Thursday, August 30, 2012

Condoleezza Rice RNC Speech Reaffirmed American Exceptionalism

Photo Credit - Flickr Common
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice delivered an eloquent speech with strong domestic and foreign policy messages at the Republican National Convention.

Rice received a rousing welcome as she entered the main stage and five standing ovations as she delivered her presentation.  Even the most ardent, yet honest, Democrats would agree she is sincere, honest, intelligent, and credible.

She is a foreign policy expert whom understands the importance and reality of a strong standing in the world for the U.S.  She knows what makes or breaks this global U.S. position and why it matters not only for Americans and our allies, but also for those people around the world who seek their own stable, responsive government and dream of freedom and liberty.    

Rice gave many examples of why America is exceptional by founding design with ideals allowing her people to succeed no matter where they started in life and by encouraging personal responsibility, individual ambition, free people, and free markets.

She offered, “After all, when the world looks to America, they look to us because we are the most successful political and economic experiment in human history. That is the true basis of ‘American Exceptionalism.’  The essence of America, that which really unites us is not ethnicity, or nationality or religion.  It is an idea, and what an idea it is - that you can come from humble circumstances and do great things. That it doesn’t matter where you came from but where you are going.”   

Rice poignantly noted, “Ours has never been a narrative of grievance and entitlement. We have not believed that I am doing poorly because you are doing well. We have not been envious of one another and jealous of each other’s success.”

“But the American ideal is indeed endangered today. There is no country, no not even a rising China, that can do more harm to us than we can do to ourselves if we fail to accomplish the tasks before us here at home.”

Her main messages to American voters were the United States must reclaim its strength economically to restore its strength in global influence and must not step down from a leadership position in the world.  She proclaimed we must solve our problems domestically to elevate our weaker standing in the world today.  

Rice detailed the domestic areas that must be addressed – fair trade, energy independence, economic foundation rebuilding, effective debt solutions, and maximized education standards and delivery reform.  She proclaimed, “Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will rebuild us at home and inspire us to lead abroad.”   

Rice began her speech addressing the need for U.S. leadership in the world.  She spoke of those in the world who look to the U.S. for support of freedom.  She spoke of the burden and hardship for America in leading and the consequences in the world if America abandons her Exceptionalism and relinquishes her leadership role.

She noted what we have already seen in the world with a weaker U.S. with our current acceptance of leading from behind when others seek direction and support – “China and Russia prevent a response; and all wonder, where does America stand?”  

She continued, “Indeed that is the question of the moment, ‘Where does America stand?’  When our friends and our foes alike do not know the answer to that question, clearly and unambiguously, the world is a chaotic and dangerous place.  The U.S. has since the end of World War II had an answer – we stand for free peoples and free markets, we are willing to support and defend them – we will sustain a balance of power that favors freedom.” 

Rice is right in her strong observation, “We cannot be reluctant to lead, and one cannot lead from behind.”  This has led to our current weaker influence in global affairs reflected in foreign leaders openly threatening the U.S. and a complete disregard for our stated and unstated foreign policy goals.   

She told the RNC audience and millions of Americans watching and listening, “Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will rebuild us at home and inspire us to lead abroad.  They will provide an answer to the question, ‘Where does America stand?’ The challenge is real and the times are hard. But America has met and overcome hard challenges before.”

“Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have the integrity and the experience and the vision to lead us – they know who we are, they know who we want to be, they know who we are in the world and what we offer.”

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s insightful conclusion reaffirmed America’s Exceptionalism. “That is why this is a moment - an election of consequence.  Because it just has to be that the most compassionate and freest country on the face of the earth will continue to be the most powerful.”

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Gov Christie’s RNC Keynote Speech Highlighted “Leadership Delivers”

Photo Credit - Flickr Common
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie delivered a keynote speech at the Republican National Convention with a theme of “leadership delivers” taking on status quo politicians that cannot say no when needed. 

He appropriately and effectively called out the weakness in leadership which panders for votes with a “yes” when a “no” is needed.  Most importantly, he explained why it matters to future generations that the status quo is broken now at this point in our nation’s history. 

Governor Christie continued a strategic Republican theme that it is possible to return to sound fiscal management by reviewing spending priorities, being honest with citizens, and treating voters as adults and not children to be taken care of by government.  He put forth we are in a “new era of truth telling.”

He followed a parade of Republican governors, many elected during the last three years, during the recession years, who have faced hard decisions and shown true leadership in delivering on election promises to balance budgets, cut wasteful spending, and attracting new businesses and jobs to their states without raising taxes.

Most notably these governors included Scott Walker from Wisconsin, Nikki Haley from South Carolina, and John Kasich from Ohio.  Bob McDonnell from Virginia noted, “Conservative fiscal policies are working, and so are more Americans in states with Republican governors.  Now, just think what we can do if we had a President who would support us, not obstruct us.”
Ohio Governor John Kasich put exact numbers in his conservative principles leadership delivery detailing, “Ohio was 48th in job creation and is now 4th in the U.S. and 1st in the Midwest.”

Christie brought the theme “leadership delivers” home with exact examples from his work in New Jersey.  “They said it was impossible to cut taxes in a state where taxes were raised 115 times in eight years. That it was impossible to balance a budget at the same time, with an $11 billion deficit. Three years later, we have three balanced budgets with lower taxes.  We did it.”

He continued, “They said it was impossible to touch the third rail of politics. To take on the public sector unions and to reform a pension and health benefit system that was headed to bankruptcy.  With bipartisan leadership we saved taxpayers $132 billion over 30 years and saved retirees their pension.  We did it.”

Christie challenged out-dated and entrenched special interests with “They believe in teachers’ unions.  We believe in teachers.”

He challenged Washington politicians with “If we can do this in a blue state with a conservative Republican governor, Washington is out of excuses.”

He challenged President Obama directly with, “You see, Mr. President, real leaders don’t follow polls. Real leaders change polls.”

Christie challenged those who believe big government is the answer.  He challenged those who believe a less than exceptional America is acceptable with, “I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my children and grandchildren to have to read in a history book what it was like to live in an American Century. I don’t want their only inheritance to be an enormous government that has overtaxed, overspent and over-borrowed a great people into second-class citizenship. I want them to live in a second American Century.”

He spoke directly to the American people in a personal and compelling way when he offered his vision of generational pride and duty.  He reminded us of America’s history and the sacrifices of past generations for us now. 

He spoke in a serious yet uplifting way regarding American values being handed from one generation to the next.  “This is the American way. We have never been victims of destiny. We have always been masters of our own. I won’t be part of the generation that fails that test and neither will you.”

"What will our children and grandchildren say of us? Will they say we buried our heads in the sand, we assuaged ourselves with the creature comforts we've acquired, that our problems were too big and we were too small, that someone else should make a difference because we can't? Or will they say we stood up and made the tough choices needed to preserve our way of life?”

Leadership does deliver.  And part of this “delivery” must be for this generation’s leaders and citizens to resolve the debt and deficit realities we have and to not accept future generations living with problems saddled on them years ago.  

Christie showed he deserved his political rising star status in reflecting a new generation of Republican leadership willing to tackle big issues with big vision.  He made any campaign that wants to focus on “free birth control” as a main issue or wants to divide the country by fear and smear seem very small in the big picture for our country. 

Our next generation deserves leadership now who has proven experience in delivering effective results and is committed to delivering results now without whining about what they inherited and without blaming others for their failure to deliver.     

We need leadership who will face challenges head on and reclaim the vision of America we were given by our founding fathers and restore the values of America we know built this great country.  As Governor Christie highlighted, we need leadership that will deliver now more than ever.

We also need citizen leadership that will deliver.  Governor Christie understood this too.  "It's been easy for our leaders to say not us, and not now, in taking on the tough issues. And we've stood silently by and let them get away with it.  But tonight, I say enough."     

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

GOP to Take Away Women’s Cars & All Driving Rights

Photo Credit - Flickr Common
The Republicans have announced they will not support American car companies, and taxpayers ultimately in some cases, providing cars free for all women in America as a right. 

In this latest assault on women, they are taking away the rights of all women to own a car and to drive one.

Wow!  Really?

No, not really.  This headline is completely untrue as is the premise that anyone is proposing free cars for women as a right.  It is as false as the manufactured GOP "War on Women" in fact.

Did this headline get your attention?  Did it have you immediately thinking about those “crazy or evil” Republicans?  Did you believe it was, well, at least possibly true somehow? 

Did your mind go to, “Republicans hate all women and want to put them back in the days before women could drive, or vote.” even if just at first glance? 

It is simply an illustration of the 2+2=5 logic being used in the 2012 election campaign strategy of manufacturing a Republican “War on Women.”

This “War on Women” mantra was the Democrat leadership’s reaction to Republicans not supporting health insurance buyers, and taxpayers ultimately in many cases, being mandated to provide for birth control and the morning-after pill in Obamacare at no co-pay or essentially free to all women.

If Republicans, and many Americans in general, do not fall in line with agreement of the government mandating free birth control coverage, even those that object on freedom of religion grounds, then this amounts to them wanting to take away “access to birth control of any kind for all women.”

The evil Republicans in fact want to take away “all health care access” and “all reproductive rights” for women.      

How did women, any woman, have birth control services or any health care services prior to Obamacare at all? 

Even those women that could not legitimately afford health care services apparently had no access to low cost or no cost clinics or Medicaid prior to Obamacare.  

Democrats often use an all-or-nothing approach in their political rhetoric.  They often “awfulize” to make their argument, thinking it makes their case stronger.  It doesn’t.   

We see it every day.  President Obama, Vice President Biden, Former Speaker Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Reid, and many other Democrats are good at doing it. 

The liberal slant in the main stream media does it too.  But, most Americans see through its ridiculousness.

The all-or-nothing approach is typically a divide-and-conquer approach.  It is an appeal to emotion meant to produce a “We are all good.” and “They are all bad.” political talking point.  Some of the worst examples include:

  • ·         President Obama, “And then you got their plan which is let’s have dirtier air, dirtier water, less people with health insurance.”

  • ·         Former Speaker Pelosi, “If you could depend on the government for one thing, it was  about you had to be able to trust the water that our kids drank and the food that they ate.  But this is the E. Coli Club [referring to the GOP].  They do not want to spend money on this.”

  • ·        Hardball’s Chris Matthews on the Tea Party, “You got birthers, truthers, secessionists, nullifiers, people that are gun nuts…”

  • ·        The Ed Show’s Ed Schultz, “The Republicans lie! They want to see you dead! They'd rather make money off your dead corpse! They kind of like it when that woman has cancer and they don't have anything for her."

The all-or-nothing approach comes out of hyper-partisanship those that use it hope to transfer to the voters. 

It is most often illogical, because after all, 2+2 does not equal 5 in reality.  But, they are counting on that 1 point difference between 4 and 5 being made up by manufacturing mind bending emotion around an issue.

Politicians and the media outlets that use these tactics are counting on six things. 

  • If they say it with a straight face and with conviction, they can control the message and will be believed.

  • If they repeat a lie often enough, no matter how outrageous, it becomes fact to many. 

  •  If they provide an emotional frame around an issue, voters will vote out of emotion ignoring all fiscal realities.  

  •  If they provide a “you deserve this” frame around an issue, voters will vote for new entitlements and feel those not offering the same new rights are taking something they deserve away from them.   

  • If they can instill confusion or fear around an issue, many voters will vote out of fear – real or imagined, real or manufactured. 

  • If they present a political talking point or spin as fact, most voters will not do their own research on the issue to detect any inaccuracies.

What these politicians and media outlets may not be counting on is the majority of Americans are smarter than they think.  

What they may not be counting on is the majority of voters are invested in the 2012 election and are doing their own research -  no matter the headlines or political ads put forth to influence their opinion and ultimately their vote.   

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Women Tell President Obama – “I am not Julia.”

Photo Credit - Library of Congress
A new YouTube video reflects American women are speaking out and telling President Obama, “I am not Julia.”  

American women are smart.  They are independent, self sufficient, and personally responsible.  They want to make their own choices in life. 

They care about their children and grandchildren.  They know what is best in making decisions for their life and for their family. 

They also understand economics – deficit government spending, new or expanded entitlement program costs, and reforms needed – better than some are giving them credit for in government. 

They care about the future of this country and about the future they are leaving for their children.  

I recently asked in my column article, "Do Women Really Want A Life of Government?"

They are directly responding to President Obama’s new reelection campaign strategy directed to the female voting bloc.   “The Life of Julia” campaign strategy video asks women to “Take a look at how President Obama’s policies help one woman over her lifetime­ and how Mitt Romney would change her story.”

The campaign directed at women presents a government program for every phase of life from education to childbirth to starting a business to retirement.  President Obama is given credit for providing Julia the government help she needs throughout her life to have any chance of a good life.

“The Life of Julia” also presents a picture that women will not receive a good education, health insurance, equal pay, a small business loan, and a retirement provided by the government if Governor Romney becomes the next president.

It paints the picture that women will not have a good life or survive at all if government is not central to their life.  There is a government program touted for Julia at 3, 17, 18, 22, 23, 25, 27, 31, 37, 42, 65, and 67.

What is most interesting is Julia enrolls in Medicare at 65 and starts receiving her social security benefits at 67.  It notes Julia has contributed to social security her entire life.  

As many already know, contributing to social security during all your years of working is true enough.  What many are also realizing is, but is not addressed anywhere in the video, if there is not reform in both the Medicare and Social Security programs, no matter how much you have personally contributed to these programs, they will run out of money in the next 12-14 years.

It is also perplexing that the “The Life of Julia” video touts Julia receiving a small business loan at 42, but why start a business if after all “You didn’t build that.” is the true feeling about business from President Obama once you build it?

Certainly raising a few eyebrows in its double speak in reality is the trumpeting of “President Obama’s tax cuts for small business like Julia’s help her to get started.  She's able to hire employees, creating new jobs in her town and helping to grow the local economy.” 

Isn’t it government according to President Obama that creates jobs in his constant stimulus backing philosophy and campaigning? 

His practices have shown he supports government deciding which industries and companies get taxpayer loan help  (think Solyndra and the other now bankrupt green companies) and which get government shutting them down regardless of the number of jobs lost or the collapsing of the local economy (think coal mining and no pipeline).

Will all the new regulation upon new regulation upon new regulation with his administration, more from the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies than Congress, allow Julia to start a new business or have a fighting chance to be successful if she did?

And what if Julia did become very successful from all her hard work in her new business?  Then would she be demonized for being successful by President Obama? 

After all, his sentiments of there come a time when you have made enough money and class warfare is central themes in his speeches about business in reality.

One thing is for sure, Julia may not be able to hire employees at all with the crushing cost of Obamacare if she grows to be a company over 50 employees. 

She may not be able to stay in business if she makes over $200,000 per year and then becomes subject to the tax increases President Obama wants to put in place.   

As the women in this video explain, they do not want nor need government help to create a happy and successful life for themselves. 

They recognize many of these government programs are about creating government control in their life choices and ultimately their lives overall.  

Women are saying no, “I am not Julia.”  They are reflecting their own values which include being personally responsible for their own lives.  They do not want nor need government to direct their lives. 

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