Monday, July 31, 2006

Secret handshakes, and what not...

I am very proud to say that I've been made a member of the DCBA - the Delaware Conservative Bloggers Alliance. I'm sure most of you have been reading their stuff - if you haven't, hop to it.

I'd also like to mention that my name isn't Rick J... it's actually DANA GARRETT!!! BWAH-HA-HA-HA!!!

OK, not really. But wouldn't that be hysterical?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Fact-checking the SPAM folder...

I had a few minutes to bask in the glory of my own writings, and saw that I had a new comment on my most recent post (which, because it came from me, wasn't very recent at all). The contents of it are here, but I thought - considering the subject of the post, I'd dissect the substance of it here. The subject is Mike Protack's official announcement for his Senate run.

Dear Friends,

Today I officially filed for the U S Senate and to date we have raised as much money as my GOP opponent.

I think I speak for everyone when I say... damnit. Looks like I'll spend the second Tuesday in November recycling "Protack got his ass kicked" jokes from 2004, rather than reveling in a Eagles opening day victory. As a football fan, you have lost my vote.

As for the second part of that sentence (regarding the flush state of your campaign coffers), I call shenanigans. Not only because of your admitted gross misrepresentation of funds from previous elections (see here, and here), but from your own keyboard. Believe me, I understand that money is money. I, for one would like to know how small of a "small loan" it took to get you over $100,000, as you claimed on another website. I'm left to wonder if you are misrepresenting the amount of money you have (a claim that's difficult to verify given the fact that your financial forms are not posted online for this race) or whether a home equity loan of (for example) $100,000 would be considered "small".
We opened our campaign Headquarters next to the GOP HQ and our full time consultant team is the same team that got Ken Blackwell the GOP Governor's nomination in Ohio this year when all the insiders said he couldn't win. We are prepared and commmitted to winning. Our poll numbers and organization bear this out.

Congratulations on the new digs. Running your previous campaigns out of your garage must have been burdensome. I do find it interesting that the name of the consultant is not shared in your missive. Since it isn't uncommon for a candidate to employ multiple consultants for different aspects of a campaign (polling, fundraising, etc.), it may be possible that you have allied yourself with a company that worked in Ohio. An interesting point, though: Consultants will work for (nearly) anyone that can pay their fees. This isn't a slight on them, I have done some mangement consulting in my misspent youth, and I didn't turn down one company, regardless of my opinion of their worth. My advice to Mr. Protack would be to question the advice he's been given by these consultants. If they are the same people who told him to abandon one campaign website without redirecting readers or removing any information to start another at a different URL, and start a seperate blog that isn't directly tied to either site, then he's getting screwed.

I also (again) question the reliability of any alleged polling data you may be hoarding. Is this the same poll that was essentially debunked during convention season by acclamation? Protack released numbers saying he was favored 4 to 1 over endorsed candidate Jan Ting. He then got beat as badly as he ever has in convention. Since the mulitple websites have indicated no additional polling, and expense reports that would verify their existence aren't available, I once again call shenanigans.
Come join us in a campaign conference call on Monday the 24th at 7 PM. All you have to do is dial 1 304 848 6940 and use # 1211745. The call won't take more than 10 minutes. We must dedicate ourselves to a candidate commited to winning and the best way to control the future is to invent it!

Exporting your teleconference business to West Virginia? What gives? If Canadians weren't already making our license plates, I'd say that's next on your list!

By the way, that last sentence could have come from Orwell's 1984. "'Who controls the past', ran the Party slogan, 'controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.'"

* * * * * * * * * *
The remainder of the letter says what horrible things will happen if the Democrats take conrol of the Senate. While I choose not to dispute them, I will take umbrage with this chestnut:
If we can win this one seat, we can keep Republican control in the Senate.

But it is not going to be easy. The Democrats plan to use a win-at-all-costs strategy.

Mike Protack lost a gubernatorial primary in 2004 against a candidate who almost never mentioned his name. The Bill Lee campaign ran a General election campaign from the moment the GOP Convention ended, and made great efforts not to recognize the existence of Mike Protack. They won that primary by 47 percentage points. If (God forbid) Tom Carper faces Mike Protack in a general election, Carper could spend his campaign funds on anti-syphillis PSA's, and embarrass the GOP for decades. The Democrats could effectively ignore the State of Delaware financially, and focus their attention toward capturing seats, rather than defending them.

There are other minor (well, minor for Protack) incongruities, such as claiming to stand for elimination of government growth, while advocating a single-payer health care system on his website. Or suggesting that a Democratically-contrlled Senate would "Open the borders", while completely failing to suggest how he would close them - unlike his primary opponent, who has made border policy a linchpin of his campaign.

Needless to say, I'm voting for Jan Ting in September, and November, for what I will continue to call "Bill Roth's seat" in the Senate.

EDIT (8:43 pm):
A little more searching on Mike Protack's finances - all of which support my "If he's over $100,000 in campaign funds, he's remortgaged his house" theory:

As of today's date, Mike's FEC filings lists three (really two) donations from individuals to his campaign of more than $100 (the amount at which individual donation must be reported). Two on the same day and date of the maximum amount by his mother (and I'm going to go ahead and assume that there's a clerical error there), and one $500 donation from a co-worker who resides in Georgia. There have been no recorded donations from committees, corporations, or PACs to Mike Protack or any affiliated committees to elect.

So, that's $2600, and neither the Federal or State systems for tracking donations have any others. If Protack had no campaign expenses at all, took the entire nest egg to Atlantic City, bet in on Red 5 and won, he'd still be short of his stated (but not filed) $100,000.

Friday, July 14, 2006

A Brief Overview of the Delaware Republican Landscape

After a long and torturous absence from this blog, I've decided to return to examine the state of the Delaware GOP. (As a point of disclaimer, I am a registere Republican, and have been since I became voting age. To those who would label me a Kool-Aid® drinker, I will state (as an estimate) that I've voted about 85% straight ticket, diverging on races where I felt the candidate representing my party did not represent my views as well as the other.) That being said, here I go.

To begin with, the State Headquarters has received quite a bit of criticism is the past few years, some of which it deserved. In the 2004 election cycle, HQ allowed the Democrats to out-register them by a wide margin, they failed to take advantage of deep and widespread corruption in New Castle County government and allowed the Democrats to hold every major county office, and they spent their funds poorly - failing to sponsor a single ad for Gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee until the week before the election. Terry Strine, the State Chairman for this election cycle inexplicably held this office in an election in 2005, partly because no candidate provided a viable plan for change.

What he has done since then has been extraordinary.

The strength of Terry Strine has long been considered his ability to raise funds. Since his re-election, he has continued to do this, but he devoted a great deal of his energies to candidate recruitment. The results of this are statewide candidates Ferris Wharton, whose candidacy has drawn kudos not just from the predictable sources, but from across the political spectrum; and Jan Ting, a man who is so wildly qualified for the office he seeks that I wish debate-watching were a compulsory activity. Neither candidate is guaranteed victory - in fact, Tom Carper's inexplicable sway over the voters of Delaware will likely leave Ting as the most competent elective loser in state history. The two candidates, along with "Auditor-for-Life" Tom Wagner, make the best statewide ticket is recent memory. Strine should be commended for gathering these candidates - a difficult task for a popular man, a near-impossible task for what most considered a lame duck.

There are a few disappointments in local elections around the state. The retirement of Joe DiPinto leaves a hole that may be difficult to fill, although the likely primary for the Democrats in the 4th RD will give the right candidate a puncher's chance. Sussex County continues to be a Republican stronghold for the House, except for the 14th RD, where a candidate has not been located to take on Pete Schwartzkopf. Too many races mirror the 14th, where an incumbent legislator remains unopposed, to allow for any real comfort in holding the House or overtaking the Senate. While the Democratic Party seems to hold out hope for taking the House, there doesn't seem to be much of a chance at that lofty goal.

Despite my best efforts at seasoned analysis, I will not let the matter of Mike Protack pass in this posting. Since my review of his campaign website, Mr. Protack has made the... interesting choice to abandon the domain of, and I do mean abandon. The website is still there, just unchanged since late April. He has chosen to start a new website, or two. Currently, you can find (relatively) up-to-date information about Mike's Senatorial run at, and at the blog, I say relatively up-to-date because neither website nor blog has been updated in three weeks. There are, yet again, no events listed on the calendar of his official (and this time he means it) website, which we hope is prescient.