Archive for April, 2009

Obama 100 Days Scorecard

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

There has been a lot of talk about President Obama’s first 100 days in office. Both online and off, there’s also been much analysis about the so-called Obama “FAIL” movement. I don’t hope for President Obama’s failure. I’d like for him to succeed in making our country safer, stronger and much more prosperous. I hope and pray that he does so both for America’s success as well as capitalism’s future. However, his policies are unlikely to achieve desired results.

Given that we the taxpayers are now significant shareholders in a heck of a lot of companies due to the bailout, it is important to remember, that whether you are running just a company or our entire country, in order to achieve success you need to measure success qualitatively and quantitatively along the way.

So with that in mind, here are my grades for President Obama’s first report card.

Foreign Policy: He’s had the good judgment to rely on our distinguished generals and not to withdraw prematurely from Iraq. The build-up in Afghanistan is badly needed, but probably not enough. Talking to the likes of Hugo Chavez and trying to talk with Iran is unlikely to bring results, but there is no great harm in trying a new approach. Policy towards Cuba for almost 50 years can’t be judged a success, so some new thinking has merit. Grade: B+

National Security: In spite of good foreign policy, the recent release of interrogation files and photos will weaken our intelligence-gathering capabilities that are instrumental in preventing attacks against America. President Obama made a mistake in playing too far left and to the politically correct crowd. Grade: C-

Economy: Clearly his worst subject. He’s making a grave mistake by executing on a plan with an over-reliance on government spending and control vs. incentives for private sector initiatives. Never in history has this approach successfully led a democracy out of recession. Further, rather than placing all their focus on digging out of the recession, the Obama Administration is diverting by trying to nationalize the health care system, strengthen power of unions, and increase taxes, especially on investment. Huge deficits will result in more debt than accumulated by past administrations from George Washington to George W. Bush combined. This will inevitably lead to an unhappy ending, and it’s called inflation. Grade: D

Energy and Environment: While President Obama deserves some credit for addressing climate change, especially focusing on carbon emissions, his cap and trade proposal is destructive. It will increase taxes on American businesses, and ultimately this diminishes our competitive advantage and leads to displacement of employment from the United States to other countries. Further, the new employment and production will be in countries like China and India, which have little or no constraints on carbon emissions. Thus, the end result will be fewer jobs in the U.S. and greater world wide pollution. Further, the limitations and/or bans on off shore drilling inhibit our energy production and further increase our dependence on countries, some of whom want nothing more than to destroy our way of life. Grade: C

Overall Grade: C

President Obama’s first 100 days could have been a lot better, but, scarily, could have been worse. Let’s hope the President gets some serious tutoring on the economy and Capitalism 101. I will be anxious and hopeful to see improvements and real results next semester.


Arlen’s Easy Way Out

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

I have known and been friends with Arlen over 36 years and have always supported his important role as a moderate in our party.

He will continue to be a friend.

But leaving the party because you’re facing a tough electoral challenge doesn’t seem consistent with his record of courage and principle.

I have given to every one of Arlen’s statewide campaigns. While the passion with which I supported him may have been magnified by our friendship, the fact of my support was a consequence of our shared political values of limited government and strong national defense. In our country, parties are necessarily big, to accommodate a range of views and geographies. I have always viewed the GOP as a Big Tent Party, and appreciate the inclusion of moderates like Arlen.

However, in leaving the Republican Party, Arlen has abandoned people who have been his allies for another team. He has thrown in with people who have a fundamentally different vision for America, and one that I profoundly disagree with.

Why did he do this? It seems as if Arlen took the path of least resistance. He knew that his primary fight would be difficult. Arlen has never stepped down from a fight, but he did this time. Undoubtedly his Democratic primary campaign will be safe. Ed Rendell, Arlen’s former boss at the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office, will get his former Deputy Mayor out of the race now. So after a career of fighting for what he believed in, Arlen took the easy way out to keep his job.

So that’s why I will be supporting Pat Toomey for US Senate against my friend Arlen Specter. Right now, Barack Obama and the Democratic Party are taking America in the wrong direction. And we need a strong voice in the Senate fighting for our party’s perspective against them.

The Final Push

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

My last chapter in the campaign ended with our successful convention in St. Paul, MN. Both John McCain and Sarah Palin excited people across the country, and we came roaring into the general elections. Due to the enthusiastic crowds that Sarah was attracting, John and Sarah did a lot of campaigning together as a team. It was working, and John’s message and character, as well as the team’s maverick image, resulted in a real boost to the ticket. By September 12, we were three points ahead on average in the national polls and were well positioned and gaining in the key electoral states.


Then came the economic tsunami, and it all changed. On September 13, Lehman Brothers failed, and an economic crisis gained steam. The public placed a fair amount of blame on the party in power – the Republicans, and the Obama campaign skillfully exploited this disaffection. While candidate Obama and his team offered no real solutions and had no experience in dealing with the economy, they weren’t us and thus reaped the benefit. With an unpopular war, an incumbent president sinking in the polls, and now the most vexing economic crisis of our generation, John McCain went from a three point lead to an eight point deficit in the polls in ten days.  We weren’t helped by John’s decision to suspend the campaign, threaten to cancel the first debate, and return to Washington to address the problem and find a bipartisan approach to a salvage package. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to accomplish this and his standing on the economy was diminished.


Although John performed admirably in the three debates, and Sarah did a great job in her debate with then Senator Biden, we could not achieve parity in the polls on who would best handle the economy or in presidential preference.


On the fund raising side, we knew John would have time for only four fundraisers. We mapped out where we though we would have the best possible return with John’s time and decided to hold events in Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, and New York.


Immediately after the Convention, John headed to Chicago for his first major fundraiser in the General Election. We had been told repeatedly that we would never raise more then $2 million in Chicago. No Republican had ever raised more than that and most observers felt would be increasingly difficult in Obama’s home town. We knew there was a silent Republican base in Chicago who wanted to support John and would be willing to contribute if given the opportunity. Our team in Illinois, led by Pat Kinsey, ended the night with $4 million for John with great leadership from Bill Strong, Jack Sandner, Bill Smithburg, and others.


Subsequent events in Miami and Los Angeles were successful, culminating in our October 14 final event in New York City. Woody Johnson, who was a tower of strength throughout the campaign, again performed admirably. Our consulting team of Tamara Hallisey and Rachel McGregor had been a strong team of fundraisers in New York and Connecticut throughout the campaign. They were determined once again to break the record as the largest event for John, which they had previously set in May at $7 million. This was also to be the only joint fundraising event with both John and Sarah Palin.  As we approached this event, the economic turmoil that we are now experiencing began to break, and we were all nervous about how this would affect the bottom line. In the end, our New York Finance Committee rallied together, raising over $10 million – the largest fundraising event for a candidate in the city’s history. 


Sarah Palin also traveled the country attending political events and fundraisers. It was absolutely incredible to see the grassroots support, both politically and financially, that she generated. Her fundraisers were extremely successful, out performing all the goals set.


As mentioned at the onset, I am proud that total fundraising for McCain-Palin 2008 resulted in the most successful finance efforts for a Republican presidential campaign in history.