Archive for June, 2009

Respect and Loyalty

Monday, June 15th, 2009

The Business section of the Washington Post has a great article today about my son, his service in the Navy and what it has taught him about business. Much as I would like to think so, even I didn’t teach him everything. Here’s a bit of it:

We will get to his business, but first I wanted to know from Malek whether his Navy years built skills that help him manage a $38 million business with 150 employees.

“You have to learn what works and what doesn’t work,” he said. “What works is you have to earn people’s respect and loyalty through example and how you treat them. What doesn’t work is assuming they are loyal automatically.”

He told me about being on a troop ship in the Pacific bound for Iraq and Desert Storm. His team was training for combat on four-hour shifts where half would sleep while the rest prepared. After several visits from a white-gloved senior officer inspecting the quarters for cleanliness, Malek blew up.

“I told him that my people needed their rest and they needed their sleep and this has got to stop,” Malek recalled.

Rebuffing the officer might have gotten him in trouble, but it bonded his men to him for the rest of the mission.

“I learned then that it is all about focusing on the mission and giving your team the best chance of succeeding,” he said.

Why Bob McDonnell Will Win Virginia, and What it Can Mean for the Republican Party

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

As a Virginian and a member of the Republican Governor’s Association, I’m glad that the Democratic primary is settled and now the campaign for Virginia governor can begin. State Senator Creigh Deeds won the primary last night, after trailing by double digits less than three weeks ago.

The stakes in this year’s Virginia gubernatorial race are the highest ever. Even more than New Jersey, the other major off-year contest, the gubernatorial elections in my backyard are predictive of trends that will play out further into the cycle. I know that many felt our best chance would be against Clinton’s money man, Terry McAuliffe, but this Virginia Republican is not concerned. This race is not going to be about who our opponent is. We will win because of what the Republican Party is, and who and what we represent.

I believe our nominee, Bob McDonnell, is a major rising star in this party, and this race will prove it. For one thing, Bob brings a number of qualities to the race that previous GOP candidates in Virginia did not have. Better still, he carries none of their flaws.

He is a young polished lawyer and an Army veteran who grew up in liberal (though much less liberal back in the day) Northern Virginia and lives with his family in conservative Virginia Beach, so he can connect with young suburban families in a way that Jerry Kilgore had trouble doing in 2005. McDonnell is a great example of the kind of candidate who doesn’t have to “choose” between sticking to his values and appealing to moderate voters.

That gives him a real advantage over Creigh Deeds, whose economic platform is more of a populist shtick targeted to the United Mine Workers than a sensible roads and schools plan for I-95 commuters. McDonnell cares about the issues Virginians care about, like transportation funding, college tuition costs, energy policy, taxes, and, of course, job creation. So Northern Virginia will be something it hasn’t been in recent elections: A battleground leaning Republican.

And Republicans will be more excited about McDonnell than the Democrats are about Deeds. It’s clear where he stands on the issues that are important to the Republicans Party, including taxes, religion and honoring our troops. Deeds, on the other hand, is going to have to activate his base and crank up the turn out better than he did last time around. In doing so, he is going have to walk the line between Prius drivers in Arlington and NASCAR fans in Bristol. He’s not an anti-gun zealot, which won’t please pastors in Hampton, and wants to soak the entrepreneurs and businesses on taxes, which won’t impress technology executives in Reston. And there should be no forgetting that Virginia is the new battle ground in big labor’s battle to expand its power. In a state that appreciates the right to work and still tilts conservative, the advantage goes to Bob.

McDonnell has also won respect on both sides of the aisle for his hard work. He’s been an energetic and eager candidate, with a great resume of accomplishment that he can actually run on. As I said on Hardball this week, governors are our best candidates and that’s a bench we must develop.

This won’t be the first time that McDonnell and Deeds have squared off in a statewide election. I still remember their 2005 race for Attorney General, where McDonnell beat Deeds by 323 votes. As someone who has been around politics and Virginia a long time, I believe McDonnell has what it takes to beat Deeds again.

In the months ahead, voters will come to see how he has been an experienced and steady hand in Richmond, and that he is the best bet to put this great Commonwealth back on the path of hard work and reform.

The national media will be watching, and the rest of the Republican Party should too.

Hardball with Chris Matthews, June 8, 2009

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

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Fox News Sunday, June 7 2009

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

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CNBC's Squawk Box, June 3 2009

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

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Trading Places: Cap and Trade’s Likely Effect on the U.S. and China

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

The subject of the environment is a difficult one for conservatives. The Left has owned the discussion for years, always pitching the issue in the direst terms, decade after decade. When we have tried to point out reasonable objections to this extremist rhetoric, such as that there is less than a scientific consensus about climate change, we have been called “deniers” or worse.

This is doubly unfair because there are few things more conservative than conservation. There can be no doubt that being good stewards of our natural resources is necessary for human sustainability and survival. Unfortunately, in the public’s mind the Left has a monopoly on setting wise environmental policy. What we understand, as the Left seems unwilling to acknowledge, is that environmental and economic policies are often very closely associated. There are always tradeoffs for any change in policy.

Right now congressional Democrats, led by Henry Waxman and Ed Markey, are trying to use that conventional wisdom to pass a bill that could be destructive on both fronts. As even some on the left have pointed out, the bill may not actually establish binding caps on emissions, and may in fact actually contribute to worldwide pollution. This kind of up-is-down outcome is no surprise to those of us who understand how government is often less efficient at coming up with solutions than it is generating unintended consequences.

But then there is the looming economic impact of the bill, and there is no doubt it would be a negative one. Last month the Heritage Foundation produced a report analzying the bill in economic terms. According to the study, Waxman-markey would:

  • Reduce aggregate gross domestic product (GDP) by $7.4 trillion,
  • Destroy 844,000 jobs on average, with peak years seeing unemployment rise by over 1,900,000 jobs,
  • Raise electricity rates 90 percent after adjusting for inflation,
  • Raise inflation-adjusted gasoline prices by 74 percent,
  • Raise residential natural gas prices by 55 percent,
  • Raise an average family’s annual energy bill by $1,500, and
  • Increase inflation-adjusted federal debt by 29 percent, or $33,400 additional federal debt per person, again after adjusting for inflation.

There seems little question the bill, if it became law, would lead to an increase in prices for consumers. And that only begins with gas and oil prices, because of the price of gas and oil is built into the price of everything.

What’s more, everybody knows that the real source of carbon emissions in the near future is not the United States. Like Western Europe, our economy is developed already and we have the technologies to run cleaner factories and plants. Everybody knows the real source in coming decades will be China, India and Russia. In fact, just last year China surpassed us to become the country responsible for more CO2 than any other. This trend will continue.

And it does not take a masters in economics to realize that these countries are not about to follow our lead. The United States has a little bit less than one car per person (1.3 to be exact) while China is not even close. It has one car for every 100 people. Why would they make it more expensive for them to close the gap with us? They’re no fools. They won’t. That’s why President Obama and the Democrats in Congress would be just as foolish to make it more expensive for us to maintain and extend our lead.

Today we have the most dynamic market, but President Obama seems determined to sacrifice our competitive advantage for the sake of a campaign pledge to his base on the anti-business Left. Ironically, the most likely destination for the jobs would be none other than China and India.

Reducing carbon emissions can be a worthy goal, but it must be considered along with other objectives, especially the most important — ensuring that the United States remains the world’s strongest economy. The Waxman-Markey bill that President Obama is so eager to sign does not even come close to doing that.