Steppin’ into the Twilight Zone

Just when I was starting to think Sarah Palin had some shred of political savvy she goes and quits. Why? Well there are, at this point, thousands of opinions on the matter. The Moderate Voice and Donklephant can supply you with more than a few. Maine politicos at Turn Maine Blue and As Maine Goes throw in their two cents as well.

After a long two weeks of shocking deaths, this news made me pinch myself. And her speech! Can one even call it that. Calling Palin’s resignation address a speech would just confuse school children as to what a speech actually is. No kids, that was just disorganized rambling. That will not bring you success on the debate team.

You’ve all heard the dead fish and basketball analogies. Well you can’t BS a BSer. You wouldn’t quit the basketball game halfway through the first period, especially if it was your first game. I don’t understand how quitting because you couldn’t do the job makes you any kind of hero, or is a smart political move. Imagine if she HAD been vice president. “Well country, the media has been a big meanie to me and those darn Democrats wont let me skeet shoot in the Rose Garden. I can see nothing is going to get done so I quit. Told’ja I was mavericky.”

While this may be the political death of Sarah Palin, I imagine there is something up her sleeve. There is a more lucrative game in town and Palin wants in on it. I would not be surprised if there is some sort of punditry in her future. Fox News could expect a HUGE ratings boost with Palin on the payroll. Plus there is radio, books, news columns, all sorts of better paying avenues than Gov. And ones where you can do what ever your moose shootin’ self likes.

She, maybe Palin isn’t as crazy as you thought…Did I really just write that. This must be the Twlight Zone.

A Maine Elephant Forgets

Times are tough for Republicans all over the nation. Election losses, scandals, and infighting have rocked the GOP. The GOP’s rusty battleship has been hit by torpedoes. All most can do is argue if the gaping holes in the hull are actually there or not, while there is a shiny new fleet waiting for them.

Maine republicans don’t have much to cheer about either. Despite Sen. Susan Collin’s reelection and Gov. John Baldachi’s continuing low approval rating, Maine Democrats control 64% (96 seats) of the house and 57% of the senate (20 seats). Maine Dems have also seized upon one of the Republican’s best vote grabbers, fiscal conservatism, in their new tax reforms. (Update: Now that tax reform is getting hit from the Greens and GOP, plus facing People’s Veto, that move could backfire on Dems) What’s a Maine Republican to do? According to DeAnne Rogan the answer is to get more conservative.

from Bangor Daily News:

As an active member of the Maine Republican Party I can no longer keep silent. Over the past years, I have watched the party spiral downward at an alarming rate. While some may say we are becoming more “inclusive” I see it as a tragic departure from our core values which will cost us greatly.

When we focus on financial issues and getting Republicans elected no matter what they believe we are doing a disservice to our party platform and the thousands of Maine conservative voters. Moral issues such as abortion and homosexual marriage have been brought into government by those of a more liberal agenda and we cannot shrink from taking a stand for righteousness.

Ms. Rogan illustrates how short the memory of the voter is. Tragically short. The shrinking tent of the GOP is what cost the White House and many senate and house seats. There will always be those with extreme views in each party, but neither Democrats nor Republicans can hope to maintain relevance if they ignore the tide of popular support. The Democrats are working hard to increase the size of their tent and younger voters with a different set of values are rising to voting age. Republicans cannot afford to appear like a crotchety old man yelling at kids to get off his lawn.

These “core values” that Ms. Rogan speaks of are not as old as she make think. In a Faustian deal with the religious right, Republicans traded their core values for wedge issues. When the Repubs. sought to pad the ballot box with votes from the religious right they were forced to put many good tenants second. Conservative big wigs like Barry Goldwater, William F. Buckley, or even Ronald Reagan would have a hard time living up to some GOP standards.

Ms. Rogan goes on to quote the traveling chronicler of the then new American Republic Alex DeTocueville.

from Bangor Daily News:

In 1830, Alexis DeTocqueville said, “I sought the key to the greatness and genius of America in her harbors, in her fertile fields, in her boundless forests, in her vast world commerce, in her public systems of education and higher learning. I sought for it in her democratic congress and her matchless Constitution.

“But it was not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness that I understood the secret of her genius and of her power. America is great because America is good. And if America ever ceases to be good, then she will also cease to be great.”

Ms. Rogan is misinterpreting DeTocqueville’s quote. Ms. Rogan is judging the movement that DeTocqueville witnessed, the Second Great Awakening, by modern standards. First, churches during that time period were gathering places. In fact in most communities they were the only places for neighbors from miles around to meet. Naturally, having no other outlet, churches often became centers for news and political discussion.

The religious movement of the Second Great Awakening was vastly different from the majority of it’s modern day equivalents. While much of the current evangelical movement is conservative in nature, the evangelicals of the Second Great Awakening were progressive in nature. They believed it was God’s plan that they reform the world they lived in. Many religious charities aiding the poor, widowed, and orphaned began in this period. Progressive civil rights reforms were also started during the Second Great Awakening. Political movements for prison reform, women’s rights, and abolition were thrust onto the national scene by religious groups of the time.

Ms. Rogan is right to quote DeTocqueville as being a lover of America and American Democracy. DeTocqueville saw an America continuing to evolve. The Second Great Awakening was the religious catalyst for that evolution. Where Ms. Rogan is mistaken is the nature of that religious movement. It was not conservative, as she may believe, nor was it exclusive. The movement was decidedly inclusive and progressive.

I’ll end with two quotes, one from the great conservative thinker Edmund Burke and another from the philosopher George Santayana.

“I take toleration to be a part of religion. I do not know which I would sacrifice; I would keep them both: it is not necessary that I should sacrifice either.” Burke

“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Santayana

Update: Here are some interesting comments from the Bangor Daily News on Ms. Rogan’s letter. This is just a small sampling of what the Maine Republican’s are going through. I think it is indicative of the state of the party on the national level as well. I welcome all and any opinions here as well.

from Bangor Daily News:

EJ Parsons – DeAnne Rogan – Your letter filled me with a renewed confidence that there are still some real conservative Republicans in Maine. Don’t let the opposition bully you into backing down. The party needs people like you to replace the RINOs that plague the party.

chersully2000 – I agree. Ms Rogan may not be impressed with “inclusivity” as she states, but her words sound very out of touch with some realities. In order to be more viable in the future, it is just undeniable that the Republican Party has to attract a lot more young people, Hispanics, among other segments of the population. I am a Democrat, but grew up in a Republican household. It is just not that difficult to see certain things, not just what one wants to see. To a certain extent, you have to work with some of the realities at hand (i.e. trends in population growth among certain groups,etc.) No one is saying that they have to change their core principles or philosophy,etc.

Ms Rogan. You can live with your head in the sand but, if so, you may very well continue to be disappointed with the outcome.

forHIMtoday – Seacoast, democrats have their gods, namely themselves. I as a conservative Christian republican would rather stand or fall on the principles of my God, than bow down and sell my soul for no other reason than to “fill my tent”.

Matt 4:8 -10Again, the devil *took Him to a very high mountain and *showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory;

and he said to Him, All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.'”

What this country needs are men and women with some backbone, willing to do whats right in Gods eyes. Let the cards fall where they may.

markrc – DeAnne Rogan: So just what were the great social issues of DeTocqueville’s time? What % of the U.S. population was Hispanic? Was the U.S. actively marching around the world and spreading democracy as a red herring while REALLY looking for more oil? What about pro-life or pro-choice issues . . .under “Dubbya’s” administration, he would speak passionately about pro-life and yet DID NOTHING to stop the genocide in Darfur . . .now there is a REAL disconnect for ya!

The GOP has NO credibility any longer as there only political position seems to be to just oppose ANYTHING that comes from the Obama administration. The GOP has no voice, no spokesperson that can effectively communicate with our HIspanic population. The GOP has no credible person, or policy to address the nations gay and lesbian community. Many of the GOP’s potential frontrunners for the GOP presidential candidates for 2012 cannot keep their pants on or zippers closed and are running around on their wives and or banging staff members or delegates from other countries! But the GOP does have Sarah Palin! OMG, please spare us from that intellectual light-weight!

The GOP is still seen as exclusionary and not inclusive . . .still seen as the party of rich white guys . . .still seen as the party that says that poor people are that way because they chose to be poor!

If you and the GOP can fix / repair just some of the above issues, the GOP might once again be taken seriously. Until then, be prepared for SEVERAL decades of getting your butt kicked in elections at all levels!

The Bolt to the Blaine House ’10 – Matt Jacobson (R)

Four Maine gubernatorial candidates have been covered so far. Alex Hammer, Bruce Poliquin, Lynne Williams, and Steve Rowe have had their time in the sun. Now Matt Jacobson (R) gets his chance.

Jacobson already has made a strong digital presence on the web. Jacobson exemplifies a web 2.0 candidate, as does most of his opponents. There is a website, blog, twitter, facebook, and myspace page for the candidate. Each is on par with the competition, though from a design point of view both Republican candidates at this point have the best looking websites. I’ll leave speculation as to why that is to others.

As a writer for Maine Biz, it’s no surprise that Jacobson’s focus is on business. All of the issue pages of his site are either overtly business related or link their topics to business. Not that this is a bad thing. With Maine struggling to emerge from recession, the loss of manufacturing industries like paper, and recover from years of mass youth migration Jacobson’s tactic is a wise one. Jacobson’s blog, a port of his Maine Biz writings, provides a wealth of information on his business stance. I’m going to focus only on Jacobson’s website at this point.

The site Jacobson has constructed is comprehensive. Coverage of issues is broken down into five categories; jobs and economy, education, spending and taxes, energy, and the environment. I’ll touch on a few of those.

Jacobson pushes for a smaller, learner government in order to lower spending. To get the best grasp of Jacobson’s plan for reorganizing government one need only look as far as the recent school district consolidation. Jacobson is looking to consolidate services the government provides. The engine of government will be tuned and all those useless aftermarket mods your cousin said would get you more power will be yanked out. Jacobson hopes his tuneup job will leave us with “Fewer yet more efficient units of government dedicated to higher quality performance is the key – just as it is in every budget across Maine”

I can say with confidence that Matt Jacobson fits the fiscal conservative mold to a tee. His stance on taxes and spending and pro-business attitude make that choice a no brainer. I hesitate to label him a moderate. There is little information available on his social leanings at this point.

You may be saying now well what makes Jacobson any different from Republican challenger Bruce Poliquin? They both in favor of lower taxes, less regulations, and pro-business. The differences are subtle, but they are there if you look. Take their environmental positions for instance. Poliquin advocates a partnership of ecology and economy. Jacobson too believes that economic growth and environmental protection are not mutually exclusive as well, but if push came to shove the economy would come first. Jacobson says on his website, “Where environmental and land use rules and regulations become unnecessary barriers preventing responsible growth of jobs and communities, I’ll make sure those barriers are taken away.” Yes, Maine’s environmental regulations can be excessive, but Poliquin illustrates what some of them made possible. “When I was a boy in Waterville, if you fell in the Kennebec River you had to get a tetanus shot. We should all be proud of the years of hard work to restore many of our natural assets. We cannot go backwards in the protection of our environment.”

Here’s how I look at the two candidates. Poliquin is pro Maine families. The crux of Poliquin’s campaign is his “plan to help Maine families.” Poliquin’s policies are to advance the quality of life for Maine families first. The fact that they aid business as well are almost secondary. Jacobson is pro-business first and foremost. This is not to say that Jacobson is anti-family. No candidate in their right mind would even elude to that. Jacobson’s policies advance the cause of business in Maine, which incidentally helps Maine families.

Does this mean Jacobson has no appeal to Maine voters? Of course not. Running the government is much like running a business. Jacobson could leverage this point in the primaries, driving home the economic state of Maine. There are two hurdles to face. Do Republicans want a Jack Welch type business man as their government CEO or do they want a jack-of-all-trades? If Jacobson should win his parties nomination, can Jacobson bet that the state at large is not sick of business types altogether?

So much of politics is all about spin. If Jacobson can spin his business experience, which is vast, to his advantage it could spell victory in the primary. Then possibly the Blaine House. It wont be an easy fight for Jacobson by any means. But if his military and business resume proves anything it’s that he’ll give the competition a fight.

The Bolt to the Blaine House ’10 – Bruce Poliquin (R)

Yesterday I covered Independent candidate for governor Alex Hammer. Today it’s the GOP’s turn. I’ll examine Bruce Poliquin.

A special note – It may seem that I have been much harder on Poliquin than I was yesterday with Hammer. This is only because Poliquin had more information available for me to pick apart. It is in no way an endorsement of one over the other at this point.

Bruce Poliquin is one of two GOP candidates at this point. Poliquin is not going to be left behind on the internet superhighway. He already has a decent website, facebook, and twitter. The majority of his platform seems like it could belong to any Republican candidate for governor in Maine. Lower taxes? Check. Less regulation of business? Check. Curb state spending? Check. Poliquin is even so bold as to state that education needs to be made a top priority! I never expected a politician to support education in such an unique way. OK maybe I’m being a little cynical. I’m 27. In my short amount of political experience I have never heard a politician not make education a “top priority”.

Before I’m accused of Bruce bashing, let me break down a few points of his platform. The highlight of Poliquin’s platform so far is his Plan to Help Maine Families. Poliquin’s plan contains ten points to address what’s ailing Vacationland.

from Bruceforme:

  1. Lower Taxes to National Averages or Less.
  2. Create Positive Attitude Toward Business Development and Jobs.
  3. Carefully Reduce State Spending to National Averages or Less.
  4. Reform State Programs to Do More With Less.
  5. Promote Competition Among Health Care Insurance Companies to Lower Premium Costs.
  6. Improve Education System to Better Prepare Students for College and Beyond.
  7. Simplify Business Regulations to Create New Jobs.
  8. Complete Infrastructure to Enhance Our Quality of Life.
  9. Explore Ways to Lower Energy Costs.
  10. Protect Our Environment while Promoting Job Creation.

Though not as bad off as our Massachusetts cousins, Maine taxes have been above the national average for some time. While the national average tax burden is 9.7%, Maine’s is 10%. Of course the median household income here is $44,000, about the same as the national average. Lowering taxes will certainly win some voters. Will it be practical when our infrastructure is crumbling? Maine’s infrastructure grade is a C- overall. Maine roads received a D and bridges a D+. That is beyond scary. There is a $400 million gap in funding for Maine DOT bridge repair. Not to mention that the ASCE labeled 17 Maine dams high public hazards and 153 significant to high hazards. Add to that numbers 6 (improve education) and 8 (complete infrastructure) and lower taxes seems more and more difficult to accomplish. In all honesty, I don’t think lowering Maine taxes to the national average is a poor goal. It would have to be coupled with large spending cuts, especially considering the cuts Maine had to make just to balance the budget recently.

Number 2 (creating a positive attitude toward business) is important for Maine at this juncture. Governors have tried to court companies into the state for some time. Their approach has been flawed. It has been too narrow. Governors have focused on getting this particular business or that one. The whole time they have neglected the broader business picture. Maine should open itself up to businesses of all types, not just existing industries or things like phone centers. Diversifying Maine’s economy is the only way for the state to proceed forward and to stop the flood of Maine’s graduates from the state.

How does Poliquin plan to do this? Well his recipe is not innovative.

from Bruceforme:
To attract businesses and jobs we must: tax less, spend wisely, simplify regulations, lower energy and healthcare costs, complete our infrastructure, and improve education. Some initiatives can be implemented relatively soon. Others are longer-term. It will take common sense, hard work, and competent management. For all of us who call Maine home, it will be worth it.

Poliquin’s solutions to taxation (across the board cuts), spending (cutting wasteful programs), regulations (streamline and simplify), energy costs (pursue alternative energy & upgrade grid with Canada) and healthcare costs (strong reforms) are a mix of Republican staples moderated with a generally liberal concern for the environment. Comparisons between the politics of Poliquin and Senators Snowe and Collins are sure to come. Will that link be enough for Poliquin to get to the Blaine House? To win his parties nomination for even the chance? It’s far too early to tell. Without more specifics I can’t say either. I will say a Republican that is not as least as moderate as Poliquin seems to be will last as long as a lobster at a tourist trap on Route 1 in this election

Tomorrow: Lynne Williams (G)

Colin Powell Still Republican and More

Colin Powell appeared on Face the Nation this morning. Powell addressed many issues of the day including the future of the GOP, torture, and Gitmo. I’d like to draw attention to his comments on the GOP and Gitmo.

You may remember about two weeks ago Dick Cheney said, on Face the Nation, that Colin Powell had already left the Republican Party. Cheney said Powell’s endorsement of Mr. Obama in the election showed his true side.. “I assumed that that is some indication of his loyalty and his interest,” Cheney said. Cheney also commented that Rush Limbaugh is a better representation of the Republican Party than Powell.

Well until Powell comes out and says he switches parties then he’s still a Republican.

from CBS

“I am still a Republican. I’d like to point out that in the course of my 50 years of voting for presidents, I have voted for the person I thought was best qualified at that time to lead the nation. Last year I thought it was President-now Barack Obama,” Powell said.

Powell shows yet again why I respect him a great deal. He votes his conscious, not party lines. Shouldn’t that be what America is about? The best person for the job? Powell gets it. These words mean a great deal to moderates out there tired of their parties being hi-jacked by extremist nut-jobs. Do the research. Vote for you believe will do the best job, regardless of party lines.

Powell chastised President Obama’s handling of Guantanamo.

from CBS

“I think President Obama didn’t handle it very well by going up to the Congress and asking for $80 million without a plan. And by, frankly, giving enough time to opponents of it to marshal their forces as to why we shouldn’t do this,”

Powell said he has told President Obama all of his concerns and worries that the president gave his opponents too much time to react to the plan. He hopes that the politicizing of the decision will start to die down.

Acording to Powell, Bush wanted to close Gitmo during his presidency. Bush was unable to close the deal on how to properly execute the closure, something Obama is struggling with now. Powell uses this as a jumping point to smash Cheney again.

from CBS

“Mr. Cheney is not only disagreeing with President Obama’s policy. He’s disagreeing with President Bush’s policy. President Bush stated repeatedly to international audiences and to the country that he wanted to close Guantanamo. The problem he had was he couldn’t get all the pieces together,” Powell said.

That wraps a great interview from a personal favorite of mine. Any thoughts on the GOP, party politics, Gitmo, Powell, or anything else?

Watch CBS Videos Online

Sunday Editorial on Editorials – Gay marriage and negotiation thank you

Let’s start off this weekend with an editorial from the Portland Press Herald. The writer is critical of a new argument proposed in favor of the gay marriage bills here in Maine. The argument? The bill would produce an economic boost.

from Portland Press Herald

The Williams Institute at the University of California School of Law has issued a report claiming that the Maine economy would see a $60 million boost over the next three years if same-sex couples were allowed to marry.

The study estimated how many couples would take advantage of the law and what they would spend on a wedding. It also estimated how much the state would collect in taxes and fees.

In this tough economy, it’s hard to be against anything that would help generate activity and boost tax revenues, but it is equally hard to believe that this type of analysis would help any thoughtful person come to a decision on this issue.

The gay marriage issue is one of beliefs, not of numbers. The editorial goes on to state that whether people are for or against the issue has nothing to do with economics. If people voted on these sort of things based solely on economics pot and prostitution would have long been legalized.

Linking the gay marriage issue to money only cheapens the discussion. We need to reach out to people’s hearts and minds, not their wallets. Let’s not forget that this is an issue affecting real people, people who love each other, people who are being denied rights that the rest of us, including myself at times, take for granted. There are plenty of solid reasons for people to be for or against gay marriage. Don’t be distracted by time wasting speculation.

Next we have a letter to the editor from the Bangor Daily News. The writer thanks senators Snowe and Collins for showing the courage to stand up for what they believed in and for bringing moderation to the stimulus bill. In a time when moderate Republicans are facing a firing-line of their GOP counterparts this letter is refreshing. I’ll let you read the whole thing.

from Bangor Daily News

Thinking outside the box is a term associated with progress, innovation and even brilliance. Mainers should be proud of Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe for showing the courage and responsibility to not only think outside the box, but to vote outside the box on the stimulus bill. To step across a line that had metamorphosed into an almost insurmountable wall was an act of political bravery. But that is what Mainers have come to expect from both Collins and Snowe.

Collins and Snowe have been thinking, responsible members of Congress who put the good of the people at the top of their agenda. If all politicians held themselves to these standards, Congress would be a different place.

Political parties are necessary evils, but if members of those parties cannot be independent thinkers who consider and weigh issues, then the governmental process we pride ourselves on is just an illusion. The party borders need to be elastic and fluid so ideas and actions can blend and merge and the best possible answers and actions can result. Bipartisanism, compromise and negotiate — Collins and Snowe understand these words.

Snowe contributed to the stimulus bill workings not only through her position on the Senate Finance Committee, but also by trading ideas with Vice President Biden. By stepping up to the plate — and into the Oval Office to negotiate — Collins had a major role in the stimulus compromise.

Negotiated bipartisan compromise: the way government should be!

Thoughts, opinions, rants? Let’s hear ’em

Blogs for Lunch – Google, Obama Screwed Up, GOP Gov Stimulus, O’Reilly, Jobs, Fair Trade

The Moderate Voice – Google is watching

Purple Center – Obama admits it

Donklephant – GOP Govs still in

Crooks and Liars – O’Reilly angry? Really?

Balloon Juice – Employment Bingo

Change – Coffee Calculator