Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Two quick thoughts about Herman Cain

1. I really, really hope Herman Cain doesn't drop out this week. Regardless of the truth of any of these accusations, if he gives up this quickly, it will send a signal to the Left and the media that burying someone with allegations of sexual impropriety is a successful way to drive a conservative candidate from the race.

Media misses the obvious in Pakistan story

In case you missed it over the weekend, there was an incident in Pakistan that is causing us some serious foreign policy headaches. There's some conflicting reports about what happened, but basically NATO airstrikes wiped out two Pakistani military bases and killed about two dozen of their troops. Our relationship with Pakistan is apparently at the "worst" it has ever been since the war in Afghanistan began.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Peter Schorsch needs a dictionary

Bloggers are still picking dumb fights in order
to get people to come to their sites? Lame.
Yawn. I'd really thought that blogger wars were, like, sooo 2008, but apparently Peter Schorsch is determined to hang on to this trend:

The post isn't really about Cain so much as it is Schorsch's chance to attack me six ways to Sunday. He spends about two-thirds of the post blathering on about me. Seriously? What in the world did I do that was interesting enough to warrant a top headline post?

I mean, seriously? In a week in which Barney Frank announces he's not running for reelection, Herman Cain's campaign makes national news for all the wrong reasons, the euro is nearing meltdown, and redistricting squabbles are causing waves across the state, attacking another local blogger is how Schorsch wants to spend his time? Seriously?!

First of all, Schorsch committed a serious breach of ethics by disclosing several of my comments that we agreed were "off the record." We had a phone conversation a few days ago and then some back-and-forth direct messages on Twitter yesterday. I've saved the screencaps and not only did Schorsch affirm that my previous comments were off the record, those direct messages were as well. 

Questions, both silly and serious, about the Cain campaign

I'm going to start this post by saying I am highly skeptical of this latest accuser of Herman Cain, Ginger White. What I said to the Palm Beach Post earlier this month - that these accusations "don't reconcile with my conversations with [Cain] and what I know of him" - still stands.

That being said, I have a few thoughts and questions and musings, some serious, some less so...

Karen Diebel: Family > Politics

Last year, I had the privilege of working on Karen Diebel's Congressional campaign when she ran in the Republican primary for the District 24 seat. Karen's a strong social and fiscal conservative and I was thrilled to see her explore running for one of the new Congressional districts in 2012.

Karen's campaign was off to a solid start. She'd earned the endorsement of the Concerned Women for America and others who had backed her candidacy last year, and was building up a base of contributions.

The campaign was getting close to the time where it would be ready to get kicked into high gear. The Florida Legislature was working on the redistricting maps so Karen would know where her district would be, fundraising was going well, and she had launched an updated website with the latest information about the campaign.

Running for elected office is a serious commitment, and one that Karen takes seriously. I spoke with her on the phone last night, and Karen told me that when she looked at her three sons and thought about how precious this time was while they were still young (they're 15, 13, and 12), she realized that her heart just was not in running for office this year. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Does Emperor Romney Have No Clothes?

For months, we've been hearing that Mitt Romney is the "presumptive Republican nominee." He's the permanent frontrunner, the "inevitable" candidate, the polished professional running a machine-like campaign. Each stumble by any other candidate has been viewed as bequeathing benefits to Romney, further forging his armor as the almighty invincible candidate.

"But he isn't wearing anything at all!"
But is Romney really invincible? Is his selection as the Republican nominee for President really inevitable? Or does Emperor Romney have no clothes?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Birthday Adam Hasner!

Today is Florida Senate candidate Adam Hasner's 42nd birthday. Adam's wife, Jillian, sent out this message earlier this week:

This is always a very special time of year for our family.  Not only do we get to observe Thanksgiving and all the ways we've been blessed, but we also get to celebrate Adam's birthday which happens to fall on the day after Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

May your Thanksgiving be full of Sunshine

In preparation for this post, I spent some time this week looking up past Thanksgiving presidential proclamations and quotes, collected statements from some politicians (at least those who were smart enough to not ask for campaign donations in their Thanksgiving messages. You know who you are. Tsk tsk!), and some other fun stuff. Enjoy:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What were you doing in 1994?

What were you doing in 1994? If you're old enough to vote, you were alive then. I was at Edgewater High School, in the marching band and German Club. (My nerd credentials run deep). One big highlight from that year was finally convincing my parents to let me get contacts instead of glasses.

Yes, 1994 was an interesting year. Between Nancy Kerrigan getting clubbed on the leg by a figure skating rival, Kurt Cobain's suicide, and O.J. Simpson no longer being viewed as just that football player in the Naked Gun movies, it's amazing anyone managed to remember there was an election.

And regarding that 1994 election, here's what some people you may recognize were doing:

Monday, November 21, 2011

Reactions to the Super Committee Super Fail

File this under "News that Surprised Very Few People:" Turns out that Joint Deficit Reduction Committee, aka the "Super Committee," wasn't so super after all, and officially announcing today that they had failed to reach a deal.

RT @KatiePavlich: pretty sure the new word is for #fail is going to be #superMon Nov 21 12:57:47 via Twitter for iPhone

And, file this under "News that Surprised Absolutely No One:" Obama gave a prime time press conference in which he blamed the Republicans, demanded that people "pay their fair share" several times, blamed the Republicans, claimed that the failure to reach a deal jeopardized health care for the poor and medical research, blamed the Republicans, called for tax increases, blamed the Republicans, and oh, yeah, blamed the Republicans. 

Dramatic Chipmunk is shocked
that Obama blames the GOP.
Our president seems to lack the ability to give a press conference when things don't go his way without sounding like a petulant child.

I'm waiting for someone to make a mashup YouTube video with Obama press conferences and a toddler having a temper tantrum. Or maybe a remix of "Blame Canada!" from the South Park movie as "Blame Republicans!" Seriously, feel free to take these ideas, they're beyond my tech abilities, but just give me credit! (And a linkback, of course.)

Anyway, here's some reactions to the Super Committee Super Fail today from Marco Rubio, Adam Hasner, Newt Gingrich, and around the conservative blogosphere:

Follow up from Saturday's GOP debate

Ah. Finally. Someone put the entire debate on YouTube. I was having the worst time getting the original video to embed properly and it was slowing down this site's load time. The perils of amateur web design...sigh...

Anyway, read my post from yesterday, and then I really recommend that you watch the debate when you get a chance. FYI there's some introductory remarks from the debate organizers and Frank Luntz, and the actual debate starts at about the 35 minute mark:

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The GOP debate you probably didn't watch, but should have

Last night, CitizenLink, a Focus on the Family affiliate, sponsored a debate in Iowa last night between the Republican presidential candidates, focusing on social issues. But you probably didn't see it, because it was online only, in a livestream that was scheduled up against a lot of college football games. That's really a shame, because it was definitely worth watching.

(At the end of this post, I've included a link to the video of the entire debate, so you can watch it, and I strongly encourage you to do so.)

Friday, November 18, 2011

I can't stop laughing at this Ron Paul Bad Lip Reading video

The folks at have been making videos with the Republican presidential candidates' ads, replacing the original words with an  intensely funny dose of awesomesauce. Here's their latest, featuring Ron Paul:

Gotta love the fact that the video starts with "A lot of people say, I kinda wish you were less coo-coo." Heh.

This post is dedicated to all the leprechaun farmers who are gamblers and love dishwashers. 

(Just watch the video, it will make sense...well, sort of.)

Conservative Media Conference Call with Adam Hasner

Earlier this week, Florida Senate candidate Adam Hasner held a conference call for conservative bloggers and media outlets.

Adam talked at length about his conservative principles and what motivated him to run for the United States Senate, stating that "2010 was only the beginning...not enough has changed in D.C." Drawing a distinction from the rest of the field, saying that Florida "doesn't just need someone who's electable," but instead "someone who will stand firm on principle."
"It's not just about electing any Republican, but electing the right Republican." - Adam Hasner

Interview with Karen Harrington [VIDEO]

Catching up from BlogCon last week...Here's a short interview I did with Congressional candidate Karen Harrington when she stopped by our conference in Denver:

YouTube | Karen Harrington at #BlogCon11

Rubio may have solution for gridlock on jobs bills

Earlier this week, I posted an interview with Representative Sandy Adams, in which she expressed House Republicans' frustrations about how they had passed over twenty jobs bills, but the Senate had yet to approve any of them, or even allow them to be discussed.

Well, at least two Senators are willing to start the ball rolling. Florida Senator Marco Rubio, teaming up with Senator Chris Coons (D-Delaware) in a bipartisan effort, has sponsored the "American Growth, Recovery, Empowerment, and Entrepreneurship Act" - aka "The AGREE Act." 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Chris Dorworth on Ed Dean Radio

State Representative Chris Dorworth was on the Ed Dean Radio Show on Monday, to discuss Scott Maxwell's distorted stories about him (you can read my blog post about that here):

Ed Dean Radio Show | November 14, 2011

Heck yeah, I'm biased! And proud of it!

Thanks, troll! 
"You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood for something in your life." 
- Winston Churchill
The fun part about blogging is I always know when I've been effective: if some anonymous troll attacks me personally, that means I've hit home. 

So this morning, when the so-called "Florida Conservative News" website slammed me, I just had to laugh:

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sandy Adams: "We have jobs bills sitting over in the Senate" [VIDEO]

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to interview Congresswoman Sandy Adams at her office in the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, D.C.

Adams is one of only fifteen members of Congress who have yet to miss a vote this year. (See Frank Torres' blog about this accomplishment here.)

Several of those votes Adams has taken were for the more than two dozen jobs bills that the House has passed, but have yet to become law.

Why? Because the Senate Democratic Leadership refuses to even discuss them, never mind actually voting on them.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

#OccupyDenver vs. #BlogCon11: Now With Riot Police!

The Occupy Denver gang is at it again today. If you missed my post yesterday, I posted a lot of great photos, videos, and links about the defective hippies and how they wilted under our superior logic and vicious sarcasm.

I do want to take a moment and say a very loud and grateful "thank you" to the Denver Police Department, who have done an excellent job keeping us safe at our conference. Contrast that with the inexcusable inaction by the District of Columbia Police during Americans for Prosperity's Defending the Dream Summit last week - the AFP staffers called 911 several times when the Occupy DC protesters were literally trying to storm the convention center. The Denver PD have been absolutely wonderful and their presence at the hotel has been very reassuring.

Unfortunately, it seems that Occupy Denver has gone from relatively harmless silliness like electing a dog named Shelby as their leader to following the trend of Occupy DC and other Occupy groups that have turned violent.

Another poll asking the wrong question

Here we go again...every time someone does a poll on the Florida Senate race, it's followed by a flurry of overexcited articles and blog posts. Quinnipiac University published their latest poll this week, along with some breathless predictions about what the numbers mean. Crowley Political Report has some good comments here about why the Q-poll goes too far here ("Florida Republican voters can stay home next year because the nominee for U.S. Senate has already been decided, according to Quinnipiac University...").

The primary election isn't until August 2012, and the simple reality is that most people just aren't paying much attention to the Florida Senate race yet. This is reflected in the fact that "Undecided" is still winning the race (45% of Republicans, and 59% of Republican women, have not made up their mind yet).

I'm a political junkie. I live, eat, breathe politics. I love reading the latest news about the candidates, debating proposed legislation, analyzing communication strategies, and finding intriguing little details in campaign finance reports. But most people aren't like me. Even those who almost always vote in almost every election aren't really engaged in this race yet. They'll figure it out by the time next August rolls around, but until then...meh...

Friday, November 11, 2011

VIDEO: Occupy Denver Tries to Occupy #BlogCon11, Gets Smacked Down by Vicious Sarcasm

I am really starting to lose faith in the hippies of my generation. Last year, I wrote about how some "defective hippies" tried to protest a rally for now-Congressman then-candidate Dan Webster but weren't organized enough to show up on time.

Well, I'm in Denver at BlogCon and the Occupy Denver folks decided to come and protest our conference. Of course, they weren't very smart: they announced on Twitter that they were having a "surprise march" on our conference, somehow failing to understand that a room full of bloggers has access to the internet too. I'll grant them this: unlike the goons that Grayson sent after us last year, Occupy Denver didn't just show up on time, they were early.

Hey @OccupyDenver, it's not a "surprise" march if we know you're coming. #duh #blogcon11Fri Nov 11 16:38:44 via Tweet Button

Happy Veteran's Day

In honor of Veteran's Day today, I wanted to share a quick story with you from my trip to D.C. last week.

After our conference ended, we headed back to our hotel and there were a lot of people in military dress uniforms walking around. It turned out that there was a big gala honoring veterans that evening, and it was a really special group of veterans.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The silly obsessions of Scott Maxwell

Not in Dorworth's Fan Club
How can you tell if Orlando Sentinel columnist Scott Maxwell will be attacking State Representative Chris Dorworth? If it's a day ending in a "Y."

OK, it's a dumb joke, but there is some truth to it...

I don't expect journalists to be cheerleaders for elected officials. Disagree with some proposed legislation or how a government program is funded? Fire away. If a politician does something illegal or unethical, the media should call them out. But looking back over Maxwell's columns during the past two years, I can't help but wonder if there isn't something else going on.

Maxwell's bomb-throwing has been especially vitriolic recently. In a column on October 22 titled "Why won't Rep. Chris Dorworth explain $713,000 in new assets?" Maxwell rants and raves about information in Dorworth's latest financial disclosures, insinuates that Dorworth is involved in shady business dealings, and then claims that Dorworth refused to answer a list of 21 questions that Maxwell sent him. Maxwell followed up that column with a blog post two days later.

I know Dorworth from when we were both in college at the University of Florida together, and called him up to hear what he had to say about all of this. As I suspected, his side of the story is a lot different than the one Maxwell wants you to hear.

Maxwell makes two main allegations in his column: (1) that Dorworth is somehow hiding his wealth, and (2) that Dorworth won't answer Maxwell's questions. 

On the first point, Dorworth filed, on time, all of the financial disclosure forms that he is required to file. He actually disclosed more information than the law requires. Anyone who knows anything about real estate and business development knows that there is a value to information, and usually you don't want to disclose anything, for fear of helping your competitors or risking a deal. One little detail that Maxwell omits is that Dorworth was willing to provide the complete details to his business ventures, but wasn't willing to violate contracts or ruin his business deals by letting the newspaper print all the confidential details. Hmmm, that's funny, Maxwell doesn't mention that Dorworth was willing to do this in any of his articles. 

What seems to have Maxwell's panties in a bunch is that Dorworth is doing better financially than he was the year before. Surprising as this may be, Chris Dorworth didn't hatch out of an egg the year that he was elected to the legislature. Ask anyone who went to UF in the past few decades and they'll tell you that being elected Student Body President is a huge deal, but also a job that requires a lot of hard work. After he graduated from UF, Dorworth headed to Duke and earned an MBA: another accomplishment that requires a high degree of dedication and initiative. 

Is it really that shocking that someone who accomplished these things might be able to turn a profit in business once in awhile? Now, Dorworth's business certainly took a hit from the real estate downturn (and, I suspect, from the time he spent away in the Legislature), but now he's turning things around again...and...gasp! He's showing a profit! It's the end times for sure, my friends.

Seriously, what is Maxwell's problem? That Dorworth didn't curl up in a ditch and die after one unprofitable year? That he dared to get back out there, search for projects worth investing in, and do his best to make them successful? Quelle horreur!

The saga gets even wackier when you look at the timeline of events last month as a whole. Dorworth forwarded me emails and phone records that confirm this timeline:
  • October 20 – Maxwell contacts Dorworth and emails him the infamous 21 questions. Dorworth was overseas at the time and got the impression that Maxwell had already made up his mind about the issue.
  • That same day, Dorworth had a conversation with the publisher of the Orlando Sentinel, where he explained he would no longer deal with Maxwell, but would welcome the opportunity to answer any questions posed to him by other Sentinel reporters, and specifically expressed his willingness to answer the questions that Maxwell was asking.
  • October 22 - Maxwell publishes his column, accusing Dorworth of being evasive and refusing to answer his questions.
  • October 25 - Dorworth has two telephone conversations stretching almost two hours in length with Victor Schaeffer of the Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board, in which he answers in detail the vast majority of Maxwell's questions. This call resulted in a several hundred dollar phone bill for Dorworth for the international call on his cell phone.
  • October 26 – Dorworth submits MyWord column in response to Maxwell’s writings answering in detail questions about his financial disclosure. 
  • October 27 –The Sentinel responds that they will not publish Dorworth's MyWord column without significant edits to not just the length of the column, but the content as well. 
  • October 28 – A second column is re-submitted by Dorworth. Again, the Sentinel objects to the length of the column. (You try answering 21 complicated questions about your financial dealings in 400 words or less. Just saying...)
  • November 1 – Maxwell still refuses to admit that Dorworth has provided any additional information to the Sentinel, even though he wrote another blog post suggesting that Dorworth is refusing to answer questions about his financial dealings. 
  • November 1 – A third column is submitted by Dorworth. The Sentinel agrees to publish the column the next day. 
As I mentioned, the Sentinel did publish a short "My Word" column by Dorworth last week, but even that was only half the story...literally.

Once again, Dorworth asked if he could write an op-ed in response to Maxwell's accusations, and submitted a column. He was told that it exceeded the word count, and that some of his direct critiques of Maxwell would not be allowed. Dorworth revised the column and resubmitted it. It was rejected again, with the excuse that it needed to be under 400 words (never mind that the Sentinel's stated editorial policy on their website is that My Word columns are "about 450 words").

For the record, here is the full My Word column that Dorworth originally submitted:

Setting the Record Straight, Again. 
By Chris Dorworth

In just the past year, Scott Maxwell has published columns and blog posts about my mortgage, my marriage, my EPass, my cell phone usage and my Facebook account.  He ignored my work to pass landmark legislation to protect victims of sexual violence, my advocacy for a property tax constitutional amendment and some of the most aggressive pro-jobs regulatory reform in Florida’s history --- issues that matter in the lives of everyday Floridians.
I did not run for office to seek approval from the Orlando Sentinel.  I ran to represent my constituents and to advance good, conservative policy. Scrutiny is part of the job, but no one should be allowed to print lies about people they don’t like, as Mr. Maxwell has done time and again.
Mr. Maxwell’s latest distortions are based on his examination of the financial disclosure form I file each year as a state legislator.
What makes this remarkable is that it was my thorough and extraordinary disclosure that made this available to him in the first place. I went well beyond what is required by state law to disclose, in painstaking detail, how I earn a living, and the valuation of the business endeavors I am involved in. His complaints about a lack of transparency are ridiculous.
Far more troubling however is that Mr. Maxwell levels serious allegations without any facts to back them up. In Mr. Maxwell’s court, you are convicted first and asked to prove your innocence second.
The truth of the matter is that I do not now, nor have I ever, profited in the private sector because of my public service.  In fact, my overall net worth has decreased 99% since my first disclosure was filed.  How anyone could twist this into accusations that I profited from my office is bizarre.
In addition, I do not have any ownership in anything related to the Wekiva Beltway project, another baseless allegation leveled by Mr. Maxwell.  I have never used my position to unduly influence the outcome of any deal – real  estate or otherwise.  Florida law requires that I disclose where my income comes from, and who pays it, and I have done so to the fullest extent of both the letter and spirit of the law. 
My net worth is driven by two projects that I have worked on since 2009.  The increased values were a result of successfully rezoning the land for development and arrangements to sell the improved parcels.  Mr. Maxwell wonders why they were not disclosed on my 2009 form.  It’s simple, there was no new value added to the projects until the 2010 calendar year. 
Finally, Mr. Maxwell wonders in his column why I don’t reply to his questions.
It’s simple.
I consider Mr. Maxwell a gossip columnist, not a serious journalist, a point I made to his editor in explaining why I would no longer have any dealings with Mr. Maxwell. He is not bound by the same rules as legitimate journalists, who need to provide facts to back up the claims that they make.
Any legitimate review of his writings would reveal that the targets of his attacks are almost universally elected officials from the Republican Party.  Further review would show that his political views are almost always liberal to the extreme.  I’m just the latest in a long line of conservative Republicans that has become a subject of Mr. Maxwell’s obsession.
Scrutiny is part of the job for elected officials, and I believe the constituents who I serve have a right to know certain things about those of us who have been placed in a position of trust. I owe it to them to be transparent and accountable, and I will continue to be, but I won’t allow Scott Maxwell to continue to make up lies about me.
To paraphrase the late Patrick Daniel Moniyhan, Mr. Maxwell is entitled to his opinions, but he is not entitled to his own facts.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Conservative vs. Liberal Ideology on Display in DC

I visited Washington DC this week for Americans for Prosperity Foundation's Defending the American Dream Summit. This week's events were an amazing contrast in conservative versus liberal activist strategies:

Thursday, November 3, 2011

More conservative legislative endorsements for Adam Hasner

Adam Hasner announced another group of endorsements from conservative legislators today. Something I've noticed about many of Hasner's endorsements is that they have made a point to say that he is the "only candidate" in this race that they trust to hold conservative principles, often even specifically naming George LeMieux to point out that they will not support him (See endorsements from Carole Jean Jordan, Kathleen Shanahan, and Sally Bradshaw).

This most recent round of endorsements also draw a connection to Marco Rubio and how well Hasner and Rubio worked together when they were in the leadership of the Florida House, as noted by Sunshine State News' headline: "Connecting Him to Marco Rubio, Three Legislators Back Hasner in Senate Race."

Here's the press release from the campaign:

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tonight: Re-election Campaign Kickoff for Winter Park Mayor Ken Bradley

Ken Bradley has been a great mayor for Winter Park and is running for reelection. He's earned my endorsement, and you should come meet him tonight from 6:00 to 7:30 pm at Hot Olives, 601 South New York Ave., in downtown Winter Park.

As always, you can find this and lots of other great events at the "Events" tab at the top right of this website.

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