David Walker For President?

My friend Mark McKinnon explores the possibility.

NYT’s scribe Tom Friedman wants it too.

So do I, badly, but I’m not opptimistic that it actually happens.

But this sure would be great to see standing on a presidential debate stage come October:

I Agree With Ken Mehlman, Republicans SHOULD Be For Same-Sex Marriage

Below I’ve reposted Ken’s recent UL editorial on the gay marriage fight currently roiling Concord.

My quick two cents: With budget deficits as far as the eye can see, too high unemployment and an overwhelming need for systemic reform in our state and local systems I believe that even one minute spent trying to repeal a gay marriage law already on the state books is a complete and utter waste of time.

In other words, the gay marriage question has already been asked and answered by the voters of New Hampshire.

I hope that my good Republican friends in Concord see this and will instead decide to focus their time and energy on those issues that really matter to voters. Because if you do not you will get clocked next November (and beyond) at the ballot box.

Republicans should be for same-sex marriage

“Live Free or Die” isn’t just the official motto for a great state. As the 62nd Republican National Committee Chairman, I think it’s a mantra our party should live by. I hope that New Hampshire legislators will remember this slogan and reject proposals to strip citizens of their right to marry.

The party of Lincoln and Reagan should stand first and foremost for freedom. It’s part of our heritage and ought to be part of our DNA. Freedom for Americans of all races is why our party was founded. And our greatest moments — from the unbelievable economic recovery unleashed by lower taxes and less regulation to the fall of the Berlin Wall — resulted when we promoted freedom.

Stripping away the right of adults in New Hampshire to marry the person they love is antithetical to freedom. If we really believe (and we should) that every citizen is endowed by their creator with the right to pursue happiness, shouldn’t this include the right to marriage? If we believe in limited government, how can we justify expanding the authority of the state to take away this most personal, fundamental right? Aren’t politicians already too involved in too much of our lives? Why would we want to expand government to such a personal space?

Allowing New Hampshire citizens to marry the person they love isn’t just consistent with maximizing freedom. It also promotes responsibility, commitment and stability; it promotes family values. Again, our history provides a good road map: One of our party’s finest hours was the passage of welfare reform because it strengthened families and promoted marriage. Why would we want to take away this right from anyone?

New Hampshire’s civil marriage law protects religious freedom. No religious institution has to perform or recognize same-sex marriages. This is important because different religious traditions have different views on this question.

But despite these differences, so many of our faiths and traditions are rooted in the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would want done to you. Isn’t allowing adults to marry the person they love consistent with the Golden Rule? If you were born gay (as I was), how would you feel if your state government took away this basic civil right that is available to all of your neighbors? How would you feel if you were a young person and were told by your state that the loving and stabilizing relationship you see in your mom and dad would never be available to you?

During my time in politics, I always believed that good policy is good politics. Looking at the views of New Hampshire voters, it’s pretty clear that stripping the right to marry is bad policy and bad politics. Sixty-two percent of New Hampshire voters oppose taking away the right to marry.

I will be in New Hampshire this week — to urge legislative members of my party to reject House Bill 437. It’s time to stand up for individual freedom and liberty, to live by the Golden Rule and to oppose any effort to diminish or strip away individual rights, and to return to the real business of building business, keeping taxes down and growing our economy. “Live Free or Die” should be more than just a slogan.

Ken Mehlman, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, is a businessman in New York.

Erskine Bowles To Debt Committee: “I’m Worried You’re Going To Fail The Country”

Mr. Bowles is PUBLICLY pessimistic about the congressional committee charged with helping turn around our nation’s finances, not a hopeful sign as we move into this chapter’s end game.

McClatchy:

Former University of North Carolina system president Erskine Bowles warned members of a congressional supercommittee Tuesday of an imminent economic disaster unless lawmakers act quickly to reduce the federal debt.

And Bowles openly questioned whether the committee has the ability to do the job.

“I have great respect for each of you individually, but collectively, I’m worried you’re going to fail — fail the country,” said Bowles, a former Charlotte investment banker and one-time chief of staff for President Bill Clinton.

In 2010, President Barack Obama appointed Bowles and former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson to a bi-partisan commission to examine rising federal debt. The commission recommended shaving $4 trillion from deficits over 10 years. But Bowles and Simpson have charged that Obama has ignored the commission’s recommendations.

Now, the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction is examining much of the same ground. The panel’s lawmakers are largely stuck, at least publicly, on partisan remedies.

The 12-member committee, six Democrats and six Republicans, has 22 more days to devise a plan to save at least $1.2 trillion over the next decade.

If no plan is adopted, automatic spending cuts totaling about $1 trillion over nine years will go into effect in 2013.

Democrats are reluctant to back dramatic changes in government health care programs. Republicans are adamant that taxes should not go up. If those positions persist, both parties “will be equally complicit in bringing the nation close to the fiscal brink,” said former Senate Budget Committee Chairman Pete Domenici.

Bowles, who retired as president of the UNC system in January, characterized the deficit as the most predictable economic crisis in history. He said when he and Simpson began working on the commission, they thought they were working to help their grandkids.

“I have nine and he has six,” Bowles said. “But the closer we got to the numbers, the more we realized we weren’t doing it for our grandkids, we weren’t even doing it for our kids. We were doing it for us, that’s how dire the situation is today.”

Bowles did add that he felt it was possible to complete the job. He outlined how the two sides could agree on $3.9 trillion in deficit reduction. The two parties, he said, have already signaled agreement in a number of areas that would let them reach that figure.

Co-chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, offered the Republican Party position that changes need to be made in entitlement programs, such as Medicare.

Democrats are reluctant to drastically change such programs, and see higher taxes on the wealthy as an important way to pare deficits.

Co-chairwoman Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said Democrats are ready to deal, but said, “Concessions would only be made, and only considered, in the context of a balanced deal that doesn’t just fall on the middle class and most vulnerable Americans.”

Bowles methodically laid out where change is needed: A health care system where “outcomes don’t match the outlays,” defense and taxes.

“I believe we have the most ineffective, inefficient, anti-competitive tax system that man could dream up,” he said.

The Simpson-Bowles panel, formally called the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, urged a wide range of politically volatile proposals.

Rock & Roll Monday, The “Prove It All Night” Edition

The Boss in New Jersey on 9/19/78. Almost 33 years and one month ago today. The video is terrible but the music is oh so sweet.

So crank it!

Happy Monday, everyone.

Here’s To The Crazy Ones. Here’s To You Steve Jobs.

Steve Jobs narrates the first Think Different commercial “Here’s to the Crazy Ones” in 1997.

Perfect.

The full toast:

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Perfect squared.

God speed, Mr. Jobs.

You were historically awesome.

Robert Gates: “Either We Hang Together Or We Will Surely All Hang Separately.”

Robert Gates, an American patriot, knows better than most what currently ails our great Republic.

The following remarks were given in Philadelphia on Sept. 22 at the National Constitution Center upon receiving its Liberty Medal. They are superb. And worth the full read.

First of all, I am deeply honored. Thank you, Captain Odierno and Sergeant Graham.

Captain, I’ve had some interaction with your father over time; you follow in a great tradition. And I thank you for both of your service to your country and for the outstanding work of the organizations you represent.

First of all, I would say that this evening is a reminder that astrology exists to give….

…credibility to weather forecasting—and intelligence estimates—so thank you all for your patience. I’m grateful to Governor Corbett for his remarks tonight and to the other distinguished leaders for their kind words. And a special word of appreciation to Bob and Lee Woodruff for everything they’ve done on behalf of our wounded warriors and their families.
To David Eisner and your staff, thank you for making today such a special occasion for me. In just eight years, the National Constitution Center has justly earned its strong reputation for creating an innovative museum experience—one that I enjoyed earlier today—and for being a forum for dialogue about America’s founding documents and principles.

And, of course, thanks to the Aggie Wranglers, the Air Force’s Singing Sergeants, and Richie McDonald.

It is a true honor to join the ranks of the men and women who have received this Liberty Medal. The official citation for the medal talks about honoring those who strive to “secure the blessings of liberty to people around the globe.”

Yet, in this of all places—where the American creed and system of government was born—and during this of all times—when our nation’s capitol appears choked by deadlock and dysfunction—I want to share some thoughts on the state of government and politics here at home, how the institutions set up to “secure the blessings of liberty” for the American people are measuring up at such a challenging time for our country.

In recent years it has become common for pundits and other high-minded folks to lament the rancor of today’s politics. Of course, as the historians here at the Center will tell you, American politics was a contact sport from the very beginning—and a dirty one at that. John Adams, for example, was once called a “hideous hermaphroditical character who has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.” Nor were the other Founding Fathers spared similar vile attacks.

So vitriol and nastiness in American politics are nothing new. Nor is the failure of our political system to deal with issues that divide the country along ideological, cultural, or regional lines—just think of the years leading up to the Civil War. In more recent decades, crises such as Vietnam, Watergate, Iran-Contra, and an impeachment all convulsed the American political system.

In each case, however painful and divisive these episodes were, our governing institutions recovered their equilibrium and ability to function.

And, let us not forget that America’s Founding Fathers designed our system of government primarily to protect liberty—not to promote speed and efficiency. So it is with good reason that Will Rogers used to say, “I don’t tell jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.”

Having said all that, I do believe that we are now in uncharted waters when it comes to the dysfunction in our political system—and it is no longer a joking matter. It appears that as a result of several long-building, polarizing trends in American politics and culture, we have lost the ability to execute even the basic functions of government, much less solve the most difficult and divisive problems facing the country.

Thus, I am more concerned than I have ever been about the state of American governance.

Several developments have put us in this predicament, three of which I would like to highlight in the next couple of minutes.

First, as a result of a highly partisan redistricting process, more and more seats in the House of Representatives are safe for either the Republican or Democratic Party. As a result, the really consequential campaigns are not the mostly lopsided general elections, but the party primaries, where candidates must cater to the most hard-core ideological elements of their base.

So how do we ensure that more candidates for Congress are forced to appeal to independents, centrists, and at least some members of the other political party to win election, just as presidential candidates must do?

Second, addressing this country’s most intractable and complex problems requires a consistent strategy and implementation across multiple presidencies and congresses. The best historical example of this was the Cold War.

Despite great differences in tactics and approaches, the basic contours of the strategy to contain the Soviet Union remained constant through nine presidential administrations of both political parties, even between presidents as different as President Carter and President Reagan, as I know from first-hand experience.

But when one party wins big in a “wave election”—of which there have been several in recent election cycles—it typically seeks to impose its agenda on the other side by brute force.

This makes it all the more likely that the policies will be reversed in the next wave election and,
consequently, all the more difficult to deal with this country’s most serious challenges over time.

I would like to suggest that more humility in victory is needed, and with that a search for broadly supported policies to address our problems—be they the national debt, illegal immigration, crumbling infrastructure, underperforming schools, or our budget deficit—policies and programs that can and must endure beyond one congress or one president to be successful.

Third, there are vast changes in the composition and role of the news media over the past two decades. When I entered CIA 45 years ago last month, three television networks and a handful of newspapers dominated coverage and, to a considerable degree, filtered extreme or vitriolic points of view.

Today, with hundreds of cable channels, blogs and other electronic media, every point of view, including the most extreme, has a ready vehicle for wide dissemination. You can’t reverse history or technology, and this system is clearly more democratic and open, but there is also no question that it has fueled the coarsening and, I believe, the dumbing down of the national political dialogue.

As a result of these and other polarizing factors, the moderate center—the foundation of our political system and our stability—is not holding. Just at a time when this country needs more continuity, more bipartisanship, and more compromise to deal with our most serious problems, all the trends are pointing in the opposite direction.

Indeed, “compromise” has become a dirty word—too often synonymous with a lack of principles or “selling out.” Yet, our entire system of government has depended upon compromise.

The Constitution itself is a bundle of compromises. Critical ideas and progress in our history often have come from thinkers and ideologues on both the left and the right. But, for the most part, the laws and policies that ultimately implement the best of those ideas have come from the vital political center, and usually as the result of compromise.

I have worked for eight presidents, and I have known many politicians of both parties over nearly five decades, and I never met one who had a monopoly on revealed truth.

At a time when our country faces deep economic and other challenges at home and a world that just keeps getting more complex and more dangerous, those who think that they alone have the right answers, those who demonize those who think differently, and those who refuse to listen and take other points of view into account—these leaders, in my view, are a danger to the American people and to the future of our republic.

A final thought. I believe that both Franklin D. Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan were great presidents—one the epitome of a liberal Democrat, the other the epitome of a conservative Republican. They both changed the country for the better, but both were pragmatic politicians willing to compromise in order to advance their respective agendas.

Today’s political leaders and those who aspire to lead would do well to follow their example. Their willingness to do so will determine this country’s future prospects as a great power and as a republic, because the warning given a long time ago by Benjamin Franklin—that great Pennsylvanian—still applies:

“Either we hang together or we will surely all hang separately.”

Thank you again for this great honor, and God bless our republic and the compromises on which it was founded.

Thank You, Mr. Francona

For 2004:

And 2007:

And everything before, after and in-between.

What $60 Trillion In Unfunded Entitlement Liabilities Looks Like At The Individual Level

Heck of a job, political leadership that came before me.

Not.

It’s time to reform, not shred, our entitlement programs.

Bowles-Simpson is where we start.

h/t Andy Sullivan for the graphic.

Amos Lee Sorts It All Out

Among Swing Voters In CO, FL, IA, NV, NH, OH & VA, Which Resonates More?

This:

Or this:

In web video, Romney says Obama’s plan is 960 days late.

Perry: “Like the president’s earlier $800 billion stimulus program, this proposal offers little hope for millions of Americans who have lost jobs on his watch, and taxpayers who are rightly concerned that their children will inherit a mountain of debt.”

Huntsman: “Tonight’s list of regurgitated half-measures demonstrates that President Obama fundamentally doesn’t understand how to turn our economy around.”

Bachmann: “[Obama] called 535 members back to hear what I believe was nothing more than a political speech.”

Santorum: “The President’s speech tonight was more of the same failed policies and empty rhetoric that got him elected and got us in this mess.”

Cain tweets President should’ve asked him how to create jobs.

To me, it’s clear as day.

How about to you?