, but accounting-wise, they’ve had to mark it down to market and it’s frozen the marketplace.
Economist Wesberry is saying that if we change that one rule and don’t force them to market down to market and just let them hold on to all the stuff, and say just on sub-primes for this period of time you can change that rule — a temporary change — that’ll free the market up. It’s seized right now; it’s frozen. This will thaw it out and get it going again. He says that’ll solve 60% of the problem … and I think he’s right.
That one accounting rule is what made Merrill Lynch sell out. That one accounting rule is what’s driving other ones into the dirt. Would you rather let them change their accounting rule or loan them $700 billion for us to buyout their bad paper?
I think I’ll let them change the accounting rule, thanks. Huckabee goes even further and suggests a repeal of Sarbanes-Oxley, which ain’t a bad idea, but is perhaps beyond the scope of this situation. Ditto to the RSC’s proposed privatization of GSE’s
3) Cover Sub-Prime Mortgages with FHA Insurance
Again quoting Dave Ramsey:
Why don’t we just take the FHA insurance program and extend it across these sub-primes? What that means is that you and I are guaranteeing the lender that they’re not going to lose as much or any money on those mortgages. Now I don’t like guaranteeing them, but I like it better than buying them. In other words, instead of $700 billion in tax-payer debt going out there to bail out these companies, just extend the insurance out. You could probably do that for less than $40 billion. It’s like a 95% savings!
Ca-ching. With suspsending the Capital Gains Tax for 2 years and covering sub-prime mortgages with FHA insurance, even assuming it’s a Zero Sum result on the revenue base (which I doubt), this would probably end up costing less than the bail out and be better for the long-term health of the economy.
The problem is that it makes far too much sense to pass in this current Congress.