If America Was a Corporation, and Obama Was the CEO….

Politics and campaigns create a world of unreality where normally very sound judgement becomes insanity.  Imagine as outlined below if America was a company you held stock in, and you had the opportunity to put in a new CEO….
 
1.  You have a huge investment– really your life savings and your children’s financial future savings– in a large, complex technology manufacturing company.   Let’s call it “Company X”.
 
2.  Before the open of the market one morning, you go to Marketwatch.com and read the headline, “Company X names new President and CEO, Sam Smith”.
 
3.  Made anxious by the headline, knowing your entire future is invested in this company, you quickly read through to find Sam Smith’s resume.
 
4.  When you read it, your heart stops.  As it turns out, Sam does not have a manufacturing background.  You keep reading.  Sam does not have a technology industry background either.  Your heartburn stirs, but you still have hope.  Next, you learn Sam has never managed a large, complex organization.  
 
5.  Can it get worse?  You read further and see, not only has Sam never managed a large and complex organization, he has never managed an organization at all!
 
6.  You turn on CNBC, and you see that Sam is a good looking, articulate guy, and he expresses his vision for the company and it sounds good.  Sure he’s talking as if the company is completely dysfunctional and hasn’t made a dime when in actuality it is the most successful company in the industry and has returned more to shareholders than any other company on the planet.  But Sam is convinced it needs to be “fundamentally transformed”.  And, for some reason, so do you, and you think Sam is just the man for the job.
 
7.  1.5 years into his CEO tenure, he announces a “Summer of Growth” for Company X.  That growth never materializes, and in fact the company stagnates and falters.
 
8.  4 years in, the Board is meeting to determine Sam’s fate.  It seems shareholders are up in arms about his performance and the company’s results under Sam’s tutelage.  You, as a majority shareholder, have a key vote to cast.  You vote to keep Sam in.
 
9.  5 years in, the company is in bedlam.  They had $6 billion in debt when Sam came on board, and now they have $17 billion in debt.  They had 25 thousand marginal employees adding nothing to the company, now they have 49 thousand employees adding nothing to the company.  
 
10.  Executives are fighting all over the place.  2 groups who traditionally challenged each other but found ways to do the right thing for the company in the past are now at odds.  They won’t speak to each other.  They hurl insults at each other.  Manufacturing slows to a crawl, and nothing is getting done.  Sam chooses one group of executives to side with, and he publicly rips the motivation, morals, and character of the other group of executives.  He won’t even speak to them, only “about” them, in public forums and on television.  Then there is a strike that lasts 2 weeks, crippling the company and damaging the brand and any goodwill that may have been left.
 
11.  You decide, in spite of all this, to continue to support Sam.  It’s not his fault, you say.  His performance has nothing to do with the fact that Sam never managed anything previously, you rationalize.  
 
12.  You cling to hope.  Your usual ability to be intelligent, logical, insightful, and right, is completely impaired.  All the obvious signs around you tell you otherwise, but for some unknown reason, you still believe in and defend Sam.
 
The stock, once at 200 is now at 20.  And unfortunately, you cannot sell your stock.  You know you have to hang on, but you are losing your ability to have the audacity to hope.  
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Players vs. Commentators

If you stayed up to watch the BCS Championship Game, you were richly rewarded at about midnight when Florida State completed a thrilling comeback to win the game.  
 
But if you only stayed up until just after halftime, and if you watched part of the simul-cast from ESPN2, you may have witnessed 2 similar events on each channel.  On ESPN2, Tim Tebow was doing an analysis of the game, along with Johnny Manziel and 2 other “non-football player” announcers.  Each time Tebow spoke, he began to provide really insightful perspectives on the game.  And in the midst of each comment, he was stepped on by the 2 non-football playing announcers who had a different or stronger point they wanted to make.
 
Even better, on ESPN’s primary broadcast, they had Nick Saban at halftime analyzing the game.  Desmond Howard was there too, along with Lee Corso (a failure as a college coach, and a pop announcer who provides zero content) and Chris Fowler (a neutral MC who does a nice job at managing the commentators usually).  Every time Nick Saban spoke– Nick Saban, winner of 5 national championships– Lee Corso interrupted and stepped on his point and made some definitive statement about what Florida State needed to do to recover and win the game.  So instead of getting the analysis of the 3-time BCS championship winner (Saban is 170-57-1, or .748pct), we got it from Lee Corso (73-85-6, or .436pct).
 
If we aren’t careful, this is where America is headed folks.  The people who “know”, the people who “do” or have “done”, are being stepped on by the people who “think they know”, who have been “highly educated” and have all the answers even though they’ve never played the particular game they are engaging in.
 
The President, of course, is the shining example of this.  He is Lee Corso– interesting to listen to, great entertainer, but when it comes to experience, execution, and content, he is hapless.   But it’s all around us in the public sector, in many businesses, and elsewhere.  Most of all it appears in the opinion press. In sports, we hear 10 times more from people who have never played than we do from those who have.  In politics, we hear from the NY Times editorial page former editor (Frank Rich) of the “Arts and Leisure” section elevated to writing syndicated columns about foreign affairs, read by millions.
 
Mitt Romney is Nick Saban, Barack Obama is Lee Corso.  And we elected Lee as our President, twice.  
 
We need to get back to the people who do, not the people who don’t but think they know exactly how to “do”.  
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The Holidays and Your Starbucks Barista!

Drop $1 in the tip jar every day between now and New Year’s Day and send a message of thanks to some of the hardest workers you’ll encounter in your life.

I know you are out there, people like me, who stop in Starbucks at least once a day.  Your day is seems skewed if you don’t make that stop, and you miss your double tall non-fat one pump no whip mocha.  This post is for you, and for the baristas that serve us.

When I have time to sit at the Starbucks bar and work, I can’t help but notice how hard the Starbucks employees work.  On their feet, scrambling to and fro, with very little if any time to rest.  They serve regular customers and exchange pleasantries by name, they serve surly customers and treat them kindly, and yes sometimes they become impatient because, well, their job is really difficult.   

Today I sit in my local Starbucks, at the bar, watching the 4 baristas working at a frenetic pace.  There is a line nearly to the door, perhaps 20 people long, and surely they will dispense with it in 5 minutes or less.  I’m told they may serve 1,000 customers today, and they’ll do it with a total of 10 baristas.  What if we each drop $1 in their tip bucket today?  That’s $100 each, tax free (sorry IRS!), for each of these employees.  Let’s each do our part to make that happen!

One last thought.  If you are like me and even need to go to Starbucks on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, may I suggest that these are mornings in which parting with a $5 or $10 bill wouldn’t be a bad idea either.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

 

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Does Obama Think We Are Stupid? Is He Right?

Today the Obama Administration delayed next year’s healthcare enrollment 1 month, from October 15-November 15th, so that we won’t see our new plans before the mid-term election.  He also delayed the Corporate Mandate to beyond the mid-term election.  Does anyone still believe this man?

That’s all I have to say tonight.

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Republicans Need to Take Control of Their Messaging, or Disappear

Republicans must seize control of their image and messaging, defeating the lies and distortions of the President and the liberal media, and drown out their own extreme members.

If you asked your average American or European citizen about the Republican party’s positions on the issues, they would describe a party that would seem impossible to support.  Republicans, they would say, are against women’s rights, gay rights, are prejudiced against blacks and hispanics, believe the handicapped should not be supported by taxpayer-funded government programs, that the poor should be left to fend for themselves, and that they don’t care about the environment, the elderly, or anything else except for their own interests and money.  Republicans have allowed themselves to be defined this way, and it is killing the party that is in actuality the only potential savior from liberals and President Obama’s goal of “fundamentally transforming…” the greatest and most free country on the planet.

Republicans need to be consistent, omni-present, and relentless with a drumbeat of what the mainstream of the party’s messages really are, including:

1.  Republicans are for women’s rights, women’s equal pay, access to birth control and quality healthcare.  We don’t agree that taxpayers should fund birth control except when prescribed for non-reproductive medical reasons, or when provided to women in poverty for either birth control or other medical purposes.   But we believe women are equal, have special circumstances that need to be allowed for (e.g. maternity leave), and that they should have access to birth control.  

2.  Republicans strongly support immigration rights, and value the incredible contributions of particularly hispanic immigrants.  And while Republicans have great concerns about the 11-18 million illegal immigrants in this country, we have no plans to send anyone who hasn’t been convicted of a non-immigration related crime back to their country.  We are for a path to permanent residency for positively contributing and law abiding illegal immigrants.  However, we are strongly against allowing the population of illegal immigrants to expand due to additional illegal boarder crossings.  From here forward we want the borders controlled, and we want to deal fairly and humanely with those illegals that are here.

3.  Republicans are struggling with the issues surrounding policies towards homosexuals.  While we believe that homosexual couples should have all the rights of heterosexual couples including medical and tax benefits and the like, we believe the term “marriage” is defined as a legal bond between a man and a woman.  This position, however, does not mean that we want to intercede in any other rights-based issues for homosexuals and we want them treated equally and fairly in our society.

4.  We believe that global warming and environmental challenges are serious and worthy of government attention and investment.  We believe the exaggerations of the left and by strong interest and lobbying groups make the situation appear far worse than it is, but we do believe that it is prudent and right to take measures to ensure the environment is protected for generations to come.  As such we believe in expanding solar, wind, hydro, and nuclear power, but this should be done in a  balanced, prudent fashion instead of in an emotional, job-killing, special-interest based fashion.  

5.  We believe that everyone should have access to quality medical care in our country, especially the poor and those with special needs or pre-existing conditions.  We should say this loud, clear, and over and over again.  However, we don’t agree with changing the healthcare industry for the very satisfied 90% of our population to serve that 10% that don’t have coverage.  We should make allowances for that 10%, develop and fund programs that take care of that 10%, but not significantly change the care of the satisfied 90%.  We are also for tort reform (a special interest strongly protected by the President, all while he cynically decried “interest groups”) which would significantly reduce the cost and risks in medical care.  

6.  We believe government can and does do good, but that a government that is too large and too invasive in our lives can lead to tyranny, and we are already seeing signs of this.  With the healthcare takeover generating  22,000 pages of regulations, with Mayors telling us what size sodas we should drinks, and nearly everything we touch and that moves being taxed, and taxed higher.  A President, Republican or Democrat, should not be able to make their own laws, defer their own laws (see Obama’s illegal changes to Obamacare).  Government is necessary, but should be small and limited.   We also believe that government expenditures are the least efficient way to spend money and grow an economy, and that every dollar not paid to the government but instead left in the hands of the citizenry is a dollar that will be 3-4 times more productively deployed, and that a goal of leaving as much money in the hands of our citizens is the very foundation of a free society.  

7.  We believe that before we increase taxes on our citizenry, which should be a last resort, we should streamline our government, pay government employees on the same scale as their private sector counterparts, eliminate (over time) the gratuitous retirement and healthcare benefits they have, and that we should dramatically reduce waste.  As an analogy, we should clearly state that our governments are like a house with the heat running full blast in Winter, but the windows and doors are all open– and that you can’t take any more money from us to heat that home until you close most of those doors and windows.

8.  We believe America is at grave risk from its enemies.  Some of this we have seen manifest itself already, but there is much more brewing that is invisible to most of us.  We must declare our enemies for who they are, and we must pro-actively destroy them before they reach our people and assets overseas, and before they reach our shores.  We lose sight of the fact that the world is a very dangerous place, and we need to take extraordinary measures to protect ourselves.  

9.  We believe in the Great Society and New Deal, and that entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Unemployment, and Food Stamps are perhaps the most valuable contribution of American government.   However, we also believe that these programs are being exploited by millions of our citizens, and that hard-working taxpayers are funding the lifestyles of many people who could and should be working, but choose not to.  This is not fair to these taxpaying citizens.  In addition, these programs tend to create a culture of dependence, and every major effort of reform designed to reduce this culture of dependence has been effective (see the Clinton/Gingrich welfare reform bill, which many screamed would destroy the poor when the opposite actually happened).  

10.  As stated above, we strongly believe in Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.  Democrats say they do as well, but they are allowing these programs to be destroyed.  Medicaid and Social Security are on their way to bankruptcy, and they must be reformed.  This is not a matter of being for or against the poor, this is a matter of financial fact.  We believe in these programs, and we believe they must be reformed and funded in a way that makes them sustainable so that they will be available for all our generations to come.  Without this reform, they will be gone in 20-30 years, and the longer we delay these reforms the more difficult it will be to save the programs and to continue their positive impact.   There is no humanity in defending these programs without reforming them, allowing them to collapse.

 

Because the press is mostly liberal (at last check 87% were Democrats), and because the President is totally comfortable lying and distorting Republican views, and because we have a few very vocal extremists in our party (happily elevated by the liberal press), mainstream Republicans and conservatives must triple their efforts to communicate our key messages.  We cannot allow us to be defined by our opposition, we must define ourselves.  

 

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Republicans and Their Missed Opportunity on Obamacare

What if House Republicans had made the government shutdown contingent on only delaying the Individual Mandate, and withdrawal of Congress’ subsidies and exemptions under Obamacare?

Imagine Ted Cruz and Mike Lee didn’t launch a war that couldn’t be won, and instead focused on one that could.  Imagine the bright light that would have been shone onto the debacle that is Obamacare.  The Republicans would have won that battle and been on the road to more victories, including potentially both the House and Senate in the 2014 elections.

Here are the 2 arguments they should have made, both of which they would have won, at least in the minds of the American voting public:

1.  Delay the Individual Mandate until January of 2015.

The argument would go like this.  President Obama, in deference to American businesses (read “special interests with lobbying groups in Washington”), already delayed the Corporate Mandate until January of 2015.  Why, then, not do the same for the American citizenry (read “people without lobbyists in Washington”)?  The Corporate Mandate fines companies of over 50 employees an amount of $2,000 for each employee not provided health insurance.  The Individual Mandate fines (taxes) individuals who do not buy insurance.  Republicans arguing that individuals should get the same time delay as corporations was a certain winner.  Why didn’t they choose this path?

2.  Require that all members of the House and Senate, and the President, use the Obamacare Exchanges without subsidies.

Once again, imagine the Republicans arguing “if the Exchanges are good enough for the American citizenry, why aren’t they good enough for those in government leadership?”  What would be Obama, Pelosi, Reid, and Sebelius’ argument against such a policy?  Of course, their unspoken argument would be “We don’t want to be subject to the Exchanges because they are more expensive out of pocket than the cushy Federal benefits we have today, and we probably won’t be able to keep our doctors, and the coverage is less comprehensive”.  The fact is, in the minds of Democrat leaders in Washington, the Exchanges are good enough for the Proletariat, but not for the king and his subjects.  

Republicans would have won in both arguments, and the hypocrisy and falsehoods of Obamacare would be much more well known by the public today, and a heavy dose of fairness would have been cast.  Instead, Republicans chose the wrong path and lost in every category that matters.  

 

 

 

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Republicans, Wake Up!

My party blew it.  It’s time to get real, and if we don’t, we’ll lose the House, and our country will never be the same again.

With John Boenher asleep at his post, Ted Cruz snuck by and blew himself and the Republicans up, badly wounding the party which I support.  We lay in the infirmary now, and the decisions we make about our rehabilitation will be emblazened on the country for at least a generation.  Will we allow this radical and incompetent administration to have control of both houses of Congress?  When they do, what worse than Obamacare will be thrust upon us?  How much of President Obama’s divisive and damaging agenda will be implemented?   Will we allow him to “fundamentally transform America” (his words)?

Ted Cruz is nothing short of a disaster for the party.  He is Christine O’Donnell with a Harvard Law degree.  Where did he think this was going to go?  Was he thinking only of himself?  Did he really believe we would get Obamacare de-funded?

As for Speaker Boenher, most say he will survive.  I ask, why should this man survive?  He is the leader of our Party in the House, the one fortification we have left between the America intended by the founding fathers, and a European welfare state.  As the leader of our country I am constantly holding Obama responsible for his many failures, and no differently I hold Boenher responsible for allowing this failure.  

I hear pundits saying Boenher is safe as Speaker.  How could this be?  He is failing at his job, and he just allowed the House and party to commit political suicide.  I guess this is the trend in politics today, that qualifications and results don’t matter.

2 months ago I had visions of retaking the House, and remote hopes of taking the Senate as well.  Today I feel lost, discouraged, and deeply concerned about the future of our country.  

Republicans, wake up!  Take back our party.  Listen to the people.  Be pragmatic, and understand what is possible and what is not.  Focus on winning the House, and picking up at least a few seats in the Senate.  Unfortunately we have made this battle twice as difficult for ourselves, and we need to play our shaky hand very effectively over the next 13 months.   

 

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