Congress under fire 1


By Tom Quiner

The American public is disgusted with America’s runaway debt and a Congress unable to do anything about it.

Yes, President Obama has contributed to the mess by promoting and signing bad legislation. And yes, he is a shameless class warfare demagogue, a man who promised to be a post-partisan president, but is in fact the most partisan president in modern history.

Despite Mr. Obama’s shortcomings, it is Congress who spends the money. They deserve the low marks they’re receiving from the American public.

The RealClear Politics poll reveals a staggering 81.7% of voters disapprove of Congress.

The newly released Gallup Poll show that a record 76% of registered voters said that Congressional members do not deserve to be re-elected.

Although President Obama’s approval ratings are an anemic 43.2%, they are still about double Congress, depending on the poll.

Look at the Gallup graph above. Approval of Congress began to rise in 1995 when Republicans retook the House and Newt Gingrich became Speaker of the House.

Mr. Gingrich is getting bashed by the media right now, both from the Left and the Right. However, the poll above shows how the public reacts to results. Gingrich and Republicans delivered results in the 90s. It wasn’t always pretty. But they got the budget balanced.

Next year, the House and Senate races are just as vital as who sits in the White House. After all, it is Congress that controls the purse strings. Our disdain for Congress will continue until they solve the problem of unfunded mandates and runaway government spending.

 

Quiner’s Diner’s readers react to Newt Gingrich … 1


By Tom Quiner

Newt Gingrich is the most interesting candidate in the field. Love him or hate him, you’re going to listen to him and talk about about what he is saying.

I’ve gathered together comments from reader’s of this blog post regarding Speaker Gingrich.

A Des Moines attorney who was a Pawlenty backer this Spring said this about Gingrich to me last June:

“Newt is not viable, by the way. He is running a terrible campaign.”

Interesting how things can change.

A pro life advocate on the Des Moines scene had this to say:

“I like Newt.  I think he’s totally, 100% prolife and knows the political scene in and out.  I love how he can’t be duped in debates, calls a spade a spade and doesn’t allow the MSM to railroad him.  It matters not that he’s had 2 failed marriages.  Wrong choices in love do not necessarily indicate bad judgement in all areas of life.  If that were so half of America wouldn’t be qualified to hold public office! I would be stunned if the Republican party actually nominates a candidate for whom I wouldn’t have to hold my nose before I cast my vote.  Newt could be that man and I would vote for him without reservation based on what I know about him today.”
Here’s what she said about Mitt Romney:
“I wouldn’t trust him any further than I could throw him. He was pro-abortion before it became necessary for political purposes to claim to be pro-life.  Don’t walk away from this guy. RUN!”
A Quiner’s Diner reader who voted for Mr. Obama last time had this to say about Newt Gingrich:
“Newt Gingrich may sound good on tv, may have good ideas,  but I don’t  think I could trust him.  He’s the one who so relentlessly castigated President Clinton for his affair with Monica Lewensky and tried to bring him down with the Starr investigation.  While, at the same time he was cavorting around with a woman while he was married.  Talk about the height of hypocrisy!  I’m no longer interested in Cain either.   If I was to support a Republican right now, it would have to be Ron Paul.  In listening to him he’s willing to make hard and necessary decisions to actually lower our country’s debt that actually make sense to me. .  Plus I think he is trustworthy.  I would enjoy talking with you about Ron Paul, and would even listen to what you have to say on Gingrich.”
I would ask this gentleman, did you trust Bill Clinton?  Hmmm. And Mr. Obama has done a great job at reducing the debt, hasn’t he!
A faithful reader who is a pilot in Georgia weighed in with these thoughts:
“I like Newt. He comes across as presidential. I like what he has to say. And, even more important, I like the way he says it.  He is, undoubtedly, the most qualified candidate in the race with the greatest ability to get the most things done during his presidency. My mom and I randomly crossed paths with him several months back. The last time something like that happened to her, George W. Bush ended up becoming president. I’m just sayin’!”
A Catholic journalist viewed Mr. Gingrich this way:
“Despite the difficulties Gingrich’s campaign has encountered I don’t think it’s wise to count him out. Anything’s possible.A lot has been made about the “baggage” he carries. Does he have some? I’d say most likely, but specifically what that is depends on your particular perspective.

Certain things are deal-breakers for certain people. Vote for him because he’s Catholic? Vote against him because he’s divorced? Those two and many other elements could be debated on many levels. And the idea of a completely purist approach is the subject of controversy in more things than just candidate selection.

It’s just too bad there is so much decision-making based on perception created by the media.

I think Newt Gingrich is the object of significant derision precisely because those who oppose him find him to be a threat.

Really, before we ask, “Is there a spotless candidate,” I think we should ask whether a spotless candidate could get elected with the government and media we have today.

I am supporting another candidate, not because I want to vote against Gingrich, rather, I want to vote FOR my candidate.

Something I heard at a recent gathering regarding Gingrich has stuck with me for some reason. That was: Say what you will about him, any of the other candidates in the field, or anything that’s occurred in the campaign, he’s still the smartest one in the room. Now someone is always going to dispute a statement like that. But this gathering was a diverse sampling of candidate loyalty, and no one said a word in reply.

I hope and pray my candidate wins. If that is not God’s will, my prayer is that it is someone who is smart, as well as someone possessing character and fear of the Lord; because those are all things our country desperately needs restoration of at the helm.”

A retired Des Moines grandmother had this to say:

“To be honest, I’m at a loss for words about Newt’s candidacy!  I think he is very intelligent and surely “knows the ropes”  of politics much better than some of the other candidates.  I have to admit that I was not very aware of things back when the Libs were dragging all the skeletons out of his closet and caused his “fall from grace”.  It’s a sure thing he can lead– for instance, the success of the “Contract With America.”   He’s currently being bad-mouthed about some financial debt, and that may cause problems down the road.  You can be sure the Dems will be digging as much dirt as possible on every candidate!”

A retired employee of the federal government, a staunch Catholic, was short and sweet:

“We have a president who is a great campaigner and is clueless when it comes to governing. Newt is a mediocre campaigner but based on his past, would be excellent at governing.”

A Des Moines college professor reacted thusly:

“I do not know much about Newt. I can say that I think he is very bright—perhaps the brightest of all the candidates.  He is also a very good thinker.  He is clear.  He understands economics. However, I find him to be unreliable, and a loose cannon.”

A Des Moines Catholic Mom said:

“I’m not the one to ask…I like Newt…think he’s so darn smart and tough too…I’m supporting Santorum.  He’s the real deal.”

Finally, a Chicago attorney with Des Moines roots offered a thoughtful analysis of Newt Gingrich in reaction go my blog a couple days ago titled, “Analyzing Gingrich’s baggage”:

“I enjoyed reading your post today and agree completely with your analysis re: the three possible candidates in 2012.  I would take it a step further: if Romney is the nominee, he wins; if Gingrich is the nominee, he loses.  I think this will be the case unless there is significant economic deterioration between now and voting day.  Independents have been hugely important in recent elections, and I think the majority of them (myself included) care more about social issues (which to me means limiting government interference in my life) than whether the top marginal tax rate is 39.4% or 42% (just making up numbers).  I don’t believe a President really has that much control when it comes to the economy, but I am very critical of Obama running up the deficit.  I think it would be a tactical mistake to shoot for the moon with a staunch social conservative, believing that Obama will be so unappealing that he will lose no matter what.

As for Newt, I’m a bit put off by him — maybe that will change.  He’s clearly intelligent and has a better grasp on policy issues than any other contender, but I doubt that I would be able to vote for him because of his stance on social issues.  I don’t have any issues with his divorces per se; I have an issue with his blaming it on his passion for our country.  I also think you kind of lose the right to moralize about “traditional marriage” when you’ve cheated on your wives and have gone through multiple marriages.  I also think — and this isn’t hyperbole — that it would be somewhat of a disgrace if we have a First Adulteress instead of a First Lady.  Anyway, I’m looking forward to the race.  It should be interesting.  I’m sure my thoughts about Newt will evolve as he spends more time in the limelight.
Most importantly, congratulations on your 400th post.  That is a huge accomplishment, and I know you have put a lot of effort into it and are putting out a great product.  I don’t always agree with your positions, but I know that you have really thought about them.  You’ve certainly made me re-think some of my positions, and I thank you for that.  Keep up the good work!”
Lay it on me. What do YOU think of Newt Gingrich and the other candidates in the field? The day of decision nears.

The ulterior motive behind the global warming con 1


By Tom Quiner

The recent revelations of Climategate II reveal the scientific duplicity behind the global warming movement. An international global warming conference is taking place in Durbin, South Africa, right now, with little international fanfare.

The movement has been discredited. As Jim Inhofe, Republican Senator from Oklahoma, says above:

“The message from Washington to the U.N. delegates in South Africa this week could not be any clearer: you are being ignored. And you are being ignored by your biggest allies in the United States: President Obama and the Democratic leadership in the Senate.”

Global warming is relevant and will remain relevant for at least one more year because of liberal politics.

I sat in on a small gathering with former Minnesota Governor and presidential candidate, Tim Pawlenty, earlier this year. He told us he embraced global warming theories for awhile before he took a closer look at the science, and learned it relied on shaky premises.

Same with Newt Gingrich. He called his initial embrace of the issue a “dumb move.” But you can’t blame a lot of folks for embracing global warming, or “climate change”, as it is now known. We were sold a bill of goods. There was a steady drumbeat of media attention and Hollywood adulation for this cause.

Mature analysts who have patiently waded through the hype have poked holes in the theory. Coupled with the latest revelations from Climategate II, we see the issue for what it is: a con job.

The global warming-related legislative priority for President Obama and his party was cap and trade. This would have foisted massive new taxation on America and dramatically lowered our standard of living (even more than Obamanomics has already done to us).

In light of the way the issue has been discredited, has Team Obama backed away from Global Warming/Climate Change?

No.

They are pursuing it with a vengeance through regulatory decree rather than the democratic legislative process by allowing the EPA to impose onerous new regulations on businesses.

Global warming has simply been a ruse to give Big Government more control over our lives. Mr. Obama’s head of the EPA, Lisa Jackson, has publicly admitted that unilateral U.S. effort to reduce CO2 emissions will have no impact on the world situation. Nonetheless, she is moving ahead with the president’s blessing to essentially impose elements of Cap & Trade by presidential fiat.

The global warming religion provides the fig leaf to mask the ulterior motive behind the con: to expand the power of the federal government over our lives.

The principle of a limited federal government as established by our Founders is on the line in the next election in many ways. The Global Warming religion is but one of the battle fronts.

Analyzing Gingrich’s “baggage” 4


By Tom Quiner

One of three men will be elected President of the United States in eleven months: Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, or Newt Gingrich.

Could one of the lower tier candidates like Michele Bachman or Rick Santorum experience a resurgence and win the presidency? It is possible, but unlikely at this stage in the campaign. The polls indicate it will come down to these three.

Each has serious baggage.

Mr. Obama’s baggage is profound. He has been president three years and things have gotten worse. Unemployment has gone up. Black unemployment is horrendous. The economy is running on fumes. Our debt is out of control, and the president’s only solution is to tax America’s most productive Americans, aka “the rich.”

In his State of the Union address earlier this year, the president could come up with only a single cut he’d be willing to make to the budget: block grants to community action agencies, which accounts for a little less than a billion dollars from the budget (a drop in the bucket in a sea of red ink). The irony is that community action agencies (which are not government entities), are on the front line in leading dependent people to independence in the fifty states. That’s the last place we’d want to cut.

The president has added a massive new entitlement, Obamacare, that nobody wants. And taxpayers feel conned by that boondoggle. At the time Mr. Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid presented Obamacare to the American public, they sold it as a way to reduce costs. Once it was passed and we “learned what was actually in it,” to quote Ms. Pelosi, the Congressional Budget Office revealed what conservatives had been saying all along, it is going to be very, very expensive. It will not save the government money; it will add to the deficit.

Mr. Obama has serious baggage with practicing Catholics. His party crammed abortion into Obamacare over their protests. His administration is stripping conscience protection laws away from Catholics, Baptists, Lutherans, Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christians, Orthodox Jews, and Muslims who work in the medical field and want nothing to do with what they consider to be nothing short of infanticide. And now the Obama administration is pushing to make the morning-after abortion bill available over-the-counter without a prescription.

Keep in mind that Catholics all by themselves represent 27% of the electorate.

Want to talk about baggage? The president is rich with it.

What about Mitt Romney? I will preface my remarks by saying I like Mitt Romney. I could vote for him over Mr. Obama in a heartbeat. Like every politician who has been around awhile, he has had some policy flip flops. His flip flops have been on core issues such as abortion and gay marriage, a source of huge concern for social conservatives. And his embrace of Romenycare, upon which Obamacare was modeled, reveals a comfort for big-government solutions that conservatives view as major baggage. In defense of Mr. Romney, he vetoed eight of the most onerous provisions of the bill, but the liberal Massachusetts legislature overrode his veto on six of the them.

Nonetheless, Mr. Romney loses a key point of debate with the president when it comes to the critical subject of healthcare. You can hear the president’s words: “Mitt, we were just following your lead.”

Like Barack Obama, Mitt Romney carries major baggage in this campaign.

That brings me to Newt Gingrich.

I’ve heard it many times: Gingrich has too much baggage. A frequent liberal contributor to the Des Moines Register’s letter to the editor page put it this way:

“I was shocked when I read the latest Iowa Poll that has Newt Gingrich taking the lead among Republicans. How can this philandering man in the party of family values be the frontrunner?”

We will quickly acknowledge that marital fidelity is not an issue to Democrats in light of their tolerance of infidelity, and accusations of indecent exposure, sexual harassment, and even rape, by former president, Bill Clinton.

It is a bigger deal to conservatives, but not a deal killer. Here’s the question: does marital infidelity affect a person’s ability to lead?

Evidence says no.

Just look at the presidencies of Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama. By all appearances, both have been faithful husbands. For that, I applaud them. But they were (and are) lousy presidents.

Ronald Reagan was divorced and was a great president.

Martin Luther King was known for his marital infidelities, but was a powerful civil rights leader who changed America.

One of the great leaders in biblical history is King David, a notorious adulterer who had the husband of his mistress killed.

A good conservative who had been so critical of former President Clinton’s escapades, said to me recently that he couldn’t support Mr. Gingrich. He said he’d feel hypocritical after bashing Clinton all those years.

Comparing Clinton to Gingrich is like comparing apples to oranges. Mr. Clinton took advantage of a young intern in the Oval Office. He was accused of even worse. Mr. Gingrich got divorced twice. I hate to say it, but people get divorced. Half of the country has been divorced.

I don’t see Mr. Gingrich’s divorces as an impediment to his ability to lead.

The liberal letter writer leveled another accusation at Mr. Gingrich:

“How about the fact that he faced ethics violations while serving as the speaker of the House and resigned?”

Mr. Gingrich faced 75 ethic charges while in the House. All but one were dropped. He evidently claimed tax-exempt status for a college course that was viewed as a political endeavor.

What happened?

The House had a hard time trying to figure out if Mr. Gingrich did something wrong on this issue, so they brought in outside counsel who identified two Gingrich infractions:

1. He “may” have violated tax law “by using tax-deductible contributions from nonprofit organizations to teach an allegedly partisan college course.”

2. He provided false information to the panel based on a mis-filed form. For this, Gingrich paid a $300,000 fine.

A year later, the IRS finished their review and found no improprieties in Gingrich’s tax filings.

Newt Gingrich was cleared. All the charges were bogus.

Our liberal writer continues with another bit of Gingrich baggage:

“Have you already forgotten about the luxury cruise he and his wife went on at the beginning of the campaign? “

Is it a crime to have money in this country? If it is, Barack Obama is disqualified. So is Mitt Romney. So is Ronald Reagan. So is Hillary Clinton.

Is the writer critical that Mr. Gingrich wished to take a vacation and spend some time with his wife, Callista, before the rigors of the campaign made this opportunity impossible?

Keep in mind, he took his cruise last Spring, a year and a half before the election. Is that really baggage? On the other hand, the president is in Hawaii for 17 days right now on his umpteenth vacation of the year. I don’t hear many liberals squawking about that.

Mr. Gingrich’s views are crystal clear on the subject of life:

“As I have stated many times throughout the course of my public life, I believe that human life begins at conception. I believe that every unborn life is precious, no matter how conceived. I also believe that we should work for the day when there will be no abortions for any reason, and that every unborn child will be welcomed into life and protected by law. That is why I have supported, and will continue to support, pro-life legislation that not only limits, but also reduces, the total number of abortions, with a view to the eventual legal protection of all unborn human life.”

Unlike Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich offers a complete package for Independent and conservative voters. He is unequivocal on life issues. He is not only a fiscal conservative, he actually balanced the budget when he had a chance to do something about it.

He reformed welfare when he had a chance to do something about it.

He reduced capital gains taxes when he was in a position to do something about it.

He ramrodded the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 which made Congress live by the same rules that business had to live with.

Newt Gingrich has demonstrated that he is an extraordinary leader with a brilliant mind. We need his talents to help restore America.

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Postal politics 2


By Tom Quiner

I’m in the marketing business. I’ve created a ton of direct mail campaigns during my career. I communicate with customers and prospects via direct mail all the time.

I’ve certainly been critical of the post office in the past and will be in the future. I’ve called for the privatization of the post office.

Having said all of that, today I come to their defense. I read in yesterday’s Des Moines Register that on top of all the post office closings around the country, they are now going to offer slower service. First class mail will take two to three days for delivery instead of one to three days.

How did this all come about? You can thank Congress for placing an excessive burden on the Post Office in 2006. They passed a bill called the Postal Accountability and Enhancement law. The law mandates that the Post Office, unlike any other government agency or private business, prefund health benefits for their employees. As a result, the Post Office has had to pay $21 billion over the past four years to fund the health benefits of future retirees.

As the Postmaster General, Patrick R. Donahoe, explains:

“Unlike other American businesses, the Postal Service must pay cash today for health benefits that will not be paid out until a date far in the future. Other federal agencies and most private-sector companies use a “pay-as-you-go” system, paying premiums as they are billed.”

What happens to this money? It goes into a separate fund and is treated as “income” by the federal government, which makes the deficit look less horrendous than it already is. They do the same thing with the Social Security and Medicare trust funds, counting those proceeds as income.

You have read how the Post Office is losing money. It is because of this law. Could you imagine if the government forced other government agencies to abide by the same rule?

Here in Iowa, the Iowa Employees’ Retirement System is only 80 percent funded according to State Treasurer, Michael Fitzgerald.

By the way, I’m not saying that the idea of fiscally sound funding mechanisms for health care and retirement funds is a bad idea. It’s a good idea. But if the government thinks it’s a good idea for the Post Office, shouldn’t they apply it equally to other government agencies? They should have given the Post Office more time to build up their reserve fund. And when they do, don’t insult the taxpayers by counting these funds as income to mask irresponsible Congressional spending habits.