Not the kind of safety net we need

December 14, 2012 by

From the "End the Fed" FB group

Michigan – MICHIGAN – is now a right-to-work state.

December 11, 2012 by

Freedom-to-Work-MILate last night, the 2nd of two bill passed the Michigan House moving the state one nice step forward towards economic freedom.

Once Governor Snyder signs the bills, Michigan – once considered the cradle of the pro-union movement – will become the 24th state in the union with right-to-work laws.

While Washington either argues over or ignores the fiscal cliff, states are taking responsibility for their own destinies. I can’t tell you how great it is to see Michigan (you know, land of a now-desolate Detroit and home to much bailout money) tackle some SUBSTANTIVE stuff.

One of the bills dealt with private sector workers, the other with government employees. Both have the effect of banning any requirement that nonunion employees pay unions for negotiating contracts and other services.

Of course the Democrats protested and continue to threaten retribution, but state Senator John Pross predicts that their anger will fade as more jobs make their way to the state. He told the Washington Post, “As they say in sports, the atmosphere in the locker room gets a lot better when the team’s winning.”

Pretty exciting to see the shift in sentiment growing nation-wide. It’s also pretty exciting to know that at least in some way, Utah has had an effect on Michigan, under the watchful eye of Budget Director John Nixon. Hired away from the Herbert administration, his work in Michigan garnered him one of this year’s “Public Official of the Year” award from Governing Magazine.

Yay for good news!

DeMint to resign, all eyes turn to Nikki Haley

December 6, 2012 by

Nikki HaleyIn a move that surprised even the insiders , Senator Jim DeMint announced he would be resigning from his Senate seat in January to take the helm of The Heritage Foundation.

He will be replacing Ed Feulner, who has been president since 1977. In remarks made at the foundation’s headquarters, he said:

“This is a critical time for America and there is no organization in the country, in fact, the world, that is better positioned to convince the American people that the conservative policies that The Heritage Foundation has developed over the years are the solutions to the problems that we face as a nation,”

Speculation immediately turned to who Governor Nikki Haley would choose to replace him. His successor will be named by the Governor – the special election to replace him won’t be until 2014, when SC will elect not one but two US Senators. The top name being mentioned is Rep. Tim Scott, who would become the first black GOP Senator in decades. There are a long list of reasons why he is at the top of the list. Other names already being bandied about include Reps Mick Mulvaney, Joe Wilson, and Jeff Duncan, state Senator Tom Davis, former Ambassador David Wilkins and former Attorney General Henry McMaster.

The Washington Post outlines why they think it’s a balancing act for Nikki Haley:
On the plus side:

On the cusp of her own re-election bid in 2014, Haley gets to make a pick that will have lasting consequences on how the state is represented in Washington. If you think that choice will be made separately from Haley’s own political needs, you haven’t spent much time watching how politics is played.

On the down side:

As we noted above, Haley will be able to make a pick that solidifies a group (or groups) for her own re-election race. But almost no matter who she picks, there will be some within the party who feel as though she slighted their preferred candidate — particularly in a state with as fractious a Republican party as South Carolina. Haley must tread very carefully — not only in her final pick but in the public and private deliberations that get her to that final pick.

Then again, she COULD appoint herself – that could be interesting…..

Will Republicans learn?

November 30, 2012 by

learnI’m worried.

In spite of super-super majorities of Republicans in the Utah House and Senate, we lost races we “should” have won.

I’m worried that finger-pointing and blaming diverts us from being accountable. There’s a difference between learning lessons and avoiding accountability by looking to blame “everyone else”. We often do one without the other – can we reverse that and actually learn without trying to pin losses everywhere but where it belongs?

I’m worried that our chest-thumping blinds us to the cracks appearing in the foundation. Ask the GOP in Colorado if they wish they would have paid attention to the signs prior to the Dem take-over a few years back. The signs were there. The Blueprint was laid. And it’s being ignored.

I’m worried about our complacency and our arrogance. It will cost us, as it always does.

I’m worried that candidates who “got lucky” don’t realize it was luck and not skill that won their election.

I’m worried that our ability to look down the road goes about as far as the next election cycle. There are individual exceptions, of course and thank goodness. But there are far too few.

I’m worried about the circular firing squad, public flogging, eat-our-own mentality that Republicans do so well and so often. Example #1: Mitt Romney. Within nano-seconds of the race being called for Obama, people who had been Romney’s BFF’s – and scrambling for a spot in the new administration, I might add – started pushing him under the bus as fast as they could. Ann Coulter had a pretty great piece last week titled: Mitt Romney was not the problem. Read it. Learn from it. Then stop it, already.

I’m worried about the 100% or nothing litmus test we give to candidates, irrationally expecting our version of perfection.

I’m also worried at the conflicting sentiment that exists that we should never challenge or hold our own accountable, and the pedestal we sometimes often put our elected officials on.

I’m worried about candidates who make campaign promises they promptly break when the election results are finally tallied.

I’m worried that people think that getting better and learning from the past means abandoning our principles. It does not.

I think we need a good dose of this:

The New Republican Party I envision is one that will energetically seek out the best candidates for every elective office, candidates who not only agree with, but understand, and are willing to fight for a sound, honest economy, for the interests of American families and neighborhoods and communities and a strong national defense. And these candidates must be able to communicate those principles to the American people in language they understand. Inflation isn’t a textbook problem. Unemployment isn’t a textbook problem. They should be discussed in human terms.

Our candidates must be willing to communicate with every level of society, because the principles we espouse are universal and cut across traditional lines. In every Congressional district there should be a search made for young men and women who share these principles and they should be brought into positions of leadership in the local Republican Party groups. We can find attractive, articulate candidates if we look, and when we find them, we will begin to change the sorry state of affairs that has led a Democratic-controlled Congress for more than 40 years. I need not remind you that you can have the soundest principles in the world, but if you don’t have candidates who can communicate those principles, candidates who are articulate as well as principled, you are going to lose election after election. I refuse to believe that the good Lord divided this world into Republicans who defend basic values and Democrats who win elections. We have to find tough, bright young men and women who are sick and tired of cliches and the pomposity and the mind-numbing economic idiocy of the liberals in Washington.
Ronald Reagan, 1977

What do you think?

What mattered in the 2012 election cycle

November 27, 2012 by


It’s been almost 3 weeks since the general election of 2012 finally, painfully, blessedly, wrapped up.

For some reason, we as Republicans seem loathe to do the type of introspection that is healthy after a loss. Perhaps it’s because there’s a fine-line between learning from your experiences and placing blame when things don’t go as planned or desired. Learning = good. Blaming = not good.

With that, here are 5 things I think really mattered (besides money and incumbency – those always matter).

1. Data matters. Holy cow, does it matter. The Obama campaign told us what they were going to do. There are scads of articles over the last couple of years talking about how data was driving the 2012 election. Jim Messina, Obama’s campaign manager, took the Obama campaign into new territory (again), where his plethora of data geeks hung out in “The Cave” and analyzed input day in and day out for months. Data is not enough, however. It has to be used! The Obama campaign knew this. So did Jim Matheson. He dug deeply into data – and I mean deeply. His entire campaign was data-driven AND he translated that data into a plan. He worked the plan. He tested and tweaked the plan and worked some more. Other Utah candidates used data to drive winning campaigns as well, perhaps most notably Ben McAdams and Orrin Hatch.

2. GOTV matters. Get-out-the-vote strategies in close elections can make the difference between waking up as a president-elect, or a footnote on Wikipedia. (I know. Ouch.) GOTV sounds SO basic – and it is – yet Democrats beat us at this game over and over and over when it matters most. (Let’s be honest – if you’re down 30 or 40 points, it’s not going to get you a win.) In Utah, I think the Democrats have us beaten on GOTV. I know, I know, Republicans have super-majorities in the House and Senate, have the Governor’s mansion, and have almost all of the federal delegation. BUT – most of those races are decided by convention and almost all are decided by the June primary at the latest. When it really counts, we don’t do GOTV all that well. Largely, we don’t need to know how – so we ignore it or we hope we can figure it out on the fly. Plus, it’s not a “sexy” campaign position, so there aren’t many people scrambling to do the job…….

3. Social media and an online presence matter. Obama won younger voters, plain and simple – and they’re online. You can get some good insight into the level of engagement any given campaign has by looking at their online presence. It’s not a perfect predictor of outcome but a candidate that “gets it” is much more likely to win when matched against a relatively equal opponent who doesn’t get it. Here’s a nugget – the Obama campaign outspent Romney online by a margin of 10 to 1 – and they used data to drive those spending decisions. Messina predicts that future campaigns will be a combination of online work plus old-fashioned GOTV efforts. He says the TV markets have reached (probably passed) their peak effectiveness. Times, they are a’changing, and just like 2008, the Democrats are catching the wave of the future while Republicans are wondering what hit them.

4. Likeability matters. We may not like that likeability matters. We may grumble and complain because it seems so shallow and contrived – but it matters. Who “connects” better? Who would you rather hang out with? A lot of times, that’s who you vote for. It’s all an illusion, of course – only the tiniest fraction of people actually KNOW presidential candidates. A slightly larger percentage know Congressional candidates but the bottom line is, how likeable a candidate appears to be is a determining factor for many voters. Obama had it in spades. Matheson ran “You know me” ads and worked to portray his opponent as someone NOT likeable – because it matters.

5. Messaging matters. “Legitimate rape,” anyone? The limited-government, pro-family, pro-freedom platform of the Republican party is a good one. It carries broad appeal, but we lose the messaging war time after time after time. We seem to forget that all politics is personal. Every voter wants to know why it should matter to THEM. From top to bottom, politics is personal. Why should I care? How does this affect me? How does this affect my family? My friend John English put it well: “The GOP needs to resist the urge of demographic pandering but more importantly, they need to stamp out the appearance of demographic dismissal. Saying “Oh, single women voted 67% for Obama? Eh, they just want big government as their sugar daddy” will do nothing to leave the door open to sway single women in the future.”

We can – and we must – learn the lessons of the 2012 election cycle or be prepared to keep losing races we “should” win.

Thanksgiving Break

November 21, 2012 by


Just letting you know I’m taking the next few days off from political discussions – online, at least.

Have a great Thanksgiving and I’ll be back to politicking on Monday.

Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom

November 19, 2012 by

Illegal hair-do in Utah unless your braider has a license

After a long and grueling election season, I’m tired.

Tired of beating my head against a wall.

Tired of watching good people make bad choices.

Tired of being beat up for taking a stand.

Tired of feeling like no matter what I do, it’s “Same song, 2nd verse” – or 6th, or 10th, or 40th.

After November 6, I took some time off. Read. Played with the kids. Went to the movies. Even went to the dentist. I did NOT go to interim day on Utah’s Capitol Hill last week – but I should have.

Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.
We’ve all heard that quote, right?

It can conjur up mighty images of the battlefield, of Patrick Henry and his impassioned speech, of fighting for freedom in the fields of Gettysburg. More recently, it might bring to mind presidential elections and unelected czars, a fiscal cliff and partisan gridlock.

As it turns out, it applies to the state legislature and little things like hair braiding as much as it does our federal politics.  (Dang it. I already knew that….)

In the Business and Labor committee on Wednesday,a bill was passed unanimously, by the legislators who were there. This bill creates – and requires – licensure for hair-braiders in the state of Utah. In fact, it creates two levels of hair-braiders (regular and advanced), adds in hair-braiding apprenticeships (800 hours or more) and creates a brand-new concept of a hair-braiding school. Imagine that.

The committee did manage to exempt “natural” hair braiding, but if you want to add extensions or even just beads, well, you’re out of luck. (Of course, if you don’t charge, then there is no problem because it is OBVIOUSLY the exchange of money that makes the practice dangerous, right?)

Because it passed unanimously, the bill will be introduced during the upcoming legislative session as a committee bill, bypassing additional committee hearings and having very limited floor discussion.

It was sad to hear the only person who testified for the bill (no one knew it was coming up – that eternal vigilance thing biting us in the butt) was the lobbyist for the cosmetology schools. She said that “we” had worked out a “deal” after the last legislative session. “Who’s the we,” you might ask. That would be the owner of a chain of beauty schools, said lobbyist and the sponsor of the bill. That’s appears to be it. There certainly was no outreach to the people who oppose licensing hair braiding in its entirety.

Some people have asked who is behind the push to license hair braiding. The answer is simple: Follow the money. If you as the owner of a beauty school – or even better, a chain of them – can get the government to require any and all persons who want to practice ANY part of your government-sanctioned monopoly, you can laugh it up all the way to the bank. If this bill passes, then if you want to legally braid hair with beads ala Cleopatra, you need HUNDREDS of hours of training – and that’s the bare minimum. Failure to comply? A fine of up to $1000 for the first offense, up to $2000 for EACH subsequent offense. And ps: even if you’ve been doing “advanced” hair braiding since you were 5, not only can you no longer do it, you can’t teach it to others, either.

If that weren’t enough, the committee threw in another little bonus for the cosmetology schools: eyelashes. Want ’em done? Gotta go to a state-licensed school to learn a whole bunch of stuff you’ll never use but hey! Big brother knows best, even in Utah.

Way to shut down cottage businesses, guys. All that free-market stuff only applies prior to the first Tuesday in November, is that it?

I’m so disappointed. And I just don’t get it. We have good people in the legislature, but this is a mighty bad decision.

Back to my opening statement.

Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. Even when you’re tired.

See you on the Hill.

UPDATE: In speaking with the bill sponsor, Jim Dunnigan, he was clear that a 600-hr license and a 300-hr license ARE a move in the right direction and that even if “hair braiding” is not in the current statute, the definitions of “twisting, locking, weaving” mean that it IS included. Certainly DOPL considers it part of the current licensure. From that perspective – which I understand – he’s right that 600 hours and 300 hours are less than 2000 hours. I still think it’s 300 and 600 hours too many. We’re working on that…..

A post-election conversation

November 14, 2012 by

The day after the election, I joined host Doug Fabrizio, Kirk Jowers, Quin Monson, Robert Gehrke and Jim Dabakis for an hour-long discussion of the 2012 elections.

Listen in here, then let me know what you think.

Techie geeks: Don’t watch this while drinking – even water..

November 8, 2012 by

I laughed. I bet you will too.🙂

The Day After

November 7, 2012 by

To say last night was disappointing would truly be an understatement. Romney lost, Mia Love lost. Dang it. There were lots of other bummers and some nice bright spots….but that’s another post.

It’s also been disappointing and a bummer to see what has happened today: Gloating and some amazing armchair quarter-backing, both locally and nationally. Truly unbecoming.

Mia did a great job, as did Governor Mitt Romney. Props to Matheson and Obama on their wins. I mean that. They really did a great job selling their message and getting their supporters to the polls. But also props to Mitt and Mia for running good races and for leaving it all on the field. Many candidates really don’t give it their all. These two did and I’m very proud of both of them.

Here are some more great things today:

*The weather is amazing! I can’t ever remember this lovely of an early November.

*A good snowstorm is headed our way. That is also lovely in November (not so much in March….)

*We have the greatest country on earth! God bless our republic!

*I have had good friends from “across the aisle” reach out to me today. Big shout-out especially to Maryann Martindale and Jason Williams, but there are others as well. So much nicer than gloating and I very much appreciate it.

*It’s “just” politics. Yes, it’s important and yes, it’s intense, but it’s still just politics.

*Our family has had an amazing opportunity to be deeply immersed in the political process. It’s been a bonding experience for us. No, really. It has. I am very proud of my kiddos and my husband. They joined me in doing what we could to leave it all on the field for candidates and causes we believed in. I have teenage political activists in the making and I couldn’t be more pleased.

*Viva the First Amendment! As a blogger with strong opinions, I have no worries about disappearing during the night and ending up in pieces under a bridge somewhere. This is a very good thing.

*Keeping it in perspective, I didn’t just have to bury my child, like my good friends did on Saturday. Believe me, that is so much worse than losing an election.

*Thanksgiving is two weeks and a day from tomorrow. Christmas is one month after that. Lots of time to focus on home and family over the next 6 weeks. I’m looking forward to it.

Keep it classy, friends, and keep it real. Life goes on.


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