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Articles by Donald E. L. Johnson

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Today is Monday, December 05, 2016

'12 President

What I would like to hear from Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney

What I want GOP candidates to promise:

Is Mitt Romney a leader or just a salesman?

I've spent a lot of time considering whether i'll back Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty or Mitch Daniels. 

I first met Mitt back in the 1980s when I wrote a cover story on Baxter's "value improvement" service for hospitals that Mitt and Bain had developed for the company. Then I met and heard him at the NRO 2008 post election cruise. He is pretty impressive in person, and he has an impressive resume—outside of politics. 


So I've been following his presidential campaign since 2006 or 2007. Only now do I think I get it.


Mitt is good at organizing consultants to tackle problems. He immerses himself in data. But ultimately, he uses other peoples' ideas and recommendations. 


He's not really a detail guy nor an ideas guy. And he's not a street smart politician, as the Wall Street Journal's lede editorial, Obama's running mate; Mitt Romney's ObamaCare problemexplains today.


And he is a salesman and pr guy first, not a leader. 


He goes for the sale first, the solution second. 


This is why he comes across as shallow, pandering, cautious and as a flip flopper. 


He believes in private industry, consumer choice and Big Government. 


Big Government Consumer Choice is an oxymoron, and, I'm afraid, so is Mitt Romney.


I should note that up till now I've believed that Romney is the most electable Republican followed by Pawlenty and Daniels. 


I'm trying to not let my familiarity with Romney breed contempt while I'm still learning more about Tim Pawlenty and Mitch Daniels. 


Having read Pawlenty's campaign book, I have problems with his record and pandering to Iowa ethanol supporters as well as with his blatant exploitation of his religious beliefs for political purposes. 


As for Daniels, he looks like the smartest and most accomplished politician of the three guys, but I know less about his record and beliefs than I know about Romney and Pawlenty. 


And Daniels "muddling" through the process of deciding whether to run frosts me a bit. 


I'm still waiting to see which of the three guys has the best chance of beating Obama. 


So far, none of them are looking very good to me as candidates, but they all are better potential presidents and candidates than Barack Obama, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Donald Trump, Palin, Cain and Bachmann.

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 05/12/11 at 09:22 AM
'12 PresidentPermalink

What Mitt Romney should but won’t say about RomneyCare and health care reform

On Thursday, Mitt Romney, a yet-to-be-announced presidential candidate, will try to get the RomneyCare Massachusetts health insurance disaster off his back. 

Romney experimented with health insurance markets in Massachusetts, and his stab at increasing access to health services while containing costs has failed big time. Health insurance is more expensive and health care is harder to get in Massachusetts under Romney care. And 100,000 still are uninsured.

In his speech, he needs to spell out the failures in RomneyCare and explain what he has learned from those failures. He should not play the blame game.
Then he should propose a new experiment for the country and the states. I think putting the health insurance and health care reform burden on uninformed, self-interested and gullible state legislators and governors would be a huge mistake. Even more than members of Congress, state legislators are over influenced by the experiences that they, their families, their friends and their biggest contributors have had and are having with specific illnesses, medical procedures, drugs, medical devices and providers.
Indeed, I think Medicaid should be federalized and standardized rather than continue with the state involvement that we have today. It's just to complicated for state politicians and bureaucrats to manage cost effectively and for patients. And I'm a libertarian Republican who is against socialized medicine and centralized planning. But I've also been covering health policy since 1976, and I think Medicaid is broken because both members of Congress and members of state legislators have voted for their personal power, not for patients nor taxpayers.
Private health insurance markets should be re-regulated to give consumers and insurers the freedom to buy and offer products that meet the needs of consumers at a profit for insurers.
Both consumers and insurers need financial incentives to buy right and create cost-effective products. The key is to make sure that consumers know what they are buying and have the freedom to buy as much or as little coverage as they want so long as they end up paying for all of their health care without tax credits or government subsidies unless they truly need subsidies. No one who needs subsidies pays taxes, which means those who don't pay income taxes should not get tax credits of any kind. No one should be allowed to declare bankruptcy so they can avoid paying the uninsured portions of their medical and health care bills. 
People should have strong financial incentives to buy the insurance that would cover the catastrophic losses that they could not afford to put on their credit cards. People who under insure should be required to sell their homes, cars and any other assets to raise the money to pay their medical bills, and they should be put on payment plans that hurt until they get their bills paid.
High deductible insurance is what you should buy to avoid the pain of paying catastrophic medical bills and the cost of fixing cars when they are wrecked. If you don't buy the insurance, you should suffer the consequences, not taxpayers nor people who do buy insurance and pay their bills.
Take all employers out of the health benefits business. Employers buy what's good and affordable for them, not what's good and affordable for their workers. Employers game the system, the tax codes and their workers on health benefits. After politicians, employers are the most dishonest players in health care.
Thus, there should be no tax credits for anyone who buys health insurance. It should be an after tax expense for everyone. Tax incentives are for the favored few, which, amazingly in this case, are those who make enough money to pay income taxes. 
And tax incentives promote wasteful spending on low deductible policies that pay insurers to hold insureds' money until they need to buy preventive care and routine medications that should be paid for out of their pockets. We don't use insurers to pay for oil changes in our cars or for the maintenance of our homes, and we should not pay insurers to hold our money until we needed it for preventive and routine health care services and products. We don't pay banks to hold our savings until we need our money.
Further, tax incentives redistribute incomes in ways that increase government spending, increase financial incentives for politicians to pander to the favored few and kill jobs.
Health insurers should be regulated to ensure that they create and sell products that consumers with 4th and 5th grade educations can understand and evaluate. They should be required to spend the time and money needed to make sure that every customer understands insurance, health care and how their health plans will work and what they will cost.
Insurance is complex, and if insurers offer too many options, no one will know what to do. Part D Medicare's drug benefit plans have taught even those of us who believe in consumer choice and free markets that insurers can make decision making very difficult. Indeed, the politicians who write the laws and regulations force insurers to confuse consumers, imho. New health laws and regulations should be easy to understand, comply with and enforce.
Even though Romney knows all this, I doubt that he'll take this approach.
Like all politicians, he'll pander to special interests in health care and government as well as in the insurance business. He'll suck up to the moocher nation because most Americans believe in free lunches---tax credits, government subsidies, government programs and no deductible health insurance policies.
Sadly, few Americans want to pay their own way, which is why we have a huge budget deficit and  totally dysfunctional health insurance and health care markets.

RomneyCare has been a costly failure for Massachussetts

RomneyCare's costly failures will dog Mitt Romney until he explains how it has gone wrong and how he would fix the politically distorted health care and health insurance markets. So far, he's called for repeal of ObamaCare, but he seems incapable of showing that he's learned from RomneyCare's mistakes. Sally Pipes, a leading analyst of health insurance and health care markets in Canada and the U.S., spells out the cost of RomneyCare for Forbes. . Impact graphs:

Dems counting on demonizing GOP presidential candidate on abortion, gay marriage, women’s issues

Democrats are hoping that Republicans will nominate a Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee or Mike Spence for president in 2012 because they are hardliners on abortion, gay marriage and other social issues like like Colorado's failed senatorial candidate, Ken Buck. LINK: White flight; President Obama's path to second term may rely on states shaped by the same social forces he embodies. By Ronald Brownstein. This is a long piece that is a very good analysis of the shifting loyalties to the parties.

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 01/07/11 at 04:39 PM
'12 PresidentPermalink

Mitt Romney says Obama’s extension of unemployment benefits, 2-year extension of tax rates bad deal

Presumed Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, writes in USA Today that the GOP's deal with President Obama will hurt employment and the U.S. economy over the long term. While the short-term deal looks like a pretty good compromise for Obama's re-election prospects and for tax payers, Romney is correct when he says the deal will not produce the desired increases in employment because during the next two years, politicians will be fighting over extending the deal instead of reforming our broken tax and spend culture. Meanwhile, Romney is showing that he is in Sen. Jim DeMint's (R-SC) camp and agrees with fiscally conservative tea party supporters. LiNK: Why tax cut is a bad deal, by Mitt Romney.

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 12/14/10 at 07:23 AM
'12 PresidentEconomyTaxesPermalink

Sarah Palin’s thin skin, distrust of strangers, instincts and small inner circle say she’s not ready

A profile of Sarah Palin in the Nov. 21 Sunday New York Times Magazine, The Palin Network, by Robert Draper, paints her as:

  1. Paranoid and unable to trust policy experts, political consultants or the media.
  2. Thin skinned and bitter about slights large and small that she's suffered since John McCain picked her to be his vice presidential running mate in 2008.
  3. Obsessed with her celebrity.
  4. Convinced that she can become president despite poor poll ratings and the Republican Party establisment's skepticism.
  5. A skilled communicator on the stump and at the keyboard where she taps out headline-grabbing missives on Facebook and Twitter.
  6. Surrounded by a small number of nobodies who surround her because they are nobodies.
  7. A do-it-yourself politician who has trouble dealing with people who know more than she does and who are smarter than she is. Great politicians recruit people who are smarter and stronger than they are. Lousy executives and politicians recruit people who suck up on command.
  8. Hard working, often putting in 20-hour days.
  9. Frenetic and so over scheduled that one wonders whether she has time for her family.
  10. Defiant of all who question her intellect and knowledge.
  11. Pretty disorganized.
  12. Instinct driven, which is scary in a presidential candidate.
Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 11/22/10 at 08:41 PM
'12 PresidentPermalink

Haley Barbour imposes budget cuts on Mississippi after 2 tax hikes; lessons for Colorado

As Governor-elect John Hickenlooper and the General Assembly's joint budget committee ponder Colorado's $1.1 billion budget deficit for the fiscal year beginning next July 1, they will study the good intentions and outcomes of Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour's long efforts to deal with declining revenues and soaring Medicaid expenditures. Barbour's a possible presidential candidate for 2012. He has a take a "nothing's untouchable" approach to budget cutting, notes The Wall Street Journal. State tests limits of spending cuts, by Deborah Solomon.

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 11/22/10 at 10:52 AM
'12 PresidentColoradoBudgetTaxesPermalink

Obama’s ‘a problem’ in the Middle East say Israel people, Palestinians

Early in the 2008 presidential campaign, it became obvious that Barack Obama and his top diplomatic advisers are anti-Israel and blame it for the decades-long impasse in the "peace talks" between Israel and Palestine. Politico reports that the people and leaders in both countries are convinced that in only two years, "Obama is the problem" because he doesn't understand the people, the problem or the politics of the situation. As is characteristic of Obama, he thinks everyone else is stupid and that he is the only one who has the correct approach. The people of Israel "hate him" according to an analyst. The Middle East isn't the only place that Obama is considered "a problem." LINK: President Obama is a problem, an article that mostly reflects Israeli thinking by Ben Smith. Washington partisans discuss Smith's article on Politico's Arena.

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 11/22/10 at 10:10 AM
'12 PresidentPermalink

Barbara Bush hopes Sarah Palin stays in Alaska

Former First Lady Barbara Bush tells Larry King on CNN  that she hopes Sarah Palin will stay in Alaska. The exact quote: "I sat next to her once, thought she was beautiful, and I think she's very happy in Alaska," Bush said. "And I hope she'll stay there."

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 11/20/10 at 08:48 PM
'12 PresidentPermalink

Alaskans voted against Sarah Palin and her U.S. Senate candidate

Alaskans proved three important things in the 2010 elections. First, and most important, by a 10,000-vote margin, they voted for incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski over Palin's candidate, Joe Miller. Second, they showed how smart and well informed voters are. They didn't just split their ballots, they wrote in Murkowski's name even though her write-in campaign was short and opposed by the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Third, voters don't think much of Palin's judgment when it comes to endorsing candidates. She picked some real losers in Alaska, Nevada and Delaware and probably helped cost the GOP a majority in the U.S. Senate. If Palin's planning to run for president, she's off to a dismal start.

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 11/20/10 at 08:04 AM
'12 PresidentPermalink

Peggy Noonan: Republicans have to vet their 2012 presidential candidates

Peggy Noonan writes that Republican primary voters and everyone who's involved in nominating the party's 2012 candidate for president have to look for a candidate who will be both conservative and appealing to the independents who determine the outcomes of presidential elections.

At this point in time, she warns, the next GOP nominee is likely to become our next president. But if the party nominates someone who turns off the middle, Obama can come back.

That's a warning to not nominate Sara Palin or Mike Huckabee because they both are so extreme on religious and social issues that they would be easy to demonize and defeat along with most GOP congressional and state candidates.

Coloradans should understand the importance of that warning more than voters in almost any other state.

Questions GOP primary votes should be asking, according to Noonan:

Who can lead? Who can persuade the center? Who can summon the best from people? Who will seem credible (as a person who leads must)? Whose philosophy is both sound and discernible? Who has the intellectual heft? Who has the experience? Who seems capable of wisdom?

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 11/19/10 at 02:47 PM
'12 PresidentPermalink

Sarah Palin would lose presidential race, discourage viable GOP candidates from running in 2012

Sarah Palin's campaign for president is getting some respect from the Republican establishment, but insiders know that if she's the party's nominee in 2012, a lot of potentially strong down ticket candidates won't waste their time as sacrificial lambs in another Obama landslide election. The Tea Party voters who nominated three losers for the Senate this year are determined to hand the Democrats another four years by nominating Palin. LINK: Parker: A grizzly problem for the GOP, by Kathleen Parker.

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 11/12/10 at 07:04 AM
'12 PresidentPermalink

Democrats debate national fundraising strategies; CoDA, Colorado Model a big influence

At this point in the election cycle, it's interesting to read the national stories about the fundraising strategies of the Democrats and Republicans. Today's must read story is about the debate among Democrats over whether to fund independent groups that spend on media or groups that fund networks of organizations based on the "Colorado Model", which was created in 2004 by the Colorado Democracy Alliance (CoDA) and now is led by America Votes. I'm creating a "library" of posts that link to articles on fundraising and campaign strategy for future reference. Since June, I've posted almost 50 blogs in the "fundraising" category. LINKS: Dem donors spit on 2012 strategy, by Kenneth P. Vogel. America Votes, Colorado Model, unions, 'Gang of Four' pour $6 million plus into legislative races, by Donald E. L. Johnson.

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 11/11/10 at 08:31 AM
'12 President527sBundlersColoradoFundraisingPermalink

Who will be Sarah Palin’s Colorado campaign chair for 2012?

In Colorado, there is a Sarah Palin fan who will step up to serve as her Colorado chairman. That person will knowingly and deliberately put every Colorado Republican Congressman,  state House Republicans and those Senate Republicans who are up for election at terrible risk. Because if Palin gets the GOP nomination, she'll probably be beat as bad as John McCain was in 2008. Even a weakened Barack Obama would coast to victory over Palin and would take a lot of Democrats into office with him. So, who will put the Colorado GOP at great risk in 2012?

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 11/09/10 at 01:42 PM
'12 PresidentColoradoPoliticsPermalink
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