RANCHO SANTA FE, Ca., March 8, 2012 – We all survived the reality TV and Leap Year event otherwise known as Super Tuesday. This time, it was influenced by the presence of a new phenomenon: Super PACs. Yet, the most prominent role remained that of the Parties’ supercilious candidates.
The four Super PACs that support the GOP candidates spent nearly $12 million on their Super Tuesday initiatives, including (according to estimates by opensecrets.org) nearly $6 million over the last five days of the campaign.
Restore Our Future (in support of Mitt Romney) and Winning the Future (in support of Newt Gingrich) led the way with White & Blue Fund (in support of Rick Santorum) and Endorse Liberty (in support of Ron Paul) finishing a distant third and fourth, respectively.
Now, ask yourself the question: “What was accomplished?”
At the end of the day, Super Tuesday was anything but “super” because very little changed. There were no major shifts in momentum; Mitt Romney continued to lead the Republican candidates in a “yawn-inspiring” rather than “awe-inspiring” way; Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Rep. Ron Paul gained a share of delegates and the literary license to claim “victory” as they each chose to define it; and President Obama remained the Democrats’ de facto candidate.
Each of the GOP candidates chanted the mantra: “I’m the only one who can defeat Obama.” Each argued that he was the “true conservative.” However, none of them offered anything in the way of new, relevant, and specific solutions to our Nation’s problems.
Of course, the President didn’t offer anything in the way of new, relevant, and specific solutions to our Nation’s problems either. In fairness, he was busy calling his first press conference of the year on Super Tuesday during which he addressed the Rush Limbaugh/Sandra Fluke controversy as follows:
“And the reason I called Ms. Fluke is because I thought about Malia and Sasha, and one of the things I want them to do as they get older is to engage in issues they care about, even ones I may not agree with them on. I want them to be able to speak their mind in a civil and thoughtful way. And I don’t want them attacked or called horrible names because they’re being good citizens. And I wanted Sandra to know that I thought her parents should be proud of her, and that we want to send a message to all our young people that being part of a democracy involves argument and disagreements and debate, and we want you to be engaged, and there’s a way to do it that doesn’t involve you being demeaned and insulted, particularly when you’re a private citizen.”
This statement came about 10 days after Priorities USA Action (the Super PAC that supports the President) accepted a $1 million pledge from Bill Maher, whose past comments about Sarah Palin went well beyond the inappropriate language of Mr. Limbaugh. Perhaps that’s why the President’s speech writers included the “private citizen” exception. Personally, I do not think that private citizens who choose to run for public office should be treated with any less respect than those who do not.
Interestingly enough, Priorities USA Action felt the need to spend $77 thousand dollars in Ohio to run anti-Romney ads. This may have been to garner support for Rick Santorum to extend the contested Primary campaign and force the GOP candidates to continue to draw down their financial reserves, or it may have just been for practice.
In truth, Priorities USA Action doesn’t need to spend any money to secure the President’s Party nomination. He is effectively running unopposed. His only real opposition is his record.
Yet, the President did recently pass a few milestones. He attended his 100th campaign fund-raiser only 332 days after formally announcing his candidacy. He also headlined his 191st fund-raiser since taking office, thus blowing past the record of 173 formerly held by President George W. Bush (over his entire term).
Luckily, the citizens of the United States get reimbursed the cost of first-class airfare whenever the President flies around the country to attend one of these fund-raisers. Of course, since the operating cost of Air Force One is approximately $181 thousand an hour, the reimbursement of a first-class ticket doesn’t exactly make the taxpayer whole.
To be sure, this is exactly what every prior Party President has done.
How refreshing would it be to be served by a President who has pledged never to waste a minute of time or a penny of taxpayer money on political fund-raising?
Think about that: a full-time President who wouldn’t take advantage of the taxpayers even though the “system” would otherwise permit it. That will never happen with a Party candidate. The Parties won’t allow it. That is one of the reasons I am running.
You deserve better.
You deserve a leader who would rather see $12 million dollars spent on the sick or the poor than on political ads.
You deserve a leader who believes you have the right to hear his thought process rather than just the carefully crafted campaign promises of some Party strategists.
You deserve a leader who believes you have the right to hear his depth of knowledge rather than the sound bites of his Party’s professional writers.
You deserve a leader who will create an environment that fosters civil discussion and the formation of substantive solutions rather than destructive polarization of Party politics.
You deserve a leader who believes that the Office of President of the United States is a full-time job on behalf of the People rather than a vehicle to enhance the political power of a particular Party.
While the Primary process continues, it’s time for me to get to work. I will share my leadership philosophy and a process I have created for fostering civil political discussions that result in substantive solutions (The FREEDOM Process™). I will also offer to facilitate a Solution Summit for my fellow Presidential candidates with the goal of reaching an agreement on solutions that can be implemented immediately rather than waiting until Inauguration Day to take action. Then, I will address whatever issues you would like me to discuss. Together, we will make progress … because you deserve better.
T.J. O’Hara is an internationally recognized author, speaker, and strategic consultant in the private and public sectors. In 2012, he emerged as the leading independent candidate for the Office of President of the United States and the first nominee of the Whig Party in over 150 years.
This article first appeared in T.J. O’Hara’s recurring column, A President for the People, in the Communities section of The Washington Times.