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Philography: Jim Bunning

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After retiring from baseball, Bunning entered politics, becoming a U.S. Senator from his home state of Kentucky

 

Earlier this off-season my “Philography” series highlighting the playing career of various important figures in Philadelphia Phillies history came here to Phillies Nation.

The series began a few years back and has now grown to 19 individuals for whom I have presented a mini-biography. This year I’ve chosen to go right to the cream of the crop, the five individuals for whom the Phillies organization has actually retired an official uniform number.
Back in late November it was Richie Ashburn, whose uniform #1 was retired by the Phillies when he became the second man honored with a spot on the franchise Wall of Fame in summer 1979.
Now the series resumes with the sixth person honored with a spot on that Wall of Fame in 1984, pitcher Jim Bunning. The right-hander who pitched with the Phillies from 1964-67 and again to close out his big-league career in 1970-71 had his uniform #14 retired on April 6, 2001.
Bunning actually played more seasons with the Detroit Tigers of the American League (9) than his half-dozen years in Philadelphia. And his second career as a politician in which he became a state senator, then a U.S. Congressman, and finally a United States Senator from his home state of Kentucky was perhaps even more notable than his baseball accomplishments.

But those baseball accomplishments were certainly more than just notable. They were strong enough that Bunning was elected for enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame by the veteran’s committee in 1996.

 

Per a tremendous piece by Ralph Berger for SABR, which I urge you to read at that link, Bunning was born into a tightly-knit middle-class Catholic family who lived on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River, just across from Cincinnati.
Per the Berger bio, Bunning became a pitcher as a boy since he owned the only ball among his friends’ group. He grew up as a Cincinnati Reds fan. His favorite player was pitcher Bucky Walters, who became the National League MVP in 1939 when Bunning was just seven years old.
Bunning played not only baseball, but also football and basketball as a teenager at St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati. Then as a freshman at Xavier University, Bunning was offered a contract by a scout with the Detroit Tigers. He would ultimately sign for a $4,000 bonus and $150 monthly salary.

One of the stipulations of his signing was that he be allowed to complete his college education at Xavier. Thus, he would start the first few seasons of his pro career a few months later than his teammates.

 

That pro career began with Richmond of the Ohio-Indiana League in 1950 at 18-years of age. Bunning advanced incrementally through the Tigers minor league system over the next few years, and by the 1953-54 seasons he had reached Double-A Little Rock. There he compiled an 18-23 mark and allowed 333 hits over 351 innings across 69 games, 48 of those as a starter.
He began the 1955 season at Triple-A Buffalo of the International League, just a step away from Major League Baseball. A solid performance in which Bunning went 8-5 with a 3.77 ERA over the first 20 games, 16 of those starts, put the 23-year-old pitcher squarely into the plans of a middle-of-the-road Tigers ball club.
The organization felt that he was developing “an excellent curve ball, a confusing delivery and a sneaky fast ball“, and in July of 1955 that combination would finally get him on to a big-league mound in Detroit.
On the night of July 20, 1955 at Briggs Stadium in Detroit, Bunning made his first Tigers start. He would go 7.2 innings and was beaten up a bit by the Baltimore Orioles to the tune of six earned runs on eight hits. He struck out five and walked two and was hung with the loss against one of the worse teams in the American League.
It was a bit of an ignominious beginning, and the rest of his rookie season wouldn’t go much better. Bunning finished that 1955 season with the Tigers having compiled a 3-5 record and 6.35 ERA, allowing 59 hits and walking 32 over 51 innings across 15 games, eight of those as a starter.
In 1956 he was back at Triple-A to start the year and again pitched solidly enough to remain in the Tigers plans. He got the call back to Detroit in late July and would remain with the big-league club for the remainder of the season.
Pitching mostly out of the bullpen, Bunning had a solid 2.58 ERA after his first 14 big-league outings that year. But his final appearance of the season on September 24 resulted in disaster when he was bashed for seven earned runs in just one inning against the Chicago White Sox.
Bunning earned a role in the starting rotation during spring training of 1957. In his first start on April 17 against the Kansas City Athletics, Bunning was driven from the mound without even finishing the first inning.

That poor outing caused manager Jack Tighe to lose confidence, and the skipper relegated Bunning to the bullpen for the next month. It would prove to be a career-changing experience for the right-hander. Berger wrote that “working in the pen helped Bunning become a much improved pitcher with a slider that he could consistently get over the plate. He became a pitcher, not just a thrower.”

 

Given another shot at the rotation, Bunning would not look back. On May 16 he beat the Boston Red Sox with a complete game five-hitter at Fenway Park. Remaining in the rotation for most of the remainder of that 1957 season, Bunning made the National League all-star team and won 20 games, finishing ninth in the AL MVP balloting.
This would prove to be the only 20-win season of what would become a 17-year career in the Majors for Bunning. But over the next half-dozen he would remain one of the American League’s most effective starting pitchers.
From the seven seasons from 1957-63 with Detroit, Bunning would go 110-81 with a 1.181 WHIP. He was consistently at or above the 250-innings pitched and 35-start marks, proving one of the league’s most durable as well. He was a 7x AL All-Star, and received MVP votes three times.
Perhaps the highlight for Bunning during this excellent stretch came on the afternoon of July 20, 1958 at Fenway Park in Boston. In the first game of a doubleheader that day, Bunning tossed a 12-strikeout no-hitter against Ted Williams and the host Red Sox.
During his nine total seasons with Detroit, the Tigers only took a run at an American League pennant once. That came during a tremendous 1961 campaign in which the club won 101 games, a total that would have won the pennant in all but two of the prior 15 seasons. Unfortunately for those 1961 Tigers, the New York Yankees led by Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle had a season for the ages, winning 109 games.

Entering September, the Tigers trailed the Bronx Bombers by just 1.5 games in the standings. But New York opened that final month by sweeping a three-game set between the two clubs, Detroit dropped 12 of their first 17 that month, and the pennant race was over.

 

Things began to sour for Bunning in Detroit during the 1963 season. A managerial change saw new skipper Chuck Dressen bang heads a few times with his star pitcher. The club was also apparently not enamored with Bunning’s second career as a stock broker, or with his outspoken role as the Tigers’ player representative – an early hint at his interest in politics.
It all came to a head on December 5, 1963 when Detroit general manager Jim Campbell and Phillies GM John Quinn swung a four-player deal. In that trade, Bunning and 32-year-old catcher Gus Triandos went to Philadelphia, with outfielder Don Demeter and young pitcher Jack Hamilton heading to the Tigers.

Bunning would take to the National League like a fish to water. Over his first three seasons with the Phillies, Bunning won 19 games each year and then won 17 in 1967.  He was an NL All-Star in three of the four seasons, and finished as the 1967 NL Cy Young Award runner-up.

 

Every Phillies fan who was around and old enough to follow the club (I was two years old that summer) is well aware of what happened during the 1964 season. What happened over the final two weeks that September has left a scar that remains visible more than a half-century later.
But that summer was filled with excitement for baseball fans in Philadelphia. Few days were more so than the afternoon of Sunday, June 21. On that Father’s Day at Shea Stadium in New York in the first game of a doubleheader, Bunning pitched a Perfect Game against the host Mets.
Berger describes the early innings of that afternoon as largely uneventful, with the Bunning and Triandos battery working the New York lineup perfectly. As the game wore on and the stakes grew higher, Phillies manager Gene Mauch began to juggle his defenders to get the best possible support behind his pitching horse.
In the bottom of the 5th inning, perfection was saved by a defensive gem. Berger wrote on it as follows:
Mets catcher Jesse Gonder smashed a line drive between second and first. Second sacker Tony Taylor lunged to his left, knocked the ball down, crawled on his knees to grab the ball, and nipped Gonder at first. That was the last play in the game that resembled a hit for the Mets.

Bunning got New York shortstop Charley Smith on a pop-out to Phillies shortstop Bobby Wine to open the bottom of the 9th inning. He then struck out a pair of pinch-hitters sent to the plate by Mets skipper Casey Stengel, getting John Stephenson swinging on a 2-2 pitch to clinch perfection.

 

An 18-year-old wunderkind named Rick Wise followed Bunning’s perfection with a solid performance of his own, with Wise gaining his first of what would be 188 career big-league victories in game two of that doubleheader. That Sunday sweep in the Big Apple pushed the Phillies two games in front in the National League pennant race.
An August spurt would lift the Phillies to a season high 7.5 games in front of their National League rivals a number of times during late August. They still held a 6.5 game lead as late as September 20.

And then, with just 12 games left, it all fell apart. The Phillies infamously lost 13 of 15 games after September 15, including 10 in a row. Despite winning their final two games, the club would finish a game behind the Saint Louis Cardinals.

 

Despite having a winning team in each of his four seasons with the club from 1964-67, the Phillies would never truly contend for a pennant aside from that 1964 club during Bunning’s first go-around in Philadelphia.
On December 15, 1967 with the Phillies looking to move into a rebuilding mode, Quinn shipped a now 36-year-old Bunning off to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for pitchers Woodie Fryman and Bill Laxton, minor league prospect Harold Clem, and a 20-year-old infield prospect named Don Money.
Bunning would split the 1968-69 seasons pitching for the Pirates and then the Los Angeles Dodgers. With Major League Baseball having expanded and moved to a divisional format for the first time, the Dodgers were involved in a four-team battle royale for  the newly formed National League West Division.
Los Angeles obtained Bunning in an August 15, 1969 trade from Pittsburgh, and the veteran righty would immediately join and remain in the Dodgers starting rotation. Within a week, LA took the divisional lead. But despite Bunning pitching well for them, the Dodgers would fade over the final two weeks in a performance that nearly mirrored the 1964 Phillies collapse.
That would prove to be Bunning’s final shot at the postseason. He never did pitch in a playoff game during his entire career. The Dodgers released him on October 22, 1969. Exactly one week later the Phillies brought him back, signing him as a 38-year-old free agent.
At that point the Phillies were preparing for their final season at Connie Mack Stadium, formerly Shibe Park, which had been a Philadelphia professional baseball institution since opening in 1909. The club wanted Bunning to provide some name recognition and experience for a team that had dealt away mercurial star Dick Allen and was looking to get younger in preparation for the 1970’s and a new era in a new ballpark.
Bunning made his final start at Connie Mack Stadium on Sunday, September 27, 1970. It was a classic pitching showdown with another future Hall of Famer, Fergie Jenkins, who had briefly been Bunning’s teammate with the 1965-66 Phillies. The 27-year-old Jenkins would come out on top, tossing a complete game, holding the Phillies to four hits in a 5-3 victory.
The following spring would mark the opening of a new multi-purpose sports stadium in South Philadelphia. Bunning was tapped by manager Frank Lucchesi with the honors of taking the mound for the first Phillies game at Veteran’s Stadium.

On Saturday afternoon, April 10, 1971 at approximately 2:21pm local time, Bunning delivered his first offering. Montreal Expos leadoff man Boots Day grounded that first pitch right back at him, Bunning turned and flipped to first baseman Deron Johnson for the out, and a new era in Phillies baseball was underway.

 

Bunning would remain in the starting rotation on a regular basis through July 1 but became less and less effective as the summer rolled on, finally relegated to bullpen duty over the last two months.
His final official Win in a Phillies uniform came on June 16, 1971 at The Vet in a 6-3 victory over Willie MaysWillie McCoveyBobby Bonds and the San Francisco Giants.
During his six total seasons with the Phillies, Bunning went 89-73 with a 2.93 ERA and 1.111 WHIP. He allowed 1,361 hits over 1,520.2 innings across 226 games, 208 of them starts, while striking out 1,197 opposing batters. He remains seventh on the all-time franchise strikeouts list today.

Including his years with Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Los Angeles, Bunning fashioned a career 224-184 mark. He compiled a 3.27 ERA, 1.179 WHIP and struck out 2,855 batters over 591 games and 3,760.1 innings pitched.

 

After his retirement, Bunning was hired as a manager in the Phillies farm system and moved up through the ranks over the early-1970’s. As the big-league club was becoming a contender in the middle of the decade, Bunning appeared to be being groomed for the Phillies managerial job.
As told by Berger, there was apparently some falling out between Bunning and influential Phillies farm director Dallas Green. The two had been teammates during the mid-60’s and were longtime friends. But the Phillies unwillingness to give him the big-league job and Bunning’s own “brutal honesty“, as Berger put it, finally led to his being released after the NL East-winning 1976 campaign.
Following a failed attempt at becoming part-owner of the Houston Astros, Bunning returned home to Kentucky where he became a player agent. He was also recruited to run for a city council position in Fort Thomas and won, launching his political career.
In 1980, Bunning was elected to the Kentucky state house, where he would serve as a state senator through 1984. He tried a run for governor and fell short by 54-44% in that 1983 election, but his name was now growing statewide. He would win as a Republican candidate for the U.S. Congress just four years later and served in the House of Representatives for six terms.

When longtime Democratic Party incumbent Wendell Ford decided to retire and not run in the 1998 race for the United States Senate, Bunning accepted the Republican Party’s challenge to try to claim the seat. In a hard-fought campaign, Bunning edged out his Democratic Party opponent by 49.8-49.2% to claim a Senate seat.

 

Bunning would hold on to that U.S. Senate seat with a 50.7-49.3% victory over another strong Democratic challenger in 2004. But then as the 2010 election cycle approached, the then 78-year-old decided against seeking a third term. He had, however, played a large role in the Republican Party rise to power, and was succeeded in his seat by another Republican, Rand Paul.
Back in 1952 when he had received his first pro contract with the Tigers, Bunning purchased an engagement ring for his childhood sweetheart. He and the former Mary Catherine Theis would remain married for the rest of their lives and would have nine children. By 2013, that union had also produced 35 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

On May 26, 2017, Jim Bunning died from complications of a stroke that he had suffered in October 2016. He was 85 years of age. He is buried in the town of Fort Thomas, where his political career began, in his beloved home state of Kentucky.

Originally published at Phillies Nation as “Philography: Jim Bunning

Omnibus spending bill proves ‘the Swamp’ cannot be drained

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President Donald Trump was elected to “drain the swamp” in Washington, D.C. by eliminating waste and turning away from politics as usual.

But today, the president signed a massive $1.3 trillion dollar omnibus spending bill that not only failed to help drain the swamp, but pumped more muck into it instead.

As reported by Dave Boyer at The Washington Times:

The spending deal will increase the deficit for the current fiscal year to at least $850 billion, up from $666 billion in fiscal 2017. Starting in October, annual deficits are projected to top $1 trillion for the foreseeable future. On that course, the government would add roughly $12 trillion in borrowing over the next decade.”

Of course, this one isn’t all on the president alone. Congresspersons in the U.S. House of Representatives and members of the United States Senate crafted the bill, then voted it through to his desk.

The spending bill passed in Congress by a vote of 256-157, and then passed in the Senate by a 65-32 vote.

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, a vocal critic who voted against the bill, summed up the feelings of many conservatives very succinctly per Benjamin Brown of Fox News:

“Republicans control the government, yet Congress still follows the Democrats’ playbook. Time and again, spending skyrockets, and conservatives are expected to fall in line to praise the party for making the big-spending status quo worse.”

President Trump had stated as late as Saturday morning that he was considering a veto of the bill. However, in the end he signed off on it, claiming that it provided necessary increases in funding for the military as a primary reason.

Though a staunch supporter of the American military, I find this reasoning disingenuous at best, and a flat-out lie at worst.

After signing, the president referred to the bill as “ridiculous“, and per S.A. Miller at The Washington Times stated that “I will never sign a bill like this again.

Unfortunately, by that time the damage was already done. He signed this one. Why sign this one, knowing while you are doing it that you allegedly will never sign one like it again?

What the president could have, and should have, done in my opinion was to veto the bill. While the bill had passed easily in both Houses of Congress, there was not enough support to override his veto.

With a veto, the Congress would have been forced to go back and make cuts that would allow for the president to affix his signature. That, or with no spending authorization in place, they could simply decide to shut the government down.

This president was supposed to be the one who did things differently. Who didn’t play the same old political games. But here, when he had the chance to back up his tough talk and tweets with some real hardball action, he blinked and signed.

The Trump signature on this bill was a slap in the face to every conservative American who threw their support to him in November of 2016. It was a betrayal of those of us who believed that we finally had someone unafraid to stand up to the Deep State establishment.

There is no sugar-coating this one. President Trump caved in to politics as usual in Washington, D.C., and as a result we as a nation will sink deeper and deeper in debt.

There is no doubt that there is much to like in the spending bill, including those necessary increases for the U.S. military. But there is no funding to “build the wall” that has been promised by the president, and there is no fix to the DACA issue.

There is also no doubt that among the ridiculous 2,232 pages of this massive grab into taxpayer wallets that there is a great deal of money going out to special interest pork barrel projects that the government has no business being involved in funding.

Frankly, I’m tired of vocally backing a president and a party that, when push comes to shove, continually thumbs its nose at the people who elected them to office. They talk about Democrats spending like drunken sailors and promise that they will be different if given the chance. Then when given that chance, they drink the Dems under the table.

No more. I’ll be taking a nice, long, happy break from politics after this piece. It’s on to sports, faith, entertainment, and other less stressful topics in my writing. And that’s a shame.

The election of businessman Donald Trump was supposed to mean an end to business a usual in Washington. Instead, we saw today that he is incapable of nothing more than talk in regards to draining the swamp.

Republican citizen voices more important than ever

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Republicans and Democrats alike frequently criticize the general tone and specific messaging pushed by various major media outlets.

For those Americans who consider themselves to be conservative, almost exclusively Republicans, the usual suspects include broadcasters such as CNN, MSNBC, and NPR and print/web sources such as The New York Times, Washington Post, and the Huffington Post.

Leftists frequently bemoan the messaging and tone that comes from the Fox News network, including Fox Business, as well as media outlets such as One America News and The Washington Times.

For decades, liberals had a monopoly on mass messaging pushed to the American public through broadcast and print news. Slowly over the last two decades or so, conservative voices, once relegated to talk radio, have grown in influence. This has been thanks to the Internet and cable news.

Still, there remain more liberal resources. The influence of the old school networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC continues to wane. However, there remains a large segment of America who still receive their news from these sources, especially at the local news level.

The vast majority of newspapers and TV entertainment programs in America remain under the control of liberal media organizations as well. The messaging pushed out to the public is overwhelmingly liberal, unless you specifically go looking for conservative voices.

That fact makes the continued efforts and expansion of independent Republican voices more important than ever. It is one of the main reasons that I put effort into this website and into my all around social media presence.

Michelle Malkin is the queen of American conservative bloggers. Born in my hometown of Philadelphia and raised across the Delaware River in South Jersey, the 47-year old Malkin makes her home in Colorado Springs, Colorado with her husband and two children.

A decade or so ago, Malkin gave occasional space at her michellemalkin.com home to an anonymous contributer known only as “See-Dubya” who once described their blogging as follows:

“Actually, blogging is kind of therapeutic. Especially when you’re a red-state person living in a blue, blue state, and your neighbors would burn a peace symbol in your yard at midnight if they knew how you really felt about things. Some people do yoga; I pound the keyboard. The blood pressure goes down either way.”

Your own therapy aside, the continued presence and growth of American bloggers of a Republican persuasion is vitally important thanks to the upcoming midterm elections here in the United States.

The facts are that, no matter who sits in the Oval Office, the President’s party loses an average of 30 congressional seats in normal midterm elections.

One reason this happens is what is known as the “presidential penalty” – voters from the President’s party are happy that he won. History shows that happy voters are much more likely to stay home than angry, possibly more motivated, voters from the opposition.

Per Tom Murse writing for Thoughtco.com:

In the 21 midterm elections held since 1934, only twice has the president’s party gained seats in both the Senate and the House: Franklin Delano Roosevelt‘s first midterm election and George W. Bush‘s first midterm election. On three other occasions, the President’s party gained House seats and once it was a draw. On one occasion, the president’s party gained Senate seats.”

This means that in 15 of the 21 midterm elections, the President has seen their Party lose seats in both houses of congress. These are the odds that congressional representatives in the Republican Party of President Donald Trump will be trying to buck this coming November.

The re-election bids of those GOP incumbents will be made all the more difficult thanks to the efforts of the major media outlets. They will continue criticizing the President at every turn, thus shining a negative light on any candidate who might support him or his policies. This in addition to actually slanting their more local coverage towards individual congressional candidates in specific elections.

Republican bloggers need to ensure that we are pushing as conservative a message as possible, and supporting Republican candidates as aggressively as possible this year.

There will be some hard-fought GOP primary campaigns in various U.S. Senate and Congressional races across the country. Whether your favored candidate wins or loses those elections, the fact remains that ANY Republican candidate will be better than any Democratic Party alternative in the fall. After the primaries, it will be time to set aside any internal differences and back the winners.

If you are a Republican blogger, make sure that you stay active this year. I write on a wide variety of topics, not just politics. If you follow me regularly, you will also find many pieces on sports, entertainment, faith, and other issues. As the year moves along, I will have plenty of political commentary.

Imagine the Senate and/or the House of Representatives under the control of the Democratic Party. Can you imagine Nancy Pelosi as the Speaker of the House? Chuck Schumer holding tie-breaking votes as the President of the Senate?

I encourage you to continue your own efforts in blogging, posting on social media, and in any other way that you can help Republicans beat the odds in November’s midterms. It is vital to do your part as our President continues working to make America great again.

Tax reform postcards from the edge

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The Republican controlled United States Congress is attempting something significant that has not happened in more than three decades. Yet it is something that almost everyone in both parties believes to be grossly overdue.

Updates to the United States tax code have not been accomplished since Ronald Reagan was President.

That long ago legislation passed a voice vote in the House of Representatives in December 1985. It then took another seven months before finally passing the Senate in June 1986. President Reagan then signed the Tax Reform Act of 1986 into law on October 22, 1986.

Over the ensuing decades, further changes to the tax code have been discussed and debated in both formal political circles as well as in the media and in academia. Many on both sides of the American political aisle have voiced their concern that tax reform was necessary. Agreeing to the specifics and getting such reform done has been much more elusive.

Charles Rangel is as liberal a Democrat as you are going to find. He served in Congress for nearly five decades before retiring earlier this year. Per Brainy Quotes, Rangel once stated “We all want a simpler code, but tax reform is about much more. It is about ensuring that everyone pays their fair share.

Those final words have usually become the rub. What makes up a “fair share?” Reaching any consensus is becoming nearly impossible now in an era where American politics are as partisan and polarized as any in history. 

That 1986 tax legislation was actually co-sponsored by a pair of Democrats, Congressman Dick Gephart and Senator Bill Bradley. While Republicans held a 53-47 advantage in the Senate, the final vote in support for tax reform was 97-3. 

When the 2017 House vote was taken on November 16, no Democrats voted for it. None. Their mantra, as it has always been, claimed that Republicans were cutting taxes for “the top 1%” of earners, while giving no or little actual relief to the middle class. 

The Speaker of the House, Republican Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, responded per Naomi Jagoda and Cristina Marcos for The Hill that “Passing this bill is the single biggest thing we can do to grow the economy, to restore opportunity and help these middle-income families who are struggling.



The fact is that on most issues, especially the big ones, votes in both the House and Senate now come down rigidly along party lines. Where there used to be a dozen or more “swing” votes to be had, legislators of either party who could be appealed to and lobbied for support, that is rarely the case today. 

There is always an obligatory appeal to the middle class by both parties. Each claims to want to bring relief to those middle income earners. Yet somehow, the two parties can never agree on any issue that will actually help the middle class.

Getting actual tax reform done now is going to come down to one party or the other gaining control of both the House and the Senate. Then they are also likely to need a President of their same party who is willing to sign the new tax proposal into law.

Right now, Republicans have just such control. The GOP holds a slim 52-48 edge in the U.S. Senate, and a tight 239-194 edge in the House of Representatives. And, of course, a Republican now sits in the Oval office for the first time in eight years.

A big election will take place in Alabama in two weeks for a Senate seat. The result of that election will either maintain the Republicans edge, or tighten it even further to a barely noticeable 51-49 advantage.

In next year’s mid-term elections, Democrats will need to defend the seats of 25 of their voting members in the Senate. Republicans have eight seats to defend. All 435 voting Congress persons will also have to defend their seats.



With uncertainty always a hallmark of mid-term elections, now is the time for Republicans to get tax reform done. Having missed out on a chance to repeal and replace Obamacare, the GOP needs to begin showing that it can get major legislative initiatives accomplished.

While the Republican Congresspersons of the House have now passed their plan, the Republican Senators are now preparing to vote on their own tax reform proposal. That vote is likely to take place this week.

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, always a key vote in these big issues, today came out in support of the Republican tax plan readying for that Senate vote:

“This tax bill is a true test for my colleagues. I’m not getting everything I want — far from it. But I’ve been immersed in this process. I’ve fought for and received major changes for the better — and I plan to vote for this bill as it stands right now.”

Assuming those Senators actually get their plan to pass a vote, we still won’t have tax relief. Leaders in the House and Senate would need to get together, and hash out some compromise regarding the details of their separate proposals.

Once that happens, which would likely come in the spring, then there would be votes in both Houses on the final legislation. Should that pass both votes, then it tax relief would finally get to President Trump’s desk. It is presumed that the President would sign any tax reform legislation put before him.

Chris Edwards for the Cato Institute opined back in late October that “the GOP plan would give the largest relative cuts to people in the middle. On average, middle-income earners would receive larger percentage tax cuts than higher-income earners.

One highlight of the House reform plan that has been constantly pushed is that most Americans would be able to file their income taxes on a form the size of a postcard. I’ll be curious to see if that actually comes to pass. 

Politics in this country are on the edge right now. The edge of sanity, that is. Next year’s mid-term elections are going to be hard-fought and bloody. Passing tax reform before those elections hit would be a welcome postcard from the edge for American tax payers.

Elections Have Consequences


For the past year it has become the public mantra of Democratic Party politicians: “Elections have consequences.” Whether they were talking about bailing out large corporations or taking over the banking, auto, and health care industries, that simple phrase has been their fallback position.

To some extent, that is true. When the nation elects a leader such as Barack Obama, the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate, it has definitely sent a message. A majority of the citizens of the United States spoke up in November of 2008 and sent the message that the direction the country was headed during the Bush years was not one that they wanted to continue following.

The American electorate sent a clear message for ‘change’ to Washington politicians at that point. The problem, however, and it is a big one for the Dems, is that the voters quite obviously wanted ‘change’ with a small ‘c’, not the “Change” that marked the Obama campaign’s signature slogan.

What Obama was trumpeting was “fundamental change“, a message that he banged home time and time again. The mass electorate heard those words and decided that he meant a simple change in direction, something they wanted indeed. What he actually meant was to change the very nature of what it meant to be America as a nation.

After winning election, Obama got his house in order, got his Democratic Party leadership organized, and then set out down the path towards that fundamental change from a democratic, capitalist society to a full-blown European-inspired socialist one. The American ‘system’ that had made us the envy of the world for generations had somehow “failed” in is words and needed to be almost completely trashed.

Problem was, the American public didn’t go along for the ride. As the depth and scope of Obama’s vision of change came into view and practice, as Dem national leaders like Nancy Pelosi in Congress and Harry Reid in the Senate began to push the legislative agenda, it became crystal-clear to Americans that socialism was the order of the day.

The Democrats were making a fundamental political mistake, one that the Republicans had made a couple of times in the last couple of decades. They assumed that their election to power now gave them a mandate for major changes to America, and they began to institute those major changes.

Quickly, the American public began to voice their concerns. In every major public opinion poll, the public shouted at the top of it’s lungs for the Dem leadership to slow things down. Some changes were needed to the system, yes. But almost no one wanted socialist restrictions and control to replace democratic capitalism’s freedom and liberty.

Socialism has failed everywhere that it has every been tried on earth. The reasons are quite simple. Taking away incentives from individuals to work harder, to dream bigger, to achieve more results in less production. Citizens come to rely on their government to provide for them. Eventually, the government can no longer do so, because it simply lacks the resources.

You cannot possibly tax individuals and businesses enough to sustain government control. And let’s face it, that is the only place that government gets it’s money. Government is, in fact, you and I. We pay into the system to keep it functional. We elect people to run things as our representatives. In a socialist system, those representatives just keep raising and raising our taxes to take on more and more control over our everyday lives.

Eventually a system such as the Obama administration is attempting to install will collapse on itself because it is economically unsustainable. But before it does, society will degenerate into a mess of ennui and disillusionment, or worse. If those who have control in a socialist system see that control slipping away, their response has often been to use force to remain in power. They change the laws and keep themselves in the life boats to protect their own interests as the ship sinks around them.

Many Americans did understand that this would be the direction that Obama and the leading Dems would take once in power. Those are the tens of millions who voted against them. They are now being joined by the millions ‘in the middle’, those Americans who wanted the small ‘c’ of ‘change’, not the capital ‘C’ of Obama’s socialism.

Yes, Democrats, elections have consequences. However, what you are failing to remember is the lessons of politicians and Parties past. That there is always another election coming. This November, Americans will again go to the polls. All signs point to the Dems losing control of Congress, which will seriously cripple Obama’s ability to continue his agenda.

Obama and Pelosi and Reid have led America down this path of ‘Change’ at full speed, recklessly disregarding the public’s wishes time and time again. Reid and many of his Dem leadership co-horts will undoubtedly pay the price in the Fall of 2010. They will pay that price because, despite their election victories in 2006 and 2008, they are now ignoring the American electorate in 2010.

Now is a time of opportunity for the Republican Party to reassert itself, but it must be willing to return to basic American principles of democracy, capitalism, and traditional exceptionalism in order to take full advantage. The Republicans must reflect core American values, pledge a change in direction to fiscal sanity and responsibility, and to fully and effectively preserving and defending our nation and it’s founding principles.

In the fall of 2010, the Democrats will be reminded that elections do indeed have consequences. When they lose their control over Congress, their control over the purse strings and the power and the direction, then they will cry and wail and moan. They will blame one another, point fingers, and become disgruntled. And they will have no one to blame but themselves, because elections do indeed have consequences, the next one as strongly as the last one.