Tag Archives: Beltway

Paul Hollrah Analyzes Upcoming GOP Presidential Debates

EDITOR’S NOTE: Below is a guest post by Paul R. Hollrah, a resident of Oklahoma who writes from the perspective of a veteran conservative politico and retired corporate government relations executive whose life experience includes having served two terms as a member of the Electoral College. Even if you disagree with him, this piece will make you think long and hard.

Editorial cartoon courtesy David Donar at http://politicalgraffiti.wordpress.com.

Editorial cartoon courtesy David Donar at http://politicalgraffiti.wordpress.com.

The Republican National Committee plans to conduct at least nine debates in the 2015-16 presidential primary season, the first of which will be held at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland Aug. 6, 2015. The debate will be co-sponsored by Fox News and Facebook and moderated by Fox News Channel anchors, Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace. And although the RNC is determined to hold far fewer debates than the twenty held during the 2012 primary season, the party has left the door open to the possibility of up to three additional debates if the need arises.

In a July 28 column, Kristol Clear Straw Poll #5, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol expresses what a great many people have been thinking, which is that the GOP debate format agreed to by Fox News and the RNC falls far short of the ideal.

Fox News has announced that, in order to avoid having as many as 16 candidates on the stage at one time, each vying for their share of face-time before the a national TV audience, they will limit the number of candidates to ten. Those candidates will be the top ten candidates taken from an average of the five most recent national polls… the polls to be selected by Fox.

According to one analysis of five recent national polls, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Donald Trump and Scott Walker are almost certain to be selected, while the two remaining slots will be filled by either Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, Rick Perry or Rick Santorum. Carly Fiorina, George Pataki and Lindsey Graham, each polling at roughly one percent, are apparently out of the running for the first debate.

Kristol has issued a fervent plea to Fox News and the RNC. He asks that they please abandon the “poorly-conceived ten-person, one-main-stage format” while there is still time. He argues that there simply will not be a “statistically significant difference between the 8th through 10th place finishers and the 11th through 13th places.” I would argue that there is insufficient reason to arbitrarily exclude any six of the 16 candidates. Kristol suggests that, out of fairness, the sponsors change the format to two eight-person debates, to be held on successive nights, or, in the alternative, two five-person debates and one six-person debate on three successive nights.

In order to demonstrate how the single ten-person debate would deny primary voters the opportunity to discover what some of the best, most capable, but lesser known candidates have to offer, I have developed a rating system which, as objectively as possible, points to some significant strengths and weaknesses in the candidates that the casual observer might overlook.

The rating system I have developed utilizes six separate factors: eligibility, personal appeal, experience, directness, the Trump factor and position on the issues, each scored on a scale of one to ten. (The “Trump Factor” being a measure of the extent to which each candidate has either adhered to or ignored Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment, re: the Trump candidacy.)

A quick analysis of the sixteen candidates produces the following results:

Click on image above to read article that explains the red "0" next to four candidates' names.

Click on image above to read article that explains the red “0” next to four candidates’ names.

Using the above analytical format, the participants in the August 6th debate would be, in order of ranking: 1) Carly Fiorina, 2) Mike Huckabee, 3) Scott Walker, 4) Donald Trump, 5) Ben Carson, 6) John Kasich, 7) Chris Christie, 8) Rand Paul, 9) Marco Rubio and 10) Rick Perry. Those watching the debate on TV would be, in order: 11) George Pataki, 12) Lindsey Graham, 13) Ted Cruz, 14) Rick Santorum, 15) Bobby Jindal and 16) Jeb Bush. Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore has just announced and cannot be properly evaluated.

What is most interesting about the admittedly subjective analysis is that former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who regularly polls at 2% or less because she lacks name recognition, comes out tied for first place with Mike Huckabee, each winning 56 out of a possible 60 points, while Jeb Bush, the darling of the mainstream media and establishment Republicans, comes in dead last. Bush comes in last because: 1) he is not an appealing candidate, 2) he was one of the first to openly criticize Donald Trump and 3) he has a history of pandering to liberal special interests.

To date, only three of the sixteen candidates have distinguished themselves from the others. Carly Fiorina and Mike Huckabee have unabashedly taken the fight to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, while Donald Trump has created a firestorm with his straight-from-the-shoulder characterization of many of the illegal aliens streaming across our southern border.

What is clear is that the same not-dry-behind-the-ears incompetents who’ve managed Republican presidential campaigns since Reagan left the White House are still hanging around Washington, just waiting to see how many more presidential campaigns they can screw up. In the past two weeks they have blindly led at least seven or eight of the establishment candidates to deal with the Trump campaign in the most counterproductive way, saying some really dumb things about a totally fearless man who can always be counted upon to deliver more punishment than he receives… proving once again that it’s not always a good idea to poke at a hornets’ nest.

The Washington inside-the-Beltway political consultants are unaccustomed to honesty and forthrightness in campaign rhetoric and Donald Trump, a breath of fresh air, is now conducting a graduate seminar for them. As a case in point, two young female guests on The O’Reilly Factor on Monday evening, July 27… young women who were not alive when Ronald Reagan was president, but who now market themselves as knowledgeable campaign strategists… were both asked how the other candidates should react to Trump’s surge in the polls. True to their training, both provided the only answer they knew. They said, “It’s time for them to go on the attack. They need to go negative.” That is precisely what Trump’s opponents should not do.

What GOP establishment candidates totally ignore is the fact that Americans, in general, and conservatives and Republicans in particular, have been yearning for nearly thirty years for a presidential candidate with the courage to “tell it like it is.” They’ve longed for a conservative willing to take on the mainstream media, bare-knuckled, a leader with enough “rough edges” on him/her to scare the crap out of liberals and Democrats, both inside and outside the mainstream media. For now, at least, Donald Trump looks like a man who fits that description, although if his approach to campaigning has had any impact at all on more conventional Republicans, the GOP debates may yet uncover another contender or two.

In the meantime, while the establishment candidates are busy attacking one of their own, Mike Huckabee and Carly Fiorina are out there doing “the Lord’s work,” exposing Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for the frauds they are. But if Trump’s method and message fails to teach the establishment a few powerful lessons, then it looks as if some of us old “graybeards,” veterans of the Goldwater, Nixon and Reagan campaigns, will be forced to come out of retirement to show them how it’s done.

SEE ALSO: Off-The-Radar Presidential Candidates Placed in Spotlight and Joe Biden Misses Opportunity for Another ‘Big F—in Deal’.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

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Book Excerpt: Nation’s First Latino President Takes Office

Coming only days after the passage of a controversial trade agreement, recent Supreme Court Decisions on gay marriage and healthcare have many Americans upset with the folks in Washington, D.C., who claim to represent their interests. If you count yourself among them, I think you’ll enjoy the timely excerpt below from Chapter 11 of my recently-released crime-fiction novel, The National Bet:

Click image above to order a copy of the book.

Click image above to order a copy of the book.

With the line of succession to the presidency obliterated, surviving members of the U.S. House and Senate met for five days straight to discuss a one-time, extra-Constitutional means for resolving this never-before-experienced crisis. They were joined by a select number of individuals from outside the legislative branch who had been instrumental in securing the top-level resignations. Together, they worked to select a successor to serve out the remainder of President Obama’s second term.

Minus any smoke signals, several rounds of papal election-style voting took place during an exhausting three-day period until one man, a proven leader without the baggage of a Beltway insider, emerged from the pack.

Governor Franklin G. Rivera was a second-term governor from Wyoming who some people—but not the man himself—liked to refer to as “FGR.” Far more conservative than the three-term president who, decades earlier, had been associated with a similar three-letter acronym, Governor Rivera’s public approval ratings were higher than any other statewide office holder in the country.

With much trepidation, the governor accepted the job just a few minutes before noon Saturday, July 4, 2015.

After taking the oath of office behind closed doors and without fanfare, the nation’s first Latino president addressed the nation at 3 p.m., delivering the first of many difficult messages he would be called upon to share as Commander- in-Chief:

My fellow Americans, many of you have suffered tremendous losses during the past several months. To you, I offer a sincere apology on behalf of every elected official in Washington.

Members of Congress have, with the cooperation of too many American presidents, gotten away with robbery for far too long. They’ve allowed taxing and spending to get out of control. And they’ve allowed government regulation to trample common sense and decency. As a result, we’ve all paid a price higher than most of us care to calculate.

During the next twelve months, I pledge to work tirelessly to establish legal safeguards in our system via which we will do more than simply prevent members of Congress from increasing the national debt. The safeguards I propose will involve imposing stiff financial penalties on individual members of Congress who choose to waste taxpayers’ dollars on any projects or programs that increase the national debt and the burden on our children and grandchildren.

Even more important than that, however, is my top priority—ensuring that all of your assets, taken from you illegally by the previous administration, are returned to you as quickly as possible.

I’ve set July 4, 2016, as the date by which your money, the money that is rightfully yours, will be returned, with interest, to your bank accounts, to your 401K accounts and to your other retirement savings vehicles. It will be a Financial Independence Day when government no longer has its hands on your money.

President Rivera’s speech resonated with the justifiably jaded American people.

After learning more about the energetic sixty-year-old president’s background via biopic news and feature reports that surfaced following his appointment, most Americans seemed genuinely appreciative of the fact his legal-immigrant parents had set a good example for their oldest son and his five younger siblings, all of whom had been born in the United States.

Not surprisingly, they liked knowing Rivera’s parents had realized success as farmers, growing mostly wheat and soybeans on the flatlands of eastern Colorado. And they liked the fact that the new president’s four adult children seemed to be decent, well-educated people not seeking to ride their father’s political coattails.

In addition, they liked the fact he had become successful through hard work, determination and a steadfast refusal to run with the pack when the pack was heading in the wrong direction. And they liked how he seemed to take time to think before opening his mouth to speak and refused to compromise his Christian faith.

Most importantly, they liked how President Rivera’s early actions spoke even louder than his personal history.

In addition to signing an executive order on Day One that banned the use of taxpayer dollars on inaugural activities, he signed another that prohibited all federal employees from participating in inaugural activities, public or private.

The new president also completed the process of appointing cabinet members within two days and warned members of Congress not to waste any time in approving his nominees, saying, “We have important business to take care of!”

During his first year in office, President Rivera worked too hard and slept too little while waging a gallant effort to restore stability. Not a single round of golf was played, and vacations were off limits for White House staffers and all who remained employed on Capitol Hill.

I hope you enjoyed this tidbit from The National Bet. Beyond that, I hope you’ll share it and order a copy to see what happens before and after this presidential moment.

Click here to read other excerpts from The National Bet and my two nonfiction books, The Clapper Memo and Three Days In August.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.