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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Amazing Herman Cain Money Machine

I’ve been raising funds for candidates, causes and institutions for more than 40 years.  I had the privilege of being Ronald Reagan’s fund raiser when he first ran for President in 1976.  I’ve raised money for half a dozen presidential campaigns, but my experience with the Herman Cain campaign, although it was cut short, was the most interesting and amazing program I have even participated in. 
Richard Norman worked for me for a number of years, doing a great job, first as a copywriter and account executive and later as Vice President of our creative team.  He is a smart and talented leader and when the folks at the Herman Cain campaign picked Richard to be their Finance Director, they made a very smart move.
I had talked with Herman Cain at CPAC in early February of 2011.  I told him that there were lots of candidates running, but he was the only one I wanted to raise money for.  He must have believed me because we signed a test mailing agreement with his campaign and on March 1.  Initially things moved fast.  I wrote a fund raising letter within a couple of weeks and submitted it to the campaign before the end of March.  After some delays, it went into the mail on June 6 and when the money began to pour in I knew that Herman Cain was a serious candidate indeed.  The final numbers were very similar to the results that we generated from our first mailing on behalf of Ronald Reagan.  To put it quite simply, the net revenue from just 50,000 prospects was more than $2.50 per name mailed!  It was a very exciting start to the fund raising program.
Unfortunately however, for various and sundry reasons, with the exception of some house appeals (with similarly phenomenal results) the fund raising effort moved forward very slowly.  In fact, I was about to throw in the towel until I received a call from Richard Norman in late October.  Richard, Mark Block (Cain’s campaign manager) and the candidate were about to land in Las Vegas for a Presidential Debate.  It was then that Richard informed me that he was now on the Cain campaign team as its Finance Director.  Being the gentleman that he always is, he invited me to participate in a meeting at a hotel in DC the following Friday (November 4) with the other members of the fund raising organization he was putting together.  What Richard accomplished in just one week was incredible.
Tammy Cali, President of Campaign Funding Direct, Bill Griffiths, CFO of the Eberle Communications Group, Mike Hiban, President of Omega List Company, and I planned to attend.  Unfortunately, Tammy became ill and was unable to participate.  The team that Richard assembled in such a short time was amazing for both its breadth fund raising mediums and its depth of experience.  In seven short days Richard had brought on board three telemarketing firms, one major gift organization, an expert on radio advertising, and a seasoned professional at raising funds via TV infomercials. In addition, of course, Eberle Associates as well as the Richard Norman Companyand ActiveEngagement a company run by his son, J.D. Norman, were represented.  Richard had put together a comprehensive team of fund raising professionals who were ready and willing to get up and running fast.  In fact, with marching orders from Richard, they did just that.  A short appearance at the meeting by Herman Cain simply increased the enthusiasm and determination of the entire fund raising aparatus.
Shortly thereafter serious money began rolling in to the campaign.  Rebecca Hagelin(Rebecca Hagelin Communications and Marketing) began running fund raising appeals on the Rush Limbaugh show, the Sean Hannity show, the Mark Levin Show and the Glenn Beck show that generated literally tens of thousands of donors to the Cain campaign overnight.  The live operator telemarketing efforts produced by Paul Wilson (Strategic Fundraising), and the artificial intelligence calls created by Gabe Joseph(ccAdvertising) provided similarly astounding results.  Stephen Clouse (Stephen Clouse and Associates), a pioneer in video based efforts targeting major donors was preparing a campaign and the DRTV (Direct Response TV) spots being created by Ron Guberman (Media Reactions) were in the production stage.  In one extended weekend the online effort produced by JD Norman brought in more than $1.2 million dollars.  And, as you might expect, the major donor results soared as did the direct mail efforts of the Richard Norman Company and of Eberle Associates.  By the first of December, in spite of unrelenting attacks and efforts to sidetrack the Cain Campaign, more than $13 million had been raised and the campaign was on track to bring in more than $30 million by the end of the year!
Unless something unexpected happened, Friends of Herman Cain was going to be in a position to match the other candidates dollar for dollar in spending on advertising, polling, getting people to caucuses, travel, etc.  And, contrary to the news media reports, the ground game in Iowa was better than the Romney campaign and the Perry campaign combined.  At that point, Newt had virtually nothing on the ground.  Cain was also moving up in New Hampshire and was 30 points ahead of Romney in South Carolina.
The fact is the Cain train was picking up steam and rolling down the tracks toward victory in Iowa, South Carolina and Florida.  The nomination was seemingly within Herman Cain’s grasp.  But I don’t have to tell you what happened.  You already know.
My stomach still churns when I think of the opportunity lost by Herman Cain and all his loyal supporters.  But the past is past.  Even though the Herman Cain fund raising effort was aborted before it could reach its zenith, it was an effort I’ll always remember.  My hat’s off to Richard Norman and the entire team he assembled.  My respect for Herman Cain is undiminished.  He treated his team and his vendors with respect and treated them honorably.  Commitments were met and bills were paid.  It is a good reflection on him as a man of great personal character and integrity.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

“Unto Us a Child is Born…”

Are you ready for Christmas?  That’s a question you and I hear a lot this time of the year.  “I guess I’m ready” is my usual answer.  I know December 25th will soon be here.  We also hear the question asked, “What’s the real meaning of Christmas?”  The simple answer is that Christmas is about Jesus and God’s plan of salvation.  Just what is that plan?

After the fall of man, God immediately instituted his plan of salvation.  Throughout the Old Testament he reminded his followers of the coming of the Messiah.  So strong was the confidence of Adam and Eve that when she gave birth to their first son she said jubilantly, “I have gotten the man that the Lord promised” referring to the promise of the Messiah to come.  Of course, the Messiah had not yet come, but it was the promise of the Messiah that the people of the Old Testament believed in for their salvation.
Repeatedly throughout the Old Testament the prophets reminded the people of the coming of the Savior—the path that God chose for sinful, imperfect people like you and me to reach heaven.  

More than 500 years before the birth of Jesus the prophet Isaiah wrote, 

        “A child will be born to us.  A son will be given to us.  The
         government will rest on his shoulders.  He will be named: 
         Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince
         of Peace.” (9:6-7)

And then in fulfillment of that prophecy, as told in familiar Christmas story of Luke, 

        “At that time the Emperor Augustus ordered a census of the
        Roman Empire.  This was the first census taken while Quirinius
        was governor of Syria.  All the people went to register in the
        cities where their ancestors had lived.  

        So Joseph went from Nazareth, a city in Galilee, to a Judean city
        called Bethlehem.  Joseph, a descendent of King David, went to
        Bethlehem because David had been born there.  Joseph went there
        to register with Mary.  She had been promised to him in marriage
        and was pregnant.

        While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have her
        child.  She gave birth to her firstborn son.  She wrapped him in strips
        of cloth and laid him in a manger because there wasn’t any room
        for them in the inn.

        Shepherds were in the fields near Bethlehem.  They were taking
        turns watching their flock during the night.  An angel from the
        Lord suddenly appeared to them.  The glory of the Lord filled the
        area with light, and they were terrified.  The angel said to them,
        ‘Don’t be afraid! I have good news for you, a message that will fill
         everyone with joy.  Today your Savior, Christ the Lord was born
        in David’s city.  This is how you will recognize him:  You will
        find an infant wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.’

        Suddenly, a large army of angels appeared with the angel.  They
        were praising God by saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven,
        and on earth peace to those who have his good will.’”

God sent his son for you and me so that we might have a path to heaven.  That was and is the depth of his love.  But Jesus’ role in our salvation wasn’t complete just because he was born in Bethlehem.

No, Jesus went on to live the perfect, sinless life that you and I are incapable of and then gave his life up on the cross for our sins.  And finally, the most important part, Jesus rose triumphant from the grave on Easter morning guaranteeing that you and I will rise again too if we only put our confidence and trust in Jesus.

It was and is God’s plan.  That’s what you and I celebrate at Christmas, the beginning of the fulfillment of God’s plan to take us to be with him in a perfect place where there is no anger, no hurt relationships, and no sorrow.  It’s a wonderful plan and the most amazing thing of all is that it is free, absolutely free.  All we have to do is to believe in Jesus.  Nothing else is needed.

My wife, Kathi, and I and our entire family wish you a truly joyous Christmas celebration and many, many blessings in the New Year.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Gingrich vs. Obama Early Thoughts

Guest Blog By: Mike Hiban

It’s never a given that presidential elections will be determined over policy questions.  The 20% undecided voting block that the candidates fight over can swing depending on how voters personally feel about the men that are running.  Three qualities that could be important in 2012 are personal life, intelligence and patriotism.   

The Democrats can’t believe their luck that they are getting to run against Gingrich.  “He would be the best thing to happen to the Democrats since Goldwater,” said Barney Frank in a parting shot on his way to retirement.  Remember that comment.  It’s going to become famous if Gingrich wins in a landslide.

Clearly the Democrats are looking forward to the contrast between Obama’s and Gingrich’s personal lives.  Barack Obama is a reliable family man in the Ward Cleaver/Cliff Huxtable mold. His credentials as a loyal husband and father can’t be challenged.  As a Dad he is a legend.  Despite being the most powerful man in the world, he’s dedicated enough to pitch in as assistant coach for Sasha’s basketball team.  Are you kidding me?  Never again will an American parent have an excuse for not pouring time into their children.  If Obama can do it, so can you.  Congrats, Barack, you put us all to shame.

The president needs to have his likeness chiseled on the Mount Rushmore of presidential family men.  Abraham Lincoln, Jimmy Carter (lusting in one’s heart is no disqualification), John Tyler (15 kids), and Barack Obama.  

Gingrich’s failings as a husband are legendary.  While there are discrepancies concerning how his first divorce transpired and who initiated the process,it’s safe to say that Newt’s probably a very difficult man to be married to, and not the type of guy that you’d ever want your daughter to fall for.  Advice to the Gingrich campaign:  don’t let your candidate go on the Dr. Phil show.  It won’t be pretty.  

So Obama wins if the election is about personal life.  But what about intelligence?

Gingrich might just be the most intelligent presidential candidate we’ve ever had.  Not just in an egghead kind of way like Adlai Stevenson.   But also in a street smart way like Andrew Jackson and Theodore Roosevelt.  Newt has a master’s degree, a PHD from Tulane in European History and has written 24 books on a variety of topics including religion, history and energy policy.  Obama’s written two books on the same topic:  himself.  

Joe Biden got in trouble for claiming Obama was clean,articulate and intelligent.  He might be clean and he reads a mean teleprompter, but upon further review, he may not be so smart.  He won’t release his grades from college or a copy of his college thesis so it’s hard to tell.  But, think about it for a minute.  If your teenager refuses repeatedly to show you his report card, what kind of grades do you think he’s getting?

Obama did graduate Harvard Law so he’s no dummy.  But he’s probably not too much smarter than George W. Bush who graduated from Harvard’s legendary Business School.  Wouldn’t it be fun to sit the two of them down for an IQ test and see who gets a better score?  I’m betting on Barack, but by no more than 2-3 points.

If intellect is a factor in 2012, the White House has to be sweating out the battle between the geography professor and the young President who thinks we have 57 states.

What about patriotism? Shouldn’t it be a given that a president loves his country?  

Gingrich recently wrote a book called “A Nation like No Other: Newt Gingrich’s Manifesto of American Exceptionalism.”   Obama, on the other hand, when asked if he believed in American Exceptionalism said “I believe in American Exceptionalism just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British Exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek Exceptionalism.”    

Wow!  Let’s imagine somebody asking Obama if he loved Michelle.  “Sure, she’s a decent person.  But I’m sure Joe Biden and Bill Clinton have good things to say about their brides as well.”  When somebody is in love it’s obvious, and Obama clearly doesn’t love America.  

At this point you may be asking if I’m questioning Obama’s patriotism.  Yes I am!  Webster defines a patriot as, “a person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors.”  Obama has had chances since he took office to “vigorously defend” his country against “detractors”, how has he done?

When former Communist dictator Daniel Ortega slammed America for sixty minutes over the Bay of Pigs invasion, Obama’s response was “I’m grateful President Ortega did not blame me for things that happened when I was three months old.”  While certainly the Bay of Pigs was not our finest hour as a nation, if Barack truly loved America he would have fought back a little harder.  How about putting the invasion in historical context by slamming Castro or the Soviet Union?  Or he could have taken on Ortega for the atrocities the Nicaraguan committed while in power.  Instead, all he could do was make it about Obama.  Let’s say your father has a drinking problem and somebody walks up to you and calls him a worthless alcoholic.  Are you going to respond by saying, “you are correct, sir, but I myself don’t drink.”  Love sometimes means defending the object of your affection even when they fall short.  Obama needs to learn to show a little love to the country that elected him. 

So in one corner we have Newt Gingrich:  the brilliant Jingoist with a history of philandering.  In the other corner we have Barack Obama:  the semi-intelligent family man who hates his country and loves himself.  Who will win?

Monday, December 12, 2011

America’s Luddite President

Over the past few weeks President Obama has, among other things, bemoaned the fact that we no longer have telephone operators, that we have ATM machines, and that the Internet was invented (Al Gore beware!).  Certainly this must qualify the President for the Luddite Award of the Year.  As you may recall, the Luddites were a 19th Century English political movement that turned violent and destroyed machines because they believed that they were destroying their jobs.  The Luddites were against progress of any sort and apparently Barack Obama is fully on board.

One can only hope that this is crass political rhetoric, because if the President does indeed believe that technical advancement kills jobs it is not only an embarrassment, but economic ignorance on a colossal scale.  In fact, it is hard to find a word to describe such an excursion from reality. 

On the basis of the President’s reasoning we should have scuttled the first wheel because it put the folks who built skids out of work.  We should have outlawed the first automobile because it put the buggy manufacturers out of work.  We should have grounded the first airplane because it made train travel obsolete.  In fact, trains should have been derailed because they ended jobs of moving freight by oxen and people by stagecoach.  Tractors should have been scrapped because they put donkeys and oxen out of work.

All of this is so silly.  The President should be embarrassed.  Does anyone really believe such nonsense?  Is this a measure of the low regard that the President and his advisors have of the American people?  Do they really think the American people are that stupid?  Or are they truly that ignorant?

All you have to do is to look around you to see that technical advances create jobs and make all of our lives better.  When government stifles technological advances it reduces the standard of living of all Americans.  Contrary to the ignorance of the Luddites, the industrial revolution raised the standard of living of the entire world.  Food production became abundant and diets became more healthful.  Luxuries became within the reach of average citizens.  Travel became faster, more comfortable and less expensive.  

It was, of course, of the miracle of the free market that made the industrial revolution possible.  It spread wealth among the people farther and wider than ever before.  The free market made it possible to rise from the most meager circumstances to become successful beyond your wildest dreams.  Prior to the free market, widespread food shortages were common, diseases killed tens of millions, and poverty gripped hundreds of millions around the globe.  Yes, the poor and impoverished are still with us because dictatorship still reigns around the globe, especially in the Third World.  Dictatorships and all centralized governments can only regulate misery.  They are the sole source of poverty and shortages in the world.

The idea that a few “enlightened” bureaucrats or politicians or a benevolent dictator can allocate goods and services better than the free market is a dangerous myth.  Centralized governments of all kinds can only ration goods and services.  When you kill off the miracle of the free market and the distribution of goods and services is driven by a few autocrats instead of by you and me, only misery ensues.  Obamacare is a good example of such silliness.  Socialized medicine brings to an end all efforts to develop new drugs or new techniques.  It is based on the false assumption that a powerful few can better distribute limited medical services than can the free market.  

When the Nazis (members of the National Socialist Party) took over in Germany all innovation in the private sector came to a screeching halt.  Nothing changed when the Soviet Socialists replaced the German socialists.  After Ronald Reagan brought about the collapse of the Soviet Union and Germany was reunited West Germans were given the opportunity to purchase manufacturing plants and facilities in the East.  Of course, those in West Germany were recipients of William Röpke’s “German Economic Miracle” (re-institution of a free economic market). When a neighbor of a friend of mine who lives in Germany visited a plant he was considering buying in East Germany he was shocked.  Nothing had changed since the Nazi’s took over in the 1930s.  The roads were awful, the telephone system antiquated, the sewage system inadequate, the water supply system out of date, the electrical systems dangerous—nothing had improved.  Everything was in total, absolute disrepair and East Germany was the “showcase” of the Soviet Union of Socialist Republics!  The situation in East Germany is indeed a showcase for socialist schemes like Obamacare.  In fact, the socialized medicine provided in East Germany was also of a 1930s variety.

Don’t folks who believe in this nonsense get away from their Marxist theories to study history?  Where has centralized government ever worked?  And please don’t tell me that this time it will be different.  No, before we ever listen to such silliness again you must provide empirical evidence of socialism/Marxism/ Fascism working just once in past history.  

Our president is clearly uninformed about simple economics—reality, not theory.  Nor does he apparently have any knowledge of human nature.  If he really believes that the advent of the internet, automated telephone switching, and ATMs destroy jobs he is an economic ignoramus.  But should I really be surprised?

I have observed over the years that liberals and fascists and Marxists have two common failings.  First, they have no confidence in the power of freedom for the average citizen.  They feel that if left to his or her own devices that the average person will make a mess of things.  Second, they work backwards.  They don’t start with facts and empirical evidence, but rather start with the answer they want and then try to make the facts fit their cockamamie solution.  It’s no wonder that they come up with such inanities as progress puts people out of work.  Instead of having an open mind to explore all the possibilities, including expanding individual human freedom as a means to address a problem, they are wedded to the idea that only a few elite can and should solve everyone else’s problems.  Liberals-Progressives-Luddites (is there a difference?) are the most closed minded, anti-intellectual movement to ever establish a foothold on American soil.  They deal in fantasy and ignore the truth of reality.  There is nothing intellectual about an ideology that always has the same solution to every problem—less freedom and more government control.

President Obama seems to be a nice family man.  He is youthful, handsome and stays in good shape physically.  He also is apparently clueless when it comes to understanding human nature or to understanding the marketplace.  He is a poster child for American liberalism.  In all of American history there never has been a more unqualified man to sit in the Oval office.  He has no real world experience.  He has never held a job that produced anything.  He has no understanding of economics.  He sees America through a distorted prism.
I believe it was Edmund Burke, the great English statesman who said, “People get the kind of government they deserve.”  If Americans really believe such nonsense as that ATM machines, automated telephone call switches, and the internet destroy jobs then they deserve Barack Obama.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Are You Threatened by Exxon?

Are You Threatened by Exxon?

Are you threatened by IBM?  Are you threatened by Apple?  Are you threatened by Coca Cola?  Are you threatened by Microsoft?  Are you threatened by any large or small corporation?  Do you fear them?  Are you afraid they will take away your freedom, or enslave you?  Of course not!

Big companies, medium sized companies, and small companies are operating in a free marketplace to the extent that government allows them to do so.  If you don’t like one company, you can use another that provides similar services or products.  If you don’t like Microsoft products, you can use Apple.  If you don’t like Coke, you can drink Pepsi.  If you don’t like Ford, you can drive a Toyota or a dozen other cars or trucks.  If you don’t like Exxon you can buy your gas somewhere else.

Companies must persuade individuals to buy or use their products.  There is no force involved.  If you don’t like one doctor, you can choose another.  If you don’t like one lawyer, you can hire another.  If you don’t like one barber, you can choose another.  It’s all part of the legacy freedom that you and I inherited from those who came before us.  No one gets up in the morning in fear that some company will limit their freedom.  No one wastes hours worrying about being enslaved by a company.  

No, in reality there are only two things to fear in life, government and God.  This thought is not original with me.  In fact, in a recent conversation with a good friend he recounted this observation from his father, “No one fears a business, but everyone should fear government.”

No business has ever enslaved someone, but government has done it repeatedly.  In fact, throughout human history government has enslaved men, women and children over and over again.  It is the natural tendency of government.  In the 18th century, the King of England encouraged the enslavement of African Americans because it made him personally wealthy.  Repeatedly early Americans—George Washington, Patrick Henry, et al sought to outlaw the importation of slaves, but every time it was vetoed by the King because it would have reduced his personal wealth.

Creation of the US Constitution involved a “compromise” on the issue of slavery.  Some have referred to it as the fatal flaw of the Constitution.  And indeed it was.  Less than one hundred years after ratification of the Constitution a bitter and bloody civil war was fought over the issue of slavery.  It was government and only government that made slavery possible.

In the 20th century slavery was widespread.  The greatest mass murderer of all time, Chairman Mao Zedong murdered more than 90 million Chinese as he enslaved an entire nation.  Flowing close behind was Russian Dictator Joseph Stalin who murdered more than 20 million.  And, of course, another all-powerful government maniac, Adolph Hitler and his National Socialist Party (NAZI) systematically killed upwards of 10 million.
Government is to be feared.  Government is always a threat to individual freedom.  Or as Thomas Jefferson put it, “When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.”

This was the understanding of the founders of our nation.  From the very beginning of time until today the concentration of power into the hands of one or a very few in government is a threat to your freedom and indeed, to your life.  There is no difference between the would-be rulers of today and Mao, Stalin and Hitler, except opportunity.
Where did the founders understanding this truism come from?  They comprehended the very real threat of big, centralized government because they were students of history.  They knew that human nature never changes.  They knew that man always tends toward self-aggrandizement, toward control over the lives of others because they were also students of the Bible.  In fact, as previously noted, it was the original sin—to become like God.  That’s what the devil promised in the Garden of Eden.  God had told Adam and Eve that they would die if they ate from “…the tree of the knowledge of good and evil…” (Genesis 2:16).  But the devil said, “You certainly won’t die.  You’ll be like God…” (Genesis 3:4).

The founders knew what Isaiah meant when he said “Every word that passes through my lips is sinful (Isaiah 6:5).  They knew what the apostle Paul meant when he said, “Because all people have sinned, they have fallen short of God’s glory.” (Romans 3:23).  They also knew that God is a just God, therefore violation of his will, sin, was something to be feared.  While government is something that can enslave you, rejection of God can mean permanent separation from God and his love.  And of course, it was his love and mercy, as foretold in Isaiah that the founders also trusted in, “The people who walk in darkness will see a bright light.  The light will shine on those who live in the land of death’s shadow.” (Isaiah 9:2).  And that light, of course, was Jesus, the promised Messiah.  

This was the orientation and the perspective of those who signed the Declaration of Independence and of those who crafted the United States Constitution.  When men and women quit fearing God nothing restrains them from their most base instincts.  A reduction in individual restraint erodes freedom and inevitably leads to larger and more powerful government that limits personal freedom.  When free men and women fear the wrath of God for disobeying his will and they simultaneously show their love to Him because he sent a Savior, freedom thrives.  When trust in God declines and trust in ever bigger government grows, the end result is always human slavery.

You and I have nothing to fear from Exxon or Microsoft or Coca Cola, but we do have something to fear from large, all-powerful government.  That is what the 2012 election is all about.  Shall we continue to be led down the road to bigger government and less freedom by President Barack Obama and company, or shall we return to the vision of our founders?  That’s the real choice of 2012, perhaps an irreversible one.