Zac Byer: Gen Y He Said — Romney for President

Read about our new feature Gen Y “He Said; She Said”

Read Jordan Stivers’ “She Said”: Obama for President

Imagine you’re signing up for college classes.  You find one that sounds too good to be true – something like “The History of Rock and Roll.”  The professor sends you the syllabus in advance, and it’s everything you wanted.  With excitement you show up on the first day of class ready to, well, rock.

The first class is great, but as the weeks go on, you’re thrown for a loop.  First, your professor ditches Elvis and the Rolling Stones for Mozart and Bach.  “It’s not my fault,” he says with his hands thrown up.  “The department made me do it!”  He continues to veer sharply away from the syllabus, requiring extra essays on top of the previously scheduled exams.  This time he announces to the whole class:  “The Dean isn’t cooperating with me!”

Finally, your professor changes the class’s meeting times only weeks before the end of the semester.  Yet again he cries innocence, e-mailing all of you with this message: “I’ve been stone-walled by the registrar’s office.  Don’t blame me.”

Would you sign up for another class with him?  If your boss gave similar excuses for unexpected changes to your contract or workplace, would you want to continue working for him?

This piece is supposed to be about why “my” generation should vote for Mitt Romney.  I could write about Romney’s simpler, smarter tax plan.  It disregards President Obama’s gimmicks like the “Buffet Rule,” and focuses on long-term solutions like a corporate tax rate that will allow American companies to compete globally and hire more workers in their twenties and thirties.

I could write about Romney’s common-sense, comprehensive debt-reduction plan.  President Obama has added $6.5 trillion to the national debt in one term.  The first forty-three presidents COMBINED accumulated $6.3 trillion.  Romney will cap spending at 20% of the GDP, reduce the Washington waste, fraud, and abuse, and consolidate federal agencies to create a more efficient and effective government.  

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Zac Byer: Gen Y He Said — Romney for President

Jordan Stivers — Gen Y She Said — Obama for President

Read about our new feature Gen Y “He Said; She Said”

The race to the White House is off to a fast start now that Mitt Romney is the presumptive Republican nominee.  As a Kentuckian who has watched too many horse races to count, I know that consistency of performance is the most important factor in determining who will be wearing the roses at the end of the race.  In the midst of an economic recovery that has no simple or easy solutions, and high stakes for the future of our Millennial Generation, we need to place our bet on President Obama to lead us through.

The result of this election will determine the direction our country will take for years to come, and as young people we will have to live with the consequences, good or bad, of the policies of the next President.  I would argue that President Obama has best represented my generation’s interests on every issue since he has been in office.  From making higher education more affordable to protecting the environment we live in, from championing reproductive freedom to shaping a responsible foreign policy, President Obama has proved that he is committed to protecting our future.

The economy is the issue that has been at the forefront of this election, as it should be.  Many of us are wondering how we are going to pay off our student loans, find a good job, buy a house, and support children. While Mitt Romney seems to think that simply being a child of privilege and making a lot of money qualifies him to be President, it is President Obama who has proven that he can turn the economy back in the right direction.  He understands that strengthening the middle class so that they can contribute to economic growth is the only way to truly rebuild an economy that was wrecked in the first place by Republican policies that favor the rich. 

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Jordan Stivers — Gen Y She Said — Obama for President

Introducing a New Feature: Gen Y “He Said, She Said”

This morning we introduce a brand new feature at The Recovering Politician: the Gen Y “He Said; She Said” debates.

“He” is Zac Byer, a longtime staff contributor at the RP, who also happened to study at the University of Pennsylvania under the tutelage of Friend of RP (also the RP’s college roommate) Ronald Granieri.  Zac is an outspoken Republican, and currently works for one of the leading minds behind GOP national strategy, Dr. Frank Luntz.

“She” is Jordan Stivers, a recent graduate of the University of Kentucky, a former volunteer for the RP, and a passionate Democrat who currently serves on the communications committee of the newly formed Young Democrats of America Faith and Values Initiative.

As you might be able to tell, “He” and “She” are dating.  Or talking to each other.  Or in a relationship.  Or whatever Gen Y calls these types of relationships.

This morning, we will be featuring the first of their Gen Y “He Said, She Said” debates — discussing critical issues from the perspective of their generation.  Today’s debate: the 2012 Presidential election.  At 9:00 AM, Jordan will argue that Barack Obama’s reelection will best serve the interests of their generation.  At 10:00, Zac will counter that his generation needs the change represented by Mitt Romney.

So tag along, and enjoy a younger version of Carville and Matalin.  In reverse.

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of the Planet

As electric cars become more popular make sure that you consider where the electricity is coming from. In coal heavy states they are not as clean as you may think. []


It is no surprise that the majority of Americans link the unusual weather this year to climate change. []



New data shows that our obsession with sprawl may be over. More people are moving back into cities. []


We now have an answer of which came first, the chicken or the egg? []

Jason Atkinson Hitting “Pause” on His Political Career

A great article from Oregon Live on contributing RP Jason Atkinson, and his decision to take a hiatus from politics:

Wearing rubber boots and faded jeans, Jason Atkinson shows off a bridge he built based on a Leonardo da Vinci drawing. Then there’s the horse he’s caring for that’s blind in one eye, a chicken he trained to sit and be petted, an extensive collection of racing bicycles and a YouTube video he made about fly-fishing on the Owyhee River.

And that’s just the first 15 minutes. He’s a classic never-sit-still Type A, with a cell phone that rarely quits beeping and a dozen jobs on the to-do list at his farm in the hills of southern Oregon.

For all that, Atkinson is about to “push the pause button,” as he puts it, on perhaps the most defining part of his life. After 14 years in the Oregon Legislature, including a run for governor in 2006, Atkinson is stepping out of politics and into an unpredictable future.

“I wasn’t at peace,” he says about his decision not to run for re-election this year. Under growing financial pressure at home, he also endured attacks from his own caucus for siding with the environmental lobby and became increasingly unhappy with his own party’s gamesmanship. It was time, he says, to take a break and, like thousands of other Oregonians, look for a better-paying job.

Under different circumstances, Atkinson, 42, would be entering the prime of his political career — an experienced, tested campaigner whose increasingly centrist views offer the kind of statewide appeal Republicans need to win. The fact that he’s heading for the exit ramp speaks volumes about not only his experience in Salem but also about the state of the party he says all but ostracized him.

Click here to read the full piece.

Ron Kahlow:’s Quest to Help Voters and Counterbalance Money in Politics

We welcome a new partner at the site,, with a piece by its founder and director, Ron Kahlow:

With two clicks and an address, provides voters with their customized sample ballot containing pictures of the candidates and their social media links. In another click, a voter can compare the candidates’ biographical information for any office in a side-by-side manner. Subsequent clicks allow the voter to compare the views and positions of the candidates on the particular issues that concern the voter, always side-by-side for easy comparison. In addition, all of the information comes directly from the candidates themselves or is extracted from their campaign websites, i.e., there is no marketing spin or deception. That is the real power of the website. It is the ability to provide each voter the specific unfiltered views and positions of the candidates that they seek, quickly and easily. It is to enable the independent-minded voters to make their own decisions about candidates and ballot measures, and help them vote on a more informed basis. has been providing this service to voters since the 2004 General Election. But many voters would probably ask why they have not found this resource during the last 8 years. Frankly, it is a tale of triumph and disaster, a tale of naivety, a tale of obsession, a tale of pride and embarrassment, a tale of not knowing when to give up, and a tale of David and Goliath.

My tale begins when I went to the polls to vote in the 2003 Virginia off-year election for Virginia Senate and House offices. When I entered the voting booth, I didn’t know anything about any single candidate or anything about the ballot measures. I didn’t even know there were any ballot measures. As I stood in the booth, I thought, what’s the value of voting if you don’t know who you are voting for, and making thoughtless decisions about ballot measures? Then driving home, I saw all those political posters trashing up the highways. This got my blood boiling. I thought to myself, is this any way to select the people to represent me? And, when I reached home and turned on the TV, there was an insulting, deceptive candidate-bashing political ad. The idea of spending billions of dollars to deceive me to vote this way or that pushed me over the edge. At that moment, I envisioned creating to fix this blatant fundamental flaw in our political system.

In 2003, I owned an Internet digital marketing agency, Business OnLine (, and I was convinced I could use my for-profit company resources to develop a solution to fix this problem. On a hobby basis, I built the first version of what is today and it was operative for the 2004 General Elections. I sent letters to all of the Federal and State candidates with their login credentials to enter whatever information they wanted. Few responded because the system is stacked in favor of incumbents. I was too naïve not to have realized that there was no incentive for them to change the game with this new Internet trump card. But, voters responded overwhelmingly. Remember the 2004 TV ad of people watching the number of hits promoting a product via ecommerce? Well that is what we experienced. As Election Day approached, a trickle turned into a torrent and then simply exploded. Triumph quickly turned to disaster as word spread. Our servers became overloaded and could not respond to the overwhelming demand. Frankly, for somebody in the Internet space business, this was an embarrassment.

Clearly we were easing the pain of voters because there was such enormous demand for this tool. So, the next couple years were spent attempting to rectify the problems of the 2004 elections. We built a farm of servers to handle the expected load. Since most candidates would not provide us with their information, we built the tools necessary to easily scrape their websites. Then, we hired a firm to do the scraping. We also developed tools to readily enter state election rosters.

Our efforts marginally paid off in the 2005 and 2006 elections. It seemed that regardless of how many servers we employed, the demand always exceeded the capacity. Although we keep up for longer periods of time, we could never keep the website up through the entire voting period.


But the biggest problem of all was cost. The financial resources needed far exceeded everybody’s wildest imagination. Voters were very kind with their tax deductible donations to support our operation, but this was only a very tiny fraction of what was needed. So, I and a friend covered the difference. Now, any reasonable thinking person would have thrown in the towel. But, one of my flaws is not knowing when to give up. I became obsessed with the mission and too proud to call it quits.


But that was not the end of our pains. Not long after the 2006 elections, we were hammered by the Internet Goliath Google. suddenly stopped appearing on all of Google’s search listings and all our pages had no Google ranking. We were totally blocked by Google and other search engines. We made numerous attempts, over a period of years, to find the reason(s) for this action and made numerous attempts to get the block removed. Finally, only after a very powerful Washington insider approached Google with our complaint did Google reveal the reason for its blocking action and finally we managed to resolve this problem. So, if you ask why you have not found us sooner, it is because the gatekeeper of the Internet locked the gate on us and only recently has it been opened. We believe there was nothing malicious on Google’s part. The problem centered on Google’s inability to effectively spider and index our website.


Our final, and most significant problem of voter traffic at election time has been solved by moving our website onto the cloud. We now have almost unlimited power at election time.


So, where are things today? Well we have built what we set out to build in 2003 and all of the problems and obstacles encountered so far have, to my knowledge, been solved. We are, however, without financial resources to continue; so, we manage to keep things running on a month-to-month basis. But, our most valuable asset is the will to continue regardless of what is thrown at us. And, we believe that what we are doing is not only helping citizens vote on a more informed basis but also serving as a counterbalance to the corrupting influence of money in politics. We believe that these are things worth fighting for regardless of the cost.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Honesty & “Marco Polo”

Want to know how honest you really are?

Do you pride yourself as being someone who would never cheat?

Someone who when a game is being played doesn’t blur the rules in order to do better?

And tell yourself you would never make an exception?

And are proud of the example you’ve set for your children in this area?

Me, too.

But last night I backslid. I made that exception and did cheat and tried to conceal it.

I was playing Marco Polo in the pool last night with my daughter and her friend. And squinted to see where they were (several times) after going over 5 minutes as “IT” and hearing non-stop giggling and scraping my elbow and later knee on the side of the pool.

I have no regrets about how I handled this and am calling this the “Marco Polo Exception.”

The RP: Partners Rescue More Than Our Real Estate is running a terrific story about how one of my childhood best friends, Bret Caller, and his business partner, Steven Miller (no relation) have used their business saavy for some exceptionally noble purposes — including helping rescue Ethiopian Jews living in abject poverty.

Steven Miller and Bret Caller, managers and co-founders of Blue Ash-based Viking Partners, don’t do anything halfway.

They’re aggressively capitalizing on the flood of failing commercial real estate loans, and recently made the first two acquisitions – shopping centers in Louisville and near Indianapolis – from their second private equity fund.

Away from the office, the business partners and friends have established themselves as leaders in the community, largely thanks to their work with the Jewish Federation on a local and national level. Caller also is active in the United Way’s Tocqueville Society, whose members donate $10,000 annually. Miller recently became involved with the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Cincinnati.

Those who know them say their reputations as tough businessmen precede them, as does their belief in the importance of helping others. The two aren’t mutually exclusive, Miller says.

“One of the reasons we do what we do is to provide for our families first and foremost, and secondly to provide for others,” Miller says.

In 2006, they were part of a group that helped rescue and transport Ethiopian Jews who were living in third-world conditions without running water or electricity to Israel. James Miller, the chairman of downtown’s Bartlett & Co. and a Viking investor, first met Steven Miller while he was giving a presentation about the Ethiopia trip.

“The first time I saw him, he couldn’t stop crying,” James Miller says. “It was pretty moving; he can’t talk about Israel without tearing up. The funny thing about it is he’s a very tough guy.”

Click here to read the full article.

Jeff Smith: Was Grassley Wrong to Call Obama “Stupid”?

Grassley’s tweet went too far.

Yes, the president was guilty of hyperbole: although it is unusual for the Court to declare laws unconstitutional (once or twice a year on average), it is not unprecedented, as the president said.

Still, that doesn’t mean a senator should call the President of the United States “stupid.” While microblogging encourages impulsive bursts of misplaced candor/emotion, Grassley could have easily – in 140 characters – noted that the president had exaggerated, or questioned the president’s decision to take on the Court.

I will be interested to see if Grassley notes any of Mitt Romney’s serial exaggerations and distortions, which Dana Milbank nicely sums up in yesterday’s piece “The Facts vs. Mitt Romney.”

(Cross-posted, with permission of the author, from Politico’s Arena)

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of Tech

The Politics of Tech

HBO certainly doesn’t make it easy for people to watch their shows. [TechDirt]

Mystery company + James Cameron and Google + asteroid mining = Awesome. [The Verge]

“Hilary Clinton to world governments: the world will divide into “open” and “closed” societies based on their Internet policies” [boingboing]

“Why I’m suing the US government to protect internet freedom” [The Guardian]

Updated mobile 4G speeds [The Verge]

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