Nick Cassaro and Negative Politics

I’ve had a couple comments on this blog recently by someone named Nick Cassaro (or so the commenter identifies himself). The comments are a good example of a problem in politics.

On my most recent post about running for Congress, Cassaro writes:

Again?!! You want to lose three times in a row? Why do that to yourself and to your family?

I have nothing against the Republican party and wouldn’t rule out voting Republican (and have voted Republican) but you just aren’t right for the Capital Region.

On another recent post about Mike Huckabee, Cassaro writes:
… if I did agree with your economic policies and found out that you did not have the moral values that go back to the founding of this country, I would not vote for you. McNulty is a devout Catholic and that simply resonates with … voters such as myself. I don’t devalue other religions, and I would certainly vote for a devout Protestant or a devout Muslim or a devout Jew. But an Atheist? No. A candidate should mention something about his/her faith.

One thing that few appreciate about politics is that being a candidate is not easy for most people. Nick Cassaro is among those who enjoy attacking candidates. This is a tactic that makes running for office unpleasant. It doesn’t bother me, but I know many candidates who find such attacks a rude awakening, and they never want to run for office again. In the end, this leads to a world where incumbents run unopposed. Is this consistent with Nick Cassaro’s moral values?

Not that Cassaro is alone. In our recent Guilderland race we were attacked constantly by town employee Don Csaposs. He’s continuing his attacks on the Times Union’s Local Politics blog under the “sockpuppet” name factsdontlieliarslie. Read more about Csaposs and his attacks in this article by Casey Seiler.

Warren Redlich for Congress

In case no one’s figured it out yet, I’m running for Congress. With all the talk locally, no one seems to be mentioning me. Funny, since I’m the only one who has actually followed the law and filed with the Federal Election Commission.

I’m running as a supporter of the Ron Paul message. I actually endorsed Ron Paul before he announced, back in 2006 on Alan Chartock’s radio show: Clip from Chartock’s Congressional Corner.

Stay tuned to find out more.

And for a flash from the past, check out this draft of a 2004 campaign commercial:
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0LKpA-3sUc]

Ron Paul with Tim Russert

At first glance, I thought the Ron Paul interview this morning with Tim Russert on Meet the Press was a hatchet job. Russert went after Ron Paul from the very beginning. He twisted Ron Paul’s words, and ignored the focus of his campaign. He kept going back to things from the Ron Paul libertarian campaign for president in 1988, often with side quotes from the press rather than direct quotes from the candidate.

But I took a second look, thinking that he probably wasn’t as tough on other candidates. I was wrong. Take a look at this interview by Tim Russert with Rudy Giuliani. Russert really went after Giuliani on a number of things, including personal issues like having taxpayers pay for security for his mistress. Also look at Tim Russert interviewing Mitt Romney. I don’t think he was quite as harsh on Romney, but he did hit him with flip-flops from past campaigns.

He was not as tough in a September Meet the Press interview with Hillary Clinton. I don’t think he was as tough on Barack Obama on Meet the Press either.

After reviewing all of that, Russert should be applauded for having Ron Paul on his show. This interview was shortly before the upcoming caucus in Iowa and primary in New Hampshire. By contrast, John Edwards has not been on the show since February of 2007. It would have been nice if some of the questions dealt with positives of the Ron Paul campaign. But the big lesson here is not about attacking the mainstream media. The bigger lesson is that Ron Paul did a good job on the show, but not a great job. My wife, who is not a Ron Paul supporter, said that he did handle himself well. But I think he could have done better at turning the questions to the positives in his campaign. He usually does better at this, and he did it somewhat, but I don’t think he was prepared for how vicious Russert was.

I do think Russert went after Ron Paul more than he did any of the other candidates. We can’t change how the mainstream media will treat a Ron Paul style candidate. But our candidates can adapt, and learn how to answer their questions better. Hopefully Ron Paul will have more interviews like this with the mainstream media, and he will do a better job in the future. Not that he did terrible mind you, but he could do better. I’m sure he will learn from this experience and he will improve.

Huckabee and his Christmas disgrace

This may be a new low in politics. Mike Huckabee has a new TV commercial where he talks about “what really matters: the celebration of the birth of Christ.”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xn7uSHtkuA]

Nice to see a presidential candidate show disrespect for all the non-Christians in the country. He’s blatantly pandering to people who identify themselves heavily as Christians. I thought it was bad enough when candidates wrap themselves in the flag. Now Huckabee is disgracing Christmas and the cross (in the background).

I admit that my candidate Ron Paul wraps himself in the Constitution. But this is a rather different symbol, and doesn’t pander to any particular group. It also has a significant meaning and fits with his policy views. Does Huckabee’s Christian pandering mean something about his policy views? Will he govern as a Christian first, or as an American first?

Ron Paul poll numbers up

The mainstream media (MSM) is running out of reasons for ignoring Ron Paul. When he first announced, they just plain ignored him. He was a fringe candidate with no support, no money, no organization, no name recognition, and no success in the polls.

Then he developed a substantial following on the web, and started winning online polls. The MSM dismissed it – Ron Paul’s few supporters were cheating. Then he had some success raising money. But it wasn’t as much as the anointed candidates, so that didn’t do it.

Then Ron Paul started winning straw polls, and he’s won many of those. Straw polls used to be considered important measures, but since Ron Paul started doing well in those, the MSM decided they didn’t matter any more.

Next the Ron Paul movement started putting real people out in substantial numbers. He has an amazingly large following, and these are motivated and active people. The MSM has simply ignored that. I’ve yet to see any real coverage showing how substantial the volunteers and Meetups are.

Then came the third quarter fundraising numbers. Ron Paul raised more than John McCain, and didn’t spend much of it so he had more money in the bank. That got a little pop in the media, but it only lasted a day or so. The media continues to talk about John McCain as a first-tier candidate even though he’s got little money. He can’t even manage his own campaign, so how’s he going to manage the country?

Next the poll numbers for Ron Paul started going up. Still somewhat low, but they doubled or tripled. The MSM completely ignored that. He was still in single digits, so he can’t be going anywhere, right? Of course other single-digit candidates like Sam Brownback, Tom Tancredo and Mike Huckabee got more press than Ron Paul despite having less money and comparable poll numbers.

When the November 5th money bomb exploded, the MSM had to talk about him, but it was still only a one-day media event. They quickly went back to the “first-tier” candidates.

Mike Huckabee started rising, and the media vaulted him into the first-tier. Never mind that he still has no money, and his supporters are mainly the evangelicals. Somehow the media finds it easy to dismiss Ron Paul supporters as wacky, but the far-right Christians who don’t accept evolution are less wacky.

Yesterday’s Tea Party money bomb exploded even bigger than the first, and it got less coverage than the first one. Apparently money bombs are old news. Joe Lieberman endorsing John McCain got more press. Two fossils from the old world of politics are more important than the largest one-day fundraising success in history.

And today I just noticed that Ron Paul actually hit double digits in a significant poll – a CNN poll in South Carolina. Of course the “story” is about Huckabee, but Ron Paul does get mentioned. They can’t help but screw him though. They said he got seventh place when he was really sixth. He got 11 percent, and is very close behind McCain, Romney, Giuliani and Thompson, all of whom are between 13 and 17 percent. His poll numbers continue to rise nationwide and in the early states.

Don’t tell the MSM that. Only a few days after the CNN poll numbers came out, the New York Times reported: “His candidacy has been widely considered a long shot, and he remains in the single digits in national and state polls.” Uh … his candidacy is no longer in the single digits in at least one state poll, so maybe it’s time to drop that.

Keep in mind that polling methods understate the likely Ron Paul vote in at least two key ways. First, the pollsters call people who voted in previous elections. A candidate like Ron Paul brings out people who never voted before. Second, Ron Paul supporters are far more motivated than those who say they support the mainstream candidates. Polling methods can’t account for the likely higher turnout.

What will it take for the MSM to take Ron Paul seriously? The answer is clear. When Ron Paul stuns the world with top-three finishes in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, they’ll really start talking about what Ron Paul is saying, and why he has tens of thousands of fervent supporters.

I predict he does it. He will be in the top three for all of those primaries, and I’d even bet he’ll pull off a second-place in one of them. All this without the free press that has given such a boost to Frudy McHuckNey (short for Fred, Rudy, McCain, Huckabee and Romney).

I still shouldn’t get optimistic about the mainstream media. Even if Ron paul does pull off those kinds of numbers, they’ll probably just call it a fluke, a one-day story, and stick with their chosen horses. And we’ll keep showing them that the internet is rising and the influence of the MSM is falling. Onward and upward!!

The Gold Standard, Intrinsic Value, Ron Paul and Chocolate

My friend Ray has made several comments about my recent post about Ron Paul and the Gold Standard.

I was thinking about that today. Backers of the gold standard assert that gold has some kind of intrinsic value. By linking the dollar to something of intrinsic value, it makes our currency more stable, along with a host of other benefits.

One key problem for me is that I do not accept the “intrinsic value” of gold. Yes, gold may have a long history of being considered valuable by people. But its value has fluctuated quite substantially over the centuries. And gold doesn’t have a “use value” consistent with its market price.

So, I now call on all gold standard supporters to change their position. I call for a Chocolate Standard. Unlike gold, chocolate has a real and universally accepted intrinsic value. Chocolate is beloved by nearly all humans – though I hear dogs don’t do too well on it.

Aside from the economic benefit this would bring, it would also promote racial harmony, especially if the currency was indexed to a basket of white chocolate, milk chocolate, and dark chocolate. But you still shouldn’t eat the yellow snow.

Gun Rights: Do Liberals Want to Ban Hunting?

Yesterday’s Times Union has a political cartoon from John de Rosier showing “The Second Amendment Monument.” The fictional monument is in appreciation for the sacrifice made by the victims of gun violence – claimed to be more than 30,000 this year. Prominent in the cartoon is a “military-style” rifle on top of the monument, with a big ammo clip.

Before I get into my sniping against liberals on this, I suggest as one resource the Wikipedia entry on gun violence.

The military rifle is a classic example of liberal misunderstanding. Roughly 75% of gun homicides in the US are committed with handguns, while only 4% are committed with rifles. Shotguns (at 5%) actually kill more people than rifles. I’m not sure of the breakdown within rifles, but I’ll bet that military rifles are well below half of all the rifle killings, and probably less than 10%.

Liberals use the military rifle because it looks scary. A common target is the AR-15, the civilian version of the M-16. I used an AR-15 once – shooting at a range in a class on small arms. The AR-15 is very popular among a certain group of target shooters, not because of its power or lethality, but rather because of its accuracy.

The AR-15 shoots a .223 caliber bullet. A typical .223 bullet weighs about 60 grains. By comparison, a common hunting caliber is the 30-06, with a bullet weight of roughly 200 grains. One of the most popular hunting rifles is the Remington 7400, which is available in a 30-06 caliber. So a popular hunting rifle shoots a bullet that is three times as big as the AR-15.

Why do liberals hate the AR-15? First they complain that it’s a semi-automatic rifle. Many liberals will even say it’s an automatic rifle, but that’s just false. Automatic rifles have been illegal since around 1937. But it is in fact a semi-automatic. Pull the trigger and a round will fire, and another round will come into the chamber, ready for the next pull.

The Remington 7400 is also semi-automatic, as are many other hunting rifles. Hunting rifles are also commonly equipped with scopes, making it easier to hit your target. Scopes are, in my admittedly limited experience, less common on military-style rifles than they are on hunting rifles. This is mainly because the military-style rifles are often used for target shooting, and target shooting is often done without scopes.

The focus on semi-auto misses something – the alternative. Other common methods of reloading are bolt-action and pump-action. Neither of these take very long. My bolt-action rifle holds five rounds. If I was in a hurry (not a good shooting attitude, by the way), I could probably get off all five rounds in less than 10 seconds, maybe quicker. Nearly all handguns are semi-auto, by the way. A revolver is semi-automatic.

Liberals might even complain about the AR-15 having military-style ammunition. Military ammo generally is designed to penetrate – make a hole. Hunting ammo is designed to expand on impact – to cause as much damage as possible and kill the animal quickly. Thus, hunting ammo is more lethal than military ammo.

To keep this long story from getting too long … if you want to ban guns that can kill people, you have to ban hunting. If it can take down a 200 pound deer, then it can take down a 200 pound human too. So I hope all the anti-gun activists will either admit they want to ban hunting, or drop their anti-gun nonsense.

If the mainstream media treated other candidates like Ron Paul

After seeing how the mainstream media treats Ron Paul, I got motivated. Here’s some questions that they’d ask the “first-tier” candidates if they treated them like they treat Ron Paul:

[To Rudy Giuliani]
Q: Mayor Giuliani, after spending over $1 million of taxpayer money on “security” so you could visit your mistress in the Hamptons, how can you possibly call yourself a fiscal conservative?

[To Hillary Clinton]
Q: Opinion polls consistently show that half the country hates you. How can you possibly win? And how could you possibly govern the country?

[To Mitt Romney]
Q: You’ve changed your positions on so many issues. How can voters believe anything you say?

[To Barack Obama]
Q: You’re so young. You haven’t done much in life yet. And you keep saying dumb things in the campaign. You’re not really ready to be President, are you?

[To Mike Huckabee]
Q: You can’t win this race. Why are you wasting everyone’s time?

[To John Edwards]
Q: Look, we all appreciate that you’ve made a good effort, but face it, you’re not winning this thing. Why don’t you just give up and go home?

[To John McCain]
Q: You can’t even manage your own campaign team. How can you possibly manage the country?

Best Ron Paul Video

This might be the best Ron Paul video I’ve seen yet. It’s a little long, but it really hits the nail on the massive media bias against Ron Paul. I’ve seen so many of the mainstream media talking heads say that Ron Paul doesn’t have a chance, that he’s a fringe candidate, a second-tier candidate. Twice recently I’ve seen them tell him to his face he can’t win.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wucR65Q9OA]

Can you imagine if a news anchor said that to Hillary Clinton or Rudy Giuliani? Hillary has been elected to office once or twice in her life. Rudy maybe a few times. Ron Paul has been elected ten times. He has a better understanding of all the issues than anyone, and he’s the only candidate out there who isn’t afraid to say what he thinks. The rest of them are all lying to please the public. Ron Paul tells you the truth whether you like it or not. I don’t agree with him on everything, but at least I know where he stands.

Guilderland – Appointments in January

At our first Town Board meeting as new councilmen on January 3rd, Mark Grimm and I will be asked to vote on many appointments for various Town positions. In keeping with our campaign pledge to open up government, we wish to publicly solicit applications for those positions.

They include membership on the Economic Development Advisory Council, Planning Board, Zoning Board, and the Industrial Development Agency. There are also several part-time attorney positions, including the Town Attorney position, and attorneys for the zoning and planning boards. More information on the Town’s boards and committees can be found at the Town website: townofguilderland.org.

If you are interested and feel you are qualified for any of these openings, please send us your resume and a brief statement on why you think your appointment might help improve Guilderland. You can e-mail
to wredlich@gmail.com, or fax to my office at 518-862-1551. Thank you.

— Warren Redlich