Sunday, February 14, 2010
Commute the Death Sentence of Martin Grossman So That This Case Does Not Make a Mockery of Capital Punishment
Martin Grossman’s heinous crime was committed when he was 19. He panicked when a park ranger, Peggy Park, found him shooting off into an abandoned area with a stolen handgun, which would have been a parole violation. In the fit of the moment and high on drugs, he grabbed her weapon and shot her in the back of the head. There is no excuse for such a heinous and tragic act, but it is also not first degree murder or a case which would normally see the death penalty imposed.
In fact, a major problem with imposing the death penalty in this case, is that it gives every crazed leftist group an example to hammer proponents of capital punishment with. Unlike the mass murderers, premeditated killers and other monsters those groups seek to defend, a death sentence for a 19 year old who essentially committed murder in the heat of the moment, would give those groups a legitimate cause to rally around. Doing so is careless and there’s no reason for the cause of justice to be harmed by an over the top death sentence that is almost never handed down for spur of the moment killings, least when they are committed by a 19 year old.
In order to prevent Peggy Park’s murder, I’d have shot Martin Grossman myself. If I could go back to the scene and time of the crime and have to shoot him to prevent her murder, I’d do so without hesitation and with a sense of honor in so doing. But the fact is that almost no one receives a death sentence when they’re 19 years old, high on PCP, crystal meth, cocaine and other drugs. The death penalty is typically reserved for murder with aggravating factors. On top of that, giving advocates a martyr in the form of Martin Grossman makes no sense. Support for the death penalty is at record highs and people have come to recognize it as a fairer form of punishment for the type of cases that it is typically reserved for. Overuse of same would cause a reverse in opinion and runs the risk of leading to a less fair, less compassionate (as the death penalty, in premeditated cases, is also a compassionate choice) and a less effective judicial system across the board.
The Florida clemency board, which consists of Gov. Crist, Attorney General Bill McCollum, CFO Alex Sink and Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson, would do well in commuting Martin Grossman’s scheduled execution. Governor Crist’s opponent for US Senate, Marco Rubio, has not shown any sign that he would attack Governor Crist over this decision. Doing so would cause many supporters of his to defend the governor on this issue, and would rally people who’ve never spoken up in favor of the Governor to do so if he did.
This is a clear case of overreach that can only have devastating consequences on the future of capital punishment as a just deterrent. If Governor Crist and the Florida Cabinet act on this issue, their leadership will not go unnoticed and true supporters of the death penalty should be the first to speak out on this matter.
The following is a blueprint for economic success for the State of Florida. It is my hope that word will spread band that its suggestions will be enacted. By sharing these points, across the board, I hope that other states will enact those parts that can be of benefit to all, as we use common sense principles to get America’s economy rolling again.
The following is written Florida’s unemployment levels are above the national average. Given all that the State of Florida has to offer small business, it’s hard to believe that our unemployment rate is actually higher than the national average. It’s nothing short of insane that we haven’t managed to do more about this. Public servants and candidates in other states feel similarly about the situation in theirs. As we’re all in this together, I suggest the following to get small business rolling across the board.
Small business used to be the bedrock of our jobs market. And we were a lot better off when it was. The State of Florida has more to offer budding businesses than almost any other state in the nation. As Michigan and New York falter under high taxation and shrinking growth, Florida should be absorbing the lion’s share of business emigration. But we’re not. And here’s why:
LOOK WHERE THE PROBLEMS LIE – AND FIX THEM
1) We Don’t Ask for Business
First and foremost, the major problem that challenges Florida’s economic expansion is so simple that everyone misses it. Decision makers in corporate boardrooms, when discussing relocation, think of Arizona and the opportunities presented there. They discuss New Mexico’s unused resources, and so on. Florida isn’t brought to the table. In fact, people in the Northeast and in states like Michigan still think of Florida as being synonymous with hurricanes, even though our natural disasters are far less of a problem than those faced by other states.
We need to change this dynamic.
Other countries, with far less favorable business and taxation environments, advertise in business magazines and on well watched business shows. Their advertising pays off.
Few states in the nation have as favorable a business structure as Florida does and few places in the world can offer as much talent for employers to choose from. But nobody knows about it. Worse, those who do don’t think of it.
Targeted ads, that list all of what Florida has to offer, to Michigan based businesses and other areas from which business is fleeing, will pay off. It will change the dynamic and get people talking. It will get corporate boards and decision makers talking. That, in turn, breeds results.
Tax breaks to C corporations that wish to move into recession stricken areas (areas with an unemployment rate of greater than 10% or that have seen a 15% drop in economic activity) will be the deal clincher in garnering new business to Florida.
Business skills and financial literacy need to become a part of Florida’s public high school curriculum. I wrote a course on this subject, which was approved by the Broward County School Board and used by the United Way. We need to ensure that some kind of business knowledge is taught in Florida schools, in ways that students can relate to. Doing so has the added benefit of giving students clear reasons to finish school and to avoid crime.
4) Energy/Untapped Resources – Key to Florida’s Economic Development
Florida Atlantic University has been working on developing energy from the ocean. Wave technology as well as other natural water based forms of energy technology are areas that must be developed. The Northeast has used water-based electricity for decades and FAU and itsCenter for Ocean Energy Technology are leading the way in making this resource more efficient and reliable.
Ocean based energy is renewable, clean and cost effective. Its development should go in tandem with all other forms of sustainable and sensible energy development, including oil drilling (especially given the fact other nations are already drilling as closely to our shores as they can, without the protections to our coasts that we would enact).
Energy, agriculture and health innovation are key to the redevelopment of Florida’s economy and to bringing jobs to the state. There’s no reason why anyone should be moving away from Florida. We can easily harness our potential and revitalize the state.
5) Transportation vs. Wasteful Spending
Transportation projects need to make sense, be cost effective and streamline traffic in areas where congestion is an actual problem. Pure jobs creation projects can focus on other areas, first among them teaching – which is an investment in Florida’s future. Streamlining of transportation and solidification of existing bridges and similar structures are necessary works. We just have to be careful and sensible about where resources are spent.
Construction efforts can be augmented by using alternative sentencing for non-violent offenders. Doing so would not only save costs to the struggling construction industry, it would prevent first time offenders from become career criminals, leave them with hope and incentive to change and punish only the criminal, as opposed to the criminal’s family. It’s a recipe for a better society, plain and simple. And as always, doing the right thing makes economic sense too.
LET THE FOLLOWING PRINCIPLE DICTATE OUR COURSE OF ACTION
Government cannot and should not take over the free market. Not now and not ever. What government can do is use common sense free market principles to bring business and jobs to the state. This is what I propose to do.
All in all, we need to get back to the same small business based economy that helped propel America and the State of Florida to economic greatness. Civic mindedness and personal responsibility, not to mention passion and ingenuity, are best fostered in a climate of small business. As we struggle to come back to our founding principles of faith, family and good neighborliness, small business has an integral role to play in the above.
WHAT CANDIDATES CAN DO
Candidates have a responsibility to propose common sense solutions that improve people’s lives. During pressing economic times, voters should demand nothing less. Unemployment is at crisis levels and tackling this issue should be of utmost importance to all who seek public office.
I’d like to share this proposal with other candidates and hope that they implement it, or something similar to it, in their districts. Before doing so, candidates are advised to speak with an attorney regarding any potential liabilities. There are likely many attorneys in your area who will appreciate the concept and would be willing to provide such advice pro-bono, if they’re approached.
A week and a half ago, I announced a Jobs Fair for my district. The model we’ve put in place is unique, and designed to have the most immediate impact. Employers get in front of politically/civically inclined applicants and prospective employees are quickly made aware of job options within the district and its surrounding areas.
The details are as follows. Of note, to do this, I established a separate campaign email, which in my case is email@example.com. It is highly recommended that each campaign that wishes to use my system first create an email such as jobs@
This was the main part of my announcement:
South Florida Jobs Fair
My campaign will be hosting a two part jobs fair to bring jobs to people in the district and strengthen local businesses by introducing them to qualified applicants.
Streamlining Technology to Combat Unemployment
The 1st part is an effective and fully functional way to connect local business owners with local job seekers. In this process, the confidentiality of the job seeker is assured. The job seeker sends an email (preferably with a resume, so we can narrow down areas of interest) to jobs@
Employers looking for qualified local job candidates (after all, this service is only being circulated among the politically active or those who read up on local news), send a description of the job offer to jobs@
This is a fast, streamlined and effective process, the goal of which is to immediately connect employees with prospective employers.
Live Fair and Interviews
Local employers will be offered the opportunity to participate in a live face to face job fair on Wed. Mar. 17th to be held at Campaign HQ (or find a local business to host a fair) from 6-8 pm. Prospective employees will be invited to sit down with all employers during that time.
To participate please email jobs@
This is just one of many things that candidates can do to stimulate the economy in their districts. I highly recommend that they pursue such a course. Politics is about public service and regardless of the result, these initiatives can help a lot of people, which is what politics should be about.
Ed Lynch isn’t just a Republican candidate with the only upcoming special election in the nation. Ed Lynch is as a man whose personal example embodies the very best of the Republican Party.
Lynch is no ordinary candidate. After all, what candidate, two weeks before a primary vote, decides to leave his district in favor of leading a rescue mission in Haiti? But that episode, more than any other, demonstrates what Ed Lynch is all about.
His choice to save lives rather than campaign is emblematic of Lynch’s life history. As a general contractor, Lynch won a construction bid to work on a veterans’ hospital. Lynch decried the deplorable conditions that veterans were subjected to. He knew full well that his vociferous protests would likely get his contract canceled. He also knew that almost any other contractor would have continued on with his work and minded his own business. Lynch chose to do what was right over that which is expedient.
Lynch is the type of man who puts words to action. He’s the kind of person who would rather lose a contract than stand by as veterans are mistreated. He’s the type of leader who would rather save a life than win an election. And that’s only part of the reason why Ed Lynch is sorely needed in today’s America.
One major obstacle to good decisions coming forth from Congress is the lack of small business experience among almost anyone in Washington, DC. Ed was not only a highly successful entrepreneur, he helped countless others on the road to successful business ownership. His solutions are real world, results oriented and, therefore, effective. He’s the antithesis of Washington. He’s American.
Lynch decided to challenge Robert Wexler when no one else would. Launching a grassroots campaign with only months to go, he was widely credited with tearing off Wexler’s Teflon coating and exposing the “Congressman from Florida who lived in Maryland” for the out of touch, far left radical that he was. Lynch is now mounting a campaign to bring jobs back to Florida, revitalize the sagging national economy and protect competitive health care options for seniors and for all Americans alike.
It’s not everyday when Major General Paul Vallely endorses a candidate. The same is true of Brigadier General Jim Cash. But Ed Lynch is no ordinary candidate. He’s a model soldier for the Republican cause and America can ask for few better at this time when voices of reason are as rare as they are needed.
The race for US Congress in Florida’s 19th district is a race that can and will reverberate across the nation, sending a wake up call to Congress and to the Obama administration like none other before it. It is a call that Washington can and will hear even louder than the cannon shot fired from Boston that is Scott Brown. Wherever you are in the nation, you can be a part of this race, one that will have national consequences. Ed Lynch’s website is www.electlynch.com. This is America’s race, because on April 13th, America will have the opportunity to send reason and leadership to Congress in a way that few candidates have offered before.
I’m a candidate myself and have consulted for many conservative campaigns throughout North America. I’ve known several great conservative candidates well. I do not know Adam Andrzejewski personally, but I’ve come to greatly admire his campaign. One does not need to know him in order to see what a benefit he can be to Illinois and to the nation.
A third generation Illinois-born American, Adam is a 40 year old conservative who embodies the very meaning of the word. He has a strong work ethic, a clear sense on policy, a passionate belief in the best of people and a strong desire to turn his state around for the better.
Andrzejewski (pronounced Angefski) was born into a family that valued work and ethics above all else. In the late 1970s, his father ran against then Minority Leader George Ryan for Illinois House of Representatives. As a child, Adam was given regular farm work and he possessed an entrepreneurial spirit from early on. In his mid-twenties, he started a business with his younger brother than grew to employ 150 people.
Last week, Lech Walesa, the former President of Poland and renowned anti-Communist leader, made his first endorsement ever of a US political candidate. It couldn’t have gone to a more fitting man. Adam’s common sense, people first, approach to government is sorely needed in a state whose politics has brandished it as anything but “common sense” until now.
Adam is a down the line conservative who anyone should be proud to support. He’s pro-life and pro-second amendment. But in truth, anyone who cares about a better government, about electing people with business experience who understand the real world and about principled leadership, should be drawn to this campaign. Aside from all of the above, no candidate can do more for the GOP on the national level than an outsider in our midst who’s willing to champion ethical leadership in a place where you’d least expect it.
Lastly, it’s a sad commentary that I even have to address this issue, but being that the talking heads are who they are, I will address it. Some, who cannot attack anything about the man, his positions, his style or his platform (because there is nothing to attack) have instead chosen to attack Adam’s name.
I believe that their disdain for the intelligence of voters should be called to the carpet. Adam Andrzejewski is running in a state that elected a man by the name of Milorad Blagojevitch in both of the last two elections. A little over five years ago, they elected a US Senator whose middle name was Hussein and who was not as well known at the time. To those naysayers, I would ask whether only bad politicians with long names should be elected to high office. I, for one, look forward to someone named Andrzejewski cleaning house in Illinois’ capitol.
Adam Andrzejewski can do more for the GOP than almost any other candidate in the nation. A quick look at his site, www.AdamforIllinois.com, will show you as much. It goes without saying that he can and will do tremendous things for the State of Illinois. I’m proud to support him on all levels. Common sense and good governance both dictate as much.
Florida has many great Republicans. The state boasts effective congressmen like Tom Rooney and legendary candidates like Lt. Col. Allen West. But the determination, enthusiasm and outright zeal of Sharon Day is surpassed by no one.
Sharon Day is unique amongst even Republican giants. She is someone who is not afraid to go into the most partisan Democrat districts to recruit new Republicans to the cause. She is both a source of inspiration and of sensible leadership, a combination that is shared by no more than a small handful anywhere in the nation. While many activists have passion and zeal and many leaders have charisma and persona, few can ever hope to combine brass knuckle passion with class. Sharon Day exudes both in abundance.
If every county in the State of Florida had three Sharon Days, the GOP would be winning this state 70-30 in the worst of electoral years. This is a lady who wraps her entire car for the GOP nominee in each presidential election. Last time, driving through Broward County, she was almost attacked three times. Did that make her give up? No. It only made her stronger.
You’d never guess how far she goes to support Republicans by meeting her. She handles herself with a rare grace, usually reserved for the far less energetic. But when she speaks, you know you’re dealing with someone who’s on fire. This rare mixture is Sharon Day and that’s what makes her perfect for a resurgent GOP.
Whoever is elected chairman of the Republican Party of Florida will need our undying loyalty and assistance. Make no mistake, it’s a thankless job that by its very nature involves working with candidates, policy wonks, activists and others to achieve results, the credit for which is largely given to anyone but the chairman. But supporting Sharon Day for the leadership of our party is an opportunity of a lifetime.
January 18, 2010
Contact: Bernard Sansaricq Campaign or Yomin Postelnik Campaign
Tel: (954) 701-7167 or (954) 353-5955
On Tuesday night, devastation struck the island of Haiti. As soon as news broke, candidates Bernard Sansaricq and Yomin Postelnik and Central Florida candidate Commander Tom Garcia got in touch to plan an effective relief effort. They discussed what most immediate relief needs were.
At the end of the night, Tom Garcia located a water purification expert who had previously done disaster relief, loaded up a Cessna and flew into Haiti on the spot. Sansaricq and Postelnik organized drop off locations and relief efforts, with plans for future trips in the works. Sansaricq met with local Haitian leaders as Postelnik established a virtual hotline, providing phone numbers of established task forces to those with families in Haiti.
At the same time, two party chairmen put forward valiant efforts to assist with the crisis. Broward GOP Chairman Chip LaMarca spent an entire day coordinating relief efforts with Tallahassee. At one point, he even made his personal office the central drop off point for East Broward. Palm Beach GOP Chairman Sid Dinerstein met with Haitian leaders, encouraging them and promoting relief efforts. Both chairs have shown an unprecedented level of leadership throughout the crisis.
On Wednesday morning, candidate Ed Lynch, rallied his entire campaign team. In spite of being weeks away from a primary election, his staff decided to put everything on hold. Ed worked to get tickets to go to Haiti and the campaign turned their headquarters into a drop off location for food and supplies.
Candidate Robert Lowry secured 6 tickets to travel to Haiti and planned to make the trip down there. He also helped coordinate medical relief supplies and needs. Candidate Dennis Lamb stayed in touch with local Haitian clergy, offering to assist in any way.
In the meantime, Sansaricq was placing calls to Haitian leaders both on the island and in South Florida. Calls were placed demanding that Haitian refugees be given temporary status within the Bahamas. Unbeknownst to the campaign, the pressure worked.
Postelnik and a campaign volunteer were busy advising local businessman Marc Eisenmann, who was preparing to travel to Haiti to offer relief. Postelnik prepared a list of supplies, as well as a list of what not to bring, advising relief volunteers not to wear jewelry or bright clothing. At the same time, his line, made public in a press release, was flooded with calls from people seeking the numbers of agencies to locate family members on the island, as well as requests to establish drop off centers.
Garcia went on to deliver electricity to a three room clinic, making power out of four car batteries and an inverter. He also delivered food and helped administer medical relief to hundreds, while working hard with relief expert Joe Hurston on water purification.
In the meantime, Eisenmann, guided by Postelnik, traveled throughout the Port au Prince area. Eisenmann came upon a crumbling building with children and adults stuck in it. Speaking with Postelnik for at least some form of guidance, Eisenmann managed to pull two people out of the structure. Republican leader Chad Lincoln also helped with construction knowledge and advice.
Late on Thursday night, Eisenmann came across a five year old boy with a shattered arm and a hematoma. Postelnik, the only point of contact, worked frantically to find a doctor to talk Eisenmann through the situation. When calls to two physicians didn’t work, Postelnik reached out to his network on twitter. Karin Hoffman and Lowry campaign manager Chris Leggatt worked to locate a neurosurgeon.
The boy was airlifted to Miami. Postelnik visited the boy and his father on Sunday, and appealed to the media to help reunite the family. The boy and his father plan on returning to Haiti, where they led a relatively successful life, upon the completion of treatment. Marc Eisenmann has agreed to house the family for the months of therapy that are needed.
On Friday Postelnik assembled a small team of volunteers. Later in the day, he worked to help the owner of a cargo ship that was having trouble unloading relief supplies in Haiti.
When one of the volunteers got stranded, efforts were coordinated with Sheela Venero of Sen. LeMieux’ office, the office of Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Chairman Chip LaMarca to help redirect him to Port au Prince. These efforts were successful.
Throughout this time, Bernard Sansaricq kept reaching out to Haitian leaders and candidates Ed Lynch and Robert Lowry organized another mission to Haiti.
On Saturday night, Commander Tom Garcia flew home with a two year old girl in need of follow up medical care, at the behest of a Haitian orphanage. Airport workers asked for follow up documentation, but the girl was held in limbo for over seven hours.
Garcia telephoned Postelnik, who mobilized a team to reach out to elected officials. State Senator and candidate for Commissioner of Agriculture Carey Baker phoned Postelnik at 10:00 pm on Sat. night. This call was followed by ones from Sen. LeMieux. Eventually Congressman Bill Posey and Broward Chairman Chip LaMarca were made aware of the situation and also got involved, despite the late hour. The situation was resolved after midnight.
Relief efforts continue. On Sunday, Chad Lincoln organized a rally for Haiti with Ed Lynch and Robert Lowry. Sansaricq and Postelnik continue to work on getting relief supplies into the country and on reuniting the boy who needed medical treatment with his mother. Several other candidates have allowed their offices to become drop off locations for supplies, and more are in the works.
Anyone who would like to assist in any of the above efforts is encouraged to contact (954) 353-5955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and they will be put in touch with the appropriate candidate or citizen leader.
January 15, 2010
Contact: Nancy Garcia
P.O. Box 5037
Titusville, FL 32783-5037
On Tuesday night, devastation struck the island of Haiti. As soon as news broke, Tom Garcia, candidate for Congress in Florida’s 24th district, got in touch with other candidates across the state and established a coalition for Haitian relief. The candidates discussed a strategy for relief for half of the night. At 1:00 am, the plan was finalized, Garcia had located a water purification expert who had led other disaster relief missions, a Cessna was filled with high-level purifiers and the two flew into Port au Prince.
Touching ground, Garcia, a former naval commander, spent the first day distributing food and medicine to locals. On the second day, after the blockade around the airport was lifted, Garcia set out to purify drinking water for hundreds of civilians. Traveling throughout the greater Port au Prince area, Garcia came across a three room medical clinic that was still function, but had lost power. Connecting four car batteries and an inverter, Garcia reestablished power to the clinic, thereby helping hundreds of people receive medical care.
The other co-chairs of the statewide initiative are Bernard Sansaricq, a renown human rights leader who has fought for decades to end child slavery and improve living conditions across the board, business innovator Ed Lynch, who is widely credited with the resignation of Robert Wexler, and Yomin Postelnik, a business and non-profit development leader and conservative stalwart who established a relief hotline and coordinated with volunteers on the ground.
Sansaricq is running to unseat Alcee Hastings. Lynch is running to replace Wexler and is slated to address CPAC as one of the GOP’s top new candidates. Postelnik is running for state house and has recently been endorsed by Major General Paul Vallely and numerous other conservative leaders. All have praised the heroic efforts of Commander Tom Garcia, issuing a joint statement saying “all Americans and fellow candidates can be proud of the heroic efforts of Tom Garcia, who risked his life to bring relief to thousands of people. Commander Garcia exudes the type of leadership that America needs now more than ever.”
CONTACT: Bernard Sansaricq or Yomin Postelnik (Commander Tom Garcia is currently in Haiti on the ground)
Candidates Rally to Haitian Relief Effort
Florida (Statewide) – Human rights leader and congressional candidate, FL-23, Bernard Sansaricq has announced the formation of a coalition of candidates to rally to the aid of Haiti in the aftermath of yesterday’s devastation 7.0 earthquake. Candidate for Florida House District 91, Yomin Postelnik, will chair efforts among candidates on the state level. The effort is in tandem with the relief effort launched by congressional candidate Tom Garcia, FL-24, who traveled to Haiti this morning to begin relief efforts.
Sansaricq on the federal level and Postelnik on the state level are seeking to gather supplies and direct funds to Non-Governmental Organizations within the Port-Au-Prince area. They will also reach out to congressmen and state representatives to join in the initiative. Former Naval Commander Tom Garcia leading the ground operations in Haiti, where he is flying with a team of water purification experts to ensure the availability of drinking water, the first and most severe side casualty of the disaster.
The three leaders of this project were chosen for their varying expertise. Bernard Sansaricq is a human rights leader in South Florida, who has made it a priority to end child slavery in immigrant populations and bring running water and electricity to areas of Pahokee that are without. Garcia is a former naval officer with hands on leadership experience. He also has extensive experience in disaster relief and purification of drinking water in devastated areas. Postelnik is an expert in non-profit development, as well as media consulting.
Sansaricq said, “this is a most needed project and we hope that everyone in South Florida will participate. When I sounded the rallying cry, I did not expect any candidates to take part. While I strongly wish that were no need for this program, I was relieved when Garcia and Postelnik, two of the greatest innovators in Florida politics, agreed to take lead roles in this necessary project.”
Postelnik added, “Bernard and I have been working on a proposal to bring small business to impoverished areas within Florida by way of both federal and state tax incentives. As we seek to better the lives of all Floridians, we must also take a proactive role in minimizing disaster and eliminating the suffering that has taken place so close to Florida’s shores. We are also very fortunate to have the hands on leadership of Commander Tom Garcia. His ground efforts are nothing short of heroic. The same can be said of Bernard Sansaricq’s leadership on all issues that pertain to human rights.”
Anyone interested in taking part in this effort is encouraged to call (954) 353-5955 or email email@example.com.
RNC chairman Michael Steele is under fire by fellow Republicans for putting his own interests above the party's. Will his critics force him out?
Time's up, Steele: Michael Steele needs to go, says Yomin Postelnik in The Sonoran Weekely Review. Not only is Steele "clueless on policy, devoid of ideas and bereft of a competitive political philosophy," he's dragging the GOP down with his latest round of rash remarks. By telling Sean Hannity in an interview that Republicans don't have a chance at re-taking the House of Representatives in 2010, Steele is "deflating" the morale of the party. "Chairman Steele," there are plenty of Democrats "perfectly capable" of attacking Republicans. "They don’t need your help."
"An open call for the resignation of Michael Steele"
A year ago, a bright and energetic voice decided to run for chairman of a national party. He was one of the most likeable characters on the national stage and came with the added experience of being a lieutenant governor.
This candidate’s exciting web based campaign paid off and his election was met, for at least the most part, with cheers. Even those who hadn’t supported him hoped that he would do well, and they seemingly had every reason to believe that he would. Unfortunately for those who elected him, none of this was to pan out. Yet while there was no indication of the magnitude of his unsuitability as chairman at the time, there are still fundamental lessons that all can learn from this episode.
Of course, I’m talking about Michael Steele. Michael Steele, the most energetic, lively and engaging of all of last year’s candidates for chairman of the Republican National Committee. Michael Steele, the most telegenic and inspiring of all candidates for the chairmanship of a national party in a long time.
A funny thing happened on the way to DC. Steele is now the man who has overseen the depletion of RNC cash levels from $22.8 million less than a year ago to a current level of $8.7 million, according to the renowned news magazine, The Week. Steele has recently been accused of lowering party morale for saying that his party would not win in 2010 and for publicly criticizing members of his own party.
As well he should be. The chairmanship of a party is not an invitation to write columns and hypothesize. It’s a position that comes with an entrusted duty to rally members, supporters and build a proactive and winning team.
One can hardly imagine the president of Coca Cola going on the airwaves to publicly espouse the virtues of Pepsi and politics is no different. A chairman is entrusted by people who’ve worked years, if not decades, to advance their party and the values or ideals that their party represents. Those same people should not be forced to fend off attacks by someone who they elected to be their primary spokesperson.
This is not to say that Steele or any other chairman of a political party should put up with politics as usual or sanctify the indefensible. But what a chairman should do is go about eliminating those problems and building a better party, not casting a public eye on every letdown or hyping internal blemishes to the point of insanity. A new chairman of Coca Cola would be right to fire people, take new measures to ensure both increased production and accountability and work to legitimately earn the public confidence. He’d be wrong to take to the airwaves denouncing his entire staff while simultaneously singing the praises of the Pepsi Beverage Company.
Michael Steele teaches one important lesson to leaders of both parties and to all those responsible for electing party chairs: When selecting an effective organizer, never choose style over substance. Michael Steele is an exceptionally nice man who might have made a good governor of the State of Maryland, but he has no organizational or leadership skills and didn’t even know enough to hire a team that does. As a result, his tenure has been a failure.
Steele’s fundraising stunts were horrendous. Last year, he stopped sending RNC members pictures and other catchy items that entice them to actually donate. When the donations stopped trickling in, “past due” notices went out, turning the apathetic into the angered and proving, as would be clear to anyone who knew the basics of donor relations. Steele has also rarely, if ever, taken to the phone to solicit donations, another aspect of his party leadership that defies incredulity.
The sad part is that, at the end of the day, Michael Steele is a good man who could have done a lot for his party. He still can, by running for governor or by filling some other need.
Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign was successful with Reagan as the candidate and William Casey as campaign manager. Had the roles been reversed, it’s hard to imagine anything close to a parallel success.
Michael Steele is a good candidate for state office. His liberal social and economic outlook makes any run for federal office harder. But as far as chairmen are concerned, the GOP has a brilliant and competent array of able tacticians, three of whom ran against Steele just last year (those being state party chairmen Saul Anuzis and Katon Dawson and conservative thinker Ken Blackwell). The GOP has organizational talent at its disposal and an easy transition to someone who is suited for the job should not be hard to set in motion.
And so a lesson is learned from this ordeal for Republicans and Democrats alike. Telegenic personalities are no substance for true leadership and persona is no substitute for detail. The qualities one looks for in a candidate may be the opposite qualities of what one needs in an organizer and party leaders must be mindful of those differences.
As far as the long term affect of the Steele chairmanship goes, it frankly is a matter of how much longer he stays on. Michael Steele’s mistakes were shocking, but I doubt that the GOP will pay a heavy price for them. Howard Dean’s tenure at the helm of the Democrats also had its share of mishaps and misstatements. Additionally, their party was also at a financial disadvantage in 2006, mainly because the party in power always raises more.
Voter sentiment and national issues are inevitably far more important than the words or actions of a party chairman. But with that said, a party chairman can do severe harm, nonetheless. If Republicans don’t replace Steele, or if he doesn’t do a 180 degree turnaround of his own, his amateurish fundraising tactics and his penchant for taking pot shots at members of his own party certainly can’t do the GOP any good.
At this time in history, the Republican Party, the only true mechanism that has the strength to defeat Obama socialism, should be polling at over 60% in the polls. But thanks to the collision course set in motion by Chairman Steele, we likely won’t have a united party in six months from now. That’s not a joke or even a hunch. It’s a sad reality stemming from the shocking buffoonery of a chairman who has displayed a level of ineptitude that is unprecedented at any time in American politics.
The foremost role of a party chairman is to organize and steadily grow an enthusiastic base of supporters. Michael Steele is a nice enough man for the job. He’s cordial, likeable and energetic. But his tenure at the helm of the GOP has been as follows: Michael Steele has lost thousands of lifelong RNC members by way of unheard of fundraising tactics that defy incredulity, he’s lowered morale and dampened volunteerism by becoming the only public voice to declare the GOP the losers of the 2010 election cycle, he’s failed to enact a single new method of outreach (which didn’t stop him from destroying already existing ones), he’s constantly beat a drumbeat of blame against every leading Republican in the nation and he showers every senior Democrat with accolades whenever the opportunity arises to do so.
In short, Michael Steele is a nice man. And he’s as hapless as he is incompetent on the political stage. And he’s got to go.
When Steele first arrived on the scene, many of us had high hopes for him. While I did not openly support him over the others, I did feel that his energetic, proactive and telegenic presence would do our party well. When he was elected, I was hopeful for the future of our party. I still am, as I believe that his reckless tenure is soon coming to an end.
As it turns out, his campaign was a two bit farce. For all of his bluster about reaching out to people by using the latest in technology, no chairman of any national party has ever made such obvious mistakes or turned off as many people by way of sheer ineptitude. The tactics that Michael Steele has engaged in are more befitting of Laurel and Hardy than they are of a national chairman and the Republican Party has paid a dear price for this outrageous folly.
Mailers have been sent out that have accomplished the singular goal of forever turning off lifelong members and donors. Most RNC members give their donations toward the end of the year. This August, instead of sending the usual photographs, surveys or other enticements to donate, Steele’s “new and improved” fundraising machine began sending out “past due” notices, even to members who had made their annual donations less than a year earlier. That’s right, “past due notices” used as solicitations of voluntary contributions. Too bad he doesn’t fundraise for al-Qaeda. Chairman Steele would stop terror in its tracks.
In truth, there’s nothing funny about this. As a result of his comedic stunt, which he repeated two or three times, thousands of lifelong members decided to tell Steele’s RNC to take a hike. Historically, most people who let their membership lapse never rejoin. Thank you Chairman Steele.
Public statements have been made which defy belief. When the LA Times proclaimed Republicans the likely victors of the midterm elections (a sentiment also implied by ABC’s “This Week” roundtable, hardly one of our most sympathetic forums), Chairman Steele went on the airwaves to assure the voting public that such prognostications were far too optimistic for reality. The fact that his statement, made as party chairman, would cost the GOP tens of millions of fundraising dollars and thousands upon thousands of volunteer hours was irrelevant. What the point of his pontifications was remains unclear.
On the heals of that outrageous interview, instead of issuing a statement of apology, or even a clarification, Chairman Steele instead sent out a mass email mourning the passing of the “producer and director of the world’s largest traveling fashion show,” a show that Steele went on to proclaim “a celebrated moment in American history.” In fairness, that email only cost a few thousand dollars, about the amount it would cost to hire election day workers in a few close contests. The Chairman had it wrong. The hour of his resignation as party leader will be a “celebrated moment in American history.”
Michael Steele is a fine man and I wish him every success in the business world. But if our party is to survive as a united entity, if we are to grow our numbers and if we are to stave off the political scam of a third party (whose leaders are longtime Democrat activists in patriot clothing), then the sad chapter of this chairman’s tenure must come to an end.
Republicans have a choice. We can replace our chairman or we can risk losing half our party - not because of policy, but because of sheer and utter ineptitude.
No Democrat Party chairman ever saw fit to blame the losses of their party on the ineptitude of its candidates, and to remind the public of same on a weekly basis. No Democrat chairman has ever said that his party would lose an election. They all realized that doing so is the political equivalent of being named head coach of the Chicago Bears and announcing at your opening press conference that the Buccaneers will win the next Super Bowl.
No Republican chairman has ever acted so recklessly before either. And at no time has the lone opposition to an unpopular government been in such a hampered position.
Lesson learned, Michael Steele. If we Republicans had ignored style over substance, we’d have been led by a brilliant tactician like Saul Anuzis, a great organizer like Katon Dawson or a deep thinking like Ken Blackwell. Next time we choose the telegenic one, we may as well go with “Chairman” Conan O’Brien, so that our party can at least get some favorable one liners on late night TV. Lesson learned, Mr. Chairman. At least we still have a chance to fix it.
Chairman Steele can resign nobly. He can decide to become a candidate for office or to take some other position of his choosing. But the Republican Party needs a chairman who knows how to be a chairman. Plain and simple, it’s the only way to save the party of Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Ronald Reagan and the party of Michael Steele.
Over the past few years, I’ve become increasingly upset at the way our elected officials, and even our candidates, have portrayed themselves on Sunday shows and in other media appearances. Their responses to real issues were without passion and their statements continuously rang hollow.
The GOP has always been right on the issues. We cut taxes on all income levels, have saved millions of jobs, sounded the alarm on the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac mortgage crisis that Democrats chose to ignore and, most of all, offered solutions on issues of national security as Democrats sat and twiddled their thumbs.
The problem was that none of this was being shown on TV. Media bias was largely to blame, but in equal proportion, so were the lackadaisical responses coming from our side. With that in mind, I had high hopes for Chairman Michael Steele when he was first elected. Watching the debate between the candidates for party chairman, Steele seemed alive, energetic and vivacious.
In the proceeding months, it was clear that we had a problem on our hands. The Chairman of our party should not be someone who agrees with the radical leftist agenda of Barack Obama almost one third of the time. The public face of our party should not be someone who lacks the wherewithal to identify, and then to staunchly denounce, the policies and agenda items that have increasingly become the hallmark of the radical left.
As time went on, Michael Steele increasing showed himself to be clueless on policy, devoid of ideas and bereft of a competitive political philosophy - this at a time when Americans are clamoring for one. Most of all, his organizational skills, of primary importance to the position which the party chairman is elected to fill, were shown to be all but nonexistent. As I watched on with dismay, I hoped against hope that Steele would grow into the job. Regrettably, this was not to be the case.
None of the above listed faults can come close to his latest misstep, that of downplaying our party’s standing and of deflating our morale with his outrageous prognostications on the 2010 race. That his comments were made in the very same week that the distressingly liberal Los Angeles Times admitted that the GOP is poised to regain control of the US House, and possibly the Senate, is troubling beyond words.
In the same interview, Chairman Steele also went to great lengths to attack every Republican within a 500 mile radius of Washington, DC. These amateurish tactics would be sad and counterproductive if they were the statements of a 20 year old political activist. When the chairman of a party makes them, they’re shameful beyond words. Chairman Steele, we have Democrats who are perfectly capable of attacking every single Republican while giving all but a free pass to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. They don’t need your help.
We are the Party of Everyday Americans, not of sophomoric political hacks. If Michael Steele is auditioning for a column of his own at the New York Times or for a position on some obscenely comical think tank, then he should not be using party resources or a position within our party to achieve those ignoble goals. Chairman Steele’s attack on our party’s morale is an affront to the American people - those who seek a clear and viable alternative to the insanity that is the hallmark of this administration, an administration that Steele has coddled when his job was to oppose it.
For this reason above all else, I call upon Chairman Steele to end his hapless and lackluster reign at the helm of the Republican Party. I also call upon all Republican candidates to demand his resignation with equal resolve and certitude.
I don’t make this call lightly. Upon Michael Steele’s election as party chairman, I wrote a column praising his leadership style. As a columnist, I owe it to readers to clear that up. As a candidate, I stand to be affected by what passes for leadership under this chairman. Most importantly, as an American, I cannot stomach the ineptitude of a chairman whose words can aversely affect the fundraising efforts of the only party that stands in the way of radical socialism.
The Republican Party is the party of Ronald Reagan and of so many others who seek to preserve the American Way and the moral values upon which our great nation was founded and upon which its future success relies. The farce that has passed for leadership under this chairman must come to an end for our party to regain its standing as the true and rightful voice of the American people.
Fighting terror, especially home grown terror, is not always hard. Instead of pandering to perceived popular opinion, we need to simply address where terrorists recruit and what can be done to curb recruitment. As with so much else, all politics (and most solutions) are local.
For starters, domestic grown terror is often the result of a criminal justice system that does not focus on rehabilitation. Long sentences in which first time offenders have been placed to sit in boredom with career criminals not only turns them into habitually violent felons. The very sentence robs them of hope, and radical jihadists have recruited thousands within the prison system by appealing to that very sense of helplessness.
The alternative is shorter and harsher labor sentences in which the offender (as long as he or she is not a direct risk to society) is sentenced to near backbreaking labor for a specified duration. Such punishment not only prevents criminals from reoffending, as study after study has documented, it also leaves the convict with a sense of hope and that the sentence will soon be over. In the end, it prevents non-violent offenders from being immersed in a culture, and eventually a lifestyle, of habitual crime.
Advocating for such a system is not only a matter of national security. It improves public works, lowers crime and, at the root of it all, is the decent thing to do. But at a time when thousands of radical jihadists have been bred within the prison system, such a solution is especially needed.
Domestic terror can also be curbed by revamping the educational system in such a way that motivates teens to succeed and to stay in school. There is also no better way of reducing crime rates. Schools have been a breeding ground for terror as well as crime, with students who feel dejected or out of place being the most vulnerable targets.
Introducing financial literacy into state curriculums not only teaches students how to budget and to avoid the pitfalls of debt later in life (often starting the moment they enter college). These courses also provide tangible reasons for students to continue their education, thereby avoiding crime and instead focusing on success. For a candidate, advocating for the availability of such courses in public schools is a matter of simple common sense.
Terror can affect small cities as much as it affects large metropolitans. There also exist no areas that are immune from crime. That is what makes the above anti-terror/anti-crime solutions needed overhauls that all elected officials and candidates should be advocating for anywhere in the nation. Indeed, public service should demand this.
Last month, Americans watched as Virginia and New Jersey both elected new governors. While the lessons of both campaigns are still being dissected, virtually everyone agrees that Chris Christie profited most of all from having a terrible incumbent as an opponent. The real lessons for political candidates in competitive races stem from Virginia’s Bob McDonnell.
McDonnell didn’t just win big. He helped his party win every statewide seat on his coattails. How he won needs to be examined. While the talking heads chalk up his astounding victory to his singular focus on jobs and the economy, the talking heads are 100% wrong, as is usually the case. McDonnell's lopsided victory was the result of much more.
To be sure, McDonnell’s message of jobs and economy did work. Equally certain is the fact that these are prime concerns for Virginia voters, who’ve elected Democrats to all of the most prominent statewide offices since 2001 (with the exception of Senator John Warner’s unopposed reelection in 2002). But there is another factor to McDonnell’s victory that far too many pundits have ignored.
Anyone can deliver a message of “jobs” and of a better economy, and in so doing they will more often than not be met with guffaws of derisive laughter. Throughout the Virginia campaign, McDonnell’s sincerity shined threw, making his promises worth listening to and causing voters to tune in to hear the specifics of his message. A lesser man could not have accomplished this.
Key to McDonnell’s ability to connect with voters was the fact that he did not shy away from his sound beliefs, even as many were trying to portray them as a liability. It certainly didn’t hurt that his opponent kept reminding everyone of McDonnell’s longstanding devotion to his faith. After all, Democratic candidate Creigh Deeds had a jobs platform too. His just lacked believability.
The talking heads derided McDonnell’s religious side as a liability. To be fair, I guess it can be said that if not for the religious issues, McDonnell may well have won by 10 points and brought with him a seat or two on his coattails. But religious issues did play a large part in the campaign, so he won by 18 points and gave his party a clean sweep. That’s reality.
Voters were reminded by Deeds that McDonnell’s religion was not a political sideshow. The lengths that his opponent went to in order to smear McDonnell as someone who was outside of the mainstream only ended up alerting voters to the sincere and longstanding nature of his beliefs. Candidates on both the right and the left can learn from this episode.
Candidates on the right can learn not to shy away from their true beliefs on any matter. Grounded sincerity is both morally right and a prime political commodity. Voters may disagree with you, but will still admire your sincerity. They may recognize that you can get important things done, even if they disagree with part of your message. At the very least, your honest stance will earn you the ear of the public, who you can then win over to your side.
Candidates on the left can learn the same lessons, as can recruiters of such candidates. Those who have a long track record of community involvement will not only be more familiar with the issues facing everyday voters than candidates with no such experience. Their history of civic participation will usually be coupled with unique sincerity, a quality that will set them aside from the rest of the field.
This is the true lesson of the double digit McDonnell victory and the clean sweep his party enjoyed by way of his coattails: Sincere belief is the best foundation for political ability and acumen. Sincerity is the best commodity that a candidate can have and is something that both parties should look for when recruiting people to run for office. Most importantly, sincerity is also the best precursor to good governance and to getting the job done, both of which should be the ultimate goals of seeking political office.