Sep 15, 2010

Rise of The Tea Party

In 1992, American saw the first real challenge to the Presidential domination by Republicans and Democrats since anyone could remember.  A Texas Billionaire threw his financial empire into the ring and propelled himself into debates, across television stations, and into the papers covering the race.  Ross Perot effectively became a viable third party candidate.  He positioned himself to win 19,743,821 votes, or 18.91% of the popular vote.  The battle that Perot fought forced states such as Maine, Montana, Nevada, and New Hampshire to be won by Presidential candidate Bill Clinton, barely.  It could be argued, looking at the map and voter turn out that had Perot not been in the race, and had those voters who supported Perot voted for then President Bush he would have won the popular vote with almost 60,000,000 votes.  This type of win would have likely turned key electoral votes away from Bill Clinton and toward George Bush.  Perot for all his intentions to run a viable third party had in effect taken the White House out of Republican hands and turned it over to the Democrats.  While Perot and his supporters won no electoral votes, they did contribute to changing the outcome of the election.  1992 Presidential Vote Results

In large, Americans have forgotten the race of 1992.  The world went on and eight years later the Gore v Bush battle would dominate the American media, debates, and even lawsuits at the turn of the century.  Ultimately, the United States would once again become “Bush Country”.  Then, eight years after “Bush Country,” American media would stumble across the great debates, lawsuits and arguments for and against Obama. 

Suddenly, enter The Tea Party.  Supported and encouraged by many Republicans, the party appeared to support Republican candidates at first.  Their message is clear, they want less government, fewer taxes, and support of the United States Constitution.  On the outside, they sound Republican, but something is gradually changing those lines.  While initially supporting certain Republican candidates, the Tea Party gradually started supporting their own candidates over Republican candidates.  As of this morning, headlines on Yahoo’s news feed scream “Tea party victory endangers GOP’s goal of retaking the Senate”Yahoo Link.  A Tea Party backed candidate who happens to also be a Republican in Delaware, Christine O’Donnell, defeated Representative Mike Castle, a Republican.  Not only was Mike Castle a Republican, but he was also a longtime Representative.   The Tea Party has effectively gone from a “party” or demonstration group to what could be considered a viable “third party” capable of swaying votes within the Republican lines severely. 

An old saying is “history repeats itself.”  If that saying is true, and it has been argued to be so on several occasions, then the American political landscape may well be on its way to a repeat of the 1992 Presidential elections.  Considering that Sarah Palin, current Republican, supports Tea Party candidates.  It is possible that if Mrs. Palin does not obtain a position on the Republican ticket for 2012 that she may option out to represent the Tea Party.  It would be an easy transition for her considering that she will have the rest of 2010, 2011 and early 2012 to support both Republican and Tea Party candidates.  She can basically walk the line until it is time to represent one group or the other.  To further propel the Tea Party, not only do they have the victories right now in 2010, but they also have all of 2011 and part of 2012 to build support, financial resources, and the momentum needed to push their third party candidate into the spotlight. 

If the Tea Party becomes the third party of the 2012 race, they will no doubt pull their support largely from Republican voters.  Once they pull voters from the Republican supported ticket, they will force the same outcome that Ross Perot forced in 1992.  States that Republicans should win will suddenly become won or lost by small percentage margins.  In the end, a split of Republican support between a Tea Party candidate and a Republican candidate will allow the Democratic party to carry the needed votes on both the popular level and the electoral level.  The end result will be four more years of Obama in the White House, and that is a result that neither Tea Party or the Republican Party supporters want to endure.

Sep 14, 2010

Beth Anne Rankin Turns Up The Heat on Ross

A statement from Jim Harris, Director of Communications for Beth Anne Rankin for Congress:

Career politician Mike Ross is starting to feel the heat for all the liberal votes he has cast while in Congress. That is why he sent out his “myth list” Monday. He hopes voters will not go to the record and see that he is not the conservative as he claims.

With the polls showing he has dropped to 49 percent, he is desperate to muddy the waters

Here are the truths to disprove the “myths” he released:

MYTH: Miss Rankin says Mike Ross has voted for Nancy Pelosi four times, but what she doesn’t say is that Nancy Pelosi was unopposed on the Democratic ballot.

TRUTH: The Speaker of the House sets the congressional agenda for the next two years. The question of who is elected Speaker determines if liberal or conservative legislation gets brought up for votes.

Mike Ross can try to run away from his four votes to make Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the House by saying there wasn’t another Democrat on the ballot. That does not change the fact that Ross voted for Pelosi. It does not change the fact that voting for Ross in November is giving Pelosi another vote for Speaker in January 2011. A vote for Mike Ross is a vote for Nancy Pelosi.

Look at the issues that are important to Arkansans:

Abortion: The National Right to Life Committee rating on Pelosi is zero. 

Gay rights: Pelosi opposes a constitutional amendment defining marriage as one-man-one-woman and votes 100 percent of the time with the Human Rights Campaign, the largest national gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender organization.

Illegal immigration:  Pelosi opposes building a fence along the border with Mexico and supports amnesty for illegal aliens.  

Gun control: Pelosi has an F grade from the National Rifle Association.

Pro-family: The Christian Coalition says Pelosi votes pro-family only 8 percent of the time.

Taxes: Pelosi doesn’t just want the Bush Tax Cuts to expire; she supports repeal of those tax cuts.

If re-elected, Ross will once again vote to put Pelosi in charge of setting the agenda for the House of Representatives. A vote for Ross is a vote for Pelosi.

MYTH: Miss Rankin says Mike Ross has voted with his party 96% of the time, but what she doesn’t say is these totals include procedural votes, such as quorum calls and motions to adjourn, recess or to approve the congressional record.

TRUTH: What Beth Anne really says – and Ross ought to know this since he has someone video tape each of her public appearances – is that from the start of the current Congress until the day she filed, Ross voted with Pelosi 94.6 percent of the time. That is a matter of public record. Ross says he is a conservative Democrat but votes that often with Pelosi. He talks the conservative talk, but doesn’t walk the conservative walk.

MYTH: Miss Rankin says Mike Ross is not a fiscal conservative, despite local, state and national headlines and a voting record to the contrary.

TRUTH: Does he mean votes like the one of April 29, 2009? Ross voted for the original Obama budget. Ross was one of 223 Democrats who voted to pass Senate Concurrent Resolution 13 and all the fiscal irresponsibility it contained.

Maybe he means the Jan. 28, 2009 vote for the stimulus bill where Democrats promised it would keep the national unemployment level under 8 percent. It has since gone above 10 percent and currently is 9.7 percent. The stimulus bill is a failure that ran up the federal debt. Ross voted for the stimulus bill. There are still millions of dollars provided in that bill that are unspent. Expect Ross and other Democrats to be handing that money out in the next seven weeks to try and buy votes with our own tax dollars.

The “Blue Dog” congressman should be guarding the federal budget, but he didn’t bark while the federal debt swelled to a record $13.3 trillion – the real source of our economic woes. You don’t keep a dog who doesn’t bark to alert you to danger. It is time for the voters to send Ross back to Prescott to live under the laws he has voted on the last 10 years.

MYTH: Miss Rankin says Mike Ross could have stopped the health care bill in committee, despite the fact that the bill that became law never even went through Mike’s committee.

TRUTH: Please check this link to the Washington Post story on Aug. 1, 2009. Ross clearly voted for Pelosi-backed health care bill in committee.

Washington Post

If Ross is so against that health care bill, why won’t he vote to repeal it? Beth Anne will vote to repeal it and replace it. If a Presidential veto blocks this, she will vote to defund it.

Ross claims to be a leader of the “Blue Dogs” and lead that group to vote against it. The record shows most of those “Blue Dogs” voted for it. So much for his claim of being a “leader.”

MYTH: Miss Rankin says Nancy Pelosi “let” Mike Ross vote no on health care reform because she had the votes to pass it without him, despite Mike publicly announcing his vote more than two months before the vote took place.

TRUTH: By the time Pelosi’s heath care bill came to a vote on the floor of the House, she didn’t need Ross’ vote. She needed his vote in the House Energy and Commerce Committee when it passed out of committee on a 31-28 vote. If Ross had voted against it and convinced one other Democrat on that committee to vote against, it would have failed. The fact is Ross gave her his vote when she needed it the most. The Fourth District does not need a congressman who picks party over principal.

MYTH:  Miss Rankin says Mike Ross voted for the Obama budget; however, Congress never votes on the President’s budget.

TRUTH: With almost 10 years in Congress one would think Ross would understand how the system works. The President submits a budget to Congress. There is a budget process, but it starts with the President’s budget. As pointed out above, Ross voted for it in Roll Call Vote 216. It is public record and Ross can’t run away from his many liberal votes. His claim that he has to vote certain ways because he is a Democrat is no defense. Fourth District voters have an opportunity to vote for Beth Anne, who is not and never will be Pelosi’s lap dog.

MYTH:   Miss Rankin has criticized Mike Ross on his vote for the stimulus package – the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act – arguing it’s done nothing for Arkansas.  Tell that to the 232,000 working families in our congressional district that received an $800 per year tax cut, and the state of Arkansas, which received billions in aid for schools, Medicaid, community colleges and universities, roads, bridges, police and fire departments and more.

TRUTH: The stimulus bill failed to do what they promised it would do. The Fourth District will always accept federal dollars, when flowing, for noble causes. But that does not change the face that the bill failed to accomplish the mission used to sell it to the American people. It is a bad bill. It is bad economics. It is bad governing. Ross and Pelosi were among those selling the bill to the American people on the premise it would hold unemployment below 8 percent. Look at the national unemployment figures. Why is Ross so proud of voting for this failure?

MYTH: Miss Rankin says Mike Ross doesn’t listen to his constituents, despite Mike Ross’ intense town hall schedule.

TRUTH: Just because Ross holds town hall meetings doesn’t mean he is listening. Beth Anne has also been holding a series of town hall meetings and people are telling her Ross doesn’t listen to them. When you look at Ross’s pro-Pelosi voting record, you understand they are right.

MYTH:  Miss Rankin says Mike Ross isn’t accurate about her position on Social Security, yet she has publicly stated that she would have “preferred” Social Security privatization and wants to either “raise the age limit” or “reduce its benefits.”  When asked specifically if she would rise the retirement age, she said “all options are on the table.” Mike Ross has consistently fought off Washington attempts to privatize Social Security and has actively opposed raising the Social Security retirement age or cutting the benefits Arkansas’s seniors have earned through a lifetime of hard work.

TRUTH: “Privatization of Social Security” is the 2010 Democrat scare tactic. Beth Anne has said often she does not support privatization. She said it yesterday (Sept. 13, 2010) at a town hall meeting in Hope. Both the Hope Star and Texarkana Gazette covered the town hall meeting. Check the stories in those newspapers.

Sep 11, 2010

Will We Forget 9/11?

For most Americans, September 11, 2001 started out as a day like any other.  People were going to work, people were getting off the late shift, people were starting their daily routines across America.  This day, however, would not turn out to be like any other.  The day would mark the start of changes across our nation and around the world.  Changes would be seen in simple things like what we are allowed to travel in airplanes with and what we are not allowed to travel with to larger things like the war.  It would also be one of the only day's in America's flight history when the sky would become silent.  Planes were grounded from the smallest single engine plane, to the largest airliner.  Only military planes would fly the rest of the day and government planes.  September 11, 2001 turned out to be anything but a day like any other.

 Another day that started normal for most Americans was December 7, 1941.  Again, people went about their daily lives, unconcerned about the war in Europe.  That day would also mark changes across the nation.  People would watch for Japanese ships off the coast, Japanese citizens would be rounded up and placed in camps, and Americans would use slang terms to define the Japanese people.  Before the war was over, retribution would be painful for all nations involved, including the United States, and Japan would see two large cities virtually wiped out by the atomic age.  December 7, 1941 turned out to be anything but a day like any other.

Today, we remember September 11th, but how many of us living will pause and reflect on December 7th?  The generation that lived the day of December 7th is literally passes away in front of us.  Even people who were young children at the time, are now growing older, reaching retirement and often not reflecting too much on December 7th.  On December 7th, there will be some services honoring the day and the lives lost.  Most likely those will center around the Arizona Memorial.  Sadly, December 7th will eventually be left to the historians to discuss, debate, and remember.  The fact is that there are only so many generations that will be affected by December 7th, and those generations are starting to end now.

Because we have seen such dates as December 7th fade into history almost as "just another day" we must find a way to ensure September 11th does not have the same fate.  There are several ways we can do this.  First, we must teach what really happened on that date and what the results were.  Second, we must push our government, including President Obama, to not simply look at this as a day of healing wounds.  Third, we must insist that the true history of the day is honored by the government and passed to each generation.

Obama and his friends in Washington have forgotten one thing about September 11th that we have not.  The war is not over.  The terrorist that organized and constructed the attacks on the United States are still out there and still planning.  The difference now between September 11th and December 7th should be clear.  We won the war that resulted from the attacks on December 7th and it became time to move on; however, we have not won the war that resulted from the attacks of September 11th.  If we do as Obama would like us to do and go on with our lives, then September 11th will quickly be left to the historians to debate and discuss.  We will find ourselves once again open to an attack from our yet unbeaten enemies of terrorist.  After all, we still know about December 7th because most of us know or knew someone from that generation, but how many remember April 12th?*

* oh, in case you're wondering, that's April 12, 1861 and the start of the American Civil War with the first shots fired at Fort Sumter, SC.  The end result was freedom for American slaves at a cost of over 620,000 lives.  

Sep 8, 2010

Beth Anne Rankin to Host Town Hall Meeting in Hope

HOPE, AR -- Congressional candidate Beth Anne Rankin of Magnolia will host a town hall meeting at 1 p.m. on Monday, September 13, in the Student Center of the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope.  

This is part of a series of town hall meetings Rankin has been holding in the 29 counties that make up the Fourth District of Arkansas.

Rankin will speak on her positions of the issues facing the state and the country and take questions from the audience.

"We once had a problem with voter apathy in this county, but we don't any more. Everywhere I go there are people telling me this country is moving in the wrong direction," Rankin said. "Please join me at the town hall meeting because I value your opinion on the important issues facing our country."

Rankin is a small business owner and seventh-generation south Arkansan who spent seven years working in the Governor's Office for Gov. Mike Huckabee.

As Huckabee's Policy Adviser for State-Federal Affairs, Rankin served as the liaison to the National Governors Association, the Southern Governors Association, Capitol Hill and the White House. Rankin coordinated the Governor's Summit on Economic Development, Play it Again Arkansas and chaired the state-wide initiative for the design of the Arkansas State Quarter, leading the nation in citizen participation.

While serving in the Governor's Office she also served as a Board Member on the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission. Born in El Dorado and raised on the Rankin Farm in Magnolia, she was an Honor Graduate of Magnolia High School, attended Southern Arkansas University and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Ouachita Baptist University with a double major in history and music. Beth Anne is a Nationally-Certified Teacher of Music (NCTM) and launched Beth Anne Productions in Magnolia, an independent music teaching studio.

(Another big thank you to Jim Harris for this vital information)