To Run or Not to Run for President

I ran for president to win in both 2008 and 2012 despite being an extremely long shot. I ran to share my view of the necessary personal qualities a good president must possess.   And finally I ran to do what I could to increase the number of good candidates running.

After studying presidential politics for forty years, I knew that it would be absolutely necessary for me to again have the proverbial “fire in the belly”, that overwhelming desire to win, if I ran a third time. In 2008 I had this quality in spades, visiting 6,000 businesses over a period of 100 days in both Iowa and New Hampshire, spending only $36,000. That year I placed tenth in both states. I possessed this quality again in 2012. In that difficult year for my business, having only $10,000 for the race, I became one of only two candidates in America who shared the stage with major ones at any time during that year’s long campaign for the nomination. And I did so at the Iowa Caucus in Iowa’s largest county, speaking to the world’s media while placing seventh there and later in New Hampshire.

All candidates the first time they run have this “fire in the belly”. And they often have it even more so the second time if they have done reasonably well the first. After becoming familiar with the process after one try, all candidates believe that they will do better the second time. And usually do. Witness George H. W. Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney who won their party’s nomination the second time out. And consider Rick Perry, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum who will be running a second time this go round-and one could arguably include Rand Paul in this group as he ran two of his father’s races for the Republican nomination early on.

BUT most lack this fire in the belly in doing it a third time. Recently, Mitt Romney briefly flirted with the idea of running again but quickly bowed out after seeing what it would take to compete against Jeb Bush’s intensity and money machine. And earlier, I observed a lack of this fire first hand when I visited with Steve Forbes on the day of the 2008 New Hampshire Primary. Having first met him at an earlier time, I saw him again while campaigning on “Radio Row” in the Radisson Hotel in Manchester, New Hampshire. He was there working for Rudy Giuliani. He had run in 2000 and 2004 and had come close to defeating George W. Bush in Iowa in his second run. To him I lamented the fact that he had not run a third time in 2008. He told me jokingly “I am just an agitator”.

So in running for president it seems as if I am no different than those who are known by all. Like others I have found I simply do not have the fire in my belly for a third run. And without having this quality no person ever should. It is instructive that some say that Romney lacking it in only his second try in 2012 caused his defeat as he did not eviscerate Obama with the Benghazi issue when he had the chance in the last debate.

Although I have gained some credibility from my efforts in running without resources the first two times, and it appears that some individuals would provide funding and support for at least a credible beginning, I felt it would not be fair to them or the party whose nomination I would be seeking to begin this process without the requisite fire in the belly. These individuals would rightfully expect that their candidate should do everything to win on their behalf.

But in any event I do feel that progress has been made toward the goals that I began with eight years ago of having candidates with good personal qualities running in larger numbers.

I and most experts believe the high quality and larger numbers of Republican candidates today is the best group of conservative candidates running for president in this century. In my humble opinion, with the exception of several, all of the candidates in the field have the personal qualities necessary to be outstanding presidents. Plus I believe individually they represent virtually every conservative viewpoint. Voters have a great selection to choose from.

And look at the trend: The number of candidates has been increasing since I first ran in 2008. In 2004 eleven ran in the New Hampshire Primary. In 2008 when I first ran I was one of twenty-one on the ballot. In 2012 I was one of thirty. It is my belief that in 2016 the New Hampshire Secretary of State should expect an even larger number.

And I like to believe that in some instances I helped things along. In 2014 I attended a fundraiser for Rand Paul who was raising funds in Texas for his U.S. Senate race in Kentucky. At the time I was making final arrangements for cataract surgery and as he was a practicing ophthalmologist we had an interesting conversation talking both shop and politics. Since my purpose in being a candidate has always been to show that anyone regardless of background can run for any public office, during the conversation I offered that I had run for president. Rand was respectful though incredulous asking first and then later in the conversation again “You ran for President?” . . . Not too long thereafter I saw Ted Cruz at an event who at the time was running for the U.S. Senate from Texas. In the course of discussing his campaign, I offered up the same. He too was respectful but tried to hide his incredulity. Not too long after winning their respective elections they both began taking steps toward a presidential run. And both have been the first to declare themselves as candidates.

While correlation is not causation, I like to believe that what I did and what I said to them and to thousands of others at different times over the last eight years has helped the conservative cause. And with candidates like these two and the remainder of the outstanding Republican field, in the fall of 2016 we will elect an outstanding leader and reformer who will bring back the America we love. And God will bless America’s future.

Vern Wuensche win-she

The Necessary Personal Qualities of a United States President

The office held by any public official has an aura of glamour and power.  And voters often unfortunately focus on that image when they vote for a candidate. They should not.

Their view to the contrary should be based on the personal makeup of the candidate: his bundle of personal qualities.

I contend that every candidate for every office whether President or small town mayor should be based on four things: a candidate’s values, decision making skill, being right on the issues and having a spine of steel.

When push comes to shove values are always the basis of good decisions, while skill in making good decisions comes from training and much practice.  And being right on the issues requires using the common sense that most of us have.  But even though one has these qualities in spades, without the toughness to always stand one’s ground they will matter little.

Values are what define us. Often they are shown by our faith.  And how we exercise it in our daily living while we handle myriad difficulties whether they involve our finances, our relationships or our health.  Or something else.  We show the values we have by how we handle each of them one by one.

Skill in good decision making is usually learned.  Those running an organization or a business can obtain a great deal of practice, and if they evaluate their own performance objectively they can quickly learn from the results of their good and bad decisions.  Over time they will become quite skilled at making decisions to produce the results they want.  A successful stay-at-home-mom running a household might be the most skillful of all at this.  She must be disciplined and skillful in making decisions to properly raise her children, the results of which may not be apparent for a long time.  And if not done well all Americans will pay.

Being right on the issues is mostly common sense. It is using factual information—not emotions—to make decisions.  And being aware of the difference between the two. It is using valid quantitative data to evaluate whether one approach is better than another.  It is thinking of the long term benefit to America not the short term and immediate which often is harmful.  It is thinking about other Americans rather than one’s own parochial interests.

Toughness in approach is not a quality one is born with.  It is developed over time.  One becomes tough only by having toughing experiences.  This principle is in nature:  The trunk of an oak growing on the rocky side of a mountain with little water is much tougher then the trunk of a banana tree growing in the fertile soil of a tropical rainforest.  One develops callouses on the bottom of one’s feet by walking or running, not by sitting on one’s butt.

Toughening experiences can be of many types.  Most are of the nature of financial, family, medical or business. It might be the indignity of always being short of money in a society that judges each of us all too often on that resource.  Or it could be a divorce, difficult children, or a death in the family.  Or it could be life threatening illnesses, or the continuing disabilities which made both Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Charles Krauthammer quite tough.  Or it could be running a small business with the always difficult problems of cash flow, product quality, dependable and productive employees and where the temptation to cut corners to increase profits or to even survive is always present.

The more of these experiences one has over a longer period of time the tougher that person will become.  Which is why all else being equal someone older is usually tougher.  Their years of life if lived aggressively would generally allow them to have more toughening experiences.  It is often called wisdom.

Some might argue that some candidates who have aggressive and blunt personalities are born tough.  But they are wrong.  These individuals are handicapped by the insensitivity which generally accompanies that type of personality.  And these individuals are rarely good at developing relationships which are essential for those holding public office.

As presidential campaigns begin, the amount of money each candidate can accumulate is the overriding focus by the media.  Yet that money can be used to create an image of a candidate which could be dishonest and untrue.  My hope is that today with the transparency allowed by our social media, voters will focus more on a candidate’s actual personal qualities rather than an advertised image which may or may not be valid.  To all of our benefit.

The Second Stop on the Path to the Presidency is New Hampshire

The second stop on the path to the Presidency is the New Hampshire Primary. It is the first election in choosing a party’s nominee.

New Hampshire is similar in population to Iowa having 1,323,459               citizens but having only 7 counties compared to Iowa’s 99.  Voters in their 2012 primary election totaled 248,485 voters.

Because of the outsized importance of their Primary each citizen is often quite knowledgeable on national issues and presidential candidates.  In the last few days of my 2008 campaign I stopped at a remote gas station to fill up and made some comment about the election to the rather rough looking ponytailed man behind the glass. He responded “oh yes, Tom Tancredo dropped out last night”.  All residents follow the campaign closely.

Residents of the Granite State also strongly support the military.  Arriving in Manchester taxiing up to the hanger during my 2012 campaign, the flight attendant announced that a member of the military on board was returning home from Afghanistan.  Without hesitation there was immediate spontaneous extended applause.  As the state hails back to the early days of America each citizen of the Granite State grows up with a strong appreciation of the importance of the military in keeping America free.

And in the “live free or die state” of New Hampshire highway signs are posted allowing those over 18 to themselves decide whether or not they wish to wear seat belts.

High placement on a ballot in New Hampshire does not give a candidate an advantage.  Because of the knowledgeability of each voter.  While I was fourth on the ballot out of 30 candidates it did not help me or those near me on the ballot.  Romney was 17th and won.  The same ballot position in Texas would have been very significant, as the level of knowledge of each individual voter in our state of 26 million does not match that of the individual New Hampshire voter.

Many decry two small states having an outsized influence on the choosing of the nominees of each party, but the knowledge level of the average voter participating in the New Hampshire Primary and the Iowa Caucus is unsurpassed.  It is not likely to be matched in any other state.

Following shortly after the New Hampshire Primary is the South Carolina Primary.  Because of a required entry fee of $25,000 unknown candidates never participate.  At that point there are only a few candidates remaining anyway, where except for 2012 the state has always chosen the nominee since 1980.  And since each candidate at that point knows what is at stake the most pointed, direct and hard fought campaigning of the entire campaign is done there.

Nevada follows South Carolina with its Primary, and then for the first time, Texas in 2016 will be next on March 1.  If the nominee has not at that point already been chosen, Texas then for the first time in decades will play a very significant role in both its Primary election and its state convention.  Texans can thank state chairman Steve Munisteri for his efforts with the Republican National Committee for obtaining approval for changes, and the delegates attending the 2014 Republican State Convention for overwhelmingly approving them.  On March 1, 2016 Texans could choose the nominee.

Cuba: We Have Waited for 50 years. Why the Hurry Now?

Fidel Castro over a period of fifty years turned the very nice country of Cuba into a pathetic Communist state.  He now is quite possibly near death.  Six administrations resisted the natural humanitarian urge to make it easier for Cuba’s inhabitants, and instead kept the pressure on Castro to change his ways and allow freedom for all.  As he soon will be gone this could have been possible. Continue reading

For the Good of America We Need Tougher Public Officials

Senator Feinstein recently proved once again that the most important characteristic of any public official is their personal make up.  Senator Feinstein who in the past has been respected by many to be strong on national defense did her reputation significant harm in creating and making public a one sided report on the CIA’s handling of the interrogation of terrorists showing the CIA in a VERY unfavorable light.  Continue reading

Supporters of Limited Government Can Win When Focused


Last year Metro made an attempt to take one fourth of every dollar of sales tax you pay. Twenty-five cents of every sales tax dollar had long been allocated to the surrounding communities for their transportation needs. However Metro coveted it and set up a November referendum to take it away. But Houston business leaders Louis Macey, Walter Mischer, Jr., Dick Weekley and others stepped up with financing and their personal clout to defeat it. The well known Barry Klein plus myself who have been critics of Metro and supporters of limited government since its inception spoke out.

Vern Wuensche win-she

Achieving Results

Achieving results in any endeavor requires you to perform four sequential steps: you must first PLAN, then ORGANIZE, then DIRECT and finally CONTROL the result to make sure everything happens as planned.

Any parent running a household does this. Businesses MUST do this to survive. And our federal government should do this also. But it seldom does.

Any parent considering a vacation must plan who will go, where to go, how long to stay, and what to take. He or she must then organize who is to be responsible for what and direct them to do it. And finally he or she must control the result by verifying among many other things that tickets are in hand, the right stuff is loaded up and gas is in the car.

Any business must plan what products to produce, the sources of materials and who will produce them. It must then organize obtaining the materials, having the people available to produce them and directing them to do it. And finally it must control that the products are of high quality and make certain they are produced efficiently enough to allow a profit for the business so it can sustain its owner or shareholders and be around over the long term to service them.

Our government should follow this same universal procedure but rarely does. It almost always fails on three of the four steps. To see this in spades one need look no further than the scandal in the Veterans Administration. At that agency it apparently neither planned nor organized to prevent the creation of a corrupt system which reported dishonest wait times of our veterans to the American public. For years. It did direct well in writing checks. But the government’s control in making certain of good and timely care for these veterans and preventing financial fraud did not exist. Continue reading

Mr. Obama when will you learn?

Last night President Obama laid out his much delayed plan to eliminate our latest terrorist threat.
Only a few sentences into his speech he reconfirmed his plan to bring home ALL of our troops from Afghanistan. Does this Harvard trained lawyer ever learn?
Our military leaders begged him to leave 15,000 to 20,000 troops in Iraq after 4,000 brave American soldiers lost their lives bringing near stability to Iraq. He made little effort to do so and removed ALL troops. Iraq’s prime minister Nouri al-Maliki , a Shite, took advantage of the situation and purged Sunnis from his government and withdrew his support from others. He also established closer ties with Shite Iran who are, as we spea, developing a nuclear weapon.
These same Sunnis are now fighting and supporting ISIS, today, our very dangerous mortal enemy.
. . . After World War II we left thousands of troops in Germany to act as a trip wire in the event of an incursion of Russian troops. It has worked for 60 years. After the Korean War we left 37,000 troops in South Korea for the same reason. Which has also worked and created a prosperous country for them.
We are now reentering Iraq because of his misjudgment. We may later be forced to do so also in Afghanistan. FOR THE SAME REASON!
Does the man ever learn?

To make us safer America must demonstrate its power

The world views America as weak. Because we have a very weak leader. A demonstration of American military power is urgently necessary. No, not boots on the ground, but a demonstration of our capability and overwhelming superiority in military technology.

The American public is tired of seeing our brave soldiers come home, without arms and legs, or with mental difficulties or in a casket. But it does want America to be respected in the world. Because without it they instinctively know we will continue to live in a world that is the tinderbox it has now become under the lack of leadership of President Obama. Continue reading