Opinionated @ CFE

Mike Lee, Please Read Sun Tzu

Oct
10

Sun Tzu probably had no idea that his treatise “The Art of War” would still be often cited and respected over 2500 years after his death. It’s a masterpiece of strategic thinking that applies to any conflict be it military, political, or even athletic. The United States armed forces have even gone so far as to require that the book be in each unit’s library. One of the most prescient quotes from the works is “victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” Mike Lee seems to have completely skipped this part when agitating for a government shutdown.

I get why he’s doing it. Federal programs, once enacted, are very difficult to undo no matter how unpopular they get. If you don’t believe it, remember that a “temporary” phone tax enacted for the Spanish-American War was repealed sometime during the Bush Administration. For them, this is the last stand before a program they legitimately believe to be horrible rolls forward. The House is following because elections matter. It’s no coincidence that in the two federal elections after the ACA passed, the opposition party took control of the House. They rode in on a promise to undo the ACA, and they’re determined to fulfill it. If they don’t fight hard enough for the base, they’ll get replaced.

The problem is that while a shutdown could have potentially been a Battle of Rorke’s Drift, it’s starting to look a lot more like The Alamo. Lee has to be smart enough to know that a shutdown was coming and when it would happen. Given those circumstances, you’d think he would have laid the groundwork for explaining the issues with the federal budgeting process, the unworkability of creating new entitlements beyond the reach of Congress (which now comprises a full 2/3 of federal spending), and why playing a game of chicken to see who blinks first would be the best way to force the hand of a dug-in Senate and President. Instead, absolutely no narrative or purpose to the shutdown was created and the first to market ideas are now the defining narrative. Lee can’t even properly capitalize on the ham-fisted way in which national parks are being closed down, a prime piece of low-hanging fruit.

The failure to figure out how to win before picking the fight never ends well. It has already distracted media attention away from the train wreck that is the ACA launch and numerous stories about huge premium increases, both things that would build popular support for 2014 and beyond to eliminate the ACA. About the only silver lining is that the two parties have pretty clearly defined who owns the ACA and its attendant problems. I wonder if Mike Lee will find a way to screw that up too.

Mike Lee Channels Orrin Hatch’s Tech-Ignorant Ways

Mar
12

I’ve gone on the record saying that I think Mike Lee is a poser, someone who was at the right place at the right time saying the right things to get elected to the US Senate to replace “Bailout Bob” Bennett. I’ve doubted his sincerity from the moment the candidate nobody had heard of started a series of “lectures on the constitution” ahead of his official announcement. Just yesterday, he announced via Twitter and Facebook that he plans to take on Google in anti-trust hearings. The reasoning behind this shows a dangerous lack of understanding about both free markets and technology.

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Where I Stand 2010: Federal Offices

Oct
12

Every year, I spend a considerable amount of time studying each candidate and, if needed, attempting to contact them to get answers to specific questions. I would strongly encourage each of you to do the same. Here are my picks for the federal offices.

U.S. Senate: Like many Utahns, I wasn’t very happy with Bob Bennett. Unlike many Utahns, I’m not terribly happy with the choices placed before me. Every day, Mike Lee is looking more and more like a panderer that said what needed to be said to get his way into office. I have no doubts that within a couple of terms (if we hold out that long), he’ll be Bennett with better PR.

I’d like to like Sam Granato, but his campaign has, quite frankly, been insulting. He spent months not posting any issues on his website and is running on a “Mike is a loony” platform. Charging along with a textbook case of negative campaigning is not the way to go. Had the Democrats actually nominated Christopher Stout, I would have considered voting for him.

I can’t say that I think too highly of Scott Bradley either. He has about the same platform as Mike Lee, but without the phoniness. Unfortunately, most of his “positions” are rambling and say very little about how he wants to achieve his vision.

In this election, I plan on voting None of the Above. I truly do not feel that any candidate deserves my support at the ballot box. (I’m open to creative write-in suggestions if you have a good one.)

U.S. House of Representatives #2: I’m going to say what most people already know: Jim Matheson is a spineless coward. He thought he pulled off an artful dodge by not voting for the health care “reform” bill before Congress, but we all know that had it come down to needing his vote, he would have given it. Then he spends all of his time dodging angry constituents from both sides, refusing to actually face the consequences for his decisions. I’m sorry, Jim, but you can’t get away with that in any elected position.

While I agree with a large part of Morgan Philpot’s campaign platform, his highly partisan “Matheson is Pelosi” attitude is very off-putting. I don’t feel like that will be very productive, nor do I feel like he’s putting forward much message of his own. I agree much more with Randall Hinton’s platform and have found his positions to be both logical and well-worded. Unsurprisingly, Randall Hinton has my support as the best choice in this race.

Next installment: state races.

Why I Am Seriously Considering a "None of the Above" Vote for US Senate

Jun
23

This race for US Senate has, quite frankly, disgusted me. It has been fully of grandstanding, backroom dealing, vicious personal attacks, rampant trolling, and general idiocy. I can usually manage to find someone worth my vote as the best choice (even if not necessarily a good one), but this particular race has me thinking that “none of the above” may be the best option out there.

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