Wednesday, November 30, 2011

An e-mail from Herman

In our 'We Get E-mail' category, we got this one from Herman Cain yesterday.   We also provided our assessment of Cain's campaign yesterday (see below).  We can't help but be amused that while being accused of infidelity along with sexual harassment, Cain still asks us to make a donation (the donation box appeared in his e-mail).

As we've said, we like Herman.   But with the accusations some of which he certainly knew or should have known from the beginning, were coming, Cain made the mistake of believing they wouldn't impact his efforts.   He was wrong and his campaign is moribund.

Here's his e-mail:

"Dear Patriots and Supporters,

As you probably heard yesterday, a troubled Atlanta business woman used national media outlets to promulgate a fabricated, unsubstantiated story about a 13 year affair with me. I am writing you today to assure you that this woman’s story is completely false.

I do know Ms. White. I have helped her financially at times over the past few years, just as I have helped many friends and acquaintances throughout the years. I thought Ms. White was a friend in need of a supportive hand to better her life.

Ms. White has made it apparent that she was abusing the friendship.

But now I am asking for your friendship. I am also asking for your prayers and support. This is a trying time for my family, my campaign, and for me. It is also a trying time for our country as we are all distracted from the truly important issues facing our nation.

This evening I have an important speaking engagement at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan, where I will be outlining my foreign policy and national security plan. While recent events have taken a toll on me, the people in the audience this evening will not know it. I will deliver my message with vigor and enthusiasm.

Let me assure you, I am not deterred. America’s future is too important. We will continue on this journey to make America great once again."

Half of Loaf of Bread?

We like Stu Rothenberg's ability to assess reality when it comes to politics.   We continue to feel ambiguous about Mitt Romney as do most conservatives.   On the other hand we've stressed electability.   The G.O.P. nominee needs to be able to beat Obama.   Unfortunately, that will mean getting votes from independents who don't like the current occupant of the White House but doubt 'right-wingers'.  

Our bottom line is 'Anybody But Obama' but if that is the desired outcome the G.O.P. needs to nominate someone that is electable.   This is beginning to sound like a Romney endorsement.  It isn't.   But as we've said recently, Newt Gingrich can't beat Obama.   As Rothenberg asserts, this could be 1964 when Republicans knew who was right but ended up losing 44 states of the 50.   They weren't 57 then as you know.

With all that said, we share with you Rothenberg's latest iteration which we at least think points out the reality of the process as it appears today:

"For Republicans, It’s a Matter of Head or Heart" from "The Rothenberg Political Report"

"Republicans are now chewing over their party’s potential presidential nominee for 2012, and a dramatic division has become apparent between GOP insiders and the grass roots. But it’s not primarily a difference of ideology, though there is an element of that. Instead, the split centers on electability.

So far, three-quarters of the party’s grass roots has declined every opportunity to support former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. After each anti-Romney candidate has flopped, another has emerged, with Romney making little or no headway expanding his support.

Given this dynamic, it could be a while until the Republican rank and file decides to hold its collective nose and grudgingly support the former Bay State governor — if it ever does.

For the Republican grass roots, the current GOP race is about finding a consistent conservative who favors smaller government and lower taxes and believes that President Barack Obama and the national media represent the forces of darkness. For them, that is not Mitt Romney.

But most GOP insiders whom I talk with have a very different perspective on their party’s presidential race.

Many of them are quite conservative, and if you examine their issue positions — on taxes, spending, national security, energy and even many cultural issues — they aren’t much different from the grass roots’ positions.

It’s misleading to portray the insiders as a band of Rockefeller Republicans. All of them would be happy to vote for Ronald Reagan again, or even Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, were he in the GOP race. Romney certainly would not be their ideal candidate.

But these Republicans — many of them political strategists and operatives, lobbyists and party veterans — see the nomination as merely the first step in the fight to dethrone the defending champion, Obama. They regard Romney as by far the most likely Republican candidate, possibly the only potential nominee, who can beat the president next year.

Many officeholders, operatives and other insiders place a high value on electability, while most grass-roots activists either place a much lower value on it or, alternatively, choose to believe that their preferred candidates have as good a chance of beating Obama as Romney has.

The idea that Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) or Texas Gov. Rick Perry or Herman Cain or former Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) would be as formidable against Obama as Romney would be is hard to support on the basis of current survey data. Romney does better against the president than do other active GOP candidates in almost every survey.
CNN’s Nov. 11-13 survey, for example, showed Romney leading Obama 51 percent to 47 percent, while Gingrich trailed the president by 8 points and Cain and Perry each trailed by 10 points. Among independents, Romney led by 8 points, while the others trailed the president.

But polls and logic won’t convince some anti-Romney Republicans, particularly the true believers who last cycle picked Christine O’Donnell over Mike Castle in Delaware’s GOP Senate primary, Ken Buck over Jane Norton in Colorado’s GOP Senate primary and Sharron Angle over anyone in Nevada’s GOP Senate contest.

The question is whether there are enough true believers to nominate someone other than Romney, thereby putting up a weaker general election candidate against Obama. In other words, is this 1964, when Republicans listened to their heart over their head? That year, of course, President Lyndon Johnson looked unbeatable, so the Republican nomination didn’t have the value it is likely to have next year.

For conservatives who are also veterans of the nation’s capital, the choice is becoming harder to deny.

“Many of us are coming to the conclusion that although ideology matters, the choice comes down to getting a candidate who is closer to our values [than President Obama] and can win,” said one veteran Republican who initially backed another Republican hopeful but is clearly moving toward Romney as the Iowa caucuses approach.

“The stakes are too high for us to pick the wrong nominee for the 2012 election. Just think about possible Supreme Court vacancies over the next four years,” argued another longtime Capitol Hill veteran who has not yet picked a horse in the GOP presidential race but clearly thinks Romney has the best chance of derailing the president’s re-election bid.

A third Republican veteran, who is neutral in the presidential contest, echoed the same point, arguing that beating Obama is the No. 1 priority for most Republican voters at the end of the day.

“But it’s not just that we are picking someone to lead the country — we have to live with this person every night on TV for four years,” said the observer about why Romney might well have the advantage in the race, eventually.

While a few are unapologetic conservatives, and many are from reliably red states, a substantial number of endorsements come from current and former officeholders from competitive states.

That list includes former Govs. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and John Sununu of New Hampshire, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sens. Roy Blunt (Mo.) and Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), former Sens. Norm Coleman (Minn.) and Judd Gregg (N.H.) and Reps. Aaron Schock (Ill.), Judy Biggert (Ill.), Nan Hayworth (N.Y.) and Jim Gerlach (Pa.), just to mention a sampling.

Those insiders understand the nature of Romney’s appeal, or rather the problems that would be created for them and their party if the GOP nominates someone other than Romney next year.

Most voters will not focus on electability in the GOP race, which is why talk of Romney’s inevitable nomination is premature and why he must continue to hit on conservative themes in his effort to become an acceptable alternative for the party’s grass roots.

Ultimately, however, Romney’s best argument may be that half a loaf is better than none. Most party insiders already believe that, but he somehow needs to convince enough grass-roots conservatives of it so that he can sneak across the finish line, whether in Iowa or in subsequent contests.

Barry Goldwater’s famous 1964 campaign slogan was “In your heart, you know he’s right.” He went on to lose 44 states. Often, in politics, the head is a better guide than the heart.""

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ben Gray: Welcome to San Francisco

The liberal racist Ben Gray, Omaha City Councilman apparently persists in his effort to make Omaha more San Francisco-like.   Yes, he intends to reintroduce his ordinance to hold businesses accountable for perceived crimes against gays, lesbians and bi-sexuals, etc.   Gee, with a little luck, Gray will have these folks parading down Dodge Street in the nude and having sex just like they do in Nancy Pelosi's home town.

Here is an e-mail received from the VOICE, Omaha's liberal voice that is:

"Join us tonight at the Happy Hour for a Fair Omaha

Did you know that you can be fired for being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender in Omaha? Employees are not protected from discrimination based on real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
Join us for happy hour to hear Councilmember Ben Gray talk about re-introducing the ordinance in January and how you can help make Omaha a place where "

Nelson Closes the Gap?????

In today's 'We Get E-mail' category we have one from Ben Nelson's campaign manager Paul Johnson telling us that Ben Nelson now leads his potential Republican opponents in the campaign's latest polling, despite the fact that that mean Karl Rove spent more than $600,000 in negative ads against Ben.   Some how Johnson forgot to mention that Nelson and his various political supporters have now spent more than $800,000 in negative ads (Three Peas in a Pod, etc,) impugning the integrity of his potential candidates.   

It's obvious that the polls conclusions are true only if you are Paul Johnson or Ben Nelson.   Before the obvious 'push polling occurs' the differences between Nelson and Bruning are statistically insignificant.   After call recipients were told about the evil John Bruning, of course the numbers changed.   Apparently the tactic wasn't as useful against a still somewhat unknown Deb Fischer as Johnson chose not to include that data in his press release. 

This new poll has one purpose, to help Ben Nelson decide he can win and perhaps to convince folks at the national level to give their bucks to help him do so.   If you recall, Bruning, even after the attacks by Nelson, Johnson and the local media, raised more money than the Judas man in the last quarter.  

You can put lipstick on a big, but it's still a pig.   Same goes for Ben Nelson and his polling.


Keepin' them uppity Blacks down

We apologize for the somewhat misleading title of our post, but we thought it might get your attention and if it works so well for the press, why not us?

If you are a black conservative your chances of making it are not good.  They tried their best to keep Clarence Thomas from becoming a 'supreme'.   They wouldn't let J.C. Watts join the Black caucus because being Black and a congressman was exclusively for Democrats.   A Black could never be a conservative.   There have been others between J.C. and Herman Cain but now Herman Cain has found out how destructive it can be to be a Black conservative.   His efforts will shortly, if not by the time you read this, prove to have been in vein.  

But sadly, there is another lesson here and it is one that applies to all politicians.   That is that no matter what you think you can hide, you can't.   Whether true or not, Clarence thought that past sexual issues could be made irrelevant by his campaign.   And in this case, like those of many Democrats as well (Hart, Edwards), the past has a nasty habit of being brought up in the midst of a campaign.

We liked Herman Cain.   We still like the fact that his non-Washington approach and his conservative outlook at least briefly ignited the passions of many conservatives who weren't interested in him because of the color of his skin, but because of what he said and appeared to stand for. 

But the bottom line is that there are two lessons here.  Being Black and having had potential sexual indiscretions doesn't lead to success.    We hope the former won't keep good Black conservatives from seeking high office.   We hope the latter will give pause to all potential candidates, conservative to liberal, as they evaluate their chances of success and the consequences to those supporters who believe(d) in them...  

Monday, November 28, 2011

Tears in Our Eyes

We're having a very difficult day dealing with the realization that Barney Frank has decided to not seek re-election in 2012   Human events noted that Frank was able to amass a small fortune during his sixteen terms in office so at least the guy won't have to rely on welfare and maybe at his age he'll not seek to take a job away from one of those 99% of us.   

Mother said if you couldn't say something nice don't say it so we'll try to keep the rest of our feelings to ourselves.....

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Anybody but Newt

Okay, so the New Hampshire Union-Leader has thrown its endorsement to Newt.   We like Newt.   He has had a major impact on the Republican Party.   But Newt cannot win a campaign in 2012 against Barack Hussein Obama.   

Yes, Newt has great ideas--even if his stance on illegal immigration doesn't please many conservatives.   

But Newt is a frumpy old man who when he stands beside the president will look exactly like that.   In fact, the president will tell the country that he is fighting to correct all the bad ideas that Newt and his fellow Republicans have put in place that have led the nation to this point.  Not true, of course, but he'll make it sound good.  

Newt is the same solution to beating an incumbent Democrat president that Bob Dole was--a guy who had earned his Republican credentials but is unelectable.   Unlike Dole, Newt has enough baggage to make any airline (other than Southwest) rich!  He may speak Republican to many conservatives that aren't much concerned about his personal background, but he certainly won't motivate the independents to vote for him.

We're personally not happy with any of the Republican candidates running for office.   At this point we think the only one of the group that is electable is Romney and if we have to vote for him it will be with a close pin attached to our noses.  

The G.O.P. needs to give Americans a choice that can attract those who are tired of Obama, a choice that doesn't carry any baggage, a choice that is electable.   That's not Newt!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Missing Chuckie

We’ve completed our reading of Dick Cheney’s book, “In my Time”. We’ll have more to say about it but since it’s been so long since we’ve had anything to say about Nebraska’s former failed U.S. Senator Chuckie Hagel we thought we’d just mention the only reference to him in Cheney’s book which happens to occur on page 455 under the ‘Surge’ chapter. His name didn't even rate a place in the index.  In regard to the surge, the pertinent paragraph reads:

"The president’s decision was particularly courageous against the drumbeat of criticism we were facing from outside the administration. On December 27, 2006, former secretary of state Colin Powell had said that America was “losing in Iraq: and a “surge cannot be sustained.” Days after the president’s speech, Republican Senator Chuck Hagel declared the surge “a waste of our troops and a waste of our treasure,” and Senator Barack Obama predicted that rather than solving sectarian violence, the surge would increase it."

Of course the surge that was being discussed was the one that ultimately was successful in Iraq. And, of course, it is no surprise that Colin Powell and Chuckie Hagel were on the same losing side of the argument--yes, with the current occupant of the White House.

Dissension with Fortenberry?

While it is only academic now with the fruition of the expected failure of the 'super committee' to come up with a debt reduction plan, the efforts of both Congressman Terry and Fortenberry to encourage a 'big deal' seem to have created problems for both. 

Earlier in the week we asked about Lee Terry's standing with conservatives (See Tuesday:Congressman Terry in Trouble with Conservatives? ). As we noted, We, we wondered why Congressmen Fortenberry and Terry were among only 40 Republicans joining 60 Democrats in a letter asking for big debt reductions of the super committee, putting the potential for tax increases on the table.   Both of these guys should have been smarter than that  and neither gained any conservative accolades by their endorsements.

It seems that letter has created a Republican ruckus in Washington County as well as Douglas County.   In Washington County the county Republican Central Committee has approved a letter sent to Congressman Fortenberry expressing it's concern about potential revenue (tax) increases.   Of course, Fortenberry has now responded as well.   

Here are the two letters, first the Washington County letter to Fortenberry and then the congressman's response:

"Congressman Fortenberry,

We are concerned to read that you have joined with 60 House Democrats to consider raising revenue as a way to cut the deficit.  A deficit made substantially worse by Democrat spending policies.  In running up such a massive deficit so quickly, the Democrats have created an economic calamity and a sense of urgency.   Accommodating the Democrats and acquiescing on a tax increase is exactly what they want Republicans to do. 

It is NEVER a good time to raise taxes, especially during the depths of a severe recession caused by high taxes and excessive government spending.  When the government confiscates money from the private sector it always hurts businesses, stifles job creation and discourages individuals.  We know you understand, as Ronald Reagan said: “We don't have a trillion-dollar debt because we haven't taxed enough; we have a trillion-dollar debt because we spend too much”.  Reagan was right that the only acceptable way to reduce our nation’s debt is to cut government spending.

We worked to get you elected to stand firm on conservative principles.  As you know the paramount and most fundamental principle of conservative Republicans is to not raise taxes.  The letter you signed states: “all options for mandatory and discretionary spending and revenues must be on the table”.  This letter implies you may consider tax increases.  We implore you to not consider ANY tax increases and to reaffirm to us that you will defend the only true conservative Republican solution to our nations’ deficit problem:  spending cuts.  Will you please confirm your position on spending cuts and holding the line on taxes?


John W. Orr
Chairman – Washington County Republican Party
NEGOP 1st District County Chair Representative
Voted on and endorsed by:
The Washington County Republican Party Central Committee on November 14, 2011.

Congressman Fortenberry's Response:

                   "Nov. 17, 2011
Dear Mr. Orr:

Thank you for your letter regarding solutions to our national debt.  I also appreciated our recent phone conversation.
Like you, I am deeply concerned by the government’s excessive spending and its potential consequences for our economy and our nation.  You are welcome to review a variety of speeches and communications I have made on this topic at my website, beginning with a video I recorded on the eve of the debt limit vote in the U.S. House of Representatives:  You can also find a video of the townhall meeting I held in Lincoln this August with former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker, a national expert on congressional spending and a prominent advocate of budget reform. 
The letter I recently signed with 100 House colleagues, including 40 Republicans, urges the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to “go big” in reducing America’s debt – to go beyond the required $1.2 trillion in reductions and shoot for a target of $4 trillion.  To successfully reach this amount of savings, we recognize that all options for spending and revenues should be “on the table.”  This letter is signed by a diverse range of members of Congress, including Representative Ron Paul of Texas.  A parallel letter in the U.S. Senate has been signed by Senator Mike Johanns. 
It is clear that a substantial portion of the savings must come in spending reductions; we all must sacrifice in this regard.  In respect to revenue, I recently read a report about the corporation General Electric (GE) filing a 57,000 page tax return last year while paying no taxes on $14 billion in profit.  Under our current tax system, those who can afford to hire armies of attorneys and accountants - and with favorable capital conditions - can avoid taxation. This unfairly pushes more of the tax burden onto small businesses and working families.  By implementing the right kind of tax reform, we can make our convoluted tax code simpler and fairer and close existing loopholes and it may be possible to lower some tax rates.  Doing so will help unleash the entrepreneurial power of our economy and increase revenues.
I am not afraid to put my budgeting credentials on the table.  I stood against the bailout of Wall Street (TARP), industrial bailouts, the economic stimulus bill, and the strong-armed government overhaul of the health care system.  These were unprecedented interventions by the federal government into the American economy.   
  If we do this, confidence will increase, the economy will improve, and the U.S. government will stop the extreme borrowing. 
Again, thank you for sharing your concerns.  I welcome your input on this most important matter.


Jeff Fortenberry

Member of Congress"

Friday, November 25, 2011

Senator Nelson, You're Done-Tim O'Dell

Let me be the first to say, "Senator Nelson, you’re done!"

It doesn’t matter how many hundreds of thousands of dollars you spend trying to dupe and convince Nebraskans yet again that you are an independent, that you really care about what Nebraskans want, we know better. We have seen the real Ben Nelson and we don’t like what we have seen.

You lost the 2012 election when you voted for Obama Care. You went against the majority of Nebraskans who did not want Obama Care. You embarrassed our state when you negotiated what became known as the "Cornhusker Kickback." Our state became a national joke.

Polls of Nebraskans on the issue were over 70 percent against Obama Care. Senator Johanns, in a radio interview, reported that calls to his office were overwhelmingly against this debacle. Calls to your office had to be close to those numbers.
Obama Care is a freight train headed right at us. The cost to individuals and businesses is frightening. It also cuts funding for Medicare to the tune of 500 Billion Dollars! And you are responsible for it. We will never forget the "Cornhusker Kickback." We will never forget that you ignored us and cast the 60th and final vote for this disaster. You did it on Christmas Eve no less!

That you have spent so many hundreds of thousand of dollars for months trying to convince Nebraskans that you really care what we think tells me your polling numbers are in the tank. Your negatives must be through the roof. And they should be.

Some say you have not decided yet whether to run for re-election. I truly hope you do. We, the people of Nebraska, are going to send you home from the Senate for good. You will go out a loser and you deserve to go out a loser. You are an embarrassment!

Again, let me be the first to say, "Senator Nelson, you’re done!"

Tim O’Dell is the First Congressional District Chair of the Nebraska Republican Party

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Why I'm Thankful in 2011-Doug Patton

The older I get, the more I realize the importance of the little things that are right in front of me to appreciate all year long. So, once again, as we celebrate this uniquely American holiday, Thanksgiving, here is my list of blessings for which I am thankful in 2011.

First and foremost, I am thankful to God, who gives me what the Bible calls "a peace that passes all understanding." This was at the core of the first Thanksgiving celebration in Colonial America, as red men shared their bounty with white men, and early Americans gave thanks to Almighty God for the gift of life.

I am thankful for my loving bride, a beautiful, talented, godly woman who has born my troubles and my children, who has been my life partner and my prayer warrior, my trusted counselor and my best friend for 42 years and counting. As always, she will insist on rising early on Thanksgiving morning to prepare the traditional home-cooked dinner for the family she loves.

I am thankful for my sons. Both of them grew up far too fast, and as they went out to make their own way in the world, they left behind a trail of memories for their mother and me. They will be here at our table on Thursday, along with the grandchildren they have given us, and we will rejoice in their company and marvel at the gift they are to us.

I am thankful for the warmth of a wonderful old home filled with character and history, built by my wife's grandfather in the winter of 1915. The land on which it sits is covered with large oak trees and has been in her family since before the Civil War. The story goes that the frozen Nebraska topsoil had to be blasted open with dynamite, and the basement dug out using a team of mules. Since then, the home has never been out of the family, and for the last 32 years we have called it our home.

In a corner of the living room sits a handmade antique rocking chair with a long history of its own. It was a wedding gift from my great-grandfather to his new bride in 1900, and it has rocked five generations of Patton babies. In a spare room upstairs sits another old rocker with a similar history from my wife's side of the family.

I am thankful for the people in my life who know me well and still love me. As I once told one of my sons during a lecture about peer pressure, the people who love us will still be here long after the people we try so hard to impress have forgotten our names.

I am thankful for the Founders of the United States of America, who risked their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor that I might be born in a free country. When I consider the odds of having been placed here in this nation at this moment in time, I cannot do the math. With so many billions of people in this world who live in political, economic and/or spiritual bondage, I am in awe of the blessing God has granted me.

I am thankful for the Declaration of Independence, which acknowledges that my rights come from God, not from man. I am thankful for the Constitution — especially the First Amendment, which guarantees us the right to worship God freely and me the right to express my opinion in this column every week.

I am thankful that I still live in a Constitutional Republic, where the ballot box has consequences and the people are able to make corrections to the course on which our leaders have put our nation, and that in this land I love, power is transferred peacefully, following free and open elections.

We have plenty of problems. Politics and scandal, primaries and frontrunners, budgets and corruption — all of these will be there to opine about next week. This week, may we all be thankful, and may God richly bless America and her people.

© 2010 by Doug Patton
Doug Patton describes himself as a recovering political speechwriter who agrees with himself much more often than not. Now working as a freelance writer, his weekly columns of sage political analysis are published the world over by legions of discerning bloggers, courageous webmasters and open-minded newspaper editors. Astute supporters and inane detractors alike are encouraged to e-mail him with their pithy comments at

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Krauthammer on the XL Pipeline

We've probably said enough about our thoughts on how Governor Heineman and Senators Johanns and Nelson have been duped by the radical environmentalists.   Well, maybe.   But when a good editorial comes along that also says, as we've contended, that the benefit goes to the president's re-election, how can we ignore it?  So, below, just in case you missed it, is a Charles Krauthammer's column on the issue from this last Friday.

"The Pipeline Sellout

· Friday, November 18, 2011

WASHINGTON -- In 2008, the slogan was "Yes We Can." For 2011-12, it's "We Can't Wait." What happened in between? Candidate Obama, the vessel into which myriad dreams were poured, met the reality of governance.

His near-$1 trillion stimulus begat a stagnant economy with 9 percent unemployment. His attempt at Wall Street reform left in place a still too-big-to-fail financial system as vulnerable today as when he came into office. His green energy fantasies yielded Solyndra cronyism and a cap-and-trade regime not even a Democratic Congress would pass.

And now his signature achievement, Obamacare, is headed to the Supreme Court, where it could very well be struck down, just a week after its central element was overwhelmingly repudiated (2-1) by the good burghers of Ohio.

So what do you do when you say you can, but, it turns out, you can't? Blame the other guy. Charge the Republicans with making governing impossible. Never mind that you had control of the Congress for two-thirds of your current tenure. It's all the fault of Republican rejectionism.

Hence: "We Can't Wait." We can't wait while they obstruct. We can't wait while they dither with my jobs bill. Write Congress today! Vote Democratic tomorrow!
We can't wait. Except for certain exceptions, such as the 1,700-mile trans-USA Keystone XL pipeline, carrying Alberta oil to Texas refineries, that would have created thousands of American jobs and increased our energy independence.

For that, we can wait, it seems. President Obama decreed that any decision must wait 12 to 18 months -- postponed, by amazing coincidence, until after next year's election.
Why? Because the pipeline angered Obama's environmental constituency. But their complaints are risible. Global warming from the extraction of the Alberta tar sands? Canada will extract the oil anyway. If it doesn't go to us, it will go to China. Net effect on the climate if we don't take that oil? Zero.

Danger to a major aquifer, which the pipeline traverses? It is already crisscrossed by 25,000 miles of pipeline, enough to circle the Earth. Moreover, the State Department had subjected Keystone to three years of review -- the most exhaustive study of any oil pipeline in U.S. history -- and twice concluded in voluminous studies that there would be no significant environmental harm.

So what happened? "The administration," reported The New York Times, "had in recent days been exploring ways to put off the decision until after the presidential election." Exploring ways to improve the project? Hardly. Exploring ways to get past the election.

Obama's decision was meant to appease his environmentalists. It's already working. The president of the National Wildlife Federation told The Washington Post (online edition, Nov. 10) that thousands of environmentalists who were galvanized to protest the pipeline would now support Obama in 2012. Moreover, a source told the Post, Obama campaign officials had concluded that "they do not pick up one vote from approving this project."

Sure, the pipeline would have produced thousands of truly shovel-ready jobs. Sure, delay could forfeit to China a supremely important strategic asset -- a nearby, highly reliable source of energy. But approval was calculated to be a political loss for the president. Easy choice.

It's hard to think of a more clear-cut case of putting politics over nation. This from a president whose central campaign theme is that Republicans put party over nation, sacrificing country to crass political ends.

Nor is this the first time Obama's election calendar trumped the national interest:
-- Obama's decision to wind down the Afghan surge in September 2012 is militarily inexplicable. It comes during the fighting season. It was recommended by none of his own military commanders. It is explicable only as a talking point for the final days of his re-election campaign.

-- At the height of the debt-ceiling debate last July, Obama pledged to veto any agreement that was not long term. Definition of long term? By another amazing coincidence, any deal large enough to get him past Election Day (and thus avoid another such crisis next year).

-- Tuesday it was revealed that last year the administration pressured Solyndra, as it was failing, to delay its planned Oct. 28 announcement of layoffs until Nov. 3 -- the day after the midterm election.

A contemporaneous email from a Solyndra investor noted: "Oddly they didn't give a reason for that date." The writer was clearly born yesterday. The American voter was not -- and (s)he soon gets to decide who really puts party over nation and re-election above all.

We can't wait."

(c) 2011, The Washington Post Writers Group

Tough Being a Protester

W Hotel Room
Apparently for some Occupy Wall Street protesters, life isn't defined by living in tents and squalor as they protest big business.    In fact, some of them seem to be living it up while they at the same time reward those ugly mean heartless corporate titans with their (or someone else's) money.

This from the New York Post:


Hell no, we won’t go — unless we get goose down pillows.

A key Occupy Wall Street leader and another protester who leads a double life as a businessman ditched fetid tents and church basements for rooms at a luxurious hotel that promises guests can “unleash [their] inner Gordon Gekko,” The Post has learned.

The $700-per-night W Hotel Downtown last week hosted both Peter Dutro, one of a select few OWS members on the powerful finance committee, and Brad Spitzer, a California-based analyst who not only secretly took part in protests during a week-long business trip but offered shelter to protesters in his swanky platinum-card room.

Read more:"


Somehow it seems appropriate to send congratulations to our congress and our governor on their recent accomplishments.   Yes, the congress and it's 'super committee' failed as most of us knew it would from the beginning.   Given a 'six for taxes' and 'six for cuts' composition how could anyone have ever thought that the committee could accomplish its goals?   But the process gave the current occupant of the White House exactly what he wanted--no more debt ceiling debate until after the November 2012 election--and an opportunity to point his finger at the Republicans.

In the same regard we suspect we'd be remiss if we didn't congratulate Governor Heineman for abetting the president's efforts to avoid controversy prior to November of 2012.   Yes, with the assistance of Ben Nelson and Mike Johanns, the governor has helped the president avoid any internal strife over his environmental bona fides with his radical environmentalist supporters prior to next year's election.

And of course, the governor and the legislature deserve congratulations on passing two bills that will ultimately have nothing to do with ever siting the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline since they have all become the tools of Jane Kleeb, the radical environmentalists and Obama in stopping it now and forever--and at the cost of $2 million for Nebraska taxpayers to finance an environmental report that will never be used as Kleeb and her ilk will work against any effort to transport tar sand oil or any fossil fuel across the state.  

Congratulations all!  Happy Thanksgiving

The Height of Hypocrisy

We can hardly believe it when Paul Johnson, Judas Ben Nelson's political consultant sends us an e-mail railing at the tactics of Karl Rove and the spending of money to air commercials a year in advance of the election taking on his client.   But in today's 'We get e-mail' category that's exactly what we received.


"In the last 10 days, Karl Rove and his group, Crossroads GPS, bought $160,000 worth of time to air negative attacks against Ben Nelson -- nearly a year before next year's election.

Rove and his allies have spent more than $500,000 this year airing negative attack ads against Ben Nelson -- an unprecedented amount spent in Nebraska the year before the election.

Contribute today and help us fight back!

Rove and his allies who have poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into Nebraska, have an extreme agenda. These groups have a history of supporting radical changes and candidates who want to privatize Social Security and end the promise of Medicare.

The date is early but the contrast is already becoming clear between Rove and his allies who would balance the budget on the backs of seniors, and Ben Nelson who opposes cuts to Medicare and Social Security. Between Rove and his allies who would repeal health care reform that allows young Nebraskans to stay on their parent's coverage until they turn 26 and Ben Nelson who wants to protect and improve the law.

Support us today and help us take a stand against Karl Rove and his radical agenda!

Rove and his allies march in lockstep with Jon Bruning, Deb Fischer and Don Stenberg who all would increase costs for seniors.

Bruning has made it clear he stands with Rep. Paul Ryan and his plan to end Medicare as we know it. Deb Fischer has signed onto a plan to Cut, Cap and Kill Medicare. And Don Stenberg has committed to cutting Social Security. All of them would repeal the Affordable Care Act and would increase costs on seniors by reopening the Medicare part D "donut hole" -- even as more than 5,300 Nebraskans have used the bill's improvements to Medicare Part D to lower their prescription drug costs.
With your help, we can keep up the fight and ensure that we keep our promises to Nebraska seniors.

Paul Johnson"

Congressman Terry in Trouble with Conservatives?

The Republican Party’s Second Congressional District held a ‘members only’ caucus this last Saturday. The primary reason for members only was to pass a resolution which will be submitted to a ‘members only’ first-ever telephonic state central committee meeting in December. The resolution was an endorsement one which has been passed routinely by the Republican Party State Central Committee for the last several election cycles, endorsing the incumbent Nebraska U.S. Congressmen and thus assuring that all party resources will go to those candidates and those congressional candidates only, not their Republican challengers should they have any.

While the endorsement resolution, one supporting Congressman Lee Terry should have been pretty routine that wasn’t the case on Saturday. With some 50 members of the Republican Second Congressional District, apparently only 20, less than a quorum, showed up for the caucus. And when the votes were counted to move the endorsement resolution to the upcoming state central committee meeting, the resolution passed by a close margin of 11 to 9. Not exactly a vote of confidence for Congressman Terry.

Apparently, a number of Tea Party, Liberty Caucus and “9-12” members of the committee have not been impressed with Terry’s conservative bona fides. We’ve recently mentioned that the congressman was one of 40 Republicans joining 60 Democrats asking for 'big action' by the Super Committee which has now failed in its mission. (We understand there are a number of First Congressional District members that are dissatisfied with Congressman Fortenberry who signed the same letter). His recent support for a telemarketing bill that would have allowed companies to contact cell phone holders probably hasn’t enamored him to some and, of course, neither was his support for the first bail-out bill…. In the case of the super committee letter, perhaps these folks forgot that Ron Paul also signed the letter….

We don’t believe that the vote was necessarily affected by the candidacy of Brett Lindstrom or the septuagenarian Jack Heidel. We do believe it was simply a vote saying that Terry simply hasn’t shown that he is conservative enough.

Prior to the meeting caucus members were sent the following e-mail by Brett Lindstrom’s campaign:

“Dear 2nd District State Central Committee Members,

It has come to our attention that there will be a meeting Saturday morning regarding, among other things, the endorsement of candidates that is only open to current committee members. We at Lindstrom for Congress completely understand that there are many of you who have supported Congressman Terry in the past and continue to do so. Although we would like to change your minds, today we only ask you as leaders of the community and responsible, good Republicans to vet out all of the candidates for this position as you have the Senate candidates before you decide to endorse the incumbent. At many of the Republican Party meetings, the theme that is continually being pushed is the relevance of the Republican Party. The best way to remain relevant and to grow party support is to show that you are open to and encourage new people to get involved. All we ask is for you to be educated on the candidates as you want the rest of the public to do before you make the decision to endorse the sitting Congressmen across the state. As Republicans, we advocate for competition in the private sector, and should be supportive of it in the public sector as well. Brett Lindstrom is always available to you and is more than willing to speak to you as a whole group or individually as I am sure the other candidates are.

Thank you for your time,

Randi Scott

Campaign Manager”

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving for Four Years

Four years and approximately 3,000 posts ago the Objective Conservative began on November 21, 2007.   Since that time our contributors have published their opinions on lots of issues, some controversial some not.    We're not afraid to share those thoughts and hopefully some have found them interesting assuming they weren't the target of our angst or investigations or revelations.

We look forward to continuing to express our opinions and we invite you to share your opinions in the comment section of our posts.  You can do so with attribution or simply by checking anonymous which prevents both us and our readers from knowing who you are.

As we approach this Thanksgiving Holiday we give thanks for you and for the ability we have under our great Constitution to express our opinions.  We hope you'll continue to read and share our opinions with others.

Our best wishes for a blessed Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Enough Debates?

Debate after debate.   We at the O.C. have seen and heard enough.   In that regard, we agree with a Stu Rothenberg column as reprinted below.    We think he makes some excellent points:

"A Strange Way to Pick Presidential Candidates" from "The Rothenberg Political Report"

Presidential debates, says NBC News Political Director and Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd, are now part of the winnowing process. Instead of going to a small state and wooing caucus-goers, Republican presidential hopefuls are going on national cable to see if they can resonate with the voters.

With 26 GOP debates currently scheduled between May 5, 2011, and March 19, 2012 (17 of them before the Iowa caucuses), the fight for the party’s nomination is now played out in living rooms and dens around the country as much as in diners, candidate coffees and small events in Iowa and New Hampshire.

On television, this year’s debates have drawn more than the handful of political junkies and campaign professionals who once tuned in. They have become big events.

Last week’s CNBC debate drew more than 3.3 million viewers, while Saturday’s CBS/National Journal debate pulled in 5.3 million viewers. An October CNN debate drew 5.6 million, more than “The Biggest Loser” on NBC, and a September debate on Fox drew 6.1 million viewers.

If Chuck Todd is correct — and I have no doubt that he is — we now have a nominating process that values certain skills and abilities in candidates that have nothing to do with governing.

You say we never did? Well, maybe. But at least real people got a chance to see their potential president up close, to ask a question and listen to a response. Businessman Herman Cain spent little of his time in Iowa or New Hampshire during his brief ride to the top of the polls.

Debates reward the quick quip, the snappy rejoinder, the cutting comeback and the clever response. Because some of the fallout from a debate is generated by news reports and chatter after the actual event, a sound bite played over and over the day after the debate can be more important for one of the candidates than all of the talk during the event.

Debate skills might be useful if we had a question time in Congress the way the British prime minister has in the House of Commons, but we don’t.

A quick repartee is a nice weapon at a dinner party, but it simply isn’t vital when trying to decide how to respond if Israel launches a pre-emptive strike on Iran, how to close the deficit or what an administration should do in reaction to the next crisis.

Presidents are supposed to give thoughtful consideration to complicated problems that involve difficult trade-offs (or at least I think that is what many Americans hope that they do). Once in office, they rarely need to shoot back a quip or react to an opponent’s attack. The presidency isn’t a game show, no matter how much some in the media treat it that way.

Yes, debates can convey a presidential candidate’s values and issue positions. I would never suggest that they are completely without value. But there are so many of them that they have created a new context in which candidates for the nation’s highest office are evaluated.

The debates have become a form of reality TV, with moderators and political reporters looking for intriguing storylines to attract more viewers and to force more confrontation among the candidates.
Media organizations feel compelled to host debates, even multiple debates, to build their reputations and to boost their ratings, not to serve the public or even the campaigns.

Each debate is hyped repeatedly by its host network or media outlet, magnifying the event’s importance and placing candidates at the mercy — not of voters or even viewers — but of strategists who create expectations. And if the candidates don’t follow the expected storyline, they get pummeled.

For example, one national political writer criticized former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty after the first debate because she said he “failed to dominate his lesser-known and more eccentric Republican rivals.”

I wonder if anyone told the former governor that “domination” was the standard he needed to reach.
And when Pawlenty did not attack former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney sufficiently (in the eyes of many reporters and pundits) during one debate, he was criticized heavily. That put him on the defensive after the debate and put more pressure on him to be more aggressive in the next debate.

Not surprisingly, when the candidates do become more aggressive and confrontational, newspaper headlines crow about the fisticuffs and TV journalists focus on the battle that they, themselves, encouraged.

Of course, when the debaters avoid attacking each other, too many of us complain that the event was dull and uninteresting. And if a candidate “gets lost” while launching verbal grenades at another, those overshadowed are belittled and told that they need to be louder and more obnoxious in the next debate.

The debate dynamic, not any substantive comments, becomes part of the winners-and-losers assessments.
There has always been a disconnect between the ways we pick our presidents and the qualities that a successful president has.

There is no easy process to understand what kind of a leader a man or woman will be nor how they will make decisions on issues that involve trade-offs and compromises.

The question is whether the steady stream of debates that we have already seen really helps us understand and compare the candidates — or whether a series of one-on-one, in-depth interviews with a thoughtful questioner, such as Charlie Rose or Jim Lehrer, might teach us more about the candidates than a dozen cattle calls."

Friday, November 18, 2011

Heineman, Johanns and Nelson Duped and Now Nebraskans Will Pay Even More

We stand by our assertion that Nebraska’s governor and its two U.S. Senators were duped by Jane Kleeb and the environmentalists who oppose the Keystone XL Pipeline. We also stand by our assertion that the latter ‘leaders’ were no more than ‘useful idiots’ in the fight of these radical environmentalists to stop tar sands oil development and, frankly, American energy independence.

Our country will pay for this misguided caving to the ‘political winds’ by Nebraska’s leaders. It will pay by the loss of job and the loss of dependence on despots who would hold it hostage to their oil extortion.

Nebraska will pay for their ‘leaders’ misguided caving to ‘political winds’ by the loss of jobs and by being known as the gullible state that may have stopped all future oil development with our country’s neighbor to the north.

Nebraskans will also now apparently pay for its misguided leaders’ efforts with a two million dollar environmental steady that will no doubt prove useless since those who have duped its leaders will rally rapidly to prevent any alternative placement of the pipeline. Not because they are concerned about the Ogallala Aquifer--Not because they are concerned about the Sandhills--But because they simply don’t want any tar sands oil from Canada or anywhere else! In fact, they don’t want any new fossil energy development!

Governor Heineman and Senators Johnanns and Nelson (will maybe not Nelson) will certainly come to rue the day they acquiesced to these environmental radicals.

With that said, we thought we’d share with you a column,
The Keystone Pipeline Victory, by Mark Hertsgaard that appeared in Real Clear Politics celebrating this HUGE victory for the environmental movement. This wasn’t a victory for Jane Kleeb. It wasn’t a victory for Nebraskans. It wasn’t a victory for America. It certainly wasn’t a victory for energy independence. It may have been a victory for the president’s re-election. You make your own conclusions:

“Victories against climate change have been rare, so it’s vital to recognize them when they happen. The Obama administration’s decision to delay the Keystone XL pipeline is one such victory—arguably the most important achievement in the climate fight in North America in years.

True, the administration’s November 10 statements did not outright kill the 1,700-mile pipeline, which the TransCanada company wants to build to transport highly polluting tar sands from Alberta, Canada, to refineries on the Texas coast. Yes, President Obama or his successor could try to greenlight the project in 2013, when the State Department’s new review of the project is due. But that’s unlikely, as TransCanada’s CEO, Russ Girling, has acknowledged. The project’s contracts require the pipeline to be completed by 2013, or refineries will be free to look elsewhere for supply, which Girling expects they will.

In any case, such caveats mean only that the Keystone victory is not absolute. But when a $7 billion project involving the number-one US trading partner and oil supplier, a project that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton only a year ago said she was “inclined” to approve, is very publicly postponed—even as the inspector general of the State Department launches an investigation into cronyism involving a former top aide to Clinton—good luck putting that Humpty Dumpty together again.

The climax of the Keystone campaign came November 6, when some 12,000 activists surrounded the White House (evidently a first) to urge Obama to honor his 2008 campaign pledge to fight climate change. “We want jobs but not as gravediggers for the planet,” Roger Toussaint, head of Local 100 of the Transport Workers of America, told the crowd in one of the strongest green declarations by a US labor leader. (Unfortunately, other elements of organized labor did not play against stereotype; the Building Trades Unions went so far as to team up with the oil industry to launch a “Jobs for the 99” campaign, co-opting Occupy rhetoric for their pro-pipeline propaganda.)

The breadth of the anti-pipeline coalition—indigenous people, progressive labor unions, youth, faith, farmer, community and environmental activists—was just one way this crusade contrasted with previous environmental campaigns. Other key differences: demands were more concrete and more radical. Strategy was set more by grassroots activists than by Beltway insiders. Tactics stressed people power—putting feet on the street, going to jail—over policy papers. The message was comprehensible to ordinary people rather than off-putting. And thanks to the Occupy movement, journalists were primed to pay attention to street protests.

All these factors combined not only to deliver the immediate victory over Keystone but to reanimate a movement that had been reeling after the failure of the Copenhagen climate talks in 2009 and the defeat of climate legislation on Capitol Hill in 2010. “You need victories to build a movement, and how you win can be as important as what you win,” explained Steve Kretzmann, executive director of Oil Change International, an NGO that punctured the “energy independence” rationale for Keystone by revealing that the oil it transported to Texas would be sold on the world market, not reserved for American gas tanks. Kretzmann added, “For once a big battle coming out of the environmental community was not about an obscure policy proposal, like cap and trade. [The pipeline] was made into a moral issue about what we want the future of our country to be and what we’re willing to do about it. At the White House, I had one seasoned activist tell me, ‘I feel like I finally can crawl out of the fetal position I’ve been in since Copenhagen.’”

As with the Occupiers, establishment voices quickly registered their disapproval—and their political tone-deafness. Some, like Council on Foreign Relations fellow Michael Levi, even suggested that the delay would hurt the climate fight, because Bill McKibben and other climate organizers had muddied their message by taking advantage of the “not in my backyard” sentiments of Midwestern farmers who—oh the horror!—are Republicans. Such NIMBYism, Levi sniffed, could be used to undercut future deployment of wind farms and other clean energy sources.

The truth, as McKibben has said many times, is that he and his colleagues came to the Keystone party fairly late. “The indigenous peoples in Canada have been fighting this from the start, and then folks along the route” got active, McKibben told The Nation. “I joined in this spring, when [NASA scientist James] Hansen made clear the size of the [tar sands] carbon pool. Our role was to take a regional fight and make it national and international, which I think we managed to do.”

And not a moment too soon. One day before Obama’s announcement, the International Energy Agency released its annual report on the “World Energy Outlook.” The IEA is no den of subversives; it’s run by many of the world’s largest oil-consuming nations. Its report warns that without radical changes in the world’s energy infrastructure in the next five years, humans will make climate change irreversible. In this context the defeat of Keystone is exactly the kind of radical change, in infrastructure and activism, that’s needed.”

Leadership and the Super Committee

We've spoken a lot about leadership, or the lack there of, lately and unfortunately that lack of leadership extends far beyond Nebraska.   Yes, as we originally thought, it appears the congressional 'Super Committee' is on the verge of failing in its mission to find at least some $1.2 trillion in spending cuts over the next ten years in order to avoid 'sequestration'.

Of course, one could never have expected an evenly balanced committee of conservatives and liberals, folks who wanted to cut spending and those who wanted to increase taxes on those nasty greedy rich, to arrive at any consensus.    So now, it appears that the drastic cuts in military spending, etc., that no one thought could possibly take place will in fact take place.

But back to the leadership issue.   One would think the leader of the greatest nation on earth (until he has accomplished his goal of totally diminishing it) would be actively involved in prodding the committee to do its job.    You would think he'd be actively meeting and cajoling the members of the committee to come to a consensus.   But, no, he has conveniently managed to put himself (hide) in Asia far away from the goings on. 

Yes, this is our president's version of leadership.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Venture -- H.D. Cowles

With resolve’s tight impact, like a band,
I sought to better understand
The makeup of that foreign land,
The “Black Hole” of my curious mind.
It rejected my intensive press,
Refused my every willingness
To search for meaningful access
So, value there I failed to find.
Unwilling to explain itself
In its atmosphere devoid of health,
I left that gloom attired in stealth~~
No wiser now, no gain divined.
H. Dean Cowles
H. Dean Cowles is the "Poet Laureate" of the Objective Conservative

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Increase Economic Freedom

We thought the following editorial which appeared in the Wall Street Journal might be somewhat instructive for 100% of our population, not just the greedy 1% or the 'non-greedy' oppressed 99%.    While we may not agree with all that Mackey says, he certainly makes some good points.

"To Increase Jobs, Increase Economic Freedom

Business is not a zero-sum game struggling over a fixed pie. Instead it grows and makes the total pie larger, creating value for all of its major stakeholders, including employees and communities.

Is the United States exceptional? Of course we are! Two hundred years ago we were one of the poorest countries in the world. We accounted for less than 1% of the world's total GDP. Today our GDP is 23% of the world's total and more than twice as large as the No. 2 country's, China.

America became the wealthiest country because for most of our history we have followed the basic principles of economic freedom: property rights, freedom to trade internationally, minimal governmental regulation of business, sound money, relatively low taxes, the rule of law, entrepreneurship, freedom to fail, and voluntary exchange.

The success of economic freedom in increasing human prosperity, extending our life spans and improving the quality of our lives in countless ways is the most extraordinary global story of the past 200 years. Gross domestic product per capita has increased by a factor of 1,000% across the world and almost 2,000% in the U.S. during these last two centuries. In 1800, 85% of everyone alive lived on less than $1 per day (in 2000 dollars). Today only 17% do. If current long-term trend lines of economic growth continue, we will see abject poverty almost completely eradicated in the 21st century. Business is not a zero-sum game struggling over a fixed pie. Instead it grows and makes the total pie larger, creating value for all of its major stakeholders—customers, employees, suppliers, investors and communities.

So why is our economy barely growing and unemployment stuck at over 9%? I believe the answer is very simple: Economic freedom is declining in the U.S. In 2000, the U.S. was ranked third in the world behind only Hong Kong and Singapore in the Index of Economic Freedom, published annually by this newspaper and the Heritage Foundation. In 2011, we fell to ninth behind such countries as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Ireland.

The reforms we need to make are extensive. I want to make a few suggestions that, as an independent, I hope will stimulate thinking and constructive discussion among concerned Americans no matter what their politics are.

Most importantly, we need to radically cut the size and cost of government. One hundred years ago the total cost of government at all levels in the U.S.—local, state and federal—was only 8% of our GDP. In 2010, it was 40%. Government is gobbling up trillions of dollars from our economy to feed itself through high taxes and unprecedented deficit spending—money that could instead be used by individuals to improve their lives and by entrepreneurs to create jobs. Government debt is growing at such a rapid rate that the Congressional Budget Office projects that in the next 70 years public money spent on interest annually will grow to almost 41.4% of GDP ($27.2 trillion) from 1.4% of GDP ($204 billion) in 2010. Today interest on our debt represents about a third of the cost of Social Security; in only 20 years it is estimated that it will exceed the cost of that program.

Only if we focus on cutting costs in the four most expensive government programs—Defense, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, which together with interest account for about two-thirds of the overall budget—can we make a significant positive impact.
Our defense budget now accounts for 43% of all military spending in the entire world—more than the next 14 largest defense budgets combined. It is time for us to scale back our military commitments and reduce our spending to something more in line with our percentage of the world GDP, or 23%. Doing this would save more than $300 billion every year.

Social Security and Medicare need serious reforms to be sustainable over the long term. The demographic crisis for these entitlement programs has now arrived as 10,000 baby boomers are projected to retire every day for the next 19 years. Retirement ages need to be steadily raised to reflect our increased longevity. These programs should also be means-tested. Countries such as Chile and Singapore successfully privatized their retirement programs, making them sustainable. We should move in a similar direction by giving everyone the option to voluntarily opt out of the governmental system into private alternatives, phasing this in over time to help keep the current system solvent.
In addition, tax reform is essential to jobs and prosperity. Most tax deductions and loopholes should be eliminated, combined with significant tax rate reductions. A top tax rate of 15% to 20% with no deductions would be fairer, greatly stimulate economic growth and job creation, and would reduce deficits by increasing total taxes paid to the federal government.

Why would taxes collected go up if rates go down? Two reasons—first, tax shelters such as the mortgage interest deduction used primarily by more affluent taxpayers would be eliminated; and secondly, the taxable base would increase considerably as entrepreneurs create new businesses and new jobs, and as people earn more money. Many Eastern European countries implemented low flat tax rates in the past decade, including Russia in 2001 (13%) and Ukraine in 2004 (15%), and experienced strong economic growth and increased tax revenues.

Corporate taxes also need to be reformed. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the U.S.'s combined state and federal corporate tax rate of 39.2% became the highest in the world after Japan cut its rates this April. A reduction to 26% would equal the average corporate tax rate in the 15 largest industrialized countries. That would help our companies to use their capital more productively to grow and create jobs in the U.S

Government regulations definitely need to be reformed. According to the Small Business Administration, total regulatory costs amount to about $1.75 trillion annually, nearly twice as much as all individual income taxes collected last year. While some regulations create important safeguards for public health and the environment, far too many simply protect existing business interests and discourage entrepreneurship. Specifically, many government regulations in education, health care and energy prevent entrepreneurship and innovation from revolutionizing and re-energizing these very important parts of our economy.

A simple reform that would make a monumental difference would be to require all federal regulations to have a sunset provision. All regulations should automatically expire after 10 years unless a mandatory cost-benefit analysis has been completed that proves the regulations have created significantly more societal benefit than harm. Currently thousands of new regulations are added each year and virtually none ever disappear.

According to a recent poll, more than two-thirds of Americans now believe that America is in "decline." While we are certainly going through difficult times our decline is not inevitable—it can and must be reversed. The U.S. is still an extraordinary country by almost any measure. If we once again embrace the principles of individual and economic freedom that made us both prosperous and exceptional, we can help lead the world towards a better future for all."

Mr. Mackey, co-founder and co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, is a member of the Job Creators Alliance, a nonprofit devoted to preserving free enterprise.