Over the last two weeks I have worked my way through seven candidates for the Republican Presidential nomination. I have ranked the candidates based on their strengths and weaknesses. And I have even ruled some candidates out altogether based on a few extremely subjective criteria. I would like to provide a quick recap before I move on to my number one choice for the Iowa Caucus. Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman came in dead last due to his refusal to campaign in Iowa. Texas Congressman Ron Paul finishes sixth due to his reluctance to defend life and his overly naïve foreign policy. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney takes fifth place largely because I find him untrustworthy. Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann claims fourth place as she seems to find it difficult to be truthful. Coming in third is former Speaker of the US House Newt Gingrich. Gingrich’s surprising finish is largely due to his intelligence as once again I found a politician that I was unsure that I could trust. The runner up in the Countdown had an extremely weak start, but has grown stronger as the campaign has worn on and has continued to grow on my. If he had done things differently from the start it is entirely possible that Texas Governor Rick Perry could have taken the top spot. The candidate that has taken the top spot in the Iowa Defense Alliance Caucus Countdown and earned my support and my vote on January 3rd is none other than former Pennsylvania Senator, Rick Santorum.
Senator Santorum is another one of those candidates that at the beginning of the caucus season I had all but written off. I completely disregarded his campaign because of my own preconceived notion that he was not worthy of support. I erroneously viewed him as an establishment candidate. That all changed on July 28th, 2011. On that evening I had the opportunity to see Senator Santorum at the home of the Marion County Attorney. It was the first time I had the opportunity to see him and was very impressed. My first thought was that he reminded me a lot of former Arkansas Governor and the winner of the 2008 Caucus, Mike Huckabee. He proved himself to be an articulate man with a clear and concise message. I was intrigued, I had to know more.
During the course of Senator Santorum’s appearance in Pleasantville we learned that he didn’t just claim to be Pro-Life he lived his life Pro-Life. He told us about his daughter Bella. It was such a heartwarming story. Here is a video that will do better justice to that story than I ever could.
And this is just one of the reasons that I am supporting Senator Santorum.
There are many other areas that Senator Santorum is strong in as well. Take for instance energy policy. Senator Santorum has openly stated that we need to eliminate all energy subsidies and tax credits; that the government doesn’t need to be in the business of picking winners and losers.
And I agree with that sentiment. By eliminating those expenditures we can save the federal government money and in the process force a wide variety of companies to become more competitive.
And he has openly criticized the Troubled Assets and Relief Program, otherwise known as TARP; as well as other government bailouts of private industry. Senator Santorum correctly asserts that government funded bailouts do nothing more than punish the successful while rewarding the irresponsible.
As I look back at the last several months I can see how my preferences for the 2012 Iowa Caucus have evolved. Early in the race my preferences leaned toward Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul. As the days went by my preference for the candidates continually changed. That is until late July and early August. At that point Senator Santorum vaulted to the front of the pack and has remained there ever since. It had rapidly become clear that the one candidate that I could trust to restore our nation above all others was and is Rick Santorum.
An Open Letter to Senator Charles Grassley
By Representative Kent Sorenson
Few Iowans, especially those of us who like you are in politics, command the respect and dignity you have over the course of your long and distinguished career. On the other hand, I am merely a freshman state legislator who has yet to complete his first term, so I recognize the miles of difference between us in both achievement and experience.
However, as I watch you carry out your duties in the United States Senate as of late, I must confess that not only am I puzzled by some of your recent decisions, but so are thousands of your constituents across the state of Iowa as well.
Senator, I challenged an incumbent Democrat last year in my district in a year that strongly favored Democrats. A young, popular, and charismatic colleague of yours in the U.S. Senate was at the top of the ballot as well, coasting to victory in Iowa’s presidential election. I was underfunded. I was practically ignored by the state Republican Party apparatus, who assumed I had little chance of victory – and given the facts on the ground I don’t blame them for that – and therefore offered only token assistance to my campaign.
I was even told by a Republican statehouse leader not to campaign on social issues, lest I risk being defined by the media as a member of what he described as “the God squad.”
Yet, despite all of these obstacles, and the fact that I went house-to-house in a Democratic district clearly and plainly defining where I stand on every issue in our party’s platform, my campaign defied conventional wisdom and emerged victorious on Election Day.
Not only that, but my race was one of only two in the 2008 election that took a seat away from the Democrats and gave it to the Republicans.
Because of that accomplishment, which is a rare feat as of late, I had hoped my campaign would be a model for our party across the board. Ours is a party that should stand for the strong convictions in its platform, because it is supported by a grassroots that consists of people who share those strong convictions. I know this firsthand, because I came out of those same grassroots that have supported your campaigns for several decades now.
That’s why many of us back home here in Iowa are troubled with some of your decisions as of late. As the current statewide standard bearer for our party, at least until we defeat Governor Culver next year, the decisions and statements you make in Washington have a huge impact on the grassroots here at home. Both my constituents and the people I talk to across the state are puzzled by the following:
- Your vote for the so-called TARP program last fall. That Bush bailout not only violated our party’s convictions, but it also violated our nation’s Constitution. You expressed remorse that you were asking hard-working Iowans to bailout Wall Street, but you voted with Tom Harkin anyway.
- Your vote to confirm Eric Holder as Attorney General of the United States. According to a November 21, 2008 article at NewsMax, Holder was a “strong supporter of restrictive gun control” as President Clinton’s deputy attorney general.
- The fact you told The Des Moines Register back in April you needed “30 days to think about” whether or not you support an amendment to the State Constitution defining marriage as one man and one woman.
- The fact you said on Iowa Press back in April that county recorders needed to “follow the law” and issue marriage licenses to homosexuals. The last time I read our State Constitution, I was working in the only prescribed body for the making of laws, and lawmakers didn’t vote to legalize homosexual marriages on any day of the session I attended, and I attended them all.
- The fact that you have failed to flatly refuse to support President Obama’s attempted takeover of our healthcare system, and thus one-seventh of the U.S. economy. It’s ironic that as more and more Americans are realizing the scope of what Obama is proposing, and coincidentally more and more Democrats are realizing the political backlash they will face at the polls next year if they vote for it, you at the very least are being portrayed as someone attempting to keep this empty hope and change alive with bi-partisan support. From its government mandates to rationing of healthcare, we need this bill completely defeated, not just negotiated down to a more manageable monstrosity.
Senator Grassley, I applaud you for your vote against confirming Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. However, I would also like to encourage you to not stop there.
Ours is a state that is hemorrhaging young families like mine. We are getting older and poorer. I witnessed Democratic budget tactics in my first legislative session that in this nation’s past history would’ve seen them tarred and feathered by the very public they were attempting to fleece.
You have been in the U.S. Senate for a long time, but I’m guessing our country has never needed principled and bold leadership from its leaders more during your tenure than it does right now.
We are facing a war for our very way of life, both at home and abroad. Senator Grassley, we need you to set an example of that principled and bold leadership that will inspire us both here in Iowa and across the country.
Iowans cannot afford any more of Obama-Culver-Gronstal government. However, I fear that unless our party shows them something more righteous than “the lesser of two evils” as a comparison, that’s exactly what we’ll get.
Senator Grassley, Iowans need the bold convictions of our party platform like never before. I wish to partner with you in advancing that platform if you’re interested in offering the principled and bold leadership Iowans need.
(Kent Sorenson is a Republican representing House District 74 in Warren County.)
Last night I found a piece of commentary on Bloomberg.com that is both very interesting and very ironic. The interesting part is that the commentary relates to the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) that was first used under President Bush as well as the wasteful use of these funds. Now for the ironic part of the commentary, the author of it is US Senator John Kerry.
The basic argument of Kerry’s sardonic commentary is that corporations must be saved from themselves even when those corporations were not necessarily in need of saving in the first place. Take for instance the case of Northern Trust Bank headquartered in Chicago, IL. This company was the recipient of $1.6 billion in TARP funds even though it was not teetering on the verge of insolvency. In fact according to Northern Trust’s spokesman Douglas Holt the company did not seek any of the TARP money. Here is a complete quote from Mr. Holt that describes the situation aptly,
“Northern Trust did not seek the government’s investment, but agreed to the government’s goal of gaining the participation of all major banks in the United States.”
The problem that Senator Kerry has with Northern Trust relates to a PGA tournament in Los Angeles that Northern Trust sponsors. During the course of the tournament Northern Trust held three dinners followed by concerts for current and prospective clients. This was all done in an effort to drum up more business for the company, something that would surely help the economy if successful.
Unfortunately Senator Kerry is attempting to use this situation to further regulate and restrict our financial institutions. Senator Kerry is using the myth that all banks that received TARP money were “bailed” out. He has introduced a bill in the US Senate that would prohibit institutions that have received TARP funds from hosting, sponsoring, or paying for conferences, holiday parties, and entertainment events. This means that corporations such as Northern Trust will be forced to comply with Congress even though the business was not failing.
The hypocrisy that is evident in Kerry’s commentary is astounding but was not altogether unexpected. If it wasn’t for the massive debt that Congress has helped to increase this situation would be slightly comical. I mean come on, a member of a US Congress not known for fiscal responsibility telling a successful wealth management firm how to best spend money to revive the economy. Senator Kerry and his cohorts in Congress have a long road to travel if they wish to lay claim to any shred of fiscal responsibility.
Often I wonder what the Republicans are doing to try to stop the never-ending want for more money that President Obama and the Democrats seem to think will come forever from American taxpayers. Today I got an answer to my inquiring mind. John Boehner and other House Republican leaders are making statements and asking questions. I say keep on rattling the cages of the big spenders who continue to ignore taxpayers who shout STOP!!!!
Boehner says “American people are looking…for real leadership.”
We are not only looking for real leadership- we are demanding it. It may be 2010 before our anger about being taxed to death will be truly known, but in the mean time Iowa Defense Alliance is committed to keep taxpayers/voters up to date on what our elected officials are saying and doing, and in some cases not doing.
House Republicans Press Treasury Secretary Geithner for TARP “Exit Strategy”
House Republican leaders today wrote to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, inquiring about the Obama Administration’s “exit strategy” from the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP). The letter comes as Geithner and other Administration officials are determining how to use the second $350 billion installment of TARP funds President Obama requested last month and whether to request additional taxpayer funds beyond the initial $700 billion authorized last year.
“Because the Administration has committed itself to assisting the auto industry, satisfying commitments made by the previous Administration, and devoting up to $100 billion to mitigate mortgage foreclosures, it has been reported that President Obama might need more than the $700 billion authorized by the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (‘EESA’) to fund a ‘bad bank’ to absorb hard-to-value toxic assets,” wrote the leaders. “In light of these commitments – which come at a time when the Federal Reserve is flooding the financial system with trillions of dollars and the Congress is finalizing a fiscal stimulus that is expected to cost taxpayers more than $1.1 trillion – it is not surprising that the American people are asking where it all ends, and whether anyone in Washington is looking out for their wallets.”
Specifically, the leaders asked Secretary Geithner to provide answers to six questions before the Administration determines the next steps for the TARP program, including:
1. How does the Administration plan to maximize taxpayer value and guarantee the most effective distribution of the remaining $350 billion of TARP funds?
2. How is the Administration lending, assessing risk, selecting institutions for assistance, and determining expectations for repayment?
3. Will the Administration opt for a complex “bad bank” rescue plan? How can the “bad bank” efficiently price assets and minimize taxpayer risk? Will financial institutions be required to give substantial ownership stakes to the Federal government to participate in the program?
4. Is a “bad bank” plan an intermediate step that leads to nationalizing America’s banks?
5. Can you elaborate on your plans for the use of an insurance program for toxic assets? Specifically, will you seek to price insurance programs to ensure that taxpayer interests are protected? If so, how will you do so?
6. What is the exit strategy for the government’s sweeping involvement in the financial markets?
“Indeed, a bipartisan majority of the House – 171 Republicans and 99 Democrats – recently expressed the same concerns, voting to disapprove releasing the final $350 billion from the TARP,” the leaders concluded. “As we noted in our December 2, 2008 letter to then-Secretary Paulson and Chairman Bernanke, we realize that changing conditions require agility in developing responses. However, the seemingly ad hoc implementation of TARP has led many to wonder if uncertainty is being added to markets at precisely the time when they are desperately seeking a sense of direction.”
Washington, Mar 3 – House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) today released the following statement as Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag testify this morning before the House Ways & Means and Budget Committees:
“American families and small businesses know we cannot afford more taxes, more spending, and more debt amid this increasingly-severe recession, and they deserve real answers from Secretary Geithner and Director Orszag today. How can the Administration justify a trillion-dollar tax hike on families, seniors, and small businesses during a recession? With our nation’s economy in a tailspin, who will pay for the big government spending spree proposed in the Administration’s budget? During this unprecedented economic turmoil, why does the President plan to sign into law the nearly half-trillion spending bill making its way through Congress, even though it is loaded with some 9,000 airdropped earmarks and includes the biggest discretionary spending increase since the Carter Administration?
“With a deepening recession and growing uncertainty among middle-class families about their jobs and nest eggs, the American people are looking to both parties in Washington for real leadership during times of economic crisis. That is precisely why we should be working together on a responsible budget that helps our economy recover without piling more debt on future generations.”