Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Media, candidates, and others: Please feel free to post, reprint, forward, or discuss this piece. Please make mention of the fact that this article originally appeared on: If you have a blog or web site, please establish a link. Thanks. "We must all hang together, or most assuredly, we will all hang separately." (B. Franklin)

Tomorrow I'm going to write about the following piece from GOP Leaders Warn of Election — Shellshocked House Republicans got warnings from leaders past and present Tuesday: Your party’s message isn’t good enough to prevent disaster in November, and neither is the NRCC’s [National Republican Congressional Committee's] money. The Republican brand has been so badly damaged that if Republicans try to run an anti-Obama or anti-Rev. Wright campaign, they are simply going to fail. More… (US Elections 2008)

The article's message is either poppycock or balderdash. I haven't figured out which. A candidate's "brand" is not the Party. Rather, it is the candidate herself or himself. Also, if those supposed Republican "leaders" had done a better job leading, well, things would be better.

There's much hand-wringing lately over the loss of Republican candidate Woody Jenkins in a supposedly "safe" election in Louisiana. As Karl Rove put it Tuesday night, "Look, Woody Jenkins [who's lost more elections than Britney Spears has mispaced underwear] is a fine man, but he's terrible candidate." I support only exceptional candidates.

As for Woody's loss, the best way to get candidates for congressional races is NOT to "round up all the usual suspects." Instead, get people who have great integrity and a real passion for the voters of their district. They usually win. More to come on Wednesday.

On my Pennsylvania-specific blog, I have posted a strategy for Keystone State congressional candidates. Since it has national implications, I'm re-posting it here on this national blog. ON THIS BLOG THE EMPHASIS WILL NOT BE ON PROVIDING TIDBITS OF INFORMATION, BUT RATHER ON STRATEGY AND TACTICS FOR WINNING.

"[There's] this aspect of the Boy's Club ganging up on her [Hillary] and shoving her out." Chuck Todd, MSNBC

Barack Obama will almost certainly be the Democrats' presidential nominee. The question for presidential nominee John McCain and congressional candidates like Melissa Hart, Toni Gilhooley, Michael Livingston, and Marina Kats is how can they pick up the votes of Hillary Clinton supporters.

A lot of Hillary voters, as many as 45%, say they will not vote for Obama. If they will defect from the Democratic nominee, they may just defect from "down-ballot" candidates.

Melissa, Toni, and Marina can appeal to many disaffected Hillary backers. One major way they can do so is to emphasize the need for Pennsylvania to elect women to federal offices, including the presidency and the Congress. The Republican candidates need to emphasize the many things they have in common with Hillary voters, especially their belief that Mrs. Clinton was mistreated by the national media (which is true) and by the arbitrary rules set by Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean (also true).

Melissa, Toni, and Marina should say very explicitly -- and often -- that they want the Hillary supporters to back them. But won't that offend Obama voters? Possibly, but who cares? They're the left-wing types who aren't going to vote for any Republicans.

Consider a few example of results from the Pennsylvania Primary:

4th District (Beaver County, Melissa's District) Hillary 28,205 Barack 12,184
17th District (Lebanon, Toni's District) Hillary 7,316 Barack 5,772
13th District (Montgomery, Marina's District) Hillary 77,762 Barack 75,515

I sent the following e-mail to Sharon Caliendo, a political consultant in the Southwest:

Sharon: Thanks so much for passing my "Hillary Strategy" along to Congressman Tom Cole's office. The issue has really nothing to do with whether someone "agrees" with Hillary. On some issues Hillary is okay (there are lots of issues after all!) and on some she is not so good.

The real question: is Mrs. Clinton getting shafted by the Democrats' "old boys network" and by the national media, which hates her? The answer is yes.

Consider again Chuck Todd's comment last night on MSNBC: "[There's] this aspect of the Boy's Club ganging up on her [Hillary] and shoving her out."

Bingo, Mr. Todd.

As I'm saying on my blogs -- and trying to get many others to say the same thing -- it will help Republican candidates (especially females) to start pointing out that Mrs. Clinton is getting savaged by media and political hacks (Howard Dean) who have done everything they can to wreck her campaign.

Our Republican candidates should start saying that out loud (and in press releases). Many Democrats, especially women voters, believe it's time in our nation's progress for a female candidate to get the nomination for the presidency.

I've been advocating that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin be our GOP candidate for President in 2012 (if we lose this election) or 2016. I've done this not because she's a woman but because she is a remarkable human being and the most effective elected official in any state.

In PA, Hillary Clinton won nearly every county -- in some cases, she won by three-to-one or even four-to-one. We need to reach out (and keep reaching out) to Hillary Clinton supporters. They are the keys to John McCain winning the presidency -- and to many fine candidates getting elected to Congress.

Sharon, I want people like Melissa Hart, Toni Gilhooley, Michael Livingston, and Marina Kats to win elections. To do so, they have to defy some of the conventional wisdom, especially the elements that will lead to "conventional" defeats. The three Republican candidates did NOT grow up with "silver spoons" in their mouths, and they need to get that across to Hillary supporters.

In the PA Primary on April 22, Mrs. Clinton got 1.25 million votes. Many of those voters will understand that we're running superb candidates this year. Winning is just so much more enjoyable than losing.

John McCain has said he wants to contest for every vote. I hope every one of our candidates, male or female, takes that approach. Sen. Clinton has campaigned with real ferocity and skill. She should have our respect for that.

(Note: Here's what Adam, a Coloradan and probably the best young political operative in the country, said about the thoughts in this column: "Good strategy. I'm not an expert on PA, but Hillary supporters certainly seem like a key to GOP victory. If you can hang Obama around a local Dem's neck, you might be able to pick of quite a few votes. The only caveat is that you probably can't associate Obama too closely with Dems who backed Clinton."

Note: The following column appeared today on http://www.mccainnow/, an important site bringing together a multitude of McCain supporters. I urge you to go there and register.

Like you, I've been fascinated by the "exit polls" showing that a great many Hillary Clinton voters (nearly half in Indiana) are saying that will not vote for Barack Obama. Very, very interesting -- and more than just "interesting."

On my Pennsylvania blog ( I'm asking John McCain and several great (female) congressional candidates in PA to go after those Hillary supporters. It's essential that John McCain (and other GOP hopefuls) start asking explicity for support from voters who have backed Mrs. Clinton.

Frankly, I hope John McCain and other candidates for federal offices say and do some unconventional things. Specifically, I hope they say that Mrs. Clinton is being savaged by the national media (which happens to be true).

I also hope they say (accurately) that the Senator is being shafted by Howard Dean and other members of what Chuck Todd (of MSNBC) calls "the Democratic 'Old Boy's' Club."

If we scratch Hillary's back, many of her supporters will end up scratching ours.

Recognize that it makes eminent sense for Republicans to treat Howard Dean (an odious creature) like a political pinata. Actions by Dean and other in his Democrat Cabal -- specifically, the dinenfranchisement of Michigan and Florida Democrats should be a major issue for McCain.

We need to sympathize (now!) with those disenfrachised Democrats. We must remind those voters that Dean is treating them like dirt. Deans' strong-arm tactics are depriving Mrs. Clinton of the nomination.

Yes, I'm aware that in politics the actions I'm advocating "just aren't done." Why they're not done, however, is a question that has no real good answer.

In my home state of Pennsylvania, I'm strongly backing one presidential candidate (John McCain) and some great congressional candidates (Michael Livingston, Melissa Hart, Toni Gilhooley, and Marina Kats). I have this terrible sense that if all five of them don't reach out forcefully -- and explicitly -- to Hillary's suppoters, then all they all could lose Pennsylvania.

John McCain has said many times that he wants to "contest for every vote." In the Pennsylvania Primary, Mrs. Clinton got 1.25 million votes. I'm a selfish Republican -- and I hope McCain and others also are. I want a good chunk of those million-and-a-quarter votes to go to oustanding Republican candidates, starting with John McCain.

In recent memory, Senator Clinton said the following: "I have a lifetime of experince. John McCain has a lifetime of experience. Senator has a speech [against the Iraq War] that he gave in 2002." I hope McCain is readying a commercial featuring Clinton making that statement.

Yes, when the Democratic Primary comes to and end -- presumably at some point in our lifetimes -- Mrs. Clinton will go through the motions of endorsing Barack Obama. But her heart -- and I assume she has one -- will not be in it. In reality, she will be looking ahead to 2012 and her race against . . . President McCain (and vice-president Palin, one hopes)

So, let's go get those Hillary supporters. We need to sympathize with them about their candidate's legitimate grievances against the Obama-loving media and the Clinton-hating national chairman (Dean). If we ask sincerely for their votes, we can get them -- and in massive numbers.


Mike McNally said...


This is an easy one. I'll be honest here. I think John McCain is a good man, an honest man, and a man of integrity. Despite his part in the Keating Five scandal, I trust John McCain to do what he believes is right. But if Melissa Hart wants to get some of Hillary's votes, she should:

1. Support stem cell research, like John McCain and Hillary Clinton

2. Support a program that would guarantee healthcare to every working person, like John McCain and Hillary Clinton.

3. Like John McCain and Hillary Clinton, get rational and promote alternative energy and conservation as the best way to improve our national security and meet our energy needs instead of misleading people that drilling in ANWR or off the coast of Florida would make a real difference in the price of gas.

The kind of misleading propaganda that Melissa Hart is laying out about drilling for oil on our own soil is a throwback to the days of Tom DeLay and Mark Foley in Republican politics. First, it was Jeb Bush and other Republicans who blocked drilling off of Florida's coast to protect Florida's tourism. Second, it was Melissa Hart's own deficits that are held by the Chinese that are allowing them to drill off the coast of Cuba. Does anyone really believe that Ronald Reagan, or even Bill Clinton would have allowed that? Of course not, but George Bush can't do anything now because he and Melissa Hart have trillions of dollars out on a ChineseBank VISA.

My advice to Melissa Hart if she wants Reagan Democrats - get in the mainstream like John McCain.

Stephen R. Maloney said...

I have some better ideas.

As a believing Roman Catholic (as opposed to Altmire who's a social Catholic), Melissa should oppose the destruction of viable embroyos. Why on earth would she want to change her religion?

We hear a lot from Barack and Hillary about their great concern for the lives of others. But if we have no reverence for the most helpless among us the calls to respect life will be gone with the wind.

In terms of health care, many, many things have to be done. But as with anything in life families and parents should be responsible for providing health care, just ast they're responsible for food, electricity, gas, and other expenses.

The best way to promote alternative energies is to rely primarily on market forces. Mike, if you want alternative forms of energy (solar power, wind, etc.), I suggest you install it on your property. Nobody, especially Melissa, will stop you.

In this life, we need to take care of ourselves, perhaps a novel notion to you. In short, we should do everything we can to take care of ourselves. What right do we have to ask others to provide that care?

As you see, I advocate for myself and for Melissa traditional American values, based largely on personal responsibility. In contrast, you advocate "collective responsibility." But if we can't take care of ourselves, exactly how are we supposed to care for others.

When people are truly helpless, through no fault of their own, then they should get help, first from private groups/agencies and, at a last resort, from government (i.e, from us as taxpayers).

Mike: I'm sure when you think through what I've said, you will have a "political revelation" and strongly support Melissa Hart.

Thanks for your careful reflection on this. I'll pass along to Melissa your comments, but I expect her reactions to be something like mine.

Mike McNally said...


So you are saying that you and Melissa Hart oppose the death penalty? The Catholic Church does.

Wonderful folks, you heard it here first. Melissa Hart obeys ALL Roman Catholic beliefs to the letter of the law. That means, "MELISSA HART OPPOSES THE DEATH PENALTY."

Thank you Stephen for that revelation. Can we post it on her website?

Mike McNally said...

Stephen, you wrote, "The best way to promote alternative energies is to rely primarily on market forces".

If we were in a free market,that might be true, but we're not, and the energy industry is about as far from a free market as one can get.

First, there are relatively few producers, which makes it essentially an oligopoly, not a free market with perfect competition.

Second, the natural resource companies (i.e. - natural gas, coal, oil, metals, etc.) enjoy tax benefits that no other industy has.

Specifically, oil, coal, and natural gas companies enjoy the tax benefit known as "depletion". Depletion allows companies to reduce their income on a dollar for dollar basis for every gallon of petroleum of pound of coal that they drill or dig up. In fact, their reductions from depletion can "can ultimately exceed their investment" see

In other words, an oil company could conceivably make a billion dollars profit (even after overhead), and yet declare a loss on their balance sheet and pay no taxes.

Give alternative and renewable energy companies the same rules as big oil, and solar panels will be affordable enough that they will become a practical alternative and economies like Pennsylvania will benefit from leadership in a huge new industry.

Jason Altmire is for the new jobs in Pennsylvania that the alternative energy industry will create, while Melissa Hart is still backing George Bush's oil buddies and their dependence on the Saudi Arabians.

Clean coal and alternative energy, not a continued dependence on oil, are what benefits Pennsylvania, but only Jason Altmire seems to recognize that.

Stephen R. Maloney said...

Mike McNally: In the immortal words of Mike Lange, "Michael, Michael, MOTORCYCLE!"

Mike, you remind me of the typical college freshman in my university teaching days: you are in essence a blank tablet. You know nothing about economics, petroleum distribution and supply, or job creation. In this condition, you are much like Jason Altmire, hereinafter called "the sneering fat boy."

Until you read and digest "Humanae Vitae," the papal teaching on life and its value, we can't have an intelligent discussion of the differences between Melissa Hart and The Sneering Fat Boy.

On energy economics: I haven't owned a car in 12 years. Thus, if the price of gasoline goes to $10 a gallon, it doesn't affect me personally. Of course, I have walked thousands of miles in the past several years, but that has kept me from being a Fat Boy (Man).

I suggest you install solar panels and a wind mill in your back yard. I'm sure SFB (Sneering Fat Boy) has already done so.

Mike, you are now my favorite Democrat, although I admit you didn't have a lot of competition for that distinguished position.

I was going to ask you what you sent SFB for Valentine's Day, but then I remembered that was the other Mike.

I will pray for your conversion to Republicanism and free market principles. As for SFB, he will have a great deal of time after Nov. 4 to repent of his sins and bone up on Catholic teachings.

P.S. There is no papal statement "ex cathedra" against the death penalty. Since such penalty is in the Constitution, Melissa must of course adhere to the wisdom of the Founding Fathers. The Church recognizes that necessity.

All the best,

steve maloney
ambridge, pa

Mike McNally said...

Tsk tsk. Thank you for the kind words.

While I am not an economist, name-calling is really not necessary. Conversely, you could simply state clearly and simply where the errors were in my description. YOu could also state clearly how the oil companies do not have a tax and infrastructure situation that is vastly more desirable than does the alternative energy industry. In the absence of such explanations, we may assume that my description was accurate.

On the other hand, the Catholic Church is, quite clearly, against the death penalty. I thought that quibbling about semantics was for Democrats, so you really disappoint me on that issue.

And while I am proud to be your favorite moderate, socially conservative Democrat, until you stop the ad hominem attacks I don't think you'll be my favorite Republican.

I pledge to always be civil toward you and the rest of the Republican party, and I am sure that on many issues we will have to agree to disagree. But at the end of the day, I am sure that you are a good person and I too, wish you all the best.

Take care.

Stephen R. Maloney said...

Mike, I admit I don't have a high regard for your understanding of the issues on which you recite slogans. Exxon paid $29.8 BILLION in taxes in the FIRST QUARTER of 2008, a fact that will (or should) amaze you. I doubt the "alternative" energy business will pay $30 billion in taxes in the history of the world. The price of oil is sometimes set by market forces, such as the massive demand increases in India and China, but sometimes by OPEC, which has 95% of the world's known oil reserves. In the U.S., we have 5% of the world's population, but we use 25% of the world's energy. One reason we do so has been that gasoline and other varieties of oil have been very inexpensive (compared to other developed countries that are paying, say, $9 a gallon for gas. Most of the really promising "alternative" energy producers are oil companies, who can afford to make the massive investments necessary. Some "altenative" fuels are a very bad idea, especially ethanol, which receives massive tax subsidies and is driving up the prices of food. I worked for many years as a writer and policy analyst for Phillips Petroleum, Gulf (now part of Conoco), and occasionally for Exxon. I regard myself as one of the better informed people in America on energy prices. There are many steps you could take personally -- including the solar panels, hybrid car, shoeleather express I suggested. I assume neither you nor Jason Altmire has done any of them. As for you, I sincerely believe you have trouble going beyond nonsensical liberal slogans about the evils of "Big Oil" and the like. The people who have run the oil industry since Titusville have crated millions (many) of job directly and hundreds of millions of jobs indirectly. So far as I can see, Jason Altmire has created no jobs, other than the ones the government pays for (his staff). Read Daniel Yergin's history of oil in the world. It will be a revelation. Do not put ethanol in your car! Tell your mom to have a nice Mother's Day.

steve maloney
ambridge, pa

Mike McNally said...


I have no fundamental problem with big oil or any company making a profit. At the same time, several things are true:

1. Oil companies are subsidized by tax rules and other measures that enable them to sell their product more cheaply than alternative energy sources. I don't suggest penalizing big oil. I merely suggest that the government create a level playing field in the interest of our national security.

2. While oil may have been discovered in Titusville, most jobs for Pennsylvanians will come from coal and alternative fuels.

3. If using ethanol for fuel causes food prices to increase, isn't that called the free market? First you and Melissa Hart are against the death penalty and now you are agains the free market? Then, in a Clintonesque equivocation, you quibble about the death penalty not really being against Catholic Church teachings, which it clearly is.

This is not what I always thought it meant to be conservative.

Stephen R. Maloney said...

Michael: Send me your email address, and I will send you two articles by an energy expert that will explain what's going on with the energy situation. Reading political materials is a very bad way to learn the truth about anything. As I indicted Exxon paid nearly $30 billion in taxes in the first quarter. I think Hillary, Barack, and Jason "forgot" to mention that. The world price of oil is fundamentally controlled (much of the time) by OPEC, the members of which don't like us much. U.S. oil production peaked in 1972 at 9.2 million barrels of oil per day. It is now at 8.0 million, and it will continue to go down. I hear that Exxon gave $100 million to Stanford for research on solar energy (fuel cells mainly, I think). If alternative energies were a way to make a nice profit, lots of companies would be doing so. Ethanol is mainly a scam by large agricultural enterprises. Without big subsidies, ethanol would be a dead duck. Reason: It takes a large amount of energy to produce a gallon of ethanol. It doesn't "add" much energy. These are points that Obama tiptoes close to making but doesn't because he wants the nomination. Currently, there is no way on earth to get gasoline prices below $3 a gallon.

My e-mail is: