(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
If you haven’t entered the First Quadrennial Recovering Politician Electoral College Contest, you’ve got until tomorrow, Tuesday at 6:00 AM EST. Here are the details for your chance to win 2 FREE lower-arena tickets to the defending national champion University of Kentucky Wildcat basketball team’s official home opener at Lexington’s Rupp Arena, versus Lafayette University, on Friday, November 16 at 7:00 PM. Remember, the first step is to become a member of the RP’s new Facebook page, Facebook.com/RecoveringPol, and provide your predictions in the post marked “Designated RP Electoral College Contest Post.” The award will be presented to the individual who most accurately predicts the final Electoral College vote, with tiebreakers of predicting the Senate and Housr partisan compositions after the election.
The 2008 Electoral College Map
As a service to all of you procrastinators out there, our experts — contributing RPs and friends of RP — have weighed in on their predictions. You can choose to go with one of their picks, or stick with your own and feel smarter than a recovering politician.
So here goes. Feel free to comment below, but remember according to the rules, only comments at the Designated RP Electoral College Contest Post at the RP Facebook page will be qualified for the grand prize.
The RP: Obama 303, Romney 235. (Obama wins WI, NV, IA, NH, CO, VA and OH; Romney squeaks out the narrowest victory in FL); Senate: 50 Dems, 48 GOP, 2 Indy; House: 239 GOP, 196 Dems
Contributing RP Rod Jetton:
President– Romney 277 and Obama 261. Romney takes the true toss ups of NH, CO, IA and WI, while holding the safer states of FL, NC and VA. Obama keeps OH, MN, MI, NV and PA. The auto bailout keeps Obama with Ohio, but Ryan and the debates help Romney hold WI which Ohio is not required on their path to victory. PA will be close but O will hold on there. R wins popular vote 52-48. With unemployment at 7.9% and even worse, gas prices up over $3.50, it is amazing that any incumbent could even keep it close. When we add in how Obama seemed to have a bit of the Bush 42 attitude of not really wanting to mess with a re-election campaign plus the Libya debacle it is hard to see Obama winning. Romney is a solid steady campaigner that nobody loves, but he has a good resume and seems to be up to the job of fixing the economy.
Senate– D-52 and R-46. (I-2) The Republicans will pick up a few seats but the weak candidates will keep them from taking the majority. My state of Missouri is a good example of that. McCaskill was in bad shape and should have been defeated in 2012 but with all Akin’s messaging problems she is poised to survive.
House – R-237 and D- 198. There will not be a big change in the House and Romney’s debates and October surge will help Republicans down ticket in many of the battleground seats.
Jordan Stivers (Friend of RP): Obama 280, Romney 258; Senate: R-47, D – 51, I-2; House: R-237, D-198
Contributing RP John Y. Brown, III: Election Day will be followed by Wednesday….and, if all goes as planned, followed by Thursday. Short of cataclysmic fallout on Tuesday night, Thursday more than likely will be followed by Friday. And then we will probably see something resembling what we used to call “the weekend.”
Friend of RP Zac Byer (traveling with VP GOP nominee Paul Ryan): My head still says Romney tops out at 256, but after visiting 6 swing states in the last 56 hours, and my gut says otherwise: Romney: 277, Obama: 261; 51 D, 47 R, 2 I; 238 R, 197 D
Contributing RP Jeff Smith: Obama 277, Romney 261; Senate: R-48, D – 50+2I; House: R-240, D-195
Ron Granieri (Friend of RP): Obama: 280, Romney: 258; Senate: 51-49 Dems (with independents); House: 245-190 Reps
Contributing RP Nick Paleologos: Obama 275. Romney 263.
Steven Schulman (Friend of RP): Whatever Nate Silver says.
Contributing RP Jimmy Dahroug: Obama 275, Romney 263; Senate: Dems 51 GOP 47; 2 Indy; House: GOP 241 Dems 194
David Snyder (Friend of RP): Obama wins 290-248. Senate – 51 Democrats 47 Republicans, 2 Independents. House – 234 Republicans, 201 Democrats
Contributing RP Greg Harris: Obama: 332, Romney: 206 (Polls indicate presidential race is neck and neck among “likely” voters. Obama’s lead is greater among “registered” voters. These votes, under-represented in polling, will redound to Obama’s advantage in states like FL and CO.); Senate: R-44, D – 54, I – 2; House: R-232, D-203
Robert Kahne (Friend of RP): Obama: 332, Romney: 206. Senate: D:53 (inc 2 IND) R: 47. House: D: 205, Rep: 230
Contributing RP Jason Grill: Obama gets 294 and Romney 244; Senate – 52 D 46 R 2 I; House – 234 R 201 D.
And watch this for more of Jason’s analysis:
After two years of campaign, hundreds of pundit prognostications, and thousands of cable news sound bites, at long last, what you’ve been waiting for…
Our fearless contributors — Contributing RPs, Friends of RP and RP Staff — offer their predictions for tonight’s Iowa caucuses.
And you can too — please give us your predictions in the Comments section below.
Without further ado…(Click on their name to find out their background)…
The RP: Paul 30%; Romney 25%; Santorum 21%; Gingrich 7%; Perry 6%; Bachmann 4%, Huntsman 1%. I don’t think Rick “Man On Dog” Santorum’s organization is strong enough to take advantage of his surge. I also think Paul’s support is underestimated in the polls because his grassroots support is so fervant, and the tin foil hat crowd among his followers are fearful of pollsters. Remember Pat Robertson?
Michael Steele: Click here for his exclusive-to-The-RP report from Iowa.
Jeff Smith: Santorum 27; Romney 23; Paul 23; Perry 11; Gingrich 9; Bachmann 6. I think some Bachmann/Gingrich/Perry folks walk in to their caucus, see how outnumbered they are by Sant-mentum, and get on the bandwagon.
Jason Grill: Romney, Paul, and Santorum will finish first, second, and third. The order though is more “up in the air” than George Clooney was in his recent Oscar nominated movie. Organization and friends twisting other friends arms at the caucuses will decide the order of the top three. If Romney finishes third that WILL be news and change the race somewhat moving forward. He will be seen as an even weaker front runner if this happens. Also, it will be interesting to see where Perry and Gingrich finish tonight. Keep a lookout for their percentages at the end of the night. A fourth place finish for Perry over Gingrich will signal a potential showdown with Romney in South Carolina. Lastly, I am anxious to see how Huntsman finishes in next week’s New Hampshire primary after skipping Iowa.
Mark Nickolas: Paul (25%); Romney (23%); Santorum (22%); Gingrich (11%); Perry (10%); Bachmann (6%). Iowa requires a level of commitment from supporters unlike anywhere else. Those with the best state organization and strongest levels of commitment do especially well (Paul and Paul). Also, since Independents and Dems can participate if they want to cross over — as Indies did for Obama in ’08 — that’s likely to help Paul the most. Nefarious (aka loyal) Dems are going to support anyone but Romney to ensure a protracted GOP race, with Paul and Santorum benefitting most.
Rod Jetton: I think Ron Paul will just nip Romney and Rick Santorum will get third. Newt probably finishes in 4th. The Ron Paul forces are dedicated and with his numbers going up they and their friends have started believing he can win. They will turn out and surprise all the experts.
Greg Harris: Santorum – 26%; Romney – 25%; Paul – 21%; Gingrich – 12%; Bachman – 8%; Perry – 7%; Huntsman – 1%. Santorum’s diligent grassroots work throughout the State this past year will pay off, resulting in more ardent caucus warriors advocating his case, and moving some on-the-fence Bachman and Perry supporters. Ron Paul’s fanatical base will still assure him over an over 20% showing. The minority moderate voters will hold their noses and back Romney.
Read the rest of…
Our Contributors Predict the Iowa Caucuses…
I am not involved in the political arena – never have been, never will be. That doesn’t mean I don’t follow what is going on, take an interest in the issues and exercise my constitutional right to vote each year. Of course I do all of those. So from one outsider’s position, I can offer these thoughts about how I view the state of our political system.
It seems to me that most of our country resides near the political middle – some leaning left, some leaning right, but basically the majority of our country is not so fanatical to realize the real value of compromise and the need for proper discourse of the issues to reach workable resolutions. So why is it that the extremes control our political culture? Clearly the loudest voice seems to get the attention these days and it is those extremes who have raised their voices. Because of this loud voice, it feels to me like the extremes are a much bigger contingent than is truly the case. But I honestly believe the middle has the power, but perhaps simply does not know how to use it. To put it mildly and bluntly, something is really screwed up.
Do you think our country’s forefathers thought that our Representatives and Senators would constantly be concerned with re-election, and therefore always pandering to the loudest voices who appeared to be the ones with power to keep them in office. I don’t. I believe they had much loftier goals in mind. Clearly the Senate was to have more power, given the 6 year terms, but the House was to be the voice of the people. So what went wrong?
Look at the Constitutional Convention – some of the most respected and opinionated individuals our country has known were in attendance, and it was quite clear there was no love lost between many of these men. Further, there was a huge difference of opinion over most, if not all of the issues; yet what resulted was a well debated, true compromise that created a governmental system that has shined as an example to many a nation over the past 225 years (not lost on this author is the fact that clearly these men did drop the ball and showed the lack of vision on the issues of slavery and gender equality).
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David Snyder: On the Outside Looking In
While our government struggles to get its financial house in order, perhaps there is a lesson for all of us from what is happening in Washington.
I do not think any of us really ever want to reach the point where we say, “How did it get this way? How did it get this bad?” So what to do – just a few simple steps to make sure your financial house is in order:
1. Risk Management
(A) Long Term Disability Coverage (Income Replacement insurance) – Whether you are single, married, divorced – it does not matter – just make sure you have adequate Long Term Disability coverage in place. In the event a disability stops you from working due to an illness or injury, you need to maximize your income. A disability could cause not only loss of income, but also loss of health insurance, loss of retirement benefits, increase health costs, etc. And the typical group plan only covers a portion of your income and that benefit is typically going to be taxable income to you. You need to have supplemental coverage from a highly rated company.
(B) Life Insurance – this discussion may depend on your family situation. But even if you are single, but plan to have a family, getting coverage while you are young and healthy may be an advantage. Too many times, a person waits and then later has a medical issue that either prevents them from getting coverage or makes it more expensive. With a family, life insurance is a must. A great rule of thumb here is that for every $1,000 of after tax monthly income you want to provide to a surviving spouse, you need $250,000 of death benefit in place. And when factoring in inflation, this sum will typically last the survivor about 20 years. So calculate the after tax monthly needs for your family and make sure you have adequate life insurance in place.
Lastly, don’t discount the value of a non-working spouse. Imagine the expenses if a stay at home Mom or Dad were not around. Non-working spouses need coverage too. A rule of thumb here – $250,000 of coverage on the non working spouse for each child.
(C) Cash – build up a reserve of about 3 months income and keep it in readily accessible cash. Use a money market or similar account that is safe and secure.
2. Wealth Accumulation
Once Risk Management issues are resolve, the next step in planning for your financial house is wealth accumulation:
(A) Retirement Planning – Utilize your company 401(k) plans or pensions. If there is a matching contribution on behalf of your company, then at least contribute enough to maximize the company match. If there is a Roth option, use it. Conventional wisdom tells us that tax rates have nowhere to go but UP. If you believe this, then the old paradigm of straight tax deferral must be changed. You need to move as much as possible from Tax Deferred vehicles into Tax Free vehicles. Roth 401(k)’s provide this regardless of income level. Roth IRA’s do as well. For those that make too much to contribute on their own to Roth IRA’s (single – $122,000 of Adjusted Gross Income, and Married filing jointly – $179,000 of Adjusted Gross Income), the tax laws currently allow a non-deductible contribution to a traditional IRA and then the ability to convert it into a Roth IRA (regardless of your income level).
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David Snyder: While the U.S. Can’t Get its Financial House in Order, You Can
This story begins with a gift to my kids in December 2009: Rock Band – The Beatles.
At the time, my kids were 7 and 9, with very little “music of their own”. Music is different today, with IPods, ITunes and such. Back then, we bought albums and then cassette tapes. Today, you just go online and download. There was a glory, a joy, a feeling from looking at the album cover, from reading the lyrics, from playing the whole side over and over again, from hearing needle as it hit the vinyl.
Now, although my stereo equipment is set up in our house, the kids never use it. They would rather listen on the iPod with headphones, not, in my opinion, the way the music was meant to be heard.
One of my earliest memories is singing “Let It Be” with my Dad and older brother – we recorded it on an old hand held cassette recorder from the early 70’s. And thus my appreciation of The Beatles began. So when we knew we wanted Rock Band, the obvious choice was The Beatles version. With that, a new generation of Beatles lovers was born in our family. The kids had certainly heard some of the songs, but with Rock Band – a new world was opened up to them, to really hear the music of the greatest band ever. Yeah, I know – some will say Rolling Stones, The Who, U2, etc, but there really is no contest.
Just listening to the music that The Beatles recorded over a 10 year period is the transition from 50’s and 60’s rock and roll to modern rock. It is hard to believe the same band recorded “Love Me Do” and then later on, “Why Don’t We Do It In The Road” (or anything else from the “White Album” for that matter). To think that one band went through that much transition in such a short period of time is nothing short of incredible. And not just the music, but the recording of the music. Remember, Sgt. Pepper’s was recorded on a 4 track machine, and yet the way The Beatles layered music, and used the stereo settings, was truly groundbreaking and awesome. And to think that their music has endured for more than 40 years tells the real story. And I believe it is our job as music lovers to pass along our love for such great music. And this is what gets me back to my story.
Read the rest of…
David Snyder: The Beatles & The Power of Music
Four generations of Snyder men; the author at far left, his father at far right
My Dad, now there’s a tough one. Not that it’s tough to talk about my Dad, but rather the man himself. The kind of Dad who could give you that look when you were a kid, the one that needed no words to get across what he meant – the same look I think I now give my kids, intentionally or unaware. I have found as I’ve gotten older that, although my appearance has clearly swayed toward my Mom’s side, my personality and character have come from my Dad. I notice more and more as each year passes by. I even followed in his footsteps professionally, although my career has changed, while his has remained the same.
My Dad was born in small town Ohio to a lifelong worker at Anchor Hocking in Lancaster. And if I think my Dad is tough – he’s got nothing on my Grandfather, who was so tough, he lived until he was 101 years old. It seems that the women in our lives have the tendency to soften their men. My Grandmother was a wonderful woman and she did the best she could. My Mom, herself a wonderful woman, has clearly had an impact on my Dad (one for which her children are grateful), and I most definitely see that my wife has done the same for me. That toughness, the stubbornness, the steely exterior seems to ease with each generation. Our wives may disagree, but I think it is true.
My Dad found his way to Ohio State, where he met my Mom, and then to law school at the University of Cincinnati. Graduated in 1964 and has been practicing law ever since. Still today, he makes his way to the office a few times a week, although he’d rather be spending time with his grandchildren, which he does whenever he can. His legal career has been marked by two stages. First, as a founding member of a small law firm for 20 years and for the past 26 years, with a successful solo practice, working as an old school General Practitioner (and there aren’t many of them left around). You name it, if it’s not Criminal or Divorce, and he can help you out. His law practice is marked by his integrity, his honesty, his hard work and his willingness to do what needs to get done (never doing it half-assed, as we heard growing up as kids in my family). I never heard anyone ever talk badly or critically about my Dad’s law practice. He just did good solid work, the kind his clients needed.
I never realized until my adult life, how hard my Dad worked. When you grow up not wanting for anything, you don’t always see the hard work, but looking at where my parents are today, I know what it must have took to get there. That has always amazed me, because he went about his job without much fanfare. Just a humble practice in support of his family. And it wasn’t just work – my Dad spent many hours, weeks, doing service outside of his career. Just to mention a few, years and years on our Temple Board of Trustees, including a term as President of the congregation, President of the Cincinnati Reform Jewish High School – a joint project by the 4 Reform Jewish congregations in Cincinnati – one of the first of its kind in the country back when it started in the early 1980’s, and free legal services for local law enforcement. And through all of this, he set a model for how to blend career, family and service together, one that I try to emulate as best I can.
Now I said my Dad was tough, but that’s just on the outside – really deep down he has compassion and kindness and this incredible desire to provide for his family. Whenever there was a need growing up or even as adults, Dad is there to help (and my brothers would most certainly agree). And having grandchildren has really softened him up. There is nothing he would rather do today than spend time with his 6 grandchildren. If they want it, he provides. And I mean it – from riding roller coasters to various sports venues, to simple babysitting – he does it all. Really no different than when I was a kid growing up, but now I can see it through a parent’s eyes and truly appreciate it.
Of course, no praise of my Dad can be made without mention of my Mom. As I mentioned, the women in the lives of Snyder men must have some magical power to deal with the tough, stubborn side that we all exhibit. Not an easy task, one at which my Mom has excelled. She definitely has earned some of the credit for what is written above.
So on this Father’s day, I can offer this simple tribute, to a man who has never sought the limelight, never asked for praise, and never required anything in return. We can all use a little of that humility, that example of a how to do a hard day’s work, that deep sense of pride in family. My Dad, now there’s a tough one – but I know otherwise.
To my Dad, Richard Snyder – go out to the links and shoot your age! Happy Father’s Day – I love you.
Not being much of a writer, but having known the RP for going on 30 years, I was offered the opportunity to contribute to the blog. The theme of all first timers on this site is (in the RP’s own words), “how you got to your second act.” Although I am not a recovering politician, I am a recovering lawyer.
I spent ten years practicing law and I am proud to say – IT CAN BE DONE – you can make it out alive. And there is life on the outside. This is in no way meant to disparage attorneys. Many on this site (the RP included) are attorneys, as are my own father and many friends. So many attorneys do great work and are still engaged in and excited by the practice of law, and it really is amazing to see. Law still remains the most noble of professions.
But I also know there are many like myself who had their fill and needed to move on. I was typical of many solo practitioners – doing criminal defense and smaller litigation cases, wills and trust work, and eventually part of a small firm, doing more complex business litigation. And I reached a point where the fight of other’s battles became a thankless and ungratifying place to be.
I had always wondered where my life would go if I left the practice of law. And as fate would have it, while I was contemplating this issue in my law office in downtown Cincinnati, an opportunity arose that put me on the path I am on today.
While considering my future in 2002, I was visited by my financial advisor who, while performing an annual review, began recruiting me. And within a day, I was already on my way to meetings, interviews and a whirlwind of education and licensing for four months that led me to Northwestern Mutual and being a Financial Advisor, where I have been the past 8+ years. The fit was perfect. I already had the legal background and a good knowledge of planning from the legal perspective and add to that the financial/investment education and the proper licenses and credentials, as well as a very supportive wife, and I was set to go.
Within a month, my entire perspective on being a professional had changed. While leaving an appointment in that first month, the clients actually thanked me for spending time talking with them and discussing their financial planning. No one had ever done that while practicing law and my life had been transformed. I knew I had found a home in this profession. I realized that I had a passion for this work. I have the privilege of making an impact, making a difference, of working with individuals, protecting families and businesses, and more importantly, building wealth in a most tax efficient manner.
This is gratifying and satisfying, something that many lawyers never feel. Despite all of the good work that attorneys perform, much of it is thankless and that took its toll on me. Practicing law was work. Now I have a career.
I must say that it has not been easy and without certain trials and tribulations. Being self employed is great, but requires much work to build up a going business. And the biggest bridge I have crossed is toeing the line between personal and professional life. In no other business I have seen does a person actively seek out so many people that you already know in an effort to help them out and make them clients. That can cause strife when your professional relationship creeps into the personal relationship. And it is the burden that all who work as Financial Advisors must carry.
I was very recently confronted with this situation – a client who is a long time friend, and there is most definitely a fine line between the appropriate times for business and the times when the relationship must remain purely social. I am comforted by my passion, because I know that even when I walk along that line, I am operating from a good place and with good intentions. My heart and passion are in the right place and this career offers me the opportunity to help not only those I have just met, but also those persons I have known for so long and care so much about. Where else can you impact people, including friends and family and help provide them with the security and peace of mind they so desperately want and need?
So here I am, 8+ years later, happier and professionally satisfied. And while being self employed has its challenges, I can make my own schedule which allows me to attend my childrens’ sports activities and school programs, along with other extra curricular and charitable work I have begun.
To all the attorneys out there in RP land – I applaud you. But if you are like me, there is hope – find what you like and go after it. It can make all the difference.