And Then There Were Four



Conservatives find their voice: Romney is unacceptable



No one is in the upper right quadrant, the best place to be

There have been three primaries since I last posted about the 2012 race for the U.S. presidency. The weakest candidates have dropped out (Bachmann, Huntsman and Perry). The four remaining candidates are pretty much where they were three weeks ago. None of them have improved their electability or acceptance scores very much. Neither has Obama, who continues to have high disapproval poll ratings despite some moderate economic improvement. The primary has just begun with only a handful of delegates set aside. The campaign promises a frisky, contentious year full surges and pull-backs. It will be quite exciting.

GOP party elites are dancing with a dilemma: should they continue supporting the most ‘electable’ candidate (Real) or the one who can best connect with the voters (Win)? Up until now, they thought ‘electability’ was enough. Romney had been preparing for four years, laying down an army of supporters. So what if he’s bland?  People will vote for a rock if they think it can beat Obama in the national election.

It turns out they were wrong. ‘Not-Romney’ got more votes in each state, every time. Their man on the pedestal only took one of the three primaries. Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich, a man who causes internal bleeding in GOP aristocrats and this week’s leading Not-Romney, blazes ahead of Morose Mitt. Why? Because Gingrich connects with people and his passion touches an anger inside their hearts. Likewise, Santorum outshone Romney in Iowa with his common man message. Romney looks more like Thurston Howell.

So, GOP leaders, what’s it going to be? Continue to support Mitt, but send him to Wal-Mart to observe proles? Put an arm around Newt and douse him with Ritalin when he’s in the public eye? Or send some money to Santorum, the one candidate who seems human and not neurotic? Your current strategy isn’t working.


My thoughts on the candidates:


  • Bachmann never stood a chance: she lacked relevant experience and her presence annoyed most people despite her conviction and intelligence. Huntsman never connected with normals and his accomplishments were mostly invisible to them. Perry, the strongest candidate (and the one I thought best suited to run) started too late. I hope Perry tries again in 2016.

  • Gingrich just cannot stay knocked down. The press wrote him off several times after he self-wounded his campaign for the presidency. But oh, can he give a good debate! And his speeches this summer were stirring. Gingrich has high potential on the Win score if he can control himself and gain strength (Real) to dethrone The One Who Calms The Oceans.

    A caution: Gingrich is also a big black testosterone cloud that shoots blue lighting. Are voters flocking to him because he blasts media creatures like George Stephanopolous? Are they hoping he gets a few good ones on Obama’s upturned nose? With Newt Gingrich, you get revenge. That’s guaranteed. Is he a leader?

  • Santorum has done very well in the recent debates. He barely pulled ahead of Romney in Iowa. Although he is not the Comeback Kid like Gingrich is, Santorum has steadily improved his position. Of all the candidates, he is the only one who connects with regular people. Santorum comes from immigrant  background. Unlike Romney, he knows how ordinary people live and the pressures they face. Santorum seems to like people.

    Santorum is the impoverished candidate. He needs funds and highly-placed friends to stay in the race much longer. He also has made some bad decisions (Arlen Specter, union support … illegal immigration). Santorum has some baggage, though not the full-sized steamer trunks Romney has.

  • Ron Paul has been a consistent player, although never on the highest pedestal. In many ways he is like Romney with lots of campaign ‘oomf.’ But Paul connects with with Paul People. I don’t see him as a serious candidate for regular voters. Ron Paul has very little experience and few accomplishments in his thirty years in government.

  • Mitt Romney? He’s Poppy Bush but tainted Massachusetts Blue. ‘RomneyCare’ is reappearing in the race again. Voters don’t buy his message that he is the most “electable.” Is “most likely to beat Obama” just campaign spin? Is Mitt Romney’s image merely generated? Is he sincere? These are not helpful questions but voters are now asking them.

  • And there there is Barak Obama, the man with a -17% approval rating. America is ignoring him right now: all the attention is on the GOP race. Even so, his failed promises and the weak economy are holding his numbers down. When he speaks or when he just does something, his numbers plummet.

    Honestly, I can see any of the GOP candidates prevail against Obama, even Romney.

    It should be easy to push over a statue, especially with feet of clay.




Health Care Reform, One Little Sting At A Time




Every day a little sting
In the heart and in the head
Every move and every breath
And you hardly feel a thing
Brings a perfect little death

A Little Night Music, Steven Sondheim


Last month Congressional Democrats passed an unwanted health care reform bill and  Barack Obama signed it into law. They created and pushed this “reform” ‘ despite the objections of most of their constituents.

Americans know the bill is a fiscal sham, and for those of us who already have health care insurance, we expect our quality of care to decline and costs to rise. Insured working people will  face a slow torture of little cuts —  too small to cause an uproar, almost too tiny to notice. But the pain has already started; the Body American has begun to falter. Average people are beginning to hurt.

Some recent examples from my life:

  1. My eighty-year-old parents suddenly face a big increase in their Medicare Part D costs. They take a lot of pills every day. Now their savings are diminishing faster.
  2. My employer announced, per SEC rules, a new, multi-million charge against earnings. This is caused by the health care reform tax changes for retiree coverage. Who gets hurt here?

    • At first it will be the shareholders and pension funds, perhaps YOUR pension fund or your 401K, that get less investment income. Hundreds of companies  will be paying less dividends.
    • Shortly therafter, we  can expect companies to reduce or eliminate any prior obligation to their retirees; it will be too expensive to cover them.
    • But it’s the employees at the companies who are cringing right now. We know companies never just absorb a cost, they will take it out of the bottom line by reducing hiring, or worse, current headcount. People are going to lose their jobs.
  3. Last week I had my annual physical. I had three blood tests, the same ones I get every year: PSA, TSH, and cholesterol. My cost is $189. The cost per test went up 50% and there were were new fees.  I can only guess the reason: new taxes from Obamacare and the new costs to cover the millions of new people; my HMO must raise its rates on me to pay them. I’ve decided to skip these tests from now on; I’m not spending that much money for a routine test.

  4. And yesterday I saw this at Gold’s Gym:


    Two health insurance companies were no longer subsiding a wellness program with Gold’s. These are programs that reimburse people if they attend a gym a minimum number times a month. It’s suddenly become too expensive. Many people, no doubt the elderly and overweight, will probably stop coming to the gym and may even cancel their memberships if they must pay full cost. Gold’s will  lose business or lay off employees  to keep a profitable bottom line.


No one has died from ObamaCare. Yet. That will take years. Just some bruises and cuts for years to come.

And we will weaken, tire and fade.


Every move and every breath
And you hardly feel a thing
Brings a perfect little…

Kill The Bill Rally, 2010-March-13




Yesterday I went to an Obamacare health care protest called “Kill The Bill’ at the Minnesota State Capitol. The cold, breezy day did not daunt the thousands of protesters who came with their signs. There were speakers, too, including conservative blogger, Ed Morrissey, and U.S. congresswoman, Michele Bachmann. The rally was supposed to last one hour but it went beyond two.


  • This event was quite dissimilar to  the Al Franken pro-Obamacare rally I went to last month. Oh, the format was nearly the same: signs, shouting, speeches by local politicos leading up to a Featured Guest. But the differences between the two events were obvious:  Yesterday’s rally started with the Pledge Of Allegiance, the Franken rally did not; Bachmann, was very passionate and informed, whereas  Franken’s nasal ten-minute standup was something of a yawner; and, there were 4,000 people at the Kill The Bill Rally and maybe 300 at Franken’s pro-health care event. But the biggest contrast was the ANGER I saw at Kill The Bill. Franken’s rally tried to stir people against insurance companies, and it did to a degree, but on an emotional Richter scale it was maybe a 3.5. Kill The Bill was a boisterous 9.0.
  • There were children at the Kill The Bill Rally. Entire families were there.
  • Protesters brought many homemade signs.
  • Although this wasn’t an official Tea Party event, those people were certainly there. I saw the flags.
  • Some quotes from the speakers:
    • Bachmann: “No Congress in history has ever passed a law without voting on it.” She evoked Madison and Jefferson.
    • Bachmann: “This is a one-term presidency.” The crowd went wild.
    • Bachmann reminded the crowd “There’s one-party rule in Washington.” The allusions to the USSR were inescapable.
    • Bachmann: “You can hear the bones breaking in Washington.”  She described the Democrat-on-Democrat  thuggery to force Pelosian capitulation. She also said Pelosi was threatening non-compliant Democrats with ethics violations, an “old trick.”
    • Another speaker: “Where are the Canadians going to go when Obama screws up health care?” Lots of laughter on this one.





  • This crowd wasn’t defeatist at all. They assume Obamacare will shatter in the next few weeks. But I’ll expect defiance and retaliation if it doesn’t. Bachmann told the crowd that Obamacare’s passage without a roll call vote is patently illegal under the Constitution. She didn’t advise people to break the law, but this crowd doesn’t respect Obamacare, so disobedience is likely if it is signed.
  • Retaliation is likely, too, and when it comes, it will be ugly. The people in this crowd are fed up with Obama’s arrogance and patronizing dialogue. The message Americans sent, and continue to send to the Democrats is being ignored. “I’m not giving up and I’m not going home!” Resentment, fueled with anger leads to words like “evict” and “toss them out.”
  • Yet the undertone common to all the speeches and chants was plain old worry. Yesterday’s crowd knows Obamacare will fail… eventually. It knows this failure will be a malignant, drawn-out road to bankruptcy.
  • Obamacare looks more Soviet by the day. Socialism. Committees. Panels. Mandates. The crowd shouted “We want our sovereignty back!” for many minutes straight. Another worry.



I was cold, and after the mike was closed, I turned to go back to my car. I looked at the sky for assurance it wasn’t going to rain again. A large raptor flew in from the west, high above the dispersing crowd. “An eagle?” I thought. What a symbol to end the event! I hoped other people will notice it, too. The bird flew to the Capitol and landed on a ledge, facing the crowd. Then I saw that it wasn’t an eagle.

It was a big, broad-shouldered hawk.