Posts Tagged ‘The Washington Post’

Washington Insight

Monday, May 27th, 2013

During my twenty-five years in Washington I worked in both the Congress and Executive branch.  Though I pay attention to what goes on in Washington little did I realize since coming home in 1993 how much both have changed.  Doing my morning reading I found two articles that provide a current insight into the Congress and “the fourth branch.”

The first looks at how the cultural of Congress has changed over the last three decades.  The writer had an opportunity in 2009 to go inside to watch how the Dodd-Frank bill became law.  It is a bit long but well worth the read.  Here is a link.

Our founders wanted three branches of government but the bureaucrats had other plans.  The author goes into how the administrative state damages our democracy.  Here is a link.

Bob’s View

Monday, October 15th, 2012

[Editor’s Note:  After the last presidential debate I got an email from Bob Harris a longtime friend.  He provided me his views about the debate and Obama’s inability to use the tools of his position.  Bob is an astute observer of Washington, the national political scene and Congress. I thought Bob’s email observation and the Michael Gerson column he sent would be interesting reading before tomorrow’s presidential debate.  He agreed to this being published.]

Throughout Obama’s Presidency, I have complained about his inability to use the White House and his powerful position to any advantage, whether politically or diplomatically.  He just hasn’t seemed to understand and, therefore take advantage, of his own office.  It is his only for the trappings.  Very frustrating…

Obama debate performance and week following has further demonstrated his total lack of understanding of his office and how to use.  He stood side-by-side with Romney and let Romney dominate him in a debate — this after nearly 4 years of standing next to leaders from around the world. Odd and very frustrating…but not unexpected.

Romney has more positions that some jockeys have mounts during a racing season.  He can’t find one he likes and will stick to it long enough to embrace it.

I am forwarding Michael Gerson’s column from the Post today pointing out how Romney has found a new voice — a convincing voice at that.  It is the voice of “his inner centrist.”  This is very important and it must be understood for what it is by the President and the Obama team before the next debate.  If Obama does not turn this new trend toward Romney by the debate next week, he will be inside the 16th pole with blinkers on, not seeing Romney charging past him from behind.

The column is below, but I pulled out the last paragraph to highlight here:

“Anger in the Obama camp is understandable. Romney seems comfortable with his new tone — almost relieved to be back into Massachusetts mode. He is better positioned to appeal to independents in Ohio and elsewhere. And Obama is still reacting to Romney, not the other way around. Days after they parted in Denver, Romney is still dominating the debate.”

This is where the President’s lack of understand of the power of his office really comes through.  An incumbent president should never be in the position of responding…And, that is what we have seen for the past 3-plus years, why should anyone expect that to change during the campaign.

From Romney, a change in tone, not policy

By Michael Gerson, Published: October 8

Mitt Romney’s debate message has become his campaign strategy. In Denver, he was a bipartisan dealmaker, concerned about the lives of real people, especially when they inhabit battleground states. A day later, he apologized for his “47 percent” comment — which should have been done weeks before. In that same interview, he went on to talk about social mobility: “The gap between the rich and the poor has gotten larger. . . . I want the poor to get into the middle class.” His stump speech now features populist themes. Romney has discovered his inner centrist.

After considering their range of options, critics have chosen apoplexy. Democratic officials accused Romney of “outright fabricating” and “basically lying.” David Axelrod called Romney “Gantry-esque” — a charge of exceptional viciousness, hidden by literary obscurity. (Sinclair Lewis’s Elmer Gantry was an alcoholic, abusive, sacrilegious fraud.) President Obama, after recovering from the Denver altitude, set out this challenge: “If you want to be president, you owe the American people the truth.”

So is Romney being “dishonest” (Axelrod) or tacking a bit toward the middle, as presidential candidates often do? Is this readjustment fraudulent or merely later than expected?

For the most part, Romney has shifted his tone and emphasis, not his policy. All along, he has proposed tax reform, not merely tax cuts. He never opposed all federal financial regulations — though this is not the kind of thing a Republican emphasizes in the primaries. In these cases, Romney hasn’t changed his plans. He has merely refuted caricatures of his plans. You can hardly blame a man for refusing to be a straw man.

On a few issues in the debate, Romney’s transformation seemed a little too eager. Maintaining education funding seems at odds with his proposal for a 5 percent, across-the-board cut in federal discretionary spending — though it wouldn’t be that hard to make up $3.5 billion in education cuts elsewhere in a $425 billion domestic discretionary budget, if this is Romney’s intention. His health plan would not guarantee insurance coverage for people with preexisting conditions in every case. But it would heavily subsidize the purchase of health insurance and guarantee that anyone with coverage could move from insurance to insurance without facing preexisting-condition exclusions.

These claims are within the bounds of normal, unscripted imprecision during a debate. For the most part, Romney was attempting to present his moderate conservative agenda in a favorable light to independent voters. I’d prefer that agenda to be more creative, particularly in promoting equal opportunity and social mobility. But it is not deception to emphasize the most appealing portions of your proposals. It is the nature of political persuasion.

The accusation of lying shuts down all genuine policy debate. Romney promises, for example, a 20 percent, across-the-board reduction in income taxes, with lost revenue made up by economic growth and cutting loopholes and deductions for the wealthy. I suspect these sources, in the end, would not be sufficient. So you can either close some loopholes for the upper middle class or reduce the 20 percent tax cut (a prospect one of Romney’s economic advisers has raised). This is worth a debate. But such a debate is rendered impossible by the questioning of motives. This is a genuine disagreement, not attempted fraud. Romney is making an argument, not engaged in a plot. And a refusal to engage the argument indicates an inability to engage the argument seriously or successfully.

Those who urge Obama in the next debate to call Romney a liar, or close to it, are doing him no favors.  It is one thing to do this on the stump, where taunting and mocking result in applause. It is another thing to try this tactic face to face, where it nearly always seems desperate and small. Because of the manner of Obama’s failure in the first debate — by being too passive — he will need to be more aggressive in the next. But that is a difficult trait to calibrate, particularly in a president prone to public petulance. A small turn of the faucet and the cold water suddenly scalds.

Anger in the Obama camp is understandable. Romney seems comfortable with his new tone — almost relieved to be back into Massachusetts mode. He is better positioned to appeal to independents in Ohio and elsewhere. And Obama is still reacting to Romney, not the other way around. Days after they parted in Denver, Romney is still dominating the debate.



Fun With Mitt

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

Voters regardless of political party always seem to be interested in the real side of candidates.  Campaign 2012 a feature of The Washington Post (not already a favorite of some readers) provides a good inside look at Governor Romney and his family.  (Editor’s note:  I serve as Chairman of the Romney presidential campaign in WV.)

Romney works hard at taking a vacation

By Philip Rucker (The Washington Post)

This weekend, Mitt Romney is starting his annual summer vacation on his lakefront compound here – a week of fun and family, though not entirely carefree.  Read the full story here.


Sunday, June 10th, 2012

It is a quiet day along the Tygart River.  I hope you are in a quiet spot.  Here is some Sunday reading.

Obama’s real opponent:  Europe 

By Dana Milbank (The Washington Post)

Some think that Ohio will decide the presidential election.  Others are watching Florida or North Carolina or Wisconsin.

But if you really want to know who will win the White House in November, you should ask the Europeans.  They aren’t eligible to vote, but they may well cast the deciding ballot – and for President Obama, it’s looking grim.  Read the full story here. 

With friends like these…

By Kathleen Parker (The Washington Post) 

For the past year, we’ve been relentlessly reminded that Republicans didn’t especially love their front-running president candidate.

Now it appears Obama is getting a taste of Romney’s stew.  Democrats seem to be inching away from their man, undermining and diminishing the president with a thousand ting cuts.  Not even his strongest alleged ally, Bill Clinton, can stay on message.  Of course, Clinton has never really been Obama’s friend, despite his assertions to the contrary.  Read the full story here. 

Sure, This isn’t ’08, but There May Be More at Stake This Campaign

By Richard W. Stevenson (Political Memo, The New York Times)

Washington – The current presidential campaign is producing very few goose bumps, except perhaps among those who get all tingly when they view billionaire-financed attack ads.  Read the full story here.

Poppy Chic

By Maureen Dowd (The New York Times)

I flew down to Houston last year to have lunch with George Herbert Walker Bush.

“Did you come because you think I’m going to die?” he asked me with a wry smile.  Read the full story here.



Still Going

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Just got off the phone with a GOP Legislator…while discussing another matter…they brought up my blog…saying I always learn something…that is good news…I then realized on June 12th it will be three years since I started this “hobby”…sure glad the feedback has been positive…I really enjoy sending along information and a bit of gossip.

I try to stay somewhat non-partisan [expect when it comes to Governor Romney]…there is a good piece on line from The Fix (Washington Post) about Obama’s bad week…I thought it was informative and not really taking either side…you might enjoy…just click here to read.

State Republican leaders are singing the praises of Conrad Lucas….the new State Chairman…who has gotten off to a fast start…putting in long hours…working on the internal infrastructure of the party…to better serve the needs of county organizations…and those running for office.

While Lucas is getting up to speed…the morning newspaper says Larry Puccio does not have opposition to continue as leader of State Democrats…they have a convention this weekend.

BULLETIN Ag Commissioner Gus Douglass…yesterday hosted Ken Leonhardt Republican candidate for Ag Commissioner… at his Capitol office… Leonhardt hopes to replace the legendary Gus Douglass…not sure what is going on here…but bet it has to do with farmer vs. non-farmer…stay tuned.

Conventions are on the minds of everyone political…Republicans are planning one for August 4th in Beckley…and those elected to represent the WV at the Republican National Convention members will be getting organized on a conference call Monday evening…Tampa is going to be hot…50,000 are expected.

Donna Gosney is contacting GOP State Leaders…telling them she plans to seek another term…as WV Republican National Committeewoman.

Back to Lucas…he has written a strong piece that appeared today in The WV Record…regarding the Obama “war on coal”…see it here.

Charlotte is already “hot” for Democrats…their state party has been rocked by a sex scandal…John Edwards lives there…labor leaders are unhappy with many issues…not just what happen in Wisconsin…the incumbent Democrat Governor dropped out of the race…money is short someone decided not to take corporate funds…and the leader of the 99% will deliver his acceptance speech at the Bank of America stadium.

Bill Maloney is having out of town guests…Louisiana Governor Jindal is coming June 19th…and Governor Rick Perry of Texas…will be here WV Day…to help raise funds for the Maloney gubernatorial campaign.

There are parties everywhere…John Raese is celebrating America’s Freedoms on July 4th…the Greer Estate will be turned into a place of fun…and set off the Raese campaign with a bang…the fund raiser tickets start at $150…and end with The Big Bang at $2,500.

A Charge Kept…the Bush Presidential Center sent…the video of remarks President Bush made at the unveiling of President and Mrs. Bush portraits last week at the White House…this is not to be missedClick here.

Look for Republicans to put extra effort into the Legislative races in 2012…the place to begin making real change in WV government.

Jim Reed longtime Republican National Committeeman announced he is leaving the post…on a personal note I have informed State Republican Committee members…I plan to be a candidate.


Political Observations…on Sunday

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

Speaking With the Speaker

By Peggy Noonan

John Boehner talks about the need for Republican unity and why the House is in ill repute.  Read the full column here.

A not-so-favorite son of Pennsylvania

By Timothy McNulty (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Not a single major statewide Republican leader in Pennsylvania has endorsed him.  Read the full story here.

It’s Time to Believe:  Romney’s a Winner

By Dana Milbank (The Washington Post)

The reviews of Mitt Romney’s Super Tuesday performance were murderous.  But the question of who had the best Super Tuesday is a matter of fact, not opinion: Romney did.  Read the full column here.

Super Committee Flunks

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic Leader in the U. S. Senate suggested the ideas of the super committee that will be making big news this week.  Reid was quoted in the Las Vegas Sun last week said “I have no regrets whatsoever about the suggestion that I made for a supper committee.”

DO NOT MISS READING the piece I clipped from POLITCO’S Playbook this morning.  It provides a BEHIND THE SCENCES LOOK at the mess.   You will see how Congress works or should I say does not work…..  CLICK HERE.

From a news perspective I am including a front page story from The Washington Post with the headline “Hopes Fades for Debt Panel”Read the full story here.

The New York Times takes a look with a piece “Deficit Panel Faces Rift Over Who Ought to Pay”.  Read the full story here.

Trust me you will enjoy and not believe the POLITICO clip.

Political Observations & News

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

A Blurry President

Barack Obama, the blurry president is covered by The Morning Fix.  Democratic pollster makes observations in a memo.  Read the full piece here.

Perdue House Calls

The Charleston Gazette has found nearly a third of State Treasurer John Perdue’s employees wrote checks to their boss’s campaign on the same day in February.  Read the full story here.

Election 2012

Monday, November 7th, 2011

In case you are not one of phillipsbillboard readers following the presidential campaign, you may find The Washington Post articles below a good update.  The election is only 364 days but seems in full swing. 

A year from Election 2012, a dark mood awaits Obama and GOP rival

By Dan Balz, Jon Cohen & Chris Cillizza (The Washington Post)

One year out from the 2012 election, President Obama faces the most difficult reelection environment of any White House incumbent in two decades, with economic woes at the center of the public’s concerns, an electorate that is deeply pessimistic and sharply polarized, and growing questions about the president’s capacity to lead.  Read the full story here.

Romney still seen as most electable, poll shows

By Jon Cohen & Dan Balz (The Washington Post)

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has a significant advantage over his rivals for the Republican president nomination in only one area – electability – and will approach the next round of candidate debates with several potential liabilities, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.  Read the full story here.

Debt & Political Update

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

After an early morning reading of the debt news…or shall I say political news I have pulled together various pieces you may not have seen.  This should give readers of phillipsbillboard a quick update.  As all know there is much at stake here.

Debt talks blow up

By David Rogers (POLITICO)

Twenty days left and counting, the August debt ceiling showdown broke along two fronts Wednesday: the political forces of 2010 vs. 2012 and the shape and pace of tax reform in this Congress or the next.  Read the full story here.

Top Republicans clash over debt limit plan 

By Paul Kane and Lori Montgomery (The Washington Post) 

Two top Republican leaders clashed Wednesday over a plan that could allow the government to avoid a potentially catastrophic default but would not ensure the deep cuts in federal spending that party members seek.  Read the full story here. 

McConnell’s gambit splits both parties 

By Alexander Bolton (The Hill) 

A curveball from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has split Republicans and Democrats over what do to on the nation’s debt limit. 

Congressional Republicans argued over the plan while Democrats both praised and criticized it.  Read the full story here. 

McConnell’s escape hatch:  The best Washington can do? 

Editorial Board Opinion:  The Washington Post 

REGARDING SENATE Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s backup plan to deal with the debt ceiling, we have a three-part reaction.  Read the full editorial here.