James Williamson guest blog: Mitt Romney, Hispanics, and the Vice Presidential nominee

Editor’s note:  I am grateful to one of my younger brothers, James Williamson, for contributing another guest op/ed to Buckeye RINO.  In the interest of disclosure, James is a native Ohioan who currently resides with his wife and four children in another swing state: Nevada. Nevada, of course, has a much larger Hispanic population than Ohio does. James has attended several GOP functions while residing in Nevada, including attending the presidential caucuses earlier in the year and serving as a delegate to Nevada’s Clark County Republican Party Convention.  James has a couple of things in common with Mitt Romney.  First of all, James is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS, or Mormon) like Romney.  That being said, Romney was not James’ first pick for the nomination.  When Rick Perry first announced his candidacy (before it imploded), James was on board for Perry.  By the time the Nevada caucuses were held, the field had been winnowed down to Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul.  James caucused for Paul and went to the county convention as a Paul delegate.  Now that it is clear that Romney is the party nominee, James supports Romney against Obama.  The second thing James has in common with Romney is that he served a Mormon mission in a foreign country.  Romney was a missionary in France.  My brother, James, was a missionary in Ecuador.  James is fluent in Spanish (as is the rest of his family), and circulates among those in Las Vegas’ Spanish-speaking community.  Therefore, though he’s a gringo, I tend to lend some credence to James’ viewpoint on this topic. –DJW

MITT ROMNEY, HISPANICS, AND THE VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE

There is much talk about the Hispanic or Latino votes this election and whom they will vote for.  Many experts believe that it is a crucial swing group that may decide the presidential election.  I believe that may be true. Having now become the largest minority group, they certainly have sufficient numbers to have a significant political voice.  Perhaps more importantly they are not loyal to either party and will vote for whomever they believe has more to offer them.

The desire to capture the Hispanic voting community has many suggesting that Mitt Romney should pick a Hispanic running mate to improve his chances with that group.  While I think that the Hispanic vote is still in play I don’t think that simply picking a Hispanic running mate will be enough to tip the scales in Romney’s favor.

I’d like to weigh in on both issues:  1) the Hispanic vote and 2) the VP selection.

The Hispanic Vote

While some may believe that Obama has the Hispanic vote locked up I have some first-hand evidence that he does not.  I was recently riding in a vehicle with two Hispanic women that were discussing the election.  While the women both reside in Henderson, Nevada (hardly a bastion of liberalism…) I’m sure that their views are not unique among the voting (and, yes, both are voting citizens) Hispanic community.  Both women had voted for Obama and expressed disappointment in his performance.  Both indicated that they would probably not vote for him again.  Unfortunately both women had some reservations about voting for Romney.  They said that Romney did not inspire them.  Moral to the story:  the Hispanic vote is still in play but Romney better get moving if he wants it.

So how do you get the Hispanic vote if you are Mitt Romney?  If I were running this is what I would do:

1.              Remind the Hispanic community that Obama has only put a temporary measure in place regarding immigration and is only a partial solution.  A permanent solution requires the cooperation of Congress.  Obama is not going to get that cooperation if he is re-elected.  Hispanics that are paying attention know this.  Even if Obama is re-elected, the work permits that the White House plans to issue to immigrants who came as minors will only be good for 10 years.  They will not have full residency status and will have no path to citizenship unless Congress acts.   After 10 years (or less, if someone else is elected, or someone takes the case to the Supreme Court), the “dreamers” will wake up to reality that they do not have permanent legal status.  This is not a solution this is political pandering.  The pandering is only necessary because of argument #2.

2.              Point out that Obama spent his time, energy, and political will urging congress to pass the Affordable Care Act instead of immigration reform.  Instead of spending an inordinate amount of time and political capital on a bill that is not only unpopular, but also unconstitutional (Chief Justice Roberts overlooked the fact that by defining the penalty as a tax, the bill became an appropriations bill . . . that originated in the . . . Senate!  If I’m right, and Obamacare, by way of Roberts’ ruling, is an appropriation, then it needed to be originated by the House! However, I’m completely open to the possibility that Roberts was wrong on ruling that it was a tax, hence the bill is unconstitutional, by a 5-4 decision, in that the Commerce Clause does not uphold it!), the president should have lobbied for comprehensive immigration reform. Yes, it is a difficult issue, and can be divisive, but it is an enumerated power in the Constitution and clearly a responsibility of the federal government, a responsibility that the democratic Congress and White House abdicated during the 2009-2010 session.  That, of course, needs to be followed with assurances that immigration will be addressed during the first year in office.  Bush promised immigration reform, received the Hispanic vote, and then failed to deliver after three attempts.  Obama promised immigration reform, received the Hispanic vote, and then didn’t even try to deliver until it was too late.  Romney has to convince the Hispanic community that he can do better.

3.              Hispanic issues are everyone’s issues.  When I was attending a town hall meeting here in Nevada I managed to get on the Spanish news that night even though I am not Hispanic and Spanish is my second language.  The reason is because the town hall was about e-verify and several of the attendees complained about being stopped by police that asked them for their social security numbers.  I stood up and said that this was not just an issue for Hispanics.  I was stopped by a BLM officer who demanded my social security number and even threatened to broadcast it over his radio if I didn’t provide it willingly. (This is why I really don’t like the BLM.)  These issues affect everyone.  If the police can demand proof of residency or a social security card from a Hispanic they can also demand it from an Asian, African, or Caucasian.  I personally don’t want to carry my passport everywhere I go.

There are many other messages that will get the attention of the Hispanics but I believe these three are the key to opening up the dialogue.

The Vice Presidential Selection

While I don’t think that the VP pick will greatly influence the Hispanic vote I do think it will impact the election if it garners media attention.  Contrary to popular opinion, I think Sarah Palin helped the McCain campaign.  It wasn’t enough, but it brought media attention to a campaign that desperately needed it.  This time the Republican still desperately needs media attention but one other factor is very different:  A Democrat is the incumbent.  In today’s world of anti-incumbent fervor, the challenger has a much better chance of winning than 8 years ago.

The biggest challenge that Romney faces is that people are not excited about him being president.  Many of them will vote for Romney just to vote against Obama.  Romney needs people to vote for him and I think the right VP candidate will help that if it is coupled with a higher-energy campaign.  Romney is sending the right messages, but his delivery is not energizing the voters who are wary after being burnt by Obama.

Voters like Romney’s business aptitude.  We need it right now.  They also like the idea of American exceptionalism and, with that, generally like Romney’s foreign policy.  What they don’t like is Romney’s perceived vanilla flavoring.  He is viewed by many as just another politician who won’t be able to control the beauracracy or slow the entitlement tsunami.

How can the VP help that perception?  Pick a high-energy, relatively unknown conservative that does not live or work in Washington DC, preferably a resident of a swing state.  Someone like Palin with one difference:  Don’t pick a first term governor.

I don’t know exactly who that person is.  I wouldn’t pick any of the other Republican candidates for president.  (Although I might pick Ron Paul as Secretary of the Treasury.)  Mitch Daniels has taken another job.  Marco Rubio is already working in Washington.  Susana Martinez and Scott Walker are still in their first term.  Donald Trump would be viewed as a corporate crony.  Arnold Schwarzenegger is not eligible for the office.

Who does that leave?  Ken Blackwell? Wayne Allen Root?  Joe the Plumber?

Who would you pick?

Ohio House Republican press release: Proposal to restructure public mental health

Editor’s note: This appears to be just a proposal, at present, as I do not yet see a bill listed on the General Assembly website. State rep David Burke represents the 83rd Ohio House district, which includes Logan County, Union County, and most of Marion County.  This press release was issued 1/21/2011. After reading through the press release, you are welcome to read my further editorial comments (below the fold).

REP. BURKE: OHIO’S MENTAL HEALTH SYSTEM FACES A CRISIS

Will introduce bill to identify cost-savings, structural improvements

COLUMBUS—In order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Ohio’s mental health services, State Representative Dave Burke (R-Marysville) intends to propose legislation that calls for a review of Ohio’s behavioral health system. The goal of this legislation will be to identify potential reforms and cost-containment opportunities within the system, which will not only improve state health services but also rein in costs.

“The current system is crumbling and fragmented,” said Burke, who serves as chairman of the Health and Human Services Subcommittee of the Finance and Appropriations Committee. “There is no transparency with regard to costs, and oftentimes there is no coordination of services. With numerous tragic events that have happened over the last few years that have involved behavioral health system issues, it is important that Ohio make a comprehensive review of the system.”

More than 340,000 Ohioans received community mental health treatment during fiscal year 2009. Starting in 2014, the Ohio Medicaid program expects that more than 550,000 new enrollees will be added to the system, about one-third of whom will require mental health treatment. However, the current system leaves significant gaps in coverage for individuals who need behavioral services, which in fiscal year 2009 left more than 22,000 mental health patients without Medicaid coverage.

According to Burke, a lack of coordination between departments often leads to inflated costs or flawed patient care, which not only strains the state budget but also puts vulnerable Ohioans at risk. Many mentally ill Ohioans end up institutionalized in prisons and nursing homes, when in reality, a number of these individuals require more intensive behavioral treatment.

“It is extremely important that we don’t let Ohioans who depend on state services fall through the cracks or be subjected to inadequate treatment,” said Burke. “We will soon have an opportunity to improve Ohio’s mental health system while at the same time reduce inefficiency. This is a standard of excellence that we owe to those who elected us to lead this state.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Mme. Speaker Pelosi, I wonder if you would clarify something. . . ?

Beginning in the summer of last year, our Representatives in Congress began convening town hall meetings to extol the virtues of proposed health care system changes.  The reception wasn’t so good.

Also making news were groups of detractors widely known as the Tea Party.

I’m trying to remember, way back then, how you characterized the negative feedback that garnered media coverage . . .

Correct me if I’m wrong, but, didn’t you say it was mere astroturf?

I think you did.  I think you said it was nothing but astroturf.

I wonder if you would care to elaborate further on that observation in light of the most recent election results.  Do you still think it’s astroturf?

Guest blog: Behind enemy lines

Editor’s note:  This blog article was authored by James Williamson, one of the younger brothers of yours truly.  James grew up in Ohio, but he currently resides in Nevada, so he has a bird’s eye view of perhaps the most talked about U.S. Senate race in the nation.  It’s such a high profile Senate race that President Obama was in Las Vegas on Friday night (10/22/2010), so James went to the Harry Reid rally, even though he doesn’t support Reid, just to see the President (who he doesn’t support, either).   The title of this article is referencing his attendance at that rally.  Like much of the rest of the electorate, James is highly energized about issues of national politics, so much so, that these days he wants to blog (more often than I do) to get a few things off his chest.

BEHIND ENEMY LINES

Reidrally(1)10/22/2010

Reidrally(2)10/22/2010

It’s not every day the President of the United States comes into town.  In fact, it’s such an unusual event that even I succumbed to curiosity.  OK, so my wife was the one that wanted to go . . . but since I had never been able to say that I had seen a sitting President (or any President for that matter) in person, I went along.  I will confess that at first I wanted to shout “vote for Sharron Angle,” but I restrained myself and I’m glad I did . .  not worth taking the chance of being pummeled  . . .

On this occasion, the President was in town to rally support for the endangered Senate majority leader.  (I may add that this was my first time seeing a Senator in person, as well.)  Interestingly enough, I found that if you didn’t get caught up in the shouts and chanting it was really difficult to tell who exactly he was talking about.

President Obama said he wanted to break away from old style politics:  A Washington without partisan bickering, politics where the candidate with the most money and cynicism doesn’t always win.  He called for the parties to work together in a bipartisan way for the good of the people.  Who were you talking to Mr. President?  Look in the mirror when you make such statements.

Another interesting statement was that neither he nor Harry Reid was born with a silver spoon in their mouth.  Then he lauded Reid for being a common man saying that he had humble beginnings and remembers what it is like to have to work for a living and struggle to make ends meet.  Who are you trying to fool?  I never went to a private school while growing up (OK, I technically went to a private college, but BYU tuition was less than Ohio State for me), nor was I privileged enough to have an Ivy League education.  As for Reid, yes, he may remember what it is like to be a common man, but that’s just it:  he has to remember.  I’ll bet he has to think about it a long time to remember, though, because that is now ancient history . . .

Obama also decried campaign smear ads by Republicans and fear mongering ads by groups that aren’t even affiliated with the candidate, groups with funny names that have donors that can’t be identified.  Funny, when my brother (none other than the Buckeye RINO) was here helping me move in, he saw such an ad campaigning against Sharron Angle . . . It was in Spanish, but he noted that the endorsement by Reid was missing (“I’m Harry Reid, and I approved this message”).  I have since heard that ad and many others attacking Sharon Angle that don’t have Harry Reid’s endorsement at the end.  Most of them use very negative pathos suggesting that Angle is not only radical but dangerous based on sound bites from some of the things that she has said that don’t sound very good on the surface but aren’t really all that scary.  (Remember that Angle is a novice.  Reid has had lots of practice speaking in public about sensitive issues, Angle has not.)  I live here in Las Vegas, NV now and I can say that I have heard more of this type of attack ads directed at Angle than I have directed at Reid…  Who are you talking to Mr. President?

When the rhetoric turned to bragging about accomplishments, Obama and Reid both touted their health care reform.  Obama claimed that health care reform is making health care more affordable for consumers.  Oh really?  Then why am I faced with a 100% increase in the health insurance premium portion that I pay, plus why is the company I work for paying an additional 25% for 2011? To be fair, the dollar amounts are roughly equal, because the company I work for pays a much larger portion of the premium than I do, but combining them both represents roughly a 30% increase.   So how is a 30% increase more affordable?  Have we changed the rules of mathematics?  If so, could you explain to me the new rules so I can understand them too?

Obama said that we should move forward and not backwards, that we needed new thinking.  So when Reid bragged that the high speed rail line to California and the I-15 corridor work would bring thousands of jobs to the area in response to the economic downturn, was that a fresh idea?  Is that new thought?  Wait a minute, I seem to remember another time when we had a major economic fallout and the government started a mega-project in southern Nevada . . . Oh, yes!  The great depression and the Hoover Dam . . .  Original thinking there, Mr. Obama and Mr. Reid.  Glad you are here to come up with all these new ideas.  So what happens if it doesn’t improve the unemployment in Nevada?  Will you then say “It would have been worse if we hadn’t”, or will you blame the Republicans for ruining it?

Well if you want some really new ideas Mr. President, some radical ones, I have a few.  How about agreeing to allow use of our national parks by the native Americans as part of restoring trust after years of abuse and land grabs?  How about returning power to the states by eliminating federal agencies and programs that are better handled on a local level, like education and welfare?  If you are so anti-imperial, how about starting right here at home?  In order to compete in the world economy, why not negotiate with the rest of the Americas to adopt the US dollar the way the European Union has? (This has already worked well in Ecuador.)  Why not take it one step further and open the door to allow the states of Mexico to join our Union?  Maybe then we could keep illegal immigration at bay once conditions inside the country improve and they are no longer drawn northward.  (Of course you would have to cut off federal entitlement programs for that to work.)  Maybe then we could get the gang wars under control if we could send in our military instead of theirs.  Maybe then we could keep our retirees, that flee southward trying to keep themselves financially afloat, so that they retire inside the boundaries of the expanded US?  That’s radical thinking.  This is something no politician is even talking about, a new idea.  Re-creating the New Deal under a different name is not a new idea.

After another year, and after we are ready for the next campaign, we’ll check in, Mr. President, and see if you are having any luck with that original thought.  If you haven’t by then, we can help you out . . .

[UPDATE] Wanna Tea Party during Obama’s visit to Lorain County on Friday?

If you’ve missed some opportunities to attend Tea Parties on Capitol Hill in DC because it was so far away, then perhaps you’d like to be at a Tea Party closer to home.

If you’ve missed some opportunities to show your true genius in designing your own homemade protest signs and banners, January 22, 2010 (this Friday) might be a fortuitous occasion.  Who knows?  Perhaps someone in the Presidential motorcade might even spot your sign.

Lorain County Community College is on the outskirts of Elyria, and it’s a venue where President Obama will make an appearance on Friday, though I’m not sure of the exact time of the President’s appearance.

For the Tea Party, however, you’re welcome to stay the whole day.  You can pack food, if you like, but there are also plenty of fast food joints and other restaurants just down the road, to the north of the campus.  I have no idea what the weather forecast is, but be prepared for the outdoor conditions.

Mike Hellyar of the Lorain North Shore Patriots is designated as the organizer of the rally.  The plan for Tea Party attendees is to park at Elyria’s Hilltop Park Cobblestone.  It’s a little bit of a walk to the LCCC campus from there.  If by chance there’s no available parking at the park or at the campus, there is a shopping center called Cobblestone on the same road (State Route 301–also known as Abbe Road) as the campus.  State Route 301 is a heavily traveled thoroughfare, so as you walk along the way, plenty of motorists will have an opportunity to see your signs at virtually any time during daylight hours (just be careful not to get run over if you have to cross any intersections).

Driving-wise, LCCC is not that far from an interchange with I-90.  If traveling from Cleveland or other points east, you’d make a left off of the exit ramp onto State Route 254, and then make a right on State Route 301.  If traveling from Sandusky or other points west, you’d make a right off the exit ramp onto State Route 254 and then make a right on State Route 301.

You’ll see the Cobblestone shopping plaza on your right hand side fairly soon after turning on to SR 301 (Abbe Road).  The LCCC campus will be further south, along the left hand side of the road.  The sign at the entrance of campus is clearly visible.

I’ve always accessed Hilltop Park from Gulf Road (roughly parallel to Abbe, but further west), but it’s not the only access point, but the park stretches over to Abbe Road and up to Burns Road.  There is an intersection with Burns Road just south, beyond the LCCC campus, along Abbe Road.  Hilltop Park lies a little further south, just beyond that Abbe-Burns intersection, on the right hand side.

HilltopPark

If you feel your clever banner didn’t get enough exposure to viewers during the Tea Party, you might consider sending me a photograph of it, snapped on the LCCC grounds, and I’ll consider posting it here on Buckeye RINO.

Let the President know what you REALLY think about the bailouts, cap and trade, and Obamacare.

[UPDATE 1/20/2010] Two more links to help you get there and know what’s going on:

Cleveland Tea Party Patriots

Lorain NorthShore Patriots

The Obamacare vote among Ohio’s representatives in Congress

Late Saturday night, 11/7/2009, the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly passed an Obamacare bill, 220-215.

As you may recall, this past summer, when Obamacare opponents said that the proposed legislation hadn’t ruled out federal subsidies for abortions, Obamacare supporters said that such a charge was as fictitious as death panels and coverage for illegal immigrants.  “Stop telling lies!” was the mantra of the Obamacare supporters.  Obamacare opponents, of course, were not telling lies, and federal subsidies of abortion weren’t stricken from the Obamacare bill until Saturday, just an hour before the final Obamacare bill vote, when an amendment to the bill, the Stupak amendment, was passed.

Not until the final hour had abortions been ruled out of the bill.

Could Congress have saved themselves some headaches by ruling out abortions much earlier in the process?  I think so.  Speaker Pelosi, however, has been playing a game of brinksmanship, to squeak uber-leftist legislation through.  Moderate Democrats have been left in a bind.

Many moderate Democrats arrived in Congress on the heels of Republican scandals.  Other moderate Democrats won seats because Republican officeholders voted like liberal Democrats on key issues.  Moderate Democrats pledged that they would represent voters’ interests more faithfully than their Republican opponents, and that they’d be scandal-free.  Voters in many conservative-leaning districts took a big risk by electing Democrats instead of Republicans.

While the moderate Democrats may have remained true to the pledge that they would not embroil themselves in scandal, their voting records under Pelosi’s leadership have been quite liberal, as Pelosi hasn’t sought middle ground on any issue whatsoever.  Conservative-leaning districts are quickly learning that the Democrats they elected aren’t really championing voters’ interests.

Let’s recap how the Ohio delegation voted on the Stupak amendment and on the House’s finalized version of the Obamacare bill:

  • Republicans Boehner, Turner, Latta, LaTourette, Tiberi, Jordan, Schmidt, and Austria all voted for the Stupak amendment (to rule out federal subsidization of abortion) and against the final Obamacare bill.
  • Democrat Boccieri voted for the Stupak amendment and against the final Obamacare bill.
  • Democrat Kucinich voted against the Stupak amendment and against the final Obamacare bill.
  • Democrats Space, Wilson, Kaptur, Ryan, and Driehaus voted for the Stupak amendment and for the final Obamacare bill.
  • Democrats Sutton, Kilroy, and Fudge voted against the Stupak amendment and for the final Obamacare bill.

Question:  Whose re-election bids were helped and whose were hurt by their votes on Saturday?

Republicans are helping themselves with these Saturday votes, and some need all the help they can get.  For Austria, he’s a freshman, so he needs votes like these to establish himself.  Boehner, Tiberi, and Schmidt all voted for the initial Wall Street bailout last fall, so they’ve got some catching up to do, as their votes started our nation down the socialist path.  LaTourette, who, in past years, has always faced very liberal campaign opponents, and who’d also been labeled as a RINO by many inside the GOP, has really benefited by Pelosi’s uber-left agenda.  With no middle ground being sought in the Pelosi house, LaTourette has had no middle ground to steer towards, and, having to steer either left or right, LaTourette has steered right, thus bolstering his conservative credentials and winning greater favor from the base.  Though his district lies in Northeast Ohio, and though local Democrats may postulate that LaTourette has moved too far to the right to be relevant in his district, I think LaTourette has strengthened his hold on the district, as Pelosi has steered Congress much further to the left than voters in LaTourette’s district can stomach.  LaTourette’s liberal campaign opponents didn’t gain enough traction against him in the past, and now that the true colors of liberals are openly displayed, I don’t think they’ll gain enough traction against him in 2010.

Leave it to Dennis Kucinich to march to the beat of a different drum.  Some speculate that if the vote had been 217 to 217 on the Obamacare bill, with Kucinich being the last person to cast a vote, that he would’ve capitulated, and voted for the measure.  He was given wiggle-room this time.  I’m not sure whether his constituents will be amused or annoyed by his capriciousness, but he’s dodged every bullet so far.

Though there are some liberal Democrats around Ohio that are incensed by Boccieri’s vote, I think the vote helps him.  The lefty voices claim that Boccieri can’t win over conservatives because they’ll still fault him for cap-and-trade and various sundry bailout votes, which is true, yet I think this vote, because it’s so highly publicized, will help Boccieri among independent, middle-of-the-road voters.

For Kaptur and Ryan, they haven’t sufficiently alienated their constituencies by these votes.  Their support of the Stupak amendment spares them from Catholic backlash while their support of the Obamacare bill leaves them in good standing with the unions.  Though Driehaus voted the same way, I don’t think it helps.  The high tide of Democrat turnout that carried Driehaus into office on Obama’s coattails won’t recur in the 2010 election, and I think his seat reverts back to Republican control.  Space and Wilson like to talk as if they are middle-of-the-road, but with no middle ground in the Pelosi House, they’ve chosen to steer to the left on every vote.  Somehow, eastern Ohio doesn’t keep close tabs on their Congressional representatives until scandal erupts, like it did with Bob Ney, Jim Traficant, and Wayne Hays.  If they were keeping close tabs, Space and Wilson would be dead meat in 2010.

Lastly, there are the Emily’s List delegation members.  In Fudge’s district, she’s a shoo-in.  I can’t imagine her re-election being screwed up by any Congressional vote. Whether she votes uber-liberal or ultra-conservative for the rest of her term, just the fact that she’ll have a “D” by her name in November 2010 will ensure her election.  Sutton has shown that she cares more about the views of liberal lobbyists around the Beltway than she does about the views of voters in her district.  Though her district leans slightly left, it’s not an uber-liberal district, so I think Sutton is hurting herself and increasing the risk that she could be successfully outflanked on the right.  Finally, there’s Kilroy.  Come November 2010, she’s toast.

One final note about the gamesmanship of Beltway lobbyists, I highly recommend this BizzyBlog post that explains how Obamacare might have been defeated if not for National Right-to-Life blocking the route.  Pathetic.

Hoping somebody’s listening

Nov52009DC

This was forwarded to me by way of some Ohioans who trekked to Washington DC yesterday to express their disapproval of how the U.S. House of Representatives is shaping their health care bill.

The AARP, in defiance of the wishes of a great number of its members, has endorsed the House version of the bill, which not only doesn’t have bipartisan support, it doesn’t even have the support of all the Democrats.

Michelle Malkin always has riveting blog entries about this topic.  4 of her blog entries posted during this past week can be found here, here, here, and here.  I recommend reading through them.