Wednesday, November 25, 2009


According to Wikipedia, the Democratic Blue Dog Coalition in the United States House of Representatives is currently a group of 53 “moderate-to-conservative Democrats…favoring compromise and bipartisanship over ideology and party discipline”. This organization within the Democratic Party was first created in 1995 and, although “clearly not Southern, some view the Blue Dogs as political successors to a now defunct-in-name Southern Democratic group known as the Boll Weevils…” Again according to Wikipedia, Blue Dog Democrats are sometimes defined as being “choked blue” by “extreme” Democrats from the left, or Congressmen that, when left “outside in the cold, turn blue”

With the 2010 congressional elections on the horizon and clearly on the radar screens on both major political parties, a close look at the Blue Dogs, what they stand for, and where they get their funding, is timely and important. Much is riding on the 2010 Congressional elections. Although former Democrat Speaker of the House Tip O’Neal once said that “all politics is local,” the implications of the 2010 elections are national in scope. With President Obama and his associates, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Harry Reid, apparently transfixed on the notion that capitalism has failed and that the United States should be transformed into a quasi-socialistic society where fifty percent (50%) or more of the nation’s economy should be driven by government-run or supported institutions and services, those who we elect to Congress in 2010 could very well determine whether America, and the principles that made the country great to begin with, will survive as we have known it in the past.

Reagan and his followers have said at one time or another (1) that government is best that governs least; (2) hard work is the key to success in life; (3) each person is responsible for his own actions; and (4) we are not just a bunch of special interest groups that call ourselves Americans, but we are one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all. These are the principles that should drive us as we select who to send to Congress in 2010. All politics should not be local next year.

As stated by Wikipedia, it has been my experience that Blue Dog Democrats, particularly in the South, like to portray themselves as non-ideological and as Congressmen who can “bring home the bacon” to their constituents. But a larger question in 2010 is whether these Blue Dogs can stand up to their Democratic leaders that want to remake America. Can they as Democrats, help fight the war in Afghanistan to win; fight hard and openly to defeat the efforts of their leaders to socialize our institutions, nationalize our health care system, and raise our taxes? Are those Blue Dogs who ask to be elected or returned to Congress willing to state publicly that they will not only abstain but will vote against Nancy Pelosi in her bid in 2010 to remain as Speaker of the House of Representatives? Will they organize with the Democrats and insure that radical Democrat Congressmen such as Barney Frank (D-Mass) and Charlie Rangel (D-NY) remain as Chairmen of the key committees in the House of Representatives; or will they support the Republicans when the House is reorganized? These are legitimate questions that should be asked of Blue Dog Democrats in their races against Republican opponents next year.

There are two Blue Dog Democrat Congressmen in Mississippi who will stand for re-election in 2010. In our next post, we will examine their races and what the Blue Dog Coalition really stands for.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody.

Monday, November 16, 2009


A milestone quietly occurred here last week within the ranks of the Mississippi Republican Party when long-time Republican activist Cindy Phillips announced that she was stepping down as the Mississippi National Republican Committeewoman, effective January 15, 2010. Cindy was first elected National Committeewoman in May, 2000, and has served effectively and with distinction since that time.

I had the pleasure and privilege, as her County Republican Chairman, to second Cindy’s nomination to be the National Committeewoman at the 2000 Republican State Convention; and I remember it well. Senators Thad Cochran and Trent Lott, as well as Congressmen Roger Wicker and Chip Pickering, had all just made speeches and were sitting on the front row, with approximately 1000 Republicans in attendance.

State Senator Bill Hawks (later the United States Undersecretary of Agriculture) made the nominating speech for Cindy and talked about her longtime selfless service to the Party and her wise counsel to him when he ran for Lieutenant Governor of Mississippi. In my remarks, I spoke of how she had found time to help me find Republican poll workers in three remote Madison County precincts which had to be selected only a few days before the State Convention, while at the same time she was engaged in a tough election campaign for National Committeewoman. Dede Baxter of Lucedale gave another seconding speech for Cindy that day and recalled how Cindy, as President of the Mississippi Federation Of Republican Women, had helped her form a Republican Women’s Club in Lucedale and George County, a sparsely populated County near the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

After her resounding election victory through the votes of the State Convention Delegates, Cindy pledged to be an active National Committeewoman and do all that she could to grow the Republican Party in Mississippi and nationally. She has fulfilled her pledge in countless ways, travelled to remote places, and has mentored hundreds of Republican men and women on what it means to be a Republican and how to effectively promote Republican causes. She has also served with distinction as a member of the Republican National Committee and its Rules Committee; and was my trusted adviser during my tenure as State Party Chairman whenever big decisions had to be made.

In short, Cindy Phillips is the quintessential American patriot – one who loves her country and remains convinced that the Republican Party is the best vehicle to maintain those principles that made our country great Thanks, Cindy, for a job well done; and thanks, also, for the memories.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Prior to the gubernatorial elections which were held on November 2, 2009, Larry Sabato, the widely respected University of Virginia professor of political science and political observer, was quoted as saying:

“If the GOP should win both New Jersey and Virginia, then there will be a longer and more pro-Republican spin put on the off-off-year elections, and the commentary will last longer – possibly enabling Republican candidate recruiters for 2010 to score some big catches.”

Karl Rove, in a pre-election analysis, said:

“Tuesday’s election will provide the most tangible evidence so far of how strong a backlash is building and just how frightened centrist Democrats should be of 2010.”

The dust has now settled after Republicans scored convincing wins in Virginia and New Jersey. Republican Bob McDonnell won his election for Governor in Virginia by a startling 17.4 points and in New Jersey, Republican Chris Christie won by a convincing 4.2 points in what was expected to be a very close race, despite being outspent by a 3 to 1 margin. These Republican victories are especially significant because only one year ago, President Obama carried New Jersey easily with 57% of the vote and also won Virginia with 53% of the vote. It is also noteworthy that Virginia is the home state of the current Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, who also serves as the current Governor of the State.

In the aftermath of the election, Karl Rove wrote in the November 4, 2009, edition of the WALL STREET JOURNAL:

“Tuesday’s elections should put a scare into red state Democrats – and a few blue ones, too.” (He also noted that Republicans swept six of seven statewide contests in Pennsylvania as well).

Karl’s basic analysis was that on November 2, suburban and independent voters moved to the GOP (13 points in Virginia; 12 points in New Jersey; and 8 points in Pennsylvania), where they had voted in much larger numbers for Obama one year earlier. His final conclusion was that “[e]ven a five point swing in 2010 could bring a tidal wave of change…[ in the 2010 congressional elections].” Senator Joe Lieberman (D.-Conn.) seemed to confirm Karl’s analysis when he stated that there was “a very large and quick move of independents” away from the Democratic Party and that public fears of the rising debt are at a “tipping point”.

Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi, who is also Chairman of the Republican Governors’ Association (RGA) stated:

“Bob McDonnell and Chris Christie proved that voters everywhere are looking for leaders who focus on growing jobs, keeping taxes low, and strengthening the economy. They showed that by focusing on pocketbook issues, Republicans can win anywhere in 2010.” It is noteworthy that the RGA invested more than $7 million in New Jersey and $5 million in Virginia, in the November 2 races.

In perhaps the most insightful commentary on the November 2 elections (“Voters are Desperate for Political Leadership”, WSJ, Nov.5, 2009), Dan Henninger wrote:

“Welcome to the permanent American Tea Party….That electorates in two politically significant states, led by the widening independent movement, could swing within one year from enthusiasm for electing Barack Obama [to support for two Republican gubernatorial candidates] is simply astonishing. Add another American metaphor to the political landscape: the cattle stampede. Independent voters across the U.S. have become like the massive cattle herd John Wayne drove from Texas to Kansas in ‘Red River’. These voters are spooked and on the run, a political stampede that veered left in November, 2008, and now right a mere one year later.”

Henninger also noted that in the nine months from the failure of Lehman Brothers to the bankruptcy and nationalization of General Motors, the American people were “riveted to news of economic distress.”

My take on all of this? I believe that Republicans, both here in Mississippi and nationally, have a huge opportunity to make a comeback in the 2010 congressional elections and that the voters want to place a check on the President and his associates, particularly Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Americans sense that the country has reached a long-term economic tipping point and are looking for stable political leaders that will not bankrupt the country. Unless Republicans can provide that leadership, the stampede will continue.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


On the eve of two gubernatorial elections that have attracted national attention as possible barometers of the current popularity of the Obama Administration and the potential gains that Republicans might make in the all-important 2010 congressional elections, the special November 3, 2009, congressional election in upstate New York’s 23d District has suddenly burst on the scene and, in regard to the public’s interest, to some extent has eclipsed the New Jersey and Virginia Governors’ races. Liberal commentators and others have taken to the airwaves, as well as the print media, and the internet, in full force.

For example, a blog by Linda Hirshman in the DAILY BEAST (“How the GOP Loses Women”, Nov. 1, 2009) wrote:

“Former Republican congressional candidate Dede Scozzafava cried real tears Saturday as she conceded that right-wingers had pushed her out of the race. Even though her local party had picked her to run in Tuesday’s election…her support for abortion and gay marriage made her too liberal for the new national party. Insurgent Republicans, led by Sarah Palin and Glen Beck, mounted a candidate on the conservative line, and fought Scozzafava so effectively that she turned tail and ran. She then endorsed the Democrat.”

In another November 1 article in THE POLITICO (“Fiasco, N.Y. Republicans deliver again”) Alexander Burns states: “The collapse of Scozzafava’s campaign…is simply the latest calamity to befall the New York GOP and an illustration of the utter ruin into which the state party has fallen.” Burns correctly points out that Republicans now control just two of New York’s 29 congressional House seats, lacks a single statewide elected official, and represents “only a minority of both chambers of the state legislature – the first time since the New Deal that New York has had a Democratic governor and legislature.”

The results of all of the November 3d elections deserve a close look by those of us who wish to see a resurgence of the Republican Party nationally. However, before the dust settles after those contests have been decided, a short analysis should be made of how the New York Republican Party could handpick a congressional candidate whose views are so foreign to the views of rank- and- file Republicans in the 23d District.

It is true that the New York Republican Party has recently suffered defeat after defeat despite numerous scandals within the Democratic ranks (Governor Eliot Spitzer resigned after being implicated in a prostitution scandal; and his successor, David Patterson, promptly admitted to a history of extramarital affairs and drug use). Some say that the New York Party is a victim of being located in a region that has recoiled from George W. Bush and a conservative national party. However, I would offer a different view, based on many personal observations and recent conversations with a group of New York Republican Party leaders who were seeking advice on how to revitalize their organization. In these conversations, I was astonished to discover that in 2008, the New York Republican Party had only three (3) full-time employees and an annual budget of less than $500,000. During my tenure as Chairman of the Mississippi Republican Party, Mississippi had seven (7) full-time employees and an annual budget of over $1,500,000. The Florida Republican Party had over 60 full-time employees during the same period and an annual budget that dwarfed the budgets of New York and Mississippi combined.

These simple facts explain, loud and clear, what is wrong with the New York Party. It has no realistic party organization that listens to the people and can no longer provide a realistic support group for its candidates. Instead, it obviously relies on party bosses to select its candidates, rather than building the party from the ground up (which is when candidates APPEAR, rather than being chosen by the bosses).

When the New York Republican Party reforms itself and begins to raise real money for Party organization and its activities, Republicans will begin to win races once again. The good news is that this can happen rather quickly whenever the leaders of the Party become tired of losing and get serious.

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