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Strong America Now – a movement to reduce wasteful government spending

February 23, 2011

Photo of Mike George

Mike George, author and former consultant

George is taking his message to the Internet and the Hawkeye State, the stomping ground for many presidential contenders, whom he hopes will be receptive to his ideas.

He is quoted in the Omaha World-Herald saying, ““We can reduce federal spending by $500 billion per year just by waste reduction.”

George also said he believes “Iowa is the lever by which you can move the world.”

Strong America Now, a non-profit organization, is billed as a movement dedicated to mobilizing and educating grassroots activists about the danger of America’s continuing budget deficits and ever-increasing national debt, and offers a solution to which they believe all parties can agree.

Michael L. George is a former consultant with a track record of reducing the costs associated with large corporations and the federal government. Private sector clients of the George Group, a company founded by George in 1986, included Caterpillar, Xerox, Eli Lilly, Alcan, Honeywell/Allied Signal, ITT, and United Technologies among others.

His management methodologies, known as the Lean Six Sigma process, are outlined in a series of books authored by George.

In 2004, the United States Navy selected the George Group to use the Lean Six Sigma process to reduce costs and production cycle time, while improving quality. The U.S. Army followed and currently has 5,000 waste reduction projects underway, contributing to an annual cost savings of $100 billion, according to statement made by Secretary of Defense Bob Gates.

In 2007, George retired and sold his company to Accenture, relinquishing commercial interests in Lean Six Sigma. His aim now has turned to sharing his expertise with members of Congress and groups across the county that will listen.

For more details, visit: http://strongamericanow.com

Mike George, founder of Strong America Now, was in Council Bluffs Feb. 16, touting the message that government needs to target wasteful spending, not cut programs. He thinks its a message that can help draw Republicans and Democrats together in taking steps to reign in the national deficit.


A look back at the 2008 election and Secretary Vilsack’s role

February 23, 2011

Photo of Secretary Tom Vilsack

U.S. Sec. of Agriculture Tom Vilsack

It was exactly four years ago today, Feb. 23, 2007, that then former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack (D-IA) announced he was getting out of the 2008 presidential race due to monetary constraints. Vilsack had also been the first to enter the race as the Democratic Party’s nominee for President of the United States, officially filing papers with the FEC to form his presidential campaign committee Nov. 9, 2006.

Vilsack kicked off his campaign Nov. 30, 2006; considered a long-shot candidate. However, Vilsack often repeated that when it came to elections he often started as an underdog, but that he had yet to lose a race.

But after just three months, the campaign was over, never really gaining much traction. He never placed any staff on the ground in New Hampshire, the first and a key primary election state. A senior campaign official said at the time the campaign simply could not keep up with the campaign funds that rivals like Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were raising.

Shortly after ending his 2008 bid for the White House, Vilsack endorsed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and was named the national co-chair for Clinton’s presidential campaign. Clinton placed third in the Iowa Democratic caucus to Obama and Edwards. Following the final primaries on June 3, 2008, Obama had gained enough delegates to become the presumptive nominee. In a speech before her supporters on June7, Clinton ended her campaign and endorsed Obama.

On Dec. 17, 2008, then President-Elect Barack Obama announced Vilsack’s selection to be the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. Vilsack’s nomination was confirmed by the United States Senate by unanimous consent Jan. 20, 2009. Vilsack’s appointment was rumored to be part of the “deal” the Clintons had brokered when Hillary reluctantly conceded the Democratic Presidential nomination to Obama.

Vilsack served as the 40th Governor of the State of Iowa, first elected in 1998 and then re-elected to a second four-year term in 2002.

Tom Vilsack is not a native son of the state of Iowa. He was born in Pittsburgh, PA, abandoned at birth and placed in a Roman Catholic orphanage. He was adopted by Bud Vilsack, a real-estate agent and insurance salesman, and Dolly Vilsack, a homemaker.

He attended a preparatory high school in Pittsburgh, and received his Bachelor’s degree in 1972 from Hamilton College in New York, and Juris Doctor in 1975 from the Albany Law School.

Vilsack met his future wife, Ann Christine “Christie” Bell, while at college in New York. The couple were married Aug. 18, 1973, in Bell’s hometown of Mount Pleasant, Iowa. The couple moved to Mount Pleasant in 1975, where Tom Vilsack joined his father-in-law in law practice.

Vilsack was elected mayor of Mount Pleasant in 1987; and elected to the Iowa Senate in 1992.

Tom Vilsack narrowly won the 1998 gubernatorial general election; it was the first time in 30 years that a Democrat was elected Governor of Iowa. Gov. Terry Branstad (R-IA) preceded Vilsack, having served 16 consecutive years as governor. Governor Branstad was reelected to the post in the 2010 election.

For most of Vilsack’s tenure as governor, Republicans held majorities in the Iowa General Assembly. Following the Nov. 2, 2004, elections, the Senate was nearly evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. Republicans held a 51–49 majority in the House of Representatives.

In 2001, Vilsack served as a Chair of the Midwestern Governors Association; and he was chair of the Democratic Governors Association in 2004. In 2005, Vilsack established Heartland PAC, a political action committee aimed at electing Democratic governors. Vilsack left office in 2007; he did not seek a third term as governor.


Tea Party Patriots hold national summit this week in Phoenix

February 23, 2011

Tea Party buttonThis week, the Tea Party Patriots, a group billing itself as the movement’s largest grassroots organization, will hold its first national policy conference in Phoenix. The group claims to have more than 3,000 locally organized chapters and more than 15 million supporters nationally.

Several probable 2012 presidential contenders will be speaking at the “American Policy Summit-Pathways to Liberty,” including Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Georgia businessman Herman Cain and Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas).

The conference begins Friday, Feb. 25 and runs through Sunday, Feb. 27 at the Phoenix Convention Center.

The Tea Party is an American political movement, generally recognized as conservative and libertarian. It has sponsored protests around the country and supported political candidates since 2009. The grassroots movement was a force in the 2010 elections, toppling a number of key Democratic-held Congressional and gubernatorial seats.

Supporters endorse reduced government spending, fiscal responsibility and free markets, opposes “Obamacare,”and adheres to an originalist interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. The name “Tea Party” is a reference to the Boston Tea Party, a protest by colonists who objected to a British tax on tea in 1773 and protested by dumping tea taken from docked British ships into the harbor. The Tea Party movement has caucuses in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.

For more details, visit: www.summit11.org.


GOP presidential contenders make host of political blunders

February 22, 2011

EditorialOops artwork

Despite the fact that President Obama is vulnerable in the next election due to his many unpopular political positions, the GOP’s presidential contenders seem to be making a host of political blunders.

Here are some of the recent “Top 5.”

  • Taking sides in Wisconsin’s labor debate and protests. The union in Wisconsin represents state employees of all political persuasions, not just Democrats. Nothing infuriates voters more than getting in their pocketbooks; in this case, the paychecks of Wisconsin’s employees. Aligning with a Republican governor for the sake of party solidarity is a strategic blunder.
  • Playing dodge ball versus showing leadership. Lines like “I’m seriously looking at running for president,” “I’m not ruling it out” or “I’m going to pray and talk to my family” have become lame and tiresome. A courageous leader doesn’t second guess himself or herself.
  • An inflated ego that says “I am well known” and don’t need to be introduced to the Iowa electoral.
  • The compulsion to comment on every issue, especially every hot social issue, like abortion and religious freedom.
  • Letting the Evangelical Christian right leadership in Iowa lead you around the state. The Associated Press reported this week that “The Iowa caucus might have gotten too conservative for its own good.” The Iowa Republican party’s shift to the far right may be why high-profile contenders like Mitt Romney are spending less time in the state. It could also alienate moderates and independents in the state.

Iowa conservative talk show host Steve Deace’s next move uncertain

February 15, 2011
Photo of Steve Deace

Former WHO Radio broadcaster and host of "Deace in the Afternoon"

Steve Deace, a popular and opinionated talk show host, resigned his position with News Radio WHO-AM in Des Moines in January.  His controversial and politically charged program, “Deace in the Afternoon,” ended last Friday.

Deace’s departure is raising speculations about his future.  No clear answers were offered on what that future might hold, Deace only said it was time for him to pursue other opportunities and the decision to leave was of his own accord.

But Deace also said he hopes to have a book published later this year and has been approached about pursuing politics, including a possible role in the 2012 Iowa caucuses.  Or he might be interested in reentering broadcasting at a later date.

As a Republican and Evangelical conservative political operative, Deace could be extremely helpful to a Republican candidate seeking a victory in the first-in-the-nation presidential contest. Deace was a force in the state GOP elections last November and has built a considerable following through his radio program. 

Deace, 37, resides in West Des Moines with his wife, Amy, and their three children.


Former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer plans visit to Iowa to test the political waters

February 15, 2011
Photo of Buddy Roemer

Former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer

A new face may be emerging in the race for President of the United States in 2012, Buddy Roemer. The former governor of Louisiana announced that he will be attending Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition’s Spring Event on March 7.

Charles Elson “Buddy” Roemer III was the 52nd Governor of Louisiana, serving from 1988 to 1992. He was elected as a Democrat, but switched to the Republican party in March 1991. Prior to becoming governor, he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1981 to 1988. Roemer is currently President and CEO of Business First Bank in Baton Rouge.

In January Politico reported that Roemer was looking to get back into politics and making a run for President of the United States. Roemer was quoted saying: “It certainly interests me. There is a lot of work to be done. I’m not running today. It will take months to work out if it happens.”

As governor, Roemer worked to boost lagging teacher pay and toughened laws on campaign finance. Roemer was also the first governor in that state’s history to make a real effort to address environmental issues. The legislature repeatedly opposed Roemer’s initiatives and he gained a reputation for being difficult to work with, something he had been frequently accused of as a member of the House as well.

In 1990, Roemer vetoed an anti-abortion bill authored by Democratic Senator Mike Cross. Roemer believed that the Cross bill, which would have banned abortion in cases of incent, was incompatible with the United States Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade.  The veto alienated much of his socially conservative electoral base. The bill was then passed over Roemer’s veto. In 1991, United States District Judge Adrian G. Duplantier decreed that the measure was in conflict with Roe v. Wade, as Roemer had foreseen.