Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Presidential Primary

On March 11, 2008, Mississippi will have its Presidential and Congressional Primaries. While the list of 3rd Congressional District contenders hasn't finalized, those running for President has. So I'll comment on the Presidential candidates. Of course, the GOP and Democratic nominees might be already known by that date. But in the GOP race, it still might be up for grabs (I think Hitlery Clinton will be the presumptive Democratic nominee by March 11th.).

Right now, I have no firm idea who I will vote for in the GOP primary. I like Congressman Ron Paul's libertarian and Old Right stands, but I wonder about the kook base he is attracting. A lot of conspiracy and white supremacist groups are gung-ho for him. I think he is far more intelligent and knowledgeable than any of the candidates running, but I don't think he stands a chance of winning.

Ex-Gov. Mike Huckabee is an excellent social conservative candidate. He is a former Baptist preacher and his stands on the social issues are excellent. But he is a big government advocate. He wants a national sales tax but won't endorse a Constitutional amendment repealing the Federal income tax. He said the national sales tax would replace the income tax. That may be true for a few years. But you can bet your sweet bippy the income tax will be reinstituted. He also wants a national ban on smoking. Plus, he wants government instituted programs on how to teach people to lose weight (Have they ever heard of weighing yourself on a scale?). He's got a list of government programs he'd love to see promulgated. As governor of Arkansas, he was not tight with a buck. I guess he can preach to us when he gives us the nanny state.

Senator John McCain hasn't voted for a tax cut in years. Plus, he gave us that monstrosity called the McCain-Feingold campaign reform act. He's also another big government conservative. He would like to institute national service for all of the nation's youth. Just what we need--another big government program.

Ex-Gov. Willard Mitt Romney gave Massachusetts its socialized health care program. Watch it to become a disaster for the state. He's also one of the biggest flipfloppers you'd ever want to meet. At one time, he was a big abortion advocate. Now he's against abortion. At one time, he was all for gay rights. Now, he takes a hard stand on gay rights. I don't trust him on any of the issues. He reminds me of a fish out of water; flipflop, flipflop, flipflop. And I hate to say it, I have a problem voting for a temple Mormon.

Ex-Mayor Rudy Giuliani did a good job as mayor of New York City. But he's a flaming liberal on the social issues. Sure, he said he would appoint strict constructionists to the U.S. Supreme Court. But his court appointments in New York City were flaming liberals. He worked hard for George McGovern in 1972 and has backed Democrats for higher office. Plus, this guy dressed in drag for a party. Is this guy all there?

Ex-Sen. Fred Thompson was fairly conservative as a Senator from Tennessee. But he was once pro-abortion. He seems to be better than most of the other candidates. He did get the endorsement of the National Right to Life Committee. I'll wait and see on him.

Congressman Duncan Hunter is an excellent candidate and would probably be one of my top choices. But he has no name recognition and stands little chance of traction in the race. He's right on all the domestic issues. Ditto for Congressman Tom Tancredo. But he won't go anywhere.

Except for Ron Paul, all of them support the war in Iraq. As an Old Right conservative, I believe we have no business being involved in the Middle East. It is none of our business. I believe in having the strongest national defense in the world. I also believe we should mind our own business unless it directly affects the national security of the United States. Saddam Hussein was no choirboy. But he did not threaten the national security of the U.S. If he did have weapons of mass destruction, he would have used them on Israel or Iran.

In Mississippi, I would say Fred Thompson has the lead. But Rudy Giuliani has surprising strength here--especially in the urban areas. Many people in my church support Giuliani because they see him as a leader and can get things done--despite his stands on the social issues. John McCain has some support from the military veterans, but the feedback I get is he is too old to be President. And Mitt Romney has little support here. He is perceived as a flipflopper on the social issues and his religion is hurting him among fundamentalist Christians (Our church had a seminar for two Sundays on how cultic the Mormon "church" is. Rest assured: Not one of those people will vote for Romney, especially when they found out he was a temple Mormon. The fact he can baptize dead people and he and his wife can have a spiritual kingdom and rule on another planet blew a lot of people's minds.).

I just may vote for Ron Paul just to express my frustration with the direction the country is going in. But let's face it. None of these candidates inspire me enough to go out and work for them if he is the GOP nominee. (There's no way in the world I could vote for Hitlery.) If this is the best the GOP can do for Presidential candidates, the party is a lot weaker than it appears.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Lack of Candidate Organizations

Yesterday in the Jackson Clarion-Ledger's editorial page, David Hampton had an excellent article on candidate laziness. He wrote about the lack of organization of candidates and candidates mainly rely on big bucks for advertising. He is absolutely right.

The Democratic and Republican county executive committees should be the impetus for an organization for candidates. They should provide the foot soldiers for getting out the vote. Walking door-to-door is a pain in the neck (and feet), but that is the way to get out the vote. Telephone banks are becoming more and more ineffective. Many people are dropping their land line phones and using strictly cell phones, where the numbers are unlisted (so far). And a lot of people don't like being called because the calls are canned or scripted.

Whether the candidate is running for a Legislative House seat or a statewide campaign, he should have foot soldiers in every precinct and a strong organization that can coordinate the campaign. Most candidate organizations do not have that. Instead, the candidate thinks spending the big bucks will give you the victory. In many cases, that is so. But in a close race, the candidate with the best organization wins.

I served on Republican county committees in two states. In the state where I went to college, the requirement was if you were on the Party committee, you HAD to walk your precinct. Each precinct had a committeeman and a committeewoman. The two of them would walk the precinct together and report to the district chairman. And the district chairman would report to the state chairman. I remember giving up ten to fifteen Saturdays every two years walking precincts for the Republican slate. Two of us would walk the street. We'd walk from 9AM to 12PM, from 1PM to 6PM, and then from 7PM to 8:30PM. Sometimes, we'd get the door slammed in our faces. Other times, the voter would treat us to lunch. We would write on our note cards about the houses we visited, the reactions and whether or not there was a need for follow-up. By the way, this state had party registration. On Election Day, we had a caravan of cars to transport voters to the polls. Plus, we'd have precinct walkers to make sure people voted. Usually, the GOP candidate won. Money was not the big thing in the campaign. It was the campaign organization.

Mississippi has Party organizations, but they are not known for walking their precincts. Plus, the Party structure in the counties is poor. Each precinct should have a committeeman and a committeewoman. Now I know that would mean the Party Committees would be huge. In Rankin County, that would be 104 members. But these would be 104 hard-working members willing to work their precincts. The committeeman and committeewoman can monitor their precinct and note changes. This is the nitty-gritty of grass roots politics.

In the 2007, our neighborhood did not receive ONE visit from any candidate or his (her) representative during the general election campaign. In fact, there were ONLY two candidates who had people walking my precinct--- Charlie Ross's representatives and Mitch Childre himself. And that was during the primary campaign.

Money in a campaign is fine. Speaking engagements are fine. But a candidate and his workers should walk door to door on some days. You may think that's a candidate's waste of time. But that is where he connects with the voters and finds out what they are thinking. I know Gov. Barbour did that for State Sen. Richard White (who lost). But very few candidates do that.

A candidate considering a run for office should get his organization together a year or more before he runs. He should have organizations in every county and in due time, in every precinct. That is time consuming, but that is one of the big keys to a successful campaign. County chairmen should have frequent meetings with the precinct workers. I found out walking precincts can be very effective if you have two people working a street. You may have a neighbor you are not crazy about and the other worker could visit him. Besides, the fellowship and exchange of information is much better with two people. These precinct people would report to the county chairman and let him know what is going on. With almost everybody having cell phones, that shouldn't be a problem.

Do you remember Mike Parker's unsuccessful run for Governor in 1999? The biggest complaint was not the money. The biggest complaint the GOP had very few grass roots workers to get out the vote. There was no enthusiasm for the candidate and getting workers was a pain in the rear. I read many an article about the GOP having very few volunteers to walk the precincts or phone to get out the vote. A lot of the GOP poo bahs were willing to give the big bucks to the candidate but would not walk the precincts or get friends to walk the precincts for Parker. He was heavily favored to defeat Lt. Governor Ronnie Musgrove. Instead, he lost by a very narrow margin.

Party organization is a new political animal in Mississippi. Until 1972, there was hardly anything called a Republican Party. County Party executive committees exist mainly to certify candidates running under their banner and raise bucks. The Rankin County GOP brags they raise $30000 to $40000 a year for candidates. That is very impressive. But how many of them are willing to walk the precincts to get out the vote? I have found out voters like that one-on-one contact. They are much more likely to vote for the candidate you walk for.

For a very effective Party Committee, there should be a committeeman and committeewoman from every precinct. In many Party Committees, many small areas are shut out and have no representation on the Committee. Not only does that create resentment in the area that has been shut out, it could mean that precinct may not be worked during the election campaign (Admittedly, it may be nearly impossible to find a person from that area.). Party caucuses in that precinct would elect the committeeman and committeewoman. The next week the newly elected precinct people would elect officers for the Party executive committee and delegates to the state Party convention.

Yes, there are 1899 precincts in the state. That would mean a potential 3798 Party workers throughout the state. That is one strong grass-roots organization. Having Party people give bucks to the Party is great. But isn't it time we brought back the people who walk the precincts and knock on the doors? Both parties would benefit by doing that. And maybe politics can get back to the grass roots as it used to be.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

My Take on the Nov. 6th Election Results

It's been a while before I posted. I was at a tax seminar last week and I've been playing catch up with the work in the office. Payroll tax deposits are due on the 15th of the month and sales tax reports are due on the 20th.

I was correct in seven of the eight statewide races. The only one where I was wrong was the MDAC Commissioner's race. I thought Rickey Cole would pull it out. I was wrong. I was surprised at the amount of votes Les Riley got in that race--about 7.55% of the total. In Rankin County, he got 11%. I figured a lot of conservative Republicans would vote for Riley and I was right. This is one race where Barbour's coattails pulled a Republican through to victory (Dr. Moo's 50.8% ain't a landslide.). Dr. Moo (Lester Spell) didn't deserve reelection, but the voters thought otherwise.

I was right in the PSC race and MDOT race. I wrote that the MDOT district was leaning Republican and the PSC district was leaning Democratic. A political maven (now deceased) told me the contradiction. People will vote Republican when it comes to management issues, which is what MDOT is. But people will vote populist, i.e. Democratic, when it comes to setting utility rates. I was right in my calls. (For the boob who commented on my last post, municipal election commissioners know NOTHING on the design of a state district. Municipal election commissioners deal with MUNICIPAL boundaries.)

Rudy Warnock blew the race for MDOT Commissioner with his negative ads in the last week of the campaign. He stated Dick Hall raised his salary and his pension (Untrue. The State Legislature does that.), spent millions to renovate the office building (Untrue. Again, the State Legislature appropriated the money.), and the helicopter (Hall gave an excellent rebuttal to that charge.). It was pretty bad mudslinging on Warnock's part and it cost him a lot of votes.

I have read many blogs giving the base vote for each party. Most of them have said the GOP has a rock-solid base of 40% and the Democrats 39%. These numbers come from the losing race of Shawn O'Hara (Democrat) and Al Hopkins (Republican). The numbers may be true on the Democratic side. But they are not true on the Republican side.

Let's take a statistic to lunch. Almost all of O'Hara's vote came from black voters. Tate Reeves, the incumbent Republican State Treasurer, received 15% to 18% of the black vote. The white vote went about 90% for Reeves. O'Hara spent just $1300 yet he received 39% of the vote! All he had to do was have a (D) after his name. He was considered a "kook" candidate with a reputation of advocating snow cone stands at rest stops. He was a joke. I predicted Reeves would get 73% to 77% of the vote. O'Hara's 39% shows how strong the base vote of the Democratic Party really is.

On the other hand, Al Hopkins was a credible candidate. He spent a lot of bucks and his advertising campaign was very good. He made a lot of strong valid points against Attorney General Jim Hood's trial attorney contributions. He was gaining strength as the election campaign went on. He got 40% of the vote.

But that is not the base Republican vote. To get that, we must go back to the 2003 Secretary of State's race. The Republican nominee, Julio Del Castillo, got 201765 votes or 23.47% of the total vote. Del Castillo was a total unknown who spent very little money (Believe it or not, he took DeSoto County by a landslide.). The winner, incumbent Eric Clark received 610461 votes or 71.02% (There was a Reform Party candidate.). Allocating the third party vote to both parties, the GOP base vote is about 25%. That is it. The reason is there is no guarantee white voters will vote Republican, but there is a very strong guarantee black voters will vote at least 82% Democratic (I'm talking about state office races. I know Sen. Thad Cochran gets a near-majority black vote when he runs.).

In the Governor's race, Haley Barbour hoped to get 20% of the black vote. From the numbers I can see, he got about 9% to 10% of the black vote. That is an improvement over the 6% he received in 2003. But that is nowhere near what he was hoping to get. What helped Barbour was a lower than expected black voter turnout. Barbour's vote was down 55301 from what it was in 2003. But the Democratic vote was down 110024. If the downturn was equal for both parties, Barbour would have received about 54% of the vote. None of the Republican candidates did well among black voters. The best was Tate Reeves' 15% to 18%. The GOP has a long way to go before blacks start pushing the (R) button.

So for 2011, we can conclude the base vote for the Democratic Party is 39% and the base vote for the GOP is 25%. Perhaps all of you out there in the blogosphere can give me a better analysis to what the base vote for each party is. I've spent some time analyzing the vote trying to come up with the base vote. But all of this may change when party registration comes to Mississippi. We'll see.

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Goodman Fearless Forecast

Tomorrow is Election Day. I have followed the state races closer than I ever have before, thanks to the Internet and blogs such as www.cottonmouth.blogspot.com and www.majorityinmississippi.blogspot.com. And unlike other races, I was heavily involved in some of the races. So, here is the Goodman Fearless Forecast.

Governor: Republican Haley Barbour will easily be reelected. Democrat John Arthur Eaves' campaign had much better advertising, but he never explained how he was going to pay for some of his programs. Barbour became a shoo-in because of his leadership prowess in dealing with Hurricane Katrina. Barbour will get 55%-58% of the vote.

Lt. Governor: Regrettably, Republican Dewey Bryant will be elected. It'll be closer than the Governor's race. Democrat Jamie Franks was a far better candidate, but he couldn't shake the "liberal" label. Plus, he never did hit hard on Bryant's liberal stands on the social issues. www.flipfloppingphil.blogspot.com gave Franks plenty of ammunition. Bryant will get 54%-56% of the vote.

Secretary of State: Republican Delbert Hosemann will be elected. Democrat Robert Smith is against voter ID and cleaning up the corruption in many elections in this state while Hosemann is for voter ID. Also, Smith is very arrogant. Hosemann will get 53%-56% of the vote.

Treasurer: Republican Tate Reeves will easily defeat Democratic politikook Shawn O'Hara. This race will show the rock bottom Democratic base of the vote in a state race. Reeves will get 73%-77% of the vote.

Attorney General: Democratic incumbent Jim Hood will be reelected. Republican Al Hopkins is gaining strength but will fall short. He has made traction on hitting Hood's buddies getting juicy contracts and then contributing bucks to Hood's campaign. If Charlie Ross had run against Hood, Ross would have had a much better chance. Look for a Hood-Bryant contest for Governor in 2011. Hood will get 54%-58% of the vote.

State Auditor: Republican Stacey Pickering will be elected. Democrat Mike Sumrall is far more qualified for the post, but he does not have the money or name recognition Pickering has. But this race will be fairly close. Pickering, an ordained minister and a PR flack (Those are two fantastic qualifications for the post which deals with auditing and accounting.), will get 52%-54% of the vote.

MDAC Commissioner: Democrat Rickey Cole will be elected by the Democratic State House in January, but he will get a plurality of the vote. Constitution Party Candidate Leslie Riley is draining a lot of Republican incumbent Lester Spell's vote. In the past five days, I've had a lot of staunch Republicans tell me they'll never vote for Cole but the Beef Plant fiasco is preventing them for voting for Spell (In my office, the staunch Republicans are voting for Riley.). At first, I thought Riley would get about 1% of the vote. But I think he could get about ten percent of the vote. Cole will get 47%-48%, Spell 45%-47%, and Riley 5%-8% of the vote. I know of very few, if any Democrats voting for Riley. But believe me, I know a lot of Republicans who are voting for Riley.

Insurance Commissioner: Republican Mike Chaney will be elected. Democrat Gary Anderson will not win not because of the issues, but because he is black. There are still a lot of lame-brained idiots who won't vote for a black no matter what the circumstances, but they exist. And they are a lot more numerous than just a small fringe group. Chaney will get 51%-53% of the vote.

PSC Commissioner--Central: Democrat Lynn Posey will be elected. This is basically a Democratic district and Cochran held it only because of his name. Plus, Cochran was a excellent Commissioner. He was quick to return phone calls and was always friendly. Republican Charles Barbour has baggage because of his wife's financial shenanigans with FEMA contracts. And the Hinds County Board of Supervisors, which he is one of the members, is the biggest joke in the metro area. Posey will get 55%-58% of the vote.

MDOT Commissioner--Central: Republican Dick Hall will be reelected. He's a poor excuse of an MDOT Commissioner, but he is running in a Republican district. Democrat Rudy Warnock is a very attractive and well qualified candidate, but he will fall short. His negative ads on Hall have hurt him. Hall will get 52%-55% of the vote.

State Rep. Dist. 61: Republican incumbent Ray Rogers will be reelected. Democrat Ponto Downing is almost non-existent in this race. His campaign biography in the Voter's Guide talked more what he would do for Hinds County and Jackson than Pearl, which is 98% of the district. He forgets he lives in Pearl. Rogers will get 70%-75% of the vote.

As for the State Legislature, I talked to a Republican legislator (unopposed) and gave me some surprising predictions. This legislator is very conservative and was a Republican when Republicans could fit in a phone booth. He predicts the Republicans will lose seven Senate seats and will gain three to six House seats. He and I agreed on who would win the state races.

We'll see tomorrow night.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Lester Spell's Attack on Rickey Cole

I don't know if you received the colorful enlarged postcard from Lester Spell on Friday, but I did. It was a doozy. It pointed out Rickey Cole is a liberal Democrat who is not fit to be the MDAC Commissioner. According to the postcard, "Rickey Cole, too Slick for Agriculture," was emblazoned on it. It went on and on how Rickey Cole was some kind of flaming commie liberal while Lester Spell was more conservative than Ronald Reagan.

Let's look at the facts. It is true Cole was a Democratic Party delegate for Gore in 2000 and Kerry in 2004. As I recall, Cole was the Democratic Party chairman of the state in 2004. Wouldn't it make sense for him to be a delegate? The postcard also stated as a delegate to those conventions he supported "Democratic ideas" like abortion, gun control and higher taxes. Now unless you are a space alien who just landed in this state, Cole has ALWAYS been opposed to abortion and gun control. I have followed Cole's campaigns and I also never have known him to advocate higher taxes. Perhaps someone can show me contrary evidence. Indeed, I've listened to him on talk radio and he sounds quite conservative to me. And I am very conservative (Sometimes that puts me at odds with the GOP and President Bush's nutty spending programs.).

Now he has advocated raising taxes when he was the Democratic Party chair. But he was a spokesman for the party, not his own man. When I was on the RCREC for twelve years, I supported candidates I could not stand. Such are the vagaries of serving on a political party committee. Did Spell expect Cole to tell the state Democratic Party he was going to speak differently than what they wanted? I'll be the first to admit there are too many turkeys in the Democratic Party who advocate raising taxes, such as Rep. John Mayo in the Delta (This gobbler wants a 6% income tax bracket. Jerk.).

I'm confused by the postcard's statement "Rickey Cole led the charge to kick conservatives out of 'his' Democratic Party." Huh? As I recall, he wanted more conservatives in the Democratic Party. He was afraid the state Democratic Party would become so liberal it would be a constant loser. Actually, the purge started AFTER he stepped down as party chair. I'd like to see evidence Cole led the charge to expel conservatives out of the Democratic Party.

I will agree with the over sized postcard on one thing: It is correct when it states labor unions, the National Education Association and trial lawyers are the three best friends of the Democratic Party. And Cole has affirmed that. But he was stating fact. They ARE the three best friends of the Democratic Party.

But on no space on that postcard did it state Spell was once a Democrat. In fact, he was a staunch Democrat until the mess on the beef plant came out. Then--voila--he switched parties and now was a tub-thumping Republican. He had no qualms about running under the Democratic Party banner in 1995, 1999, and 2003. He sure thought highly of Rickey Cole in the 2003 campaign.

In fact, he cared as much for the GOP back in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s as my cats care about being near rocking chairs. He had no use for the GOP and he let that be known in county races when Rankin County was still Democratic (That changed with the 1991 elections.). He was a good ole boy Democrat and he thought Republicans were a little bit lower than a bullfrog's belly. In his city races for mayor of Richland, he ran as a Democrat. BUT TO SAVE HIS POLITICAL TUSH HE IS NOW A FIRE-BREATHING REPUBLICAN! What principle. What political courage.

In our office, all but one of us are Republicans (One bookkeeper is a Democrat.). ALL of us are voting for Rickey Cole and so are our acquaintances. In fact, my barber is a die-hard Republican. He said he was voting for only two Democrats--Mike Sumrall for State Auditor and Rickey Cole. He is well-known in the area and is politically astute. All of us think Spell is arrogant for not taking ANY responsibility for the failure of the beef plant.

As for the beef plant failure, wasn't there a goat farm failure too? Now maybe Cole is no flaming conservative like Spell. But since when is it "conservative" to waste taxpayer dollars on frivolous and idiotic projects? At least Cole knows SOMETHING about farming. Spell has been a veterinarian until he got into politics. What does HE KNOW about farming?

Let's do the state a great service on November 6th. Let's vote in an honorable man and a knowledgeable farmer for MDAC Commissioner. Let's all vote for Rickey Cole.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Barbour Versus Posey: What a Choice

Republican Charles Barbour is running against Democrat Lynn Posey for the PSC--Central District. I have never seen two sorrier candidates. It is not which one is the best, but which one is the least worse. Neither one of them is fit to walk in present Commissioner Nielsen Cochran's shoes. Nevertheless, you have to vote for one of them (or leave the ballot blank).

I'm voting for Posey for the following reasons:

1. Since I live in Pearl, I have followed the Hinds County Board of Supervisors meetings. I can tell you Barbour has been a poor supervisor. While it is true he has voted against tax increase twenty-three times, the financial management of Hinds County has been very poor. The only person who has any sense on that Board is Peggy Calhoun.
2. One Barbour is enough. I cannot stand family dynasties, no matter who it is (Barbour is Haley's nephew.). I'm voting for Haley Barbour. I just can't vote for another Barbour. (It's also a reason, but not THE reason, I'm not voting for Stacey Pickering for State Auditor.)
3. Barbour's wife Rosemary has gotten some sweetheart deals from FEMA and has gotten in hot water for financial improprieties. Maybe Charles Barbour had nothing to do with it, but he did benefit financially.
4. Lynn Posey is a populist. I'll bet you he'll give the utilities grief if they try to raise rates. Maybe Barbour will do likewise. But somehow I just don't trust him as much as I trust Posey.

I would have preferred Pearl Mayor Jimmy Foster, who was a far better candidate than Barbour. Also, he has managerial experience in running a city and getting along with the Board of Aldermen. But Foster did not have the money to run an effective campaign or the name recognition (A kitty cat with the name of "Barbour" could get a passel of votes.). So the GOP got stuck with Barbour.

Lynn Posey has been hit hard for voting to raise taxes 110 times. That is the main reason I'm reluctant to vote for him. But because of the above reasons, I think he'll do a much better job than Charles Barbour.

Hold your nose in the voting booth and vote for Lynn Posey.