The President of the elite 2

By Tom Quiner

I have just completed writing a musical called “The Pope of the People.” It covers John Paul II’s ( JP2) first ten years as Pope (click the icon on the right for more info).

What was striking about this man was the way he connected with ordinary people. I talked with a local priest, Monsignor Frank Bognanno, who was with the Pope when he came to Des Moines.  He was struck by the Pope’s connection with the Iowa people when he came to the Irish Settlement (his parish at the time) and Living History Farms in 1979. He was struck by the Pope’s love of the land. He was struck by the simple humbleness of this man from Poland.

The Pope is one of the most powerful men in the world.

The President of the United States is one of the most powerful men in the world, too.

I can’t help but contrast two powerful men on this night of an important American election.

President Obama does not relate to ordinary people. He comes across as being above us.

He revealed a lot on the campaign trail in 2008 with this comment when he thought no one was recording it:

“And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

We’re “them.” He makes it clear he’s not one of “us.” He’s not a President of the people.

If we’re part of the Tea Party movement, we’re racist.

If we’re concerned about the Federal Government’s inability or unwillingness to enforce immigration laws in Arizona and we pass tough state laws to compensate, we’re racists.

The President and the Speaker and the Majority Leader told us we’d like Obamacare once we learned what’s in it. We hated it before it was passed. We told the President we hated it. They passed it anyway. As we learn more about it, we hate it even more.

The President and the Speaker and the Majority Leader ignore our feelings. They know better.

The President today characterized those who disagree the President and the Speaker and the Majority Leader as “enemies.” We are the President’s enemies. He told us so.

There is only one thing left to do, and that is to vote against the President’s and the Majority Leader’s and the Speaker’s agenda.

They don’t speak for us.

Our President has made it very clear: he’s not the President of the people. He is the President of the elite.

Federal Spending for Dummies Reply

By Tom Quiner

I have a simple and effective way to assess federal spending.  I call it Federal Spending for Dummies.

Use it as a handy voting guide tomorrow when you head out to vote.

Here’s how it works. I take the total amount of money the federal government spends each year, including off-budget items like social security. I adjust it for inflation, putting everything in 1980 dollars. Then I divide by the U.S. population for that year.

We end up with the average amount of money spent per citizen.

“Federal Spending for Dummies” levels the playing field by creating a simple way to accurately compare spending from year-to-year, from decade-to-decade.

Let me put this in perspective for you. In 1980, the year Ronald Reagan was elected President, our country spent an average of $2601 per citizen.

By 2009 the number had increased to $5002 per citizen. We’ve witnessed a stunning increase since Democrats regained congress in 2006. The Nancy Pelosi Congress has increased that number From $3642 in 2006 to $5002 in 2009.

Presidents get too much credit and too much blame when it comes to budgets and deficits. After all, it’s Congress that actually has the power to spend the money.

If you’re comfortable with the direction of the country and with this level of spending, your choice is clear. Vote Democrat.

If you’re concerned that this level of spending is unsustainable, you’ve got to consider Republican candidates. If you’re hesitant about Republicans, I understand. The Gingrich Congress of the 90’s did an admirable job restraining spending. They helped to get our budget back into a surplus. But the spending really ratcheted up in the Dennis Hastert years. Republicans paid a huge price in the 2006 elections for this level of profligacy.

But now Republican spending looks like chump change compared to the Pelosi years.

It’s time for a course-correction. Look at my Federal Spending for Dummies chart above. It’s clear we’ve got to do something fast. Republicans, can we trust you?

I believe the answer is yes. Why? Because the Tea Party Movement will keep them honest … or throw them out.

Why is Governor Christie so great to listen to? 4

By Tom Quiner

He’s a straight-talker. His kind of honesty resonates in this political climate.

The Democrats in New Jersey left the state in shambles. Governor Christie is fixing it. He makes no apologies for the tough decisions that were forced upon him by his predecessor.

Republicans may have the opportunity after Tuesday’s election to fix the spending orgy of the past four years (two under President Obama).

Let us hope they can emulate Governor Christie with straight talk and honest leadership. America deserves it. America is ready for it.

What is the most important vote on Tuesday’s ballot? 1

By Tom Quiner

Brenna Findley at the Pro-Life Townhall meeting

Iowans are faced with huge choices on Tuesday.

Do we replace our big-spending Governor?

Do we oust three activist Supreme Court judges who imposed gay marriage on Iowa?

Do we replace a Congressman with a 100% voting record on the Pelosi index with a fiscally-prudent conservative?

These are all big choices.

But the biggest may be to replace Iowa’s long-standing Attorney General, Tom Miller. And we have a stellar conservative candidate in Brenna Findley to do that and help right Iowa’s course.

I heard Ms. Findley speak at the Pro-Life Townhall meeting a week ago. I was impressed. I was struck by her intelligence and articulation. I appreciated her work ethic. She worked her way through Drake University and went on to earn a law degree at the University of Chicago.

She is the same age with the same amount of experience as Tom Miller had when he was first elected Attorney General of Iowa.

Mr. Miller has staked out clear-cut positions in support of Planned Parenthood and Obamacare. Regarding Planned Parenthood, AG Miller refused to prosecute Planned Parenthood for performing telabortions despite a law that requires a doctor to be present when an abortion is performed. He passed the buck saying it was up to the county attorney to make the call. However, Cheryl Sullenger of Operation Rescue, who filed a complaint against the practice, said this doesn’t make sense:

“Because Planned Parenthood’s telemed abortion scheme involves remotely dispensing dangerous abortion drugs at the push of a button in as many as twelve Iowa counties, it was only logical to file our complaint with the Attorney General’s office since he would be the only one to have jurisdiction in all of the locations involved. There is a jurisdictional question since the licensed physician never leaves Polk County, yet distributes abortion drugs to remote counties over 100 miles away. In which county is the crime committed, the county where the button is pushed or the county where the drugs are actually dispensed? Filing with the AG solves the obvious jurisdictional problems.”

Even before, reading the complaint, Mr. Miller’s office said the Iowa Board of Medicine needed to weigh in on the telabortion scheme before any legal action would even be considered. Here’s Ms. Sullenger’s reaction:

“As for waiting until the Iowa Medical Board acts, it is irresponsible for the state’s ‘top cop’ to continue to allow women to be placed at risk while they delay law enforcement on the outcome of an investigation of a Board that very likely operates under different burdens of proof.”

Ms. Sullenger and Ms. Findley both spoke at the Pro Life Townhall Meeting where Findley said she would not have waited for the Iowa Board of Medicine to decide. She would not have referred this issue to County Attorneys.

She would not have passed the buck on this critical health question for women and their unborn babies.

On another key issue, Obamacare, Ms. Findley said she will join 14 other Attorney Generals around the country in filing a lawsuit to block enforcement of the law’s provisions,  a lawsuit Mr. Miller refused to join. Here is Ms. Findley’s reasoning for filing suit:

“The Constitution does not give Congress unlimited power. The federal government is claiming that it has the authority to force Iowans to buy health insurance under its power to regulate interstate commerce. However if a person decides not to buy health insurance they are, by definition not engaging in commerce and therefore are not subject to the federal mandate. As Iowa’s Attorney General I would take a stand for Iowans against this abuse of power by joining 14 other Attorneys General from other states to challenge this unconstitutional law in court.”

Mr. Miller, on the other hand, equates the issue with a state’s mandate to purchase car insurance. Ms. Findley says the comparison doesn’t hold up:

“Our current Attorney General claims that Congress forcing you to buy a certain kind of health insurance is no different than our state law which requires licensed drivers to carry proof of car insurance. There are several fatal flaws with his argument.

First of all, there is a fundamental constitutional difference between the inherent police powers of a state and the enumerated powers of the federal government. Our country was founded on the principle that the federal government is limited to the enumerated powers granted to it by the Constitution and that Congress does not have unlimited power.

Second, car insurance coverage required by state law covers damage to other people’s cars and property (liability coverage). It doesn’t mandate that we insure against damage to ourselves. State law gives us the freedom to decide whether we want to buy full coverage insurance for our cars. Congress mandated “full coverage” health insurance for everyone.

Third, car insurance requirements are for a voluntary activity, driving a car on public roads. The health insurance mandate imposes a mandate on a condition of life itself—our very existence as human being.

Finally, driving on public roads is a public behavior. Your health is a private matter and the federal government shouldn’t be able to force you to buy their mandated coverage.”

I like Brenna Findley. She has my vote. This may be the most important vote Iowan’s make this year.

My coffee with Brad Zaun Reply

By Tom Quiner

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Brad Zaun at my neighborhood coffee shop earlier this year. We discussed, what else, politics. (For out-of-state readers, Mr. Zaun is running for Congress here in Iowa against incumbent, Leonard Boswell, Democrat.)

A few things struck me immediately. Brad is a regular guy. He’s an easy guy to talk to. Let me tell you something else, he is passionate. He looks at government from the perspective of the little guy and the small business owner. He should know, because he used to own a hardware store.

He goes crazy over excessive government spending. And he has seen a ton of it at the state and federal level.

As a state legislator, he has been a thorn in the side of Democrats who have increased Iowa’s spending to record levels.

Brad characterizes himself as a blue collar Republican who believes in right-to-work laws. He talked about how the proliferation of government regulations strangles business and deters job creation. The Iowa code has grown by three inches since Governor Culver came in.

Brad Zaun struck me as a straight shooter, a good conservative who will do what he says he’s going to do.

As a side note, I’ve always thought of Leonard Boswell as a good guy, misguided in his liberal politics, but a good guy. I’ve been disappointed with Congressman Boswell’s personal attacks on Mr. Zaun. I’d prefer he’d be a straight-up sort of guy and try to defend his liberal voting record. He has been one of Nancy Pelosi’s staunches allies, voting yes on 14 pieces of liberal legislation promoted by the Speaker, including:

1. Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

2. New jobs bill

3. Stimulus


5. Lilly Ledbetter

6. Omnibus appropriation

7. Cap & Trade

8. Stupak Amendment

9. Government run healthcare

10. Doctor fix/budget gimmick

11. Estate tax

12. Debt ceiling

13. Jobs bill

14. Senate healthcare bill

Mr. Boswell lost his way this last session, veering so far to the left that he is totally out of sync with the way most of Iowa thinks.

Brad Zaun has not been tainted by the beltway. He is an energetic legislator who will help to stanch the fiscal bleeding caused by Mr. Boswell, Ms. Pelosi, and the rest of their party. We need a transfusion of new, sensible thinking to get America back on track.

Congressman Boswell can’t run on his record, because too many Iowan’s are just plain scared at the damage being done to our county by the big spenders in Congress.

To put things in perspective, in 1980 the Federal government spent an average of $2498 per citizen.

This year, the estimated numbers are $11,640 per citizen (or $4470 in 1980 inflation-adjusted numbers).

My liberal friends contend that the root cause of the deficits are “Bush’s tax cuts for the rich.”  But that doesn’t square with my analysis of the data.  For the decade of the 80’s, the government collected an average of $22,688 in taxes per citizen.  In the 2000’s, they collected an average of $29,427 per citizen.  (2009 receipts are estimated.  Numbers are inflation-adjusted in 1980 dollars.)

In other words, receipts have skyrocketed.  They are not the root cause of our deficit hemorrhaging.

Spending is the problem. And spending has exploded since 2006, the year Democrats retook Congress.

We need a whole bunch of Brad Zauns to help right the course.