Trent Lott on "How to Lose Friends and Influence People to Do the Opposite of What you Want"

This story is already well documented in the “Logireaders” section, which I encourage the millions and millions of logifans to click on, but I want to highlight a single quote by the former majority leader of the Senate, Trent Lott (R?).

Comments by Republican senators on Thursday suggested that they were feeling the heat from conservative critics of the bill, who object to provisions offering legal status. The Republican whip, Trent Lott of Mississippi, who supports the bill, said: “Talk radio is running America. We have to deal with that problem.”

At some point, Mr. Lott said, Senate Republican leaders may try to rein in “younger guys who are huffing and puffing against the bill.”

A couple of weeks ago I had the unfortunate opportunity to watch cable news. Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, and Bill Maher all supported the amnesty bill, though O’Reilly had some reservations. I generally listen to NPR on my way to work (pro-amnesty), read the NY Times (pro-amnesty), the Wall Street Journal (pro-amnesty), and National Review (mostly anti-amnesty). If Trent Lott is going to get his panties in a wad because Lou Dobbs and Rush Limbaugh go against the grain of what 90% of the media is supporting, well, is it any wonder why it’s so hard for the GOP to raise money these days? Sure hope these guys like being in the minority. Besides supporting Bobby Jindal in Louisiana I have little faith in the GOP.

Republican Debate in Reagan Library

Tonight was the first Republican debate of this campaign which in my humble opinion is getting started way too early. Much to my wife’s chagrin, I not only watched all 90 minutes but commandeered the computer in order to take a few notes. I sort of went back and forth on how to relay my comments a) without being up all night, and b) being just thorough enough not to be boring.

So first, I’ll give my general impressions of the format. Second, I’ll give brief summaries of my opinions of the candidates’ performance in the debate. Third, I’ll give my overall conclusions of the implications of the whole debate. Disclaimer: very little of this will reflect any opinions outside of the context of the debate, however discussion after the fact will undoubtedly lead there.

FORMAT:

First of all 10 candidates is simply way too many. It is nearly impossible to really get a good impression of 10 different people in 90 minutes. Since about as much time is spent asking questions and following up as answering, roughly you’re looking at about 45 total minutes of talk time…that’s, on the average, 4 ½ minutes per person.

The moderator, as some of you are aware is one of my least favorite media personalities, so I will not attempt to hide my bias. Chris Matthews is as full of himself as any one human can be, but with two notable exceptions, most of the debate was fairly well-managed.

The first exception was an instance where Chris literally grilled Huckabee on a comment he made about Romney, apparently about his Mormonism (having trouble recalling the details). Chris asked him at least 5 times to justify this previous quote.

The second exception was way more sneaky. Chris went back to Giuliani 4 times with a question about his abortion stance, and did so under the pretense of giving him a chance to “clarify” his position on the subject. Finally Giuliani was forced to state his Pro-Choice stance, his obviously weakest conservative issue, and Chris left him alone. (I wanted to turn it off at one opint because it looked like Chris was simply going to play Hardball with 10 people.)

The questions were varied (coming from Chris himself, from some other guy from Politico.com and apparently from a forum on the Internet), and ranged from the rather obvious, “Who do you think would make the best candidate for President and why?” to the goofy, “What do you think about the idea of Bill Clinton being back in the White House?” to the stupid, “What do you like least about this country?”

CANDIDATES

Fmr Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney
Good Moment: nothing stands out.
Bad Moment: nothing stands out.
Overall: very, very polished.

TX Congressman Ron Paul
Good Moment: The problem with the Government is that they always seem to want to choose between prohibiting and subsidizing.
Bad Moment: I guess in medicine I had to make tough decisions.
Overall: Said “policmen of the world” way too many times. Seemed just offended by the whole role of government, thus not inspiring anyone’s desire to put him there.

CO Congressman Tom Tancredo:
Good moment: very adroitly separated the term, “women’s rights” from “abortion rights”.
Bad moment: Chris literally cut him off mid-syllable and left him looking like a tool.
Overall: very aware of the angle behind most of the questions. Comes across as an intellectual, sort of a nerd.

Fmr. NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani:
Good moment: successfully answered the (rather from left-field) question on the difference between Sunni and Shiite.
Bad Moment: The twelfth time that Chris came at him (to give him a chance to clarify, of course) with the abortion question.
Overall: Not shy about citing his stats in New York.

Fmr. VA Gov. Jim Gilmore:
Good moment: Karl Rove is not the issue.
Bad moment: nothing stands out.
Overall: struck a very consistent theme of consistent unwavering conservative.

Fmr. WI Gov. Tommy Thompson:
Good moment: 1900 vetoes as governor
Bad Moment: None stick out
Overall: When I was a governor…

KS Sen. Sam Brownback:
Good moment: This is a coalition party, different ideas and different views, but we’ll win on issues.
Bad moment: three state solution in Iraq.
Overall: Christian conservative, family values, culture of life…etc.

AZ Sen. John McCain:
Good moment: Gov’t programs must justify their existence, set goals, and meet those goals or go out of business.
Bad moment: I will follow Bin Ladin to the gates of hell.
Overall: tried way too hard to come across as a war hawk and a domestic moderate…seemed like a caricature.

Fmr. AR Gov. Mike Huckabee:
Good moment: Corporate responsibility from top executives AND a great commentary on the role of faith in policy decision-making.
Bad moment: none come to mind.
Overall: most likely the best balance of true conservatism and poise and confidence.

CA Congressman Duncan Hunter
Good moment: talking about manufacturing/industrial base with better trade laws, and eliminating double taxations on exports, AND saying that Arnold winning as a centrist is not good enough, “we need to win the right way”
Bad moment: None stick out…
Overall: (sincerest apologies for leaving him out; he actually did well in my opinion, but I was trying to get this out in a hurry.) He did of course mention immigration a lot and specifically how effective a fence on the border has been.

IMPRESSIONS

Overall, what I liked most about the debate was the focus on issues. There was a surprising lack of hedging and dodging, and perhaps the short time frame contributed to that. Most of the candidates were die-hard died-in-the-wool conservatives except, oddly enough, the two “front-runners,” Giuliani and McCain, and Ron Paul, the staunch Libertarian. The constant citing of Ronald Reagan got a little old (but Nancy was sitting right there, so what do you do).

The weakest commentary came from the “front-runners” which is common (if you have nothing to lose, you might as well speak your mind—but at the top of the heap, you have market share to worry about), however the “alternative candidates were delightful at times expressing what a whole lot of conservatives have been thinking and acknowledging that the losses of the Republican party have not been due to too little “centrist” government.

SUPERLATIVES

Most comical: John McCain, who just came across as a fist-pounding amateur.

Most surprising: Tancredo, as he has historically had a tendency to get a little too excited, but stayed very even keel and very insightful and witty throughout.

Most boring: Mitt Romney, who just struck me as a Ken doll brought to life by Dr. Frankenstein.

Most disappointing: Ron Paul struck me as simply too aggravated and angry. He has a right to be, but anyone who appears to be saying, “I can’t believe I’m even on the stage with these idiots,” does not garner a lot of love.

Most predictable: Sam Brownback. Can you say Conservative Christian, Family Values Guy?

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS

Romney throws Patrick Fitzgerald under the bus for ignoring the real leak in the Valerie Plame case. Paul said he deserves to go to prison anyway because he helped mislead the US into war in Iraq.

Chris going down the line and asking everybody to vote yea or nay on letting Schwarzenegger run for President…not one yes.

Schiavo?—Romney says Congress should have stayed out. Brownback believes Congress should have. McCain says they probably acted too hastily. A great little back and forth in my opinion because they were all undeniably telling the truth.

OK, who doesn’t believe in Evolution?

CONCLUSIONS

Essentially, though, and unfortunately, I don’t think any of the alternatives had the opportunity to really stand out from the crowd, so I don’t think the “top three” will change as a result of the debate.

I have intentionally avoided reading any online commentary on this, but I’m certain this weekend we’ll have the opportunity to read transcripts and see what the talking heads have to stay. Then again, we could simply just enjoy the weekend.

Boehner’s reply

In the Wall Street Journal…also check out the new poll.

In my e-mail inbox

A letter from my dear Senator:

January 13, 2006

Dear John:

Over the past several months, a healthy debate has occurred in our country
about drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). I
appreciated knowing your views on this important issue.

As you know, after a great deal of thought, I voted against drilling in
the ANWR. I thought the risks outweighed the potential benefits. The
United States will never be petroleum independent-we simply do not have
the oil. Department of Energy (DOE) figures show that we are currently 56
percent dependent on foreign oil. The DOE estimates that the ANWR would
reach full production by the year 2020, and even then, it would only
decrease our dependence on foreign oil by about 2%.

We desperately need a comprehensive energy policy, and the Administration
should get a lot of credit for putting a comprehensive package together.
The energy bill that the Senate passed this Congress addressed important
issues, such as electricity reform, nuclear and hydroelectric plant
regulations, energy efficiency standards for buildings and appliances, new
gasoline content standards and many others. These, in particular, are
more important to the energy needs of Ohioans than drilling in Alaska.

While I oppose drilling in the ANWR, I do not believe drilling should be
restricted on all federal land. The federal government is the caretaker
of millions of acres, which undoubtedly contain oil and gas reservoirs,
and I support the President’s efforts to identify potential energy sources
on our federal lands. In less fragile ecosystems, oil and gas exploration
can coexist with the natural environment. I believe that it is our duty
to find these sources and then carefully assess the costs versus the
benefits in each case.

Again, thank you for sharing your concerns. If you have any further
questions or comments please feel free to contact me.

Very respectfully yours,

MIKE DEWINE
United States Senator

Shadegg for house leader

Honestly, I can’t keep up with House politics to know which guy to root for the House leadership, but based on this summary I’d have to pull for Shadegg. I’m a big fan of Stephen Moore and I trust his judgement. I am familiar enough with the Republican machine in Ohio not to trust Boehner.

Open letter to Mike Dewine

Dear Mike Dewine,

I am confused by your continued resistance to domestic drilling, and am concerned as to your stance on energy independence and state sovereignty. Recent spikes in gasoline prices, as well as an upward trend in prices overall, is enough of a concern for the citizens of Ohio for you to do something about it.
Ohio has been a state for a long time, and as a result only a small percentage of the state is controlled by the federal government. The federal government doesn’t determine whether or not southern Ohio can be mined for coal. In contrast, seventy percent of Alaska is property of the federal government. Is Alaska a territory or a state? If it is a state, why not respect the wishes of Alaskans and it’s representatives on this matter? What makes northern Alaska more untouchable than southern Ohio? Moreover, why should I vote for a Republican who strives to maintain higher gas prices when Paul Hackett will do the same thing but be more straightforward about it?
I look forward to your answer to some of these questions and will consider these answers in the primary elections, and next November.

Respectfully,
John Broussard

Posted at 09:56 pm by Johnny B

Posted by BP @ 01/04/2006 07:41 PM PST
It is odd that Alaskan representatives don’t have a problem with drilling in their state. Is this because they just hate the environment and want it to be open season on caribou and wolves? Or is it because they (and those they represent) feel the drilling would help and not hurt the people of Alaska while not harming the wildlife?

Is it possible that drilling in Alaska would not completely destroy the environment? Probably not…I’ve never seen wildlife in Louisiana or Texas…and I’m sure that’s because of all the oil rigs.

Posted by JohnBroussard @ 01/05/2006 08:31 AM PST
The footprint of oil drilling is much less than it was 20 years ago. Directional drilling allows one rig to drill in different directions for miles around, replacing all that icky oil under the ground with saline. Land based oil wells are much less bothersome to the environment than city development. The bigger problem I am trying to address the majority ownership of western lands by the federal government.

Election Day

Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Election Day
I just have to say I hate RINOs, Republicans in Name Only, who run right on election day (and bring up gay marriage and death penalty and the like) and govern and spend like democrats. This is especially common with Senators, but now in Ohio we have a crazy high taxes with surprisingly few services. Now our brilliant governor Taft is trying to issue bonds (the republican version of raising taxes) to essentially write a blank check for the state. Everyone is explicit about saying this is not a tax hike, and of course the democrats are on board. Last year Taft tried this and got hammered, now it is an off-year so it looks like it will pass. Schwarzenegger issued bonds, too, but he at least had a democratic congress blocking his spending cuts. Ohio is run completely by republicans! All of the local taxes that pass are offered in off years, it seems.

Democrats in OH have to be clever. Outside of Cleveland, Democrats don’t have much of a foothold. Their websites are better than the GOP, with printable tickets for the college kids. The GOP website wanted me to register, I guess so they could email me every day. Also the GOP site didn’t have a printable ticket. Not a good sign, I think. Anyway none of the Democratic candidates mention anything about being a democrat.

A good example is Jay Perez, a guy running for judge here in Columbus. I read his bio, a former cop, son of a Cuban immigrant, sounds like a good guy. Then I see this quote:

“As Supreme Court Justice, Oliver Wendell Holmes said, the life of the law is experience, not logic.”

Now all I really know about OWH is that he was the best supreme court judge ever and we should all bow down and revere him. Bar none. No question. But the more I think of that quote, the more I think it just doesn’t pass the puke test. I mean, wouldn’t one have to experience an event to truly judge it? If you are judge in a piracy case, do you have to be a pirate? Victim of piracy? Then I start reading about how Justice Holmes was influenced by Malthus, sheesh, I feel like slapping my 6th grade history teacher. The only thing expanding to Malthusian proportions these days are government spending and regulation.

Posted at 09:51 pm by Johnny B