Friday, March 30, 2012

Official Endorsement: Romney (aka "Obama Light") for President 2012

I've been supporting Mitt Romney unabashedly for a couple of months now. Today, I'm giving him my formal endorsement (like he cares!).

Earlier in the contest I gave my support to the most ideologically pure candidate in the race, Ron Paul. Ok, I supported Newt for a little while, too, but forget that! Today, I'm formally switching my allegiance to Mitt Romney and asking all my conservative compatriots to do the same. What has led me to this radically "moderate" position? Nothing more or less than my deeply conservative ideals:

1. Although I believe Ron Paul is officially right about 97.8% of the time, and I support his libertarian fidelity to the US Constitution wholeheartedly, I don't believe he has the leadership skills to build a meaningful consensus for his ideas that would allow him to govern effectively and move national policy forward in a more conservative way. In fact, I can see a potential reversal of fortunes in 4 years if he were somehow elected. See my earlier blog post on this topic to learn more. Further, it's clear at this point that Paul has no chance of winning the nod. It's time to unite against Obama and the Democrats around the winner, as a matter of practical political strategy.

2. The most damaging influences on the current and future economy and our libertarian way of life in the US are the crushing debt, overreaching regulation, and out of control spending in Washington--especially on entitlements. The Federal Government has become too large and too unaccountable to manage. There is little political will on Capitol Hill to rein it in; yet if we fail to do so, our way of life will certainly come to an end.

Mitt Romney has consistently demonstrated a passionate commitment to individual and states rights and responsibility--and to using the FREE MARKET to solve economic and social problems, not by confiscating the wealth of the people through a top-down, dictatorial Federal bureaucracy. Mitt will facilitate economic growth by creating a regulatory environment that empowers individuals and businesses to pursue their self-interest to the benefit of all. That's conservative.

3. Mitt Romney is a proven LEADER and problem solver. He has been able, like perhaps no other recent politician in America, to reform and repair failing institutions and policies in both business and government, by reaching across ideological boundaries and building coalitions to achieve the right ends with integrity, transparency, and win/win solutions based on conservative principles.

He has also proven he can make tough, sometimes unpopular decisions in order to achieve the right result for the largest number of people. He has successfully repaired broken businesses and returned them to profitability and growth, has turned a state deficit into a surplus, turned a bankrupt and scandal-ridden Olympics into a proud and profitable international triumph on the heels of the 911 downturn, and created over 100,000 jobs directly; possibly millions indirectly. And yes, he devised a market driven healthcare reform solution for MA that empowered consumers, created more choice, not less, did NOT raise taxes, and placed RESPONSIBILITY for care on those receiving care. Though I'm not fond of the mandate, I understand it, as did the Heritage Foundation, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich, among countless others at the time. This solution had broad bi-partisan support and despite numerous recent changes that Mitt would NOT have supported, is still very popular with the majority of the people in liberal Massachusetts. Mitt also used the VETO pen over 800 times in his state, to keep his heavily Democratic legislature in check.

4. Mitt Romney is a man of intelligence, reason, and sound character with a strong spiritual core. He's a person in whom we, the people, can have confidence. Were he the person of vacillating values and principles that his political adversaries portray, he could never have achieved what he has in his personal, business, and political lives. As one who shares his "peculiar" religious faith and who has worked closely with several ecclesiastical leaders therein, I know something of the depth of his commitment to Christian service; the personal care and concern he's undoubtedly shown to families in financial crisis, divorce, crises of faith, health challenges, death, and probably out-of-wedlock pregnancies and adoptions. Anything but aloof and impersonal, Mitt Romney is invariably described by those close to him as a deeply caring, cheerful, supportive, and helpful person--both empathetic and strong--both anchor and rudder. He has shown a lifetime of fidelity to faith, family, and country that projects a solid core of values upon which this nation can rely.

5. Mitt can win. I am a pragmatic conservative. While his competitors like to remind us that Mitt has failed to gain majority support among GOP Primary voters, they conveniently "forget" that their respective failures to do so are far more extreme. (See Election By the Numbers here.) They "blame" Mitt's organization and finances for his success, but aren't those the very virtues we'll need to beat Obama? And don't we want a candidate who has proven he can organize a winning campaign--or a winning SOMETHING--before we thrust him into the Oval Office? Mitt runs neck 'n neck with the President in poll after poll, sometimes edging him out and sometimes falling a point or two short, but almost always at least within the margin of error; and that's without ANY campaigning directly against Obama, and under constant bashing from the right and the left. Virtually "everyone" sees Mitt as the most electable GOP candidate, and were he to win the nomination, he'd make Obama look like an ignorant, inexperienced, petulant child.

6. Mitt proclaims a message of genuine hope and confidence in the American spirit, libertarian philosophy, and our "rugged individualist" way of life. He speaks of restoring this nation to her former greatness--not through any "BIG IDEAS" of governance, but by returning the power and responsibility for the future legacy of America to We the People, on the proven Constitutional principles that made us who we are. That IS the essence of America and the experiment in liberty that we represent. It's also pure conservatism.

Dubbed "Obama Light" by his political foes, I endorse Mitt Romney for President in 2012. But the monicker is a misnomer. Mitt's record is as stark a contrast to Barack Obama's as anyone in the field with the possible exception of Ron Paul. That makes him far more electable; and that's as rational as it gets.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

BruceNotes March 29th - By the Numbers, Waters, Obamacare & More

Maxine Waters Spills
I couldn't help but LMArmO this morning when I heard a clip of Maxine Waters saying, in the same breath, "There are too many unanswered questions [to rush to judgment] and I personally believe this is a hate crime," in an interview about the Treyvon Martin case.

Don't get me wrong, I'm taking no "political" position on this tragic case. A 17 year old kid is dead--completely unnecessarily, as far as I can tell. That's enough to make it a seriously damned shame no matter what the circumstances that resulted in Martin's demise. A young life representing all the promise of tomorrow, regardless of the past, has been cut down prematurely.

But it's inexcusable for ANYONE to trade on this horrible mishap for the express purpose of stirring up racial division as Waters, Sharpton, Jackson, the New Black Panthers, and others are doing. Worse, they were doing it before almost any of the facts were in. And now that it's clear that the story is not so "black and white," they seem to be hardening their position, instead of softening it, when the right thing to do for Treyvon, his family, and the larger picture of race relations in America, is to reserve judgment until all the obtainable facts are in.

I continue to be amazed at how archaic the view of these radical racial activists. You'd think we were still living in the sixties. They all seem to yearn for the 'good ole days' of Malcom X and Martin Luther King, despite the fact that thanks largely to those icons' efforts, the bulk of the country has long since left those old racial divisions behind. And that's rational!

Election by the Numbers - Two Can Play This Game
I admit to being pretty fed up with the Romney/Anti-Romney paradigm in the GOP Primary. Newt and Ricky keep sounding the drum that Romney has failed to get a majority of the vote--that over half the GOP electorate want someone else.

Well have they bothered to run those numbers on their own campaigns?! Here's how the delegats  stack up at this point in time:

Romney: 565 Delegates out of 1028. That's 55% for Romney, 45% for Not Romney (a clear majority!)
Santorum: 256 Delegates out of 1028. That's 25% for Ricky, 75% for Not Ricky (halfway to 2nd base)
Gingrich: 141 Delegates out of 1028. That's 14% for Newt, 86% for Not Newt (not even on the field)
Paul: 66 Delegates out of 1028. That's 6% for Ron Paul, 94% for Not Paul. (completely outa town)

Popular vote totals are a bit tighter, but here's how it looks right now:

Romney: 4,127,917;  Not Romney: 6,142,300; Total: 10,270,217; Romney 40% Not Romney 60%
Santorum: 2,850,546 Not Santorum: 7,419,671 Total: 10,270,217; Santorum 28% Not Santorum 72%
Gingrich: 2,212,001; Not Gingrich: 8,058,216; Total: 10,270,217; Gingrich 22% Not Gingrich 78%
Paul: 1,079,753; Not Paul: 9,190,464; Total: 10,270,217; Paul 11% Not Paul 89%

So after all this time, 72% of the voters want someone other than Santorum. Almost 80% want someone besides Gingrich (and he's been making the "not-Romney" noise the loudest). And about 90% of Republican Primary voters want someone other than Paul.

Although Romney has yet to gain a majority of the popular vote, he is clearly the candidate of choice for the largest plurality of voters and has a shorter distance to go to gain majority status, than Santorum currently has to reach Romney's present 40% endorsement. So let's stop playing games. Whether you love it or not, Mitt is the MAN. Let's get behind our guy and BEAT OBAMA to save this nation. That IS rational!

Obamacare...Don't Count Your Chickens...
The US Supreme Court appears to be poised to shoot down Obamacare. But I'm only cautiously optimistic. In America, nothing is that cut and dried. Yesterday, Justice Ginsberg and others seemed hell bent on preserving whatever they can of the embattled legislation, in the event the mandate, the primary funding organ for the law, is struck down. She framed it as a "wrecking ball vs. salvage operation." And clearly, she prefers the latter.

I had occasion to read a couple of additional sections of the so-called "Affordable Care Act" yesterday. Practically every line gives me new strains of agida! There's language in there that prevents private citizens from being self-insured, limits the amount of money you can put in an HSA, disallows some people from getting catastrophic insurance, and requires that catastrophic insurance includes co-pays for doctor visits which will necessarily drive up costs. And that's all on ONE PAGE! This thing is a HUGE federal micromanagement of every conceivable aspect of healthcare in America. And it's a bloody disaster waiting to happen. But what a boon for attorneys!

There is NO rational reason to salvage any of this intact. But the Court is likely to try. It's doubtful that we've seen the end of Obamacare. Even if the mandate loses and the law is dismantled, there's still plenty of fighting ahead.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

BruceNotes March 27th - Glass Acts and Throwing Stones

People in bullet-proof, tempered glass houses in elite political positions apparently get to throw stones. Monday was a day of open blinds on the class and character of two of our more imperialistic Presidential candidates:  Rick Santorum and President Barack Obama.

Ricky Boy had yet another side of his core Christian character on display as he broke out the potty mouth with a NY Times reporter. In the tradition of Jeremiah Wright and Joe Biden, it was one of his more "presidential" moments. (ahem) Interestingly enough, instead of apologizing or expressing regret for allowing himself to be baited and losing his cool--using language unbecoming of both a shirt-sleeve Christian and of a US Presidential hopeful, Santorum chose to laugh it off and justify his coarse behavior since, after all, it was just a NY Times reporter and they apparently don't deserve the common decency and respect of other human beings. Does this say anything to anyone else about the character and decorum of the man? How's he going to explain this to his home-schooled Christian kids?!

PBO (pronounced PEE-BOE for President Barack Obama) gave us a glimpse into his duplicitous soul yesterday, as well, when in a presumed private moment, he assured a top Russian official, that after his re-election, he'll be far more "flexible" in negotiating issues like missile defense, embargoes, nuclear proliferation, and other matters with Vladimir Putin.

He speaks the truth! Without the political constraints of having to be reelected, PBO will be less accountable to the people than ever. Given what he's managed to accomplish in his first term in the march towards "transforming" America into a Euro-socialist autocracy, one can hardly imagine what horrors an unaccountable 2nd term might have in store. Keep a close eye on this campaign, and there's no telling what you might see when the candidates pull back the curtains for a momentary glimpse.

Another example of Obama's can't-help-myself transparency would be Barack's surreptitious yet shameless race baiting in the Treyvon Martin case when he craftily referred to Treyvon with this racially tainted comment: "If I had a son, he'd look like Treyvon." In a vacuum, the comment might be innocent enough. But in a context of racial tension spurred by the case, the New Black Panthers putting a bounty on Zimmerman's head, and frankly, Obama's history of close association with radical racist activists like Jeremiah Wright, and his similar rush to judgment in the Cowley-Gates incident in MA, the comment is layered with subtext that opens a window to Obama's racially tinged "social justice" ideology. Clearly, the president was suggesting that 'if he (Martin) didn't look like he could be Barack's son (black) this incident would likely not have occurred.' That's a profoundly divisive complaint coming from the first black American to be elected POTUS through a distinctively united "rainbow" coalition of voters in 2008. But I guess Obama just can't help letting his true colors shine through.

Friday, March 23, 2012

BruceNotes March 23rd - Did They Really Say That?!

I'd be rolling in the aisle with laughter if it weren't so totally pathetic. Both Rick Santorum and the messianic O-Brother have astounded even me in the last 24 hours with their two-faced rhetoric and blatant lies.

Let's take on the President first. I seriously almost fell off my chair yesterday when I heard him boasting about fast-tracking the Oklahoma-to-Texas leg of the Keystone Pipeline. Really! Finally, after 3 years of nothing but barriers to energy self-sufficiency Obama is going to "cut through the red tape, break through the bureaucratic hurdles, and make this project a priority, to go ahead and get it done."
WHAAAAT?! The Big O apparently thinks the collective electorate has less between their ears than the quantity symbolized by the first letter of his last name. First: Where did all that red tape and those bureaucratic hurdles come from? Second: Didn't you just slam the door on this project a few weeks ago? Third: This leg of the pipeline doesn't require Executive approval and construction was already set to begin in June. The project was moving forward in spite of him--not because of him. This is a photo-op and propaganda piece--nothing more!

But here's where it gets really greasy: Brother Barack has been arguing for months, if not years, that increasing US production will have no effect on oil or gasoline prices. He argues (out of the other side of his mouth) that since we have only 2% of the world's supply (a blatant lie)   and consume 20% of production, we can never be "self-sufficient" so why try? Furthermore, his energy czar has actually voiced the administration's intention to raise the cost of carbon-based energy in order to create a market for so-called "green" or renewable energy alternatives.

He's also whining that those nasty Republicans were pushing him to make a decision on the pipeline too fast; that 3 years of review is not enough time for his legions of highly-paid czars and bureaucrats to figure out if it's safe. OK. Why the big show about backing this project now, all of a sudden? Why not take a few more years to mull it over--since it won't affect anything anyway. We're already exporting "surplus" oil!  

Unfortunately for the Prez, prices are skyrocketing, and unlike his predecessor, the BIG O has done ZERO to stem the tide and now he's takin' it on the chin. Drilling permits are down on public lands, the moratorium devastated production in the Gulf, off-shore permits are down. Despite his sarcastic protestations to the contrary, BO has maintained an anti-fossil fuel energy policy and now, it's crushing him. So in perhaps the most transparently disingenuous flip-flop in history, the Bamster is suddenly trying to sell himself as the American oil Sheikh. What a joke!

Sore Loser Santorum Turns on GOP
Now to our boy Ricky showing his true colors. Santorum suggested that if you're gonna vote for Mitt you might as well vote for Obama. Really Ricky?! After a Romney aide made a comment about "resetting" the campaign post-nomination, sorta like an Etch a Sketch, Santorum and Gingrich gave the liberal media grist for their anti-Romney mill by joining with  Democrats to make it mean Romney could not be counted on to govern as a conservative. Santorum: "If you're going to be a little different, we might as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk with what may be the Etch-A-Sketch candidate of the future." Well ok, Mr. Conservative! You vote for Obama. Just like you supported Arlen Specter. Not very rational, but perhaps that WOULD be par for the course.  

Thursday, March 22, 2012

BruceNotes March 22nd - The End of America

I had a recent online conversation with a friend-of-a-friend who doesn't seem to share my concern that the current state of our union has put us all in economic and political peril. I admit to being something of an alarmist (albeit a RATIONAL one, of course!). I have been pushing back, in my own way, against constantly encroaching statism at the federal level for close to 40 years now.

But my new friend gives voice to the sentiment that worries me most of all. Says he: “ We will all be fine, we are AMERICANS and we will survive to the end of days..." Here is my answer to him and all who share this sentiment.

I think you need a strong dose of reality. We are currently $15 TRILLION in debt--about $45K for each man, woman and child in America. That's MORE than the per capita debt of Greece! And look what's happening there. CBO says Obamacare is now almost 2x the original price estimate (over $1.7 Trillion). I predict the reality will be much worse if it's not repealed. All that without mentioning the roughly $61 to $118 TRILLION more in unfunded liabilities that your children and grandchildren will be responsible for. Today, if I'm not mistaken, there are less than 4 people paying for the SS benefits of each recipient and with baby boomers starting to draw, that will likely fall to less than 2 within a decade. Medicaid and Medicare are in disrepair and will soon be bankrupt as well. Your kids will have to pay for that, too.

Inflation, the hidden tax, is devaluing your dollars and for the first time, your kids will likely have lower incomes, or at least lower buying power than you. They will be working harder for less, sending more money to the central government and depending on more government handouts in order to survive. That all equals less personal liberty, as well.

When a grownup finally gets into the White House, supposing one does, the austerity measures will have tax dependents and unions rioting in the streets—as they currently are in Greece, Great Britain, and elsewhere.

I would resist the temptation to hide my head in the sand and assume it can't happen here. This train is headed for a cliff and Obama is bearing down on the throttle. It's probably too late to avoid all the collateral damage, but if someone doesn't put on the brakes and throw it into reverse, this nation, certainly as you and I have known it, is over. I appeal to your inner sense of reason--and your gut. You know what I'm saying is true. PLEASE...Don't vote for Obama and do everything in your power to make sure no one you know does either. It will be your greatest gift to America.

To my friend's protestations, I later added this post-script:  No one said we won't survive. But without a serious change of course, some very difficult times lie ahead. Look, this is not all Obama's fault. He's just accelerating the process by design. It's the result of decades of non-stop growth, usurpation, and increased dependency on the the Federal government. But if you can't look at what's happening in Europe and concede that we're on the exact same path that got them into the mess they're in, and that even we, the indomitable US of A will be there too--soon, if we don't stop our reckless spending and entitlement ways, you are simply in denial. What do you think this recession is all about? I thank Obama for helping to wake some Americans up to the peril of our times. But it sometimes amazes me how many choose to remain asleep.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

BruceNotes March 21st - Obama's convenient lie, Mitt's Victory, and more

I'm adding these "Cliff Note commentaries" as a new feature to the blog so you can get my running thoughts on the news of the day and share in some of the dialog I'm having with others.

Obama the "Prevaricator in Chief." As far as I can tell from his site, Obama stakes his claim of falling dependence on foreign oil on what appears to be falling demand. 'We're using less, therefore, we're importing less, therefore we're less dependent.' But dependence isn't a function of consumption, it's a function of source of supply. Best I can tell, we're still importing about 60% of our oil--more than twice the level of 30 years ago. Lower consumption is NOT good news. It's merely a reflection of the sluggish economy--Job One--that this President has failed to effectively address. Domestic production is up on private lands, but that's no thanks to Obama who is approving permits for drilling off shore and on federal lands at historically low levels. American oil EXPORTS are up as well, along with domestic gasoline prices.

Why are prices up despite falling demand and increasing supply? Ask Obama. But don't ignore the other hallmarks of the regime's energy policy; Solyndra and other corrupt and losing "green energy investments;" A confused and inconsistent Middle East policy, denial of the Keystone Pipleline, increasing regulation, and Obama Energy Czar's stated objective to push US prices towards European levels of $8-$10 a gallon. It's time for this guy to go. And that's rational!

See for yourself:

Mitt Gains Momentum in Illinois -  The blogosphere is alive with conservative capitulators acknowledging that Mitt is on an inevitable roll to the nomination and that it's time to stop the infighting and consolidate support around the candidate. Perhaps none is more significant than the grassroots Freedomworks tea party organization which has turned off its opposition and turned on a tacit endorsement of the frontrunner. See Washington Times. Notable about the inside numbers in the Romney victory last night is that Mitt beat his top challenger in virtually every category including conservatives (47 to 39), Tea Party Supporters (47 to 36), Protestants (45 to 38), Catholics (53 to 30), and regular churchgoers generally (44 to 39). (CNN Election Center) Mitt has also picked up the endorsement of Jeb Bush and the Chicago Tribune. The numbers seem to reinforce my weeks-old observation that Santorum would not benefit disproportionally from Gingrich's exit from the race--at least not in middle America. Gingrich is down and out and Romney is still increasing his lead. Louisiana will be tight, but once the south is settled, it's on, on to victory.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Fed Up With SanGingrich the Phoney Baloney Two-Headed Conservative

Call them Gingtorum if you prefer. Or Santorich; The so-called anti-Romney or "true conservative" candidate. Gingrich and Santorum, the Siamese-twin spoilers of the Republican race. This dubious duo is running a singular race on no greater substance than NOT being Romney. But of course, both were FOR Romney before they were against him (see 2008). In the process, they're trashing the Republican brand and making it infinitely more difficult to beat Obama this fall--a cause that should be as much of a slam dunk as Dorothy vs. the Wicked Witch.
Here's what bugs me about these guys. Santorum, to whom I have to give due credit for capturing the support he has despite his pathetic lack of organization, money, and charisma, somehow thinks that if Gingrich were just out of the race, he'd consolidate the conservative vote and sail to victory on a song.
Well, everyone is entitled to their fantasies. But as I pointed out in my recent blog article, Gingrich actually takes at least as much from Romney as he does from Ricky because, like Mitt, he tends to appeal to a more affluent, better educated, voter. Santorum's strength is with a blue collar, less educated, perhaps more religiously fervent follower. That's great in the deep south and rust belt states, but it's not likely to serve him well in the more metropolitan areas or in the general election. We'll see Mitt surge strongly in the winner-take-all Northeast in a couple of weeks.

Moreover, Santorum claims to be the only genuine conservative in the race. Well I suppose that depends on how you define the term. If it means you wear your religion on your shirt sleeve and champion family values, (most of which I happen to agree with, by the way), then, maybe so. But if it means you're NOT a Washington insider, that you aren't a big government spender, and that you don't believe the Federal Government should be in the business of subsidizing ANYONE, or of picking winners and losers, or of compromising on your core principles, well then, Rick "sometimes you've gotta go against your principles and take one for the team" Santorum is anything BUT!

Isn't it ironic that Santorum once called Romney a "true conservative," once supported the healthcare mandate, No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, and five debt ceiling increases?

Now to Newt. Granted, the guy is brilliant. But he also has an ego the size of a solar system. He really believes he's the ONLY one that can go head to head with Obama in a debate and win!? Imagine that! Ok, Obama's great with a teleprompter. But when he has to start defending his abysmal record as President--well, my 4 foot 11 inch Grandma Matthews could whip his as*. Without even showing up at the debate!

Newt does have some big ideas. And a few of them are even good ones. And give him credit--his performance in the mid-90s in reining in spending, reforming welfare, and the whole Contract with America thing, deserve the admiration and appreciation of Conservatives everywhere. But what's he done for us lately? He, too, supported the healthcare mandate. He shared the park bench with Nancy Pelosi on global warming and cap 'n trade, he LOVES Franklin Roosevelt, and thinks the Federal Government should do "BIG THINGS." He's a political opportunist who cashed in on the Fannie/Freddie mortgage debacle and who, more than anything else, wants to make his own giant mark on the history books he loves so much. See, with Newt, it's all about Newt. That's a giant red flag--it's dangerous in a President. So a "pure conservative" he's not. He IS, however a hothead reactionary who is only staying in the race today because of his personal animosity towards Romney--or because he thinks he can make history by pushing this nomination to Convention in August. Is that who we want for President?

Both of these guys constantly whine that Romney's no good because he can't garner more than 30 or 40% support. BUT THEY CONSISTENTLY GET EVEN LESS! How do you argue you're better than the competition that's cleaning your clock? Even when they win, for the most part, they squeak it out by a few points. The pundits keep saying, "Romney can't get over the top, he can't put it away, they keep coming back." Maybe so. Maybe people are still uncertain about Mitt. But en masse, they're even more uncertain about the anti-Mitts. If it were not so, Romney wouldn't be winning.

Finally, Mitt is constantly badgered by these guys because of the money he spends and the "unfair advantage" of his extensive organization. Don't we WANT a candidate who has the organizational skills and the financial support to actually mount a consistent and effective campaign--even a negative campaign against Obama? Santorum has only half-qualified in Illinois. Newt and Rick both failed to get on the ballot at all in Virginia! What's up widdat?

There's a reason. Neither of these guys have actually run ANYTHING in their lives. Do you seriously want their first executive chair to be sitting in the Oval Office? We've been there and done that. It's not working out so well. Mitt Romney is, if nothing else, a consummate executive and problem solver. It doesn't hurt that he's also a man of character and a principled conservative. That's what I want.

You do the math. San-tearup will have to win 69% of the remaining delegates to reach the coveted 1144 mark. Ging-grouch would have to get 78%.  Neither of them have a prayer of doing that (despite their respective claims to spiritual superiority). Let's stop wasting time and money on the twin towers of defeat, and get behind the one guy who can put Obama away and get this nation back on course; Mitt Romney. Now that's rational.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Gingrich's New Gas Bag

Newt Gingrich has come up with a marketing mantra that's almost as compelling as Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan and equally inconsequential. It's called the $2.50 a gallon gasoline promise.

It's an idea that the masses can easily rally around and it explains why Gingrich's hot air balloon is rising again--a little. But if this kind of exhaust is the stuff of all of Newt's "BIG BOLD IDEAS," the best we can hope for if he were elected (fat chance!) is a few more years of Washington breaking wind and all the stench that goes with it while our problems continue to balloon under his blowhardship.

After all, how much direct control does the President have over the price of a gallon of gas or of anything else, for that matter? The truth is, not much. Gas prices, like other commodities are a function of an array of variables--supply and demand, global stability, speculation, refining capacity, product research, development, extraction, and distribution costs, governmental regulation at every level, taxation, even climactic influences, competition, the whims of OPEC and much more.

While the President can influence some of these factors to a small degree, he can no more guarantee a particular price point, like $2.50 a gallon, than Obama could truthfully guarantee that his stimulus would prevent unemployment from topping 8%, or that his healthcare takeover would cost less than a trillion dollars. And we know how well those worked out. Yet somehow, some voters seem as excited to suck up this political flatulence as any kid sucking on a helium balloon--to much the same effect.

The truth is, Newt has no secret sauce to bring down the price of gas. Good energy policy should help; more drilling, the Keystone pipeline, a stable, streamlined regulatory environment, increased refinery capacity, a sound Middle East policy will all help to create energy security for the US and put downward pressure on price. But all the Republican candidates have promised a similar pro-energy approach, so Newt's $2.50 promise is just a clever way of marketing the idea to voters.

Kudos to him for his marketing coups, but let's not get carried away. It won't make him a better President. It's NOT a "BIG IDEA," he's not uniquely capable of bringing it about, and he's definitely not our best bet to beat the guy whose policies are helping to push the price of gas skyward right now. At the end of the day, this is a disingenuous political gimmick--an empty, meaningless promise. More succinctly, a lie. But of course, in Gingrich's view, Mitt is the only prevaricator in this race. So what's that make Newt? You decide. Rationally.