Three Weeks and Counting

We have less than three weeks until the Big Day.  For me personally, it has been quite busy.  This week I was invited to speak on behalf of the campaign regarding health care, social security, mental health and disability rights.  It was a great opportunity to lay out the Republican party’s essential philosophy that private decisions, such as health, should remain in the hands of private individuals and those that they choose to consult with, such as doctors and yes, insurers of choice.  In addition, it was a chance to remind people that McCain not only seeks to make health care accessible and more affordable, but he is committed to mainitaining and improving the quality of health care.  For him, this is just as important.  And most importantly, it gave me the chance to explain that McCain’s commitment to improving the lives of those with disabilities is unparalleled.  In addition to drafting some of the key provisions of the Americans with Disabilties Act (ADA) he himself knows what it is like to be disabled, due to his wounds suffered as a POW.  But it is his appointment of Sarah Palin as his VP running mate, who is charged with the priority of working with special needs families and his commitment to protecting the weakest members of society, the unborn and the aged, that underscores and guarantees his commitment to improving care for everyone.  It was a great “debate” and opportunity to meet some devoted advocates for the disabled from Evanston’s Center for Independent Futures, who sponsored the talk.  It is clear that much work on behalf of the disabled is done through private and non-profit groups and individuals and we need to make sure they can continue their mission in the most creative, innovative, productive environment possible by insuring that the best programs, research and opportunities are available and rewarded.

This last week also had the final presidential debate.  To be honest, I think Sen. McCain did a great job detailing the significant differences between the two party platforms.  He also had an opportunity to present issues to the public that have been disguised by the main stream media.  Not only did he catapult “Joe the Plumber” and the concerns he represents, but he was able to introduce the issues regarding Acorn and Ayers, Obama’s links to those groups and how they are representative of his socialist ideology.  McCain said it best, do we want people like Joe spreading the wealth by growing companies, creating jobs and investing in our communities, or do we want to give it to the government (we saw how they handled the mortgage business) and let them decide?  Under all this is the fact that Obama is proposing an essential socialist system where the wealthy are required to give money to the less wealthy in the form of tax credits, which for over 40% of the Americans who do not pay taxes will be in the form of a check – essentially welfare.  What we have to ask ourselves is what is the role of government?  Is it to provide services and protections that we need across the board that facilitate trade, exhange, the free market, growth, such as roads, military, safety net programs, court systems, or is it to redistribute the wealth of some to give to others?  Who is better at this, the government or private individuals who are incentivized to succeed and are generous through their charity and churches?  We are looking at the greatest socialist expansion of our government since 1965 and probably since 1933.  Is this the model that really works?

I also had a chance to watch the candidates tell their jokes about each other during the Archdiocease of New York’s Alfred E. Smith dinner.  Both candidates were hilarious and it seems like Bill Clinton was the greatest butt of their jokes.  In watching this, I had to ask myself:  these guys can get along, they don’t appear to despise each other despite the rigors of the campaign and it won’t matter, it will all work out.  But I am reminded that this complacency is exactly what gets our country in trouble, if not in watching our financial systems, keeping an eye on Fannie and Freddie, or Congress itself, then in thinking our enemies aren’t that bad or evil.  A lot is at stake over the next four years, not just our economy and how we structure it but how we fight for our place in the world and demonstrate what it means to be free.  We have a lot to uphold, not just for ourselves, but for others and we need to remind ourselves often of that.  There is too much at stake to think it will somehow be taken care of by others.  With that said, I am hunkering down for the homestretch.  I have a couple of more speeches and talks to give – one next Thursday for the Evanston GOP monthly luncheon on my experiences as a delegate and the other on Wednesday, the 29th on freedom and how it is expressed/protected/promoted through conservative principles.  I am so excited to do both.


Election Countdown: Four Weeks to Go

Well a lot has happened in this last week which, if it is any measure, means we are in for a roller coaster ride up to November 4th.  We saw the House fail to pass a bailout bill, the Senate pass one, a Vice Presidential debate viewed by record numbers of people, and finally a bailout bill passed and signed by Bush.  Phew!  Not only did I participate on a panel discussing the VP debate for our local CBS News, but I had the amazing opportunity to reflect on all of this again on Bruce Dumont’s Beyond the Beltway political debate radio show.  I am not sure where to begin except maybe with the Vice Presidential debate.  I think we saw the Sarah Palin we expected to see:  dynamic, energetic, geniuosly straight talking and visionary.  We saw a some what tamed, if not neutered, Joe Biden who worked incredibly hard to create a record for Barack Obama that clearly failed to match his own and paled in light of Palin’s.  The “misstatements” put forth by Biden just demonstrated how hard it must be for him to claim that Obama on his own his ready to lead our country.  From claiming Obama helped kick out Hezbelloh from Lebanon, that Obama warned the Treasury in a phantom letter, and Palin’s oil plan taxed the same windfall profits as Obama’s (which is clearly not true) all the way to going to Katie’s Restaurant, which hasn’t been in business for decades, Biden didn’t seem committed to the vision and leader he has been brought on to support.  Putting on my partisan hat, Biden seems more like Obama’s babysitter than a trusted advisor, put there to make sure Obama stays on track with the Democratic party.

And what about this bailout bill?  I think it is important to keep in mind how we got into this mess.  There is no coubt that the central engine driving this was Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac.  On one end, they drove banks to take greater risks on homeowners and then managed to hide these risks in packaged mortgage swaps that were traded to banks and investment banks.  With the assistance of credit rating agencies rating these packages with assurances of the government as the insurer, these tainted packages were injected into the system without the approriate flags.  No doubt, excited Wall Street bankers, hungry for the upside and and not willing to parse through these risks created a frenzy that Fannie Mae and Freddie were glad to fuel.  Predatory lenders and housing advocates took advantage of these rates and subprime mortgage opportunities to boost their own numbers as well.  However, have no doubt that the central gate keepers to all of this were our government sponsored entities that were protected and shielded by some very driven members of congress who refused to question the system.  There is no doubt that McCain led the fight to reform these entities and saw what was coming down the pipeline and unfortunately, disarmed by his unpopularity, Bush was unable to garner the support in Congress to correct the situation.  The Democratic feeding frenzy regarding these loans had far too much momentum.  That said, what is important to remember is that we are seeing a breakdown in our financial markets, which is having an effect on the economy.  This is not a result of economic policies such as spending, balancing budgets, promoting job growth or tax policy, all which fundamentally drive our economy.  So to say this is a result of Bush policies is patently false and nothing but political rhetoric.  At the heart of this is Democratic attempts to take over personal and private decisions and reengineer them to grow the economy.  There is nothing that Obama has said that would show that he is different from his colleagues.  A vote for Obama is a vote for four more years of Pelosi and Reid failures.

McCain is clear that his vision is to keep private decisions, like health care, investments, and education in the hands of those people who are best able to create, innovate and negotiate the best choices for themselves.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are perfect examples of how Democratic policies will get us into big messes and how their tax, spend, and penalize the innovator policies fail. 

It is clear that many challenges, not just the economy, confront the next administration.  There is no doubt that on the front burner, burning even hotter, is the fact that we are fighting two very complicated and important wars.  These are just two of the battles on the war on terror front.  So much more goes into their success such as intelligence, nation building, diplomacy, strategic alliances, weapons defense, and on the ground infrastructure.  Only McCain understands this and has the capabilities to manage this.  Every proposal offered by Obama has as its number one component the reduction of our defense committments.  This should be alarming.  He is not committed to steering the economy and fighting these two wars.  Make no mistake, he plans to end these wars, successfully or not and attempt to reengineer our economy.  It should bother voters that his chief economic advisors are Raines and Johnson, who each headed up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and Penny Pritzker, whose own bank failed while she was at the helm as a result of too many subprime mortgages.  We cannot trust that Obama will see us through all these crises.  He will easily trade in our national security in order to secure his and the Democratic congress’ control of our economy.  We saw what happened with Fannie and Freddie.  With Obama, we know we will lose these wars and we can be pretty sure he will only further entrench our economy into a recession.  Let’s choose a leader who can bring us certain victories.