Posts tagged ‘New Hampshire Primary’

01/13/2012

Huntsman: Why New Hampshire Surge?

Former Rep. Utah Gov. John Huntsman, who lived overseas four times while serving Presidents Reagan, Bush Sr., Bush Jr., and most recently Obama, as U.S. Ambassador to China, finished third in the New Hampshire Republican primary, and is now a serious contender, primarily because of his foreign policy.

FOREIGN POLICY: Huntsman said we need to leave lingering Cold War thinking behind. While some UN members are anti-American, he said, the organization serves a useful peacekeeping and humanitarian purpose. We should not use water-boarding, as he labeled it torture. He said it diminishes our standing in the world as to human rights. We must balance individual liberties and security, and project America’s goodness.

AFGHANISTAN: Huntsman said we need an honest conversation about our sacrifices in Afghanistan the past 10 years. We listened to the generals in 1967, but that didn’t serve our interests. At the end of the day, he said, the President, not the generals, must decide as Commander-in-Chief. He made clear it’s time to leave Afghanistan, as only the Afghans can save their own country. While security is still lacking, it is time to come home, he said, since we achieved our objectives. We drove the Taliban out of Kabul, dismantled al-Qaeda, held elections in 2004, and killed Osama bin Laden. We should not do nation-building with 100,000 troops, as 10,000 to 15,000 troops, with Special Forces and drones can gather the intelligence we need.

IRAN: Huntsman predicted sanctions will not stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, because Russia and China are not going to play ball. In a contradictory way, he said our foreign policy in the Mideast is to insure Iran does not go nuclear.

PAKISTAN: Huntsman said only Pakistan can save Pakistan. His concern is they have 160 million people and 100 nuclear weapons. They have troubles along their border, and risk becoming a failed state, due to the Midrasha Movement. Expanded drones over Pakistan would serve our interests, he said.

ARAB SPRING—SYRIA—BAHRAIN–LIBYA: He said the American interest in Syria is called Israel. He would remind the world what it means to be our ally. He accused President Obama of missing the Persian Spring in Bahrain, saying he failed on that front. On the other hand, he felt we had no interest in Libya.

TRADE: If we apply trade sanctions against China, Huntsman worried, we will get the same in return, because we also manipulate our currency, and a trade war will only hurt our exports. He said we cannot sue China in the WTO over currency issues. He warned Europe is second only to Canada as a U.S. export market, and if they go down, the problem will spread to us.

BANKS/ANTITRUST: Huntsman appeared to be concerned about “too big to fail” and wants a proper size for banks. We must address the problem of banks being too big to fail, because they are setting us up for a long-term disaster. He said six institutions have 9.4 trillion or 60 to 65% of our GDP, with unfair implied taxpayer guarantees of protection. They need to be “right-sized,” he said. The banks must pay to take the risk away from taxpayers.

CORPORATE WELFARE: Huntsman said we should not bail out corporations, because we spent trillions with nothing to show for it. He would also phase out corporate welfare and subsidies. As to those protesting against Wall Street, he wants to be the President of the 99%, as well as the 1%, but disagreed with anti-capitalism messages made by some in the crowd.

JOBS: Huntsman thinks we can create jobs for the 15 million who are unemployed through regulatory reform, repealing Obamacare, tax changes, energy independence, and ending corporate welfare.

IMMIGRATION: Huntsman reminded listeners legal immigration is a growth engine. Two of his seven children, from India and China, help him see the issue through their eyes. He said the number of illegal aliens in the U.S. is down due to the economy. While Utah governor, he gave Drivers Licenses to illegal aliens.

AUTO INDUSTRY: Huntsman thinks we can regain our industrial base by lowering taxes and lessening regulations. He did not think the 68 billion dollar auto bailout was a good use of taxpayer money. Americans are sick and tired of bailouts, he said.

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT: He wants energy independence, but thinks we can’t use wind or sun right now. He would develop natural gas to get rid of our heroin-like addiction to imported oil. The true cost of oil and gas, he said, includes federal spending to keep the Persian Gulf sea lanes open. He accused the EPA of running a “reign of terror.”

BUDGET/DEBT: Huntsman would never let the U.S. default on our debt, which he labeled a cancer, but we have to have an honest conversation about our sacred cows, as everything has to be on the table, including the 650 billion dollar Defense Budget. If we do not, he warned, we will soon look like Europe. He explained: Greece has a 170% debt to GDP; Italy: 120% to GDP; Japan: 100% to GDP; and ours is 70% debt to GDP, and it is moving up. A 70% debt-to-GDP ratio is a national security problem, which will cause us to stop growing, as it gets too high.

TAXES: Huntsman said this is the worst time to raise taxes. He would lower tax brackets to 8%, 14%, and 22%. He would phase out loopholes and deductions for individuals, as recommended by the Simpson-Bowles Commission. He would also phase out corporate welfare and subsidies. As Utah governor, he delivered on a flat-tax. He refused to sign a no-tax-hike pledge.

HEALTH: Huntsman said the government’s health care approach is wrong, because it contains a costly individual mandate. He warned the IRS is gearing up with 19,500 employees to administer the mandate. He delivered on health care reform in his state, he said, without a mandate. We need truly affordable insurance by addressing health care cost containment. We have to get costs out of the system. Half of health care spending is nonsense, he said. He wants a health care solution that works in the market. We need affordable health insurance to reduce the number of uninsured. Patients need to be empowered. The Ryan plan puts everything on the table, he said. He would send Medicaid back to the states. He would let the states experiment.

EDUCATION: He thinks early childhood literacy is important, but wants education local, and he would send it back to the states, with no unfunded mandates.

EQUALITY: Huntsman does not bash gays, and accepts civil unions. He asked fellow Republicans to do better on equality.

JUSTICE: Huntsman limited his approval of Supreme Court Justices to just Roberts and Alito.

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01/12/2012

Ron Paul: Why Voters Support Him

While the inside the beltway crowd cannot understand why Ron Paul finished a close third in Iowa, and now second in New Hampshire, if they had been listening, they would have heard his anti-war, anti-torture message, his willingness to cut military spending, his pledge to withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan, his promise to avoid conflict with Iran, his hostility towards corporate welfare, deficit spending, his defense of liberty, and personal freedom, and scorn for wasteful projects, like the war on drugs.

FOREIGN POLICY: Paul clearly receives his popularity from his foreign policy. He said: we need to stop our wars. It angers foreigners when we occupy their lands. We were attacked on 911, he explained, because we had troops in Saudi Arabia. We are disliked because we have done nothing to stop the abuse against the Palestinians. We have 900 bases around the globe in 150 nations. Paul asked why we keep troops in Korea, Japan, or Germany. We have more weapons than all other nations combined–enough to blow up the world 20 to 25 times. He said we have to stop trying to be the policeman of the world.

WAR ON TERROR: He said the war on terror is like the war on drugs. It’s a pretend war. No formal declaration of war was ever made. Terrorism is only a tactic, he said. Others may want to bomb us, because we bomb them, not because of what we believe.

LIBERTY: As to profiling, Paul asked what if a person looked like the white Oklahoma City bomber, Timothy McVeigh? As to the Patriot Act, our Founders warned not to sacrifice liberty for security, Paul said, something our government now does too willingly. We should not give up freedom for a police state.

TORTURE: Paul correctly argued torture is illegal under U.S. and international law. Water-boarding is torture, he said in no uncertain terms. It’s uncivilized and immoral. We should not give up so easily on the rule of law, he said, as he pointed out over 300 terrorists were convicted in civilian courts and sent to prison.

MILITARY BUDGET: Paul said there is a lot of waste in the military and we can no longer afford to be the world’s policeman. Our new embassy in Baghdad alone is costing 1 billion. He courageously said the military budget must be on the table and offered to cut billions from their overseas spending. He accused others of just talking about reducing proposed increases.

FOREIGN AID: Paul would also cut all foreign assistance, including aid for Israel, since the Constitution does not authorize it. We gave military aid to an Egyptian dictator and got nothing.

AFGHANISTAN: He would clearly withdraw from Afghanistan now, and would save billions. He said the U.S. should withdraw from Afghanistan, because that’s where the Soviet Union was brought down. He predicted the same may happen to us.

IRAN: Paul does not pander or say things he thinks the audience wants to hear. He explained Iran wants to build nuclear weapons, because they have well-armed neighbors who already have the bomb, and for them, it is a matter of self-defense. He was not afraid to say Iran is no credible threat to the U.S. He warned the imposition of sanctions against Iran would provoke yet another war. He said it is not worth going to war against Iran to prevent them from gaining nuclear weapons. What is going on right now with Iran is the same propaganda used in the build-up to the Iraq War. He would not support an unprovoked unilateral attack by Israel upon Iran. He asked: why are we flying drones over Iran? While we don’t want to see Iran with nuclear weapons, he said it’s dangerous to declare war on 1.2 billion Muslims.

SYRIA: Paul would stay out of Syria. The Syrians need to deal with Syria, he said. We would only get in trouble if we got involved. We should simply support self-determination.

IRAQ: He would complete the withdrawal from Iraq, reminding us we still have 17,000 contractors on the ground over there.

ISRAEL: Paul asked: why should we commit our kids and our money to endlessly aid Israel?

CORPORATE WELFARE: Paul accused both parties of bailing out big corporations and Wall Street speculators, who ripped off regular people in the derivatives market. He would deny government aid to private enterprise.

HOUSING: Paul said Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae caused overbuilding and distortions, and government needs to get out of housing. Easy credit built too many houses and caused a bubble, he argues, which eventually burst, and now we are going through a correction, that is costing Middle Class people their homes. If money was to be given out, Paul said, it should have gone to those who lost their mortgages, not the banks. He said government sponsored enterprises received excessive credit from the Fed under the Community Reinvestment Act, and the housing debt must now be liquidated, as we are just prolonging the agony.

BUDGET/DEBT: Paul said nobody cares about the national debt, but it is a burden on the economy. Our financial condition is actually the biggest single threat to national security, he said.  Unnecessary wars have added to our deficits, and yet we are not cutting anything; it’s just talk. They only nibble away at baseline budgeting. They get hysterical on the Hill, because their budgets are not going up as rapidly as they want. The budget is out of control, because of earmarks. Paul said he would eliminate five departments and cut 1 billion in spending from the federal budget in his first year.

SOCIAL SECURITY: Paul said the Social Security Trust Fund should not have been used to fight wars.

DRUG WAR: Paul argued the war on drugs is a total failure, which should be handled like alcohol.

THE FED: Paul does not believe the Fed Reserve should set interest rates or decide how much money should be in circulation. He would return the gold standard. He said the Fed set interest rates well below market levels and keeping them low only distorts the economy. He does not believe they stimulate economic activity. He said Greenspan kept them too low for too long. He criticized the ability of banks get loans at zero percent, a practice which cheats the elderly of interest income they could earn from CDs. He was concerned the Fed sent five billion overseas to bail out foreign banks, and wants the Fed audited.

HEALTH CARE: Paul correctly said the insurance and drug companies will love the individual mandate. He wants more market competition in medicine. He supports medical savings accounts and would let people opt out of the health care plan.

 

04/04/2011

Presidential Primaries: Get Organized

The individual U.S. states need to work together to implement a comprehensive presidential primary schedule, because the current system is disorganized and unfair to certain voters and candidates.

First, the primary season should be limited to 13 weeks in the year of the general election, beginning in Feb. and ending in May.

Second, all states should adopt the same day of the week for their caucus or primary, such as a Tuesday.

Third, the schedule should maximize the involvement of as many states as possible. Iowa and New Hampshire should not have an exclusive first caucus or primary, as it gives them too much influence and often allows them to choose the candidates. Conversely, the big states should not be first, since they are too large and expensive for retail politics and the purpose of a primary is to test a candidate in relatively small forum. If the largest states went first, primaries would not be needed anywhere else.

To solve the problem, the process should schedule four to five small states, on each of the first six primary dates, so no one of them gains too much influence. On the date of the Iowa caucus, for example, four additional small states should have primaries, so there would be five contests, and none could become dominant.

I propose a system in which the 27 smallest states participate in six regional primaries, the 12 next largest states enter one of six north-south sectional contests, and the 11 largest states would enlist in the final elections, to be known as the Final Four.

Each regional would have roughly the same aggregate delegate count. Since the regional contests would determine only 26% of the convention delegates, candidates could not lock up an early nomination. They would then advance to the six sectionals, where the next 12 largest states would be paired north and south to test the candidate’s national appeal. Each sectional would have roughly the same number of delegates. The nomination could not be determined in the sectionals, since only 23.5% of the delegates would be up for grabs. In the Final Four, the 11 largest states would vote and would apportion the remaining 270 delegates (50.5%) and would nominate the candidates.

PROPOSED PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY SYSTEM

REGIONAL PRIMARIES

(27 smallest states, less than 10 electors each)

Feb. 7, 2012: IOWA REGIONAL (5 states and 23 delegates) Iowa (6), North Dakota (3), South Dakota (3), Kansas (6), Nebraska (5)

Feb. 14, 2012: NEW HAMPSHIRE REGIONAL (5 states and 22 delegates): New Hampshire (4), Vermont (3), Rhode Island (4), Maine (4), Connecticut (7)

Feb. 21, 2012: SOUTH CAROLINA REGIONAL (4 states and 25 delegates): South Carolina (9), Kentucky (8), West Virginia (5), Delaware (3)

Feb. 28, 2012: WESTERN REGIONAL (5 states and 24 delegates): Oregon (7), Idaho (4), Nevada (6) Hawaii (4), Alaska (3)

March 6, 2012: SOUTHWEST REGIONAL (4 states and 24 delegates): Arkansas (6), Mississippi (6), Oklahoma (7), New Mexico (5)

March 13, 2012: MOUNTAIN REGIONAL (4 states and 21 delegates): Colorado (9), Utah (6), Montana (3), Wyo. (3)

139 delegates or 26% of total at stake in regionals

CROSS-SECTIONALS

(12 states in 6 North-South match-ups)

March 20, 2012: WISCONSIN—VIRGINIA (2 states and 23 delegates): Wisconsin (10), Virginia (13)

March 27, 2012: MASSACHUSETTS—ALABAMA (2 states and 20 delegates): Massachusetts (11), Alabama (9)

April 3, 2012: MINNESOTA—TENNESSEE (2 states and 21 delegates): Minnesota (10), Tennessee (11)

April 10, 2012: INDIANA–LOUISIANA  (2 states and 19 delegates): Indiana (11), Louisiana (8)

April 17, 2012: MARYLAND—MISSOURI (2 states and 20 delegates): Maryland (10), Missouri (10)

April 24, 2012: WASHINGTON—ARIZONA (2 states and 23 delegates): Washington (12), Arizona (11)

126 delegates or 23.5% of total at stake in sectionals

THE FINAL FOUR

(11 largest states with 270 delegates (50.5%) put candidates over top and determine nominations)

May 1, 2012: EASTERN FINAL (3 states, 63 delegates): New York (29), Pennsylvania (20), New Jersey (14)

May 1, 2012: SOUTHERN FINAL (3 states with 60 delegates): Florida (29), Georgia (16), North Carolina (15)

May 1, 2012: MIDWESTERN FINAL (3 states with 54 delegates) : Illinois (20), Ohio (18), Michigan (16)

May 1, 2012: SOUTH-WESTERN FINAL (2 states with 93 delegates): California (55), Texas (38)

270 delegates or 50.5% of total at stake in Final Four