Sunday, February 26, 2012

Is it time for a national caucus?

   Obama is massively ahead, even in the polls I trust. It’s hard to imagine because he has been the worst president of my life time, brutally partisan and blatantly dishonest. This guy has gotten everything he has wanted even with a GOP controlled House. The House picks a fight, but inevitably yields. Obama has in four years added five trillion to the deficit, when Bust did that in an eight year time frame Obama questioned Bush’s patriotism… Ironically I agreed with Obama back then, but now he has made things so much worse, but fear of another 1994 has kept the Republicans in check, and being in check will likely create another 1994 as the mood of the public is different now than it was then. We put our trust in the Tea Party to stop Obama’s reckless spending and their fear of Obama overwhelmed them and they did nothing to stop this train wreck.
   We’re told that the GOP needs the Senate and the White House now, but the presumptive nominee (Romney) has aids going around saying they won’t really repeal Obamacare, the big conservative challenger (Santorum) is good on social issues, but that is all he can talk about. I still don’t know where he is on economic issues, is he a Keynesian, or a Hayekite? Would he consider himself a modern economist or an Austrian economist like myself? I simply don’t know. I know Ron Paul is a fellow Austrian Economist, but his stance on foreign policy frightens many of the base Conservatives who would otherwise agree with him on domestic matters, so his odds of becoming the candidate are slim. Then there’s the matter of Newt Gingrich. I used to really admire him in spite of his eccentrics. He is a brilliant man with a lot of good ideas that would save the government money by modernizing it, but then he responded to Romney’s CPACS negative ads with what came off like an attack on capitalism. Further research into Bain Capital revealed that the company had about a 30% failure rate which resulted in lost jobs, but that would mean that they succeeded and created jobs 70% of the time, and the more that Gingrich has kept with this line of attack the more like President Obama he has started to sound.

   Romeny’s record as governor deserves scrutiny because it’s not a conservative record, Gingrich and Romney have both described themselves as Progressives, and both have held positions which are an anathema to the conservative movement. Moreover the over all nastiness of these primaries has caused us a great deal of grief, and the longer this goes on the less participation we’re seeing as turn out is at record lows in most states. 

   The fight is gone from the Tea Party, though the hardcore will get defensive it is the reality. A number of groups have disbanded and a lot of local delegates have become disinterested even hostile toward candidates and their volunteers because they no longer feel that they can make a difference. They expected to be attacked by the left, but when the establishment decided it was more important to beat the Tea Party than it was to beat Obama it killed the party base’s morale. On the whole the energy we had in 2010 that is needed for victory is not there now and to top it off Utah’s Neighborhood Caucus System is under assault with Kirk Jowers and former Governor Walker alleging the system has been hijacked by “nut cases.” (Walker was ousted at Convention for that “Right Wing Nut Case” John Huntsman Jr. That, by the way is massive sarcasm quotes. Huntsman was a moderate at best and that is being nice.)

   By now Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich have so stained each other that both will have a hard time being taken seriously in the general. Rassmusen Polls recently had Obama ahead of Romney by almost double digits where he had been leading earlier, and let’s face it the unemployment numbers are not good enough, even skewed since it’s not the real unemployment numbers (U6) but only a count of those actively on unemployment insurance (U3). Also consider that the labor force participation is down by over a million and that is the real reason unemployment is dropping. People aren’t stupid, other factors have to be considered.

   Primary supporters claim primaries are a great way to vet candidates, but the reality is that they tend to serve as a mechanism for smearing and destroying our candidates so that the Democrats don’t have to. Again look at the turn out rates as our current national system has progressed. The longer this goes on the more depressed turn out is, and it’s largely because of the negativity which is turning people off. People can’t stomach it, and it’s turning people off.

   Utah’s system presents a great alternative, and other states that employ similar caucus systems can attest to it, notice this last week where Santorum won three States (albeit no delegates) but there was little to no negativity over the national air ways. These caucuses were actually pretty quiet. That’s not to say that the negativity doesn’t happen, but it’s usually not tolerated by the delegates. While the media who used to bash former Senator Bennett as a “Neo Con” bemoans that Bennett was booed and mistreated, allegedly, by the oh-so evil and radical nut cases who hijacked Utah’s caucus system (again I am being snarky) the reality is much different. A small handful of people booed Bennett, I know, I was there and I didn’t hear any booing where I was standing in the back. My wife (who is a delegate and not as far to the right as I openly admit to being and supported Moderate Tim Bridgewater) was more toward the front and she didn’t hear very many people booing and at least one person who sat behind her wasn’t even a delegate.

   The real negative campaigners in that Senate race were squashed early on, and had we been a caucus only system the moderate (Tim Bridgewater) would have won that night, he was quite a bit ahead of Conservative Mike Lee (my pick), so the idea that the Caucus system has been hijacked by right wing extremists is laughable. But Mike Lee and Tim Bridgewater would go on to a primary, the primary got very nasty very quickly and while we had record participation at caucus and convention after months of negative adds we had a record low in the turn out for the primary. Kirk Jowers being the “genius” (sarcasm again) that he is decided that it was because of the convention system. Unlike Jowers I actually talk to people who are not rich snobby elitists. I called my delegates, I talked to neighbors. They ALL told me it was the negative ads that turned them off. Though my prescient went to Moderate Tim Bridgewater Conservative Mike Lee would go on to win the primary.

   Adding to this you now have Howard Dean (D) running around telling people we need to do away with Primaries because Primaries draw out the nut cases… Somehow he missed the memo that he’s the king nut case but that’s okay…

   Contrast that to Morgan Philpot’s race against Neil Walter. Neither one went negative against each other and Morgan is one of these “no labels/big tent” guys, and an energetic and brilliant futurist whose optimism I greatly admire. Walter merely failed to have the kind of energy that Morgan had, but even with that he only barely lost at convention which allowed Morgan to proceed to the general without having to have his name dragged through the mud. Morgan didn’t have much money to begin with, and barely lost to Matheson’s multi-million dollar Soros funded war chest. Even with that the only negativity in that race was Matheson’s falsely accusing Morgan of Tax evasion. Morgan only addressed Matheson’s checkered record, which is a compare and contrast and not smearing.

   Other Convention winners, including Gov. Herbert (who is considered moderate by most but we then strongly supported in large margins and many still do) walked away from Convention without having his name smeared by his fellows in full view of the general public. The Democrats in each of these races were forced to do their own (usually sloppy) opposition research and the negative campaign that Peter Caroon (D) ran against Herbert (R) caused his political career to implode. Herbert won in a landslide.

   If Obama had to do his own opposition research he would fumble like Caroon did, he is even more of a radical and extreamist than Caroon was. He is becoming more and more belligerent, behaving more like a dictator, toss in an opponent that he doesn’t know well and watch his squirm as he desperately tosses every crazy and false accusation he can hoping something sticks and making himself look the fool in the process. Sadly we’ve done that to each other in these primaries and now Obama won’t have to. Assuming anyone even turns up to vote. This race was ours to loose and thanks to the primary process we’ve likely already lost it.

   I agree with Jowers that it’s time for a change, but having experienced both caucuses and primaries I am of the opinion that the change to make is to have the entire nation adapt Utah’s Caucus system. Neighborhoods would meet together and select a representative who will then get to know the candidates personally and report back to their neighbors. Then the delegates will support the candidates they like best and hold a convention where the candidates are chosen. No need for negative ads, just retail politics. And I’m sorry, but you would have to be nuts to assume that every neighborhood in Utah sent a nut case to Convention. The reality is that this system creates a path where we can get candidates to the ballot without those candidates being publically dragged through the mud by our own.

   I don’t know about you, but I would love to see Obama frantic the way that Caroon was, wouldn’t you? But when we’ve publically “vetted” our own candidates beyond viability what does he have to worry about? 

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