2010 Elections


So, some of you are probably wondering…is he going to run?

Whilst I have been hemming and hawing over the merits of running for public office during this point in my life and this point in our nation’s tumble toward one-party rule (read: statism), a fine candidate for the GOP has thrown his hat into the ring for the U.S. Sentate seat in the form of Len Britton, from Woodstock.  I don’t know if its politeness that keeps me from entering, or realism.  Len is in a much better position in life to throw himself into the type of candidacy necessary to unseat the super-incumbent, Pat Leahy.

Still, the passage of the monstrous health care reform bill leaves me itching to get off my duff and fight back (politically speaking, of course) against the encroachment of my liberties and more importantly, the liberties of my children (not to mention the wallets of my children’s children’s children).

The House Seat?  Keith Stern from Springfield, who I have not met, has launched a campaign to challenge Peter Welch.  While this certainly doesn’t preclude me from entering the race, I wish him well because Welch voted for both the health care reform bill and the cap and trade (read: tax) bill last year.

The conclusion…well, let me hear it.  What do you think about me running for a national public office like Senator or Representative?  A strength of mine is careful deliberation, but it can easily be considered a weakness when it takes too long to reach a decision.  As we approach the summer season (a golden opportunity for me to campaign), I need to wrap up my deliberations and make my decision.

In the meantime, I hope to be making useful contributions to my local GOP group and letting people know where I stand regardless of whether or not I run for office.

Job Loss Chart

Above is a chart (from The Business Insider) of the percentage of job losses during recessions starting from peak employment.  Here are some of my observations from the chart:

  • While other recessions have started off with a more rapid loss of jobs, the current recession line is practically a plummet without even a lateral change, or leveling off.  Even the ‘deepest’ recession (1948) did not take a straight path to its lowest level.
  • This recession has almost reached the same percentage of job loss as the ‘deepest’ recession of 1948.
  • The longest recession (2001 –  the colors are hard to distinguish) since WWII took 46-47 months to regain the lost jobs but the loss only dipped to a low of -2.0%.  This recession has already lasted 18 months and the job loss has gone to almost -5.0%.  So at roughly a third of the time of the longest recession, we are at over twice the job loss number.
  • The one bit of good news (call it hope) is that the ‘deepest’ recession took only 5 months to regain the lost jobs.  Let’s hope that some miraculous confluence of events will manifest itself through our political (eh hem) leaders so that we can experience a similar 5-month recovery of jobs.

The laughter you hear over the thought of our political leaders making meaningful changes to economic policies is nervous laughter.  The likelihood of those leaders stumbling upon an effective economic policy is next to none, but the need for them to find it (and find it soon) is great.

The 2010 elections are 15 months away.  That puts us only two thirds of the way through the longest recession.  There will still be time.

I received an email from Rep. Peter Welch (D, VT) in response to a call I made to his office to vote against the Waxman-Markey bill (HR 2454), also known as the Cap & Trade bill.  I appreciate the fact that he (via his staff, most likely) took the time to respond to my phone call.  If nothing else, it acknowledges the receipt of the call.
That being said, here is the letter (with my thoughts in blue):
June 29, 2009Dear Mr. Whitman,

Thank you for contacting me about the American Clean Energy and Security Act, H.R. 2454.  I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.  (You’re welcome.)

As a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee I am playing an active role in charting a new energy future for our country that will strengthen our economy (since when is it your job, or Congress’ job, to chart an energy future?), create new green jobs (how can you, a public official with no access to resources other than the tax revenue of American citizens, create green jobs let alone jobs at all?), and protect working Vermonters and Americans (I am glad that you are interested in protecting Vermonters and Americans, but I think fighting terrorists (al Queda, Hamas), rogue nations (North Korean, Iran) and criminals (Bernie Madoff) should be of higher concern than fighting carbon emissions).  I share your concern that Congress address climate change in a way that ensures that consumers and businesses are not unfairly burdened by measures to control carbon pollution.  (You assume that I want to address “climate change”.  Last I knew the climate has been changing for thousands of years, and I am not particularly interested in trying to assert human will on the climate.)

I voted for H.R. 2454 that sets the goal of cutting carbon emissions 80 percent by the year 2050.  (This strikes me as though we are tilting at windwills – literally as well as figuratively.  Humans exhale carbon dioxide.  Are we going to protect Americans by eliminating another countries population in order to cut on carbon emissions from humans?) Through H.R. 2454, the cost to consumers of transitioning to a prosperous, clean energy economy will be offset by assistance to local utility companies (assistance that comes from taxes), investment in energy efficiency (with money that comes from taxes), and by direct consumer assistance (with money that comes from taxes).  In addition, H.R. 2454 will reinvest American energy dollars currently exported overseas in American jobs and businesses (I am not fooled by the rhetoric that we lose jobs in America when jobs are created overseas – this is another tax).  A recent Congressional Budget Offices analysis of the legislation determined that the overall cost to households will be less than the cost of a postage stamp a day, which does not include the projected financial benefits from increased energy efficiency, national security and green job creation.  (This is a ridiculously impossible analysis. I haven’t had the time to investigate the 300 page amendment added to the bill at 3am the day of the vote, but all of the regulation that it adds will cost consumers more money than 44 cents a day.  Energy efficiency is an excellent goal, but it isn’t efficient to force it on the market when the technology and the demand is not yet there.  Of course, the definition of economics includes efficiency and those who are more efficient succeed.  That we haven’t acheived “energy efficiency” is not a mystery, unless you are talking about the controversial claims of the human impact on “climate change”.  In which case, many questions have been satisfactorily answered.  You also assert that this is a national security matter and I fail to follow the logic.   I don’t recall North Korea having any strategic value to the energy sector of our economy.  They want to “wipe out” the U.S.  You also touch on the green jobs thing again and once more I fail to see how the US Government can create jobs without other peoples money.)

Again, I greatly appreciate hearing the ideas and concerns from Vermonters as Congress continues to debate the most effective approach to address this challenge.  Please continue to be in touch and I hope to see you in Vermont soon.  (I will make the effort.  And I will be working to find your replacement in the meantime.)

Member of Congress

Sincerely,

PETER WELCH

So, the new title I’m suggesting for this bill would be “Capped, now Trade”.  Voting out every member of congress who voted for this bill would be an excellent place to start cutting the carbon emissions coming from Washington DC.

So what would be wrong with a completely neophyte senator from Vermont? In fact, what would be so bad about a completely new slate of politicians from all over the country with little or no experience in the current political climate?

Would the United State cease to exist? Would we be worse off than we are now?

I have been slow to get my campaign started but I haven’t given up yet. I refuse to campaign at the expense of my family and their well-being and if that causes me to get off to a slow start, well then so be it.

Whitman for Senate, 2010!

Do any of my readers know how to establish a Political Action Committee?

Seriously, if I’m going to run for the United States Senate I suppose I need to have a PAC established (at least all the cool kids are doing it).  I know that once I get it set up I’ll be flush with cash and ready to take on my erstwhile and mega-incumbent opponent.

I am also looking for good strategies that will go easy on the wallet.  I’m thinking the use of new (and free) media can help me get a significant leg up into the fickle world of politics.  Should I start a Facebook group?  Should I twitter?  Do I need a myspace?

Freeman consultants have been working round the clock for my campaign, but there will be gaps in the strategy that no mega-consutling firm would be able to fill and predict.  Your ideas are welcome here (especially ideas who lean toward my opponents views as I could gain useful insight into establishing a beach head among your like-minded constituents).

As for those of you waiting for me to establish a platform…why ruin a long standing practice in American politics?  Being vague has worked for countless politicians, it should work for me too, right?  Besides, the more I read or hear about what goes on in today’s political arena, it seems like I might be better served in simply advocating my “newness” to the political field.  You know, the whole fresh perspective idea.  It might take sail in today’s political climate.

…Patrick Leahy was elected to the U.S. Senate.

…I was born.

It’s time for a little change in Washinton.

Yes, I know.  That’s an Arthur C. Clarke novel (and a good one if my memory serves me).

I’m trying out themes for my not-yet-official Senate election campaign.  Here’s how this one might work…

For years, as though in an entirely different universe, the U.S. Senate has been an exclusive club for those politicians able to manuever or buy their way there.  Their insulation in the halls of Congress in the land of Washington D.C. has caused the members of the Senate to be more than a little detached from the ordinary citizen of the United States.  

The Senate is a planet drifting aimlessly through our solar system.  Its inhabitants are vaguely curious about the goings on of the people of earth in a little place called America.  In 2010, we can make contact with the Senate.  We can send an ordinary citizen to begin a new era of communication between the Senate and the people.

What do you think?  Too dramatic?  Should I flesh it out some more?

MW