FLORIDA#2: A crucial failure by the GOP that continues

One of the most important links I’ve provided in some time is this Dan Riehl article in Big Journalism. Reihl, publisher of Reihl World View, effectively takes to task the GOP’s failure on a national level to embrace new media.

Many GOP establishment figures, including those purportedly working in new media, have no serious knowledge, or understanding of the phenomenon of new media at all. Whatever mechanism that effectively binds the Democrat establishment and their on-line activists and bloggers either doesn’t exist on the GOP side, or is seriously broken, if not corrupted by an inside the Beltway mentality. Perhaps one needs a father who donated to a campaign to work in GOP new media today, who knows — judging by the alleged experience of many inside the Beltway, so-called new media professionals on the GOP side.

Does that disconnect and utter lack of support and genuine honest cooperation and cohesion matter? I would submit it does.

My contacts with GOP candidates can be described as spotty at best. Some have been better than others. E-mail inquiries are not always answered. I’m on every candidates mailing list yet have never recieved any campaign literature. Perhaps this is as a result of the size of the campaigns as I receive stuff from the Rubio, Crist, McCollum and Scott campaigns. And this is just talking about email, a medium that almost so five years ago.

Reihl provides the one example that illustrates the failure of the GOP from top down to get their message out from a surprising admission by Karl Rove.

Karl Rove is allegedly something of a genius when it comes to Republican political strategy. Yet, after leaving the White House, he said his worst political mistake was in not pushing back against the anti-war Left over the Iraq War.

The former White House political adviser blames himself for not pushing back against claims that President George W. Bush had taken the country to war under false pretenses, calling it one of the worst mistakes he made during the Bush presidency. The president, he adds, did not knowingly mislead the American public about the existence of such weapons

Did anyone from the Right push back? Yes, as a matter of fact. An entire cottage industry of blogging sprung up, first to support the wars after 9/11, and then to push back hard every day against the anti-war Left during the Bush administration because they, not Karl Rove, realized how critical it was. This is both well known and well documented. But evidently, no one in the GOP establishment, including Karl Rove, was listening

I was one of those bloggers who pushed back, but we weren’t receiving any help. The failure of the President and his party to recognize the problem and subsequently take action turned out to be monumental. They conceded the narrative to the Democrats and their media allies. Historians won’t be kind. This crucial error helped build momentum for the Obama presidency.

Reihl’s piece sadly shows that there’s little reason to hope that the GOP has changed.

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This post was written by bobsikes on July 1, 2010

FLORIDA #2: DNC looking for “Macaca” moments

Perhaps Allen Boyd is acting at the behest of the DNC:

The Democratic National Committee is seeking “Macaca” moments. The party today is opening a website, www.accountabilityproject.com, designed to recruit and display embarrassing audio and video of Republican candidates, as well as information about their schedules and copies of their mailers.

Campaigns have long made videotapes of each other, using “trackers” who follow the opposition from event to event. It was a young tracker who shot the video footage of then-Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) that wound up sinking his campaign.

The DNC hopes campaigns and journalists will use the footage in ads and news coverage. The site targets both 2010 candidates and 2012 hopefuls.

“[R]egular citizens can upload video or audio they’ve captured at pubic campaign events, and they can upload event information for upcoming campaign appearances by Republican candidates so others can attend and hold Republicans accountable of they don’t tell the truth.,” a DNC official said. “Unlike YouTube where you can only upload video, … users can download high quality videos from the site for clipping and using for their own projects (web videos, a

Well, well. No wonder all those cameras are out there. The Dems are looking for You-Tube ammo.

H/T: Mary Katherine Hamm

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This post was written by bobsikes on June 30, 2010

FLORIDA #2: That troubling NPR poll for democrats and the peril of gerrymandering

From John Fund:

Mr. Obama’s approval numbers may mask the real peril Democrats face because his job rating among blacks is an overwhelmingly positive 91%. As Michael Barone of “The Almanac of American Politics” points out, those readings imply that his job approval rating among whites is likely only about 39%.

That’s especially significant because most of the 70 competitive House races polled by NPR (as well as most of the states with the closest Senate races) have below-average populations of black voters. Racial gerrymandering justified by dubious interpretations of the Voting Rights Act has concentrated blacks into mostly safe Democratic districts, meaning now that most competitive seats are more white than average. These districts are more likely to be hostile to President Obama’s agenda, and thus more likely to be treacherous political terrain for Democrats. No wonder party strategists are so worried about this fall.

Florida #2 is part of the NPR data.

H/T: Lucianne

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This post was written by bobsikes on June 30, 2010

FLORIDA #2: GOP Candidate Debate July 8 in Destin

From the Okaloosa County Rebublican Party

Congressional District 2 Forum

Thursday, July 8, 2010 6:30 PM

Destin City Hall – 4200 Two Trees Road, Destin

Invited Candidates:

Eddie Hendry, Ron McNeil, Barbara Olschner, David Scholl, Steve Southerland

Open to the Public

Thanks to BloggyBayou for the link. I’ll be there.

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This post was written by bobsikes on June 29, 2010

FLORIDA #2: Steve Southerland Assails Obama and Boyd on Oil Spill Response

Steve Southerland took Democrat Allen Boyd and President Barack Obama to task this weekend for their poor response and failed leadership with respect to the Gulf oil spill:

“I continue to be appalled by the lack of action and leadership by this administration to deal with the environmental crisis growing day by day with the oil leak in the Gulf,” said Southerland. “I join the Congressional Republicans and growing number of Congressional Democrats in calling for action from President Obama to start implementing measures to collect the oil and prevent as much of it as possible from reaching our shores in Florida’s District 2. Families, businesses, our environment, wildlife and overall economy have much to lose and due to a terrible response to this crisis have lost a lot already in this environmental tragedy. President Obama’s golf game a
Southerland concluded by saying, “Unfortunately Allen Boyd and his staff are too busy spending their efforts and energy videotaping the campaigns of Senator Al Lawson and Steve Southerland rather than focusing on solutions and issues that really matter to the people, the economy and the wildlife of Florida’s District 2. We will remember in November – this is unacceptable.”

“I believe that valuable time was wasted during the period that the winds and currents protected the Florida coast. This oil leak disaster should NOT be handled or approached as if it were ‘business as usual.’ It needs to be dealt with and resolved using every available resource. I call on President Obama to issue a temporary waiver to the Jones Act of 1920 and allow foreign vessels to help skim our waters in the Gulf and prevent as much oil as possible from reaching our shores. I further call on Allen Boyd to show some leadership in this area and start acting like he is the representative of the Gulf Coast and understands what is at stake here. This is not the time for a protectionist or head-in-the-sand attitude. This is the time for our leaders to take the necessary steps to protect our shores and our way of life,” Southerland went on to say. “Tragedies and catastrophes such as these give us a true glimpse into the character and commitment of our leaders.

“The poor handling of this catastrophe begs several questions. If we have enough U.S. skimmers then why were they not dispatched within days of the accident in a proactive manner? If we have enough U.S. skimmers then why isn’t every single one of them in the Gulf of Mexico right now? If we don’t have enough of our own skimmers, why isn’t Allen Boyd leading the charge on behalf of his district in finding solutions rather than relying on and rubber stamping every act of the Obama Administration? What is it exactly that President Obama and Congressman Boyd have done over the last seven weeks to fix this problem? Either our leaders are too arrogant or too blind to see that they have totally mismanaged this catastrophe and after seven weeks could only muster a speech.

The handling of the oil spill is a loser for Democrats in the fall – no matter who is running.

Southerland effectively used the opportunity to take another whack at Boyd for his campaign’s efforts to videotape his opponents:

Southerland concluded by saying, “Unfortunately Allen Boyd and his staff are too busy spending their efforts and energy videotaping the campaigns of Senator Al Lawson and Steve Southerland rather than focusing on solutions and issues that really matter to the people, the economy and the wildlife of Florida’s District 2. We will remember in November – this is unacceptable.”

Pretty good stuff by Southerland. The absence of skimmers all along the Gulf Coast continues to boggle the minds of everyone. Even Democrats in safe districts of the affected states will have to defend Obama’s response.

Expect a duel “blame” spin: Bush and BP.

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This post was written by bobsikes on June 28, 2010

FLORIDA #2: Lawson attacks Boyd on his vote against the Disclose Act

Al Lawson continues to run to the left of Allen Boyd in the race for the Democrat nomintion. Lawson harshly criticized Boyd for voting with Republicans on the campaign bill.

WASHINGTON, DC – As reported by the St. Petersburg Times, seven-term Blue Dog Congressman Allen Boyd (D-Wall Street) voted with big corporate and special interests in upholding the controversial Supreme Court decision, Citizen United v. Federal Election Commission. The bill passed 219-206.

Yesterday, the U.S. Congress passed HR 5175, entitled the DISCLOSE Act, which would require greater transparency by corporate and special interests in political advertising. Congressman Allen Boyd voted against the bill and for more corporate and special interest political spending.

“It’s unfortunate that Congressman Boyd again chose to side with Wall Street over Main Street,” said Senator Al Lawson. “We need less special interest money in politics, not more. This is just another example that after 14 years in Washington, Congressman Boyd has totally lost touch with North Florida values.”

Congressman Allen Boyd’s campaign has been fueled by special interest money, enabling him to run slick television ads since last October. In recent months, Boyd has used that same special interest money to run negative attack ads against his primary opponent Al Lawson. The content of Boyd’s ads were recently refuted by the nonpartisan, nonprofit FactCheck.org, who claimed the ads falsely accused Lawson while exaggerating Boyd’s own record.

Lawson is clearly attempting to portray himself as a populist and used the vote to accuse Boyd of alligning with Wall Street.

This posting on Lawson’s web site, however, is written in a way that misleads voters. It was presented as if it came from a legitimate news source. Things posted on an official web page are typically presented as if a candidate are saying them in first person.

The post might indicate a lack of sophistication in his campaign that he’ll have to improve upon to take down Boyd. If he ends up prevailing, the DNC won’t be letting such missteps occur anymore. The party will parachute in seasoned operatives who know how to take on the GOP machine that are sure to be on the ground after the primary.

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This post was written by bobsikes on June 28, 2010

FLORIDA #2: Barbara Olschner Update

From Barbara’s Facebook page:

Saturday, I spoke in Tallahassee as part of the GOP Tour. I discussed the catastrophe on the Gulf and our failure to solve complex issues. Instead, politicians give shallow sound bites in a bid to be “chosen.” It will not and does not solve the serious problems we face. We must address energy as a complex problem. We must develop a long term vision that protects our environment, economy and national security.

I then drove to Seaside to stand with my friends and neighbors on Hands Across the Sands to protest the devastation that threatens our shores from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. These issues are complicated but must be resolved first with a long term plan and vision for our country. That plan must be based on a protection to our environment, conservation, and independence.

I passed along Barbara’s page with this comment:

Barbara has the potential to be an extroidinary public servant. I recommend you follow her campaign to win the Republican nomination for Florida’s 2nd Congressional District

Here’s her web site.

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This post was written by bobsikes on June 27, 2010

FLORIDA #2: Happy Anniversary Allen Boyd! One year ago you voted for Cap & Trade

The NRCC is sending out reminders to districts that one year ago this week, House Democrats passed Cap & Trade, a measure that will result in a significant tax increase for families. Rep. Allen Boyd (D-Monticello) voted for the measure. Here’s an example of the letter targeting Dem. Mary Jo Kilroy:

Washington- Tomorrow will mark the one year anniversary of the Democrats’ national energy tax, but it’s not exactly cause for celebration. This time last year, Mary Jo Kilroy and her Washington friends rubber-stamped a job-killing national energy tax that would increase costs on everything from electricity bills to groceries. While it’s not surprising that the out-of-touch Democrat majority would vote for tax-increasing legislation, this one is particularly egregious. According to the Department of Treasury’s own admission, the national energy tax could pile on an additional $1,761 in new taxes to struggling middle-class families.

“A previously unreleased analysis prepared by the U.S. Department of Treasury says the total in new taxes would be between $100 billion to $200 billion a year. At the upper end of the administration’s estimate, the cost per American household would be an extra $1,761 a year.” (Declan McCullagh, “Obama Admin: Cap And Trade Could Cost Families $1,761 A Year,” CBS News, 9/15/2009)

And that’s just the cost to you in taxes. Here’s why Cap & Trade is a job killer as well:

In a time of economic peril, the Democrats’ national energy tax could put up to 2.4 million American jobs at risk:

“By 2030, as emission reduction targets tighten and other W/M provisions phase out, U.S. jobs decline by 1.8 million under the low cost case and by 2.4 million under the high cost case.” (“Economic Impact of the Waxman-Markey Bill, H.R. 2454 Proposed Legislation to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions,” National Association of Manufacturers, 8/12/2009)

While Democrats admit to the fact that some jobs will be lost as a result of cap-and-trade, they have been disingenuous in their claims that new “green jobs” will be created to replace those that are lost:

“Now it looks like the U.S. is lucky to be lagging in alternative-energy investment. The Alvarez study says that following the Spanish model, held up by Obama as a standard the U.S. should follow, is likely to cause 6.6 million to 11 million job losses “as a direct consequence were it to actually create 3 to 5 million ‘green jobs.’ ”

“Renewable energy is trendy and for many offers political gain. But Washington should shut down the green economy nonsense before too much of other people’s money is spent on projects that do more harm than good.” (“The Green Jobs Myth,”Investors Business Daily, 5/20/2010)

President Obama is using the Gulf oil spill crisis to emphasize his Cap & Trade legislation. It will be fascinating to see how Boyd will be defending this vote in the fall as it’s unlikely many will see the bill as anything other than a tax increase and job killer.


This post was written by bobsikes on June 26, 2010

EDUCATION: How to really turn a school around

From a new favorite blog of mine, The Answer Sheet, come an article by a principal of a school who turned things around. Here’s a bit of what Principal George Wood says:

You see, we did not do all the stuff that the new ‘reformers’ think is vital to improve our schools. We did not fire the staff, eliminate tenure, or pay teachers based on student test scores. We did not become a charter school. We did not take away control from a locally elected school board and give it to a mayor. We did not bring in a bunch of two-year short-term teachers.

Nope, we did not do any of these things. Because we knew they would not work.

There is no evidence that firing staffs and using the turn around strategies that failed when Education Secretary Arne Duncan was in charge of Chicago’s schools is suddenly going to work (here’s the evaluation from Duncan’s supervisors).

Tying teacher pay and tenure to scores on the current batch of narrowly constructed tests has never worked and will not work now, as Thomas Hilton, former researcher at the Educational Testing Service notes.

Charter schools do not do any better than good old public schools. And there is no evidence that eliminating democratic involvement with our schools through elected school boards improves educational opportunities for kids.

Well that serves as my daily smakedown for reformist, but here’s what Woods’ school did:

At our school we rely on weekly if not daily staff development activities, school wide learning strategies, and staff evaluation focused on improving instruction and cultivating the leadership skills of teachers to help and coach their colleagues.

There is no incentive linking pay to performance or threats of termination; rather we rely on collaboration and the collective wisdom of the teaching staff to improve student achievement.

Ensuring that every young person learns means constant reassessment of the curriculum, multiple measures of student achievement, and support systems throughout the school.

Why, that sounds alot what we do at our school.

I wonder what we could accomplish without the burden of standardized testing and the monster of federally mandated school assesments.


This post was written by bobsikes on June 25, 2010

FLORIDA POLITICS: Scoring Update on Scott vs. McCollum

Bloggy Bayou has it

Scott now has his own 527. At least we know where’s his attacks on McCollum will be coming from.

The battle between Scott and McCollum is for the soul of the RPOF. The old RPOF still belongs to Jeb Bush. His desciples do not want to give the Govenor’s house away as it’s why they are going after Scott with such rancor. Unlike Scott, they are having unnamed surrogates do it for him.

For some reason the old gaurd, which includes Marco Rubio do not want an immigration law similar to Arizona’s. Perhaps they believe that it hurts them with the Cuban-American vote in south Florida and their stand is simple political posturing. It doesn’t seem have hurt Scott’s approval of such a bill with Republicans as he still leads in polls.


This post was written by bobsikes on June 25, 2010