The American economy is grounded and influenced by what is called fiscal policy. Fiscal policy is where the government collects revenues through taxation and spends money through expenditures to generate a stable economy. The American economy, however, is threatened by a national debt that is over $18 trillion. How did this occur? It did not happen overnight.
One can make the argument that the government does not tax enough to generate revenue. Others might disagree. On the expenditure side, some have argued that the American economy is in disarray due to the government spending too much money. There are those, though, who believe that the government does not spend enough money to help create a stable economy. Where do you stand on the issue?
The year was 1990. US Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) was making another bid for re-election. His opponent that year was the former Mayor of Charlotte, Harvey Gantt. This contest would prove to be the biggest challenge to Helms in his electoral career. With one ad, though, the fortunes for a Gantt victory were quashed. This ad below introduced the issue of racial quotas into the Helms/Gantt election. The ad also received plenty of national attention.
Helms would end up winning the election 52.5% to 47.5%. Helms and Gantt met in a rematch six years later, with Helms garnering 52.6% of the vote to Gantt’s 45.9%. In today’s political climate, candidates who run for President, US Senate, and House have to identify an ad with the phrase, “I approve this message” as an acknowledgement to the public that they paid for the ad. This is so because of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) of 2002. Now that candidates have to admit that they are the sponsors of the ad, do you think such an ad as the one above could exist on the air today? (This ad, by the way, was paid for by the Helms campaign. The poor quality of the video makes it difficult to see the written disclosure.)
In 1976, a housewife from New York, Ellen McCormack ran for President. In 18 states, her name appeared on primary election ballots as a Democrat. Her platform was strictly based on a pro-life approach to the issue of abortion. Even though she did not win any primaries, McCormack’s campaign was successful enough to have raised money for federal matching funds and for Secret Service protection. The extra campaign dollars also allowed for the creation of television spots that would promote McCormack’s pro-life beliefs.
Would a commercial, such as this one, work in today’s political climate?
When Paul Ryan was named as the Vice-Presidential nominee by Republican Mitt Romney, I was asked about his impact on the Presidential race. I said many times that the Ryan pick would finally energize the conservative base of the Republican Party who were skeptical of their nominee in Ryan. Ryan’s youthful enthusiasm coupled with his wonkish policy appeal was just what the Romney campaign needed. The bland Romney campaign searched for its voice throughout the primary season and through the early stages of the general campaign. Ryan would be that shot in the arm. For a short time, the Ryan pick did help pull even with President Barack Obama in the polls. That momentum seems to have been lost in the last week, as recent reports from the Romney front have stated that Ryan has been muzzled by his Romney’s staffers. Romney’s team wants Ryan to speak less on his “bread and butter” topic, the budget, and more on how badly Obama has run the country. Conservative pundits and grassroots supporters wonder why this is so? Without Ryan’s budget appeal, the Romney campaign was back to where it started, in search of a voice.
How much of a factor should a Vice Presidential pick be for a Presidential ticket? What criteria would you look for when choosing a VP nominee?
The following is from Teddy Roosevelt who was looking for a third term as President against sitting President William Taft (R) and New JerseyGovernor Woodrow Wilson (D). Roosevelt was running as a Bull Moose candidate in 1912.
Here is the transcript:
“The difference between Mr. Wilson and myself is fundamental. The other day in a speech at Sioux Falls, Mr. Wilson stated his position when he said that the history of government, the history of liberty, was the history of the limitation of governmental power. This is true as an academic statement of history in the past. It is not true as a statement affecting the present. It is true of the history of medieval Europe. It is not true of the history of 20th century America. In the days when all governmental power existed exclusively in the king or in the baronage and when the people had no shred of that power in their own hands, then it undoubtedly was true that the history of liberty was the history of the limitation of the governmental power of the outsider to possess that power. But today the people have, actually or potentially, the entire governmental power. It is theirs to use and to exercise if they choose to use and to exercise it. It offers the only adequate instrument with which they can work for the betterment, for the uplifting of the masses of our people. The liberty of which Mr. Wilson speaks today means merely the liberty of some great trust magnate to do that which he is not entitled to do. It means merely the liberty of some factory owner to work haggard women over hours for underpay and himself to pocket the proceeds. It means the liberty of the factory owner to crowd his operatives into some crazy death trap on the top floor where, if fire starts, the slaughter is immense. It means the liberty of the big factory owner who is conscienceless and unscrupulous to work his men and women under conditions which eat into their lives like a maggot. It means the liberty of even less conscientious factory owners to make their money out of the toil, the labor of little children. Men of this stamp are the men whose liberty would be preserved by Mr. Wilson. Men of this stamp are the men whose liberty would be preserved by the limitation of governmental power. We propose on the contrary to extend governmental power in order to secure the liberty of the wage worker, of the men and women who toil in industry, to save the liberty of the oppressed from the oppressor. Mr. Wilson stands for the liberty of the oppressor to oppress. We stand for the limitation of his liberty thus to oppress those who are weaker than himself. ”
What is your take on Roosevelt’s speech? What is your definition of liberty?
At the Republican National Convention in 2012, it was Clint Eastwood who made a splash with his speech regarding President Obama. At the Democratic National Convention in that same year, Kal Penn of Harold and Kumar fame, made a veiled reference to Eastwood’s speech and made overtures toward younger Americans to vote. In 1964, actor Raymond Massey made a campaign commercial for Republican Barry Goldwater. Actor E.G. Marshall filmed a spot for Hubert Humphrey in 1968. Paul Newman campaigned for another Democrat in 1968, Eugene McCarthy. Sammy Davis Jr. endorsed President Nixon. Singer Pearl Bailey in 1976 for President Ford. Even Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon endorsed Ralph Nader in 2000. The list of celebrities endorsing and campaigning for Presidents and presidential candidates is almost endless. I once watched a PBS documentary entitled, “Vote For Me”, where the then head of the Oklahoma Democratic Party referred to politics as “show business for ugly people.” He was alluding to the entertainment value of political campaigns and how the political process had become superficial over the years. This documentary was filmed in the mid-1990s.
Today, it seems as if politics and entertainment industry have come together as one. Entertainers of all political stripes are now engaged in the political process by adding their opinions to the issues, events, and candidates of the day through social media and traditional media outlets alike. Has the separation between politics and entertainment become blurred over the years? Do you believe that entertainers have any influence on the political process?
The following Internet ad is from 2010 for Dale Peterson, a one-time candidate for Alabama Agriculture Commissioner. This ad, for the obscure state position, gained a lot of international attention due to Peterson’s candid nature and the creativity of the ad. Peterson ended up finishing third in the Republican primary, but a follow-up ad, which was as creative as this one, was made where he supported one of his GOP opponents in the runoff election.