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Saturday, February 19, 2011

What a Bench

Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it." — Thomas Sowell

Early this morning I watched Gov. Scott Walker’s (R-Wisconsin) news conference where he addressed the demonstrations and absent state senators in Wisconsin. Walker gave a strong, eloquent and precise statement defending his position on Senate Bill 13, a bill that, if passed, will remove collective bargaining rights from for civil service employees. He is also proposing that the teachers contribute to start paying 5.8% of their salaries toward their pensions and 12.6% toward their health care plans. I could not help but being impressed with Walker’s delivery and his clarity.

After the press conference I watched a panel show on Fox News and listened to Charles Krauthammer praise the governor for his stance and his ability to frame the issue so clearly. Krauthammer went on to say that while he could not comment of the potential Republican candidates for president in 2012, but that he Republicans had a very strong bench.

Krauthammer’s statement got me thinking about 2012 presidential race who the Republican front runners would be. I saw a weak field for the top spot n the ticket. The media repeatedly touts the usual suspects of Romney, Huckabee, Gingrich and Palin. Right now I see no real candidate that can capture the hearts and minds of the independent voters. However, I do believe the Republicans have an incredible bench.

It’s analogous to a baseball team that is not doing well, but their farm clubs have a wrath of talent ready to move up the majors and replace many of the mediocre, journeyman starters. It’s like the Los Angeles Dodgers of the 1980’s when they brought up that tremendous crop of rookies from Albuquerque; Lopes, Garvey, Cey, Sutton, Yeager, Ferguson and Russell. They were raw at the beginning, but what a team they made throughout the1980’s.

With this in mind let’s take a look at the current crop of Republican rookies. I’ll begin with the Governor’s farm club. According to the Republican Governors Association there are currently 29 Republican governors (58%) with 17 taking office in 2011 (57%). Many of these newly elected governors were out into office with strong support of the Tea Party — scouts for conservative candidates. Who are the best future prospects either for the second place on the 2012 ticket or the number one spot in 2016? Here is my scouting report.

Mitch Daniels, Governor of Indiana. He is 62 years old and the former Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget under George W. Bush. He was elected to his second term as governor by an 18 point margin in 2008. Conservative, well known and understands government spending.

Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana. Jindal is 41 years old and is the 55th governor of Louisiana. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 3 years prior to his election of governor after the Katina fiasco. His margin was of victory was 54% in a four way race. Jindal has brought jobs to Louisiana and became national known when he took on President Obama during the BP oil spill. He is conservative, eloquent and has written a book. In 2008, Governor Jindal was ranked one of the nation's most popular governors with an approval rating of 77%.

Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey. Christie is 49 years old. Christie became the first Republican to win a statewide election in New Jersey in 12 years. Christie, an attorney, previously served as United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey. Christie popped into national prominence when he took on the New Jersey teachers unions. He is a fiscal conservative and minces no words when taking on the government unions

Susana Martinez, Governor of New Mexico. The 51 year old Hispanic governor Martinez is the first female governor of New Mexico,[3] as well as the first Latina governor in the United States. She was formerly the district attorney for the 3rd Judicial District of New. Martinez was elected with 54% of the vote in a three way race. On January 31, 2011 Governor Martinez signed an executive order rescinding sanctuary status for illegal immigrants who commit crimes in New Mexico while protecting victims and witnesses of criminal acts. She is Hispanic, tough on illegal immigration and a fiscal conservative.

John Kasich, Governor of Ohio. At 59 years old Kasich is the 69th governor of the Buckeye State. He previously served as a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Ohio's 12th congressional district from 1983 to 2001. He was a commentator on Fox News Channel, hosting Heartland with John Kasich, from 2001 to 2007. He is a fiscal and social conservative who is national known. Ohio is he next state to challenge public sector unions and his performance will test him in the eyes of independents and conservatives.

Rick Perry, Governor of Texas. Elected Lieutenant Governor of Texas in 1998, he assumed office as governor in December 2000 when Governor George W. Bush resigned to become President of the United States. Perry was reelected to three full terms in 2002, 2006 and 2010, an unprecedented feat in Texas political history. With a term length to date of 10 years, Perry is the longest serving current U.S. governor. Perry is well known, a conservative, tough on immigration and staunchly against ObamaCare.

Bob McDonnell, Governor of Virginia. Perry is 57 years old and the 71st governor of Virginia. A former lieutenant colonel in the United States Army, McDonnell served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1993 until he was elected Attorney General in 2005. After campaigning as a pragmatist, McDonnell was elected as the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, defeating Democratic state Senator Creigh Deeds by a 17-point margin in the 2009 general election. McDonnell is a conservative with strong Tea Party backing and the first governor to challenge ObamaCare.

Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin. At 44 years old Walker is one of the younger governors in the nation. He won the office in the general election on November 2, 2010, defeating Democratic candidate Tom Barrett 52% to 46% percent (a traditional “blue” state). Previously, Walker was the County Executive of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin from 2002 to 2010, and a member of the Wisconsin State Assembly from 1994 to 2002. Walker is currently engaged in a battle with the Wisconsin public service unions, a fight that has sky rocketed him to national prominence. Walker is a fiscal conservative. He is eloquent and presents himself well. If he prevails in his fight with the public service unions he will be a formidable candidate in he future.

Now let’s take a look at the United States Congress and see how the bench looks.

Marco Rubio is the junior United States Senator from Florida and member of the Republican Party. At the age of 39, he is the second youngest current U.S. Senator, being only one week older than Mike Lee of Utah. Rubio was the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives during the 2007 and 2008 legislative sessions. He was first elected to the Florida House on January 25, 2000, from the 111th district. Rubio is a Cuban American who is good looking and well spoken. He won a three way race on November 2, 2010 with 48.9% of the vote to Crist's 29.7% and Democrat Kendrick Meek's 20.1%. He is no doubt on of the brighter stars in the Republican constellation.

Michele Bachmann, U.S. Congress (Minnesota 6th district). Bachmann is 55 years old and in her second term in the Congress. She is a fire brand with strong support from the Tea Party. She is the third woman, and first Republican woman, to represent the state in Congress. During the 2010 political campaign Bachmann achieved national prominence with her Tea Party support and numerous appearances on Fox New and other media outlets. She is a fiscal and social constitutional conservative, pro-business and hated by the left.

Paul Ryan, U.S. Congress (Wisconsin 1st district). Ryan is 41 years old and in his 6th term in Congress. Ryan graduated from Miami University and worked as a marketing consultant and an economic analyst. Ryan has been ranked among the party's most influential voices on economic policy and is currently spearheading the fight against Obama’s big spending. As the Chairman of the House Budget Committee he has considerable power over federal spending. He is supported by the Tea Party and many independents. In 2008 Ryan introduced H.R. 6110, titled "Roadmap for America's Future Act of 2008".This proposed legislation outlined a plan to deal with entitlement issues. Its stated objectives were to ensure universal access to health insurance; strengthen Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security; lift the debt from future generations; and promote economic growth and job creation in America. He is a rapidly rising star.

Rand Paul, U.S. Senator from Kentucky. At 48 years old he is the son of Texas Congressman Ron Paul and a practicing ophthalmologist who understands the issues of medical care. As a supporter of the Tea Party movement, Paul has been vocal in advocating for term limits, a balanced budget amendment, and the Read the Bills Act, in addition to the widespread reduction of federal spending and taxation. He is a staunch supporter of he Second Amendment.

Eric Cantor is the U.S. Representative for Virginia's 7th congressional district, serving since 2001. At 48 years of age he has been in the House for 5 terms. He is now the Majority Leader of the House and served as the Minority Leader when the House was controlled by the Democrats. During his first term, Cantor was Chairman of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare. He has also served on the House Financial Services Committee and on the House International Relations Committee and the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. Cantor is a fierce opponent of ObamaCare and a strong fiscal conservative. He gained national prominence with his numerous appearances on Fax News and other media outlets during the health care debates.

Mike Pence, Chairman of the House Republican Conference. Pence is 52 years old and has been serving in Congress since 2011. He represents Indiana’s 6th Congressional District and is a strong conservative. He is not as well known on a national level as Bachmann, Ryan and Cantor, but he has been a strong opponent of ObamaCare and a supporter of the Second Amendment.

This is my current rundown on potential talent for a winning conservative team. I am sure there will be more to surface in the future. As Charles Krauthammer says, The Republicans have a strong bench. I prefer the term triple A farm club system. There are known talents ready to move up to big leagues, but there are also many newly recited players coming into the double A clubs. These are the ones we have to watch. The only danger we face is that the old, tired veterans and managers will not allow the new talent to take their jobs. If we want a winning team we need to move the old vets into the Hall of Fame and let the new talent win the pennant for us. I don’t think the other league has the talent the conservative team has.

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