Tuesday, 28 February 2012

OCCUPY WALL STREET & THE TEA PARTY

Occupy Wall Street (OWS), known as the “Occupy Movement” is an international protest movement which is primarily directed against economic and social inequality which began on September 17, 2011 in Liberty Square in Manhattan’s Financial District, New York. Their main gripe was with the response to the late-2000s financial crisis, subprime mortgage crisis and impact of the Arab Spring. To quote from their website:

“OWS is part of a growing international movement fighting against neoliberal economic practices, the crimes of Wall Street, government controlled by monied interests, and the resulting income inequality, unemployment, environmental destruction, and oppression of people at the front lines of the economic crisis”.

In my book that is a cry for socialism to replace the capitalistic system.

(In an article in November 2011, I condemned the open Anti-Semitism on display from the Occupy Wall Street Movement)











We have also seen last night that the ‘Occupy St Paul's’ group were evicted from St. Paul's Cathedral after a 137-day protest. The eviction came after the movement lost a Court of Appeal challenge to orders to leave the area following a lengthy legal dispute.


Essentially, you have to ask....what next for the Occupy Movement? With an obscure agenda, and lac of direction, you really have to ask what the purpose of this movement is. Every protest by definition has a 'bone of contention', but the most effective ones are the movements that offer clear cut solutions to those gripes.

Take the Tea Party in America for example.

This is a populist political movement that is generally recognized as conservative and libertarian, and has sponsored protests and supported political candidates since 2009. It endorses reduced government spending, opposition to taxation in varying degrees, reduction of the national debt and federal budget deficit and adherence to an originalist interpretation of the United States Constitution. It is a leaderless movement that is focused on every American, not 99% or 1%.

After their original rallies throughout America, it got to work finding like minded politicians and regular everyday folk to take on their cause. If they felt that a candidate or elected official wasn’t acting for their best interests, they would challenge them at every turn. With their help the Republicans regained control of the House of Representatives picking up a net total of 63 seats from the Democrats, which resulted in the highest loss of a party in a House midterm election since 1938. From that point on, the Tea Party had a seat at the table and were able to effect the change and reforms that they so desired.

Bringing this back to the Occupy Movement, they have to decide what they want to do here. Do they believe that they have a message that can attract the necessary support, simultaneously, offer real and common sense solutions that the everyday person can relate and wish to champion? If they are, then they should get out of their tents and start making a difference.

Until that time, the everyday person will characterize these people as ‘thugs’ who deface public property and who are wasting taxpayers’ money to the tune of £1 million. (the estimated cost for these protests)


The best advice that I can give to the Occupy Movement is:

Whilst they have every right to complain about the events in 2008 and the subsequent bailouts of major banks, the fact is, Capitalism has raised more people out of poverty, than any other system or idea in history.
They should be attempting to embolden the model, not destroy it. Controlled spending levels, lower taxation and less burdensome regulations across the board; an end to cradle to grave entitlements and less governmental interference with our lives; a free market that is allowed to take its course rather be propped up by the taxpayer.

All of the above and more will give 100% of the people the chance to prosper, not 1% or 99%. Essentially, Britain and the rest of the world needs pure capitalism not crony capitalism.

This is best summed up by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who said:
“The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of misery”.

Essentially, adopt the Tea Party philosophy!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

WHERE ARE THE TEA PARTY IN 2012 ?

If you look at most national polls, Obama is the favourite for re-election in November. With unemployment falling again, he can lay claim to the idea that he is slowly but surely getting America back to work. This data will fluctuate between now and November but bottom-line, the economy is where this election will be won and lost.

With Romney struggling to endear the conservative base of the Republican Party, Gingrich struggling to stay relevant, Ron Paul being Ron Paul and Rick Santorum now surging in most polls, it is fair to say that no one knows pretty much what the likely outcome is. what is certain is that there will be more changes in the frontrunner status come the convention in Florida.

The question is why haven’t the Tea Party* got involved and unified around one candidate?

*(The Tea Party movement is an American populist political movement that is generally recognized as conservative and libertarian, and has sponsored protests and supported political candidates since 2009. It endorses reduced government spending, opposition to taxation in varying degrees, reduction of the national debt and federal budget deficit and adherence to an originalist interpretation of the United States Constitution.
With their help the Republicans regained control of the House of Representatives picking up a net total of 63 seats from the Democrats, which resulted in the highest loss of a party in a House midterm election since 1938.)

Well....they have chosen their candidate for this election. The trouble is.....it isn’t Romney, Santorum, Paul or Gingrich. Their ideal candidate is Sarah Palin.


She spoke at CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) in Washington DC on Saturday night and wowed the crowd. Radio Host, Rush Limbaugh, has asserted that anyone who is able to clearly articulate conservatism will win this election. Palin is one of the best people out there that can come anywhere close to doing that. She has high negatives in large part due to the mainstream media destroying her personally, yet, somehow, she knows how to create hype and get people excited. While she isn’t running, her endorsement will mean a lot to any of the candidates.

Due to the fact that they haven’t found their dream candidate, organisationally, the Tea Party will not be as effective as they were in the 2010 midterms. So if the Tea Party isn’t primarily focused in the Presidential election this year, what effect will it have in 2012, if any?

My theory is as follows:

The Tea Party, whilst they believe that Obama is largely the problem, know the key to the ‘treasure trove’ is Congress. Essentially, the House of Representatives & the Senate are ‘parents’ and the President must ask ‘Dad’ for some spending money from time to time.


Since 2010, when the Tea Party swept the Republicans into power, it has slowed down, quite rapidly, the Obama legislating machine. Some might add, after his two years with a super majority, there wasn’t much else for him to do. However, Obama has found it harder to enact legislation or spend as radically as he did since the 2010 elections.

With that in mind, the Tea Party’s aim would be to maintain, if not increase the Republican members of the House of Representatives and vigorously go after the Senate where there the Democrats have an advantage of 53 to 47. Essentially, they would be looking paralyse Obama, (if he is re-elected) from the day of inauguration. The Tea Party and the Republican’s would then control the board and with that, President Obama.

How will the Tea Party and the grassroots do it? by relentlessly focus on Obama. They will remind voters about his economic record:

• The failed $787billion stimulus package that Obama signed into law.
• The $900 billion HealthCare law aka ‘ObamaCare’ which was forced down our throats.
• The ‘Dodd Frank’ bill which loads onerous legislation on small banks and simultaneously damages the Housing Market,
• The deficit has gone up by 43% and is still rising since.
• Unemployment has been above 8% for the majority of his presidency.
• Gas prices have risen 83%.
• Home values have plummeted by 13%.
• 14 million more people (45%) have applied for food stamps since he has become President.

They say that Obama is the most unifying force for the GOP. He is the tonic to get the Tea Party motivated and motivated they will be, come November.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

HAT TRICK RICK!!!!


A stunning win for Rick Santorum!!

He won big in Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota sweeping all the states and in the process knocked the “inevitability” image of the Romney campaign.

Santorum, due to lack of funds, organisation and media hype is picking and choosing his state’s carefully. Knowing he couldn’t compete in Florida, he didn’t contest seriously and focused in more 'fertile' ground. This worked to a devastating effect last night.

Whilst Newt has gone against Romney for all sorts of trivial issues, such as Bain and SuperPACS; Santorum has focused solely on issues. For example in recent debates, he has questioned ‘RomneyCare’ (Romney’s HealthCare law he created in Massachusetts when he was Governor) like a lawyer. He completely discredited him and really was able to create this contrast between himself and Romney. That is what the voters want. They want to focus on issues, not Mainstream Media trivial garbage.

For Romney,
he continues to have serious problems. He has run a seriously negative campaign and voters are turning off him as a result. Yes, he won Florida & Nevada but his ‘scorch the earth’ policy is resulting in his numbers diving nationally. He needs to focus on serious issues and come up with something new, otherwise his slide could become irreversible.

In a hypothetical match up with President Obama, Romney is losing....bad! A recent Rasmussen Reports Survey indicates that Santorum is in an statistical tie with the President. Gingrich is down by 3% with Romney down by 4%.

This has thrown the nomination battle wide open. Personally, it wasn’t ever ‘closed’ for me as there are a series of unanswered questions. Such as:

Which candidate will win the Conservative vote?

Will people warm to Romney, if he is the nominee?

What effect will the Tea Party have?

Will the Independent’s vote for Santorum or Gingrich?


I don’t think that any of these questions were answered last night. All it has done is cause mayhem around the ‘talking heads’ in the Mainstream Media.

What we are seeing is the battle lines being drawn for the final stages of this nomination. Santorum is turning into the alternative to Romney. Newt has the media spotlight around him, but when it comes to the Conservative message Santorum has lived, breathed and drank the Kool-Aid. The fight between Santorum & Gingrich will become more essential in the lead up to Super Tuesday.

I fear that until these questions are answered, this nomination fight will continue on for the foreseeable future. The Romney campaign may want it to end sooner rather than later but the voters have other ideas.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

ROMNEY WINS BIG IN FLORIDA & THE PROBLEM WITH NEWT



A massive win for Mitt Romney in Florida last night taking 46% of the vote in last night’s Primary.

Mitt Romney – 46%

Newt Gingrich – 32%

Rick Santorum – 13%

Ron Paul – 7%


He also took all 50 delegates, which takes him to 65 at present; a candidate will need 1,144 delegates to win the nomination.

For Romney he has increased his vote share by 15%, from 2008, where he scored 31% and came in second to John McCain (36%) in Florida.

After the blowout in South Carolina, Romney needed some damage control. I wrote after the primary that he needed to release his tax returns and talk about Bain Capital. He released his returns, days after the primary and with a new debate coach he was able to talk unapologetically about his time at Bain Capital. This helped him during the last two debates leading into last night’s primary.

I am a big fan of Gingrich and believe that he would make a phenomenal President but have been disappointed with his campaign. There are serious organisational problems and he can’t seem to stay on message. Does he attack or defend, be positive or negative. Each primary seems to be different and that creates confusion.
When he is talking about ‘grandiose’ ideas, articulating true conservatism and free market principles based on solutions then few could beat him; as you saw in South Carolina. However in Iowa he was struggling to stay on message when he became front-runner and collapsed in the polls.




Newt will say that there has been a
monsoon
of false negative ad’s against him from the Romney camp which has derailed his candidacy. To a degree that is true and it is hard for him to respond with so little money, but most of the ad’s are not flat out lies and candidates have pulled them off the air if they’ve been wrong. Negative advertising is fair game in primary politics in my opinion. Most of the time it fails and the candidate on the receiving end will get a bump in the polls.

With Newt,the problem we have here is not so much the negative ads but that people don't like him personally. The exit polls from last night were rather telling: Whilst he fared better amongst Men and the Very Conservative voters, he was trounced by Women, Hispanics & Latinos. Also, Romney was perceived as better a tackling the deficit, improving the Economy and defeating Obama in November. Gingrich’s unfavourable are 20 points higher than Romney in Florida, which will be a huge swing state in the General Election.

The question is why isn’t Newt Gingrich loved by the Republicans Primary goers? When he was Speaker of the House, Congress passed the first balanced budget in a generation, leading to the repayment of over $400 billion in debt. Congress also cut taxes for the first time in sixteen years and reformed welfare, leading to over sixty percent of welfare recipients either getting a job or going to school. In addition, the Congress restored funding to strengthen defence and intelligence capabilities, an action later lauded by the bipartisan 9/11 Commission.

With that record of achievement, you do question why he isn’t coasting to the nomination.

As mentioned in prior postings, my theory is that whilst his message is profound, the folks do not like the person saying it.

Peggy Noonan former speech writer and Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan summed it up well over the weekend:


“One way Newt is unlike Reagan, is that Reagan was a constructive figure, not destructive. If Newt is the donkey who knocked down the barn, Reagan’s the guy who’d build it. He wasn’t driven by need, and anger wasn’t his fuel. He was equable, even-tempered, and personally content. Martin Anderson always said Ronald Reagan didn’t need high office to feel good”.


With his history on marriage being such, his tumultuous rein as Speaker of the House and his angry and condescending nature- the fact that Obama actually appears to be a disciplined family man makes it an awkward contrast. In a Rasmussen Poll taken just a few days ago Obama was beating Gingrich by17 points in a hypothetical match up 52%-35%.

With Romney now winning Florida, he is looking very comfortable heading into February. The next states are Nevada, Maine, Colorado, Minnesota, Michigan & Arizona. All bar Arizona went to Romney in 2008 (Arizona went to McCain who was their Senator). If he can preserve those victories, then he can go into Super Tuesday on March 6th looking very formidable indeed. He will have momentum, delegates, money and an air of inevitability about him.

What happens to Newt and Santorum?
Well…. Newt was saying that when you take his share and Santorum’s together it is markedly more than Romney. Essentially, the Anti-Romney or Conservative vote is stronger than Romney. That has however been debunked as Mitt scored more than the two combined last night. Newt has been pushing for Santorum to pullout so there can be a united front; however, the Santorum isn’t budging just yet as he thinks he is the alternative. That means that Romney will continue to look good going into Super Tuesday on March 6th with a split field.

For Newt, he has to stop attacking Romney, stay positive and on message and continue to discuss big ideas - which is when he is at his best. He has to make it a battle of ideas and continue to look more Presidential against Obama day in, day out. If he can do that and maintain disciplined then he may start making inroads into Romney. At this moment it is looking the steepest of mountains to climb…but you never know.

For Romney, he can’t assume this is done and dusted just yet. He has work to do with the Conservatives and cease these negative ads. The focus for him must be Obama.He should be responding to the State of the Union, press conferences and providing a really 'compare and contrast' against the President. If he can look Presidential, be a leader against the Obama charges of class warfare, tax hikes and high deficits, then he will consolidate his lead and increase his popularity. If he continues to attack the other candidates, then it will backfire and cause mayhem.

For Santorum, he is a warrior but really doesn’t have the charisma, organisation and the money to compete longer term. Unless someone collapses, I don’t see a realistic path to the nomination. He didn’t have the capacity to compete in Florida which tells you about the state of his campaign. He hasn’t done anything of note since the Iowa Caucus on January 3.

This race is far from over….at the moment Romney is sitting comfortable but we have seen changes in the race that make this the most unpredictable primary in years.
The focus must now shift to President Obama and the below numbers should be all the ammunition to beat him in November!