Category Archives: Bob Asher

GOP Committeeman to “petition the government for a redress of greivances.”

When calling up delegation candidates in Pennsylvania I was surprised how many did not reject the notion of a protest vote out of hand.  Many well known delegate candidates, including Fred Anton, David Dumayer, and Vito Canuso, were at least willing to entertain a protest abstention.  For those outside of PA, they are, respectively: A leading GOP activist and fundraiser, a township supervisor, and the chairman of the Philadelphia GOP.

Some well known folks who are not running to be members of the delegation, like representative Curt Schroeder, also happen to consider such a course of action within the pale, so to speak.

I was advised to put off acquiring and publishing information about those running to be delegates from Pennsylvania to the GOP National Convention until I could assist, instead, in the organized process run by the state GOP.  Turns out nobody knows of such an effort.

Therefore it seems to me I have no choice but to start freelancing again.  I will, of course, check with my local party leaders first.  But every voter with whom I’ve spoken thinks reform is necessary.  The system as currently crafted demands that voters know how delegation candidates plan to dispose themselves at the convention, and nobody seems to care all that much about providing voters this information.  Many delegation candidates I’ve contacted agree reform is necessary, and would consider a protest abstention.

I am left to conclude, then, this project is necessary.  Necessary to make this asinine system work as designed, necessary to promote reform, and necessary because nobody else cares to do it.  Furthermore, there is nothing divisive about it.  Any protest that results will be against our ridiculous primary system, not the presumptive GOP nominee for president.


IA Results: They’re Just More Important Than Me

Well, the good voters of IA have caucused, and have selected a moderate evangelical democrat from Hope Arkansas, and an even further left wing cipher.

Now, I generally like organic tradition, a la Russell Kirk.  I also generally like heterogeneity and quirkiness.  It is somewhat refreshing that rural Iowans and grumpy Granite Staters have such a large say in our electoral system, especially since so much of what goes on in this country seems predetermined in some well-funded conference room full of people mildly afraid and hugely disdainful of average Americans.

So from that perspective it is gratifying to find those candidates most obviously designed in those conference rooms– Romney and Clinton– dealt a demoralizing defeat by just those Americans over Swedish meatballs and warm cider in a hundred high school gyms and living rooms in the IA caucuses last night


Why, exactly, should the votes of a few hundred Iowans matter so much to the future of our country?  One is reminded of the famous speech in the movie Bull Durham, which I’ve mentioned here before in a different context, about the difference in baseball between a career minor leaguer and hall of famer being one hit a week.  Should the course of our country be based on such obviously fickle vicissitudes?  A couple family crises and a broken-down bus on the way to a caucus site could have made all the difference last night for any number of candidates.  Now we’re stuck with the withdrawal of Chris Dodd and Joe Biden!

It is well established on this site that I think it is an absurdity verging on a representative miscarriage that the people of Pennsylvania– and many other states– have little say in the presidential primary process.  That miscarriage seems all the more obvious when the two winners out of IA are so similar, and so similarly wrong.

In purely parochial concerns, one of my commenters recently suggested GOP bigwig Bob Asher has been recently spotted genuflecting in Mitt Romney’s direction.  Wouldn’t it be funny if such a consummate insider had to find a way to explain that away because his new favorite candidate never got a chance to even run in PA?

Finally, we should note in this space that last night’s result was pretty much ideal for Giuliani, given the fact that Team Rudy chose to skip IA altogether.  Romney is dealt a huge defeat, and Thompson and McCain do OK, thereby keeping the field wide open.  McCain appears poised to win NH.  SC will be a scramble.  Then FL comes around, where Rudy still polls on top.

It’s white knuckle time over at Team Rudy.  Their “national strategy” is about to be tested.  They’ve been quiet, letting the other candidates spend time, money, and moral capital over two early states with not many delegates at stake.  They plan to plant their flag in FL, then roll up delegates in NJ, NY, CA, and IL on Tsunami Tuesday.

So they have to win FL.  Then on Super Duper Tuesday, if they win MO, they will be in the cat bird seat.  If the Feb. 5 results are more mixed, maybe we will get to cast a vote that matters here in PA.  If Rudy can’t win FL, though, it’s looking like McCain or Huck.  Who knows, though?

More Asher and Rudy Talk

While I was off at a professional conference I missed this ABC story— brought to my attention by Josh at The Morning Call– suggesting that Team Giuliani is trying to square a tricky circle with Bob Asher.

Some people– ahem– suggested months ago that aligning with Asher may be politically necessary, but perhaps less than ideal.  For those who’s memories need refreshing, Asher did time in the big house for his participation in the corruption scandal that make public suicide an attractive option to Bud Dwyer.

Since then, Asher has somewhat rehabilitated his image.  He is still a major PA rainmaker, participating intimately in the Kean, Ridge, Specter, and Bush II organizations.  For a time, it appeared he would have some sort of official role with the Giuliani campaign as well.

Well, it appears the campaign is trying to place some distance between Hizzoner and Asher, which is probably wise, even though it was probably wise for him to solicit Asher’s help in the first place.  One wonders, though.  Giuliani’s popularity has always been high in the Keystone State.  Given this, perhaps Asher’s help could have been less vigorously sought.

Of course, there always something to be said from addition by subtraction.  At least Asher wasn’t out raising money for someone elsewhile he was arranging fundraising events in the Philadelphia suburbs for Giuliani.

Squaring the PA GOP Circle

Take a look at this piece if you have a moment.  It reports on events in Bucks County, where a GOP Township Supervisor sent an e-mail to PA Reps urging them to lean on “courthouse employees and consultants” for help in registering new GOP voters.It went on to point out “Many people owe their jobs to GOP leadership…Professionals, consultants, contractors, and loyal GOP supporters have benefited handsomely.”

This seems to me entirely typical of the behaviour of PA’s GOP leadership.  This is exactly the sort of thing that motivates so many in the GOP grassroots to dislike their own party’s alleged leaders.  In what definition of conservatism does it make sense to view government as a gravy train for “professionals, consultants, and contractors”?

Even if it sadly represents political reality, to what levels of corruption has this guy sunk that it seems normal to explicitly point it out in a freaking e-mail?  I am not saying it was merely impolitic, I am suggesting that this level of logrolling is so endemic that Supervisor Vincent Deon must have found it unremarkable.

Oddly, though, the GOP leadership is still, in fact, the GOP leadership.  So campaigns like Giuliani’s must out of political necessity make allies of these corrupt cronies.  At the same time, though, presidential campaigns must realize the most motivated GOP voters are NOT allies of this cabal.

How does a campaign square this circle in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania?  It seems the Giuliani campaign enjoys a natural affinity with the grassroots, so they have spent a fair amount of time cultivating the established leadership.  In this Commonwealth, at least, they would do well to slowly put the breaks on the latter before it alienates the former.

Citizen Mike, Me, and 289

Spoke to Sen. Mike Folmer late yesterday.  I was swapping e-mails with one of his staff members about the bill to move forward our primary until that staff member appeared to tire of me, saying the Senator would give me a call.  I assumed that was a brush-off, and told her I would follow back up next week if I didn’t hear anything.

I’ll be darned, though, if he didn’t give me a call at the end of the day.

We discussed at some length bill 289.  He was pretty passionate about thinking it was a bad idea, mostly because he feared it would, for one election cycle at least, make the primary process easier for incumbents.  He also was reflexively reluctant to support something that Bob Asher supported.

[Did you hear that, Team Rudy?  I’m just asking you to be sensitive to all sides of GOP politics in PA, and wonder if y’all underestimate the animosity the real voters feel for their self-appointed leaders in the GOP.]

At the conclusion of our conversation, though, he did allow that I had brought up some points he would need to consider further, admitting I may have moved him on the matter.  Which, by the way, is all I ever could have hoped for.  We will meet again soon, before the Senate reconvenes.

I am a little guilty I did not reveal myself as an advocate for Mayor Giuliani.  Sen. Folmer is not particularly enthused by any of the major GOP presidential candidates.  I kept mum on my allegiances as I felt my feelings on 289 would carry more weight in a politically neutral context.  When I sit down with the man, though, I will have to come clean.

PA GOP Straw Poll: Big Rudy Win

This is a crushing defeat for Romney and McCain.

One of the reasons the PA GOP wants to keep our presidential primary a quaint political relic is because much of the party leadership, and the remnants of Ridge’s claque, support McCain or Romney.  Given this, they wanted to keep the presidential primary out of the hands of the voters and in the hands of the insiders.

The state committee had a straw poll this weekend, though, and the results indicate exactly how little power and influence the leaders of the state party apparatus have.  (Link at Pennsyltucky Politics via Josh Drobnyk at the Morning Call.)

Here’s the numbers:

Giuliani — 87 votes
Fred Thompson — 40
Mitt Romney — 12
New Gingrich — 10
John McCain — 7
Sam Brownback — 4

Shockingly, some expressed disappointment that none of the candidate showed up.  Well, pinheads, stop obstructing the electoral process so some of the candidate may care!  Then they’ll show up.

Team Rudy has spent some time attempting to cultivate relationships with the PA GOP leadership, potentially alienating some of the conservative grassroots.  Well, the bill to move up our primary is on life support, and those same leaders can’t do much to sway their own committeemen.  I suppose its possible some of their new friends like Bob Asher convinced their colleagues it was OK to vote for Giuliani.  If so, great.  I think it’s more likely, though, these committeemen are simply listening to actual voters as opposed to the guys that run the party.

BTW, who did the PA GOP select as a major speaker for their event this weekend?  Karl Rove.  Now, I don’t have anything bad to say about Rove.  But I can tell you that he and his boss are freaking radioactive right now.  That, my friends, shows you how disconnected the PA GOP can be from politics on the ground.

PA House Needs to Think Harder About Democracy

Sorry for the delay on results on HB 289’s performance last week.  Turns out the State Government Committee did not get to it promptly, and when they did they declined to forward it to the General Assembly, although they did not vote against it.

It seems delay will be the technique used by political insiders to prevent Pennsylvania’s voters from having a say in who becomes the next president of the United States.  I am still trying to get more specifics on which committee members were the major roadblocks, but the general narrative seems to be it was held up by the GOP.

Thank God GOP insiders Bob Asher and Bob Gleason are sort of in Giuliani’s corner.  Or maybe not.  Who can tell?  I do know two of the key opposition groups to moving our primary forward and thus letting Pennsylvanians actually participate in democratic politics were the organizations representing county commissioners and the elections apparatus.  One would have thought Giuliani’s new allies in the PA GOP leadership would have had some sway with those groups.

Keeping with the animal metaphors, though, it appears having the support of PA GOP insiders like Asher and Gleason is sort of like have the support of a bad tempered pit bull.  They’re your buddies so long as you keep them fed.  Don’t feed the gluttons enough, though, and at worst they’ll turn on you to show you who’s boss.  At best they’ll do nothing because they simply don’t care about anyone else.  After all, they love to feast on the weakened carcass of former friends.  It’s possible those insiders did everything they could to move this process forward and just failed.  You could fill multiple Wikipedia entries on what I don’t know about back room Pennsylvania political manuverings.  But I doubt it.

Believe me, I know it is important to cultivate allies throughout the big tent of conservative politics if you’re running for the GOP presidential nomination.  I also know, though, Giuliani highly values loyalty.  It’s not too late for them to be figuring out who can and cannot be trusted, but it will be too late soon.  At least now Team Giuliani knows from whom they can cultivate loyalty– the PA conservative grassroots– and from whom loyalty will be more difficult to inculcate– the PA GOP establishment.

Ultimately this may work in Hizzoner’s favor in the general election should he be fortunate enough to secure the nomination without Pennsylvania’s help.  Sure, he’ll get our delegates.  But long after the nomination is decided.  Now, though, Team Giuliani will perhaps be less likely to secure allies within the ossified GOP power structure loathed by the activists, and friendlier with the anti-establishmentarians.  This coupled with his moderately conservative stance on the issues could make him unbeatable in a PA general election.