Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Rebuilding a Broken Party

Rebuilding a Broken Party

Republican presidential nominee John McCain trailed his Democratic opponent by 6.3 million votes, the biggest popular vote deficit for a GOP candidate since the man he succeeded in the US Senate got blown out in 1964.
And if to add an asterisk insult to an exclamation point of an injury, Barack Obama carried Nebraska’s Second Congressional District, meaning that the president-elect snatched up an extra electoral vote from one of the reddest states in America thanks to their electoral vote allocation rules. At least Bob Dole was able to sweep the Cornhusker State in its entirety.
If it’s possible for a Republican to put this election in a better perspective, then one could look at the popular vote margin in the swing states that represented the electoral votes McCain needed to win.
The combined popular vote total for the margins in New Hampshire, Indiana, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Colorado was under 1,000,000 votes (approximately 972,640), assuming Missouri’s electoral votes are allocated to McCain at the end of the day.
But even such sunny spin is in great contrast to the 1976 GOP defeat as Gerald Ford’s popular vote margin that turned the Electoral College against him was less than 19,000 votes (11,116 in Ohio and 7,372 in Hawaii).
So in light of the thrashing the GOP took at the polls, here’s the upside:
1) John McCain has left the podium: Many Republicans early on refused to embrace McCain’s candidacy under any circumstances. McCain did a heck of a job proving his GOP detractors right on the money. The party no longer tethered to McCain’s media pandering that is not reflective of the sentiments of the party base. Tackling illegal immigration can finally reemerge as a political priority for the GOP.
2) The RINOs finally “out” themselves: Somewhere in heaven Jesse Helms is having one hell of a laugh. Remember former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld, who during the nineties was the party’s most prominent supporter of gay marriage and abortion? What about Lincoln Chafee, the least reliable Republican in the senate caucus yet his own party squandered hundreds of thousands of campaign dollars to salvage his political career. Then there is former Congressman Jim Leach of Iowa, who famously (at least for political junkies) refused to vote for Newt Gingrich’s re-election as speaker in 1997 and instead voted for former Republican House Minority Leader Bob Michel. What do all of these progressive Republicans have in common? They all turned their back on one of their own moderates and endorsed Obama, the most liberal candidate ever nominated by the Democratic Party. Their example shows exactly why the “country club” wing of the GOP cannot be entrusted with the reins of party leadership. EVER!
3) The end of the line for the Bush Dynasty: George W. Bush ascended as the party nominee in 2000 despite longstanding resentment by conservative towards his father (the feeling was mutual) and the lackluster re-election campaign he waged in 1992. Fortunately for the then-Texas governor, Republicans were hungry for victory and were willing to entrust the future of the party to Dubya. After achieving astronomically high ratings as president after 9-11 and helping the GOP win congressional elections in 2002 and 2004, President Bush seemed to give up making any effective public relations effort for his administration, policies and party after Hurricane Katrina. In addition to contributing towards the wrecking McCain’s candidacy, the current president has virtually eliminated any chance Jeb ever had of being nominated. Probably ruined it for George P. as well. Not much gnashing of teeth on this count outside of Kennebunkport.
4) The opportunity to rebuild: Finally, the Republican Party leadership has the chance to re-emerge from the shadow of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to install leadership not beholden to a single politician. As a rule, the president names his choice for head of the national party with the assembled national committeemen and women and state chairmen relegated as a mere rubber-stamp to make it official. Without an administration leaning on the state party leaders, they are now free to do the work of rebuilding a party and not simply appeasing the whims of a president. The GOP now has the freedom to be conservative and not chained to an unpopular agenda.
Members of the Republican National Committee would be wise to elect former
Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele as the new general chairman. And no, I am not for Steele just because he’s black.
The party has a major image problem in large part because how the White House was lethargic in its image building since 2005. Steele would represent not only a change in style but in experience as a former county and state chairman, statewide elected official and candidate for US Senate. In other words, he’s been in the trenches.
If the party is serious about making a play for the youth vote (Steele was the Young Republican pick for veep in 2008), it is necessary to have an articulate person representing the party and not have a haggard functionary that is charismatically challenged as the face of the party. After all, we already have that fronting for the GOP in Congress.
Mike Bayham is a political consultant in south Louisiana. His column is posted at and he can be reached at

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

An Open Letter to the National Young Republicans

An Open Letter to the YRNF

Dear Fellow Young Republicans:

Please indulge me for a few minutes as I express my opinions on several matters that were to be considered this past weekend at the national Young Republican board meeting in Nashville.

Let me preface this list of grievances by saying that in my eight years of attending YR national board meetings, I have never left a meeting with such a profound sense of disappointment.

The Young Republicans, always craving for the recognition from senior party folks for our toil and efforts in the trenches blew a chance to “get the brand out” by being one of the first party organizations in the country to express our support for our vilified nominee for vice-president.

If it wasn’t bad enough that the media, entertainment industry and the other party engaged in a merciless smear campaign against Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, there was our party establishment giddily joining the mob pelting her with unsubstantiated attacks upon her character and ability as aides to our presidential nominee couldn’t help getting in on the act before the election. You’d think self-interest alone would prevent them from committing acts of self-immolation, but the McCain campaign from the beginning had defied all logic.

In my time in the national YRs, our party’s nominee for president has never addressed us. I doubt there are any Texas YRs still involved that can recall the last time then-Governor George W. Bush paid a visit to one of their local or state meetings. During the past eight years not a single cabinet-level official dropped by a national convention, YRLC or a national board meeting. When I attended Close-Up while in high school my group at least scored an audience with the Surgeon General. Unless you count those presidential “fill-in-the-organization-blank” video tapes we USED to get at our meetings, the best we’ve had was a brief group photo op with Vice-President Dick Cheney arranged by then-chairwoman Dee Dee Benkie. We were not allowed to speak with the vice-president, shake his hand or have any contact with him during the seconds he spared.

Yet the YRNF had an opportunity to score some points with a young woman who will remain a major figure in our party for the foreseeable future. Perhaps she would have even dropped by an event to thank us for doing what other higher-level Republicans have not, though if she ended up joining the crowded ranks of party leaders that eschewed us I could not blame her.

So why did the YRNF blow it? Subterfuge by YRs turned off by her social conservativism under the guise of “pc-ing” my resolution to give props to a man who may have been a decent president but who was wholly unfit to be a presidential candidate and those contrarians who only derive a sense of accomplishment when they vote something down.

We blew an opportunity to help play a role in molding the future of our national party and showing some appreciation for past service by expressing kind words and encouragement for Michael Steele’s candidacy for chairman of the Republican National Committee. Mindful of our rules, I crafted that resolution so it stopped well short of officially backing him for the post. Furthermore, to give this organization even more wiggle room, I even used the term “general chairman” so as to allow to the election of someone else to handle the actual operation of the RNC and thus making Mr. Steele, an eloquent man who understands party building and what it’s like to be a candidate for office, the de facto spokesman for our party. It should be noted that of all of the national figures in our party that has participated in national YR functions, Mr. Steele has the record as he has addressed our group twice. I am of the opinion that the adoption of the resolution I presented would have not only helped Mr. Steele but also help put us on the map and register our displeasure with the way our party has been run into the ground over the past few years.

Why was the Steele resolution scuttled? Because of parochial favoritism by some our own leaders shilling for chairman candidates from their own state. Ostensibly it would have conflicted with our rules, though with the wording I employed it would not have been unreasonable to say that it was not in conflict. But instead of choosing to back up someone who has supported us and would make a great RNC leader, we decided to be like our party’s presidential nominee and sink with a rule interpretation.

Instead of making a bold statement, a weak resolution that that will be ignored and justly disregarded by party leaders. Petitions are a dime a dozen these days and most officials of both the elected and party variety disregard them unless they are recall petitions. I won’t take it personal if Mr. Steele doesn’t spend as much time with us in the future as he had in the past no matter what office he has.

And if endorsements are so scary, then why has this organization sanctioned three straw polls (two for president and one for vice-president)? Could that not be considered an endorsement? Is there not a greater risk in snubbing a potential president as opposed to a potential party functionary?

And speaking of rules, funny how some rules are strictly adhered to while others are thrown out by convenience. It seems our friends in Puerto Rico were chomping at the bit to officially receive their convention yet the site selection committee could not muster a quorum at the Nashville board meeting. Previous leaders recognized this possibility in the past and they appointed an alternate member to help in such scenarios. Chairwoman Jessica Colon appointed me to the post yet the leadership of the Site Selection Committee did not send me a single communication concerning meetings of the committee or information about the proposed host city. Recognizing that individuals were making up their own rules as they went along, I complained to the leadership about this freeze-out. Nothing came of it aside from the fact that Puerto Rico will now have to cross their fingers for quorum (of the site selection committee and the national board) in Orlando. Though I was not privy to the details of their bid, I could have been brought up to speed quickly at the Nashville meeting (having previously won a convention bid in 2000 and then later served on the committee, I knew what questions to ask without having to sit on a beach drinking complementary booze).

And finally there is the upcoming national board meeting in Orlando. Despite the fact the host state was given this meeting many months ago, registration forms were not distributed at either of the last two board meetings. Though Florida YRs were in attendance in Nashville I do not recall a presentation about the board meeting be made.

My reasoning for moving the dates was that since so little has been set in stone with Orlando, I figured that changing things to accommodate two state delegations affected by Mardi Gras was not too great of a request, particularly since two of the organization’s top three officers and the YRNF general counsel reside in “Mardi Gras states”.

Since Mardi Gras is a unique event, I understand that it is difficult for outsiders to comprehend its impact on southern Louisiana and Alabama. Hundreds of thousands of visitors flock our state while almost as many locals flee during that same time, making travel very difficult. Though it is not celebrated on a similar scale in most of the country and isn’t a holiday outside of the central gulfcoast, Mardi Gras is comparable to the Superbowl and I hope planners for future February-March YR national events will keep it in mind. It’s not like one weekend in February would result in drastically different hotel rates than any other February weekend in a hotel mecca like Orlando during the tourism off-season.

In closing, let me ask you a question that others who are no longer involved in the YRs (and not because they aged out) have posed to me: why do you go to these meetings?

Is it to socialize and visit with colleagues from around the country? Is it because you like traveling? Or is it to make a difference? My answer is all three. Gatherings of this sort are supposed to be fun, since that is one of the most compelling motivations to sacrifice the work-vacation time and the personal expense to attend these triannual meetings.

But between the sightseeing and the partying, enough time and patience must be reserved for the actual conduct of business before the national board. After all voting on resolutions is the one opportunity national board member actually have to participate in the meeting as individual leaders bound only to their consciences and not simply be a captive audience listening to reports.

In contrast, though it involves my own committee, constitutional and bylaw amendments have no value in the eyes of the media and the YR membership at-large. We’re never going to make the Washington Times by moving commas around in our bylaws. Can anyone really recall a single instance when a board vote mattered?

By letting frustration from other parts of the meeting boil over during the new business section, the national board cheated itself out of an opportunity to actually do something.

By fearing the consequences of being proactive and allowing the antics of contrarians and those whose politics are personal and not national in depth, I don’t see where we accomplished much in Nashville. So when the next RNC Chairman calls us the “College Republicans” to our faces as two other national party leaders have in the past, that indignity will be on our own hands.


Michael Bayham

Chairman, YRNF Constitution & Bylaws Committee
Vice-Chairman, LYRF

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Palin Gets Sideswiped by the "Straight Talk Hearse"

Attention snot-nosed, children of privilege whose wealthy daddies had to gain your inexperienced, arrogant and unqualified sorry asses jobs with the McCain campaign.
What happened on Tuesday was ALL your fault. Scratch that. Blame should go to your boss too.
Like many Republicans, I took more pride in Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as running mate than I did with US Senator John McCain at the top of the ticket. Why? Because I knew she was fighting for her future, unlike McCain who apparently used the 2008 presidential election to polish his legacy and tack on a final paragraph to his obituary.
The hyper-competitive Palin was chomping at the bit to knock the ball out of the park while McCain was satisfied playing the role of Al Downing, remembered in baseball history only for being the pitcher that gave up Hank Aaron’s record-breaking 715th home run.
In less than 48 hours, McCain aides have thrown Palin under the “Straight Talk Hearse” in an attempt to shift the blame away from the total humiliation they and their sponsor brought upon themselves and the GOP.
Continuing the spirit of this post-election Festivus, here is a sampling of their airing of grievances:

1. Palin didn’t know much about African geography.
2. Palin treated her running mate status as a golden ticket to go crazy at Nieman Marcus and other high-end stores to the tune of $150,000.
3. Palin’s aides fell for a prank call from Canadian radio hosts.
4. After working her heart out and enduring down right mean attacks from the entertainment industry and having her personal life hacked by liberal cyber-goons, Palin had the audacity to want to speak during McCain’s self-delivered eulogy.

My response:

1. You think the old man knows what the capital of Togo is? (It’s Lomé…and yes I needed to consult the Wikipedia to learn that nugget of knowledge)
2. Had the numbskulls (aides and the presidential nominee included) eschewed federal funds, Palin could have really torn it up! Seriously, so what? And supposedly her duds will be donated to charity. At least her shopping sprees didn’t delay people’s flights like Bill Clinton’s pricey haircuts on Air Force One did.
3. That kinds of stuff happens, including to the likes Bill Gates, the Pope, the Queen of England and two presidents of France amongst others. Big deal. It speaks far worse of the CBS Morning Show that they think enough to put the two professional clowns on their program.
4. On this count, the McCainihacks unintentionally did Palin a favor. After all, it’s largely McCain’s fault he had to give a concession speech that night.

John McCain’s candidacy was in the throes of a death rattle when Palin brought
excitement, energy, and a lead in the polls after the Obamapalooza in Denver. The Alaskan would have brought in gobs and gobs of money too had McCain not honored a pledge on public financing Obama had shredded and instead lied to tens of millions of Republicans when he said he would fight to win.
Now I will admit that there were times that I winced when Palin misstated things during interviews and her lone debate with Joe Biden, but whose fault was it that she was not properly prepared for such encounters? Or better yet, realizing she needed more time, who threw her to the media lions before she was ready? Who said she had to sit down with a hostile press on Katie Couric’s terms and not Palin’s own? Though we all know McCain wouldn’t want to risk angering his “base”.
Obama is a gifted orator, i.e. the Pablo Picasso of bullshit artists. Biden has been yammering on and on in the well of the Senate, committee rooms and on Sunday news shows nobody watched or cared about until Tim Russert died for the past thirty years. Yet Palin still ran circles around “Stand Up Chuck”.
And there was nothing, NOTHING, Governor Palin said that hurt the ticket more than McCain’s comment back in 2007 about how economics was not his strong point. As soon as I heard him say those words, I knew they had been immediately catalogued by Democratic operatives and would be replayed ad nauseam at a time of his least convenience.
My question is this: why wasn’t the McCain campaign checking Palin out back in March? I was touting her as the only hope McCain had of winning as early as May. Surely this blogger could not have more political insight than the well-healed pros running a national campaign, right?
Perhaps the professionals working for McCain could have spent time less time chasing DWI records of their own volunteers and more time quietly laying down the groundwork of her candidacy. Why did McCain dither so long about a running mate?
The blame for the worst run Republican presidential campaign since Barry Goldwater’s 1964 “profile in sanctimony” should be squarely affixed on McCain and that pack of jackals he calls aides.
It was McCain who uttered the gem “The issue of economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should.”
It was McCain who chose to handicap his candidacy by foolishly thinking an Obama renege on accepting federal funds would somehow compensate a $400 million plus deficit in campaign money.
It was McCain who behaved like a drama queen prior to the first presidential debate on the financial crisis and then embraced the unpopular bailout and all the pork loaded in it.
And it was McCain who spent the past 9 years antagonizing the GOP base and diluting the differences between himself and the Democrats on immigration, conservative judges and cultural issues.
If John McCain had any class he would immediately call his aides out on what they are doing to a woman who trust him with her name and her political future. Keep in mind this petty conduct towards Palin is nothing new and was happening weeks before the general election.
Sarah Palin has conducted herself with passion, enthusiasm and, amazingly, good humor in the face of the most vicious and demeaning slings against a vice-presidential candidate in American political history from the Democrats, the media and her own party.
Try as the McCainihacks might to salvage their careers at the expense of the Alaska governor’s future, at the end of the day it’ll be Sarah Palin, not John McCain, GOP congressional candidates will be begging to appear at their fundraisers.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Maverick Goes to the Abattoir

The “late” John McCain presidential campaign provided considerable irony, particularly for me personally.
I’ve never disliked a Republican nominee more than McCain yet I’ve never invested more of my time and talent on behalf of any other presidential candidate. Since McCain became the de facto GOP candidate I penned a speech he delivered on WWE’s Monday Night Raw, served as a delegate to the national convention, traveled out of state for grassroots work and spent hours assembling and placing election day signs across my community.
And to top it off, I knelt on the sidewalk outside of a locked church on Tuesday evening and prayed a rosary for victory. All of this for a man whose self-serving political style offended me and campaign I despised.
Obviously, loathing for the opposition motivated me to engage in going above and beyond the norm of volunteerism for McCain. His admirable military service also compensated some for my differences with him, though it should be noted that the electorate for the fifth straight occasion broke against the candidate with the more distinguished personal war record.
With the election now in the history books in bold print, I no longer need to bite my tongue.
National Review Online featured a Byron York article that argued that McCain, or for that matter, any Republican could not win the presidency under the current circumstances. I think Mr. York was being awfully charitable in his evaluation chalking up the McCain disaster as something that would have happened to anybody. I respectfully disagree as McCain virtually had to work hard to lose that big.
In the early days of the 2008 election, I penned a column calling John McCain the second coming of Bob Dole. I later learned that the McCain campaign took great exception to public criticisms of their champion (I’ll return to this at the end). And in light of what has taken place, I suppose an apology is due.
Bob Dole deserves far better than to be so unfairly libeled.
John McCain has the distinction of being the worst Republican presidential candidate since Barry Goldwater. Though Dole won fewer electoral votes than McCain, at least the Kansan kept the GOP electoral base together.
McCain lost states that have been reliably Republican for decades until Tuesday. Indiana hadn’t gone Democrat since Goldwater, a fellow Arizonan. Ditto the Old Dominion state (Virginia). The last time North Carolina went Democrat was when a peanut farmer from the Deep South ran against the Midwesterner that pardoned Nixon.
I’ll concede the times would have been challenging for any individual seeking the White House under the GOP label, between the financial crisis and President George W. Bush’s abysmal approval ratings. But good candidates find ways to overcome. McCain was satisfied with simply frenzied posturing and heralding a brawny fellow that claimed to be interested in the plumbing trade as his own personal Obama/Messiah.
Knowing how tough things would be and Obama’s proven ability to make it rain greenbacks through documented sources and otherwise, McCain stubbornly and stupidly refused to abandon public financing and handed his Democratic opponent a strategic advantage in the face of severely biased media coverage that made Obama ubiquitous and simply ignored McCain on good days.
And it was the campaign finance issue that best summed up McCain’s candidacy. Having spent too much time in the beltway and chumming with reporters (his other base, being the one that actually abandoned him), McCain really thought the voters cared about campaign finance reform. They don’t. They care more about gas prices.
Another example of McCain pulling punches was his refusal to exploit Obama’s relationship to his one-time close family friend and spiritual leader, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright.
After what was the most remarkable Republican National Convention since the 1988 conclave, McCain miraculously jumped ahead of Obama. The Democrats were panicking and I believe the possibility of switching Joe Biden out with Hillary Clinton was on the table. And then the financial crisis hit and McCain flubbed on two counts.
While Obama shrewdly kept a low profile as congressional leaders and the White House were tackled the details of a bailout package, McCain overreached by trying to dominate the news cycle, engaging in histrionics, canceling public appearances and suspending his campaign. The safe and stable image the public had of McCain in contrast with the wet behind the ears Obama was shattered and his credibility as a fiscal conservative demolished by embracing a bailout the public opposed.
In the eyes of America, McCain appeared erratic and unable to multitask and his numbers, not helped by poor performances in the first two debates, never recovered.
While hobbling down the road to perdition, McCain also avoided delineating the social issue differences between himself and Obama in the same year California voters banned same-sex marriages and allowed his aides to throw Sarah Palin under the bus during the campaign’s waning days
To give you an idea of how small minded the McCain operation was, allow me to share with you now an internal communication that just so happened to fall into my hands a month before the election.
Without my knowledge, I learned that my name had been turned in as a participant in “Future Leaders for McCain”, basically an auxiliary caucus of young professionals that would help get the message out.
It turned out that the McCain staffers had better things to do with their time than campaign in swing states as they attempted to do cursory background checks on all of the names submitted. According to his e-mail, campaign aide Abraham Sisson opposed my association with the group due to unfavorable things I had written in columns about McCain back in 2007.

Here’s the exact text pertaining to me from the “vetting report”:

Below are two red flags for your review. Full report is attached withadditional flags. Caroline, these names conclude the people on thisspreadsheet. Thanks!Mike BayhamIn a blog posting from June of last year, Bayham referred to McCain as "theproud father of the bastard child that is campaign finance reform." In thesame post, Bayham said Sen. McCain has "all the sleekness of Bob Dolewithout his special blue pills." In a blog posting from November of last year, Bayham called Sen. McCain "theconductor of the Straight Talk Funeral Cortege," and "more passionate aboutlegitimizing illegals than he was at confirming conservative jurists."

Initially, I found the report highly amusing as it recounted of my rhetorical “sins”, of which I stand by all of them. Unfortunately, Mr. Sisson, who should never have another job in politics, was irresponsibly sending out far more personal stuff about other rejected surrogates, including a reference to one person’s DWI and another’s bench warrant for failing to appear in court with the case number attached.
And thus the essence of John McCain the politician could be best summed up as someone who focused more of his energy on being sanctimonious than achieving victory. In McCain’s mind, this election had little to do with protecting capitalism and constitutional government. It was all about him.
Wrecking the party and endangering America’s future was but a small price to pay in order to give him the opportunity to further exorcise the demons that still haunt McCain from his association with the Keating 5 scandal. He’d rather keep his word to someone who had already broken his on a subject of little concern even if it meant losing the election.
Conservatives needed a fighter to stop the radical agenda of Obama & co. Instead we got stuck with a worn out tackling dummy that had no business running for president.
Mike Bayham is a political consultant in south Louisiana and can be reached at

The First Day of the Rest of Jindal's Political Life

November 4, 2008.
A great day for President-elect Barack Obama. An important day for presidential candidate-to-be Bobby Jindal.
It is part of the political circle of life that the road to the White House for Louisiana’s ambitious governor began with the demise of John McCain’s presidential dream.
Had McCain won, Jindal would have been relegated to hoping to be tapped as the running mate by Vice-President Sarah Palin in 2012. Sitting vice-presidents might not be invulnerable in general elections, but they are unstoppable in the primaries.
Had the Nixon Administration not suffered a fatal meltdown and if Spiro Agnew had kept his nose clean, not even Ronald Reagan could have prevented Agnew’s nomination in 1976.
The GOP ticket’s landslide defeat does not necessarily mean Palin would be a pushover in 2012. The rough treatment she received from the media made her a martyr in the eyes of stalwarts and her folksy, red meat rhetoric played strong with the base.
Palin proved throughout the general election campaign she could draw crowds and should be credited with that creating that brief sliver of hope the GOP had between the convention and the economic crisis. Now freed from the claustrophobic confines of her Bush-McCain handlers, Palin can spend the next three years appearing at Republican fundraisers and collecting IOUs.
Though Palin and Obama are very different people, both recognize the importance of striking while the iron is hot. Obama parlayed the fame he garnered delivering a single nationally-televised convention speech and an easy Senate victory over a carpetbagger quack GOP candidate into becoming the 44th President of the United States.
The fiercely competitive “Sarah Barracuda” is also aware of her window and should be considered not only a likely candidate for 2012 but also the frontrunner for the Republican nomination.
Thanks to props from conservative icon Rush Limbaugh and former House speaker Newt Gingrich, there is already a Jindal buzz amongst the party faithful. While campaigning for McCain in Virginia last weekend, a resident of the Old Dominion state expressed his hope that Jindal would run for the presidency in four years.
The first decision Jindal must make is whether to seek re-election in 2011.
Since Louisiana elects its state officials on the odd-numbered year prior to a presidential election, Jindal would be hard pressed to wage a gubernatorial campaign during the opening stages of the primaries.
Furthermore, by running for re-election, Jindal would be inviting the concentrated fire of a national Democratic operation that understands the importance of mowing down the other side’s farm team. If you don’t believe me, just ask FORMER US Senator George Allen, who got strangled in his own safety net.
If Jindal opts to bide his time and wait to receive an almost certain invitation to join the 2012 Republican’s ticket, he would still find himself in the same spot then-Texas Governor George W. Bush was in 1998: having to win re-election while also carrying a GOP lieutenant governor and successor over the finish line to prevent a change of party control in his state office as he ascended to the federal level.
Jindal’s endorsement of John Kennedy for US Senator had more value to Jindal himself than Kennedy in the long run. GOP activists tend to hold grudges against candidates who don’t seem Republican enough (see Mitt Romney) and Jindal would have major credibility problems with the party faithful had he not gone up to bat for the state GOP’s congressional candidates. There could not be a repeat of Jindal’s abstinence in the 2007 state legislative runoffs in 2008.
Finally, Jindal needs to be wary of employing absolute statements. The payraise fiasco, though in the end got pinned on Republican legislators, will almost certainly come back to haunt him in the Iowa cornfields.
The governor has already renounced a presidential run in 2012, claiming he has the job he wants and would rather go into the private sector than seek higher office.
Jindal would have better luck getting people to take a two dollar bet that he knows where they got their shoes at.
Rather than adopting yet another untenable extreme posture, Jindal should simply refuse to comment on any political plans not related to his intended run for re-election until after the next federal election, which isn’t until 2010.
In the meantime, he should continue to happily accept his newfound status as an up and coming leader in the GOP by assuming the responsibilities that come with being a star, thus justifying his bid to keep up with Palin in terms of chit collecting.
No matter what Jindal does or intends to do in politics from here on out, he is a marked man. The media, Republican activists and Democratic attack dogs will watch his every move, from the bills he signs (or does not sign) to how many days he spends away from Louisiana (and thus the job he currently holds). The governor will have to accept that November 4, 2008 is the first day of the rest of his political life whether he likes it or not.
Mike Bayham is a political consultant in south Louisiana and can be reached at

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

1st Supreme Court District Race

Based on numbers in so far and projections out of Jefferson Parish, Mike calls the race for Greg Guidry.

PSC District 1 Race Called

Based on vote returns and projections, Mike is calling the race for Eric Skrmetta over John Schwegmann.

Orleans Absentee Ballot Update

Orleans absentees not coming in until late due to 25,000 ballots to be scanned.

Mike calls the US Senate Race

Based on selected absentee results, Mary Landrieu appears to have won reelection.

Obama Breaks Serve - Game Over

ABC News and Fox News have called Ohio for Obama.

If the Kerry/Gore states hold -- and they will -- this gives Obama no less than 284 electoral votes.

The fat lady is singing.

Message From Mike

The question of last three weeks: whether polls reflected true will of White voters Numbers reflect that is the case. Barack Obama is the next President.

Early results:

Absentee results from St. Bernard Parish

58-40 Landrieu (big win)
PSC Schwegmann 57-44 (likely win)
Eric Scarnetta 7% in primary for PSC, now trails Schwegmann with 44%. No blowout.

McCain 71 Obama 26

Bad Sign in NC

With 95% in, Wake County, which includes Raleigh and Cary, is going for Obama by about 40,000 votes -- a 13 point loss. President Bush won it by 2 points in 2004.

Is this the service break that makes it an early night???

More Blue States

ABC News called Upper Midwest (MI, MN, WI) for Obama. No surprise per se, but how quickly they are called is disturbing.

NC Senate race

I guess the "godless" ad didn't work... CNN projecting Hagan winning NC Senate seat.

Liddy Dole can spend more time at the Watergate Hotel again.

Going to be a long night for the GOP Senate.

So much for PA and the Northeast

Fox News called PA for Obama. With MD, DE and DC, that's 117 votes for the Dems in the solid Northeast.

ABC News makes Pennsy call

With 0% of the vote in... ABC News has called PA for Obama. They have Obama up 102-43 with no surprises yet.

Solid Northeast for Dems

Save for Pennsylvania -- and that may play out in the same fashion -- everything north of DC has become untouchable for Republicans. Excluding PA, that's 80 electoral votes given to the Democrats without a fight.

This doesn't even mention ceding the West Coast. The GOP gives up half the votes required for electoral victory. This has to change.

Numbers Coming In

Sean Moronski blogging from Mike's New Jersey bureau not only awaiting news from Mike out in the field, but chiming in on other goings on.

CNN has Obama up 77-34 with no surprises yet.

About a third of the vote counted in Indiana with McCain up 3. Mitch Daniels is projected to win Governor... but... now all of the state's polls are closed. Can't wait to see what comes out of Lake County (Gary).

FOX News calling New Hampshire for Obama. FOX has it at 81-39. More to come...


I am thinking about restarting the "Early Call" tonight so check this site out starting around 7 PM tonight.

Perhaps based upon gross naivete, but here they are:


President: John McCain wins after winning the swing states of New Hampshire, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Nevada. Obama wins the swing state of Colorado.

US Senate: Democrats expand their majority to 58. Joe Lieberman caucuses with GOP out of protest.
Louisiana US Senate: Mary Landrieu with 54%
1st District Congress: "The Mistake by the Lake" with 64% (just kidding Congressman Steve!)
2nd District Dem. Nomination: Bill Jefferson with 56%
6th District: Don Cazyoux by 2 points
Orleans Parish District Attorney: Leon Canizzarro with 56%
State Senator: Polly Thomas 51%
Public Service Commission: John Schwegmann 54%

Hope & Consequences

Hope & Consequences

My body is worn from the run to Virginia to help out McCain over the past weekend; my hands hurt like hell after staking a load of campaign signs for the GOP ticket across my home town; and the media have not helped brighten my spirits with round the clock promulgations of the inevitability of President Barack Obama.
But I still hold out hope.
Why? Well in the absence of an abundance of reassuring empirical evidence supporting the contention that John McCain will benefit from a citizens’ powered upset, I can only cling to the hope (in addition to my guns and Bible) that the Arizonan will somehow triumph in the end.
What’s the point in accepting a possible reality that will either be proven or debunked in a matter of hours? Though former Massachusetts “Republican” Governor Bill Weld must think so, they do not award prizes and ambassadorships to political bandwagoneers. Grousing about the hopelessness of the situation results in no gain. And so I continue to work and spread the word as if it can still make a difference.
And though Karl Rove’s latest projections were gloomy, allow me to shine a light on some glimmers of hope as the hours tick down to the results.
First, this election is unprecedented. There is no model for it and there are no trends to provide tells on what the electorate is likely to really do at the end of the day. For all practical purposes, the media and the public are flying through the clouds without proven radar.
Second, McCain has benefited from momentum over the past few days and is shrewdly spending his day working crowds and basking in the glow of free media.
Third, many national and swing-state poll numbers show sizable undecideds and that Obama’s numbers in swing-states where he does have a lead are either at 50% or below. As the Obama camp, Democratic Party, celebrities and media have more or less implied that a vote for McCain OBVIOUSLY means your racist, many people are reluctant to reveal their vote because of the social pressures and desire to have to defend their logic, whatever it may be.
Finally, I would like to go back to an inaccurate projection I had made earlier this year while covering the New Hampshire primary. The polls at that time showed Obama with a double-digit lead over Hillary Clinton. It appeared the former first lady’s campaign wasn’t going to leave the Granite State.
And don’t let Dixville Notch’s midnight vote give you a scare. I’ve been there before. It’s not a town, it’s a ski resort. And they’ve been on the wrong side of the state vote before. In 2000 they went with Bush while the state went with McCain in the Republican primary. In 2004, they went with Bush while the state went with Kerry in the general election.
Pressure was building for her to drop out the next day. As the polls were so one-sided, even I fell prey and joined the survey-driven chorus projecting an Obama win and what happened? Clinton won the state by two points, a swing of 15 points or more in a single day. I resolved right there I would not take the polling bait again this campaign and thus still hold out hope.

Closing Argument Against Obama

At the risk of angering some of my friends, and I hope you do not take this personally, but I sincerely believe that unless you are either a stalwart Democrat or an ideological level, you’d have to be a complete fool to vote for Barack Obama today.
Obama’s economic policies are all over the place. The same goes for his foreign policies, a sign that this guy is saying just about anything until something seems to stick.
He is neither experienced enough nor prepared to run this country. He is a professional talker that has never accomplished a single landmark achievement in the US Senate. His political rise was because of a speech he gave at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, that’s all.
He didn’t fight in a war, start up a business, make tough executive decisions or do anything remarkable in his actual government service. In other words, he’s no John Kennedy.
Speaking of which, when first-term Texas US Senator Lloyd Bensten sought the presidency in 1976 with only 6 years under his belt, the media mercilessly ridiculed him for having the audacity to attempt such an arrogant jump to the White House in such short order. Obama has only served the first four years of his US Senate term and then has spent much of that time on the presidential campaign trail.
His campaign is based upon hope and change with few specifics (and even those tend to CHANGE) leaving your imagination to fill in the void. For varying reasons people want to believe in this man, none of them grounded in logic. But at the end of the day Obama is not much more than a gifted orator who has “palled” around with some dangerous people, from the theological standpoint (Rev. Jeremiah Wright) to the financial (former Fannie Mae CEO Jim Johnson, who helped pick his running mate) to a former domestic terrorist (Bill Ayers).
We are told that talking about such associations are inappropriate. I ask why? What if McCain had some connection to David Duke at some point in his political career, would that not be brought up? What if the late Enron CEO Kenneth Lay were still alive and serving on McCain’s steering committee, would that be off limits? And what if McCain had dropped by the home of Michael Fortier, who was connected to Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh? Would that not be a legitimate concern?
Never has this country been so close to electing a president that the public knows so little about because everything seems to be out of bounds, from discussion of Obama’s birth certificate to his longtime spiritual leader. Why is it not a legitimate question to ask Obama if he is lying about his relationship with Reverend Wright? How could he not know about his sermons? Or is Obama really not a practicing Christian? He’s either lying about one or the other.
And let’s talk about Congress for a moment. This isn’t the same Democratic controlled legislative body that Bill Clinton inherited in 1993. Back then you had southern conservative Democrats and moderate Midwesterners tempering the party. Now you have no more than 5 or 6 such individuals in the Democratic caucus. Since 1994, moderate Democrats have received the Ottoman treatment: forced conversion to the Left (John Murtha, the demise of such a pathetic figure would give me great solace even if Obama won) or driven out of the party or Congress altogether. President Clinton barley got through some of his major legislation in the two years his party controlled both houses; Obama won’t have such obstacles.
Governor Sarah Palin has been the object of great ridicule since appearing on the scene, admittedly committing her fair share of gaffes, as would anyone that has to make the overnight transition from Alaska politics to the national scene. But what about Senator Joe Biden? Here’s a man most known not as Pennsylvania’s “third” senator but as a failed presidential candidate that had to scuttle his 1988 effort because he got busted lifting without credit his material from a British Labour pol. His 2008 bid never left Iowa and he received less votes there than Palin did when she was elected mayor of Wasilla. And what about the ultimate gaffe committed by a vice-presidential candidate? I’m not talking about “Stand up Chuck!” but Biden’s advocacy for dividing Iraq into three countries. In perhaps the most honest thing Biden has said in his entire political career, he predicted that Obama’s election will invite a test; from Russia, China, al Qaeda and others.
President Bush was tested by China with the spy plane crash; the terrorists on 9-11; and in a move he has not received credit for, made stronger relations with Russia an early priority, which helped preempt Kremlin antics until this past summer.
These entities know McCain; they don’t need to provoke him in order to learn how he will react. This is not the case with an Obama Administration, so said his own running mate. Why would anyone invite probably escalation of tensions involving a man whose most substantial foreign policy foray was giving a decidedly unpresidential rock-star speech at Berlin’s Victory Column?
People in America are frustrated, deservingly so. President George W. Bush has worn thin on the nerves of the public. But he is not on the ballot. In what was his most eloquent statement throughout the campaign, McCain called out Obama trying to make this race about a man whose name is not on the ballot. It’s not. It’s about two people who represent the widest philosophical gulf in American presidential politics. Of the two candidates running, only McCain can claim he challenged Bush. We will have change in America no matter who wins. The Bush Presidency will make the transition from being vilified on a full-time basis by the media to academia in a matter of months.
Because of his true ideology, the company he keeps and a servile Democratic Congress, the kind of change Obama will bring to this country will be radical and not what people lulled themselves into hoping for and imagining. There will be drastic buyer’s remorse in short order if he wins.
The populace that lived in Bourbon France under Louis XVI, Tsar Nicholas II’s Russia and the Weimar Republic clamored for change for the sake of change. Anything, they thought was better than the status quo. History has shown that making a radical shift without really knowing where the end might be is unwise and dangerous.
Don’t be taken in by a supreme bullshit artist. Elect John McCain.

Monday, November 3, 2008

On the Northern Virginia Front

STERLING, VA- Due to my regular work schedule, I ended up being deployed to the key battleground state of Virginia in lieu of New Hampshire. Just as the media obsessed over Ohio four years ago, and Florida another four years prior, the Old Dominion state has been the Red state deigned most likely to flip Blue in 2008 for no particular reason on the national level aside from the fact Obama did well there in its primary mainly because of its large black population.
Now it is true Virginia has been kind to the Democrats on the state and non-presidential federal levels. Republicans have not elected governor there since 1997 and the GOP’s loss of what was considered a safe US Senate seat in 2006 and the probable loss of the other slot on Tuesday.
Yet Virginia has reliable gone to the GOP in presidential elections, giving George W. Bush eight-point margins in both of his campaigns. So why is 2008 different?
The polls in general have not been kind to McCain since the financial crisis, with Virginia not being an exception. Combined by Obama’s tremendous campaign finance advantage, the numbers in Virginia have fluctuated between 7 and 3 point margins in the Democratic nominee’s favor.
The biggest sore for the GOP in Virginia is its populous northern portion that borders Washington. President Bush averaged 32% of the vote in Arlington County and Alexandria and lost Fairfax County by a large, though relatively more modest margin.
For the Democrats, victory is predicated simply on stopping McCain from running the swing state table based off of the Bush-Gore 2000 electoral map as Obama needs to only win one of the Bush 2000 states, other than New Hampshire, to capture the White House. Short of a Keystone State miracle, Virginia would be impossible to replace in the Republican column.
While doing some grassroots campaigning for McCain-Palin in an area near Dulles International, I came across at least four Obama campaign squads in the neighborhood. Now having been a candidate for office on a few occasions, I can say that it was typically rare to cross paths with the opposition. In fact, you’re just as likely to run into Mormon missionaries as you are the other side.
For a presidential election, it’s almost unfathomable to run into rival activists unless you’re in New Hampshire. Yet there they were, teachers, retirees and people too young to vote out hustling for Obama, indicating that McCain is getting seriously out-muscled on the streets in Virginia, something that was officially confirmed by a McCain operative back at the headquarters.
The good news is that McCain has closed the gap in Virginia and that while Obama’s people from other states have converged on Virginia, most of the McCain supporters I saw busily dialing for votes and knocking on doors were locals. Only a handful of us were from out of state. Just as the glut of Maine and Massachusetts license plates at Bush’s New Hampshire rallies in 2000 was an omen of bad forthcoming results for the Texas governor then, a strong indigenous presence is a good sign for McCain in Virginia.

Endorsements for the November 4th election

John McCain-Sarah Palin for President

Helena Moreno for the Democratic Nomination, 2nd Congressional District- The renomination and later probably re-election of Bill Jefferson will continue to frustrate our recovery by leaving an “empty chair” in Congress while also communicating to the nation that Louisiana has a ways to go before businesses can feel comfortable investing in the state. If image matters, then a vote for Bill Jefferson is not too different than a vote for David Duke.

Steve Scalise for Congress- Scalise was one of the leading advocates for reform and opponents to increased taxes in the state legislature. His record of accomplishment paved the way towards his ascension to Congress early this year. His Democratic opponent Jim Harlan has been relegated to Johnnie Cochran rhyme attacks that only exist in his and his media consultant’s minds. Does Congressman Scalise deserve to be called the “mistake by the lake” simply because he was not on hand for the screening of a hurricane documentary? Hopefully, Harlan’s brand of opportunistic/money rain politics will be soundly rejected on Tuesday and that the 7-figures of his own money that he spent on the race will lead to nothing else than bigger cars for his consultant.

Conrad Appel for Senator- With an atypical background for a legislative candidate, Appel’s election would add a new business perspective to the State Senate. Appel is about as non-politician as you get.

Greg Guidry for Supreme Court- Guidry’s conservative credentials and experience as a US Attorney would help shake up a Louisiana Supreme Court that was dominated too long by liberals and courthouse politicians.

Ellen Kovach for Judge- Judge Martha Sassone’s unprofessional reputation is well known in legal circles. That the Times Picayune and the Alliance for Good Government chose to endorse her speaks volumes about their judgment and not their candidate.

Leon Cannizzaro for District Attorney- Cannizzaro’s solid work ethic would be a welcome contrast to Eddie Jordan’s reign of error/terror in crime plagued New Orleans. While his opponent, Ralph Capitelli, would also be a vast improvement over Jordan, the city needs an energetic crime fighter like Cannizzaro.