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Show the Country we will not Be deterred By Senseless Acts

Thursday, June 15th, 2017

One of the longest standing institutions in the United States Congress came under attack this week.  It didn’t happen in the Capitol or on a cable news show but on a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia, in preparation for a bipartisan tradition – The Annual Congressional Baseball Game, an event that’s been on the Congressional calendar since 1909.

In a world where social media and the internet have become an increasingly toxic place for public discourse, I pray that the shocking events we all woke up to yesterday are met with a measured response.  While it is easy to get distracted from what we disagree on or what makes us different we cannot lose sight of the things that bond us, and we must move forward together to solve the problems that impact us all.

As details continue to emerge for reasons why a deranged gunman would take fire at a group of people practicing a game, a game that is one of America’s greatest pastimes, we should all take a moment to remember the men and women that represent us in Congress are only people with families and friends, all of whom care deeply about this country.

Some would say that partisanship has reached a high point in our nation’s capital, and few would disagree.  But this violent attack happened during what was certainly a moment of levity for a group of people who are confronted daily with serious issues, caught up in endless meetings about real problems for our country.

I hope that we all will keep our thoughts and prayers with Congressman Scalise, the Capitol Police, and everyone affected by this horrifying and violent attack. This is also a moment to reflect on our shared history, American ideals and the common goals we have to make the country a better place.

And we certainly shouldn’t let a deranged gunman stop us from celebrating a time honored tradition today when the Republicans and Democrats square off at Nationals Park.  I say “play ball”, and show the country that we will not be deterred by senseless acts.  And once the score is settled we must all get back to working together to solve our problems, both Republicans and Democrats.

Putting the ‘M’ Back in OMB

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

While the differences between running a private company and the United States Government government are vast, private sector management practices can be used to increase efficiency in the federal bureaucracy.  The Office of Management and Budget was created to introduce business-oriented market-driven approaches to the government.

President Trump ran on his business and management accomplishments, and it should be no surprise that he is instructing his budget director to put the ‘M’ back into the OMB.  This is welcome news after eight years of poorly managed and expanding bureaucracy under the former administration.

Mick Mulvaney, the former South Carolina Congressman turned OMB Chief has the unique opportunity to turn the President’s promises of a more streamlined government into tangible results.  This is not an easy task and the challenges of managing the federal government are not new.  We faced similar challenges when the Office was created under President Richard Nixon and while I was serving as only the second Deputy Director of newly created agency.  Along with the pioneers of the agency including Director George Shultz, we set out to accomplish big things.

Under the leadership of President Trump and Director Mulvaney this Administration can accomplish big things as well.  There are many important legislative fights to come that address the country’s long-term fiscal health, including comprehensive tax reform.

President Trump’s commitment to reducing government interference in the economy, controlling spending, and implementing comprehensive tax reform is resonating with business leaders across the country.  Donald Trump the businessman has gotten results before.  American voters are counting on President Trump to do the same in Washington. By combining the principals of the OBM with the leadership of the Oval Office, big things will be accomplished.

The President Should Hold Republicans Accountable on Health Care

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

President Donald Trump pledged to bring much needed change to Washington and that he would deliver it by making better deals for the American people. He has already started on health care reform and is taking bold and decisive action to break the cycle of gridlock in Congress.

Health care reform is the first step towards spurring job growth and bolstering the economic recovery the President assured voters when he vowed to Make America Great Again.  Republicans should consider the consequences of derailing the broader conservative agenda if they fail to reach a deal on health care.  And the President will surely hold them accountable throughout the process.

The American Health Care Act (AHCA), assembled by House Leadership and the White House, may be the best and only hope for Republicans to prevent the Affordable Care Act (ACA) from collapsing under its own weight.  It also represents the first concrete legislative solution that takes into account political and legislative realties, chief among them the reconciliation process the bill must be considered under.  It’s not perfect, but it’s a starting point, and its author’s have indicated they are willing to negotiate on the bill.

Controlling both Houses of Congress and the White House comes with the responsibility of putting together a conservative governing agenda.  Governing requires comprise, and President Trump should demand that Republicans, Democrats, supporters, and critics alike strike a deal that can pass through the House and the Senate.  It will be the President’s job to explain to the American people that it is better than the status quo.  If members of his own party are unwilling to give the proposal a fair shot, then he should rally his supporters to their attention.  The President is our most active salesman and has shown this in the past with his detractors.

Taking a hard line and demanding that Congress, including members of his own party, get to work represents a strong and bold move by the President, and reinforces to the American people that he is fighting to get them a better deal.

As the American Action Forum’s Doug Holtz-Eakin and Patrick Hefflinger note, the AHCA will begin the process of replacing the one-size fits all, top down ACA model.  It also provides more market based incentives in place of mandates, and repeals arduous taxes on medical devices, health insurers, tanning salons, investors and many others.  It also aims to save $1 billion over the next 10 years.

Aside from the underlying problems Obamacare has created for Americans’ health care choices and the U.S. economy, a political defeat this large and early on in the Administration could spell doom for other Republican priorities, including tax reform, entitlement reform, and infrastructure spending.

The AHCA’s most strident critics should also consider what voters meant when they asked for change in Washington.  The status quo has been represented by politicians who made excuses for not getting results during the past eight years.  They punished Democrats dearly during that time, and there’s no reason why Republicans won’t face the same consequences if they return home with nothing to show.  Voters want change, not more of the same excuses from elected officials in Washington.

Members of Congress calling the bill D.O.A. should consider the consequences of inaction.  It’s Congress’ job to legislate.  President Trump should continue to use the Bully Pulpit to rally his supporters and move Congress to act.  And those who are unwilling to work towards a deal should have to answer for their obstruction.

A Fresh Look at Richard Nixon’s Legacy

Friday, October 14th, 2016

Advancements in technology and information access have allowed us to dig even deeper into our past and broaden our perspectives like never before. That’s the idea behind the New Richard Nixon Presidential Library, which is holding its grand opening in Yorba Linda today, an event that I was pleased to take part in as the chairman of the Nixon Centennial Legacy Campaign.

Our presidents tend to be painted in broad strokes, and are generally “known” for a handful of accomplishments or associated with major events in our country’s history.  Certainly, most people think of Watergate when they think of Nixon, given its significant impact on American culture.  Scratching the surface, however, reveals a man that ascended from modest means to Congress, the Vice Presidency, and ultimately to become our 37th President.

This is an opportunity to take a fresh and new look at Richard Nixon.  Many young people today remember Watergate and China, but they don’t know much else about his presidency.

18 year olds, for example, can thank Nixon for their right to vote and the elimination of the military draft.  Mothers and fathers can also be proud to know that because of Title IX, signed by Nixon in 1972, their daughters receive an equal opportunity to play collegiate sports.

People of all political stripes might be shocked to know that it was under a Republican administration that the Environmental Protection Agency was formed, proposed by Nixon through executive order.

By today’s standards, Nixon would likely fall onto the moderate spectrum on domestic policy and on the realist side in terms of foreign policy, perhaps putting him somewhere in the middle of the current GOP.

Above all else, however, Nixon was a man of ideas, and the New Nixon Presidential Library will allow Americans to explore those ideas, assess his legacy, and perhaps walk away with a new and broader perspective of the man and his accomplishments.

The Fred and Marlene Malek Theatre will be one of the first stops for guests visiting the new museum.  Some of the other exciting features are 70 new major exhibits, including an exact replica of President Nixon’s Oval Office and an extensive exhibit on Nixon’s historic trip to China.

It will also feature 30 unique multi-media experiences, 11 original films, 12 custom digital interactives, 10 curated archival film sequences, more than 600 photographs, 8,000 square feet of wall murals and more than 300 artifacts.

I’m looking forward to catching up with some old friends this weekend at the opening, but I’m mostly looking forward to seeing the many more people that will pass through to learn more about President Richard Nixon and his legacy.

Visit here to see more about the New Richard Nixon Library and Museum.

Groundbreaking at the New Malek West Point Visitors Center

Friday, September 9th, 2016

As I’ve said before, it’s always an honor and a privilege to give back to West Point, the place that has given me so much more than I could ever even begin to fully repay.  For me, it’s a way to say thank you to the world’s greatest greatest institution, that has turned so many young men and women into the greatest leaders in the world.  And that’s why I am filled with so much pride to have had the opportunity to lead the largest ever capital campaign at West Point, the new Malek West Point Visitor Center.

I would like to extend my deepest thanks and gratitude to everyone who invested their time and resources to make all of this happen, including the class of 1974, Margaret A. Zipp, the Class of 1972, the Class of 1973, the Class of 1978, the Class of 1984, The Boeing Company, the Class of 1990, the Class of 2004, and the Class of 1988.

The United States Military Academy at West Point attracts more than 1 million people each year from all over the world, including prospective cadets, friends, relatives, and the general public. During their visit they will learn about the significant contributions this institution has made to our great nation.  It certainly had an impact on my life, and that’s why I was honored to take part in reaffirming the value of this institution by celebrating the ground breaking of the new West Point Visitors Center.

It is important that we tell the West Point story and inspire new generations to serve our Army and our nation.  The 15,000 square foot exhibit space, housed inside the new state-of-the-art visitor’s center, will do just that by honoring the many remarkable leaders that have formed the Long Gray Line.

The visitors center will also highlight West Point’s thriving and historic athletic program by including a new Army West Point Athletics gift shop.  The center’s back drop of the scenic Hudson River allows for the possibility of a future expansion that would connect the visitors center to the adjacent West Point Museum.

I’m hopeful that everyone who passes through the Malek West Point Visitors Center will leave with a profound sense of pride in the United States Military Academy and a clear understanding of why West Point is a national treasure.  And for every cadet, I hope it will be a gateway to excellence in their future endeavors.

See more about this exciting new addition to West Point here.

Indiana Governor Mike Pence is Excellent Choice for VP

Saturday, July 16th, 2016

Choosing a running mate is an important decision for a White House contender.  It’s an opportunity for the candidate to look presidential before assuming office and a window for voters into how he or she will govern.

Adding Indiana Governor Mike Pence to the ticket is a good move for Donald Trump, probably the best one he’s made for his campaign.  Pence is a seasoned politician with close ties to Members of Congress and party leaders, many of whom are pleased to see one of their own in the VP slot.  Knowing Mike Pence well from my role as Finance Chair for the RGA, I have the most utmost confidence in him as well as the utmost respect.  He’s also well respected nationally among conservatives and by Washington insiders who know him as a skilled and tactical pro.

The two will share the stage next week at the Republican National Convention and make their case to the American people by telling them why they should be America’s next President and Vice President.  For four days next week in Cleveland the campaign will have the opportunity to really set the tone for the general election.  This will be important, because the momentum gained and maintained immediately before and after the convention could very well determine the outcome of the election.

Every convention is an historic and electrifying spectacle, and I wouldn’t expect this one to be any different.


5 Takeaways From Last Night’s Debate

Friday, January 29th, 2016

Trump’s absence led to a more substantive debate

It was abundantly clear that throughout last night’s debate that the “elephant not in the room,” as Megan Kelly put it, allowed the candidates to have a much more substantive debate.  The conversation was more focused, nuanced, and lacked the kind of ad hominem attacks that have dominated previous debates.  We’ll have to wait and see whether Trump’s snub of the last debate before Iowans go to caucus on Monday will have any affect, but my intuition tells me it could hurt him.

Jeb had another strong debate

Governor Bush had another impressive debate, coming across strong and confident during an exchange with his in state rival, Senator Marco Rubio.  Rubio, in his own right, had a good debate, but Bush appeared to get the best of him during an exchange between the two over immigration policy.  Governor Bush is playing for the long haul, and more debates like this one can reassure voters and core supporters that he’s here to stay, and that he’s in this race to win.

The Governors once again showed the importance of executive leadership

Governors Christie and Kaisich both demonstrated to voters the importance of executive leadership.  Christie showed his uncanny ability to deliver a one liner and highlighted his leadership style after an exchange between Senators Rubio and Cruz, saying that as governor you “can’t hide behind parliamentary tricks.”  Kaisich did a good job laying out his resume and experience, and when pressed, was able to defend his decision to expand Medicaid during his time as governor.

Hillary Clinton remains focus for GOP

Democrat Bernie Sanders may be the current front runner in the Hawkeye State, but that didn’t stop nearly all of the candidates from calling out Hillary Clinton and making the case for why they are best suited to beat her in the general election.  Rubio did an exceptionally good job of contrasting himself to the former Secretary of State by hinting at what many observers see as his biggest upside: his electability in a general election.

The moderators had a great night

All of last night’s moderators did a fantastic job, especially Megan Kelly who continued to ask serious and substantive questions to all of the candidates, despite criticism from the front runner who held his own event just five miles down the road.  The video montage played back to Senators Rubio and Cruz regarding their past statements on immigration policy clearly had an effect on them, and played a fantastic visual for voters curious about where the candidates stand on the issues.  Another well played debate by Fox News gave voters what they deserved: a serious conversation about the issues.

Five Takeaways from Last Night’s Debate

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

This was a real debate

I said before the debate that voters are going to begin to demand more substance as we move into 2016, and tonight’s debate certainly gave the candidates the opportunity to give it to them.  The narrow focus of the debate allowed the candidates to get their hands dirty on substantive foreign and national security issues.  CNN did it’s best to pit the candidates against each other, but after all, the point of debates is to allow each candidate differentiate him or herself from the other.

Jeb Bush had a breakout night; Rubio and Christie more than held their own

For the first time in the campaign, Jeb Bush came out swinging against Trump and did so effectively.  Quite possibly the best line of the night went to Governor Bush when he told the real estate mogul that he “couldn’t insult his way to the presidency.”  This was a big step for Bush and a signal that his campaign is ready to start playing tough.  Truly a break out night for the former Florida Governor, who demonstrated knowledge, depth, toughness, and spirit and was effective in eviscerating Trump’s bombastic and unrealistic proposals.  Christie and Rubio also held their own last night, looking poised and confident throughout the debate.

Trump took a hit

Any fall for Trump is surely to be gradual and not sudden, but there’s no question that he was outshined by the more seasoned pols on the stage last night.  Trump seemed caught off guard when asked to about the “nuclear triad,” a mistake that Senator Rubio seized upon immediately.  Trump isn’t leaving the picture anytime soon, and he likely did what he had to do to keep his spot atop the polls, at least for now.

Leadership will be essential in 2016

The current state of world affairs is going to require candidates to demonstrate that they are capable of being Commander in Chief, which will require making quick and decisive decisions.  Christie shined in a moment following an exchange between Senators Rubio and Cruz, and scored points with his emphasis on action over the Senators pontificating.  My prediction is that this will continue to play a major role, and those with executive experience will start to outshine the less experienced candidates in the race.

Still a long way to go until election day

In the last debate of 2015, we’re reminded that we still have a long way to go before primary voting starts and even longer before the general election.  There’s still plenty of time left for candidates to make their case, and some voters are just beginning to tune in.  We have a great group of candidates and we are in store for an exciting election year in 2016.

ICYMI: “Republican Governors: A winning Machine”

Saturday, November 21st, 2015

In 2009, Governor Haley Barbour and I setup the Executive Roundtable at the RGA to add some financial weight behind GOP governors across the country.  At the time, there were only 19 Republican governors.  Today, those ranks have grown to 32, and a lot of that can be attributed to the hard work we’ve put in at the Executive Roundtable and the RGA as a whole.

The prolific fundraising and execution by the RGA has allowed Republicans to play both offense and defense in races across the country.  We defended 22 seats vs. the Democrats 14 in 2014, and picked up seats in deep blue Illinois, Maryland, and Massachusetts.

As the Finance Chairman at the RGA for the past several years, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some of the best and brightest up and coming members in the Party.  Many of them have led their states back from tough economic times by implementing common sense conservative reforms.  A handful of these governors are running for President this cycle, and more are likely to seek the White House in future elections.

Our bench is deeper than ever before, and I’m confident that it will be our current and former state executives that will continue to lead the Party at both the state and the national levels.

For a good read on the fantastic work the RGA has been doing, check out Kevin Robillard’s recent article in Politico, “Republican governors: A winning machine.”

How to Pick a President

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

As we contemplate the lengthy process to pick a Republican nominee for President of the United States, it’s worth considering how we should go about it.

It seems abundantly clear at this point that we should value beyond all else the candidate who is glib and the master of sound bites. The candidate needs to be entertaining, pithy, and fast on his or her feet, with the ability to counter punch and deliver that devastating blow. Real experience in solving problems, substantive depth, and the proven record of being able to do what you say, well, that’s so yesterday.

How do we know all this?  The media unanimously declared it following last week’s debate, and of course the voting public listened and responded accordingly. And after all, look how well these criteria worked in the past two elections of President Obama.


It’s only early November, and the spectacle of having 10 candidates on stage in each debate has muddled up the process and distracted the party form having a serious conversation.  This time around the GOP was supposed to have a better handle on the debates.  But the drivel that came out of the third Republican debate best example yet of a departure from serious dialogue in favor of sound bites on matters of little consequence.

Cutting down on the number of candidates on the debate stage would help encourage a more substantive examination of the candidates’ policy positions.  Otherwise, we’re going to be stuck with the meaningless and debilitating contest that’s been going on since the Summer.

When experience and proven accomplishments are overlooked, we end up with an inferior candidate.  Let’s get the conversation back on track and start talking about real issues.