What turns a tide?

Here the link to my AT piece:


My editor, J. R. Dunn, was kind enough to make some minor changes.  The unedited version is at the bottom.

Naturally I’m getting my ass handed to me in the comments.  These people are motivated primarily by rage at illegal immigration. I’m with them.  The message of Donald Trump is, Secure the border.  Don’t try to secure it.  Don’t pretend.  Cut off illegal immigration, end sanctuary policies, deport criminals and crack down on employers who hire illegals.  That’s for starters.  I hope Kasich and Rubio get the message.  If they don’t, Cruz can beat them on this one issue.  He’s a fool to be talking about shutting down the government, but he’s channeling a lot of righteous indignation on illegals.  Kasich and Rubio have to convince people they’re for real on this issue.  Don’t just speak about it, speak with some passion.  When Trump falls Cruz will be poised to pick up this flag and run with it.  He’s the natural beneficiary of the rage vote.  He’s the only other candidate the Tribe of Trump has any attraction to.  Depending on the timing, he could be at the top of the polls when the Donald leaves the stage.

I don’t care much for Parson Cruz, and I have doubts about his effectiveness as President.  But I think he could win the general.  He’s a lot smarter than Walker or Bush.  Hillary/Sanders/Biden will be an extraordinarily weak opponent, running for a third term on behalf of a discredited President, and a tired agenda.  I don’t think people will ever warm up to Cruz, but we really didn’t like Nixon either.

He’s too hawkish for me, but then so is Rubio.  Foreign affairs is always an electoral wild card.  We’re being pushed by a powerful political tide, but earthquakes can stem a tide, and something overseas could pop out of nowhere.  If it happens at the last minute, whether it’s an orchestrated October Surprise or not, all bets are off.  There’s always personal scandal, like Bush 2’s DWI.  The thing is, with the Clintons, they’ll just make something up, and most of the media will tag along.  That’s their game plan.  Hillary and the resuscitation of her image are a lost cause.  You win by destroying your opponent.

Yesterday afternoon’s email drop is the latest sign that Obama and the Queen have decided that Hillary is expendable.  Someone in the State Department, at someone’s bidding, decided to go back and look again for Hillary emails, and lo and behold.  I stuck in a thumb, I pulled out a plumb.  I get the feeling that Hillary’s health is rapidly deteriorating.  She may not be physically capable of continuing her campaign.

That’s another wild card: health.  Or, God forbid, a crazy person doing something awful.  A lot of things could happen.  But here’s the point.  Something has to happen. The narrative of this campaign is a story we want told.  Something has to change the story line, or we win in a cake walk.

The Church Lady’s out with another column urging the Republicans rid themselves of Trump and everything he’s associated with.  I went back and checked, and sure enough, in 1974 Will was saying Ronald Reagan should go form a third party and take the riff raff with him  — it would cleanse the party.  41 years later, and the Church Lady is singing the same hymn.  Go play with your baseball, George.

And then there’s the Hammer, with the Wisdom of the Semites.  I actually like Krauthammer, and listen carefully when he speaks.  He’s a full bore patriot and a good man.  But I do believe he sometimes conflates the best interest of Israel with that of the U.S., and they’re not always the same.  And he is not, to put it gently, a man of the people.

As Louis Mayer said, anybody who goes to a psychiatrist is crazy.

Sent from Mail for Windows 10 Thu, Sep 24, 2015 at 3:29 PM, fritz pettyjohn <fpettyjohn@hotmail.com> wrote:

“Don Juan of Florida and the Old Pro”  by Fritz Pettyjohn


An analysis of the Republican nomination contest

The spotlight is a solvent, and under its glare the muddled water of the Republican nomination fight becomes clear.  Even now, we can state with some assurance that only two of the candidates remain viable, while the rest are residue.

The three media candidates, Trump, Fiorina and Carson, were never really in it.  In 2016, the most auspicious political year for Republicans since 1920, the Party will not nominate a candidate who has never won public office.  The tweet campaigns of these candidates is just one sign of their triviality.  They are personality and protest candidates, with no record in office, and no hope of winning.  The nomination will not be awarded to a rookie without a track record in office.

The serious candidates are Christie, Cruz, Bush 3, Kasich and Rubio.  Christie’s going nowhere, and neither is Jeb!  Bush 3 has the money to hang around for a while, but he does not have the gravitas, the vision, and the political skill to win this nomination.  He has, at last, owned up that he is a Bush, and this admission he will fade into oblivion.  There is a substantial majority within the Republican Party who are adamantly opposed to another Bush, and they’re not going to change their mind.

With their debate performances, Cruz and Rubio have competed for the insurgent, Tea Party, hard right wing of the party, and Rubio has won a decisive victory.  It isn’t close.  He is, quite simply, far more appealing than the stiff and robotic Texan, who can’t help but look and sound like a fancy lawyer arguing before an appellate court.  Aside from his marvelous speaking skills, Rubio has the persona of a Latino Reagan.  The more people see of him, the more they like him, especially women.

The final round between Rubio and Kasich will decide the nomination.  It is a contest between a show horse and a work horse.  Kasich cannot compare to Rubio in God given political talent, but can compete on his record.  All but an insignificant fraction of voters have any idea of what Kasich has accomplished, and they will be impressed when they are made aware of it.

In the Democratic landslide of 1982, with Reagan at the nadir of his popularity and 11% unemployment, Kasich, then just 31, was the only Republican in the country to knock off an incumbent Democrat Congressman.  He’d met Reagan at the ’76 Convention, and ran as an unapologetic Reagan man.  He remained a Reagan man in his entire eighteen years in Congress.

The federal budget, and deficits, were a very serious concern in the 80’s and 90’s, and, even though in the Minority, Kasich rolled up his sleeves and went to work.  With a small cadre of staff and colleagues he produced alternative budgets to the Democratic majority.  At first they received little attention, but over time the ideas he was promoting gradually became the position of the House Minority.  When they achieved majority status in 1994, and he was promoted over more senior colleagues to the Chairmanship of the Budget Committee, his work was the basis of the balanced budgets which were passed in the late 90’s.  Even with a Democrat in the White House, Kasich and the Republicans accomplished the unheard of.  The federal government spent less than it took in.

His service on the Armed Services Committee gave him the background in military and foreign affairs every commander in chief should have.   He waged war on Pentagon waste, but never wavered in his commitment to the Reagan expansion of the military which brought the Soviets to their knees.

After a quixotic run for the Presidency in 2000, Kasich returned to Ohio, with his second wife and two their young daughters.  He joined Lehman Brothers, where he immersed himself in the world of finance and commerce.  Elected Governor in 2010, he turned the state around, erasing massive deficits, cutting taxes, and promoting private sector growth.  He was reelected in a landslide in this critical swing state, a state that no Republican can win the presidency without.  He accepted the “free” federal Medicaid money because he believed doing so was in the best interest of the people he represented.  That’s what politicians do.  His knowledge of the Ohio state budget allowed him to take this action in a clear conscience.  Ohio will, in the future, pay for this program without federal help.  That’s what he, as Governor, believed was consistent with Ohio values.  Reagan made similar decisions when he was Governor of California.  Other states, with other values, have rejected the Medicaid expansion.  That’s what federalism is all about.  As President, he will not impose his values on the country.  As an ardent federalist, he will leave such decisions to the States, and the people.

Barring a black swan, a Republican will win the Presidency next year.  Who can envy the winner, with such an enormous task ahead of them?  It’s a very big and complicated job.  Turning this country around will take a skilled politician at the very top of his game.

Experience would help.

Fritz Pettyjohn is a former member of the Alaska Legislature and a Co-founder of the Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force. He blogs at ReaganProject.com

Fruth rides again

If we ever get this done, nobody will deserve more credit than Bill Fruth.  He’s back from Wyoming, having put 800 miles on his rental.  The big news is that Nicholas won’t stop us.  It will take a lot of work, and good fortune, to pull it off.  But at least it can be done.

Lew Uhler’s 40th Anniversary of the National Tax Limitation Committee is on for D.C. on 10-20.  There are a lot of guys that Lew has known for 40 years in Washington.  All these guys go way back.  Think of what you were doing in politics, or anything else, 40 years ago.  It would be fun to see all those guys again.  He’s got the House and Senate Chairmen of Budget, Finance, and Judiciary coming, and maybe some others.  The one guy I’d like to talk to is Enzi of Wyoming.  For obvious reasons.  I’m hoping to go.

The Assembly of State Legislators (ASL) is meeting in Salt Lake on Nov. 11 to adopt proposed rules for an Article V Convention. We hear they want a rule requiring a 2/3 vote to send an amendment out for ratification.  This is crazy.  Under current conditions the R’s have 31.  To propose an amendment they’d need to pick up three states that are partially controlled by Democrats.  The result is a watered down nothingburger that is a waste of everybody’s time.  This needs to be stopped.  If this were adopted, it would be used against us in our target states.  We’re asking all of our friends in leadership to send a representative to Salt Lake to vote “no”.

Boehner took one for the team and I admire him for it.  Congress is not going to do anything until Obama leaves office, except limp along.  Everybody hates them now , and that’s not going to change.  The really bad stuff that has to be done will get done before he leaves.  His successor will be a caretaker.  The political calculation is that, under current political conditions, they’re going to win.  So they don’t want these conditions to change.  No need to go on offense.  No drama.  The presidential campaign will decide everything, and things couldn’t possibly look any better for the Republican.  The Democratic field is a joke, and Kasich, Rubio, and even Cruz would win handily.

Cruz is making a miscalculation.  Leading the charge for a shutdown is a political blunder.  It’s going to backfire on him, Mitch McConnell will see to that.

Did you ever know a guy you did crazy things with, things you wouldn’t normally do?  Just to see who the bad ass was?  Queien es mas macho?  I think that’s the deal between Mark Levin and Cruz.  Cruz thinks of himself as pretty bad ass, and Levin claims to be even more bad ass.  And it’s like a challenge to him.  What I’m trying to say is that Levin is a political idiot.  He doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground. He’s a lawyer.  That’s all he is.  A lawyer who thinks he knows everything.  If you’re dumb enough to let Mark Levin whisper in your ear you’re not going to make it.

You see, these guys think because they’re real smart lawyers, they should be real smart politicians.  But it doesn’t work that way.  They are separate and distinct skills.  I’m trying to think of a real smart lawyer who became President.  Taft, maybe.  You’d think there’d be more if the skills correlated.

My macho buddy was my best friend in Alaska, Wayne Cates.  RIP

We only need 32

Looking at Bush 3 on Special Report tonight you realize why people thought he could be a good candidate.  He would, in fact, be a great governor.  But he has no gravitas, no presence, no energy.  Recently he issued a challenge to anyone who disagreed with his praise for his father, “…if someone wants to argue with me, I’ll take you outside and get beat up.”  In other words, he’ll willingly take a beating for his father.  He won’t administer one, he’ll take one.  When I was a kid we’d call him a pussy.  The brain dead campaign thought it was clever, and put out a T-shirt with the manly language, “And if you don’t think so, we can step outside.”  But, of course, that’s not what he said.  Whatever “it” is, he doesn’t have it.

Correction: I had assumed Kasich’s opposition to the suppression of birthright citizenship was because of bad legal advice, and his lack of understanding the law.  Wrong.  I happened to see an old clip of him on CNN when he stated he’d simply changed his mind, and no longer believed in such suppression. He had sponsored a bill in Congress which would accomplish the legal strategy.  He has complete understanding of the issue, and it was presumptuous of me to assume otherwise.

I submitted an article to AT on the race, arguing that it’s between Kasich and Rubio.  If I’m right we only need 32, because at that point either one of them would adopt our cause as their own and carry us across the finish line.  I’d like to think that any of the others would do so as well, but I’m not sure.

Ailes has filled his card.  He wants either Kasich or Rubio.  That’s a big plus. Fox News is a big dog.

I could be wrong, but that’s what I see.  This makes me feel good, because they’re my top two as well.  Ailes is a great man, and a great American.  An Irish-Catholic hard core Reagan man, and smart as hell.  He knows more than we do.  The other big dogs can see what he’s up to.  If they start to follow, it’s going to happen.

If they are the last two standing, it would be an interesting fight.  Rubio’s charisma and Kasich’s irascibility.  Kasich’s knowledge and experience vs. Rubio’s fresh rhetoric.

I think the American people will opt for experience.  The job’s just too damn  big.  And it’s urgent.  The next President needs to ride the electoral wave that brought him to office into the quick enactment of a reform agenda.  He must strike while the iron is hot.  And you need experience to do that.  A lot of experience.  It’s a huge undertaking.

So I think it’s Kasich.  But I want Rubio as backup.  Kasich has been cool so far.  I haven’t seen or heard of any outbursts.  But he does have a chip on his shoulder.  Maybe it’s his background, a mailman’s son.

Actually, I’ve always had a chip on my shoulder, and part of that is definitely my background.  We lived in a former army barracks right by the big Southern Pacific freight yard.  My mother and Aunt Mary worked retail for close to minimum wage, while my grandmother took care of me and my evil older sister.  This made absolutely no difference to me.  My first ten years in Richmond were the happiest days of my life.  These three women competed for my attention.  I had three mothers.  My sperm donor father was long gone, but that just meant I got to do any damn thing I pleased.

I had it dicked.

The Kindly Doctor and the Old Pro

Dr. Ben Carson is a man of deep Christian faith, moral courage, honor, and intellectual honesty.  He has no business running for President.

NBC’s Chuck Todd is a George Stephanophopolos wannabe.   Four years ago Stephie got into the spotlight by insisting on asking Republicans extraneous questions about abortion.  Chuck decided to try his luck with a gotcha on a Mohammedan President.  The Old Pro, Kasich, brushed it off.  Kindly Dr. Carson gave an honest and thoughtful answer, which the vast majority of Americans would agree with.  So he’s “in trouble.”

With who, Chuck Todd?  Give me a break.  The Goddamn media are going to drive me crazy.  I’ve got to stop watching cable news.  The only thing I watch is Special Report on Fox, which I record and watch about half of.  But there they are, Brett, Brit, Juan, some lady and the Hammer.  Going on about how much trouble Carson is in.  What a bunch of bullshit.  And they show Parson Cruz getting all snotty about religious tests in the Constitution.  I swear to God, it’s the look on his face, and the tone in his voice.  There is something deeply irritating about this man.  He’s the kind of guy Robin Williams used to make fun of.  When I saw his scorpion ad I thought it was a parody, a joke.  But he was serious.  He wants us to think he’s got balls because he can get a Goddamn scorpion, a bug, to back down?  Onion, where are you?

You been to the zoo lately, the monkey cage?  You remember how those monkeys sound, when they get all riled up?  Ca-CA! CaCAHCAH!  That’s exactly what Hillary sounded like on a tape they showed.  She’s laughing off some question, but she’s not laughing.  That’s not a laugh.  That’s a monkey shriek.

As predicted, or, rather, guessed at, on this blog a few weeks ago, Jill Biden has given a thumbs up.  He’s lucky to have her.

Fox’s First Daily Politics reports that Bush 3, in bolstering his foreign policy cred, said, “I know how to do this, because, yes, I am a Bush.”  Finally, he admits it.  He thought he could get away with not admitting it, but it was just too obvious.

Why did Walker’s money dry up so quickly?  Because he had no path forward.  He had given it his best shot.  That’s all he had.  And it obviously wasn’t going to be enough.  What is impressive is the speed of his demise.  Could a Domino effect kick in?  Nobody knows anything.

My granddaughter’s stepfather is a world class civil engineer, and he’s told me a lot about how the world works in his business.  He and his competitors bid on contracts, huge ones.  It’s an interesting business.  Because what they’re doing is selling their bid.  It reminds me of politics.  Politicians are like bidders, trying to win votes, not contracts.  They’re selling themselves.  And I’m thinking, If I’m selecting a bid on a complicated multi-billion dollar project, do I want the guy in charge to have any experience at this kind of thing?

You could do an ad.

Risk, and Reward

At the start of a game of Risk you deploy your armies strategically throughout the globe, with the goal of winning control of continents, and eventually the world.  As you deploy, you carefully watch your competitors to understand their strategies, and adjust accordingly.  If everyone is going after Australia, you may want to go to South America instead, or even Africa.  An American Presidential nomination has a similar dynamic.  Let’s pretend we’re Kasich, and we’re trying to figure out where to deploy our limited campaign resources for the make or break month of March.  In order to do this you must make certain assumptions, always bearing in mind that these assumptions may have to be discarded in light of ongoing events.

Kasich’s principal assumption is that he’ll do well in New Hampshire.  This is his acid test, sine qua non.  He has to be in the top three.  What’s truly unknowable is who will have missed the cut in both Iowa and New Hampshire.  Bush 3 and Trump could survive that.  Probably Cruz and Rubio as well.  The rest of the field will fade, quickly.

The following is all back of the envelope stuff.  State parties have been adjusting their primary and caucus dates, and the list I’m working off may be slightly out of date.  I count 19 primaries and caucuses between the first and the ides of March.  You really can’t campaign in 19 states in 14 days.  Kasich’s hole card is Ohio, on March 8th.  His real target is Michigan, held on the same day.  If he’s going to win the nomination, he’s got to be in the top two there.  Then it’s on to Illinois, on March 15th.  This is where he wants a win, and probably needs a win, depending on who’s still standing in the ring with him.

For some reason I think of Massachusetts as Bush/Romney squishy Republican.  If Bush looks weak, Kasich might want to try to compete there on March 1st.

I think he cedes Texas on March 1st, along with Oklahoma.  And he won’t go to Florida, assuming Bush 3 and Rubio are still in it.  But he can’t concede the whole South, so he’ll be competing in Georgia on March 1st, and Alabama on the 8th.  I don’t think he has the resources, at least not yet, to compete in the caucuses of Colorado, Minnesota, and Puerto Rico, or the Hawaii primary.  Maybe down the road.

So he knows where he’ll go, and where he won’t.  What about Louisiana, and Missouri, Mississippi, Tennessee and North Carolina?  So many delegates, so little time.  It may be that those decisions are put off until the last minute.

Kasich’s tight with Ducey, the Governor of Arizona, so he’ll want to compete there on March 22nd.  The dust will barely have cleared from the wars earlier in the month.  A Kasich victory in Arizona would, hopefully, be the exclamation point on a three week span in which he established himself as one of the finalists in the fight for the nomination.

It’s a fun game.  Anyone can play.  Except some people are doing it for real.

When I first went down to Juneau I left Babbie and the kids in Anchorage.  We couldn’t afford to set up a temporary house there.  So I had time to kill in the evenings.  Half the time I was drinking beer with other legislators and lobbyists at the Baranof.  I was the youngest member of the State Senate, and thought pretty highly of myself.  But I played a fair amount of Risk as well.

That first session lasted over five months.  Our sons were seven, six and three.  It was the middle of winter, and Babbie had to suit these kids up like Eskimos to get to the grocery store.

I hit three score and ten today.  My life can divided into thirds.  The first third I was on my own.  It’s been a lot better since then.