Posts Tagged ‘Jim Lees’

Political Observations

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

Over the last four years various readers say they like the pieces I post from elsewhere.  Today all the newspapers are full of commentary.

Jim Lees long involved in reform efforts and WV Democratic politics writes  about an “election of ideas” saying the 2014 U. S. Senate contest offers that potential.  Read it here.

THE SUNDAY TAKE by columnist Dan Balz picked up on a paper “Persuasion Is Not Power” presented to the American Political Science Association the weekend before Obama said he would go to Congress before taking military action in Syria.  You will find the Balz piece “Obama, Syria and the limits persuasion” interesting and enjoy comparisons to Reagan, LBJ and FDR.  Read it here.

“To save the GOP, look to Bill Clinton” by Democrats William A. Galston and Elaine C. Kamarck goes back a quarter of century when their party was in a bad way.  Read it here.

“Bucking the RINO charge” by Dana Milbank offers a look at what is faced by some congressional Republicans in the Syria debate. Read it here.

Big Tent

Friday, December 7th, 2012

Big Tent

My friend the late Lee Atwater [ran Bush 41 campaign & served at Republican National Chairman] coined the phrase “big tent” to the best of my recollection.  My friend Jim Lees [twice Democratic candidate for Governor] had an Op Ed in today’s Charleston Gazette.  This is something that should read by both Democrats and Republicans.  They may find a valuable message.  Click here.

Computers & Politics

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

A lot of political junkies follow PhillipsBillBoard.  One of them is Jim Lees (former WV Democrat candidate for Governor).  He has offered a window for political junkies into what to watch in the upcoming presidential election. 

Computers & Politics

By Jim Lees

      For those interested in Presidential politics two economists affiliated with Yahoo Labs have created a pretty sophisticated computer model using scientific algorithms derived from the past ten presidential elections to predict the final electoral vote count in this coming November’s presidential election.  The model predicts the percentage of votes President Obama will receive in each state and then awards the electoral votes from that state based upon his projected vote total.  Interestingly the model also assigns odds to the President’s chances of winning each particular state.

     For example the computer model predicts that President Obama will receive 42.8% of the vote here in West Virginia, thus resulting in our State’s five electoral votes going to the Republican nominee.  Given the past three presidential elections here I would guess 42% of the vote for Obama is about right unless there is some dramatic shift between now and November.  More interesting is that the computer assigns the President only a 5% chance of winning West Virginia this fall.  Don’t therefore expect to see the Presidential candidates making any significant appearances here in West Virginia (perhaps an airport stopover) nor should you expect to have an up-close seat to the ad campaigns that will be waged in the battleground states.  And prepare to watch some Democrats running for state-wide office place some distance between themselves and the President.

     The computer model is excellent at showing which states will be contested in November and surprisingly the number is very small.  Right now the computer model awards 235 electoral votes to the Republican nominee including the state of Florida.  Surprisingly of the states that comprise those 235 votes the only state in which the computer model gives the President a chance of winning is Florida and there his chances are only a bit more than 35%.  His chances of winning any of these other states are much less than 35%, meaning that the Republican nominee is pretty solid for at least 235 electoral votes assuming they can win Florida (Florida is probably the only one of these states where the President may make a serious run at winning).

     The computer model has 303 electoral votes going to President Obama which of course would make him the winner in November (270 is needed to win).  But unlike the solid win margins and percentages for the Republican the computer is predicting the President to win Virginia with 50.2% of the vote and Ohio with 50.3 percent.  His odds of winning each state are about 52%.  Meaning the Republican nominee has a 48% chance of winning each of these states.  These are the states where you need to rush out and purchase a newspaper, radio, or TV station so as to watch the advertising dollars start rolling in.

     The stunning thing to me however is that if the President loses Florida (which the computer certainly believes he will), Virginia, AND Ohio, he still wins by a count of 272-268 (California, New York, Pennsylvania, and Illinois, all solidly in the President’s column, account for 124 electoral votes alone).  So what other state might the Republican nominee win to assure the election?  As crazy at it may seem that state is….New Hampshire.  The computer model projects Obama the winner with only 50.8% of the vote and assigns him a 57% chance to win the state.  The reason here is that the computer model assumes Romney is the nominee and Romney puts New Hampshire in play (Santorum and Gingrich do not).

     So how many electoral votes does little New Hampshire have?  A grand total of 4.  Meaning if the Republican can win Virginia, Ohio, AND New Hampshire, the Republican wins 272-268.  The next best shot for the Republican is Colorado but there the computer assigns the President a 67% chance of winning.  All other states appear out of reach for the Republican nominee.

     If you are in the business of betting that you know who the Republican Vice-President Nominee will be you may want to learn a bit more about a guy named Bob McDonnell.  He happens to be the governor of Virginia.  Oh yeah…….he is also a Republican.

The PhillipsBillboard welcomes commentary from readers.




Tidbits & Lees Stirs Response

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

2012 arrived with West Virginians focused on the football success of Marshall University and WVU…now facing TWO MORE elections in 2012…of course the political types like myself…love it.

The political rumor mill is operating at full speed…making the rounds at the WV Chamber pre-legislative dinner…Sen. Mike Hall [senate minority leader] was said to be planning a challenge to U. S. Sen. Manchin…the next evening at the Capitol…he was running for Secretary of State…then John Raese shows up an files for U. S. Senate….wonder what impact that will have on Bill Maloney’s off and on plans to run for Governor…isn’t politics interesting!

Congressman David McKinley…gave a rousing speech… at the sellout Chamber dinner…comments were favorable about his work as a new Member of Congress…Wesleyan political science professor Robert Rupp…said he thought the 2012 WV election would bring generational change…but seems same old officeholders are filing.

BTW…where are all the Republicans…in what is to be a good year for GOP candidate…only two have put their names on the line…Auditor candidate Larry V. Faircloth [Martinsburg]…and Eastern Panhandle Judge John Yoder…seeking the Supreme…after a near win in 2010…Chairman [GOP] Mike Stuart says look for a full ticket.

Any Republican could have delivered…Governor Tomblin’s State of the State address…he put down the first marker…he is not happy with President Obama…when he spoke about being at “war” with Obama over the policies of EPA…every delegate and the gallery…gave him a standing ovation….overheard remark…look at all the Romney voters down on the House floor.

ROMNEY hit’s the ground “running”…he was the first GOP presidential seeker to file in WV…days later Gingrich added his name.

Redistricing…redistricting…redistricting…that is the topic among legislators…seems like everyone has a map…in Charleston…anyone’s guess where this political issue will land…or how it will impact WV’s future representation in Washington.

REMEMBERING…Hulett C. Smith, WV’s 27th governor…he died this week.  Governor Smith and my friend Cecil Underwood…opposed each other in 1964…became lifelong friends and always collaborated to advance West Virginia.  Many memories of that 1964 campaign when my dear friend Jack Canfield and I were on opposing sides…but that never impacted our lifelong friendship.  West Virginians owe much to Gov. Smith for his “administration of excellence.”


Tea Party Stands for Free Markets and Freedom (Ryan Kennedy, Co-founder of North Central WV Tea Party) 

In that article, Mr. Lees begins by condemning Republicans for attacking other Republicans on the basis of being capitalists or making a profit in business.  I agree 100% with Mr. Lees that Republicans should not be attacking each other for being businessmen who make profits.  That is the heart of our free enterprise system which Republicans for decades have at least paid lip service to defending.  It is disappointing to see Republicans engaging in the type of class warfare typically engaged in by Democrats.  

However, then Mr. Lees proceeds to somehow blame “the white working-class tea party underclass” for “co-opting” the Republican Party.  This shows that Mr. Lees does not understand even the most elementary concepts of what the tea party movement is and what it stands for.  

We stand for constitutionally limited government, fiscal responsibility, and accountability of elected officials.  Within the scope of constitutionally limited government is stopping the government from interfering in the economy and promoting economic liberty.  

Any true tea partier supports the right of any person to engage in any lawful business or trade and to reap the rewards of their own hard work and good fortune.  Occupy Wall Street may want to attack the “1%” and stealtheir stuff whereas we want to give everyone a chance to become wealthy.   

As to some of the other adjectives that Mr. Lees attributes to the tea party, (white, working-class, and underclass) we are all races and all economic levels.  I am an attorney and I work side by side in this movement with retirees, people who work minimum wage jobs, blue collar laborers, and other white collar professionals, both young and old.  

If what Mr. Lees means by “underclass” is that we are not career politicians, arrogant elites, and members of the corrupt establishment, then I proudly wear that label. 

Anyone who believes in constitutionally limited government, fiscal responsibility, and accountability of elected officials, is welcome to join us to achieve those goals.  Feel free to e-mail my group at and we will put you in touch with a local tea party group in your area.


The PhillipsBillboard welcomes commentary from readers.

Jim Lees “The Republican Party Gone Crazy?”

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Jim Lees (Former WV Democrat Candidate for Governor)

      Has the Republican Party gone completely nuts?  I just finished watching Rick Perry refer to Governor Romney for the third time today as a “Vulture Capitalist” and I just finished watching Newt’s “independent PAC film “When Mitt Romney Came to Town” and I must question whether there is truly a Republican Party as a functioning organization that exists anymore.  Since when do Republicans attack fellow Republicans for being capitalists?  I am stunned to see the direction of the attacks being mounted by Perry, Gingrich, and Santorum against a fellow Republican candidate.  The people in the President’s campaign must be doing cartwheels today as well as taking notes.  So now the Republican Party has become the party of the occupy Wall Street movement?  With differences among the candidates on tax policy, budget issues, social issues, foreign policy, and other legitimate issues up for debate why in the world are Republican candidates using Governor Romney’s record with Bain Capital and his venture capital background as the main attack point?  Does anyone not see how this will play perfectly into the President’s re-election campaign?  Has the Republican Party been completely co-opted by the white working-class tea party underclass to the point where capitalism and taking profits is now considered a sin and a disqualification to be President?

       I am literally stunned at this latest turn of events in Republican politics.  I never thought I would see a Republican candidate for President much less three of them attack a fellow Republican for being a greedy Wall-Street capitalist who dared to make capital investments and take profits.  As a Democrat I fully understand that an argument can be made that in doing so innocent hard-working people are sometimes hurt and lose their jobs, but I never thought I would see the day when Republicans slam other Republicans for “immoral” profit-taking in a capitalist system.  Wait……………was that screaming and cheering I heard coming from the President’s re-election headquarters? 

The PhillipsBillBoard welcomes commentary from readers.

Political Observations 5.03.11

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Study the labels and vote

By Jim Lees (Charleston Gazette Op Ed)

As a former candidate for governor, I have more than a passing interest in the current campaign to replace Gov. Manchin until the 2012 election.  Among candidates for the Democratic nomination (I leave it to my many Republican friends to sort out the Republican race). I’m most interested in what issues candidates present to the public.  What a better way than to check each candidate’s website to see what pops out as the initial message.   Read the full Op-Ed here.

The Next Question – How High and How Long?

By POLITICO’S Morning Score

The Republican pollsters at Public Opinion Strategies put together a chart tracking national security-related bumps dating back to Pearl Harbor and concluded: “On average, the President’s approval rating increases 13 points and a bump lasts an average of 22 weeks. That does not include the 105 week bump that President George W. Bush received after 9/11. The ‘bump’ on job approval shows the total increase in approval rating from prior to the event. The duration of the increase indicates the number of weeks until the President’s job approval rating returned to the prior level (so, for instance, the 35 point bump that George W. Bush got did not last the entire 105 weeks – the spike was the high, and it took 105 weeks to return to the pre-9/11 level.)” See the chart here:


Yes, Bin Laden’s Death Will help Obama, but for How Long?

By Nate Silver (The New York Times)

Obama bin Laden is dead.

I got the news on Twitter while in a taxi back from J. F. K. Airport.  I told my cabbie, who was in disbelief at first, to turn the radio on.  We took in the story together.  I’m as patriotic as the next guy: it was a nice moment.

I suppose I’m supposed to weigh in on the electoral implications of this.  It’s both very easy and difficult to write about.  Read the full story here.

Governors Race Heats Up

Friday, January 21st, 2011

GOVERNOR TOMBLIN is trying to return order to the affairs of government…..he returned to his Senate chair this morning…..word is he will offer legislation for a WEST VIRGINIA DAY primary election and an October election for Governor…..this will not be the last word as senior legislative players angle for what works to their advantage…..which could be a party convention… current law provides…..stay tuned.

It could be the Year of the Woman in this election…..Natalie Tennant vs. Betty Ireland…..if the boys don’t get their act together…..and what about Justice Robin Davis…..she stayed out of the Supreme Court consideration of this election issue…..saying she might seek statewide office in 2012…..with the financial resources at her disposal…..2012 could turn into 2011…..if there is a primary.

Never discount Jim Lees in a Governor’s race…..ask Sen. Manchin what happen in the 1996 primary when Lees entered…..and recall he was a last minute entry in 2004 Democrat primary…..Lees offered an op-ed piece about the current “crisis”… only he can do…..THIS IS A MUST READ.

The Republican field for Governor may get bigger…..a draft John Raese effort has been launched…..details were printed in The Dominion Post…..owned by Raese…..conservative GOP workers…..and Tea Party activists are at the ready…..from his recent Senate campaign.

Candidates for Governor… least three were actively working the receptions before the WVU-Marshall basketball game…..Governor Tomblin…..and the two SOS women…..Natalie Tennant and Betty Ireland…..there must have been others working in their own quite circles.

Sen. Clark Barnes appears to be running his campaign for Governor…..from the Senate floor questioning what has taken place since January 12th…..and in the Charleston newspapers which is heavily covering the ongoing hangover in the Senate.

Using the same tactic is House Speaker Thompson also a candidate for Governor…..he is attacking Governor Tomblin in the Charleston media…..all the while Senate revolt leader Jeff Kessler must be wondering what happen when Senate President Tomblin showed up to convene the Senate.