Wednesday, January 22, 2020

People Will Vote Their Pocketbook In November

Voting Pocketbook
I was on Capital Tonight recently with my friend Bruce Thompson of Parker Poe who was the chair of the Hillary Clinton campaign in North Carolina in 2016. At the end of the segment, he said that his father taught him an important thing about politics he never forgot: Son, people will always vote their pocketbooks come election time! 
Political consultants used to tell me the first priority of voters in any campaign was My job! The second was My spouses job! The third was Everyone elses job! 
If people are feeling good about themselves and their financial prospects and future, they tend to vote for incumbents. If they dont feel good about their job situation, they will vote for someone else to see if they can pull something out of their economic bag of tricks that will help make their lives better. 
Ronald Reagan crushed President Jimmy Carter in a terrible economy in 1980. Reagan cruised to re-election in a booming 1984 economy. Bill Clinton won a three-way race with only 43% of the popular vote against George H.W. Bush in a poor economy in 1992. Clinton easily won re-election in 1996 in a booming internet-fueled economy. 
Carter and Bush 41 are the only two presidents not to win a re-election bid since World War II. 
Last week, at the very same moment House managers were marching across the Capitol in a formal procession to the Senate to deliver the articles of impeachment, President Trump was signing Phase I of the new Chinese trade agreement which promises to add a halfpoint of GDP growth to 2020 growth and hundreds of thousands of new jobs. 
The juxtaposition could not have been more stark. Democrats have spent the past three years doing nothing but trying to impeach President Trump; two years while in the minority and the last year while in the majority. 
Employment for every age group, race and gender is at historic high. As much as the Trump tax cuts and regulation reductions and restrictions contributed to this prosperity, the most important difference between the last three years and any time under the Obama Administration is the confidence that business owners have that they can invest and hire people without fear of more taxes and excessive regulation. 
Phase I and II of the Chinese accords will be important to the American economy over coming decadesHowever, the most important trade agreement signed recently was the trade agreement between the U.S., Mexico and Canada (USMCA) which replaced the old NAFTA agreement that caused so much disruption to our economy, particularly in the textile industry in the South. 
Mexico and Canada account for twice as much trade combined with the U.S. as between the U.S. and China. U.S. trade with Mexico and Canada totaled $1.130 trillion fairly balanced between exports and imports.  
Annual U.S. trade with China amounts to only half that total, $516 billion. Eighty percent of that trade total is Chinese exports to the U.S. mainly attributable to unfair trade practices by the Chinese government since 1980 which destroyed millions of manufacturing jobs in America. 
Phase 1 of the China deal will add another 0.5% to GDP this year. For every full point increase in GDP, roughly 500,000 new jobs will be created in America.  
Not a single senator or representative from any solid blue states such as California, New York and Illinois supported any of the Trump policies that have contributed to this new prosperity which has improved the economy of each blue state just as it has in the red states. 
Perhaps the voters of these blue states need to heed the words of Bruce Thompsons dad. Voting for the socialist policies of Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and now Joe Biden, who has adopted many of them as gospel, will plunge us right back into the economic doldrums we experienced under the Obama administration for eight long years. 
Why would anyone in their right mind want to take that chance? 
(first published in North State Journal 1/22/20)

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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

A Man Walks Into The Trump Winery

Pop Open A Cold One on November 3
On the day after Christmas and seeing our extended family in Fredericksburgwe traveled across the state of Virginia to Hot Springs for some pure rest and relaxation. 
Along the way, we noticed we were going through the wine country established by Thomas Jefferson near Charlottesville. We decided to go see the Trump Winery since one of our sons gave us a bottle of Trump champagne in the summer of 2016 as a joke because we all know he is never going to win, Dad!
As is our wont to do, we struck up a conversation with some folks over lunch in the packedtothegills tasting room to see why they were there on the day after Christmas when they could have been so many other places with family and friends. 
We came to buy a case of Trump champagne to celebrate his re-election in November 2020! 
Are you sure of that?
Absolutely. I am a veteran working at the Pentagon and every active military and retired veteran know is going to vote for him. He has been great for us across-the-board.” 
There are 1.3 million active service personnel and 18.2 million veterans. Close to 80% of all active military and veterans are registered to vote. If 75of them vote, and 75% go for Trump, that is close to 9 million of the roughly 65 million votes he would need to win the popular vote in November. 
I am a Latina from Nicaragua who has seen how dangerous and awful socialism really is,” said the wife of the Pentagon employee. These young people in America who are falling in love with socialism have never lived under such an awful government. I am glad I got out. Plus, we are Catholic and the Democrats wanting to kill babies after they are born alive is just plain wrong.”  
How can you be so sure that President Trump is going to win reelection? I asked in all honesty. 
The economy is great. The stock market is up 50% since Trump was elected. My IRA and 401(k) accounts are at a level we can retire securely. We are not at war or going into countries for regime-change like we did so stupidly under Bush 43. What is not to like about what is going on in America today? 
Yeah,” said his brother who owned a plumbing concern in Arizona. My business has never been better. We might retire to Mexico, but you know what? They will never let us become citizens so we can vote there one day. They make it impossible to immigrate to Mexico, but they want the U.S. to take every illegal immigrant they send us? That aint right.” 
Thats right,” echoed his Nicaraguan wifeNo one who immigrated legally to the U.S. wants anyone to come here illegally. They cut too many corners. We played by the rules; paid thousands of dollars to gain citizenship, and now the Democrats want to give illegal immigrants free education and free health care while they undercut our wages at our jobs? That just aint right! 
What do you think of the Democratic candidates for president? 
You mean the socialist candidates for president like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren? None of them are talking about anything that anyone we know in Arizona is buying! And Joe Biden has been sucked in by the leftists in his party. How a 77-yearold white guy who has been in Washington for 50 years and never solved anything is going to get nominated by the modern democratic socialist party is beyond me. It aint gonna happen.” 
Well, it sounds like you certainly have made up your minds! I said as we were leaving. 
Youre darn right we have! And so have all these other 80 people in this room who are buying Trump champagne to celebrate in November! 

(first published in North State Journal 1/15/20)

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Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Frank Howard — Founding Father of Clemson Football and the ACC

Former Clemson Coach
and AD Frank Howard
Clemson playin their fourth out of the last five college football championship games Monday night. It is worth remembering the man who put the Tigers on the map and helped start the ACC in 1953. 

It was not Dabo Swinney, although he certainly will be enshrined as Clemsons greatest coach not too far in the future. It was not Danny Ford who won Clemsons first national title in 1981, although he was a great coach as well. 

It was legendary head football coach and athletic director Frank Howard. Howard was known as the Little Giant othe Alabama Crimson TideHerd of Red Elephants on the 1931 Rose Bowl team coached by Wallace Wade that trampled Washington State 24-0 before Wade left for Duke. 

Upon graduation, Howard went to Clemson as their line coach before being named head coach in 1940 where he served until he retired in 1971 with a record of 165-118-12. 
He was also quite the character. They sure dont make them like Frank Howard anymore. 

In 1963, for the 25th reunion of the 1938 Duke Rose Bowl team, the Iron Duke alumni players were escorted out of the tunnel to the field in front of the Duke and Clemson teams. I was a 7-year-old kid amongst these gigantic football players holding on to my dads big paw for dear life when the sun was suddenly eclipsed by a gargantuan bald man who looked down at me and said: So is this the son you named after me, Dan? Har-har-har! 

He sounded like he was from the Hall of the Mountain Kings. I burst into tears I was so terrified. 

Frank Howard Hill. Thats right, I was partly named for Coach Howard of Clemson and partly for a cousin of my dad who was a butcher in Asheville. When asked why Dad named me partially for Coach Howard, he would laugh and say: Well, maybe Frank (meaning Coach Howard) will leave my son some money since I doubt Uncle Frank will have any! 

I never did get a check from the Howard estate. 

Coach Frank Howard was a close friend of my dad because both were linemen for Coach Wade, Howard at Alabama and Dad at Duke. Both were bald; both were huge in stature and personality, and both were storytellers who could entertain listeners way into the night over whiskey and other libations. 

Coach Howard was well-known for his uproarious quotes. When asked about the experience of many returning lettermen he had coming back from a 1-9 team the previous year, he said: Yup. And it is all bad. 

When asked about sportsmanship and fair play in football, he said: I dont want the best team to win. I want my team to win! 

Later, as athletic director, a group of students asked him for money to make crew a varsity sport. Coach Howard, who weighed close to 300 pounds later in life, much like my father, leaned back in his chair and let these words slide slowly out of his mouth: Klemptzin…will never sponsa  a sport  where men sit on their fannies  and go backwards! 

When the Southern Conference banned football teams from participating in postseason bowls in 1951, ostensibly for academic reasonsClemson and Maryland defied the ban and played in bowl games, thus earning suspensions for the 1952 season. ADs from seven Southern Conference schools — Clemson, Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, NC State, South Carolina and Wake Forest — met in Greensboro in 1953 to form the new Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), which allowed postseason bowl participation. 

Frank Howard and the other ADs certainly wanted to maintain a high academic standard for member schools. But they also wanted to make sure they could go to a bowl game in warm weather to party around New Years Day after a great season.  

You can thank Clemsons Frank Howard for that as well as Clemson football. And for all the Jefferson Sail With the Pilot/ESPN games you have enjoyed ever since. 

(first published in North State Journal 1/8/20)

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