Sunday, October 30, 2011

Boots on the Ground--Precinct Committeepeople Needed in Illinois

As Palin supporters move forward following the Governor's decision not to seek the presidency at this time, there is still a lot to be done on the local, state, and federal level. Governor Palin knows more than many the importance of getting involved on the local level, as she herself spent 10 years in local government. In addition to being aware and informed on a national and state level,we have opportunity to get involved locally. The smallest unit of elective politics is the precinct. Precincts are drawn up geographically and generally constitute  neighborhoods and small areas.  Each precinct has a GOP and Democratic committeeperson. These individuals have the responsibility and opportunity to help get out the vote on election day and help people in their neighborhoods become informed about all ballot issues from local referenda to presidential candidates. Republican News Watch has more information about what precinct committeemen and women do:
A Republican Precinct Committeeman represents the GOP voters of his or her precinct at the County Republican Party level. 
But most importantly, a Republican Precinct Committeeman is the face of the GOP within the precinct. In many cases, a Republican Precinct Committeeman might be the only party official a voter ever meets in person. 
This volunteer position is really what one makes of it. Some do more than others. But the Republican Precinct Committeeman’s job is in essence all about helping to grow the GOP and working to deliver the maximum number of Republican votes from his or her precinct on Election Day. Precinct Committeemen comprise the core of any grassroots effort and no political campaign can be successful without these front line GOP ambassadors. 
The principle means of doing the job is just an extension of what most people already do – talking to the neighbors. 
By becoming a Republican Precinct Committeeman you can take a leadership role in advancing the Republican Platform principles of lower taxes, smaller government, fiscal responsibility, individual freedom, strong national defense, and traditional family values. 
Many people begin their political involvement by becoming a Precinct Committeeman. It’s the perfect place to get started for anyone interested in building a better Republican Party and advancing our GOP’s values. And many Republicans have remained Precinct Committeemen even years later after being elected to higher public office. For example, it’s not uncommon to find U.S. Congressmen who are also Precinct Committeemen. They maybe more than anyone appreciate the Precinct Committeeman’s role.
Unfortunately, here in Illinois, only 49% of our precincts have GOP committeemen and women. Many conservatives in America and especially in Illinois are frustrated and disappointed with a Republican party that has too often has gotten away from the planks of the Republican party platform, and too frequently, the Democrats beat the Republicans on the ground game. This is a unique opportunity to get involved in locally and have a positive impact on the  GOP. Change and reform often occurs from the bottom up.

 Running for GOP precinct committeeman requires that you be at least 18 years old, a registered voter, and live in the precinct you're running in. You also need to collect at least 10 signatures on your petition from voters in your precinct by December 5th. For more information, please see here. If you live in Cook county, the process and structure are different. Cook county does not have precinct committeemen; they have Ward committeemen. They have the same requirements, but you need a different amount of signatures. You are required to collect signatures from at least 5 % of the GOP electors in your ward, but from no more than 8% of the electors. These are required by December 5th as well. Please see here for more information on the process in Cook county.

 A few of our fellow Illinois Organize4Palin volunteers are precinct committeemen. If you would like to connect with them with questions, please let me know (, and we'll put you in contact. Let's steam ahead.

  Real hope comes from realizing how much God has blessed our exceptional nation, and then doing something about it. Governor Palin Crossposted from Illinois4Palin.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ronald Reagan on Occupy Wall Street

Forty-seven years ago today, Ronald Reagan delivered his famous, timeless " A Time for Choosing" speech in support of Barry Goldwater's 1964 presidential campaign (H/T Gary). I listened to the speech again today, and its words were just a relevant today as they were then:

There may not be a Cold War threat that we are facing, but the burgeoning influence of socialism is still present. Liberal policies have lead to excess spending, increases in government programs, and shrinking freedom. Liberal politicians and liberal Americans in general have chosen class warfare as their modus operandi. The president who was touted as a supposed uniter is really a divider--dividing between red and blue states, dividing between conservatives and liberals, and dividing between the wealthy and the rest of America. The Occupy Wall Street crowd has declared class warfare between what they claim as a nebulous 99% against the richest 1%. What about the 53% who pay taxes compared to the 47% who do not? How is fairness defined? Is it based up merit and diligence, or is it "from each according to his ability to each according to his need"?

There were a few excerpts from Reagan's speech that are particularly applicable to this Occupy Wall Street crowd. Reagan spoke of a conversation with a Cuban refugee who had escaped to American from the chains of Communism:
Not too long ago, two friends of mine were talking to a Cuban refugee, a businessman who had escaped from Castro, and in the midst of his story one of my friends turned to the other and said, "We don't know how lucky we are." And the Cuban stopped and said, "How lucky you are? I had someplace to escape to." And in that sentence he told us the entire story. If we lose freedom here, there's no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth.
I'm reminded of a clip from a discussion between a man who once lived under the tyranny of the Soviet Union and a few of the Occupy Wall Street protesters (language warning):

The man also discusses the horrible conditions of Communist North Korea, which the Occupiers seem completely unaware of. In fact, conditions in North Korea have gotten so bad, mothers have resorted to eating their children.

Reagan went on to so say in his speech:
And this idea that government is beholden to the people, that it has no other source of power except the sovereign people, is still the newest and the most unique idea in all the long history of man's relation to man. This is the issue of this election: whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.
The phrase, "power to the people" was first used in the protest of the 1960s, which many on the Left feel is echoed by this Occupy movement. What do conservatives think? It is as simple as a change in preposition--power from the people. Government cannot given power to the people, but it does wrongly take it away.Whether it's encroaching on personal liberties, instituting burdensome regulations or taxes, or even one branch of government unconstitutionally taking power away from another branch of government.  Reagan echoed the sentiments of the Founders--the power is derived from "We the People". The Constitution was written from the perspective of "We the Nation" or "We the States". It was written from the perspective of we the individual people. Government can only exist at the consent of the governed, yet government has taken the power from the people. People like the Occupiers want, in fact they demand, the government to plan their lives for them from $20/hour minimum wage and guaranteed jobs to  student loan forgiveness. Where is the American rugged individualism?  Where is the self-sufficiency? Where is the pride in one's work or the power and opportunity to make their own decisions. Heck, President Obama has already promised to help with student loans to the tune of a whopping $8 per month in loan reductions. What will that buy? Two extra coffees a month? A fourth of a t-shirt on clearance at Anthropologie?

Reagan also spoke of the class warfare mentality and rhetoric that existed nearly fifty years ago and is pervasive as ever today:
We have so many people who can't see a fat man standing beside a thin one without coming to the conclusion the fat man got that way by taking advantage of the thin one. So they're going to solve all the problems of human misery through government and government planning.
The proverbial fat man is the "1 %" to the Occupiers. Do people become wealthy because they took advantage of the poor man? Did the late Steve Jobs, whose iphones are a favorite of the tweeting, occupying Hipsters and who didn't even complete college, become wealthy because he exploited someone with less money? No. He did so because of ingenuity and hard work. Did "musician" Kanye West, who visited the protest in support of it, become a successful, wealthy artist do so by exploiting those with less money? No. He did so because producers saw his talent and people bought his music. The same is true for the very bankers and businesses they are protesting. The Occupiers buy Apple and other electronics products form companies traded on the very Wall Street they are protesting. The CEOs and shareholders of these products are benefiting because of the Occupiers, but not at the expense of them. The Occupiers can tweet, capture video and pictures, and making phone calls using these products. It's a win-win. The 99% and the 1% both benefit. Ronald Reagan knew of poverty himself. He grew up in the "99%". He was talented, hard working, and optimistic. He didn't allow himself to be a victim of his circumstances. He took advantage of his opportunities. He didn't cry outrage over student loans; he worked his way through Eureka College in part by lifeguarding nearby. He realized American exceptionalism in his own life. He saw that America was the world's best hope because of that exceptionalism and because of the free market principles of the Founders. He didn't feel that, in order to progress, that American needed to regress to socialistic policies that were failing the countries of the USSR and Cuba during his administration. As Reagan said in his speech, we have the "right to make our own decisions and determine our on destiny". We are not victims of a 1%. We are part of the 100% who are blessed enough to live in a country where we have a choice.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Why Politics Need to Be Looked at Vertically not Horizontally

American politics, and politics throughout the world for that matter, tend to be viewed horizontally--the GOP "right" versus the Democratic "left".  The powers that be like this, as it prevents everyday Americans from viewing politics as they really should be viewed-- vertically-- as a struggle between the political elite and the people. This vertical view of politics isn't a call for class warfare between the wealthy and the middle and lower classes. It's a call to look at who controls politics and what drives policy. It's a matter of money. It's not the capitalism of the "right" versus the socialism of the "left". It's about the reciprocal relationship amongst those in political, financial, and business power. It has becomes about bipartisan power and influence affecting policy decisions, not about politicians representing their constituents.

A wonderful article published in the American Spectator earlier this week discusses this relationship (emphasis added):
The real problem here is that all of Clark Clifford's friends across the decades have so rooted Big Government in the psychology of Washington that "Republican Elites" have elected to accept the whole premise -- and for reasons having to do with self-preservation simply cannot bring themselves to get seriously Reaganesque or Coolidge-like because to do so gnaws at their own economic vitals and capacity for influence. Both now hopelessly entangled with the concrete boxes of bureaucracy that literally litter the Washington landscape.
The article then goes on to describe a bipartisan lobbying firm of Clark and Weinstock:
Well, C&W has a "bipartisan team." And this "bipartisan team" (translation, ex-GOP and Democrat House or Senate staffers) has "experience and knowledge." But to what purpose? The proverbial Man from Mars is surely reading this and saying, "what the hell do these people do?"
The influence of lobbyists and the pervasive crony capitalism and corporatism of both parties prove that viewing the political system horizontally (right vs. left) is wrong.  Republican elites and insiders only exist to perpetuate their own political existence, under the party platform that, ironically, if truly implemented would nullify their very existence. Washington insiders and the well connected are obsolete when the influence of Washington DC on the rest of the country shrinks. However, in both parties, it's all about sustaining one's power and influence and trading favors. President Obama's crony socialism with Solyndra ranged from essentially paying back campaign funding with "green energy" funds to special IRS tax breaks. Rick Perry has crony capitalistic relationships with Merck when it comes to his own personal campaign funding, RGA funding, and a desired mandate with the drug company's vaccine, Gardasil and with numerous tech companies to whom he gave grant funding  following massive campaign donations. Mitt Romney has a history of receiving campaign funds from entities that he once did business with and also had a history of engaging in and supporting corporatism through various government subsidies. These are just a few of numerous examples. Politicians reward their donors through favorable legislation and/or taxpayer funding. Those at the top of the political food chain have a symbiotic relationship--feeding each other with food stolen from the foundation of the political food chain--the American people.

We are wrong if we continue to look at politics as a battle between the left and the right. When politicians on both sides of the aisle solely reward their cronies, our political system becomes a corporatistic oligarchy, not the republic the Founders established by the consent of "we the people". The socialism of Democratic politicians steals from the foundation of our country--the 53% who pay taxes to fund crony socialism and the social engineering of their own pet projects , but the supposedly "pro-business" (not pro market) of Republican politicians tend to reward their cronies in the name of spurring business growth. Pro market solutions don't discriminate between political donors and  non-political donors. Businesses are neither too influential to fail nor too small to succeed when pro market solutions are implemented. This means no bailouts, no corporate welfare, and no subsidies or tax breaks to the friends of politicians. It means that the GE, whose CEO sits as the head of President Obama's jobs council, doesn't actually pocket money from the federal government due to tax credits, subsidies and the like. The foundation of American society is "we the people", whom the political elite and well connected look down upon as the funders of their failures and their government subsidized psuedo-successes. When we begin to look at the political system vertically, not horizontally, we begin to see that this is not about political party, it's about political payback. We would do well to recognize this distinction and elect people who want to replace the corporatistic oligarchy with politicians who are beholden only to their constituents.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Illinois: A Case Study for Why We Shouldn't Put All Our Political Eggs in the Federal Basket

I watched the GOP presidential debate tonight for the second time following Governor Palin's announcement not to run for the presidency. Since my preferred choice for president is not in the race, I now have several months to figure out how I'm going to plug my nose with both hands and still vote once I get into the booth during the primaries. I suppose a positive byproduct of Governor Palin's decision for me personally is that I've now realized that there needs to be more than just a focus on the presidential race. Congressional and Senatorial races need to be a focus as do races at every level of government including more locally. There is need for conservative ideals to be put into place very locally. This is often missed. However, as Governor Palin often says, "local governments are most responsive".

Here in Springfield, there was a referendum on our ballot in 2010 to create an efficient panel made up of Springfield residents to recommend ways to make government more efficient to the city council. This passed and has since been implemented. Is efficiency a noble goal? Yes. Is creating an additional quasi-bureaucracy? Yes. This is why it is important to have solid conservatives at a city level. Efficiency commissions, aside from being oxy moronic, are unnecessary if government does its job.  Two years ago, a Lincoln era home was to be moved to after a medical clinic purchased some land for their parking lot. The city did not have the proper funding in place to move the house anywhere, so it sat in the middle of the street for nearly a month before it was moved to its new location. Historic preservation at a local level is up to the discretion of  the council, but the foresight to fund the foundation for the new location was lacking. It turned out to be a embarrassing visual for the ineptness of politicians. When we voted in a new mayor that year, the man who won ended trading political positions for endorsements. Cronyism is pervasive at every level of government, which is why it needs to be fought at every level.

 On a state level, even a mediocre Republican candidate, Bill Brady, for governor in 2010 came within a few thousand votes of winning in Illinois. What would this have done? For starters, a gerrymandered plan proposed by the Democratic legislature to re-district Congressional districts after the census would have been vetoed. This is merely political though. On an issue of policy, it likely would have meant there would be a governor more seriously address spending. During the lame duck session, the Democratic legislature and the governor passed a 67% state income tax increase and a 40% + state corporate tax increase. Given this, a GOP governor likely would have still decreased spending to help address the massive deficit facing the state. Instead, the Democratic  governor, Pat Quinn increased the budget while falsely claiming cuts to the budget. We currently have in office an attorney general, Lisa Madigan, who has picked her pet issues to defend. She constantly fights against a 16 year old law on parental notification for a teen abortion while at the same time advocating for all Illinois gun owners' names to be listed publicly. These are just a few of the numerous issues where having strong conservatives in office is imperative.

Getting true conservatives in office in a state like Illinois is a tall order. There are big political machines on both sides of the aisle that need to be defeated, but it can be done. It has been done. Take a look at the political career of the likes of a Sarah Palin. To be sure, having a solid president in office and a competent Congress are important both for the sake of the image portrayed to the world and more importantly because of their approach to handling spending, entitlements, energy, jobs etc. As far as we're concerned, however, the effects of government reach far beyond that in our personal lives. I for one don't appreciate the additional chunk of change taken out of my paycheck due to the tax increase passed by an inept state government. This is why the federal basket should not be our only activist basket. Whether it's the school board, city council, state representative or even as a precinct committeeperson (51% of Illinois precincts don't have GOP committeepeople) or even issue advocacy, local involvement is important.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Happy Birthday to an Iron Lady!

Today marks Margaret Thatcher's 86th birthday. During her time in office--from parliament to Leader of the Opposition to Prime Minister--she emphasized individual liberty, union reform, national sovereignty and strong national security. Her relationship with Ronald Reagan was one of true kinship of ideas and a love for freedom. There are few others who tried to instill that in their own governments while also exporting that love of freedom into the USSR ( as a note, I highly recommend the John O'Sullivan book, The President, the Pope, and the Prime Minister). As the first female prime minister of England, serving as a role model to the likes of Sarah Palin and many female leaders throughout the world. Her book, The Path to Power, outlines her life up until she was elected  prime minister. She was an admirer of C.S. Lewis and Winston Churchill. Plus, she was a science nerd, working as a chemist before getting a law degree and entering politics. She was probably one of the best people around at thinking on one's feet. In honor of the Iron Lady's birthday, here she is at her best:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Why Governor Palin Was Right on "Arab Spring"

In February, Governor Palin was on Hannity to discuss the role of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt’s new government following the ousting of President Mubarak. Governor Palin warned of the threats to human rights, women’s rights, freedom of religion, and to Israel if the Muslim Brotherhood were to get involved in the new government. She also sharply criticized any hint of President Obama encouraging the Muslim Brotherhood to have a seat at the table in negotiations to be part of the new government.

Fast forward to today, what many liberals and neoconservatives like Bill Kristol praised as an “Arab Spring” has really resulted in a fall of Egyptian freedom for Coptic Christians and for Egypt’s neighbor and our ally, Israel . The Obama administration approved of the potential of Muslim Brotherhood involvement in the Egyptian government since the nascence of the uprising. Earlier this month, US officials met with members of the Muslim Brotherhood, which were meetings that had been planned since June. Reuters quotes a US diplomat on the discussion:
"From our perspective it is important to be in touch with all of the emerging political forces here in Egypt, across the board, that are peaceful and committed to non-violence," he said.

"It helps to understand Egypt and the way the political system is developing, and it helps us to deliver our message and get them to understand where we are coming from," he added.

What has occurred as Egypt approaches its upcoming elections has not been "peaceful and committed to non-violence", as the US diplomat has asserted. In fact, Governor Palin’s warnings of what might happen if the Muslim Brotherhood were to seek greater involvement in Egypt’s new government have proven to be correct.Since the ousting of Mubarak, the military controlled government and an increasing probability of the Muslim Brotherhood's involvement in the new government has caused even more chaos and violence both to Israel and to Egyptian Christians. In September, militants attacked Egypt’s gasline to Israel for the sixth time since Mubarak’s ousting. Last month, after half a dozen Egyptian soldiers were mistakenly killed by Israeli soldiers in response to a Palestinian attack, Egyptians activists called for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador and attacked the Israeli embassy in Cairo, injuring more than 1,000 and killing 3. Over this past weekend, twenty-six Coptic Christians were killed and nearly 500 wounded when they were simply attempting to engage in peaceful protest after church construction had been attacked by Islamists. The Christians feel the military leadership has been too lenient to the Islamists. As Governor Palin noted in February on Hannity, the Obama administration makes it a point not to use the phrase “Islamic extremists”. The word “extremists” may be left to the perception of individuals, but the Obama administration’s statement following these attacks failed to mention the role of Islamists at all in the lead up to these protests, calling instead for “restraint on all sides”.

Governor Palin’s statements last winter have proven her prescience on supposed “freedom” movements in the Egypt. Elected officials and current candidates would do well to pay attention, and political pundits, like Bill Kristol, who call Governor Palin's foreign policy views "Obama lite" when he himself supported the same "Arab Spring" as President Obama, should take a look in the mirror.

Crossposted here and here.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Winston Churchill, Sarah Palin, and Ms. Potato Head 2012!

There is a quote that is sometimes misattributed to Winston Churchill: "If you're not a liberal when you're 25,you have no heart. If you're not a conservative by the time you're 35, you have no brain". As it turned out for me, when I was 25, my heart told me that I needed to start thinking. I grew up in a conservative Republican household. When I asked my parents what the movie the Wizard of Oz was about, my dad said it was about how government couldn't and shouldn't give you what you already have or can gain for yourselves. When I was 5, my parents had me call into a TV station's kid election to vote for George HW Bush. Later, college hit, as did the US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. My 20th century American history professor spent 10-15 minutes each class railing against these wars, and when we finally got to studying President Reagan, he called Reagan the worst President in American history. Being naive, I partially bought into these views. I didn't pay attention too closely to politics, but I did vote. In 2004 as a college senior, I cast votes for both President Bush and Senator Obama. As a community health graduate student, my professors touted universal health care while bashing free market ideas like health savings accounts. This influenced me too, and I ended up voting for the Green Party gubernatorial candidate in 2006 because he supported Universal Health Care.

Fast forward two years to 2008, when I was 25. With Illinois' open primary system, I vacillated between voting in the Democratic or Republican primary before deciding to vote in the Republican primary--not for any particular reason. I looked at the candidates' websites the night before the election, then went in the next morning and voted for Senator McCain. This was February of 2008. I didn't pay attention again until August 29, 2008 when Senator McCain announced Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. I had no idea there was a Republican woman prominent enough to be picked to be a VP nominee. I have to admit, during the campaign, I was probably more of a Palin fan than a Palin supporter. She was a runner, former high school point guard, and flutist--just like I was. Plus, I was fascinated by her ability to wear high heels all the time and still smile as much as she did. However, I did substantively appreciate that she took on corruption,understood energy independence, and was strongly pro-life. It wasn't until the McCain-Palin ticket lost that I truly became a student of her record and a strong supporter. The more I learned about her record, the more I realized she was the opposite of every politician I'd seen growing up in Illinois. She was a fiscal conservative and a corruption fighter. She couldn't be bought. In fact, she didn't allow lobbyists in her office. She focused on openness and transparency. Above all else, she had something I'd never seen in a politician--character. She turned me into a full fledged conservative.

When she resigned from the governorship, I took me time to wrap my brain and my heart around it. After she released her now famous "death panel" Facebook post though, it all made sense. Following that time, she was the leading voice against the Obama agenda--from healthcare to spending to Israel to energy independence. She was our Continental Army Commandress in Chief a la George Washington. She wasn't ruling over us, nor was she passively supporting our efforts. She was actively fighting with us. To me, this is why she should have been president. When the War of Independence was fought and won, it was George Washington, who fought with the people, who was selected to be president. It wasn't the James Madisons, Thomas Jeffersons, or Patrick Henrys who did great things in their own rights, but they weren't fighters. Governor Palin was and is a fighter. Not only that, she had the record of reform and the courage and willingness to take on the tough issues. When she said she believed in fundamental restoration of America, I believed her, and I trusted she would usher in restoration if she was elected.

When she announced yesterday that she wasn't going to run for office, I was stunned and horribly disappointed for our country. While I may not fully understand her decision, I do respect it. I know she made it prayerfully and considered her faith and family foremost. I would have expected nothing less. She would have made a great candidate and an even better President. No one would have been more willing to hold her opponents accountable to their record in debates while keeping the focus on President Obama. No one would have been able to speak against crony capitalism and for reform with a record to back it up like she would have. No one would have been able to instill a sense of optimism and American exceptionalism in the American people like she would have. No one would have had the political courage to slash spending, address entitlement reform, and transform Washington like she would have.

Since she's not running, I've decided to vote for Ms. Potato Head in the 2012 GOP primary. I'll take the best from some of the candidates and create my own. I'll take Ron Paul's embrace of personal liberty, Rick Santorum's pro-life stance and support for Israel, Gary Johnson's budget cutting, Herman Cain's charisma and optimism, Newt Gingrich's ideas, and Michele Bachmann's femininity and create my own Ms. Potato Head candidate. Even with the best of these candidates, they don't equal 1% of the candidate and president that Governor Palin would have been. No one has her record. No one has her consistent stance on the issues. No one has her character. It's a shame. In all honesty, I'll likely plug my nose and vote for someone in the primary and the general elections, but I won't work my butt off to get someone elected like I would have for Governor Palin. I'm not resigned to disappointment or bitterness. Bitterness is swallowing poison and expecting someone else to feel the effects. The greatness of America has always laid in the "We the People". No political leader, elected or not, changes that.

There's still a bit of an open wound though, but time heals all wounds. On August 28, 2008, I barely cared about politics or the trajectory of the country, now these are among my greatest passions. Even though it doesn't seem I'll have the opportunity to vote for a "President Palin", I have Governor Palin to thank for helping me discover a passion for America. I'll be forever grateful for that.

Crossposted here and here.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Shining Sunlight on the Crony Capitalism of President Obama and Solar Energy Companies

On a recent appearance on Judge Napolitano’s show , Governor Palin stated that the failed solar panel company, Solyndra, was just the beginning of what she calls “crony capitalism on steroids”. She noted:
We’re going to see much revelation of other companies too that are receiving our tax dollars that we don’t have, that we’re borrowing from China and we’re printing out of thin air in order to fund some of these entities that have friends in the White House and on Wall Street. And we’re the ones in the end, the middle class, who are made to suffer. People are going to understand more and more the dangers of crony capitalism, and that is why so many of us are saying, “whatever it takes to retire this permanent political class that has embraced it. We’re going to do to it!”
As usual, Governor Palin was correct in predicting pervasive crony capitalism in Washington DC. On Friday, the Obama administration doled out $5 billion more dollars in energy loan guarantees. One of those loans went to the company, Exelon (emphasis added):
The deals announced Friday include a $1.5 billion loan guarantee to Florida-based NextEra Energy and other investors that bought a planned 550-megawatt solar farm on federal land in Southern California from First Solar, as well as $646 million to Illinois-based Exelon Corp. for a 230-megawatt solar plant near Los Angeles. Next Era Energy Resources and GE Energy Financial Services bought the Desert Sunlight project from First Solar, while Exelon bought the Antelope Valley project. First Solar will continue to build and operate both projects.
Interesting to note is that Exelon was President Obama’s fourth largest donor in 2008, and this was not the only time he was involved in crony capitalism tainted political maneuvers with this company. He did so while he was in the Senate as well:
The New York Times reported earlier this year that Obama accepted more than$225,000 in contributions from Exelon executives while watering down an antinuclear bill he had introduced in the Senate. Exelon is the nation's largest provider of nuclear power.
Next Era Energy, who partnered with GE, received $1.5 billion dollars in loan guarantees, but that’s not the only time Next Era Energy and GE have teamed up. President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness is headed by GE CEO, Jeff Imelt, while Next Era CEO, Lew Hay III, also served on this council. This becomes crony capitalism defined, as President Obama stated when he established this council, “[i]t's critical for us to have input from folks who are actually hiring, putting people to work, making payroll, making the products and services that make our economy so powerful”. Isn’t it funny that these companies’ input potentially played a role in steering loan guarantees to their companies? Governor Palin has recently highlighted the crony capitalism of GE, including the loans (emphasis mine):
This icon of American industry is a company full of good employees who make some good products (and is the parent company of a huge media outlet), but GE is also a large American corporation that pays virtually no corporate income taxes despite earning worldwide profits of $14.2 billion last year, $5.1 billion of it in the United States. In fact, they claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion, meaning they received more of our hard earned tax dollars than they contributed. How is that possible? It’s because not only do they shelter their money from taxes, but they also get many tax credits, loans, government grants, and other benefits from the federal government that our smaller businesses couldn’t even imagine being able to profit from.
It should also be noted that GE-affiliated donors were among his larger contributors in 2008 to the tune of more than half a million dollars. It's amazing what you can discover when you shine a little sunlight on solar energy companies!

Governor Palin’s career has been marked by fighting cronyism and corruption. As a member of the city council, she called out a fellow councilmember for trying to modify Wasilla’s garbage regulations in order to steer business to his garbage collection company. She blew the whistle on the head of the Alaska GOP, Randy Ruedrich, who was working with her as a commissioner with the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, when he was doing party business on state time. This resulted in the largest ethics fine in state history. As Governor, she continued this consistent fight against crony capitalism and corruption. Her three major legislative victories focused on this fight. She signed into all major ethics reform that disallowed trading votes for campaign funds. Her major energy reforms were passed in a transparent manner that did not allow oil companies to write the legislation to disproportionately benefit them. This includes restructuring Alaska’s oil tax system after the previous administration had developed a plan that was good for Governor Murkowski’s cronies, but not for the people of Alaska. Her natural gas pipeline project allowed companies to submit proposals for public consumption before state government officials made decisions, preventing backroom dealing. In her interview with Judge Napolitano, she noted that Americans want to do “whatever it takes to retire the permanent political class that has embraced [crony capitalism]”. An easy way to do this is to elect the woman who already done this every step of the way.

Crossposted here and here.