Archive for August, 2010

GOP Convention 2010–Michigan

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

I recently attended the GOP Convention is Michigan. It was by far the worst GOP Convention I have attended.

The crowd of 3000 was very impressive. Yet the crowd could not get in the building due to some organizational difficulties early on. Yes, from the start there were problems.

There were no after-parties. People just went home.

There were no top tier speakers from out of state. Several contested offices led to passionate factions advocating for their respective candidates.

There was no gala lunch or dinner the day of the convention. “Lunch” consisted of people standing in long lines for all eternity at concession stands. Never has a food service area been so appropriately named, since it seemed that the people had conceded on anything resembling a quality of life. Microwave pizza was one option, and there were no plastic forks. I brought my own lunch. Cutting a steak with a knife and spoon is just sheer delight.

Yet I was a vendor at this convention. As a vendor, it was a miserable experience.

If there is one thing I can’t stand, it is conservatives acting like socialists. I lost count of the number of people who asked me if the books I were selling were free.

Are you kidding me? A couple people actually were about to take the book before I explained they had to pay for it. They looked stunned.

One person had the nerve to ask me what my costs were. They pointed out I could sell it to them for what I paid for it. I explained to this person that I had other expenses, such as air fare and paying for the booth at the convention.

Too many people at this convention arrived in a bad mood from being left outside and then left frustrated when the convention went 2 1/2 hours past the scheduled end time.

A couple people told me that Michigan was hurting, which is why I was having a tough sales day. This is baseless garbage. People are hurting everywhere. The crowd was 5x larger than most conventions, and 10x larger than some of them. I covered my costs but made far less money.

I understand that Governor Jennifer Granholm is the worst governor in America, even worse than California. I have said we should give Michigan to Canada, since she managed to infiltrate it and take it over anyway.

(Somebody check her papers. I am tired of Canadians sneaking across the border.)

It seems that the people of Michigan are obsessed with Canadians. I kept telling people I was a conservative comedian. They kept insisting that I said I was a conservative Canadian. I have never had this problem anywhere else.

Michigan is broken. I cannot imagine myself ever doing business there again unless I am given a large upfront fee.

There were some nice people there, but too many of the people were just downright unpleasant.

(As expected, the ladies I met from the Michigan Federation of Republican Women were fantastic. They were a speck of sanity in an ocean of ridiculousness.)

Yes the left has destroyed Michigan. So what? The right seemed to have a look of despair, like the entire state was one giant failure. Given that the convention was in East Lansing and not Detroit, this puzzled me.

(Nobody from General Motors, Chrysler,  the Ford Family, or anybody else representing the Detroit Lions showed up. One can handle only so much defeatism in one area.)

One bright spot could have been Congressman Thaddeus McCotter, but I never saw him. I do not even know if he attended.

If there was something to like about this convention, I did not see it.

This is not sour grapes. I really did keep a pleasant demeanor throughout the day as people told me that they would buy my book after smoking a cigarette. The “Midwestern values” I have genuinely experienced in other states was replaced with people looking at me and lying in a manner that made Hollywood look sincere. Some people insisted that they had already bought my book the last time I was in Michigan, even though I had never done an event there before.

I did not make friends. I did not have memories I will cherish a lifetime.

More importantly, if other vendor friends ask me, I will tell them not to bother doing business in Michigan.

This is not personal. The state is broken. One day it may be fixed. Yet I cannot waste…not spend, but waste…my hard earned money on a convention filled with a large crowd wanting new merchandise for free.

Even the conservatives here are socialists. Perhaps hopelessness truly has set in.

Michigan is in a state of despair. Electing a Republican Governor is not enough. They must be willing to crush the unions that have destroyed the state economy.

I am just thankful that I was able to leave the state for better areas where I can actually do business.


GOP Convention 2010–California

Monday, August 30th, 2010

I did not attend Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor Rally or Sean Hannity’s Freedom Concerts this year. The world is better off without me being cloned, so I missed these events while attending the Michigan GOP Convention.

Recently I attended the California GOP Convention in San Diego.

While most convention are an opportunity for me to make new friends, the California Republican Party Convention is an opportunity for me to see friends I have already made.

Normally I describe events that are so overwhelmingly positive that people think I am a sycophant. I am not sugarcoating anything. The experiences really are that good.

Then there was California.

This convention was at the Manchester Hyatt in San Diego.  I will be blount. I think the hotel sucks. I think it is the second most overrated hotel on Earth behind the Ritz Carlton in Manhattan.

The hotel is ginormous, absolutely gargantuan. This means that to get from one meeting room to another means walking the length of California itself. For some of the 80 year old ladies, this was not pleasant.

I did not stay at the hotel because the prices of the rooms were exorbitant. Thank heavens I have friends in San Diego. Yet the hotel charged $34 per day to valet ($24 non-valet, which means spending all day looking for your car). Somehow this is legal.  The hotel neglected to mention that if one ate at one of the many overpriced restaurants on hotel grounds, that they would validate parking for $3 for 3 hours. Naturally the hotel felt it best to have guests oblivious to this so the $34 could be collected.

The internet charge was another $13 per day. I think that if a hotel is billing itself as a place for big conventions, they should comp the d@mn wireless internet access.

I went to one coffee shop in the hopes of just getting a sandwich and a couple of sodas. Somehow that came out to $22, but at least the sandwich was terrible.

If I never go to the Manchester Hyatt in San Diego again it will be too soon.

As for the convention itself, there were some positives and negatives.

From a socializing standpoint, the after-parties in the suites were top notch. In California, they do know how to put the party in Republican Party.

Politically, the convention was mostly harmonious. Gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman and Senatorial candidate Carly Fiorina had their teams in place.

A pair of rising stars add some testosterone to balance out those two ladies. Former NFL wide Receiver Damon Dunn is the nominee for Secretary of State, while CBA basketball player Tony Strickland is running for Controller. They are both good conservatives, good people, and great candidates. The aptly named STar Parker is running for the 37th congressional district.

The one area of acrimony belonged to the Young Republicans. There are two different California Young Republican organizations, and they have been at war. While it appeared they had agreed at the convention to a peaceful merger, the deal was blown up way past the 11th hour. It got pretty ugly, and some party higher-ups had to intervene.

The biggest negative about the convention was the pathetically low turnout. California has millions of people. Even if only 40% of them are Republicans, the convention turnout of 600 activists was inexcusable. Even with others such as vendors and guests, the grand total was under 1000.

Conversely, Michigan had 3,000 attendees.

If other states can get galvanized, Republicans should not sugarcoat the fact that this convention was sparsely attended.

One positive explanation for this is that higher turnout often coincides with vicious primary fights. This was the post-primary convention, and there was relative peace and calm.

The CRP also seems to have a logical succession plan in place. The CRP Chairman is stepping down soon. While Vice Chairman Tom Del Beccaro does have rivals, Del Beccaro as of now is the odds on favorite to move up one notch to the top spot soon enough. This stability is good for the party, and Del Beccaro is highly regarded among many members of the party faithful.

(Full disclosure: I have done events with him.)

So the low turnout was partly due to the lack of drama that thrills media members but bothers the party faithful.

Broadcasting the entire weekend from the convention floor in the vendor area was Elise Richmond, a major radio personality based out of Palm Springs. Her guests included me, fellow conservative comedian Evan Sayet, various politicos, and California Federation of Republican Women President Maryann Hedstromm.

Evan gave a serious lecture on the media while Larry Greenfield offered more solid knowledge regarding Radical Islam.

There were no major politicos from outside the state. Other conventions have appearances by everyone from Michele Bachmann to Michael Steele to Scott Brown to Haley Barbour. In this case Meg Whitman headlined the main dinner. The second dinner had Congressman Darrell Issa and Lieutenant Gubernatorial Candidate Abel Maldonado.

So while some may have found the convention boring, tranquility among the party faithful is something I am fine with.

The party seems united going into November, which can only make us stronger as California Republicans.


Raiders Recap–Preseason 2010 Week 3

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

The 2-0 Oakland Raiders had their first home preseason game against their crosstown rival San Francisco.

The Raiders should continue to feel good about the play of Jason Campbell, who started 6 of 8 for 93 yards. Yet in the second quarter, a sack on Campbell left him on the ground for several minutes. He was carted off the field, although it seemed he merely had a stinger.

A bigger concern is that running back Michael Bush left the game with a broken thumb. He might not b ready for the regular season opener. His return to the field is critical.

At quarterback, Bruce Gradkowski came in for the first time this preseason, and he picked up where he left last regular season. He threw for a pair of touchdown passes.

While Jason Campbell is a significant upgrade over JaMarcus “Purple Drang” Russell, I still wanted Gradkowski to be given a chance to compete for the starting job this year. He did not get that. Campbell is obviously the starter. However, Gradkowski must be solidly entrenched as the backup. He showed fiery leadership last year in several impressive wins, including on the road. If Campbell gets hurt, the quarterback play will not drop off. Whatever it takes, Gradkowski must be signed to a deal that keeps him in Oakland.

The game got off to a perfect start for the Raiders. Campbell led an 81 yard drive that included a 22 yard completion to Darrius Heyward Bey followed by a 34 yard completion to Reese. This was Al Davis football. On 3rd and 2 from the San Francisco 7, Michael Bush was stopped for no gain. However, defensive offsides gave Oakland a 1st down. Bush banged it in from a yard out and the Raiders led 7-0 after the 5 1/2 minute drive.

The Silver and Black have been solid on defense this preseason, but they did have a breakdown in the second quarter when Frank Gore ripped off a 49 yard gain. Yet on 2nd and 1 from the Oakland 11, Alex Smith fumbled. The 49ers held on, but settled for a short field goal attempt. From 37 yards out, Joe Nedney was no good as the 49ers remained without points. The defenses then clamped down, and the teams exchanged punts.

The 49ers finally got a drive going, but the much improved Raiders run defense was impressive in the red zone. From the Oakland 16, runs up the middle on 2nd and 1 and 3rd and 1 were stuffed. On 4th and 1 Mike Singletary decided to go for it. Smith threw incomplete, but standout Nahmdi Asomugha was called for defensive holding. Yet from the 11, the 49ers went nowhere. This time Nedney connected and the 49ers were within 7-3.

5 minutes into the second quarter, Shale Lechler boomed a 57 yard punt. However, a major special teams breakdown had Adams return the punt 83 yards for a score. Just like that the 49es led 10-7. After Campbell got injured, Smith led the 49ers on a 60 yard, 10 play, 7 minute drive. This time the defense did not get the stop as Smith hit Morgan for a 16 yard touchdown and a 17-7 San Francisco lead with just over a minute left in the half.

Yet Al Davis had to smile widely again after that. Gradkowski came in and fired a 74 yard touchdown bomb to speedster Louis Murphy. Just like that the Raiders were within 17-14.

The problem was not that the deep ball is passe. The problem is that the players were not executing it. These Raiders executed it perfectly.

In the third quarter, the Raiders began at their own 28 after a San Francisco punt. Gradkowki continued to dazzle. He hit Michael Bush for 11 yards. On 3rd and 4 from the 45, an incomplete pass was nullified by defensive offsides. Gradkowski had the free play and just went incomplete to Zach Miller deep. On 3rd and 15 from the 45, Gradkowki hit Heywar Bey for 17 to the San Francisco 38. Heyward Bey has been fairly criticized in the past, but Gradkowski was bringing out the best in everyone.

Then there was a Darren McFadden sighting. He picked up 9 yards, and 2 more for a 1st down. Gradkowski then went deep to Zach Miller for a 27 yard touchdown as Al Davis partied like it was 1969. The Raiders were back on top 21-17.

David Carr came in for Smith and fired incomplete on 3rd and 2 from the Oakland 40. Singletary again gambled (after all this is preseason) and an incomplete pass was nullified when defensive pass interference had the 49ers at the Oakland 20. The defense held, and Nedney connected to get the 49ers within 21-20.

On the next drive Gradkowski completed a 3rd and 9 pass for a 24 yard gain to Cartwright at the Oakland 47. The 5 minute drive stalled, but Tom Cable decided to have Sebastian Janikowski try a 57 (hey, why not in preseason) yard field goal. Seabass drilled the thing, and the Raiders were back up 24-20.

In the fourth quarter both teams moved to about midfield before being forced to punt. With 10:15 left, David Carr led a staggering 16 play, 8 1/2 minute, 80 yard drive. Yes the backups were in, but after 2 games of getting it done, the guys on the buble finally saw the bubble burst. Dixon ran it in from one yard out at the 2 minute warning. For some reason Singletary called for a 2 point conversion, which was successful as the 49ers led 28-24.

A 33 yard pass interference penalty had the Raiders at the San Francisco 40. Yet despite being a brilliant 14 of 18 for over 200 yards up to that point, Gradkowski finally threw 4 straight incompletions. The defense did hold for the Raiders, but only 6 seconds remained. For some bizarre reason the punt was fair caught, never giving Gradkowski one last chance. The 49ers had the win.

The main thing is that after 3 preseason games, I can clearly say that the Raiders are improved.

The punt return for a touchdown cannot happen, and the Raiders defense gave up a long first half drive. The running game did not do much, but part of that was the near total success of the passing game. Campbell was good and Gradkowski was brilliant.

There is not a quarterback controversy in Oakland. However, the team clearly seems to have a pair of capable quarterbacks. The players are responding in ways they did not do last year.

While the Raiders “lost” the game on paper, this team is competitive, and I can say that the cautious optimism of the Raider Nation is now justified.


20 Years in California

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

On August 26th, 1990, I boarded a plane from New York and landed in Los Angeles.

I landed, looked at the beautiful sky, looked at the postcards, did a triple take, and realized that everything I had been told was true.

The first words out of my mouth contained expletives.

“Holy (redacted), I am never (redacted) leaving.”

It was like God had created a perfect city for me to run and play in.

No more shoveling snow (although my dad would remind me that he shoveled it and I stayed indoors. I specifically remember shoveling it once or twice) ever again.

I remember culture shock and almost getting into a fistfight with a store clerk. He asked me to give him my bag, and I said no. It was explained to me by one of my new California college classmates that he would give me the bag back once I left the store. He was just trying to prevent shoplifting. I thought he was trying to rob me. I gave him the bag grudgingly, and checked my things thoroughly when I got my bag back. The classmate explained that I was from New York, as if I was the one acting strange and not him.

I remember November 13th, 1990 when the Los Angeles Raiders when into Miami against the 8-1 Dolphins on Monday Night Football and just rammed the ball down their throats. Bo Jackson and Marcus Allen ran right at them, and the defense hounded Dan Marino in a 13-10 Raiders win. That night in Los Angeles was the first day it rained, and I had been there almost 3 months!

Normally I hate the rain. LA was in the midst of a drought, or as I called it “nice weather.” Yet when everybody made a slip and slide on the grass, I took part. Hot rain is better than freezing rain.

I remember being in a Jacuzzi in the dead of what would normally be winter. I had my soda and my fake cigar, thinking that I was living like Robin Leach in “Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous,” while my relatives back in New York were freezing their hides off.

I remember going to the guys for a fraternity party and ending up in the wrong building, accidentally ending up at a sorority party. There were 500 giggling, tipsy girls, and 4 guys. One of my friends realized we were in the wrong building and suggested we should go. I looked at him and said, “Go? What is this ‘go’ thing you speak of? You mean stay.” We did end up leaving, although I enjoyed feeling my way through the crowd on the way out. My bad habit of forgetting to empty my pockets before doing laundry rendered the phone numbers I collected indecipherable.

Yet as August of 2010 comes and goes, I still find myself struggling to answer the basic question…where am I from?

It seems so easy to answer. Yet to this day I have never told people that I am a Californian or an Angeleno. It just never felt right.

Los Angeles has been very good to me. I have friends here I will have for life. One of them I met the day my plane landed, and another one I met a month later.

I was definitely not a Californian then. It would have made no sense. I told everybody I was a New Yorker, because that is all I ever knew.

Some people would insist that I was never a New Yorker because to them, Manhattan is New York. For the uneducated, New York City in terms of geography is a tiny sliver of New York State.

When people would ask me where I was from in New York, I would say “Brooklyn born, Long Island raised.”

I only lived in Brooklyn a few months. I lived on Long Island for 18 years. Yet I never really bonded with Long Island. To this day I tell people that if you have never been, save your money because there is no reason to go whatsoever. My home on Long Island was always 20 minutes away from “something.”

This is where the geographically uneducated would mention the Hamptons. That was where the wealthy people lived. I was middle class, and have only been to the Hamptons 2 or 3 times in my life. So again, Long Island really did not offer much. Manhattan did nothing for me, and I still find it overrated.

Having said that, my favorite comedy movie of all time came out days before I left New York in 1990. Bill Murray played a clown who robbed a bank in “Quick Change.” The reason he robs the bank to begin with is so he can have enough money to finance his escape from New York. Several times he looks out the window and says “God I hate this town.” That love-hate relationship with New York defines me. I prefer living in Los Angeles, but identify and bond more with New York.

Brooklyn is where my passion is. I am very proud of my Brooklyn heritage. I did not grow up there, but that is where I was born, and where much of my family lives today. All of my family lived there except m parents, who escaped to Long Island.

I still vacation in Brooklyn. I go to Coney Island, home of the Original Nathan’s Hot Dog stand and the Boardwalk.

To say I am a Brooklynite would not be honest. It had the biggest impact on me, but I was not raised there. I spent a lot of time there visiting my family. Although my grandparents are gone, I still feel their spirit inside of me when I go to the park. Some of the 90 year olds recognize me. To have those people come up, touch my check, and hug me, is warmth I cannot feel anywhere else. They tell me how much my grandparents meant to them, and how much I meant to them.

Yet now I am 38. I have lived in Los Angeles 20 years, more than the 18 in New York. My friends wonder when I will just say I am an Angeleno. Yet I still tell people I am a New Yorker living in Los Angeles. Would I live in New York again? No. The weather is horrible. I don’t do cold weather. I would be bicoastal between LA and Brooklyn. I would say it that way because between LA and NY sounds pretentious, and I am not some Upper Westside snob. Manhattan looks down on Brooklyn, but Brooklyn is as real as it gets.

While LA has a reputation for phoniness, my friends are real, and they were raised here. As one of my friends reminded me, Los Angeles has been very good to me.

I just know where my emotions are.

When the 1992 LA riots happened, I watched the city burn. I was in college, and only blocks from the burning. The city I lived in was on fire, but I was like “cool.” It was interesting to watch. There was no emotional connection.

When 9/11 happened, I was in Los Angeles. Even though the planes hit Manhattan and not Brooklyn, it was my city that was attacked. It was personal. My friends from Brooklyn and Long Island were attacked. Like when we were kids, if you attack one of us, you attack all of us.

As soon as I could I flew back to NY, and still fly every 9/11, usually to NY. 9/11 reaffirmed the bond I had with my home state. Terrorists did not just attack a state. They attacked mine. It was personal.

To this day, I travel all across America. People ask me where I am from. I start out by saying that I live in Los Angeles. Yet then I quickly tell them, “but I was born and raised in New York.”

Los Angeles is associated with Hollywood and the entertainment industry, which I loathe. Los Angeles has the Lakers, who I detest. New York has Wall Street, which runs through my blood. I love it. I was a Wall Street guy for 15 years, although my dislike of cold weather had me working out of my firms’ LA offices most of the time. Yet sometimes I did work on the actual Wall Street itself, and it was a rush. Nevertheless, I am a car guy, not a train guy.

Everything about LA appeals to me in terms of lifestyle more than NY. Although I live in a highrise condo building in a nice area. My NY friends tell me that for a guy who would never live in Manhattan, I sure live like an Upper Westside guy. That is one step less revolting than being from Hollywood. Hollywood is 15 minutes East of me, and my car only goes West.

My NY accent was less thick than my cousins because my parents were schoolteachers. My mother taught English, and “gangster talk” was not permitted in the house. I once said “nevah” and my mother explained that it was pronounced “never.” I learned quickly to round off my r’s properly.  My accent comes out when I get angry or excited. When watching football, the accent comes out strong, although my cousins still think I have gone soft living in LA.
Living in NY, I was always a Raiders fan because as a kid I liked the logo. In 1980 the Jets and Giants were both 4-12 while the Raiders were about to win the Super Bowl.

(I do root for the NY teams to do well in every sport, preferring the Mets to the Yankees since my grandfather loved the Mets. I am fine with the Knicks. I prefer the Rangers over the Islanders, again my bond to the city being more than where I grew up. Yes, I hated the Islanders when they were winning championships every year. I am no bandwagon fan. )

Yet even though I had never been to California, they were always the Oakland Raiders to me, not the Los Angeles Raiders. I enjoyed seeing their games in LA, but was glad they moved back to Oakland because of tradition.

Tradition. That is what it is all about. Tradition is the way that Nathan’s Hot Dog tastes on the Boardwalk. It is how real NY Pizza tastes.

It is how I feel when sitting around the table with cousins for the Jewish holidays. They still live across the street from where my grandparents lived. That is how it should be.

I have a great life in Los Angeles. I have the best friends a guy could ask for. My children will be Angelenos, although we will vacation in Brooklyn on occasion so they can get a taste of their heritage.

Yet 30 years from now I just don’t see myself being an Angeleno. My parents retired to South Florida, but I am not a Floridian. I’ve never lived there.

As 20 years has turned me from a college kid into a young man, I freely admit that I love living in Los Angeles. Yet who I am runs deeper.

I am a New Yorker living in Los Angeles.

I am Brooklyn born, Long Island raised.

I was Brooklyn born near Coney Island, not too far from Sheep’s Head Bay, still vacationing by Neptune and West 5th St, walking distance to the Nathan’s and the Boardwalk.

That is my story. That is who I am. That is where I am from.

Once  a New Yorker…a Brooklynite…a Coney Island kid…always.


How to boycott Israel

Friday, August 27th, 2010

I am on a plane today from Los Angeles to Chicago, then driving to Michigan for their GOP Convention on Saturday. Sunday I am in Wisconsin, followed by Monday in Chicago and flying home to Los Angeles.

For obvious reasons, I am outsourcing my column today. The woman who wrote the following piece may not be the original source, but as an old professor of mine once said, “There is no original thought.”

For those truly wishing to boycott Israel, some very useful information to assist in that endeavor is below.

“How to Boycott Israel

If you really want to stop Israel, please follow these simple instructions:

In your office or home, do not use any computers, as Israel developed The Intel Pentium chip, Windows MP, XP and Vista as well as Microsoft
Office and AOL IM instant messaging. Also remove your firewalls, as these were developed in Israel.

In your home and car, do not use cell phones that were developed in Israel by Motorola, as was voice mail and camera phones.

Quickly destroy your TV remote control, as this also was developed in Israel.

Now for your health: Do not under any circumstances let your Gastroenterologist use the camera pill you swallow that photographs your esophagus, colon, etc. Just let him ram his scope up your backside. That will show those Zionists who’s in charge.

Don’t use Copaxane for MS.

If you have a heart attack, do not let the surgeon put in a stint, which was developed in Israel, or use a defibrillator on you.

Also Decline the new Israeli medication for Parkinson’s or Ex Ablate 2000 if you have fibroid tumors.

We’ll show ’em!

Monica McMillen, TX”

For those wishing to boycott Syria, I offer my own thoughts.

Wake up every day, live your life as normal, and then go to sleep.


Republican vs Tea Party

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Before getting to the main event, former RNC Chair Ken Mehlman announced that he was gay. I think I speak for most Americans when I say…shrug. Haley Barbour is Southern and Michael Steele is black. The news just never stops at the RNC.

My concerns about Mehlman were alleviated when I read that he was still Jewish and still Republican. Apparently his homosexuality has no bearing on his views to cut taxes and kill terrorists. Leftists complaining (redundant, I know) that he should have “acted sooner” should shut up and understand that he is a human being first and a politico second. His journey was most likely painful, and I wish him only happiness. I have met the man several times, and he is one of the good guys.

Now on to the main event.

Awhile back I wrote about the battle of “Republican vs Conservative.” I stated back then what I still feel today. I don’t care one bit about ideological purity. I care about winning elections and governing. I have voted for moderate and conservative Republicans, with zero regrets. Those who celebrated the “victory” in the primary in the NY 23rd special election forgot that winning the primary did not mean winning the general election.

Now the Republican Party is contending with the Tea Party movement.

Not every offshoot movement consists of crackpots. The Ron Paul supporters ranting and raving about (not sure exactly, nobody listens to them) are crackpots. They are also a small movement insisting they matter. The proof is in the votes. Ron Paul was an asterisk in the 2008 election, and his movement remains statistically insignificant.

(Before the Rupaul supporters inundate me with angry and incoherent emails, please remember that shouting does not equate into large numbers. Until you prove otherwise electorally, you don’t matter. If you mattered any less you would be Howard Dean, Ned Lamont, and supporters. 0% success is a good indicator.)

The Tea Party movement is mainly disaffected conservatives unhappy with the Republican Party. The movement is not about social issues. It’s main issue is the desire to reduce government spending before America goes bankrupt.

I have been to Tea Parties. I have spoken at them. I even headlined one on April 15th, spoke at another on July 4th, and will play a major role in one on 9/11. The people attending are good people, and their voices do matter. They are large in numbers, and they have clearly shown electoral prowess.

I give the Tea Party movement credit for going from a group of people holding rallies to actually fielding candidates. Several of these candidates have shocked the nation and the Republican “establishment” by winning primaries.

(Sadly enough, the best of the bunch was Chuck DeVore in California. He has a bright future ahead of him.)

One thing we have seen about the Tea Party movement is that Sarah Palin is every bit as powerful as Barack Obama is radioactive. No Democrats want Mr. Obama’s endorsement. The proverbial flyover from Air Force One is sufficient. As for Sarah Palin, every Republican wants her endorsement.

Nikki Haley was one of many Tea Party Candidates who have won their primary races. Palin rocketed Haley over the top. Palin’s intervention in the Alaska senate race (admittedly that contained an element of payback) turned the race upside down. Her endorsement of Carly Fiorina (baffling ideologically given DeVore, but she has been endorsing women) blew open a close race.

The left is obsessed with Palin because she is a threat. I have seen the results. When she endorses somebody, they rise dramatically in the polls.

Yet when I speak to groups, I am uncomfortable when I am asked about the Tea Party movement. I always give them my initial reaction, followed by an explanation.

My initial response about the Tea Party movement is simple. Ask me the day after the general election.

I have always been comfortable supporting establishments candidates. I am less enraged than others on the issues. The GOP lost its way on spending, but I felt they would go back to their roots if they won.

I do not always want to play it safe. In terms of policy, I support offering another Contract With America rather than using the 2006 Democrat playbook and standing for nothing. My option is the riskier one.

Yet with candidates, I am more cautious.

In Nevada, establishment candidate Sue Lowden and well known candidate Danny Tarkanian were routed by Sharron Angle, a Tea Party darling (I have done events with her, she is incredibly nice).

In Florida, long-time establishment candidate (and very good guy) Bill McCollum lost a stunner to Tea Party favorite Rick Scott.

In Utah, Bob Bennett lost his seat in a primary.

Some will say that the GOP is getting back to its roots and throwing the bums out. Others are worried that the GOP are being cannibalized by extremists.

So which narrative is correct?

Again, ask me after the election.

I think Bill McCollum would have coasted in the general election. I think Rick Scott (and Sharron Angle) will be easier to demonize. It does not matter if the portrayals of them are truthful. Negative campaigning works.

If the Tea Party candidates win, then the Republican party will be revitalized. It will be more conservative, especially fiscally.

If the Tea Party candidates lose, there will be some serious GOP bloodletting.

There is bloodletting for the losing side after every election, but 2010 is even more serious.

The Republicans have been gift wrapped election success. There is absolute disgust with the Democrats. 2010 should be like 1994.

(I do not see the Republicans getting the senate. The numbers are not there. They would have to run the table and win 15 of 16 races. I see them winning 12 of 16 and still trailing 52-48. Also, Nobody knows what Charlie Crist would do if he won. However, the house is ripe for being retaken. The anger at the Pelosiraptor should carry the day.)

However, there is a chance that Harry Reid could survive. The same with Barbara Boxer (Carly Fiorina is not a Tea Party candidate, but she is an “outsider.” Ironically, Tea Party favorite DeVore was an assemblyman.) in California.

If Republicans lose races that they “should” have won, the Tea Party will be blamed.

If the Democrats retain both houses of congress, then the Tea Party movement will be as hated in the GOP as social conservatives were in 1992 when Pat Buchanan destroyed President George H.W. Bush.

Conservatives across the country could have played it safe. Instead we rolled the dice, pushed our chips to the center of the table, and went “all in.”

The Democrats are trying to lose this election. Yet Republicans may not want to win it.

Anybody on the right who feels that losing in November would be ok because they “made their point and had their voices heard” need to be smacked upside their spiteful heads.

The way to get a more conservative country is for conservative candidates to win.

Tea Party candidates won in primaries that cater to more conservative candidates. General elections require getting moderate voters.

I am supporting the Republican candidates. The day after primaries end, all right of center voters should be loyal soldiers and fall into line. Defeated right of center candidates should loudly endorse nominees who bested them, no matter how bitter the primary.

The goal is to take down the Democrats and rescue this country from the disasters of the Pelosiraptor and Barack Obama.

Republicans succeeding or failing in November in this endeavor is the only measuring stick I use.

Talk is cheap.

Win elections, and claim the mantle for governing.

The Tea Party people claim they are not gadflys in the Rupaul or Howard Dean tradition.

I believe the movement is legitimate.

Time to prove it. The options are electoral success, or the entire movement being dumped in the river.

10 weeks to go.


Election 2010–Another Republican Contract

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Yes, I am crushed that Rick Scott defeated Bill McCollum for Florida Governor. I will stand behind Mr. Scott. As for the Florida Senate race, the Meek may inherit the Earth, but they are not getting the Senate Seat.

Republicans are well positioned to rip the Democrats to shreds in 2010. They are also in a position to screw it up royally.

There are two issues that deeply concern me. One of them we can fix. One of them, we just have to wait.

The first issue concerns the Republican platform of issues we will run on in 2010.

We don’t have one.

In 1994, Newt Gingrich gave us the Contract With America. It was the right thing to do. After taking over Congress, the Republicans had a clear agenda to try and pass. They house brought all 10 items to a vote, passing 9 of them. Eventually the GOP ran out of gas, but in the early years Gingrich clearly moved the debate to the right.

In 2006, the Democrats stood for nothing. They were simply against the Republicans. I asked a friend during that election cycle when the Democrats would offer anything remotely resembling a policy. He insisted as the election got closer that they would. This never happened. The result was that when they captured congress, they were totally unable to pass their agenda. The agenda never existed.

Those making excuses for the Democrats pointed out in 2006 that a Republican still occupied the White House. This is hollow. The Gingrich Republicans had a Democrat to contend with as president, and they steamrolled him for several significant victories. Liberals give Bill Clinton credit for balanced budgets, but it was Newt Gingrich that dragged Clinton kicking and screaming to a balanced budget. Would a balanced budget happen without Clinton? Of course. That is how to tell.

Republicans in 2010 are tempted to just be anti-Obama. After all, it worked for the Democrats in 2006.

This is wrong. Those who fear offering a positive agenda because it will give Democrats something to attack are cowards.

The country music song says “You’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.”

The left stands for hating the right. The right must offer the people a compelling vision. The public is begging for something to believe in.

The left will accuse the right of offering the “same tired old solutions,” but those solutions still work.

Here is how the Contract With America Version 2010 should look.

1) Make the Bush tax cuts permanent, and offer new tax breaks to businesses and families.

2) Eliminate the death tax

3) Eliminate the capital gains tax entirely for anyone with less than $100,000 in stock. Cut it in half for everyone else.

(I would rather eliminate for everyone, but that is easy to demagogue as a giveaway to the wealthy. My solution is much more politically palatable. It is about getting things done.)

4) Ban the use of union dues for political purposes without the written consent of the dues payer.

5) Defund Obamacare.

(Easier than outright repeal. All money saved must either be used for deficit reduction or a market based healthcare program.)

6) Cutting Congressional pay in half if the budget is not balanced by 2016.

(Also applies to congressional pensions of those who retire in 2010 and afterward.)

7) Eliminating lifetime congressional pensions for anybody serving less than 20 years. At 20 years they would get 75% pay. At 30 years they would get full pay. This is in line with other industries. Anybody serving less than 6 years gets nothing. From 6 to 20 years the pension can match the years served.

8.) Increasing vouchers for parochial schools and increasing funds for charter schools. Making it easier for school departments to fire bad teachers.

9) Increasing the Defense budget and allowing them to have the best technology possible. Legalizing the coercive interrogation methods and techniques that keep America safe. Keeping Gitmo open.

10) Legal and judicial reform. Banning the use of foreign law to affect American judicial rulings. Placing caps on liability lawsuits.

It does not matter if anything I propose gets blocked by Barack Obama or filibustered. As long as we run on these issues, we can then have a platform to govern.

Liberalism has failed for decades because they run out of gas as soon as they win the election. Conservatism is not like liberalism. Conservatism is still relevant.

Opposing Mr. Obama can get us some electoral wins. It will not help us govern.

If we run on another contract, the day after the 2010 election we can begin trying to implement it.

Like Mr. Clinton, Mr. Obama will quickly surrender and sign much of the legislation (and then try to take credit for it). This is ok. Bill Clinton won reelection, but the right still beat the tar out of the left.

Barack Obama does not care about the left or the right. He cares about himself. As long as he keeps his job, the rest is just details to him. He is a blank slate.

We need to fill in those blanks with smart, conservative policies.

Republicans are ready to win. We need to roll out our contract so we can again be ready to govern.

As for the other issue threatening the GOP, that can wait for another day.


Election 2010–Support Bill McCollum

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

I normally stay out of primary fights, especially in other states. Sometimes a person comes along that causes me to make an exception.

I am endorsing Bill McCollum to be the next Florida Governor.

I know nothing about his opponent Rick Scott. I have never met the man, and I am sure I would support him in the general election if he won the primary. However, he has one thing going against him.

He is not Bill McCollum.

I have met Attorney General McCollum and his wife. She is one of the lovely people in this world.

I had the honor and privilege of sitting at the same table as the McCollums at a function about a year ago. They are smart, thoughtful, and engaging. They are good, quality human beings.

The function was a Jewish function, and bigger supporters of Israel and the Jewish people will not be found.

Mr. McCollum also has the proper views on everything from tax cuts to the Second Amendment.

As Attorney General, he has found the balance between toughness and fairness.

Mr. McCollum was a congressman in 1998 when he was thrust into the spotlight as one of the 13 impeachment managers. He presented his portion of the case with a legal and moral clarity that any litigator would have been proud to deliver.

There are many politicians out there, and public service is a noble calling.

Mr. McCollum is a principled man with unquestionable integrity. He is what is needed in a leader.

I believe that when important bills get to his office, he will get it right. I believe in the man.

Former Governor Jeb Bush has endorsed Mr. McCollum. That is good enough for me.

The Florida polls are open until 8pm EST.

Bill McCollum is a good man. Vote for him.


Israelis and Palestinians finally agree to waste everyone’s time

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

After over a year since both sides agreed to sit down and accomplish nothing, Israelis and Palestinians have finally hammered out a broad agreement in principle to hold talks and waste everyone’s time.

Hillary Clinton proudly announced that Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas would all sit down and talk about unresolved issues that will remain unresolved.

Barack Obama will play a major role in accomplishing nothing and then claiming that the problems existed during the administration of his predecessor.

The Palesimians will take any Israeli concession from past negotiations and declare that a new starting point.

Israelis will speak about cautious optimism knowing that most people think Israelis are full of garbage when they speak about cautious optimism.

The Palesimians will speak about a refugee problem even though there is not one based on the definition of refugees that is applied to every other people in the world.

The Palesimians will speak about a humanitarian crisis in Gaza that does not exist in any way, shape, or form.

The Palesimians will offer a deal where Israel abolishes its own right to exist and relocates every Jew to wherever Helen Thomas wants them to go. Israeli diplomats will reply that negotiations are complex but that the talks have been productive.

Abbas will claim that he has done everything he can do to stop Hamas and Hezbollah, which means he did nothing. Words with zero actions backing them up will unite President Obama and Prime Minister Abbas in a warm embrace rivaled only by the hot smoochie shared by Hillary Clinton and Suha Arafat.

The Jayson Blair Times will wax poetic about how important it is that both sides keep an open mind while rockets rain down on Israel and Palesimian homicide bombers terrorize innocent Israelis trying to engage in bizarre activities such as walking and breathing.

Hillary Clinton will offer meaningless blather because that is what the secretary of state does in general and Hillary does in particular.

160 year old Shimon Peres will offer heartfelt sentiments in fractured Heblish. Palesimians will condemn his remarks publicly while privately admitting that they had no idea what he said. His incomprehensible comments will cause teenagers to giggle because they are amused when he discusses the “p*ss process.”

The United Nations will celebrate the historic nature of the talks, despite the fact that they are not historic in the least. The UN will celebrate tradition, which means useless talks with nothing even accidentally resembling an accomplishment or a result.

Naysayers will be criticized for sabotaging the peace process, as if there ever was a peace process, and as if the mythical process could be undermined by naysayers to begin with.

College students will fail to learn the lyrics to the great song, “Hey hey! Ho ho! We support the status quo!” They will then be forced to admit that they do not know what status quo means.

George Mitchell will explain that he brought peace between the Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland while neglecting to mention that the Irish Republican Army helped matters by developing hobbies other than blowing stuff up. The Palesimians will remain obtuse.

We will be told of slow, steady progress even though there will not be any progress. Slow will be a synonym for stop, and steady will be a synonym for comatose, which is what happens when Israelis are nearly blown to bits for reasons that only genocidal lunatics such as Palesimian fuzzballs could justify.

Platitudes such as “hope,” “change,” and “Yes we can,” will be replaced with “Are you f*cking kidding me?”

So congratulations to those who still fail to grasp that wars end when one side finally concludes that they cannot ever win. Then and only then can there be peace. Instead, phony peace talks will lead to perpetual war. Israeli “settlements” will be blamed for Palesimian lunacy, and the “cycle of violence” narrative will be on the front papers of the Jayson Blair Times.

Just because the Palesimians have violated every single agreement they have ever reached does not mean they will do so again.

Oh, wait…actually it does. 100% failure is a good indicator.

The only good news is that when the Israelis surrender in the negotiations due to American bullying, the Palesimians will reject the deal, wage more war, and then beg for peace when Israel fires back with ferocity, the only concept the Palesimians understand.

Until that time, lovers of wasted time should celebrate the end of the hiatus and the return of pointless and futile conversations.


Raiders Recap–Preseason 2010 Week 2

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

The Oakland Raiders played the Chicago Bears in their second preseason game.

Again the Raiders were on the road, and this was three different games in one.

In the first quarter with the starters in Jason Campbell was very impressive. The Raiders initially bumbled on offense, as their first drive set up a 3rd and 17 at their own 12. Yet Jason Campbell hit Michael Bush on a short pass that went for 24 yards and a first down to keep the drive going. Campbell then hit Johnny Lee Higgins for 18 yards and Zach Miller for 13 more. From the Chicago 29 Campbell went deep to Louis Murphy for 27 yards down to the 2. Michael Bush ran twice into Julius Peppers, but on 3rd and goal from the 1 Campbell took it in himself. 81 yards on 10 p-lays in 6 1/2 minutes had the Raiders up 7-0 and any reasonable fan optimistic.

The defense of the Raiders continues to play well this preseason. After 5 early sacks last week, the defense added 5 more this week. 4 of them were by Kameron Wembley alone, as Jay Cutler got knocked around. The Bears punted on 4th and 28 from their own 5, giving the Raiders the ball at the Chicago 39 to start their next drive. Michael Bush ran for 15 yards, but this time the offense went no further. Sebastian Janikowski was good from 43 yards out and the Raiders led 10-0.

The Bears punted again, and the Raiders took over at their own 20. On 3rd and 8 from the 22, Campbell hit Murphy for 12 yards. On the next play a short pass to Reece picked up 40 yards to the Chicago 26. Al Davis loves the big play, but these were not bombs. They were yards after catch runs.

The Raiders totally dominated the opening quarter, but 2 plays changed the game. First, Campbell went for all the marbles and was intercepted. He had been playing near flawlessly, but the Bears took over at their own 11. Then Matt Forte ran around the end for a stunning 89 yard touchdown and the Bears were within 10-6. This was not Bo Jackson going into the tunnel, but it really was a big play.For some reason the Bears went for 2, and it failed.

In the second quarter the Raiders went nowhere on offense and punted. Jay Cutler drove the Bears from their own 20 to the Oakland 19. The drive went no further, and a fumbled snap on the kickoff turned disastrous. This wa snot Garo Yepremian, but an attempted pass by kicker Robbie Gould was incomplete deep and ruled intentional grounding for a 14 yard loss and turnover on downs.

With starters Campbell and Cutler both still in the game, the teams exchanged punts and the Raiders took over at midfield. On 3rd and 10, Campbell, whose passing had cooled off since the opening quarter, scrambled for the 10 yards and the 1st down. On 3rd and 9 from the Chicago 39, Campbell hit Murphy for 14 yards. The drive stalled, and Seabass again connected from 43 yards out to complete the 10 play drive and put the Raiders up 13-6.

The Bears offense was lifeless, and the Raiders defense was playing well overall. However, a fumbled snap out of the shotgun for the Raiders offense with just over 2 minutes left in the half had the Bears at the Raiders 25. On 4th and 7 from the 22, Lovie Smith decided to go for it rather than kick the field goal. Cutler went deep to Johnny Knox for the touchdown. The 2 point conversion was good. The Raiders had manhandled the Bears all half, yet 2 big plays had the Bears up by a point.

There are so many ways to look at the first half. Campbell was very sharp for most of the half. The Bears would not have gone for 2 the first time, and would have kicked the field goal in a regular season game rather than gamble. So a real game would have the Raiders up 13-10. Yet overlooking 2 defensive breakdowns is not possible.

The starters were replaced at halftime for both teams, and special teams dictated the game. One could say the Raiders were lucky, but they did take advantage. A fellow named Slade Norris is now known to Raiders fans. He recovered a muffed punt for a touchdown to put the Raiders up 20-14 early in the third quarter.

After the teams exchanged punts again, Kyle Boller led the Raiders from just shy of midfield. He hit Bennett for 14 yards to start the drive. On 3rd and 7 he hit Ford for 13 yards. On 3rd and 3 from the 14 Bennett picked up the 3 yards. After Bennett ran a couple more times, Boller took it in himself for the final 2 yards to make it 27-14 Raiders.

The Bears had backup quarterback Lefevour lead a 6 minute drive in the 4th quarterback, but the Oakland defense stiffened at the 7 yard line. A short field goal had the Bears within 27-17. The RAiders punted, but on the next Chicago Drive Lefevour was intercepted by Brown at the Oakland 45. Brown returned it all the way to the Chicago 9 yard line. Colt Brennan came in for Boller in a relatively no pressure situation, but 3 plays and -1 yard led to a field goal. Tom Cable could have had Boller finish the drive, but this is preseason, and Brennan was given his chance. Seabass had the Raiders up 30-17.

The Bears went nowhere again, and this time Slade Norris had more special teams points when a blocked punt became a safety for the Raiders. After the free kick, the Raiders took over at their own 34. Bennett rambled for 44 yards. On 2nd and 11 from the Chicago 17, Brennan hit Moline for 14 yards down to the 3. Bush was stopped short of the goal line, but the clock wound down as neither side decided to stop it.

The Raiders are 2-0 in preseason after winning twice on the road. This win was substantive, especially given the first quarter.

The Bears did lose Brian Urlacher early on, and Julius Peppers got hurt during the game, but the Raiders lacked Darren McFadde, Bruce Gradkowski, and Charlie Frye.

Overall, the Raiders seem to be an improved team. I am very reluctant to give them their due until I see positives during the regular season, but as far down as they were, this team seems to be competitive.

The Raiders are better than they have been in some time. There is cautious hope for optimism.