Political Roundup

Greetings to all and Happy 50th Wedding Anniversary to my parents!

As underwhelming as the State of the Union was, please try to remember that every time Obama speaks he is supposed to deliver one of the great speeches of all time. The expectation bar has now been set to a height that cannot be attained on a consistent basis, so even a pretty good speech like the one on Tuesday will come across as underwhelming.

Sure it was self contradictory – tax cuts good/tax cuts bad – cut spending/increase investment, but what is taking shape is not that Obama is tacking to the middle which he is doing quite clearly. No, what is happening is that Americans are recognizing a lack of sincerity and trust on the part of Obama. Moreover, there is a settling in of the fact that he just does not relate or connect which is a difficult narrative for any incumbent.

Which brings me to what will decide the GOP nomination – a candidate with a narrative that sustains media coverage and appeals to independents/Catholics and Hispanics. Granted that person will need to check most of the usual Republican boxes in a nomination battle – especially fundraising – but he/she will need something that keeps all those television audiences tuned in.

While Obama’s re-elect might be cast by the media as a comeback a la Reagan (84) and Clinton (96), it’s starting to feel more like GHW Bush (92). Do you remember how the media pundits (who never have been elected) said that Bush I had to hit every “speech out of the park”? I still think that Obama is the odds on favorite for re-election at this point and in order to do so he will have to cut a big deal with House Republicans. This will likely occur after his nomination is sewn up and so is the House GOP’s. So, look to late spring 2012.

Governor George Allen announced he is running for the US Senate. His challenger for the nomination, Jamie Radtke, is formidable and should not be underestimated. At all.

Governor McDonnell’s road building plan is gaining momentum and should pass the House and Senate in a slightly slimmed down version. This a good plan and I support it; however, states (especially Virginia) will soon come to the same realization that toll road building companies concluded 20+ years ago – given the defined and unavoidable costs of government promises in America, there is NO way around the need for private capital markets to build and maintain our busiest highways and interstates in conjunction with the public sector. The money is just not there and is never going to be there. Get used to tolls. You don’t like tolls, you say? That’s understandable. But irrelevant. Get used to tolls.

The good news about them now is that the tolls can be read in a transponder effectively at over 70 mph. Transponders in about 5 years will be in every new and used car sold.

Unemployment insurance subsidies unemployment. The system should be reversed and it should subsidize employment for those who lost their jobs through no fault of their own. I will explain next week my more detailed program that I have pitched to members of both parties at both the state and national level. They all love the concept but not the politics. In America today, it’s just easier not to make some changes. In America’s tomorrow, we need to make changes – today.

My generation knows instinctively that we are not going to pass on the costs of the future onto our children and we are ready to make difficult but pragmatic decisions and sacrifices. So, our collective message to Baby Boomer should be – you can do it or we can do it. Trust us, you would prefer us not to make those decisions. We’re just not as enamored with you as you are.

NFL – I went 6-3 in the playoffs – thank you to the Packers and Steelers! Prediction on that game will be next Friday. The injury to Pittsburgh’s All Pro ROOKIE Center Maurkice Pouncey (future Hall of Famer) might not be as pivotal as many think.

NBA – wake me when it’s the playoffs. NHL – underrated. GREAT game live – tough translation to television. Would trade MLS soccer in a New York minute for professional rugby – much more entertaining and it is more an American sport than soccer. Before you snap – I played soccer from youth through high school and rugby in college – it’s just that rugby is more our style – points are scored, it’s physical and play rarely stops = entertaining. Soccer? Not as much…by a lot.

Still here?

Cautionary note to lawmakers at the local, state, and national levels – businesses will not hire if they don’t want to or don’t have to – if you increase their expenses they will shift operations faster than you can predict. Incentives work. Mandates? Not as much…by a lot.

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Chris Saxman

About Chris Saxman

Father of four, small business leader, retired politician, and Executive Committee member and former Chairman of an international trade association, Chris Saxman delivers strategy and insight as a political coach and keynote speaker. Contact Chris.

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