Thursday, December 13, 2012

Campaign jobs talk is over, but unemployment lines haven't disappeared

It was 7:57am this morning. The air was cold, there was frost on the grass, and most of the roadways were busy with people on their way to work.

But on a section of sidewalk downtown, there was a different scene unfolding. Here, the sidewalk was full not of people on their way to work, but waiting in line to hopefully find work at the local employment office.

It's sad to see so many people out of work, and in such desperate hopes of finding a job, especially around the holidays.

But, what's also sad is how little attention is being paid to these people since the election a few weeks ago.

Once the speeches were over and the voting booths closed, it's as if the headlines evaporated. No more focus on unemployment numbers. No more talk of how to get America back to work again. All we're left with, it seems, is talk of the impending 'fiscal cliff' in Washington, D.C.

That, and of course, the lines of unemployed. They're still there, and there's little chance of them disappearing any time soon.

Democrats in Washington have adopted a two-fold strategy. First, they have lumped together all of our nation's economic woes into a neatly-composed package, which they've styled as the 'fiscal cliff' and which they have done an effective job of blaming on the Republicans. Second, the President and Congressional Democrats are fixated on taxing the rich, making limited budget cuts which wouldn't put a dent in our debt, and passing another big-ticket economic stimulus bill.

President Obama got reelected in spite of the poor economy that has plagued America for the past few years. He didn't have clear solutions to the unemployment problem during the election. And, now that he's found his way back to another four-year term, we still haven't heard anything about how he's going to fix things.

This would seem to present a huge opportunity for Republicans to make advances. But, unfortunately, Republicans are just as much to blame. Instead of demonstrating leadership and presenting their own plan for how to deal with things, Republicans have instead looked to the President to set the agenda and offered just a thumbs-up or thumbs-down. Meanwhile, Republicans have done little to debunk allegations that they're only interested in protecting the rich from higher taxes or that they're being obstructionist.

And so, the best thing that nearly one in ten Americans can do these days is to stand in line in the cold and wait for a job. But, it's tough to find reason for hope these days, with a steady stream of news of added layoffs. For example, since the election, Reebok announced plans to lay off 10 percent of its workforce, including 65 jobs right here in Massachusetts.

Democrats and Republicans must stop being obsessed with reforming entitlements and deciding how much to raise/cut taxes. Neither party seems to pay any attention to the underlying issues, things like reducing the reliance on entitlements and generating personal income through added employment. The Bush tax cuts are virtually meaningless for people who don't have a job. And, entitlement programs are a lot less necessary for people who have steady, good-paying jobs.

Obviously, our candidate of choice didn't win in November. But, now that the election is over, it's about governing, not winning. Governing requires leadership. America is in desperate need these days of real leadership. And, sadly, there is no one in either party right now who appears up to the challenge.

We're waiting to see who will step forward.

Monday, November 26, 2012

For Mass. Dems, Supporting Small Business is a Taxing Endeavor

For Massachusetts consumers and retailers, Thanksgiving signaled the official start of the holiday shopping season.

But, revenue-hungry Massachusetts politicians aren't satisfied with the fixings they see on the table, and they're already demanding seconds from already-beleaguered taxpayers.

Let's talk turkey.

Last week, Governor Deval Patrick announced that the state is in serious negotiations with Amazon to have the mega-retailer voluntarily collect sales tax from Massachusetts customers who purchase goods online. The rationale is that Amazon has a sufficient physical presence in Massachusetts (due to some recent corporate acquisitions) to make it only fair that it collect sales tax here in the same manner as any brick-and-mortar business would, even though goods are sold online.

We think that's bogus, and we can only assume that Amazon is negotiating because it must figure it would lose a court case to the same effect and that negotiating a deal with the state is better than having an adverse judgment against it. (It's also possible they are thinking of relocating any ties out of Massachusetts to avoid paying the tax down the line.)

We also think there are curious things about the timing of this announcement that aren't getting a lot of attention.

First, it's interesting to note that the Governor made his announcement just days before Thanksgiving, as most Massachusetts residents were more focused on stuffing and gravy than taxes. Nothing like holiday cover to minimize the blow of a major announcement.

Second, it makes sense that the announcement was made strategically before so-called "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday," but it's ironic that it was made in the same week as so-called "Small Business Saturday". The administration rationalizes that Massachusetts small businesses are at a competitive disadvantage because of the sales tax they are forced to charge. That's probably true. But, note the response -- instead of LOWERING the sales tax for everyone to level the playing field, the administration is INCREASING the sales tax on online retailers. The end result -- businesses all over are on a level playing field, but Massachusetts consumers end up paying more.

Third, note that just before the Patrick announcement, state Treasurer Steve Grossman came out of left field (literally) and announced his desire for the federal government to pass an initiative for all online sales to be taxed nationwide. We can only assume that Grossman, who is rumored to have his own gubernatorial aspirations, caught wind of the Governor's upcoming announcement and wanted to preempt it. And, note the style of Grossman's announcement -- he wants to charge more taxes, but he wants someone else (the federal government) to make the decision -- and therefore suffer the political consequences). (Of course, Grossman will gladly keep the revenue for the state Treasury, thank you very much.)

Overall, we think this is an unfortunate situation all around. It's sending a message to Massachusetts taxpayers that they can expect to dig even deeper than before to pay for state government in 2013. And, it's sending a message to businesses that it pays NOT to invest in Massachusetts and to grow jobs here. Those are two messages that the Bay State can't afford, literally.

So long as Democrats continue to believe that the answer to supporting small businesses in Massachusetts is to charge big businesses and consumers more in taxes, it's going to continue to be difficult to grow businesses and jobs here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Meredith Warren on NECN

Meredith Warren was a guest on NECN's Morning Show today to discuss last night's Second Presidential Debate. Check out her comments in the video below:

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Meredith Warren on NECN

Meredith Warren spoke with NECN's Alison King today about the first presidential debate and what is means for Mitt Romney's campaign. Here's the video:

Today, it feels good to be a Republican

We’ll admit it: we were nervous about last night's debate. So much was riding on a stellar performance from Mitt Romney, that it was almost impossible to imagine him pulling it off. It’s easy to feel like that as a Republican. In recent years, we in the GOP have gotten used to disappointment.

Sure, there have been high points and occasional wins: Scott Walker beating back the unions in Wisconsin, the GOP taking the House, and, here in Massachusetts, Scott Brown’s amazing U.S. Senate win.

But for the most part, Republicans have been the minority, the butt of late-night jokes. The presidential primary race brought this to a whole new level, with our candidates being caricatured (what Democratic woman has ever been called "Crazy Eyes?") and our values mocked relentlessly.

Here in Massachusetts, being a Republican brings its own special brand of frustration. We worked at the State House when there were only 21 Republicans in the House and five in the Senate (there are only four now). We were subjected to the jokes about all of us fitting into a phone booth. We would work for weeks on an agenda or a piece of legislation only to be reminded once we were in session that the House—the Democrats—always wins.

So that’s what we've come to expect when moments like last night’s debate present themselves.

For once, we were pleasantly surprised.

Mitt Romney came prepared. He knew his points and he delivered them convincingly. Gone were the annoying tics, the protestations about being interrupted, the seemingly forced laugh. He was just good. And Barack Obama, the incumbent president, could barely respond. At one point, it almost seemed the debate moderator, Jim Lehrer, was coaching Obama.

As the debate went on, and as we watched the reaction on social media, it felt like the world was turning upside down and Republicans were suddenly on top.

Chris-I've-Got-a-Thrill-Up-My-Leg Matthews practically screamed on MSNBC that Romney was "winning."

Liberal nasty Bill Maher Tweeted, "i can't believe i'm saying this, but Obama looks like he DOES need a teleprompter."

Moviemaker and liberal loudmouth Michael Moore added, "This is what happens when u pick John Kerry as your debate coach."

Flipping through the stations doing post-debate wrap-ups, political pundits were shocked that Obama couldn’t deliver the blows Democrats have been leveling all year: Where was Bain? How about the whole 47 percent debacle?

And, then, there were the instant polls showing Romney having won the debate - convincingly.

As a Republican, it felt like a dream you didn’t want to wake up from.

Hopefully, we won't have to. If Romney can continue to nail future debates and he can keep the rest of his campaign out of trouble, he has a serious shot at knocking an incumbent president out of the Oval Office.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Van Magness on NECN

Fred Van Magness was a guest on the NECN Morning Show today to discuss current events in the race for President and for the US Senate in Massachusetts. Here's the video:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Van Magness Quoted in AP Story

Fred Van Magness is quoted in an Associated Press story about tonight's debate between United States Senator Scott Brown and his Democratic opponent, Elizabeth Warren:

Republican political consultant Fred Van Magness said the first debate gives both candidates another shot at reinforcing their image among voters.

"For Brown, it’s really an opportunity to show that he’s kept his promise to be an independent voice in the Senate and to remind people he’s done a good job there and has lived up to their expectations," Van Magness said.

Warren’s task is somewhat different, he said. "It’s her challenge to explain why there’s a need to fill that seat with someone new," he said. "She has to figure out how do you do that effectively when you’re up against a sitting senator who has enjoyed pretty strong popularity and job approval ratings."

Click here to read the full story on

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Van Magness on NECN

Fred Van Magness was a guest on the NECN Morning Show today to discuss current events in the race for President. Here's the video:

Monday, September 17, 2012

Meredith Warren on NECN's "Broadside" Political Panel

Meredith Warren joined Mara Dolan on the Political Panel on NECN's "Broadside" this evening. Hosted by Jim Braude, the discussion included the current state of the race for President as well as the upcoming debates in the race for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts. Catch the full video below:

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Van Magness on NECN

Fred Van Magness was a guest on the NECN Morning Show this morning to discuss the Democratic National Convention and President Bill Clinton's speech to delegates:

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

ICYMI: Our RNC analysis on the NECN Morning Show

Meredith Warren and Fred Van Magness joined NECN's Morning Show this week to discuss the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

Tuesday, August 28 - Meredith Warren

Wednesday, August 29 - Meredith Warren

Thursday, August 30 - Fred Van Magness

Friday, August 31 - Fred Van Magness

Monday, August 27, 2012

Meredith Warren on CBC Radio Canada

Meredith Warren was a guest on CBC Radio Canada's "The Current" earlier today, talking about the Republican National Convention in Tampa and some of the policy issues being discussed there.

You can listen to the full clip here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Meredith Warren on NECN re. Rep. Todd Akin

Meredith Warren was a guest on NECN's Morning Show today to discuss recent remarks by Missouri Congressman Todd Akin (R) regarding abortion.

Among the questions Warren addressed were whether or not Akin should step aside as a candidate for the U.S. Senate, and the effect of the controversy on other races across the country.

Click on the video player below to watch the full interview:

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Meredith Warren talks to NECN about Paul Ryan

It's official -- Mitt Romney has picked Paul Ryan to serve as his running mate in the 2012 race for President.

Just hours after the pick was announced, Meredith Warren provided political analysis to NECN, explaining why she thinks Ryan was offered the job, how she thinks he will fare as a Vice Presidential candidate, and what it all means for the race for the White House.

Here's the video:

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Bain and Switch - The Obama Campaign's Strategy of Distraction

If this was the Obama campaign’s strategy, it’s brilliant.

To win a re-election campaign, they decided they somehow needed to distract voters and the press from the story that President Obama has presided over an abysmal economy that has 8.2 percent of American workers unemployed, not counting the men and women who have given up looking for jobs.

What did they come up with?

Bain Capital.

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is the real job-cutter, they want you to believe. In the midst of investing and building new companies and new jobs as part of his role at the venture capital company, there were mergers and downsizing and other horrible things that happen in the private business world that resulted in lay-offs.

So you see, if you want to be angry about people being laid-off, aim your blame at Mitt Romney. That's the way the Obama campaign wants it, because that's the only way their guy can possibly win another four years in the White House.

The very idea that we’re seeing so many stories in the press about Mitt Romney’s record at Bain as a supposed job cutter while Obama spends his days blaming other people for 8.2 percent unemployment is total b-s.

If we're supposed to buy into the notion that blame flows to the top of an organization, then where is President Obama's accountability for the 12 million Americans who are out of work? What about the millions of Americans who have spent through their 401K's in recent years just to pay for food and gas? How about all of the foreclosures, and all the small businesses that have had to take down their signs and board up their windows because they couldn't compete anymore?

Obama for America 2012 doesn't want you to think about all of that. They would much rather have you focus on just one business, Bain Capital, and its former CEO, Mitt Romney.

The problem is, the Obama campaign is blurring the line between things that are "wrong" and things that are unfortunate. They want you to believe that Mitt Romney did something "wrong" at Bain Capital because some of the companies it invested in laid people off. But, there's nothing "wrong" with that. Romney was engaged in what most of us like to refer to as "business." In the "business world," there are successes and failures. There is risk and reward. Jobs are created, and sometimes jobs are lost. That's sometimes unfortunate, but it's not "wrong."

President Obama wants people to live in a fairy tale world where there is always a happy ending and where success is guaranteed. He is uncomfortable with the ups and downs of business (probably because he's never worked at one himself). He wants everyone to win all the time. He wants everyone to make the same salary, live in the same kind of house and have access to all the same advantages in life no matter how hard they work. That's the Democratic Way.

But, it's not the American Way. It isn't the American Dream it's cracked up to be. It's divisive class warfare, pure and simple. It's the type of liberal political philosophy that has ravaged other parts of the world and sent generations of immigrants fleeing their homelands to seek a better life here -- in America, the land of opportunity.

President Obama would do good to remember that we live in a nation where people are promised the opportunity to succeed, not success itself. That's the American Way. And, there is good reason for that. Success is relative. If there is no failure, then there is no real success. If there is no failure, there is no incentive for hard work and self-starting initiative that made this country great. There is only need for one thing -- a government of entitlement programs and draconian regulations which traps its citizens in a cycle of dependency.

So, the next time you hear President Obama and his surrogates criticizing Mitt Romney and Bain Capital, why don't you look at their actual records instead. Who do you want to lead our economy for the next four years -- someone the President himself criticizes for being successful at business, or someone who's presided over an unemployed population twice the size of Massachusetts for over a thousand days?

You decide. Election Day is less than 120 days away.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Meredith Warren talks GOP politics on NECN

Meredith Warren joined NECN's Morning Show this morning to talk about presidential politics; specifically, the possibility that GOP candidate Mitt Romney will pick a woman to serve as his vice president.

Click below to watch the full video on

Friday, June 29, 2012

Meredith Warren on CBC's "The Current"

Congratulations to Meredith Warren for appearing live on CBC's "The Current" national radio show on Friday morning to discuss the Supreme Court's decision on health care and what it means or the GOP in the 2012 elections and going forward.

Please click below for full audio:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Opportunities for the GOP?

Recent events give Republicans, particularly on the congressional level, the potential to score some serious political points over the next week on three key issues: immigration, executive privilege, and health care.

The opportunity exists to portray the Obama Administration as both imperially arrogant and completely ineffective, which would position the GOP well for advances in the November elections. However, some of ways this opportunity could play out are counter-intuitive, and there is real danger the GOP could be outmaneuvered by congressional Democrats on these issues heading into November.

Here is our analysis of the current landscape:


On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned most of a controversial Arizona statute aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration in that state. The statute gave police the power to detain illegal immigrants suspected of having committed a deportable defense, and it made it more difficult for undocumented immigrants to look for work.

The Arizona statute has been a rallying point for people (including many in the GOP base) who claim we need tougher illegal immigration laws. With most of the statute nullified, House Republicans should act quickly to propose reforms on a national level that would crack down on illegal immigration and facilitate the path to citizenship for those who come to this country legally. If the GOP acts first, House Republicans can blame Senate Democrats all the way to November for failing to address the issue.

But, there's more. The Supreme Court's ruling is a double-whammy to those concerned about illegal immigration. It comes just one week after President Obama announced that his administration will grant work permits to about 800,000 undocumented students instead of deporting them (for the sake of comparison, this figure is roughly the same size as the entire population of San Francisco).

The GOP needs to tie the President's announcement and the Arizona statute together to demonstrate that there has been a profound lack of lack of leadership and enforcement by President Obama on the immigration issue, going so far as to unilaterally order his administration to grant amnesty to those who are in the country illegally. If nothing else, this is a policy decision that should be made by Congress, not by an imperial president. The GOP needs to use make the President look arrogant and selfish, bent on pushing his ultra-liberal agenda through Congress at any cost – and willing to go right around Congress if he fails.

Executive Privilege

This notion of an imperial presidency is one that carries forward to the next issue, due to come up later this week – contempt proceedings against Attorney General Eric Holder.

Last week, the House Committee on Regulatory Oversight voted to recommend that Congress hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for his failure to produce documents related to the "Fast and Furious" program. And, most important for political purposes, the decision came just hours after the White House announced its assertion of "executive privilege" on the issue.

In order to successfully prosecute contempt charges, Republicans will be forced to concentrate on the details of the charges themselves and the underlying evidence. But if they focus too much on those factors, they risk getting caught up in the weeds. And, they will be doing so in an environment where the American public generally tends to hold a greater sense of disdain for Congress than for the President.

Democrats are likely to retreat to two strategic arguments. First, they will argue (as Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has already started to argue) that Congress is too focused on the minutiae of the Fast and Furious investigation while it is ignoring more important issues like unemployment and the economy. These arguments are simple for the public to understand and they have public appeal. Second, Democrats will argue that this fixation on Fast and Furious stems from a Republican Congress fixated on election year politics to remove the President from office. And, then there is the possibility that the White House could waive portions of the privilege just prior to the contempt proceedings in a token gesture aimed at making the issue appear to be much ado about nothing.

In order to reclaim the issue, Republicans will need to set the agenda straight.

First, the GOP needs to focus on the President's assertion of executive privilege and portray it as an unconstitutional attempt to cover up evidence of a failed program. The use of executive privilege elevates the failures of Fast and Furious right up to the White House itself. (Sorry, President Obama, but as they always say, if you break it, you buy it.) The issue needs to be the use of privilege, not the program itself.

Second, the GOP needs to keep the focus on other issues, including Democrats' unwillingness to advance a budget through Congress for several years and the skyrocketing national debt under President Obama. They need to make the White House look like the ones who have impeded Congress' attempts to fix things, not the other way around. Notwithstanding all of these subjects, the economy remains the number one issue in this election and the Republicans' best chance of winning the White House in 2012.

Health Care

The third big issue is health care.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court is expected to release its opinion on the constitutionality of the health care reform bill now dubbed "Obamacare," including the bill's so-called individual mandate provision.

On its face, a rejection of the statute by the Supreme Court would appear to be a major victory to Republicans who have opposed the reform bill all along and called for its repeal.

However, we think it would actually be most advantageous to the GOP if Obamacare is upheld by the Supreme Court this week. Democrats would argue such a ruling would validate the President's advocacy for health care reform in the face of GOP opposition. However, it would also serve as a rallying point for a strong coalition of Americans, including many in the GOP base, to go to the polls in November and elect Republicans to Congress so they can repeal the law legislatively. (To see an example of how the issue can motivate the base and favor a GOP candidate, look no further than the special election that sent Scott Brown to the Senate from Massachusetts in 2010.)

If, instead, the Supreme Court does strike down Obamacare, the GOP will claim victory and seize on an apparent repudiation of the President and his politics. But, such a ruling would leave the GOP with two problems. First, Democrats across the country will use the issue as a reason to re-elect President Obama and to regain control of the House so they can protect liberal policies. And, with the President's approval ratings low and his list of successes scant, the last thing the GOP wants right now is a newly-energized Democratic base in November. Two, the rejection of Obamacare would (rightfully) shift attention back to the GOP for answers to the question of how health care ought to be reformed. At least right now, the GOP seems to have few answers to this important question.

We're fascinated to see how all of this is going to play out over the next week to ten days. Stay tuned for more updates – summer politics are finally heating up!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Why Obama's "gaffe" was really a kiss on the cheek to public sector unions

President Obama's now-infamous statement that "the private economy is doing fine" has been written off by many as a "gaffe," or a "slip-up."

But, as ridiculous as his comment was, we don't think the President's statement was a mistatement at all. In fact, we think it was a highly-calculated, deliberate post-Wisconsin election message aimed at mollifying public union supporters who are angry that the White House left them high and dry last week when their attempts to oust Governor Scott Walker failed.

The message comes across loud and clear when you look beyond the President's inane statement about the private economy and focus instead on the broader context of his remarks. Here's the text of what he said:

"The truth of the matter is that, as I said, we've created 4.3 million jobs over the last 27 months, over 800,000 just this year alone. The private sector is doing fine. Where we're seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government -- oftentimes, cuts initiated by governors or mayors who are not getting the kind of help that they have in the past from the federal government and who don't have the same kind of flexibility as the federal government in dealing with fewer revenues coming in.

"And so, if Republicans want to be helpful, if they really want to move forward and put people back to work, what they should be thinking about is, how do we help state and local governments and how do we help the construction industry." (Source)

Translation: To members of the public unions who lost in Wisconsin, President Obama is sorry and he wants you to know that he still has your back. He wants you to know that he still doesn't think government is big enough, and he's focused on doing whatever he can to spend more government money in support of taxpayer-funded projects that benefit public union workers – even though the nation already finds itself $15.735 trillion in debt (a number which is rising… fast).

Basically, President Obama knows he needs staunch union support in order to win a second term. He has a tough race ahead, and even though he didn't travel to Wisconsin to support the unions, he expects them to go to the polls for him in November.

But, will they?

Going forward, we'll be watching for answers to two main questions: (1) Will this attempt by the President to reassure labor unions be enough to make them forgive and forget, or will they still look to the President to say it like he means it, and (2) To the extent the President's rhetoric translates into actual calls for additional public spending, how effective can Republicans be at exposing and exploiting President Obama's big-spending, big-government agenda?

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Van Magness on NECN

Fred Van Magness was a guest on NECN's Morning Show today to talk about the results of the recall election in Wisconsin, in addition to other political issues of the day.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sorry, Gov. Patrick, but we do care.

At a hastily-arranged Wednesday afternoon press conference, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick gave his pre-convention endorsement to Elizabeth Warren in the race for U.S. Senate.

There's no question that Patrick's endorsement, and the unusual timing of it, were hastened by the growing controversy surrounding Warren's claims of Native American heritage.

Yet, when Warren was asked about the controversy at yesterday's press conference, Governor Patrick reportedly stepped in and responded, "On behalf of the people of the Commonwealth, we don't care about that question." (Boston Globe story)

Well, guess what? On behalf of the people of the Commonwealth, we suggest to the Governor that we do, indeed, care about that question.

Here's why.

Warren's claims of Cherokee ancestry amount to a character issue because they go either to her ability to tell the truth or her willingness to use such claims for undue professional gain.

The basic question for Warren is: Did she know, or is it reasonable to say she should have known, whether or not she is of Cherokee descent?

If Professor Warren has known all along that she is not actually part Cherokee, then she lied to Harvard University and to the people of Massachusetts by claiming repeatedly that she is. We're not saying this is necessarily the case, but if it is, then she should clearly drop out of the race for U.S. Senate.

If instead Professor Warren has honestly believed all along that she is indeed part Cherokee, whether or not that's actually true, then her case is possibly more sympathetic.

Or is it?

Even the Boston Globe has admitted that, although Warren "continues to consider herself Native American, she has not provided any genealogical evidence," and she has not met federal standards for the definition of a "Native American" that require both ancestry and an official affiliation with a tribe or community. (Boston Globe story) Can such a belief really be considered reasonable?

This brings us to the question of motive. Here is what Elizabeth Warren herself said about her claims of American Indian ancestry, which she admitted listing in the directory of the Association of American Law Schools from 1986 to 1995:

"I listed myself in the directory in the hopes that it might mean that I would be invited to a luncheon, a group, something that might happen with people who are like I am," she told reporters in a credit union in Braintree. "Nothing like that ever happened. That was clearly not the use for it. And so I stopped checking it off. That was it." (WBUR story)

This, coming from the same person who claims, "there is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody." (CBS News story)

Even if Professor Warren is indeed part Cherokee, her Native American ancestral claim is only 1/32 of her background (3.125%). (see Boston Herald story) It seems like a stretch to make such a claim for professional purposes, even if it's historically accurate. We're talking about more than just family folklore and pride here. We’re talking about someone who asserted her heritage as a tenured professor at one of the world's most prestigious universities and who is now running for one of the most elite political posts in the world based on her professional experience.

Stretching the truth for personal gain is still wrong. For example, take the case of New Hampshire House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt, who recently resigned his office. His misdeed: claiming in law school application papers that he interned in the law office of a fellow House member, when in fact he only worked there for about an hour. (WCVB story)

The controversy also adds to a pattern of outlandish claims by Professor Warren during the campaign, including assertions that she "created much of the intellectual foundation for what [Occupy movement members] do," (Daily Beast story) and that she was "the first nursing mother to take a bar exam in the state of New Jersey" (WTAM story).

What claim will come next from Professor Warren? Maybe it's a Harvard thing. Remember fellow Harvard alum Al Gore, who supposedly invented the Internet and served as the inspiration for the movie Love Story? It's a good thing the former Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg's IPO didn't work, or else Warren would probably be claiming to be the third Winklevoss twin who invented Facebook.

We'll have to wait to see.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Van Magness on NECN

Fred Van Magness was a guest on NECN's Morning Show twice this week to discuss the presidential election and GOP primaries in Pennsylvania, New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Delaware.

Here are the links to the videos:

April 24, 2012

April 25, 2012

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Barack Obama: When Being Transcendental Becomes Presidential

Mirroring the historic campaign that swept him into office in 2008, much of Barack Obama's presidency has been built upon a fundamental desire to solve problems by transcending traditional political relationships and understandings.

Evidence of this spirit has been clear from the earliest moments of the Obama Administration.

For example, it was a highly-transcendental spirit that served as the underpinning of Obama's inaugural address on January 20, 2009:

"On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics…. There are some who question the scale of our ambitions, who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans…. What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them, that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long, no longer apply."

The same theme was echoed by the President on June 4, 2009 in a major foreign policy speech delivered to the Muslim world at Cairo University:

"I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world…. We have the power to make the world we seek, but only if we have the courage to make a new beginning, keeping in mind what has been written."

Likewise in the President's address to Congress about health care reform on September 4, 2009:

"The time for bickering is over. The time for games has passed. Now is the season for action. Now is when we must bring the best ideas of both parties together, and show the American people that we can still do what we were sent here to do."

Yet, for all of his desire to be transcendental, President Obama's first term has seen little tangible progress on the issues that served to catapult Obama into office back in 2008 -- most notably, the economy.

The reason, we believe, is that Obama entered the presidency ill-prepared to deal with the size and scope of the substantial problems confronting the nation when he took office.

Despite sporting a wealth of Harvard-educated intellect, Obama's role as a freshman senator gave him little time to form the relationships and gain the practical experience necessary to achieve success on the national political level by 2008.

What it did give him, however, was a platform from which the former community organizer could deliver lofty speeches based on his gift for inspiring, passionate oratory.

Hence, Obama the candidate expounded on the "audacity of hope" and encouraged all Americans to overcome the differences that divide us to realize a common sense of purpose. In other words, he encouraged transcendence as a way to achieve prosperity.

A noble goal, no doubt.

However, the desire of one to transcend a certain condition is absolutely meaningless unless it is firmly rooted in a mastery and dominance of the condition itself.

As they say, windmills aren't usually built within the sky; they are mere mirages if they lack a solid foundation. So, too, is much of Obama's first-term agenda. It is a highly-liberal mirage in search of a solid foundation.

In consistently trying to transcend the thorny issues that underlie national and international problems, President Obama has either ignored or purposely avoided addressing these issues head-on. He talks about problems, but he doesn't solve them. And, in the process, he has made the meaningful change he campaigned on in 2008 practically impossible. He has also shown that he, himself, is not above leveling partisan blame when things don't go his way.

The White House believes its central role is to pacify the turbulent political waters in Washington to create a condition where change can occur. Once such a condition is created, the process of solving national problems is essentially crowd-sourced to the supportive masses who will have set aside their differences in search of a common purpose.

Calling for the nation to come together is unquestionably good. But, it's simply not good enough. Presidential leadership demands more, particularly in troubled times.

Being president means solving real problems by offering real solutions and finding ways to accomplish them. And, it's at exactly this point that the Obama Administration falls woefully short. President Obama has no solutions to offer at a time when America needs real solutions the most.

Thus, by choosing to call merely for transcendence instead of solving problems on his own, President Obama has shown that America's challenge isn’t just that we need a new mindset. It's not just that we need to be transcendent.

What we need is to elect a new president.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Tim Cahill -- Public Enemy Number One? Please...

Maybe we're going soft, but... we're feeling sorry for Tim Cahill today.

This is not to say we forgive Cahill for doing something wrong, if that's indeed what happened. Published reports indicate that Cahill apparently was involved in a decision to run promotional ads for the state Lottery (using public funds set aside for that purpose) as a way to give lift to his simultaneous independent run for Governor. Using public money for personal gain is wrong, and those who do it should be punished. Period.

But, that's exactly our point. Right now, there are hundreds of people sitting on Beacon Hill (or back in their "district offices" on a nice springtime day) who routinely commit the same type of abuse in some way, shape, or form, or to differing degrees. (Joe Battenfeld lays out some excellent examples in his Boston Herald column here.) Those elected officials are not preparing for criminal trials today; they're preparing to take off on school vacation week.

In our observation, all of the laws that are passed to "clean up Beacon Hill" seem to stop at the doors of the State House, which makes them nothing more than window dressing intended for good press.

For an example separate from Cahill, look at the recent wave of indictments involving former Probation officials, who allegedly were conspiring to run a racket to get people patronage jobs. We get it -- running a racket is wrong, it's despicable, and it should get you in trouble. But, as they say, "it takes two to tango." If there was a racket, who was on the other side of it? If people in powerful public offices were funneling constituents for jobs as a way to curry electoral favor, weren't they accessories? And, to complete the thought -- while Commissioner O'Brien and his colleagues might have been more guilty of committing a crime by handing out patronage jobs, wasn't the greater betrayal of public trust committed by those seeking benefits for their own political gain?

Again, window dressing. As Senate President Therese Murray said in a Boston Herald story on the subject, "I can assure you I wasn't nervous." Our point.

Why should politicians on Beacon Hill be worried about anything? They get good press for passing pro-ethics laws, but they do not suffer consequences for violating them -- unless, apparently, if they leave their party and run for statewide office as an independent and lose, which leads us to think that this is at least partly why Tim Cahill is the one taking the fall today. And, these same solons will likely be issuing official press releases in just a few short weeks, spending public resources (staff, stationery, etc.) to promote money they're bringing home to their districts as part of the state budget -- at about the same time their nomination papers are due. Call us crazy, but we highly doubt they're going to be next to appear before a judge.

Doesn't Attorney General Martha Coakley have anything better to do? Is this her highest priority right now as the state's top law enforcement official? Shouldn't the priority be on making sure there is no current abuse of public funds? Or doing anything else?

And, while we're on the subject -- if it's wrong to use public resources for advertisements that result in political gain, why did the Attorney General stage an elaborate press rollout of the indictment against Cahill?

Sorry, but taking down Tim Cahill is not going to change the culture on Beacon Hill. It merely makes a mockery of the entire process.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

It all started with a grain of wheat

The year was 1940, and America was still mired in the throes of the Great Depression.

In Ohio, a farmer by the name of Roscoe Filburn was busy planting his fall crop of wheat. His plan was simple: he would keep enough grain for himself to feed his family and his livestock and he would sell the remaining bounty.

Unfortunately for Filburn, there was a federal law on the books (the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938; "the Act") which limited the amount of area wheat producers could farm. The legislation was intended to reduce the supply of grain, thereby inflating prices and stimulating the economy. And, the law carried a stiff penalty – farmers caught violating its provisions risked a fine and destruction of their illicit crops.

As fate would have it, the amount of wheat Filburn planted that year violated his federal allotment, and he got caught. However, Filburn challenged the government's enforcement of the Act by arguing the federal government had no right to limit the amount of grain he planted for private consumption under the pretext of regulating agricultural commerce.

Filburn took his case all the way up to the United States Supreme Court. And, in the end, he lost.

The case is Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111 (1942), and it stands to this day as bedrock constitutional law. The Supreme Court held that enforcement of the Act was constitutional under the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution because even trivial, local activities have an aggregate effect on interstate commerce, albeit indirectly.

That holding has paved the way for an explosive expansion of federal legislation since the New Deal based on this understanding of Congress' power to regulate interstate commerce. Legislation, that is, including The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, known by many as "Obamacare".

The main argument taking place this week before the Supreme Court is whether Congress has authority under the Commerce Clause to require private individuals to purchase health insurance or face a fine assessed by way of the tax code.

There is a lot riding on this argument. As conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer has noted, upholding Obamacare under the Commerce Clause would "fundamentally change the nature of the American social contract." If practically anything, even personal health care decisions, can be included within "interstate commerce," then Congress has essentially limitless powers. The entire understanding of enumerated powers and reserved state power under the Tenth Amendment would be nullified; in essence, Congress' enumerated power would be boundless.

Here's hoping the Supreme Court rejects the notion of an imperial Congress and that it strikes down the interpretation of the Commerce Clause used to enact Obamacare.

After all… a fight about the Commerce Clause might seem awfully obtuse today, but when it's YOUR crops on the line, the power of Congress to regulate private activity hits pretty close to home. Just ask Roscoe Filburn.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Meredith Warren on NECN's Morning Show

Meredith Warren joined Stonehill College professor Peter Ubertaccio and NECN Morning Show host Bridget Blythe for a discussion of GOP presidential politics this morning, including a talk about today's GOP primary contests in Alabama and Mississippi.

Please click here to catch the full video:

Warren makes guest appearances on "Geraldo Rivera Show" and "The Takeaway"

Meredith Warren made several guest appearances on national radio shows this week.

In both cases, the subject of her talk was a discussion of the current state of the GOP and its popularity with female voters.

On Monday, Warren was a guest on Geraldo Rivera's radio show, broadcast live on KABC in Los Angeles. [Click for audio link.]

On Tuesday, Warren was a guest on NPR's The Takeaway, broadcast locally on WGBH radio. [Click for audio link.]

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Meredith Warren talks about 'Super Tuesday' on NECN

Meredith Warren joined Democratic analyst George Bachrach and host Steve Aveson on NECN's Morning Show this morning to discuss 'Super Tuesday' and the current status of the GOP race for President.

To view the video in full, please click here.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

We offer debate analysis on NECN

Meredith Warren and Fred Van Magness took to the airwaves this week to do before and after analysis of the GOP presidential debate in Arizona. Both appeared on NECN's Morning Show with host Steve Aveson and Democratic analyst George Bachrach.

You can check out their appearances below:

Fred Van Magness
February 22, 2012
Video Link
Meredith Warren
February 23, 2012
Video Link

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Van Magness on NECN

Fred Van Magness was a guest on NECN's Morning Show this morning to talk about Joe Kennedy III's entry into the race for Congress in the Massachusetts Fourth Congressional District.

According to Van Magness, "The focus in this race needs to be on rebuilding Main Street for the middle class, not on rebuilding Camelot for the Kennedys."

You can watch the full video by clicking on this link or on the image below.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Van Magness on NECN

Fred Van Magness was a guest on NECN's Morning Show today to talk about Mitt Romney's impressive win in the Nevada caucuses and the road forward for the GOP candidates for president.

To watch the video segment, please click here or on the image below:

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Warren on NECN: "Mitt seals the deal in Florida."

Meredith Warren joined host Steve Aveson and Democratic analyst George Bachrach on the NECN Morning Show this morning to discuss the results of the Florida primary.

According to Warren, Mitt Romney "sealed the deal" with his impressive win last night, and it will be difficult for any of his GOP challengers to catch him during the remaining primary schedule.

To hear the full interview, please click here or on the player below.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Last night, President Barack Obama delivered his third State of the Union Address to Congress.

The annual rite of passage, prescribed by the Constitution, is basically a performance review of the President. It is intended to update Congress on what the President has accomplished during the prior year and what he intends to accomplish going forward.

And, it is in this sense, that President Obama's speech last night was a failure.

Van Magness on NECN

Fred Van Magness was a guest on NECN's Morning Show this morning to discuss President Obama's State of the Union address and what it means for the 2012 race for the Oval Office.

Please click here or on the image below to view:

Friday, January 20, 2012

Meredith Warren on NECN

Meredith Warren appeared on NECN's Morning Show this morning to discuss last night's GOP presidential candidates debate and the state of the race heading into this weekend's South Carolina primary.

Please click here or on the video player below to hear the entire interview on

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Warren and Van Magness wrap up NH primary with live coverage on NECN

The 2012 New Hampshire is now history, and both Meredith Warren and Fred Van Magness visited NECN's studios this morning to analyze what the results mean for the different candidates heading into South Carolina on January 21.

Check out the videos below to hear what they had to say:

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Meredith Warren Previews New Hampshire Primary on NECN

Meredith Warren appeared as the GOP political analyst on NECN's Morning Show, talking politics with Democratic analyst George Bachrach and host Bridget Blythe.

Among other topics, Warren discussed the likelihood that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney will emerge from today's New Hampshire primary election as the clear front-runner in the GOP race, and the way in which the race for second place in the GOP field is becoming increasingly irrelevant.

Please click below to watch the video in its entirety on

Monday, January 09, 2012

Van Magness on NECN

Fred Van Magness appeared as a political analyst on the NECN Morning Show today to discuss the run-up to the New Hampshire primary.

To see the full video, please click below:

Friday, January 06, 2012

Meredith Warren on NECN

Meredith Warren visited NECN's Morning Show again this morning to give her analysis of the GOP primary in New Hampshire.

Warren discussed Mitt Romney's frontrunner status in the race, along with the latest efforts by Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum.

Click below to watch the video in its entirety:

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

And the winner is...

Meredith Warren joined George Bachrach and NECN host Bridget Blythe on The Morning Show today to discuss Mitt Romney's winning performance in the Iowa caucuses and what it all means for the campaign going forward.

You can see the full video here:

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Meredith Warren previews Iowa caucuses on NECN

Meredith Warren was the featured political analyst on NECN's Morning Show today, where she spoke about tonight's Iowa caucuses.

Meredith spoke about what to expect in Iowa as well as what it all means for each of the candidates and for the race as a whole. And, she discussed what the results will mean for the upcoming New Hampshire primary.

Check out the video to hear what she had to say:

Monday, January 02, 2012

A new beginning

Some two hundred years ago, America's founders endowed our nation with one of the greatest privileges on the planet -- the ability to choose our own destiny by electing one person to be chief executive, commander in chief of the armed forces and head of state.

Tomorrow, the process of choosing our next President begins in Iowa. It's a process that's quintessentially American. In a state that epitomizes Middle America, people of all walks of life will gather to caucus. They'll meet in all sorts of places, from schools to churches to living rooms. They'll hear speeches from campaign surrogates, and they'll discuss the merits of the candidates. And, at the end, they'll cast their votes (in some cases, voting with their feet by standing in one corner of the room or another in support of their favorite candidate).

Then, just a few days later, the process will move to New Hampshire with the first in the nation primary. And, from there, it will continue for several months as thousands of convention delegates are chosen and a nominee is picked.

To the people who will begin this process, the people to whom an anxious nation looks for early signs of a front-runner, we have a request.

Please pick someone good.

There is much riding on the 2012 presidential election. The next president must do something to fix the economy and get people back to work. He or she must bridge the partisan divide in Washington and find ways to get spending under control and tame the federal debt. Our next president must renew America's strong position in foreign affairs and mend fences with old friends overseas.

In other words, the next president must be a strong leader.

So, we humbly ask the people of Iowa and New Hampshire to step back and consider their choices wisely. We're not asking them to pick anyone in particular (even though we have our choice in mind). We will leave the choice up to them, as is the process. But, we do ask them to pick a nominee who will be up to the challenge. We ask them to look at experience, and records, and positions on all of the issues and to pick someone who will lead us wisely.

Most of all, pick someone who will beat Barack Obama in November and lead America back to greatness.

Please. Pick us a winner.