Speaker Pelosi Needs a Lifeline

Matt Klink
President, Klink Campaigns

While tomorrow’s California general elections are understandably receiving the vast majority of coverage throughout California, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has garnered more than her fair share of the national spotlight in recent weeks. Any time that the highest ranking Member of Congress – and third in the line to be president of the United States – says that the CIA misled her and others in Congress (Washington-speak for lied)…that’s not only newsworthy but will also inspire the news media to dig deeper.

What is known is that Nancy Pelosi, as a member of the House Intelligence Committee and before she became Speaker, received briefings from CIA professional staff, not Bush Administration appointees, as she would lead us to believe, in the 2002-2005 timeframe. At these briefings, according to CIA notes (some of which are public and others which will likely soon become public), Pelosi was updated on “enhanced interrogation techniques” used against terrorists captured by the United States military.

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Can The GOP Get Its Mojo Back?

Matt Klink
President, Klink Campaigns

The dust still hasn’t settled from November’s agenda-changing elections. Obama has moved into the White House amid considerable pomp and circumstance (in fact, Time magazine should just be renamed Obama…because he is always on the cover). The President and the Democrat-led Congress are already moving to remake America in what the Party’s leaders perceive to be the direction our country ought to head – which is, simply put, anywhere George W. Bush either hasn’t been or chose not to go.

Unfortunately – or fortunately, depending upon your viewpoint – 2008 marked a low-point for the GOP. The Party, which held strong Congressional majorities and the Presidency for the first half of the 2000s now has neither. Nationally, the 2008 elections left the Party with a true crisis of conscience. What should the Party stand for? How can the GOP be a big tent Party once again? Does the Party need new leadership? How can Republicans adapt to America’s changing Demographics?

These hefty questions are still being debated and discussed in Washington, D.C., around dinner tables and in diners across America. Below are some observations, based on the passage of two-months time since the Obama wave swept the nation. Some solutions follow:

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It’s gonna get worse before it gets better

Matt Klink
President, Klink Campaigns

Two weeks ago, during a lecture at a Southern California college campus, a student asked me a question about if and how the growing state budget deficit had impacted me. I quickly responded that most Californians – expect those involved in the day-to-day rigmarole in Sacramento – have not been directly or even indirectly impacted by the state’s annual budget mess.

In looking more deeply at that statement, here’s the simple reality: Despite massive deficits, little has changed in our daily lives because of Sacramento’s inaction. Our public schools are still open. Roads, bridges, railroads and ports remain operational – albeit the maintenance on them may have slowed or ceased. If you turn on your tap, water still flows out of it. In short, nothing has changed despite the news that the sky will soon fall.

So, when Governor Schwarzenegger stood up last week and spoke of Armageddon, and papers report that the “Big 5” talks cratered again…why should any Californian get nervous because the state faces a budget gap? Claims that the “sky is falling” have occurred before. We’ve faced budget shortfalls previously and have always found a way to bail ourselves out – usually by borrowing to put-off the tough decisions.

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Waiting to Exhale

Matt Klink
President, Klink Campaigns

I didn’t vote for Barack Obama – or any Democrat for that matter – and I feel no remorse about it. So, in terms of my personal win-loss record, yesterday certainly wasn’t one of my most successful election days.

But, I woke up this morning, after the longest presidential race in U.S. history, and feel a sense of “shock and awe.” President-elect Obama’s triumph last evening appears to have lifted a tremendous weight off everyone’s shoulders. I feel it and I know that my family, neighbors and work colleagues do too. People seem friendlier in Los Angeles this morning…more of a bounce and optimism in everyone’s step and stride. I walked down the street to grab a coffee and was amazed and energized to see strangers wearing Obama buttons, pins or shirts stop, hug and say, “We did it.” This should be what politics and political campaigns are all about.

In other countries, power doesn’t easily change hands. Yesterday, Administrations switched as routinely and non-controversially as showering, filling your car up with gasoline or grabbing a sandwich for lunch. As an aside, I relish the fact that Obama’s victory serves as a giant thumb in the eye to the “Old World,” who make great sport of doubting America and our ability to be both a good and great country.

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For Obama, the Acorn Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree

Matt Klink
President, Klink Campaigns

Here’s a troubling pattern for the Barack Obama – one that should scare the pants off of most Americans. Barack Obama, who since his earliest days has been and remains attracted to a radical, activist, left-leaning agenda, has associated himself with some really shady characters and organizations that don’t share Main Street American values.

And, when these ties are exposed, Senator Obama at first attempts to minimize the situation or attack those raising the claims…but when attacking or minimizing proves unsuccessful, Obama casts these “connections” aside and quickly attempts to distance himself.

America first witnessed this with Obama’s handling of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright situation. When statements made by Obama’s pastor of 20-years grew too problematic, the Senator attempted to calm the fury by making a speech about race relations in the U.S. The left fawned over the “chosen one” for his prophetic comments. Main Street America yawned. When the fury over Wright’s “God d*mn America” comments wouldn’t pass, Obama said, “See ya” to his friend.

Most recently, Obama appears to have weathered the storm over his close connections to American-born terrorist William Ayers largely by ignoring them…and the elitist media gave him a pass.

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No Wonder the $700 Billion Bailout Didn’t Pass

Matt Klink
President, Klink Campaigns

I’m no rocket scientist…just a political and PR hack. But, the massive taxpayer-funded bailout of Wall Street has been woefully misbranded. So poorly, in fact, that unless some heavy lifting is done, and soon, I don’t know when any legislation will pass. Imagining a stock market below 10,000 is no longer a nightmare, but a reality.

Look at it this way: why would anyone – Main Street America or Members of Congress – support a piece of legislation called a “bailout,” particularly one that is $700 billion?

To begin, bailout is a pejorative term. It’s uncomplimentary and highly negative. While the term may be accurate in describing the federal government’s financial assistance to a grossly irresponsible Wall Street, someone was clearly asleep at the switch when it came to positioning this piece of legislation.

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McCain Must Inspire Confidence in Times of Crisis …Whether or Not Debate Occurs

Matt Klink
President, Klink Campaigns

As I’m writing this article, Friday’s debate at the University of Mississippi is still up in the air. Both John McCain and Barack Obama have returned to Washington – Senator McCain of his own volition after temporarily ceasing his campaign and Senator Obama because he was requested to return to D.C. by President Bush. Assuming the debate happens, here’s my take on the encounter’s importance and what John McCain must do to change the current situation in the polls.

For John McCain’s candidacy, every appearance with Barack Obama is important. The race has returned to where it was pre-Republican and Democrat convention. Senator Obama holds roughly a two percentage point advantage over the Arizona Senator and eight to ten states will determine the election.

While the topic area for Friday’s debate is foreign policy, the subjects that are actually discussed are irrelevant. What is important is the appearance John McCain projects and the messages he conveys.

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A Different Take on Sarah Palin and the 2008 Presidential Election

Matt Klink
President, Klink Campaigns

I’ve now read two separate posts about Sarah Palin by colleagues whose friendship I value and whose opinions I respect. Both question various aspects of Sarah Palin’s fitness to not only function as John McCain’s running mate, but also to serve as America’s vice president. While they clearly have a right to their questions, concerns and opinions about John McCain’s vice presidential pick, they have missed the boat about Alaska’s current governor.

Gov. Palin, in spite of her political beliefs, is the second woman to serve on a presidential ticket. That, in and of itself, is historic. Nowhere is it written that only a pro-choice, Democrat woman could serve on a presidential ticket. Second, her character, warmth and charm have resonated with the American voter – except for those die-hard Obama fanatics. Living in California, we are in a bubble and view the world differently than the overwhelming majority of the United States – a blessing in some circumstances and a curse in others.

The Obama campaign’s initial instinct – to attack Sarah Palin for being mayor of a small town even prior to her formal introduction – coupled with Senator Obama’s juicy comments about small town folks “clinging to guns and religion” (comments made in San Francisco, by the way) unknowingly played right into the McCain campaign’s hand. Hilary hit Obama hard on the rural, small town voter issue. Clearly, these folks had and still have serious questions and doubts about Barack Obama.

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…Looking for Something Positive in The Annual Budget Mess

Matt Klink
President, Klink Campaigns

I struggle in writing for Fox and Hounds to not constantly sound like a curmudgeon…always criticizing Sacramento elected officials for their partisan antics, illogical behavior and otherwise nonsensical undertakings. I try to write about the positive and offer glimmers of hope that our government is working for us not against us. It’s a challenge, believe me.

But, after enduring almost three months of budget stalemate, I’m so frustrated I could scream. There’s no incentive for the Legislature to fix the budget mess. No carrots or sticks exist that can subvert partisan politics. Governor Schwarzenegger can encourage, scold and attempt to embarrass the Legislature…but, in the end, if both parties can’t move beyond partisan rhetoric, there’s no compromise to be had.

It’s completely logical for Democrats and Republicans to propose budgets that fit each party’s ideological preference. For Dems, minimize cuts and raise taxes on everyone…but position tax increases as taxing the rich. Unfortunately for all Californians, in the Democrats’ mind, we’re all rich. For Republicans, we’re witnessing an all-too-common phenomenon. Hold the line on tax increases but offer dramatic budget cuts and heavy borrowing to close budget gaps – in the short-term. Such positioning by both parties was perfectly acceptable in June and July. But, as August is now behind us and we’re almost a week into September, partisan rhetoric at this point is so empty there’s an echo.

Both parties are misguided. The phrase, “politics is the art of compromise,” is completely lost in Sacramento.

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The Politics Behind Prop. 2

Matt Klink
President, Klink Campaigns

Jill Benson wrote eloquently last Friday about the devastating economic impacts Prop. 2, the UN-SAFE Food Initiative, would have on California’s egg farmers…if it passes.

In reading the initiative and the YES side’s propaganda, it paints a pretty bleak picture. I actually paused for a minute before popping three eggs and a mound of bacon into the frying pan this morning. However, after digging a few inches beneath the surface – looking at the links on proponents’ Web site and reading some of the press clippings, etc. – the YES side’s true agenda come to the forefront.

Prop. 2 is sponsored by well-financed special interest groups that want to limit our food choices. These entities want each of us to eat less meat, force everyone to buy “organic” or “free-range” or some other pricy designation, and replace meat-based foods with vegetable-based substitutes.

Equally troubling, Prop. 2 is not an idea unique to California. The initiative’s well-funded sponsors have failed to enact similar bans through the legislative process in six other states. So, knowing that with enough money anything can qualify for the California ballot, they forked over the cash, submitted their signatures, and presto – Prop. 2.

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