Saturday, July 31, 2010

Report form Working the Polls at the Hermitage Library

Hermitage Library Early votingEarly voting ended today and it is good news for Republicans in Davidson County. There were 28,400 votes cast in early voting. Republicans head into Thursday's election with a 2,100 vote margin! This is impressive in two ways. First, this is a heavy voter turnout. I don't have the numbers for previous elections but I think this is considerably greater than the number of people who normally vote in the State primary and County general election. Second, Republicans are outvoting Democrats! Again, I don't have the figures but my impression is that normally the vote is about two-to-one Democrat.

I hate to say, "I told you so" but when I was arguing with Election Commission Chairman Lynn Greer that we needed to have early voting, he said voter turnout would be low and early voting beyond the one Howard School site was not justified. If it had not been for the people who rallied to the cause and demanded early voting we would not have had it. It is especially disappointing that in a Republican year, a Republican dominated election commission did not see the wisdom of having early voting. We owe a debt of gratitude to those citizen who lobbied for it and to those council members who responded to the voters and funded it. Many good Democrats and Republicans responded to the public demand and supported early voting and they had to overcome resistance from the election commission to do so. That is a shame.
Larry Crim, Democrat District 60; Charles Williamson, Republican District 51; Rod Williams (me) campaigning for Eric Crafton; Jim Gotto, Republican Candidate District 60, Howard Luartes, campaigning for Lonnie SpivakI enjoyed spending the day with these people and getting to know them. From Left to right: Larry Crim, Democrat District 60; Charles Williamson, Republican District 51; Rod Williams (me) campaigning for Eric Crafton; Jim Gotto, Republican Candidate District 60, Howard Luartes, campaigning for Lonnie Spivak.

Jim Gotto chats with a voter
Jim Gotto chats with a voter
I worked the polls yesterday and today at the Hermitage Library from opening until 12:30PM for Eric Crafton. It is hard, hot, tiring work but I enjoyed it. I enjoyed meeting the voters and telling them why they should support Eric. I also enjoyed working with the other poll workers. I enjoyed getting to meet new people and getting to know better some people I already knew. I especially enjoyed spending time with Charles Williamson who is running for House District 51 and Jim Gotto who is running for House District 60. Neither of them have opposition in the primary, but they were taking this opportunity to meet the voters. That will help them in November.

Cece Heil and
campaign worker Darrell Chancellor

I know a lot of people do not like campaign poll workers. They say they have their mind made up before they get to the polls and they are not going to change their mind on the way to the door of the voting place. That is great and I understand that. I agree that almost no one has their mind changed by a campaign worker at the polls, however a lot of people are still undecided at that point. A lot of people are influenced by the last person who talks to them on that walk to the voting place door or by the most persuasive person. A lot of people know who they are going to vote for at the top of the ticket especially, but have not given much thought to the other offices. A lot of elections are won at the polling place by the effort of campaign poll workers. I know I talked to people today who knew who they were going to vote for Governor, but did not even know there was an election for Juvenile Court Clerk.

Hermitage Library was a heavy early voting site and a site that voted heavily Republican. Fifth district candidates Cece Heil and Lonnie Spivak each had an excellent poll worker. Howard Luartes worked for Lonnie Spivak and Darrell Chancellor worked for Cece Heil. I know that each of them got votes for their respective candidates today. If either of those candidates win by only a hand full of votes they need to thank their poll worker.

Cece and her husband Rick and their two children and some other supporters showed up today and stayed for about an hour. Cece made the rounds of all the early voting sites today. Ben and Phyllis West were among those accompanying Cece. Ben West is the retiring Democrat Representative who represents District 60, the district where Jim Gotto is running as a Republican to succeed him. I understand that yesterday afternoon Phyllis West worked the poll for Cece. Phyllis is charming and enthusiastic and well known. I am sure she has swayed a lot of votes for Cece.
Ben West and Cece Heil and Phyllis west
Ben West, Cece Heil and Phyllis West

None of the other candidates came by this polling place while I was there and none of them had campaign poll workers. I am really surprised that Jeff Hartline had no presence at the polls. Since Jeff has lead in fund raising and has been perceived as the front runner, I would have thought he would have had the organization and volunteers to man the polls. Maybe Jeff is not as strong as some have thought.

Cece Heil

The momentum is with us. We need to keep pushing and come out of this primary with a big lead. No matter who the nominee is, a big turnout now will improve our chances of beating Jim Cooper in November.

I especially would like to see Eric win. For the other Republicans this is their primary but this is it for Eric. This is his general election. With Eric, we have a chance to break the strangle hold the Democrats have had on this county since the founding of Davidson County. Eric's office is the first domino. If Eric can win, we can take other seats next time and Davidson County can become competitive for Republicans. If you did not vote early please vote August 5, take someone else to vote with you, and if possible volunteer to work for Eric on August 5th and work the phone banks for him Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Momentum is with us; keep it up.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Friday, July 30, 2010

Nashville-Area Foreclosure Rates Up 39% - House And Home News ...

Rod Williams works at the nonprofit Woodbine Community Organization, negotiating with banks on behalf of people about to lose their homes. "I'll tell you the truth: The program has been a failure," Williams said. ... - News -

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Thursday, July 29, 2010


by Bob Schwartz, Republican Candidate for the 5th Congressional District, June 28, 20210

Today we saw first hand why elections matter! Clinton appointee U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton ordered Arizona to hold off on full implementation of their law to restrict the flow of illegal immigration. Bolton made an argument that her former boss would have been proud of by writing: ”Requiring Arizona law enforcement officials and agencies to determine the immigration status of every person who is arrested burdens lawfully present aliens because their liberty will be restricted while their status is checked.”

Can we really be surprised that the first voices praising the decision came from the ACLU and the Mexican government?

So, let me get this straight? If someone is arrested for murder, then, while in jail awaiting to be tried, it somehow limits his/her liberty to run a 30 second computer check to determine if he/she is in the U.S.A. legally? This is exactly the kind of nonsense we have come to expect from liberal, activist judges. If a crime is committed and law enforcement officials do their job, then they (and we!) are the bad guys for checking to see if someone is in this country legally. Preposterous!

My stance on the illegal immigration issue has not changed. Today I again state publicly that I not only stand with the state of Arizona, but also with the rule of law and the U.S. Constitution. As your Congressman, I will fight to pass legislation reaffirming federal law requiring all legal immigrants to carry the appropriate documentation and also allowing state and local law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of all that have been engaged in lawful stop, detention or arrest situations. Given the past failures of the judicial system in this area, Congress should also use its Constitutional authority to restrict the courts from ruling on this law and thereby negate the power of activist judges to block immigration-related legislation.

Please review my complete plan to stop illegal immigration at

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Elect Connie Hunter, District 2, School Board

Connie Hunter

If you live in School Board District 2, please vote for Connie Hunter. District 2 is that part of the county between I-24 and I-65 south of Harding Place.

While the attention in the upcoming election has been focused on the governor’s race and the 5th Congressional distinct, other important elections are also taking place and one of the most important elections is the election for Metro School Board.

Metro Schools are failing us and the dropout rate is much too high. Public education in Nashville is an embarrassment. It is imperative that we elect good people to the School Board.

Connie Hunter is a solid conservative and a strong advocate for high educational standards. She supports raising entry level teacher salaries, a strict disciplinary policy, support for principals and their individual school goals, parental involvement and parental choice.

Connie needs volunteers and contributions in these last days of her campaign and, if you live in District 2, she needs your vote. I just visited her website and made a campaign contribution. Visit her website to learn more about her stand on the issues and to help her candidacy.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I am working the polls for Eric Crafton.

On Friday, I will be working the polls at the Hermitage library early voting site. I will be there from opening until about 12:30. I will be waving an Eric Crafton sign and urging people to vote for Eric. Stop by and say hi. I also plan to work Saturday but am not sure where I will be.

If you would like to help work the polls for Eric, click this link and sign up: Volunteer to Help Eric.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

"get out the vote drive"- EACH ONE REACH ONE

Eric CraftonDear Friends,

We talked last week about Liberal Activist Democrat Councilman Ronnie Steine's wanting to teach Davidson County Republicans a lesson by insuring I suffered an overwhelming defeat in my bid to become Juvenile Court Clerk and Nashville's first republican constitutional office holder. Ronnie thinks these offices belong only to democrats, and that's why he had the State Democratic Party send out a countywide mail piece for my opponent at an estimated cost in excess of $15,000!

Despite everything they are saying and doing to defeat us, we are truly on the verge of something spectacular! If we do not grow weary, and if we continue running this race through to the finish line we will win. The first ten days of early voting show that republicans and democrats are running "neck and neck."

To win, we must continue getting our people to the polls. That's why I'm asking you to participate in a "get out the vote drive" called EACH ONE REACH ONE. All you have to do is commit to making sure at least one other person besides yourself goes to the polls and votes. That's it. Very simple. I have also included the early voting schedule below for your convienience.

Remember, EACH ONE REACH ONE! This is our time to make a statement that will shake Nashville 's current political paradigm down to its very core. Together we truly can make a difference!

Thank you!

Eric Crafton

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Federal Judge Blocks Portions of Arizona Illegal Immigration Law

Federal Judge Blocks Portions of Arizona Illegal Immigration Law

Read the story above. This is a shame.
I was initially opposed to this law when it allowed the police to demand papers of anyone who had a lawful "contact" with the police. We must not abandon constitutional protections out of frustration. Since"contact" was changed to "stop, detention or arrest" and some other minor changes were made in the law, I have been fully supportive. As amended, this law would achieve a laudable goal without infringing on constitutional rights. As amended, this was good law. If the federal government will not enforce the laws, then I think the states should. We must stop illegal immigration.
Can this ruling be appealed? What are the chances of success? What next?

Click here to read the Arizona immigration law. This shows the original and the amended version of the law.

Click here to read the ruling.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Hartline: The 40th Vote

June 28, 2010, by Jeff Harrline

I want to be the 40th vote.

Assuming the Republican Party can retain every seat it currently holds in the U.S. House of Representatives, we would regain a majority in the House by one vote if 40 new conservatives were elected in November. This is a critical number for working families across America because this number will guarantee that a conservative majority controls the checkbook, debit and credit cards for the government.

While Jim Cooper, our current Representative, votes consistently on increased federal spending with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, unemployment remains high in Tennessee, resting at 10.1% through June. Some reports across the country speculate that unemployment is actually much higher and that many who were looking for work have simply stopped looking. And while nationally the real unemployment rate is estimated to be somewhere around 16.5%, the federal government continues its government-centered attempts at job creation while raising taxes and burdening small businesses, the real engine of job creation, with a mind boggling array of new regulations.

A poll released by the Tennessean this week indicates that 54% of Tennesseans are most concerned about jobs and the economy. The People have spoken, and yet. Rep. Jim Cooper voted to pass a stimulus bill that provided a reported $870 million to Tennessee’s Fifth District and created only 10,518 jobs through March 31st as reported by, a government run transparency website. A February article in the Nashville City Paper referred to lower job numbers and a higher total amount, but also contains the caveat that many of the jobs created were government jobs.

We know that more than half of Tennesseans believe jobs and our economy are the most important issues facing our state. It is clear that Rep. Cooper, his votes and his policies are making the situation worse. He and his political party have failed Americans. While Jim Cooper sells himself to the district as a fiscal conservative, he votes with the party that “deemed” a budget with a $1.47 trillion deficit for 2011. He votes with the party that passed a stimulus bill that will cost us $800 billion in borrowed money and that many believe has been a massive failure to actually create sustainable jobs. He has racked up trillions of dollars in debt and deficit spending and refuses to meet with his constituents in any open forum to explain if he can how these votes benefit Middle Tennesseans who are worried about their economic future.

So what can 40 conservatives do for America?

We will elect a new Speaker of the House that has the future of America and her citizens in mind. We will begin to rein in federal spending and reduce job killing regulations. We will work to extend the Bush Tax cuts so small businesses can have access to the capital they need to continue operating and providing jobs. We will begin the process of de-funding ObamaCare and moving toward a full repeal of the bill. We will work to improve our tax code and make the system more fair.

It is time to send a New Voice for the People to Washington. The self-proclaimed “Strong Voice for Middle Tennessee” is obviously the Strong Voice for the Wrong things.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Ramsey is Wrong!

Shame on Ron Ramsey.

I like Ron Ramsey and think he would make a great governor. He has concrete proposals for cutting the cost of state government and a vision for where he wants to take this state. He has made a great Lieutenant Governor. He is a solid conservative and he is ready to hit the ground running. However, I am disappointed to see Ron Ramsey pander to those who would deny First Amendment rights to Muslims. He does not go as far as Lou Ann Zelnik, but almost. He seems to argue that if we can delegitimize Islam then they would not have the benefit of First Amendment protection.

In this clip he says that he is "all about freedom of religion" but then goes on to say, "Now you could even argue whether being a Muslim is actually a religion, or is it a nationality, a way of life, or cult – whatever you want to call it. We do protect our religions, but at the same time, this is something that we are going to have to face.”

Maybe he was unprepared for the question and maybe he was having a bad day but he needs to clarify his stand on Freedom of Religion. The Muslim faith is second largest religion in the world and the faith of one-fifth of the world's population. By calling a religion a cult does Ron Ramsey think that a religious group can lose their First Amendment protections?

I grew up in a religious conservative environment where Catholicism was considered a cult. Is Mormonism a cult? Are Jehovah Witnesses part of a cult? Does the Church of Scientology get to have the benefit of First Amendment protection?

One can advocate strict adherence to the laws of this country, vigilance against those who would do us harm, and take a strong stand against terrorism and still be an advocate of Freedom of Religion. Ron Ramsey needs to clarify how he stands on the First Amendment.

I cannot support someone who loves the Second Amendment but is not also committed to the First Amendment.

Ron, please clarify your position.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

FRC Action PAC Endorses CeCe Heil for Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C. FRC Action PAC, July 26, 2010, - FRC Action PAC, the political action committee connected to Family Research Council Action, endorses CeCe Heil for Congress representing Tennessee's 5th District.

"CeCe Heil is a firm advocate for the family and the culture of life. We need Representatives who will have the passion and courage of Ms. Heil to defend the family against the anti-family agenda currently promoted in the House," said Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council and Chairman of FRC Action PAC. "I am convinced Ms. Heil will do just that."

"As an experienced attorney, CeCe has demonstrated her commitment to protecting our constitutional liberties against the assaults of this Congress. She is a pro-family, pro-life candidate, and we are confident she will be strong on the issues that best uphold and strengthen families.
"FRC Action PAC believes that CeCe Heil will work to stop the radical social agenda now before us. We are proud to support her candidacy," concluded Perkins.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Monday, July 26, 2010

Congressman Jim Cooper is Vulnerable to Defeat

The Jeff Hartline for Congress campaign today released the results of a poll showing that, contrary to conventional wisdom, incumbent Congressman Jim Cooper is highly vulnerable to defeat this election cycle. The accompanying press release from Hartline for Congress makes the augment that Jeff Hartline is the only Republican candidate able to raise the funds to mount a serious general election campaign.

Regardless of which candidate you support, this memo is good news. We can beat Jim Cooper!

I have run into naysayers who say that we are wasting our time and that Cooper is unbeatable. A former member of the Davidson County Republican Party Executive Committee recently made this augment in response to a proposal posted on the 9-12 Project Nashville list serv. The proposal was to purchase anti Jim Cooper bill boards at prominent locations in Nashville and this former DCRP member discouraged this saying, "Jim Cooper is not beatable at this time." He went on to say, " this money is still better spent against a vulnerable liberal/Democrat or for an open seat in a swing district." And, "please don't waste your money on things that are not going to be fruitful and produce results. That would be a tragedy." This naysayer listed his degree in marketing to add weight to his advice.

Wilson Research Strategies is the firm that conducted the poll showing Jim Cooper is venerable. WSR is a reputable public relations firm and has done work for over 100 of the Fortune 500 and been involved in work for over 100 current and former members of Congress. Chris Wilson, the CEO, has an extensive background in campaign strategy, political media, and message development. He has an extensive background in polling and consulting prior to starting his own firm. The analysis from WRS is not just wishful thinking.

I am not certain that we can beat Jim Cooper. In politics one can never be certain but I am convinced that Cooper is vulnerable. I think that our candidate must present an alternative to the liberalism of Jim Cooper without coming off as extreme and our candidate needs to come out of the primary without having been bloodied excessively in the process and Republicans must open their wallet and fund our candidate. With the right message and money, I think we can beat Jim Cooper.

Below is the Wilson Research Strategies memo. The highlighting is mine.

DATE: APRIL 26, 2010

This memo summarizes key findings from a poll of 300 likely general election voters in Tennessee’s Fifth Congressional District conducted March 22-23, 2010.

Key Findings

 Voters in the 5th District are actively seeking an alternative to Jim Cooper.
o Only 23% of voters are willing to re-elect Jim Cooper regardless of who runs against him.

WRS has found that incumbents who fail to achieve 30% on this measure tend to lose on Election Day.
o More voters (25%) would vote to replace Cooper regardless of who his opponent was than are willing to commit to re-electing him.

 Cooper can’t even manage a majority of the vote against a virtually-unknown
o Only 48% of voters say they would vote for Jim Cooper against a Republican candidate with almost no name identification.

With nothing to inform their decision other than their feelings about Cooper, less than half of voters are willing to support him.
o The effectively “generic” Republican draws 33% of the vote—as sign of how pro-Republican this year may be and a further danger sign for Cooper.

The more voters learn about Jim Cooper, the less they like him.
o After voters hear about Cooper’s healthcare vote, his vote for the Obama spending bill, and his cap-and trade vote only 38% would vote for him.
o In particular, voters cited Cooper’s vote for healthcare (38%) and his record of voting with Washington liberals in spite of his claims of being a “blue dog” (24%) as the source of their hesitation to re-elect Cooper.

Cooper’s hypocrisy in saying he is a “blue dog” at home and voting like a Washington liberal in Congress is a powerful and damning narrative once voters hear it. A campaign with the resources to push that message has a high probability of success.

Jim Cooper is that most common of species this year—an endangered Democrat. Cooper’s many liberal votes are enough to submarine his “blue dog” image and give a Republican an opening to capture the 5th District.

If Jeff Hartline can get his message out to Tennessee voters and rebut the desperate attacks that both Cooper and the Washington Democratic establishment are sure to launch against him, he has a clear path to victory in November.

Wilson Research Strategies conducted a research study of likely general election voters in Tennessee’s Fifth Congressional District. Respondents were contacted by phone via a live telephone operator interview March 22-23, 2010. The study has a sample size of n=300 likely general election voters. The margin of error is equal to ±5.7% in 95 out of 100 cases. The sample was stratified to represent the district electorate based on race, age, gender, partisan identification, and geographic distribution.

About Wilson Research Strategies
Since 1998, WRS has been a leading provider of political polling for campaigns from Mayor and City Council to Governor and U.S. Senate in 47 states and several foreign countries. In 2007-2008 alone, WRS conducted polling in 252 races for campaigns, caucuses and independent expenditures efforts.

In addition to our political and policy research, WRS provides donor research to Christian and other not-for-profits and alumni research to colleges and universities. More than 200 Christian and other not-for-profit organizations around the country and dozens of large and small colleges and universities have relied on WRS’s data and analysis.

WRS’s corporate research arm has provided market research to more than 100 of the Fortune 500 and to hundreds of small and medium businesses nationwide.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

The City Paper analyses the 5th Congressional race.

The City Paper analyses the congressional races in Tennessee and in an nutshell, here is what they say about the 5th:
Cece Heil is the "biggest splash of the season" and was helped by the Sarah Palin endorsement but that endorsement will hurt her in the general election if she is the nominee.
Jeff Hartline is still favored but has been hurt by the controversy of paying himself a salary and some other things.
Bob Schwartz is the most effective public speakers but lacks the resource to compete.
No other candidates are mentioned.

I think that is an accurate assessment.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Traitor, the movie

TraitorA firm believer in the Holy Quran, Samir Horn, American citizen and former soldier, lives a middle-classed lifestyle along with his girlfriend, Chandra Dawkin. He is actively involved in selling explosives to Jihadis. While in a Yemeni prison, Samir (Don Cheadle) is attacked, and another inmate, Omar, comes to his aid. Both men become close friends, subsequently escape from prison, re-locate to France and elude authorities for some time. Both men re-enter the U.S., meet with Fareed Mansour and Nathir, and together they plan to place bombs in 50 Greyhound buses (one for each State). Using modern sophisticated methods - the foursome recruit 50 volunteers to carry out this gruesome task, quite confident that they will not be stopped in time by the U.S. authorities. Written by rAjOo

This is a great movie! It explores issues of loyalty and faith and international Jihad. It is a fast-moving, edge-of-your-seat thriller and is playing now on cable at Encore on Demand, which I am now getting for free in what I assume is a promotional offer. I highly recommended this movie.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories


Bob Schwartz

Bob Schwartz
By Bob Schwartz, Republican Candidate for the 5th Congressional District

The time is long overdue to discuss the real status of entitlement programs, including: Social Security, Medicare and, also, pensions for government workers. These "safety net" programs have been so poorly managed that they are now at or near bankruptcy. This threatens to significantly affect the lives of millions of Americans.

First, Congress should be tasked with creating and approving a plan by 2012 that brings the nation’s safety net programs into balance.

Social Security and Medicare should receive the highest priority. With respect to Social Security, a shell game was created in the 1960s that has been perpetuated by Democrat and Republican politicians ever since. Social Security was removed from the annual budget and a second set of books was created. This allowed career politicians to “borrow” from the surplus of Social Security and spend it on other programs. The money has never been repaid. Al Gore's infamous "lock box" of the 1990s turned out to be just another game played by Washington. There was no lock on the box and the box itself now holds only IOUs.

Social Security must be returned to the annual budget so it can be accounted for just like all other programs. Politicians must then make the difficult choices that have been clear for a long time: (1) reduce the level of benefits for all recipients, (2) institute means testing based on assets at retirement, (3) raise the age for receipt of full benefits and/or (4) increase the tax on those working to make up the shortfall.

I support an immediate freeze on the current level of benefits while Congress considers the other options. I likely will oppose implementation of some of the options above, such as a tax increase, but all options must be on the table for discussion as Congress works to meet its 2010 goal.

Medicare is the second large safety net program that requires immediate attention. Unlike my primary opponents Jeff Hartline and CeCe Heil, I do not call for the elimination of federal involvement in healthcare (e.g., Medicare, child health). Instead, I believe that these programs can and should be reformed to make sense for the 21st Century.

Much of the needed reform can be accomplished by bringing free market principles into the healthcare marketplace. For example, managed care plans should be allowed to compete across State lines. In addition, healthcare providers should post quality and cost data allowing informed consumers to make decisions about their about healthcare purchases according to their own needs and priorities. In addition, incentives for wellness and meaningful Congressional audits to identify fraud, waste and abuse should be enacted. Please see the Policy section of for more detail on my ideas for healthcare reform.

Finally, government employee pensions must be reconsidered. For example, a government worker who has contributed $300,000 over 30 years of services may receive more than $3,000,000 in pension benefits after retirement. This is simply unsustainable. A straightforward solution has already been designed by Chris Christie, the energetic and visionary new Governor of New Jersey. Under this plan, all pensions will be capped so no one can receive more than $50,000 per year in benefits and a maximum of $1,000,000 in lifetime benefits. deas like this must be considered as part of Congress’ mission to have created and approved a plan to bring our safety net programs into balance.

Here in Tennessee, we make tough decisions on how to fund our priorities each year while keeping the budget in balance. This Volunteer attitude must be taken to Washington! We will show those within the Beltway that what has worked in Tennessee will work across the U.S.A. The application of commonsense conservative and free market ideas will restore the nation’s safety net programs to solvency, offer a level of security to Americans who have supported the programs for years and, all the while, will help to return our federal budget to balance. ONWARD!

This is the most detailed, common sense, and thoughtful positions I have seen any of our candidates take on the question of entitlements or health care. It is pragmatic and moderate. Our other leading candidates have taken more absolutist position or have been short on details.

Jeff Hartline says of entitlements, "I will work to begin the process of revising these entitlement programs. Specifically, Social Security must undergo radical revisions immediately or risk insolvency. The remaining programs must be gradually moved to the States individually." On health care he says, "I will work towards the elimination of Federal involvement in the provision of Health Care, except for the VA system."

Cece Heil does not address entitlements directly but says of healthcare, "Healthcare is not a function of the federal government."

Lonnie Spivak has a more general statement on health care and calls for repeal of Obamacare and for health care reform. He has left himself room to flesh out his position. He has not taken a position that he must explain or defend.

Please visit the candidates websites linked above to see their full statements on these and other issue.

Whoever the nominee is in August, he or she must win the votes of independents and some Democrats to win the election. While we might wish for someone with clearly stated minimalist government positions we do not need to be so dogmatic that we have no chance of winning the general election. Most people are in that broad middle. They do not have a well-defined political philosophy. If they feel we are moving too far to the left they may vote for someone to the right, but they are not ideologues of the left or the right. They will not vote for a "scary" Republican. The only reason we can hope to beat Jim Cooper is because people are concerned about the abrupt shift to the left in this nation. That does not mean they are ready to jettison Social Security or Medicare.

Let us not forget Barry Goldwater who in 1964 advocated selling TVA, a position that I still thing was reasonable. Republicans abandoned him in droves and voted for Lyndon Johnson. Of course Goldwater also advocated some other "nutty" ideas, but the point being is that you cannot get too far in front of the electorate. Barry Goldwater only carried one state.

To look at a more recent example, President George W. Bush soon after beating John Kerry, decided to spend his political capital pushing partial privatization of social security. He stressed that current beneficiaries would keep all their benefits, and that only younger Americans would get the privatization option. His proposal went over like a lead balloon. I was for it. I think it was a modest proposal, and would have been a step in the right direction but the public was not buying it.

I really do believe we are a conservative nation, but part of the meaning of conservative is not an ideological meaning but a disposition. We are conservative in that we resist radical upheaval. We are conservative in that we favor slow measured steps and resist abrupt breaks with the past.

I hope our leading candidates will clarify and moderate their position . To win in the general election they must reassure people that they are reasonable and thoughtful. Taking radical positions may win the primary, but it will doom your candidacy in the general election. I am committed to support whoever wins the primary but I am really not into tilting at windmills. As I look at the candidates I am beginning to think that Bob Schwartz may be the candidate who could fare best in a general election battle against Jim Cooper.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories