Monday, December 23, 2013

A Little Campaign Hypocrisy via Email

Today I received an email plea for a campaign donation.  This is a daily occurrence for me so that is not the surprising part.  The surprising part was the suggestion from this campaign - a Republican candidate for a statewide office - to talk to my friends and family this holiday season about the candidate and ask for their vote.  

"Can you help by making a contribution of $50, $100 or $200 to us today?  And over the holidays, as you visit with friends and family, will you consider sharing with them about our campaign and asking them to be sure to vote for  (insert candidate name here) in the March 4 Republican Primary?"

Does that sound familiar?

Of course it does.  This is the same suggestion made by Team Obama to talk up the virtues of Obamacare and encourage everyone to sign up for it as you sit around with family and friends this holiday season.  

Those who do not support the government take-over of 1/6 of our national economy and the determination of this Presidential administration to put private health insurance companies out of business in favor of a single payer system mocked and jeered this action from Team Obama.  

Pot/kettle, people.

Let's leave the politics out of the holidays.  Let friends and family gather and give it all a rest.

Justine Sacco Apologizes for Tweet

The communications executive fired for tweeting really ignorant and racist remarks as she flew to Africa mentioned in my last post has now apologized.  I offer this as an update.

Justine Sacco, formerly a PR executive for the Internet giant InterActive Corp., which owns popular websites like,, and Vimeo, was fired over a tweet that came from her account on Friday that read: "Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white!"
Here is her apology:

"Words cannot express how sorry I am, and how necessary it is for me to apologize to the people of South Africa, who I have offended due to a needless and careless tweet," Sacco said. "There is an AIDS crisis taking place in this country, that we read about in America, but do not live with or face on a continuous basis. Unfortunately, it is terribly easy to be cavalier about an epidemic that one has never witnessed firsthand."For being insensitive to this crisis -- which does not discriminate by race, gender or sexual orientation, but which terrifies us all uniformly -- and to the millions of people living with the virus, I am ashamed."This is my father's country, and I was born here. I cherish my ties to South Africa and my frequent visits, but I am in anguish knowing that my remarks have caused pain to so many people here; my family, friends and fellow South Africans. I am very sorry for the pain I caused." 

Did you see that?  Her father is South African and she was born there.  Wow. That adds a whole new level of disgusting depth to the remarks.

I give her this, though.  She issued a real apology.  It seems apologizing is a lost art today.  How many times have we seen an apology that consisted of the words "I'm sorry is anyone was offended"?  That is not an apology.  That is someone caught in a dumb remark and acting as though he/she recognizes it was a mistake.  

It would be far more honest to admit remorse for being caught.

So, kudos to this woman for doing a decent apology that at least sounds as though some thought was put into her words.  It seems heartfelt.

She is a communications specialist, though, so we can only hope it is sincere.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Mayor Parker Steps Into Duck Dynasty Controversy

Sometimes our words get us into trouble.  The non-stop chatter on social media is a landmine for potential displays of ugly and/or ignorant statements.  When a person in public office or a big corporate position misbehaves on social media, the consequences are apparent quickly and publicly.

I've chosen to not write about the whole Duck Dynasty patriarch's GQ magazine interview and the conflict with A&E channel executives because so much of it is overwrought and mislabeled as a violation of the man's First Amendment right to free speech.  I see it as a business decision.  I also think A&E knew that the man has spoken less than graciously about gays using biblical beliefs as his guide - I saw a video of him in 2010 doing that - and so it could not have been a surprise.  This is a big, corporate entertainment channel, owned by Disney, with lawyers and contracts and script ideas at their disposal.  Enough already.  There are real problems in the world.

So, along comes Ms. Justine Sacco, a PR executive employed by  InterActive Corp (IAC) and the tweet that stunned the world.  IAC  "  which owns popular websites like OkCupid,, CollegeHumor, The Daily Beast and Vimeo", according to this piece, is reported to have now fired Ms. Sacco.  Here is the tweet:

"Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white!"

So, yeah, that didn't go over so well.  Somehow this public relations executive managed to sound both ignorant and racist in just four short sentences.  It is such an offensive mish mash that local news broadcast anchors would only put the tweet up on the screen and refused to read the whole thing outloud.  

Her employer put out a quick response:
This is an outrageous, offensive comment that does not reflect the views and values of IAC. Unfortunately, the employee in question is unreachable on an international flight, but this is a very serious matter and we are taking appropriate action.

Ms. Sacco now finds herself among the unemployed.

A public relations executive for the prominent New York-based Internet media company IAC lost her job on Saturday after she posted a message joking about AIDS in Africa and race on her Twitter account, sparking an online furor. 

Her Twitter account?  Deleted.  Long flight home from Africa, I'm guessing.

Then, from the elected officials arena, the mayor of my own city decided to weigh in on the Duck Dynasty brouhaha with her own bit of gracelessness.  

Houston Mayor Annise Parker on Saturday took a shot at "Duck Dynasty" patriarch Phil Robertson, calling the backwood baron of duck calls and reality TV star a "redneck wingnut" in relation to his views on homosexuality.Parker, in a midday tweet, called Robertson's views "completely irrelevant," following on a remark she made to John Wright, publisher of Lone Star Q, a Texas-based blog focused on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues."I've been a gay community activist since the mid-70s," Wright quoted Parker as saying. "It was a very different time. We were fighting to keep people out of jails and mental hospitals. What some redneck wingnut has to say about the GLBT community is completely irrelevant."Parker followed the Friday quip with a tweet Saturday. "I was serious. Who cares?" Parker wrote on her official mayoral Twitter account, followed by nearly 25,000.

"Who cares?"  Kinda puts Hillary Clinton's infamous "What does it really matter?" tone deaf and flippant remark back into a person's mind, doesn't it?  We need better from the mayor of our nation's fourth largest city.  As an elected official, working for all of the people of the City of Houston, not just the ones she chooses to work for, she would do well to remember to act as a professional.  We deserve better dialogue than "redneck wingnut".

We need respectful dialogue brought back into politics.  The recent election cycles here in Houston have been hideous, frankly, with far more personal destruction attacks used in campaigns than arguments on policy and issues.  Some politicians now sound little better than common street thugs. Disagree with the candidate on his/her qualifications or rhetoric? That candidate and surrogates will go after the dissenter personally and publicly.

Politics 101 teaches that politics is the art of persuasion.  Who is persuaded with this comment?

Be worthy of the office or position you hold.  Lead by example.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Endangered Democrats Feeling the Obamacare Heat

Lousiana's Senior Senator (Democrat), Mary Landrieu, is feeling the heat from the fall-out of implementation of Obamacare.  She's up for re-election in 2014 and considered to be one of the most vulnerable.

Small business, in particular, are weighing in against Landrieu and other Democrats who forced Obamacare on the American consumer on a party line vote.  The irony? Landrieu chairs the Small Business Committee:
Sen. Mary Landrieu, Who Chairs The Small Business Committee, Boasts On Her Senate Website That “She Is Leading Efforts To Ensure All Small Businesses Have Access To…Superior Health Insurance At A Low Cost.” “As chair of the Small Business Committee, she is leading efforts to ensure all small businesses have access to capital and contracts, superior health insurance at a low cost and the resources needed to help boost our economy and guarantee America’s competiveness in the global marketplace. (“Biography,”, Accessed 12/17/13)
In 2009, Landrieu Insisted That ObamaCare “Drives Down Costs And Expands Affordable Health Care Choices For Millions Of Families And Small Businesses.”LANDRIEU: “I am voting for this bill because it achieves the goals I laid out at the beginning of this debate: it drives down costs and expands affordable health care choices for millions of families and small businesses in Louisiana and around the nation.  Any claim to the contrary, is a pathetic lie meant to derail this bill, a tactic that was all too common during this debate.” (Sen. Mary Landrieu, Congressional Record, 12/22/09, S13736) 

In typical Landrieu arrogance mode, she asserts she would support a vote for Obamacare again!

MARY LANDRIEU: The Affordable Care Act as I said, the bill itself, has very good concepts. And yes, I would support it again. But that doesn’t excuse the poor rollout of what should have happened. There should not have been a glitch in the software.

And in Arkansas -

According to the last polling results, Senator Mark Pryor has a 7 point deficit running against Republican challenger Rep Tom Cotton.
Plus this:

Cotton is ahead among independents by 21 points and among women by 4 points.

Small businesses in Arkansas are not happy with Senator Pryor and are running this ad in the state during the holiday season:

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Donate Wisely This Holiday Season

I received this in an email from a friend.  This is very interesting information to have when you write a check to those soliciting funds this holiday season.  Donate wisely.  Do the most good with the dollars you donate!

As you open your pockets to do a good thing and make yourself feel good, please keep the following facts in mind: ----------------------------
The American Red Cross
President and CEO Marsha J. Evans'
salary for the year was $651,957 plus expenses
It is called the March of Dimes because
only a dime for every 1 dollar is given to the needy.
The United Way
President Brian Gallagher
receives a $375,000 base salary along with numerous expense benefits.
CEO Caryl M. Stern receives
$1,200,000 per year (100k permonth) plus all expenses including a ROLLS ROYCE.
Less than 5 cents of your donated dollar goes to the cause.
GOODWILL CEO and owner Mark Curran profits $2.3 million a year.
Goodwill is a very catchy name for his business.
You donate to his business and then he sells the items for PROFIT. 
He pays nothing for his products and pays his workers minimum wage! Nice Guy. 
$0.00 goes to help anyone! 
Stop giving to this man.
Instead, give it to ANY OF THE FOLLOWING
The Salvation Army
Commissioner, Todd Bassett receives a small salary of only
$13,000 per year (plus housing) for managing this $2 billion dollar organization.
96 percent of donated dollars go to the cause.
The American Legion
National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary. 
Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!
The Veterans of Foreign Wars
National Commander receives a$0.00 zero salary.
Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!
The Disabled American Veterans
National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary. 
Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!
The Military Order of Purple Hearts
National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary. 
Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!
The Vietnam Veterans AssociationNational Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary.
Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!
Make a Wish: For children's last wishes.
100% goes to funding trips or special wishes for a dying child.
St. Jude Research Hospital
100% goes towards funding and helping Children with Cancer who have no insurance and cannot afford to pay.
Ronald McDonald Houses
All monies go to running the houses for parents who have critical Children in the hospital.
100% goes to h ousing, and feeding the families.
Lions Club International

Sunday, December 08, 2013

United Republicans of Harris County Begins Endorsement Process

The endorsement process has begun for the Board of Directors of United Republicans of Harris County.  As a reminder, United Republicans of Harris County (URHC) is the only endorsement slate offered to Harris County voters which DOES NOT participate in the pay for play system. URHC accepts no contributions in exchange for endorsements of any candidate running for county wide or state wide office.

From the website:
United Republicans has been a much recognized part of the Republican Primary with our extensive endorsement process.  In the hope of providing ethical and well qualified nominees for our Party, our endorsements are much sought after by candidates running for office.  Our hands on process of interviewing candidates in person and providing them with questionnaires regarding their qualifications makes us unique to the political process.  We are the ONLY such organization in Harris County that has continually and consistently provided a venue for candidates to be considered fairly based on merit, qualifications, and participation in the Republican Party.  We are the ONLY organization in Harris County to interview candidates in person as part of our selection process.  Our Board Members literally spend hours researching candidates before endorsements are issued in order to provide you the voter with the best possible recommendations.  We are proud of our accomplishment of being the only endorsing entity in Harris County to have chosen the WinningCongressional Candidate in all of the open Congressional seats in our greater Houston region.
URHC is beginning first with those candidates seeking state wide office, then following with those seeking county wide office in the personal interview process.

URHC is committed to providing an alternative to the corrupt pay for play system currently dominating county politics.  The system has shrunk the Republican party into an environment of a handful of men who make big bucks at the expense of candidates.  The system also produces lazy campaigning - if all a candidate thinks he/she has to do is pay for endorsements from those running the show, why go out and ask for votes?  Why go out and get to know those who will be affected by your office?

This system also discourages intelligent, ethical, forward thinking individuals from running for office.  The vicious cycle must be broken.

Stay tuned.  The endorsement/interviewing process takes lots of hours and research from the Board of Directors, who conduct the interviews and vote on the endorsements brought forward.

I am a member of the Board of Directors of United Republicans of Harris County.

Friday, November 22, 2013

On the 50th Anniversary of the Kennedy Assassination

Today we remember the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  This is one of those time stopping moments in a life when the initial shock is embedded in our minds and we remember where we were and what we were doing when it happened.  As it has been described by others, the assassination of President Kennedy is to my generation - the Baby Boomers - what the events of 9/11/01 are to the Milliennial generation.

Today former President George W. Bush, president during the 9/11/01 attacks and current resident of Dallas, issued the following statement:

"Today we remember a dark episode in our Nation's history, and we remember the leader whose life was cut short 50 years ago. John F. Kennedy dedicated himself to public service, and his example moved Americans to do more for our country. He believed in the greatness of the United States and the righteousness of liberty, and he defended them. On this solemn anniversary, Laura and I join our fellow citizens in honoring our 35th President."

On that day in Dallas, in 1963, I was in the second grade at Creswell Elementary School in Shreveport, Louisiana.  Being so young, I don't remember that we were told that the president had been shot as we were released to go home.  What I remember of that day is upon returning home from school, I walked into our house and as I walked to the back of the house to my room, I saw our housekeeper. She was sitting on the couch crying as her eyes were locked on the television screen.  Our normal routine would have her standing there in the room used as a spot for watching television doing the ironing.  She watched "her stories", the soap operas of the day, as she ironed.  I asked her why she was crying and she said that our president had been shot and she thought he was dead. Then she hugged me. 

That is how I remember that day in our nation's history. 

In school we studied American History and our nation's presidents.  Sometimes it was a surprise to re-learn how briefly President Kennedy was our president.  And how young his wife, in particular, was when he was killed.  

I'll say upfront that I was raised in a very Republican household and my parents were never Kennedy supporters.  They frequently tsk-tsked the whole storyline of the days of Camelot and the adulation the family received from so many, including the glowing press reports.  We know now that much was not reported in those days as the press covered the president.  Certainly none of the personal failings of President Kennedy were brought to light during his time in the White House.  

"And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country." - This is the famous quote associated with the man.  He used it in his inaugural address,  January 20, 1961.

When remininiscing about the Kennedy administration, one of the first accomplishments mentioned is not really an accomplishment but a goal, a challenge, issued by President Kennedy.  He challenged our country to put a man on the moon.  He wanted to enter the space race and compete with the Soviet Union, in the midst of the days of the Cold War.

He is remembered for his handling of America's response to the Bay of Pigs crisis.  

As often happens, memories soften and sometimes history is simply re-written.  Today we listen as Republicans sing the praises of JFK for cutting taxes as he did or for his stand against Communism, etc.  Turns out, he was only mediocre as president.  
By almost any measure, John F. Kennedy was a middling president at best, and an occasionally disastrous one. The Bay of Pigs fiasco, the Cuban missile crisis, setting the nation on the wrong course in Vietnam, his nepotism, the spying on political rivals — all must weigh heavily in our judgment of his presidency. And while Kennedy the president was a middle-of-the-range performer at best, Kennedy the man has been relentlessly diminished by the eventual revealing of the facts of his day-to-day life.
Though President Johnson takes the most criticism for the events in the Vietnam war, the other most distinguishing memories of the formative years of Baby Boomers, it was JFK who set those wheels in motion.

Kennedy famously appointed his own brother, Robert Kennedy, to the position of Attorney General - thus bringing blatant nepotism into the West Wing.  He did no favors for the presidency and the obligations of fairness to all Americans.  Kennedy opposed Civil RIghts legislation because Republicans supported it.  

John Kennedy looms large in the American imagination, but not for anything he accomplished in office. He was a handsome and vivacious man whose ascendancy coincided with that of television, a politician who was one part royal, one part movie star. That Americans found his celebrity and his pretensions to aristocracy appealing is beyond argument; however, it does not speak well of our political culture. But as created personas go, JFK was a doozy: He won the Pulitzer Prize for a book largely written by somebody else; his reputation as an intellectual was largely the creation of Arthur Schlesinger; and his family was figuratively and perhaps literally in bed with Joe McCarthy (who dated two of the Kennedy women), but the stigma of McCarthyism has never attached itself to his name. His pathological sexual appetites gave him the reputation of a charming rogue, when the truth is that he was closer to a mid-century Anthony Weiner. He was a veteran with an admirable military record, an unexceptional and difference-splitting senator with an Irish name: But for his celebrity, he would have been John McCain or John Kerry. 
One doesn't have to ponder for long to see many similarities today in politics with our current president.  Much like Kennedy, Barack Obama has coasted along in the glow of an adoring press and a strong fictional personal story. Both were mediocre U.S. Senators who rose to the presidency.  History repeats itself, that is certain.

Had President Kennedy not been assassinated, he would be remembered very differently today.  Instead of benefiting from the nostalgia of that horrible day - no decent person wishes those events on a nation or a family -  JFK would have been seen as a career politician groomed by an ambitious father to be president.  His own father, Joe Kennedy, a man made wealthy by rum running, was Ambassador to the Court of St James and a Nazi appeaser during the beginnings of World War II.  He resigned his post and returned to America determined to have a son in the White House.

Today the city of Dallas recognizes the anniversary of that tragic day 50 years ago, for the first time.  It is right to do so.  The Age of Camelot never really existed except in the eyes of the Kennedy worshipers.  It is something to be remembered today as the current American Idol sits in the White House.  

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Morales Issues Statement Regarding Judgement on Kubosh Residency

Republicans believe in the rule of law. 

Recently the City of Houston elections were held.  Candidates for city offices are required to be residents of the City of Houston - not Harris County, the City of Houston.  In the race for Houston City Council At Large District 3, a run-off election between Roy Morales and Michael Kubosh is in full swing.  Though city elections are non-partisan, both men call themselves Republicans.  I have heard both at various meetings and events speak of their Republican credentials.  As a Republican Woman, I have noticed a decidedly unsavory turn in this particular race.  Heeding my own clarion call to others - that voters stand up and speak out - I am wading into this race with hopes of fairness and ethics and decency being restored.

I have no dog in this hunt.  I am not a member of either man's campaign.  I have not voiced an endorsement for either candidate.  None of that has changed.  I am walking the walk as I talk the talk to voters. 

I am bothered by some criticism of Roy Morales by those who wish to cast doubt on his Republican credentials.  This is not his first run for office and he has never run as anything but a Republican.  The same cannot be said of Mr. Kubosh.  That is truth.

I am disturbed that Lt Col Morales is taking guff from Kubosh supporters - especially the paid surrogates - for using his military designation in his campaign materials.  This seems to be a level of pettiness that is unfortunate, especially from one Republican candidate's camp against another Republican candidate. Morales is entitled to use his rank, as a retired member of the military.  It's his personal choice and I respect that.  That is truth.

This week brought a new level of drama to the race.  Mr. Kubosh's residency was in question and that topic played out in the local court system.  The judge ruled in favor of Mr. Kubosh.  Today Roy Morales responded to local reporting on the subject:

Shedding Light On Michael Kubosh's Residency
For Immediate Release                                         Contact:  
November 20, 2013                                                              713.320.8167
Houston, TX - This evening District Court Judge Randy Wilson denied Roy Morales' Temporary Injunction to request that the Defendant Michael Kubosh be declared ineligible to be on the runoff ballot in accordance with section 232.045(a) of the Texas Election Code. Retired Lt Col Morales stated, " I am very disappointed in the court's  decision and in my heart and I believe in the hearts of many voters, we believe that Mr. Kubosh was not a resident of Houston on November 6, 2012 as required by the City of Houston." 
Roy Morales began researching Mr. Kubosh's residency back in August when there were six candidates on the ballot. He did so at the urging of many concerned citizens that had questioned Kubosh's residency in Houston.  He did not receive his open records request from the Harris County Appraisal District until October 25, 2013. Mr. Morales was told by the City Attorney he could do nothing about it until after the Election, when Mr. Morales could take it to District Court after the City had canvassed the results.  That occurred this past Monday at 3 pm.
The law requires candidates for public office to be residents of the City of Houston.  In seeking and obtaining his homestead exemption, Michael Kubosh swore that his principal residence is not in the City of Houston, but, in fact, is in Cypress, Texas and has been since 2008.  As a result, Kubosh, a bail bondsman, has claimed a homestead exemption on his principal residence for the last six years. By claiming his principal residence to be outside of the City of Houston, he has also avoided paying taxes to the City.  However, today Mr. Kubosh removed his homestead exemption from his Cypress address and paid the back taxes.
In addition, Kubosh registered two cars using his Cypress address within the one year period.
Roy Morales stated, "If a candidate is unable to follow the basic requirements to run for public office, how can we expect him to be a good servant for the citizens of Houston?  I shed light on the very important issue of residency and the need for transparency." 
Morales is entitled to his response and I believe his question was fair.  He did what a candidate should do - he pursued an answer.  He took action after obtaining evidence and let it move through the legal system.  Kubosh paid the back taxes.  I have to ask - if everything was ok, why did he do that?

RPT Chairman Munisteri Working on Presidential Primary Changes

Republican Party of Texas Chairman Steve Munisteri spoke at the monthly meeting of Village Republican Women Wednesday held at Lakeside Country Club.  Most interesting was his update on his work in reforming the Republican presidential primary process. As he announced recently, Chairman Munisteri has been appointed to sit on the Commission on Convention Planning:

I had been appointed by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus to serve on the Commission on Convention Planning which is considering moving up the date of the national convention and seeking input pertaining how to have a better convention in the future. Chairman Priebus floated the idea of moving the convention up to June or July from late August/September. I spoke in favor of moving up the convention, but requested that the RNC not move it up so early so as to interfere with the Texas GOP’s plans to hold our state convention in 2016. I informed the RNC that the Texas State Republican Executive Committee had already voted to move up our state convention from June to early May in order to accommodate RNC changes, but that any convention earlier than late June would be near impossible for us to conduct. I told the commission that we could make late June work but it would be very difficult and that we would prefer the end of the first week or second week of July. The commission is going to consider a variety of wide ranging changes but no specific matters were voted on this meeting.
Chairman Munisteri addressed three specific ideas he is working on to promote change in the upcoming Republican presidential primary process:

An earlier primary for Texas:  Texas has such a  large number of delegates to the RNC convention yet with our presidential primary falling later in the process, the state is not as big an influence as is equitable.  

The primary debates
:  Less debates. All debates will be RNC approved events.  If candidates agree to participate in non-approved debates, penalties will be issued.  Why should Republican presidential primary candidates debate with CNN anchors or former Democratic White House staffers?

An earlier national convention:  Instead of the Republican convention being held in late summer, it should be moved up earlier on the calendar.  This allows more time for the presidential ticket to campaign and be more competitive before the November election.  The bonus of this would also be less risk of a hurricane threat that would result in last minute scheduling changes. 

Chairman Munisteri spoke of the importance of everyone working to keep Texas a red state, which is especially important in presidential elections.  There is no electoral college pathway to national victory for a Republican presidential candidate without the electoral college votes from Texas. 

Chairman Munisteri spoke to the subject of engagement in traditionally minority communities and bringing these voters into Republican politics.  Here is what he wrote in his last newsletter update on Asian American and African American voter engagement:

In addition to planning for the RNC’s future we continued to focus our efforts back here in Texas on Victory efforts for 2014 and expanding our engagement program. We finalized plans for opening up an office in San Antonio, completed agreements with the Harris County GOP for our Victory office there, and continued to gear up our operations in Tarrant County, where we have placed a Victory Director as part of an agreement with the Tarrant County GOP. We also continued to hire staff to fill our Victory and engagement positions. We added Melissa Fwu, a Rice graduate, as our Director of Asian American Engagement. We also added former prosecutor Tommy Coleman as our In-House Counsel & Director of African American Engagement.

Engagement with Hispanic voters is ongoing, as well.  He stressed the importance of Republican elected officials to be present in communities and reach out to voters in person at local meetings and gatherings.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Obama Snubs 150th Anniversary of Gettysburg Address

Curious, isn't it, that President Obama decided to forgo commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address with a presidential visit and speech considering he would have us believe he is the second coming of Honest Abe himself.  You remember then Senator Barack Obama going to Springfield, Illinois on that cold winter day and announcing his candidacy for President of the United States, right? No one does a staged political appearance better than Barack Obama.  

So, after all these years of endless Abraham Lincoln references - when the situation favored them, of course - by President Obama, why would it be deemed odd that a journalist would ask the question some of us have been raising since the word broke that Team Obama was sending a second stringer instead of the big guy himself to mark this historical anniversary? I think it is safe to say this White House is on the defensive and in such disarray that every inquiry is treated with scorn and snark.  

One journalist, Ron Fournier, asked the question of a senior Obama adviser, Dan Pfeiffer, on Twitter.  A whole lot of truth came shining through in that exchange.  The folks at the Weekly Standard found the exchange illuminating, too.

This adviser claimed it was merely a scheduling problem.  However, that excuse, like many from the White House lately, doesn't quite jell.  

"It didn't work schedule-wise," was the explanation tweeted Tuesday morning by Dan Pfeiffer, the president's senior adviser. The schedule released by the White House showed the president at 10 a.m. in the Oval Office receiving his regular daily briefing. Then, at 10:45, he welcomed to the White House a group of senators to brief them on the latest developments in Iran. That briefing was not scheduled until Monday, well after the White House declined the Gettysburg invitation. Later in the day -- after he would have been back from the planned ceremony at Gettysburg -- he goes to the Four Seasons Hotel to address The Wall Street Journal CEO Council's annual meeting and talk about the economy.
That's right. Dan Pfeiffer would like for you to believe that President Obama is far too busy fixing the Obamacare website to hop on his trusty Air Force One and wing his way the short distance to Gettysburg.  Maybe President Obama has learned to write code so that he may just fix the whole mess himself.  

It is tradition that sitting presidents honor the occasion.  Maybe that is the hitch - this president fancies himself a rebel. The problem is that more often than not, he comes off looking really, really bad in his refusal to carry on traditions.  Americans like tradition.  

There are differing counts of how many of the 28 presidents after Lincoln traveled to Gettysburg. CNN reports that 24 have gone. The Gettysburg Times reports that every 20th-century president made the pilgrimage except for Bill Clinton. Woodrow Wilson spoke at the 50th anniversary in 1913. Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke at the 75th in 1938. Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson all took separate trips there in the 100th-anniversary year of 1963. But not all went willingly, and all tried to avoid speech comparisons with Lincoln.In his new biography of Wilson, A. Scott Berg writes that the president declined the invitation to go to the 50th-anniversary ceremonies. He reconsidered only after a warning from a Pennsylvania congressman that there would be recriminations if he stayed away. "Both blue and gray are to be there," Wilson wrote in a letter explaining what he was told. He said that his absence would be resented. "It would be suggested that he is a Southerner and out of sympathy with the occasion. In short it would be more than a passing mistake; it would amount to a serious blunder." 
The fact is, Presidents do as they please when it comes to schedule changes.  In this case, there was no need for a change.  There was time for presidential recognition all along.  It is particularly odd that our first Black president decided to bypass the occasion, given that the address was about the equality of men in America.

It is fitting that some new Americans were welcomed:

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia administered the oath of allegiance to a group of 16 immigrants, telling them the national identity is unique, illustrated by the existence of the word "un-American" and by the people's "fidelity to certain political principles.""Welcome my soon-to-be-fellow citizens," Scalia said. "May America bring you all you expect from it and may you give it all that it expects from you."
So, while thousands gathered to mark the occasion in Gettysburg, President Obama penned a few thoughts about the Gettysburg Address.  As usual, it was all about him.  And it is completely unbelievable nonsense.  Feeling the heat throughout the day, no doubt, spurred him on to produce such a paper. The White House is touting the fact that it is handwritten by Obama.  

Here is the letter transcribed:"In the evening, when Michelle and the girls have gone to bed, I sometimes walk down the hall to a room Abraham Lincoln used as his office. It contains an original copy of the Gettysburg Address, written in Lincoln's own hand.I linger on these few words that have helped define our American experiment: 'a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.'Through the lines of weariness etched in his face, we know Lincoln grasped, perhaps more than anyone, the burdens required to give these words meaning. He knew that even a self evident truth was not self executive; that blood drawn by the lash was an affront to our ideals; that blood drawn by the sword was in painful service to those same ideals.He understood as well that our humble efforts, our individual ambitions, are ultimately not what matter; rather, it is through the accumulated toil and sacrifice of ordinary men and women – those like the soldiers who consecrated that battlefield – that this country is built, and freedom preserved. This quintessentially self made man, fierce in his belief in honest work and the [illegible] sprit at the heart of America, believed that it falls to each generation, collectively, to share in that toil and sacrifice.Through cold war and world war, through industrial revolutions and technological transformations, through movements for civil rights and women's rights and workers rights and gay rights, we have. At times, social and economic change have strained our union. But Lincoln's words give us confidence that whatever trials await us, this nation and the freedom we cherish can, and shall, prevail."

  This exercise is also, conveniently, a submitted as part of a project called "272 Words":

Obama contributed his handwritten essay - about the same length as Lincoln's short address - to the Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation's project called "272 Words," where people contribute thoughts in the spirit of Lincoln.
The project involves ordinary Americans as well as former Presidents Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Jimmy Carter, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, General Colin Powell, and Martin Luther King III, the White House said.

One consistency with President Obama - everything is always all about him.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

UPDATE: Young Conservatives of Texas Cancel Illegal Immigrant Hunt

****This is the update I received from the Young Conservatives of Texas this afternoon....  The event has been cancelled.  

Letter from YCT-UT Chapter Chairman Lorenzo Garcia

To whom it may concern,

I am writing to inform The University of Texas at Austin and the UT community that I have decided, after speaking with my  members, to call off the illegal immigration event that the university chapter of Young Conservatives of Texas had planned for Wednesday.

After the University President and the Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement released statements denouncing the event we planned as violating the university’s honor code, I spoke with our chapter’s members, and they  are both concerned that the university will retaliate against them and that the protest against the event  could create a safety issue for our volunteers.

I acknowledge that the decision to include issuing $25 gift cards during the event was misguided and that the idea for the event was intentionally over-the-top in order to get attention for the subject. It is a simple fact that illegal immigration is a concern in this country and that it is one we must face. Estimates suggest that around 12 million people are living in the United States without documentation. President Obama wants to address the issue during his final term, and students on college campuses, conservative, liberal, or somewhere in between, should not be silenced when  they attempt to make their voices heard about an issue that is so important to our futures.

I have been shocked at the uproar over the event’s premise and at the personal attacks against  me. Today, opponents of YCT have claimed that I am being used as a front man. I have been called an “Uncle Tom.” I have received emails and comments via social media filled with  obscenity. The reactions of some who claim that YCT is creating a demeaning or degrading environment on campus have been truly disgraceful.

I have always viewed The University of Texas as a place where students could express their opinions—whether or not they were popular. Even though our event will not go forward, UT students, our state, and our nation need to have a serious discussion and debate about the issue  of illegal immigration. I believed that our event would spark this discussion on campus, and though we will no longer be holding the event, I hope that the publicity surrounding the event will create debate among students.

Young Conservatives of Texas Play Catch an Illegal Immigrant

This landed in my inbox in the early hours of November 18:


November 18, 2013

Contact: Lorenzo V. Garcia, YCT-UT Chairman
Mobile: (361) 658-3821

Young Conservatives to Hold Catch an Illegal Immigrant Game

Austin, TX—The University of Texas chapter of Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) will be
hosting a “Catch an Illegal Immigrant” game on Wednesday, November 20, 2013 at the West Mall of campus from 12-3 p.m.
There will be several people walking around the UT campus with the label "illegal immigrant" on
their clothing. Any UT student who catches one of these "illegal immigrants" and brings them back
to our table will receive a $25 gift card.
“The purpose of this event is to spark a campus-wide discussion about the issue of illegal
immigration, and how it affects our everyday lives,” said Lorenzo Garcia, YCT Chairman.

The Young Conservatives of Texas – UT Chapter is a political student group rooted in
conservative principles. YCT promotes its principles through a wide range of activities,
including campaigning for conservative candidates, ranking the state legislature, and hosting
events on the University of Texas campus.

Not exactly a great way for this Republican Woman to start her day.  Frankly, reading this press release turned my stomach. I had to read it twice to let it all sink in.  This is a joke, right?  Some sort of really bad joke?


As you can imagine, the liberals are having a great time broadcasting this bone-headed stunt.  The Young Conservatives call themselves non-partisan, a principles over party kind of organization, and they are a college group at UT.  You may remember that earlier in the year this group had a bake sale on campus and sold goods at varying prices, depending on ethnic identification of the consumer. It was to spotlight the affirmative action subject.

As a Republican Woman working hard to engage all communities in politics, it is hard to imagine a greater waste of time and money than this obnoxious publicity stunt.  It is not "conservative principle" to demean another human being.

The Young Conservatives call themselves a political group.  I have to assume that at least a few of them are political science majors or maybe history majors.  I have to assume that some of them may have future political ambitions.  How long would this stunt last in the real world?

Do campus groups still have a faculty adviser?  Where is the guidance from the adviser in this?  I understand that campuses promote conversation and examination of issues but this is not the way to bring about discussion.  And this sort of stunt does nothing for the conservative movement.

Immigration reform is no joking matter.  Especially in Texas, we are all affected by the porous border.  I would hope that at the age of college students that the young people would understand that this is not how people should be treated.  From a political point of view, it is no way to persuade anyone to consider conservative philosophy.  Politics is, after all, the art of persuasion.

Garcia is a former paid staffer for Greg Abbott, candidate for Governor of Texas.  Abbott issued a statement condemning the group's action:

“Our campaign has no affiliation with this repugnant effort,” it read in part. “Illegal immigration and the failed policies of the Obama administration are no joking matter.” 

Abbott is married to a Latina.

Disagree with the Dream Act?  Against the Texas policy that allows the children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition in college?  Fine.  These actions, Young Conservatives, must be condemned.  This is just mean-spirited.  This is unproductive.  It's offensive.

It's not a game.

I like to offer solutions.  Ponder this, Young Conservatives - what if you were concentrating on the biggest issue in front of us, and especially in front of you?  That issue is Obamacare.  Why aren't you concentrating your efforts to drive a conversation on Obamacare as it rolls out?  This train wreck affects 1/6 of our national economy - the job market you will soon hope to conquer as you leave the comforts of college life.  Your generation is expected to carry the burdens of Obamacare.  Your generation is expected to enroll and finance this sweeping entitlement for the rest of us.  You should all be in this discussion. Bring along your fellow college students by educating using conservative philosophy on entitlements and entitlement reform.  This opportunity has fallen into your laps. Take it.

Be problem solvers, Young Conservatives.  Message matters.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Obama Re-Writes Obamacare Law Again

We have all heard some amazing statements recently coming out of the White House and Democratic pundits about Obamacare.  Today President Obama appeared before the White House press corps to announce another way he is altering the Affordable Care Act.  Remember all the times you have heard Obama supporters refer to Barack Obama as a Constitutional scholar?  Remember all the times those of us who do not support Obamacare have been told that it is settled law? Then how is it that this Constitutional scholar continues to cherry pick which laws he will and will not enforce?  Why does he continue to get a pass as he makes exceptions, grants waivers, and now flat out alters the law?

Today President Obama admitted he did, in fact, mislead the American people about being able to keep their health care insurance if we were happy with it.  He knew in 2010 that this would only apply to the policies in place at that time and not for renewals or any changes made to the current policies.  That is why a Grandfather Clause was written into the law.

The “grandfather” clause is a portion of the law that allows people to maintain plans in existence before the law was signed in March 2010, even if they don’t adhere to Obamacare’s insurance standards. Today, Obama, who appeared in the White House Briefing Room try to explain himself, blamed the “grandfather clause” for the fact that his statement “ended up not being accurate.”
President Obama is now being held accountable for allowing false hope about health care insurance coverage for a vast number of Americans.  Millions of insured are now receiving letters from their insurance carriers notifying them of policy cancellations.  These are mostly those who are privately insured.  The millions to be affected from cancellations of small business insurance cancellations will come at year's end.  The pressure is on.  Democrats up for re-election in red states are in a bad spot.


The president's approval ratings have fallen like a rock.  He is now in George W. Bush territory - at the lowest point of Bush's approval rating.  I ponder why it has taken so long for Obama to reach the low mark, given the continued incompetency shown from his non-leadership but nonetheless it is happening now.  Even the Democrats are voicing displeasure, along with the media (but I repeat myself).

Health care insurance is a highly personal subject. Health care insurance is a highly individual matter. The insurance agencies went along with Obamacare and adjusted policies to include all of the mandates which has increased premium prices.  Today President Obama declared that Americans can keep those cancelled policies for another year.  If the insurance companies will re-issue the policies, that is,  and that is highly unlikely.

President Barack Obama said Thursday that insurers will be able to continue health-insurance coverage next year for current policyholders that otherwise would be canceled under the new health-care law.The change marks a significant policy retreat by the president, one that he hopes will quell an intensifying protest over his faulty promise that Americans can keep their insurance plans under the new law.Mr. Obama's announcement came on the eve of a House vote on a Republican bill to alter the law, which was gaining traction among Democrats, particularly after the administration's release Wednesday of low enrollment figures for the first month of the federal government's problem-prone online insurance marketplace.
You may remember President Obama demonizing Republican opposition to Obamacare from the start.  He continues to state that Republicans only criticize Obamacare and do not offer alternatives.  This is a blatant lie, of course, but he is who he is.  Obama has no relationship with members of Congress, especially with Republicans, as past presidents have cultivated. So when Obamacare was rammed through Congress without a single Republican vote, it became the sole property of Democrats.  The intention all along was to destroy the private insurance industry and then move into a single payer model.

Health care insurance coverage is not compatible with the sweeping one-size-fits-all approach of liberals and their model of government entitlement programs.  A much better solution would be for men and women of good will to come together and push for reforms to the system.  Most people, regardless of political philosophy, can agree with some basic reforms - no more discrimination to those with pre-existing conditions; halt the yearly sky rocketing of premiums; cut out waste and abuse of the system; etc.  It takes effort and leadership but it is what we send elected officials to Washington, D.C. to do.

President Obama swore to uphold the United State Constitution in his oath of office.  He continues to abuse his responsibility.  Insurance carriers have been played for suckers and now are expected to change the new mandates mid-stream.

Conveniently, Obama's one year fix again sets his Obamacare adjustments to see the Democrats through the next election.  Democrats own this monstrosity and must be held accountable.  It is crucial that Republicans hammer Democrats with the law.  Never before in our nation's history has a huge sweeping entitlement been signed into law with only one party's affirmative vote.

Keep the pressure on, Republicans and Independents and realistic Democrats.  This is a deeply flawed law written for political gain by one political party.  Shame on them.  Democrats own it.  Republicans must continue to hammer Democrats with the beast.

Friday, November 08, 2013

The RNC Responds to Recent Criticism

While it is en vogue for the loud ones inside Republican politics to criticize the RNC, and that would include myself at times, here's the thing - reality has begun to settle in and some very necessary groundwork is being done. Here is a recap from party headquarters on what support and action was offered/taken in two important gubernatorial races - New Jersey and Virginia:

FROM: RNC Political Director Chris McNulty

Here are some of things we did in New Jersey:
  • The RNC spent $2.5 million to support Chris Christie and the Republican ticket, while building the party’s presence in New Jersey.
  • The RNC had 32 staff in New Jersey, stationed in 20 offices, eight of which were paid for by the RNC.
  • Two of the offices, located in Paterson and Vineland, were dedicated to Hispanic engagement and bilingual voter contact. This investment helped the New Jersey Republican Party and the Christie campaign contact and identify new Republican voters.
  • On-the-ground Hispanic engagement activities were coordinated with our state advisory team of 15 county chairs. (By next year, the team will have grown to 40 new chairs in targeted precincts.)
  • African American engagement staff ensured Republicans had a presence at events and gathering across the state, ready to pass out literature and share our message.
  • Republicans attended everything from civic and religious events to high school competitions, from an annual Alpha Kappa Alpha gathering to rallies for African American candidates.
  • The Christie campaign utilized RNC offices to hold Asian-Pacific American phone banks and to organize the canvassing operation.
  • With a record number of Republican women running for office in New Jersey, the RNC Co-Chair’s office helped launched Project New Jersey, along with sister organizations and committees, to provide training and support for these candidates.   
Here’s a look at Virginia:
  • The RNC spent $3 million to support Ken Cuccinelli and the Republican ticket, while building the party’s presence in Virginia.
  • In getting out the vote for Cuccinelli and the Republican ticket, we tested our new precinct-based voter contact model.
  • Precinct Teams, led by Precinct Captains, canvassed neighborhoods using RNC data and new technology.
  • This allowed for a more decentralized approach: individuals could focus on neighborhoods with which they were familiar.
  • By October, we already had twice as many data points as we did at the same point in 2012.
  • We had 50 offices, which was more than 2012.
  • We had 60 staff on the ground, on par with 2012.
  • Our Virginia-based staff included four dedicated to Asian-Pacific American engagement, two for African American engagement, and one for Hispanic engagement.
  • On the communications side, the RNC equipped campaigns with comprehensive communications plans for engaging with minority communities.
  • The RNC ran ads on Korean TV, commissioned a poll of Korean residents and tested targeted digital ads—in addition to other efforts to reach new voters.
Building a truly national party with a year-round presence takes time. But in just a few short months we’ve made much progress. We already have hundreds of staff at work in communities all across the country. Under our new grassroots-based ground game model, we’re organizing at the precinct level, and our staff will work alongside state parties and campaigns to support a team of thousands of Precinct Captains we’ve already recruited. They in turn will be responsible for building Precinct Teams to contact and persuade voters neighborhood by neighborhood. We’ve made substantial investments in engaging with Hispanic, African American, and Asian-Pacific communities, including staff and offices in Washington, DC, and multiple states. These efforts are based on the same model and organized down to the precinct level. In addition, the RNC is providing playbooks to campaigns for effective minority engagement, giving them resources they otherwise would not have. All of this work is long-term. It’s about winning in 2014. It’s also about 2016, 2020, and beyond. It’s about laying a foundation for future candidates and campaigns. The RNC’s mission is to prepare the field for our candidates. Our work continues on in 2014, and we will refine our approach based on what we learned from 2013.

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey won re-election while Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli did not win his race to be his state's governor.  It can not be stressed enough that a candidate must be viable and able to communicate well with the electorate.  Different states produce different candidates.  In order to win a general election, a Republican candidate has to be able to attract Independents and conservative Democrats - think Reagan Democrats - because Republican voters alone cannot win elections.  The numbers are simply not there.

The votes of women, of Hispanics, of Asian Americans and of Black Americans all play into the final tally.  A candidate has to be able to talk to all voters. 

So, in New Jersey, a "governing conservative" Republican not only ran ahead of his female Democrat opponent with women...WITH WOMEN... he also won 51% of the Hispanic vote, 21% of the Black vote and 32% of the Democrats in a BLUE state.

For those determined to work against Governor Christie, this is something to remember: 
One mistake for the GOP to avoid is casting Mr. Christie as a "moderate" because he won twice in a Democratic state. The Governor has by and large governed as a conservative reformer. He vetoed a tax increase on millionaires and capped property taxes. He pushed tenure reforms that will make it easier to fire bad teachers, and he extracted far more pension reform out of a Democratic legislature than did Democratic Governors Jerry Brown in California or Andrew Cuomo in New York.

As predicted in Virginia, though the Governor's race was a Republican loss, as was the lt Gov race, the Virginia House of Delegates remains in solid control by the GOP.  Both of these men turned off women and Independents in a big way because of rhetoric.  A candidate cannot be more interested in pushing a personal opinion as it relates to a social (personal) issue more than he is interested in a vote.  He/She gets a vote by persuading with respectful arguments. No one wants to listen to sanctimonious lecturing or sweeping insults to those with whom the candidate disagrees.

The RNC is now engaged in a 50 state strategy with paid staff and brick and mortar headquarters. The old days of beefing up the bank account at national headquarters and waiting until the final stretch to dole out checks to candidates in need of some support are gone.

To those who proclaim loyalty to the Tea Party and not the GOP or to those who proclaim loyalty to being "conservative" over being Republican (as though the choice is not Republican versus Democrat) I say this - if you demand that those who financially contribute to the RNC stop doing so until whatever hoops you are producing are being jumped through, you are the problem.  The time has come for you to be mocked for the unserious person you are. Politics is not about just winning an argument, it is about winning elections.  In order to govern, the party must win the election. That, my friends, is Politics 101.

And for the completely clueless who proudly boast Libertarian support? That vote process can go either way. Those within the Tea Party leaning faction of the Republican population don't seem to realize that often the Libertarian vote aids the Democrat in the race.  In the case of the Virginia race, one poll showed that 2/3 of those voting for the Libertarian candidate held McAuliffe as a second choice, not Cuccinelli.   

From Rich Galen at

  • Oh, the third party candidate in Virginia? The Libertarian? Before you say if he hadn't been in the race Cuccinelli would have won, CNN's political unit points out that "exit polls indicate McAuliffe would have beaten Cuccinelli by 7 points (50%-43%)" instead of the 2½ percentage points he did win by.