Mike Kueber's Blog

November 9, 2012

The Republican Party and illegal immigrants

Filed under: Issues,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 6:35 am
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Charles Krauthammer, the world’s most brilliant columnist, has suggested to the Republican Party a simple way to win the next presidential election – namely, agree to provide amnesty to America’s illegal immigrants.  In his first post-election column, Krauthammer argues that Hispanics provided President Obama with his margin of victory and that Hispanics would be conservative voters if not for the Republican Party’s opposition to amnesty.  By contrast, he points out that other key Democratic constituencies, such as blacks, young people, and unmarried women, are generally big-government liberals and, therefore, cannot be pursued without compromising the Republican Party’s conservative, small-government principles. 

I agree that amnesty for illegal immigrants (the term “illegal immigrants” was endorsed just yesterday in a column by the most influential Hispanic columnist, Ruben Navarrette)  does not violate fundamental conservative principles.  Yes, conservatives are generally more in favor of strict adherence to the law and opposed to anyone benefiting from violating the law, but granting an exception under extenuating circumstances can be explained and justified.   

Not everyone thinks like Krauthammer.  Laura Ingrahm substituted for Bill O’Reilly tonight on FOX News and touched on this issue, too.  She argued that the Republican Party shouldn’t get into a bidding war with Democrats over their special-interests constituencies because the Democrats can always offer more than the Republicans can.  For an example, she said Republicans could agree to amnesty, but then the Democrats would offer more affirmative action, etc. 

Even without the Democrats outbidding Republicans, I am not as confident as Krauthammer that amnesty will prompt a massive shift in Hispanic allegiance.  There is a long history of Hispanics voting Democratic, and it will take time for them to conclude that that allegiance no longer makes sense.  But it is worth trying, and it is time to get started.

August 28, 2012

The Crackpot Caucus

Filed under: Issues,Politics,Religion — Mike Kueber @ 10:52 am
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A good friend from Austin recently suggested to me that the TEA Party seems to be infused with more than its share of dullards who lack the ability to engage in critical thinking.  I responded in my blog that this perception may have arisen because the TEA Party is decentralized and thus doesn’t have articulate, smooth-talking spokespersons as the face of the party. 

My Austin friend isn’t the only one who thinks conservatives are stupid.  Timothy Egan of the NY Times recently charged that congressional Republicans were “The Crackpot Caucus.”    In his blog to justify his charge, Egan’s exhibit #1 was the “legitimate rape” guy from Missouri, Todd Akin, and he then attempted to show that Akin is not an anomaly.  Among the knuckle-draggers in Congress:

  • Climate change.  We’re currently experiencing the worst drought in 60 years, a siege of wildfires, and the hottest temperatures since records were kept.  But to Republicans in Congress, it’s all a big hoax. The chairman of a subcommittee that oversees issues related to climate change,  Representative John Shimkus of Illinois is —  you guessed it  — a climate-change denier.  At a 2009 hearing, Shimkus said not to worry about a fatally dyspeptic planet: the biblical signs have yet to properly align. “The earth will end only when God declares it to be over,” he said, and then he went on to quote Genesis at some length.  It’s worth repeating: This guy is the chairman.
  • Global warning.  On the same committee is an oil-company tool and 27-year veteran of Congress, Representative Joe L. Barton of Texas.  You may remember Barton as the politician who apologized to the head of BP in 2010 after the government dared to insist that the company pay for those whose livelihoods were ruined by the gulf oil spill.  Barton cited the Almighty in questioning energy from wind turbines. Careful, he warned, “wind is God’s way of balancing heat.”  Clean energy, he said, “would slow the winds down” and thus could make it hotter. You never know.  “You can’t regulate God!” Barton barked at the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, in the midst of discussion on measures to curb global warming.
  • EvolutionThe Catholic Church long ago made its peace with evolution, but the same cannot be said of House Republicans.  Jack Kingston of Georgia, a 20-year veteran of the House, is an evolution denier, apparently because he can’t see the indent where his ancestors’ monkey tail used to be. “Where’s the missing link?” he said in 2011. “I just want to know what it is.” He serves on a committee that oversees education.  In his party, Kingston is in the mainstream. A Gallup poll in June found that 58 percent of Republicans believe God created humans in the present form just within the last 10,000 years — a wealth of anthropological evidence to the contrary.
  • AbortionAnother Georgia congressman, Paul Broun, introduced the so-called personhood legislation in the House — backed by Akin and Representative Paul Ryan — that would have given a fertilized egg the same constitutional protections as a fully developed human being.  Broun is on the same science, space and technology committee that Akin is. Yes, science is part of their purview.  Where do they get this stuff? The Bible, yes, but much of the misinformation and the fables that inform Republican politicians comes from hearsay, often amplified by their media wing.
  • ScienceRemember the crazy statement that helped to kill the presidential aspirations of Michele Bachmann?  A vaccine, designed to prevent a virus linked to cervical cancer, could cause mental retardation, she proclaimed. Bachmann knew this, she insisted, because some random lady told her so at a campaign event.  Fearful of the genuine damage Bachmann’s assertion could do to public health, the American Academy of Pediatrics promptly rushed out a notice, saying, “there is absolutely no scientific validity to this statement.”  Nor is there reputable scientific validity to those who deny that the globe’s climate is changing for the worse. But Bachmann calls that authoritative consensus a hoax, and faces no censure from her party.

Egan concluded his posting by noting that at least two Republicans (albeit RINOs) see their party’s mistake:

  • A handful of Republicans have tried to fight the know-nothings. “I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming,” said Jon Huntsman, the former Utah governor, during his ill-fated run for his party’s presidential nomination. “Call me crazy.”
  • And in an on-air plea for sanity, Joe Scarborough, the former G.O.P. congressman and MSNBC host, said, “I’m just tired of the Republican Party being the stupid party.”  I feel for him.  But don’t expect the reality chorus to grow. For if intelligence were contagious, his party would be giving out vaccines for it.

In my aforementioned blog posting, I noted that there is a major difference between social conservatives (Moral Majority) and social conservatives (TEA Party), and the core of that difference is fundamentalist Christianity.  As Egan noted, the Catholic Church has made its peace with evolution (as has Mitt Romney), but the Fundamentalists haven’t.  And the Fundamentalists have too much power within the Republican Party because their energy level enables them to dominate the party primaries.  So, much like union power in the Democratic Party, this special interest causes the Republicans to say things and act in ways that are way out of the American mainstream.

March 8, 2012

The Hispanic vote and the Republican Party

There has been talk for months and years that the demographics of America favor the Democratic Party because of the growing Hispanic population.  Most of this conjecture is based on the assumption that most Hispanics will vote Democratic, especially with the Republican Party taking such a strong position against illegal immigrants.  Although many moderates in the Republican Party accept this worrisome prognosis, there are others who claim that most Hispanics have conservative values (social and fiscal) and this ultimately will dictate their political destination.  I think both viewpoints contain some truth. 

An analogous situation involves union workers.  These people have conservative values, but are attracted to the political party that wants to treat them as a special interest.  The result is that union organizations have absolute fealty to the Democratic Party and a significant number of union voters vote Democratic. But the Republicans have been earning a significant percentage of union voters ever since McGovern scared them toward Nixon.

I think the same thing will be true of Hispanic voters in the future.  Hispanic organizations will kowtow to the Democratic Party and Hispanic voters will vote Democratic more often than justified by a concordance of values.  But because of a concordance of values, Republican candidates will also amass large numbers of Hispanic voters even as the illegal-immigration mess percolates, and those numbers will grow significantly after the mess is resolved.

Incidentally, with all this talk of the ascendancy of the Democratic Party, I have noticed that actual facts seem to be going in the other direction, at least in Texas.  A few months ago, an Hispanic Democratic state legislator from the Valley, Aaron Pena, switched to the Republican Party.  Then last week, the Texas Tribune announced another switch from South Texas – J.M. Lozano.  Could it be that these legislators know more about what is happening than do the pundits?  That wouldn’t be the first time?

June 22, 2011

Sunday Book Review #35 – American Theocracy by Kevin Phillips

Because I had such a good experience in listening to a book (The Da Vinci Code) during my drive to and from St. Louis in May, I decided to try listening to another book during my June drive to and from North Dakota.  Because The Da Vinci Code is a riveting book of fiction, I wondered if political nonfiction would be as spellbinding.

Much to my surprise, I found that listening to American Theocracy, a 2006 book by Kevin Phillips, was almost as mesmerizing.  Phillips is famous for writing one of the most famous political books of the 20th century – The Emerging Republican Majority – in 1969.  At that time, he coined the term “sunbelt” and presciently predicted that it would provide a core of support that would make the Republicans the majority party for a generation.

As the title to American Theocracy suggests, Phillips is now disenchanted with the Republican Party, but the focus of the book is not the salvation of the Republican Party, but rather the salvation of America.  According to Phillips, there are three great dangers to American pre-eminence:

  1. The Religious Right.  This group has taken over the Republican Party and is attempting to force America to act in accordance to with biblical teachings instead of in accordance with reason – e.g., climate change, stem-cell research, and evolution.  Phillips thinks it is ironic that Protestants in the early 60s were concerned that President Kennedy would take direction from the Pope, but in the 2000s they urge Democrats to take direction from the Pope, especially on the issue of abortion.  Phillips especially takes issue with American Exceptionalism, which he believes prompts hubris-laced policies.
  2. Mideastern oil.  According to Phillips, American dependence on Mideastern oil has caused America to have extensive, yet vulnerable national security interests throughout the world.  He believes that the war in Iraq was more a part of our oil strategy and less our concern for WMDs.  More importantly, Phillips shows that many great world powers have faded because they failed to move away from a fading energy resource (e.g., Great Britain and coal).  Instead of trying to defend our lifeline to the Mideast, Phillips suggests we should be working like India and China to develop alternative lifelines.
  3. Debt and an economy based on finance.  Throughout the book, Phillips compares America’s current challenges with the decline of four great world powers – Rome, Spain, the Netherlands, and Great Britain.  One of their shared traits was that, as their power matured, they shifted from producing things to becoming what Phillips called “rentiers” – i.e., people who survived on unearned income.  Declining powers also took on
    huge levels of debt.  Obviously, there is a danger of America going down that same path.  Phillips points out that the FIRE sector in America (finance, insurance, and real estate) has passed and is pulling away from the manufacturing sector even though the government is aggressively inflating the manufacturing numbers by
    including things like flipping burgers.

The spellbinding experience of listening to American Theocracy during my trip to and from North Dakota was enhanced by occasionally listening to talk radio – e.g., Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck.  This is the first time that I have listened to them at any length, and it was interesting.  Rush is bombastic, Sean is earnest, and Glenn is not as kooky as he seems on TV.  They often cover the same issues of the day, with the same sound bites and even same types of sponsors (gold sales, tax problems, and hard-drive backup systems).  Although they criticize the
echo chamber of the Washington/NYC elite, I suspect that their messages are equally echo chambers.

I found it ironic that Rush, Sean, Glenn, and others continually warn about the advances of evil secular forces in America while Kevin Phillips thinks America is dangerously close to becoming a theocracy.  As I switched back and forth from Phillips to the talk shows, I had to wonder if they were describing the same America.

November 11, 2010

The Tea Party conundrum

A recent analysis in the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza suggested that the Tea Party cost the Republican Party several seats in the United States Senate.  See http://voices.washingtonpost.com/thefix/senate/tea-party-candidates-underperf.html.  That is unfortunate, not because I’m a partisan who wanted the Republicans to take control of the Senate (although I did), but because our democratic process failed.  The process failed because the voters of Delaware, Nevada, and Colorado didn’t elect their preferred representative.  Fortunately, there is a simple way to fix the process. 

As Cillizza pointed out in his analysis, Christine O’Donnell in Delaware, Sharron Angle in Nevada, and Ken Buck in Colorado received the Republican nominations for the U.S. Senate due in large part to the energetic support of the Tea Party and the tepid involvement of moderates in the primary process.  That contrast reminds me of a sore loser (Yeats) who said the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.

One of the reasons that moderates are only tepidly involved in the primaries is that they are outnumbered and get beat up regularly by the hardcore partisans in their party.  Ronald Reagan used to talk about a big tent, but hardcore Republicans today disparage moderates as RINOs (Republican in name only).  In fact, the Republican Party in Texas recently had a plank to deny party support to any candidate who wasn’t pro-life.  Talk about ideological purity.

A common reaction to these exclusionary practices is to suggest the formation of a third party.  Just yesterday, opinion writer Matt Miller in the Washington Post wrote, “Why We Need a Third Party of (Radical) Centrists.”  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/10/AR2010111003489.html?hpid=opinionsbox1.  In the article, Miller suggested a new party for people who are fiscally conservative and socially liberal.  Although the Libertarian Party (LP) might argue that it already occupies that niche, I think Miller considers the LP to be too extreme (cutting government expenditures by over 50%, plus isolationism abroad), and instead he wants a third party of moderate, pragmatic politicians.

I suspect Miller is too young to remember that fiscally conservative, socially liberal voters have been yearning for a similar-minded third party for almost 40 years, but the electoral dynamics in America is not conducive to forming a third party.  Fortunately, Miller’s objective of a moderate, pragmatic government, stuffed with fiscal conservatives and social liberals, can be achieved by a relatively simple electoral adjustment – Top Two primaries.  https://mkueber001.wordpress.com/2010/06/10/what-is-a-pragmatic-politician-to-do/.  

The recent experiences in Delaware, Nevada, and Colorado support that thesis.  If those states had Top Two primaries, the primary elections would have created a heightened level of voter interest, and, in turn, it would be more likely that the far-right Tea Party candidates would have been eliminated in the primary.  Furthermore, even if they weren’t eliminated in the primaries, they would more likely have faced a moderate, formidable candidate in the fall.  That would be a good thing.

Top Two primaries will be implemented in California in 2012.  If the concept works well there, I expect the concept will be exported throughout the U.S., just as I hoped California’s legalization of marijuana would soon spread throughout the land.  Sometimes change takes time.

September 14, 2010

Social mobility

A column by David Brooks in today’s NYTimes suggested that the sales pitch by the Republican Party to American voters may be effective in the short-term, but it is not a message that will result in a long-term governing coalition:

Through most of its history, the narrative begins, the United States was a limited government nation, with restrained central power and an independent citizenry. But over the years, forces have arisen that seek to change America’s essential nature. These forces would replace America’s traditional free enterprise system with a European-style cradle-to-grave social democracy. 

These statist forces are more powerful than ever in the age of Obama. So it is the duty for those who believe in the traditional American system to stand up and defend the Constitution. There is no middle ground. Every small new government program puts us on the slippery slope toward a smothering nanny state. 

Contrary to this Republican sales pitch, Brooks opines that a governing coalition must include those voters who want government to play a positive role.  This role is necessary because some problems can’t be solved by the government simply getting out of the way:

The fact is, the American story is not just the story of limited governments; it is the story of limited but energetic governments that used aggressive federal power to promote growth and social mobility.

Brooks’ use of the term “social mobility” intrigued me.  During my congressional campaign, I argued that government should work toward equal opportunity for all (but not equal results), and I wondered if “social mobility” is a more eloquent way of saying the same thing.

As usual, Wikipedia is a good starting point:

In sociology and economics, as well as in common political discourse, social mobility refers to the degree to which an individual or group’s status is able to change in terms of position in the social hierarchy.  To this extent it most commonly refers to material wealth and the ability of a person to move up the class system….  The extent to which a nation is open and meritocratic is of fundamental significance. 

Social mobility; meritocratic; equal opportunity – these are American values.  But as I further explored the concept of social mobility, I was disappointed to find that the United States was not a leader.  A recent study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development on inter-generational social mobility found:

10/02/2010 – It is easier to climb the social ladder and earn more than one’s parents in the Nordic countries, Australia and Canada than in France, Italy, Britain and the United States, according to a new OECD study. “Intergenerational Social Mobility: a family affair?” says weak social mobility can signal a lack of equal opportunities, constrain productivity and curb economic growth. 

A report generated from the OECD study opined that social mobility enhances economic growth by allocating human resources to their best use:

Removing policy-related obstacles to social mobility can be advocated on equity grounds as it should improve equality of economic opportunities, but also on efficiency grounds. The economic rationale for removing such obstacles is two-fold. First, less mobile societies are more likely to waste or misallocate human skills and talents. Second, lack of equal opportunity may affect the motivation, effort and, ultimately, the productivity of citizens, with adverse effects on the overall efficiency and the growth potential of the economy.

Although the report did not focus on policy options that would enhance mobility, it did assert that education was the key, and it concluded with the following advice:

Policies that facilitate access to education of individuals from disadvantaged family backgrounds promote intergenerational wage mobility, and are also likely to be good for economic growth. Examples include inter alia school practices that start grouping or “tracking” students only late in their educational curricula so as to encourage the social mix within schools, or government-supported loan or grant systems that reduce students’ dependence on their families for financing their post-secondary studies.  [Malcolm Gladwell also discussed the pernicious effect of early grouping/tracking in his book Outliers.] 

Class warfare is a common tactic in American politics, especially when dealing with taxation.  And there are never-ending recriminations about the shrinking middle class.  But these are zero-sum arguments that revolve around whether the government should be redistributing income.  As suggested by the OECD report, increasing social mobility would increase the size of the pie/pot to be divided and simultaneously increase equity.  That’s a win-win.

The NYTimes has produced an interesting chart that shows the intra-generational social mobility in America late in the 1990s.   The OECD study and report concerned inter-generational social mobility.  Both are worthwhile objectives, but inter-generational mobility is essential.

September 9, 2010

A book review of Grand New Party, by Ross Douthat & Reihan Salam

After hearing that Ross Douthat was named the new conservative columnist for the NYTimes, I decided to learn a little more about him.  What I learned was that he has written two books.  Douthat’s first book – Privilege: Harvard and the Education of the Ruling Class – was written shortly after he graduated from Harvard in 2002.  Because one of my favorite issues is meritocracy in America, I will certainly be reading this book.  (For an interesting, albeit less than favorable review, see http://www.slate.com/id/2114657/.)  Unfortunately, my library doesn’t currently carry the book, but they have requested it.

Douthat’s second book is Grand New Party, How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream, published in 2008.  As suggested by the sub-title, Grand New Party describes how the Republican Party can achieve its destiny by saving America as we know it – i.e., “a nation of limited government and strong cultural solidarity, in which the goods of our national life are distributed as widely and equitably as possible, without sacrificing ownership and self-reliance in the process.”  Fortunately, my library had this book in stock.

The book begins by describing the failure of both Republican and Democrat parties to develop an enduring governing coalition in the 40 years since the demise of the Roosevelt coalition in 1968.  According to the authors, the parties have failed because neither has been able to earn the consistent allegiance of the working class – i.e., non-college educated.

Education is the defining issue of the working class because the absence of college degrees has caused them to be especially vulnerable to insecurity and immobility.  The authors postulate:

  • Public disorder, family disintegration, cultural fragmentation, and civic and religious disorder … breed downward mobility and financial strain.
  • Success is increasingly tied to education, and education is tied to stable families, and both are out of reach.
  • Left unaddressed, these problems may only grow worse.  The continued decline of the two-parent family means that more and more working-class Americans, white and Hispanic as well as black, will grow up without the familial environment that’s crucial to success in the information age.

On the current political spectrum, the populist Left proposes increased spending on failing public schools, a more generous safety net for welfare recipients, amnesty and benefits for illegal immigrants, indefinite affirmative action, and environmental regulations that will kill jobs.  The righteous Right has succeeded in exposing the differences between the cultural values of the working class and the liberal overclass, but they have failed to distinguish between pro-market and pro-business and between spending that fosters dependency and spending that fosters independence and upward mobility. 

The second part of the Grand New Party describes the programs that will earn for Republicans the permanent allegiance of the working class.  The programs can be placed into two categories:

  1. Putting families first.  Everything in America starts with strong families.  Over the past 30 years, illegitimacy and family instability breed financial anxiety, which puts further strains on the family.  To break this cycle, we need to strengthen the family:
    • Family-friendly taxes – $5,000 per-child tax credit and wage subsidies
    • Encourage sprawl because suburbs promote improved family life
    • Require universal, affordable health insurance
    • Means-test Social Security
    • Replace income and SS taxes with a consumption tax.
  2. Up from compassion.  The authors commend Bush-43 for his instincts in adopting the theme of a “compassionate conservative,” but they think his language struck the wrong tone.  America should be focused, not on its empathy, but rather on the aspirations of the poor with a drive to succeed.  Instead of feeling pity and condescension, America should facilitate self-improvement.  Examples:
    • School choice – with a weighted-student funding formula for all schools
    • Defusing the crime bomb
    • Immigration – better border control, but full-fledged citizenship and opportunity instead of guest-worker programs.

According to the authors, the Left wants to turn America into Europe, with its welfare state, and they might succeed if the working class believes that the Right wants to turn America into Latin America, with its rich and poor, but no middle class.  The authors believe that the key is to adopt Ronald Reagan’s vision of government, as articulated in his first inaugural address – he declared that his mission was not “to do away with government,” but “to make it work – work with us, not over us; to stand by our side, not ride our back.”

This message is almost identical to one given to me by a UTSA student following a Congressional candidate forum last year.  This student suggested to me that the Republican Party would never be adopted by Hispanics as long as it considered government to be a bad thing.  I agree – we need government, not to redistribute wealth, but to foster opportunity for disadvantaged Americans.

July 15, 2010

Consultants are a luxury the Republican Party can’t afford

In his book Real Change, Newt Gingrich asserted that the Republican Party lost power in the late 1990’s because its leaders were held captive by a swarm of consultants.  According to Gingrich, the consultants (a) led Republican leaders toward safe positions that would play well during the next election cycle, and (b) steered them away from fresh, original ideas that might require some cultivation.  Based on recent developments, Gingrich’s advice is not being heeded.

I had first-hand experience with this concept in my five-person Republican primary earlier this year.  The two candidates with a lot of money to spend spent a lot of that money on consultants even before the rest of us started campaigning.  (Canseco spent over $40,000 and Hurd spent over $30,000.)  When the campaign got going on the ground, I was struck by the similarity of the Canseco and Hurd positions.  In fact, I couldn’t detect any significant difference of opinion (other than term limits, which Hurd couldn’t support because he was only 32 years old, and district residency, which Canseco couldn’t support because he wasn’t a resident).  Even more revealing was their practice of evading tough questions by giving vague, similar responses.  By contrast, the other three candidates took positions that sometimes deviated from Republican orthodoxy and felt obligated to directly answer direct questions.

Today, there was article in the New York Times relating to the extreme reliance on consultants.  The article suggested that Republican Meg Whitman, a billionaire running for governor in California, had given $1 million to Mike Murphy, a popular Republican consultant, to prevent him from consulting for Steve Poizner, Whitman’s main rival.  See http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/12/us/politics/12whitman.html?hpw.  The NYT article went on to say that this practice of buying up consultants is not a novel political tactic, as NYC’s Republican mayor/billionaire Michael Bloomberg commonly retained consultants whom he didn’t need, but didn’t want consulting against him. 

This practice goes beyond politics.  As an insurance-company lawyer, I heard about defendant-corporations who would place the leading attorneys in a small town on retainer as soon as it learned that the small town was the site of important litigation, not because they were going to use the lawyers, but because they wanted to prevent the other side from using them.  And in college football many years ago, the strong teams like UT-Austin would give scholarships to players they didn’t need, just to keep them from playing for rival teams like the Texas Aggies.  College football corrected their problem by limiting how many scholarships a team could give.  Unfortunately, campaign finance is not as amenable to such simple reform. 

A major part of the problem is that some players (candidates or corporations) have virtually unlimited resources to spend on something that they deem to be critical.  An article in the SA Express-News today reported that Sarah Palin’s PAC (SarahPac) had received and spent almost $1 million in the last quarter.  http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/FEC_filing_shows_Palin_gave_87500_to_candidates_98231109.html.  I reviewed the filing and determined that she paid the following consultants in the first six months of this year:

  • Orion Strategies, Washington, DC                 $40,000
  • NorthStar Strategies, Alexandria, VA            $75,000
  • IzzyLene Consulting, Anchorage, AK           $22,500
  • True North L’Attitudes, Anchorage, AK       $10,833.33
  • Aries Petra Consulting, Woodbridge, VA      $28,000
  • Grey Strategies, Columbus, OH                     $45,000
  • Andrew Davis, Sacramento, CA                    $30,000
  • Pamela Pryor, Arlington, VA                         $30,000
  • Kim Daniels, Bethesda, MD                           $26,000
  • 338 Industries, Austin, TX                             $1,500
  • Callisto Consulting, Millville, NJ                    $8,000

Why does Sarah Palin need to consult with so many consultants?  The SarahPac website says it is dedicated to “supporting fresh ideas…  By supporting SarahPac, you will allow Gov. Palin to help find and create solutions for America’s most pressing problems.”  I wonder if Sarah’s contributors know that their money is going to a bunch of Beltway bobble-heads.  By turning to consultants for fresh, creative, original ideas, Sarah is obviously not heeding Newt’s advice – i.e., consultants are a luxury the Republican Party cannot afford.