Thursday, August 13, 2015

by Reed Galen

Days Until Iowa Caucus: 180 (6 Months to Go!)

Quote by A Smart Person: "You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today." Abraham Lincoln

Welcome to the American Singularity.

Why the Singularity?

·      The presidential nominating process is one in which everything, large and small, is sucked into its gravitational maw, allowing nothing to escape its grasp as events pass through the campaign cycle’s event horizon.

·      There is no more singular political experience on the planet than electing the President of the United States.

·      The United States is still the most free, most prosperous and brightest beacon of hope to billions around the world.

Every action and reaction feeds into this black hole of press coverage, donor reactions, voter sentiment and activist opinions. Nothing goes unnoticed and nothing is forgotten. Legions of reporters, bloggers, opposition researchers, trackers, social media monitoring services, vacuum up every last syllable.

Every week we’ll take a look at the campaign as it unfolds, and how events reflect the campaigns, the issues of the day and the country at large. Have a tip, piece of advice or something to add? Email me – reed@jedburghs.com

Week 21 – The GOP’s Voices of Tomorrow

Bizarro World:

Aside from the other systemic damage Secretary Hillary Clinton may do to the Democratic Party this cycle, she is leading the way on ensuring that in political parlance “Progressive” and progress no longer reside on the same planet. She and her fellow Democrats have spent the first months of 2015 espousing solutions to the problems we face that would only make sense if it were 1948. The way they talk about the world, the economy and the country is shockingly out of touch.

A gold watch in commemoration of 25 years of service. Note the years - 1933-1958. Courtesy Vintagewatch.ca

A gold watch in commemoration of 25 years of service. Note the years - 1933-1958. Courtesy Vintagewatch.ca

Despite their most intent wishes, the days of 25 years and a gold watch are gone – and have been so for close to 20 years. Whatever vestiges of it remained were swept away with the 2008-2009 financial crisis as companies large and small learned to do more with less, technology increased efficiency, and the marketplace stopped looking for college graduates with liberal arts degrees.

And although the Republican Party is often denigrated as the party of old white guys, it is actually the GOP presidential field that is espousing more new and interesting ideas on how best to approach the 21st century and the issues the country currently faces.

21st Century Economy:

Last weekend at the annual Red State Gathering in Atlanta, Georgia, Senator Marco Rubio laid out the best explanation of the 21st century economy I’ve heard yet. To paraphrase his remarks (full speech below): The largest retailer (Amazon) has no stores. The largest transportation service (Uber) has no cars. The largest lodging service (Airbnb) owns no hotel rooms.

Sen. Marco Rubio speaks at the annual Red State Gathering in Atlanta, Georgia. Courtesy Red State Media

The economy is vastly different than it was 10, 20 or 30 years ago. The idea that we’re going back to a heavy manufacturing economy, full of unionized workers who will be in place for 20 or 30 years is a chimera. That’s not to say we shouldn’t discuss what the economy of today means for workers, but trying to bolt 30 year old policy onto the workplace of today is a fool’s errand and doomed to failure.

And while Clinton and the Democrats rely on younger voters as a core of their winning coalition, the way Rubio talks about the American economy is firmly in line with their reality. Clinton’s visions of the 9 to 5 office or factory is something that anyone born after 1985 can’t imagine, won’t understand, and will think you out of touch for even discussing.

Entitlements:

During last Thursday night’s debate, Gov. Chris Christie gave the best answer on entitlement reform I’ve heard so far this year. Again, much like Rubio’s sentiments on the economy, Christie’s views were firmly based in reality. Whether you want to believe it or not, for anyone with 20 years or more left to go before retirement, Social Security isn’t going to be the same. Anyone under the age of 45 needs to understand this.

And despite the inevitable wailing of the AARP, Gov. Mike Huckabee and every Democrat, Christie (and Paul Ryan before him) isn’t suggesting ‘gutting’ entitlements. Quite the contrary – they’re trying to find a way to ensure they’re there for the people that need them. The idea that raising the retirement age for those of us just approaching middle age makes sense. We’re going to live to be 85. Our kids will live to be 100. Are we really going to live on Social Security for 20 years? The system was not built for such an eventuality. Better to save it now than watch it collapse completely later.

Race Relations:

Race relations are as top of mind this year as they have been probably since the early 1990s. Beginning with the death of Michael Brown last year right up until today, the news is filled, nearly daily, with the stories of police officers shooting and killing young black men. We’ve seen violence erupt from Ferguson to Baltimore. Gov. Rick Perry was the first to address the issue head on. This is new and absolutely vital territory for Republican contenders. GOP nominees only capturing six or seven percent of the black vote is bad for the party and bad for the country.

Rick Perry, the former three-term governor of Texas and a 2016 presidential candidate, laid out an economic plan at a National Press Club luncheon on July 2, 2015. The former U.S. Air Force pilot, who left office in January, discussed how to fight "the cycle of hopelessness and lost opportunity that so many Americans feel trapped in."

For too long we have absolutely abandoned the chance to have a dialogue with a group that makes up more than a tenth of the country’s population. Dr. Ben Carson, too, has brought thoughtful insight to the issue – one that we should not abdicate to the Democrats because it’s not top of mind for base voters. It matters because we’re all in this together and the idea that we’d just ignore African Americans is anathema to the American spirit.

Education:

Both Sen. Rubio and Gov. Jeb Bush have offered excellent suggestions on education reform. Rubio, specifically dealing with higher education, laid out a vision that encourages a re-dedication to vocational education and a better way to structure higher education; specifically starting with ensuring incoming freshman understand just what they’re getting into when they take out tens of thousands of dollars in student loans. His ideas on asking the private sector to invest in the education of young Americans is both conservative in nature and a likely boon to companies looking for 21st century skill sets.

Courtesy Twitter

Courtesy Twitter

As governor of Florida, Bush increased school choice more than any other state chief executive. And although conservative activists are unhappy with his stance on Common Core, his answer at last week’s debate laid out what his vision is really all about: Common Core or not, we must raise our schools’ educational standards. As a country, we have pushed out the last edges of the envelope of a public education system that doesn’t prepare our kids for even the most basic jobs in a service/tech/skills heavy workplace. Unlike their Democratic counterparts, generally held in an arm-bar by the teacher’s unions, Republicans have the flexibility to introduce new ideas the education debate. The red brick school house of 1952 is crumbling, the curriculum has gray hair and our students aren’t achieving like they should.

Vision:

With her excellent performance in last week’s “happy hour” debate, the buzz of Carly Fiorina’s exploits in early states finally caught up to the media. For months, local media and activists have raved about her stump speech and her clarity of vision. Fiorina distills down, to its barest essence, what it means to be a conservative and what it means to be a progressive. She does it with passion and reason – a rare combination.

Carly Fiorina speaks to a standing room only crowd at RedState Gathering in Atlanta

Her efforts have begun paying off as she has risen steadily in early state and national surveys since the Cleveland debate. She will be on the main stage in California for the party’s second debate and her perspective and experience will bring an excellent addition to the field.