Archive for September, 2012

Conventional Wisdom

Posted on September 6, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

By Caren Z. Turner

Unconventional wisdom has had us questioning the wisdom of conventions!

No longer are the conventions brokered.  No longer are there floor fights…(or so we thought).

The taxpayer bill for the 2012 conventions exceeds $136 million. Candidates don’t seem to be getting the convention “bump” in popularity.

Conventions seemed to be a short campaign respite for slightly crippled candidates who have their back against the ropes.  Whether they are wounded by perceived lack of charisma, leadership capacity, or character, this year’s conventions seemed to be designed to heal those wounds and create the rallying cry for the next two months.

Finally, last night, we saw some fireworks.  What is most interesting about the two conventions? First, super human resilience – Bill Clinton just knocked the ball out of the park. From impeachment to nearly 70 percent approval rating, we all need his vegan diet, or something! Aside from the policy considerations, his speech is a life lesson in resiliency. Second, the Democratic platform votes on G-d and Jerusalem left two highly seasoned pols speechless.   Both Ted Strickland and Mayor Villaraigosa were stunned into silence. Power play, tone-deaf, technical correction, anti Israel?  It wasn’t pretty no matter what it was.  Finally, we saw unprecedented reliance of each candidate on their spouse.

Ann and Michelle gushed about their spouse’s unique selling points.  The polls determined that Ann and Michelle are more popular than their husbands!  So, convention or to hell with convention?  Let us know your thoughts!

In the interim, here are some photos of a convention from 100 years ago.

Turner GPA is a leading D.C.-based national lobbying and government affairs firm dedicated to delivering cutting edge policy advocacy for the manufacturing, defense, aerospace, health and energy industries. Members of our professional policy team can be reached at (202) 466-2511. We are also on the Web at www.turnergpa.com.

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Playing Politics with Natural Disasters

Posted on September 5, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

By Carl Chancellor

With Isaac finally out of the headlines having inundated Louisiana and the Gulf Coast, it looks like the country, for the most part, dodged a bullet, though the final price tag of the storm’s destructive impact has yet to fully tallied.

Unlike our hapless response in 2005 to Hurricane Katrina that brought untold destruction to New Orleans and vast swathes of the Gulf Coast, the systems designed to keep Americans safe in the face of a natural disaster were in place and working when Isaac blew in, but will the same be true the next time?

Knowing that the federal government is ready to respond efficiently and effectively to a natural or man-made disaster should be a given. Our lives and the lives of our loved ones depend on that certainty. Unfortunately, when America’s safety becomes entangled in partisan politics, we are all put at unnecessary risk.

Last summer during the contentious debt-ceiling negotiations the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, the agency responsible for emergency response, was held hostage by an astounding number of federal lawmakers who were demanding that disaster relief spending be offset with cuts elsewhere in the budget.  Moreover, many of these same congressional members took their budget cutting hatchets to the very federal agencies that monitor storms like Isaac, slashing hundreds of millions from the budgets of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Association and the National Weather Service.

Fortunately, a debt-ceiling deal was reached that included an agreement to fund disaster relief above the federal spending limit, which meant money was available—about $1.5 billion—to respond to Isaac.  However, it is clear, with the calls for dramatic spending reductions to disaster relief continuing as strong as ever, this debate will soon be revisited.

It will behoove us all to remember that hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods don’t determine their destructive paths on whether or not a state is red, blue, or purple. An underfunded FEMA, NOAA, or National Weather Service hurts Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike. Making sure that our government is ready and able to respond to any natural or man-made disaster must be a national priority that supersedes partisan politics.

Turner GPA is a leading D.C.-based national lobbying and government affairs firm dedicated to delivering cutting edge policy advocacy for the manufacturing, defense, aerospace, health and energy industries. Members of our professional policy team can be reached at (202) 466-2511. We are also on the Web at www.turnergpa.com.

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At the RNC: A Chair Steals the Show

Posted on September 5, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

By Scott Orr

If there is one enduring image from the Republican’s recent convention in Tampa, it is surely that empty chair Clint Eastwood spoke to for 12 minutes on the gathering’s closing night.

It doesn’t matter if you loved his presentation, or hated it, you definitely remember it. And for newly anointed Republican standard-bearer Mitt Romney and his backers, that’s probably not what they intended. And it could be why the Romney campaign has yet to see much of a convention bounce.

Eastwood’s performance overshadowed a solid, if bland, acceptance speech by Romney which built on one of his campaign’s favorite themes, that the Obama administration has been a disappointment. He went over his five point plan to create 12 million new jobs, called for renewed American unity and reached out to women voters.

But coming as it did after Eastwood’s chair speech and reflective and philosophical remarks from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Romney’s speech was hardly the highlight of the night. Quick polling by Gallup gave Romney low marks.

Rubio did his best in trying to focus the crowd away from the Obama bashing and back to the virtues of Romney. He did a great job, talking about his family and about Romney’s  and about how the American dream endures even in troubled economic times.

In one of the few prime time speeches that focused more on lifting Romney up than on running Obama down, Rubio sounded a rare note of optimism. Romney, he said, believes “life in America can be better than it has ever been.”

If the goal of convention speeches is to tell the electorate why their man should be elected, then Romney’s wife, Ann, was its star. Her heart-felt remarks on the convention’s opening day talked about the loving family man who worked hard to meet every challenge along the road to business success.

“At every turn in his life, this man I met at a high school dance has helped lift up others,” she said.

But vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s acceptance speech was more the norm, focusing more on Obama than Romney. He described the Obama administration as “a dull, adventureless journey from one entitlement to the next, a government-planned life, a country where everything is free but us.”

Then there was New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, whose keynote address was really more about himself than about Romney or Obama. It did contain a nice bit about leadership and the memorable line: “Real leaders don’t follow polls. Real leaders change polls.”

It started with the threat of being washed out by Tropical Storm Isaac, ended with the memory of a man talking to an empty chair. Overall, we’re not sure the convention did much to help Romney, but polls show the race is still too close to call.

Now, what can Obama and the Democrats do?

Turner GPA is a leading D.C.-based national lobbying and government affairs firm dedicated to delivering cutting edge policy advocacy for the manufacturing, defense, aerospace, health and energy industries. Members of our professional policy team can be reached at (202) 466-2511. We are also on the Web at www.turnergpa.com.

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At the DNC: Making the Case for Obama

Posted on September 5, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

By Scott Orr

The Republicans left their convention in Tampa last week after hammering away at the theme that America is worse off now than it was when Obama took office almost four years ago.

The Democrats’ goal at their convention in Charlotte should be to try to show that that’s just not true. And while the Democrats are vowing to take the political high road, there will no doubt be an adequate dose of Romney bashing.

Speakers will include a wide range of politicians from across the country, but the Democrats have a pair of rock stars in their line-up: First Lady Michelle Obama and former President Bill Clinton. Michelle Obama, who has established herself as a thoughtful and articulate spokesman for her husband’s policies and knows better than anyone the human side of the president, did not disappoint on Tuesday night.

Though she never mentioned Romney by name, her remarks portrayed her husband as a man who was raised by a single mother of modest means and who met every challenge on his way to political stardom. “We learned about dignity and decency — that how hard you work matters more than how much you make,” she said.

But it was Clinton who brought the real star power, even if Obama was Hillary Rodham Clinton’s political foe in 2008. Among many independent voters, women, and minorities, Clinton is a generational statesman whose administration saw a robust economy, a balanced federal budget and an America that was, generally speaking, at peace.

He too echoed the theme that while the nation is still struggling, it is better off than when Obama took office.

“Are we where we want to be today? No. Is the president satisfied? Of course not. But are we better off than we were when he took office?” Clinton asked. The convention hall erupted with shouts of “Yes!”

The Democratic platform, meanwhile, is aimed squarely at middle-class voters, with the claim that President Obama’s economic program is beginning to work and will pay off big time if given four more years to achieve its promise.

More specifically, you can expect speakers to highlight Obama’s leadership over the last four years and how he has not been afraid to deal with political risky challenges like health care reform, economic stimulus, and same-sex marriage. Obama can also be expected to lay out a job creation plan, as Romney did at the GOP convention.

There are decent arguments and evidence on both sides of the question of whether America is better off now than it was four years ago. The last time the “are-you-better-off” strategy worked was in 1980 when Ronald Reagan used it to knock off Jimmy Carter.

The Romney campaign has made it clear that they are giving the strategy another shot, so expect the Democrats to make the case that Obama is no Carter and Romney is no Reagan.

Turner GPA is a leading D.C.-based national lobbying and government affairs firm dedicated to delivering cutting edge policy advocacy for the manufacturing, defense, aerospace, health and energy industries. Members of our professional policy team can be reached at (202) 466-2511. We are also on the Web at www.turnergpa.com.

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