Posts Tagged ronald reagan

Kingmaker? Pennsylvania’s Delegation Influential in a Brokered Convention


Pennsylvania’s presidential primary, held in late April after more than half of the other states have already voted, means residents of Penn’s Woods generally have little impact on the selection of the nominees of the two major political parties.  Legislation has been proposed to move the primary to an earlier date, however, it is unlikely to happen in time to take effect for 2016.

But, there is a scenario in which Pennsylvania’s delegation to next year’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio could play a major role in the selection of the nominee.  That would be if the primary season fails to yield a candidate with a majority of delegate votes triggering a rare brokered convention.

In recent decades the quadrennial nominating conventions have been little more than stage managed coronations of the candidates who already had collected enough delegate votes through the primary and caucus process.  The last time a convention really mattered was in 1976 when incumbent President Gerald Ford arrived in Detroit still locked in a battle with Ronald Reagan for the nomination.  Ford prevailed, but was unable to shake off the after effects of the Watergate scandal and lost the General Election to Jimmy Carter.

Prospects for a brokered GOP convention in 2016 grow greater every week.  That’s the frequency with which candidates are entering the presidential contest with 15 or more candidates ultimately expected to compete.  A recent Quinnipiac University poll found five of those candidates – Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, and Mike Huckabee – all tied for the lead with 10% of the vote each.   It could be argued those candidates constitute a top tier, but clearly no one has taken command of the race.

It is, of course, still early in a climate where even one or two news cycles can completely alter the political landscape, but the Republican bench is so deep every one of the top five, and just about all of the others, can lay claim to a base constituency and make the argument that they are qualified to become the next president.  Few, however, can outline a plausible path to the nomination.

The winnowing process could still occur, especially if one candidate manages to win two out of three of the earliest contests in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina and then go on to dominate the so-called Super Tuesday primaries.  But, 15 candidates with diverse geographic and ideological bases within the party presage a Balkanization of the vote and the allocation of delegates.

If the Republican Party arrives in Cleveland with no one candidate having a majority of votes, a quirk in Pennsylvania’s delegate rules could put the commonwealth’s delegation in a strong position to be the king-maker.  Unlike most other states, all of Pennsylvania’s delegates run uncommitted.  Republican delegates are elected by congressional district, with an additional group selected by the Republican State Committee.  Pennsylvania will have 71 delegate votes, making it the seventh largest delegation.  While candidates for delegate can express support for a particular presidential candidate, they are not legally bound to vote for that candidate at the convention.

This means Pennsylvania’s delegation will arrive on the shores of Lake Erie technically uncommitted to any of the candidates and free to wheel and deal with potential nominees.  Assuming any degree of unity among the delegation, Pennsylvania’s delegate votes could be enough to put a candidate over the top or at least provide major momentum in a brokered scenario.

It would take all the stars aligning for this to play out, but in a year where there are an unprecedented number of candidates participating in a long string of primaries and caucuses anything is possible.  If it does come down to a brokered convention Pennsylvania might once again become the Keystone State.

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal.  His e-mail address is lhenry@lincolninstitute.org.)

Permission to reprint is granted provided author and affiliation are cited.

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This Week on American Radio Journal: Colin Hanna Wants to Sunset the Tax Code


Radio Program Schedule for the week of February 28, 2015 – March 6, 2015

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with Colin Hanna of Let Freedom Ring, USA about a proposal to sunset the U.S. tax code
  • Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story on key dates for congressional action this year
  • Eric Boehm talks with Aloysius Hogan of the Competitive Enterprise Institute for a Watchdog Radio Report on whether labor unions are worth the expense to workers
  • Dr. Paul Kengor of the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College has an American Radio Journal commentary on the optimism of Ronald Reagan

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm has news headlines from PAIndependent.com
  • David Taylor from the PA Manufacturers Association and Matthew Brouillette of the Commonwealth foundation talk about the resignation of State Treasurer Rob McCord and corruption in Pennsylvania
  • Lowman Henry has a Town Hall Commentary on why the GOP should not fear a long Presidential primary season.

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

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Why is the Party of Free Enterprise Afraid of Competition?


An early, but unofficial, entry into the 2016 Presidential race by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush jump started the fight for the Republican presidential nomination.  National party leaders are working hard to see that it also ends early. This in the mistaken belief that a battle lasting deep into the primary season harmed Mitt Romney in 2012 and would likewise handicap the party’s 2016 nominee.

The theory is hold the intra-party skirmishing to a minimum, identify the nominee early, give the new standard bearer more time to organize and prepare for the General Election campaign.   The problem with that reasoning is that it cuts voters in most states out of the candidate selection process depriving the ultimate nominee of a solid base of support.  It also puts an early bullseye on the nominee giving Democrats more time to attack – which is precisely what Barack Obama did in the spring and early summer of 2012.

Those unwilling to admit the party nominated a deeply flawed candidate in 2012 point to the supposed “lengthy” primary battle as a reason for his defeat.  The fact is Mitt Romney essentially wrapped up the nomination by mid-April before primary voters in some of the more populous states, including Pennsylvania and California, went to the polls.  Four years earlier, John McCain closed the door on Romney and a large field of candidates by mid-February.  Despite the early end to that primary season McCain also went down to defeat.

There is an argument to be made that contests lasting deep into the primary season better prepares the candidate for the fall campaign.  In 2008 it was June before Hillary Clinton conceded defeat to Barack Obama.  Obama, of course, beat McCain who had the luxury of having wrapped up his nomination months earlier.  In 1980, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush battled until late May before Bush ended his quest for the nomination.  In fact, Reagan lost many early primaries that year before finding his footing, emerging victorious and eventually defeating incumbent President Jimmy Carter in November.

The real reason the establishment wants to truncate the nomination race is so that it can exert more control over the ultimate nominee.  A shorter primary and caucus season makes it more difficult for a grassroots candidate to emerge and plays to the advantage of those with the party machinery behind them.  This, of course, makes it far less likely a candidate from the conservative wing of the party claims the nomination.

To push for such a scenario ignores the central lesson of the 2012 nomination process.  Voters four years ago made it abundantly clear they did not want Mitt Romney as their nominee.  Romney was not a front-runner until very late in the process.  As alternatives to Romney emerged his campaign destroyed them one by one in an electoral version of whack-a-mole.  Tim Pawlenty, Michelle Bachman, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, each surged to the top of the polls only to be destroyed by Romney.  Even after all of that, the movement of just a few thousand voters in the Michigan and Ohio primaries would have given the nomination to Santorum.

Voters wanted anybody but Romney, but the establishment prevailed, ended the contest halfway through the primary calendar and anointed a candidate who went on lose an eminently winnable general election.  The GOP lost the presidency in 2012 not because the primary season went on too long; it lost because it ignored the message being sent by voters.

Headed into 2016 the national GOP hopes to arrive at a nominee early in the year.  With a large field of highly qualified candidates that would be yet another big mistake.  It is important that voters all across America get the opportunity to participate in the process.  The goal should be to nominate a candidate who can win, not to nominate a candidate quickly.

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal.  His e-mail address is lhenry@lincolninstitute.org).

Permission to reprint is granted provided author and affiliation are cited.

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PA GOP at Crossroads


In what was perhaps one of the most famous speeches in American political history, Ronald Reagan’s national career was launched in the closing days of the 1964 presidential campaign with his “A Time for Choosing” speech on behalf of Barry Goldwater.  It failed to turn the electoral tide, but did become the rhetorical foundation of the Republican Party for the decades which followed.

Pennsylvania Republicans now find themselves at their own “time for choosing.”  While the situation may not be as grandiose as the “rendezvous with destiny” the party and the nation faced at the time of Reagan’s speech, the next few weeks will give definition to – or perhaps make it impossible to tell – what it means to be a Republican in Penn’s Woods.

At issue is the annual state budget which is constitutionally required to be in place by the close of business on June 30th.  Election year spending pressures and a revenue shortfall are complicating the process.  For six straight months the state has failed to achieve its revenue projections creating a $532.5 million deficit.  Add in proposed additional spending, and the deficit facing the governor and lawmakers climbs to over $1 billion.

The revenue shortfall should come as no surprise.  The national economy continues to lag as the “great recession” drags on.  The Lincoln Institute’s Keystone Business Climate Survey taken in April found 26% of business owners and CEOs reporting the state’s business climate continues to get worse, while only 14% saw improvement.  Uncertainty caused by the Affordable Health Care Act, and massive new regulations are cited as key reasons for the pessimism.

Republicans control the three budgetary levers of power: the governor’s office, the state House and state Senate.  To the unsuspecting this should amount to easy sailing for the new budget.  But the actual situation is quite the opposite.  The party is divided on how to proceed.  The governor and a majority of the conservative House are opposed to higher taxes, a faction in the GOP caucus in the state Senate are open to additional revenue.

Much has been made in the media over the intra-party competition between so-called “establishment” Republicans and “tea party” conservatives. Closer inspection shows the policy differences between those factions are small.  It is more accurate to say the Pennsylvania GOP is divided along geographic rather than ideological lines.

A number of legislators from southeastern Pennsylvania – the Philadelphia suburbs – are labor union-supported tax and spend liberals.  Those hailing from the balance of the state, particularly the central Pennsylvania “T” and southwestern Pennsylvania are economically conservative.  It is this divide over which the battle for the soul of the state GOP is being fought.

In trying to improve the state’s business climate, Governor Tom Corbett has steadfastly opposed adding an extraction tax on Marcellus Shale companies.  That is because those businesses already pay all the same taxes as every other Pennsylvania business – plus an impact tax enacted several years ago.  An extraction tax would be piling on.

Moderate southeastern Republicans, led by State Representative Gene DiGirolamo of Bucks County, are advocating for an extraction tax.  They also want to halt the phase-out of the Capitol Stock & Franchise Tax, an arcane bit of double taxation on businesses found in no other state in the nation that instantly makes Pennsylvania less competitive in attracting investment and jobs.  Mr. DiGirolamo has gone so far as to offer his own version of the state budget, which appears to be little more than the Democratic budget on new letterhead.

The “time for choosing” for the GOP is this:  will the party stay the course by holding the line on taxes and continue to enact policies that will encourage business growth and job creation, or will it allow the southeastern tail to wag the dog and become Democrat lite?

Ronald Reagan once warned the GOP that “A party cannot be all things to all people.  It must represent certain fundamental beliefs . . . (it must) raise a banner of bold colors, not pale pastels.”  If the Republicans in control of state government settle for “pale pastels” there will be little to distinguish it from the Democrats and voters will opt for the real thing.  The time has come for the GOP to act on its pro-growth principles. Because otherwise, what is the point of even having principles?

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal.  His e-mail address is lhenry@lincolninstitute.org)

Permission to reprint is granted provide author and affiliation are cited.

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This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: Paul Kengor Talks About Reagan Conservatism


Radio Program Schedule for the week of  April 5, 2014 – April 11, 2014

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with Matt Kibbe of Freedom Works about ways to restore individual rights
  • Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story on the recent retirement of two powerful congressional committee chairmen
  • Benjamin Yount talks with Ben Domenech of the Heartland Institute about Obamacare sign-ups
  • Jennifer Stefano from Americans for Prosperity has an American Radio Journal commentary on the Left’s war against conservative women

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm and Maura Pennington have news headlines fromwww.paindependent.com
  • Lowman Henry talks with Dr. Paul Kengor of Grove City College about his new book The 11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative
  • Eric Boehm and Frank Gamrat have an Allegheny Institute Report on revenue flowing from the Marcellus Shale impact fee
  • Anna McCauslin has a Lincoln Radio Journal commentary on energy standards

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

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This Week on American Radio Journal: Ronald Reagan’s Christmas Message


Radio Program Schedule for the week of December 24, 2011 – December 30, 2011

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks about President Obama’s “go it alone” strategy with Phil Kerpen author of Democracy Denied
  • Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story behind the failure of Congress to extend the payroll tax cuts
  • Adam Tragone has an Off the Cuff interview with Cathy Taylor the new Editorial Director at Human Events
  • Colin Hanna of Let Freedom Ring, USA presents a vintage Ronald Reagan Christmas message on this week’s American Radio Journal commentary

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Kevin Shivers from the PA Chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business hosts a Capitol Watch look at the year 2011 in review with Matthew Brouillette of the Commonwealth Foundation and with Gene Barr from the PA Chamber of Business & Industry
  • Al and Dianne Paschall reprise their classic Christmas commentary asking the world to give peace a chance

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

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