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Thread: What should the GOP do?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Matt McKenzie's Avatar
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    Default What should the GOP do?

    I was reading some of the posts on the other threads (even that fossil train wreck) and it seems that there are many folks with ideas about what the Republican party should do to get back on track. What do you think? What planks would they have to put in the platform for you to vote Republican? What do they need to toss over the side?
    In my opinion, there are a few key conservative issues that they need to concentrate on:

    1. Fiscal conservatism. Low taxes, limited government, etc. The problem is that they have to walk the walk. So far, they haven't done any better with this than the Dems. In my opinion, every Department needs a total audit and some departments need to just be dismantled (Education, for example).

    2. The FairTax. It is easy to demagogue, but it would change this country for the better.

    3. Fixing Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid. It might be political suicide, but it needs to be done and they aren't winning now anyway. Somebody has to have the 'nads to point out the elephant in the room.

    4. Strong national defense. Self explanatory

    5. Get out of the gay marriage argument. Same goes for abortion. You can't win and it drives people away from the party. A big part of the reason that we have Obama, Pelosi and Reid leading our country right now.

    6. Continue the war on Islamic extremism and call it what it is. Stop wasting resources on the "war on drugs". It is as ridiculous as the left's "war on poverty". You can't stop people from getting high by trying to shut off their supply any more than you can stop people from being poor by giving them a government check.

    7. Push to clean up Congress. Earmark reform, hold the thieves and scoundrels in the GOP accountable, push for term limits. Get serious about cutting the pork. Sorry, but some folks just have to take a shot for the team.

    Most people in the country have basic conservative values. Most people in this country (I hope) still believe in self-sufficiency, hard work, God, free enterprise and the American Dream. Regardless of what you may think of Reagan, he inspired people by speaking about the things that they already believed in. He didn't need "new ideas". He communicated the old ideas that work. We need somebody who can do the same.

    What do you think?
    Matt McKenzie

    "Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it." Henry Ford

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    Senior Member luvalab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hookset View Post
    I was reading some of the posts on the other threads (even that fossil train wreck) and it seems that there are many folks with ideas about what the Republican party should do to get back on track. What do you think? What planks would they have to put in the platform for you to vote Republican? What do they need to toss over the side?
    In my opinion, there are a few key conservative issues that they need to concentrate on:

    1. Fiscal conservatism. Low taxes, limited government, etc. The problem is that they have to walk the walk. So far, they haven't done any better with this than the Dems. Agree. In my opinion, every Department needs a total audit and some departments need to just be dismantled (Education, for example). Agree.

    2. The FairTax. It is easy to demagogue, but it would change this country for the better. In theory, yes; in practice, undecided.

    3. Fixing Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid. It might be political suicide, but it needs to be done and they aren't winning now anyway. Somebody has to have the 'nads to point out the elephant in the room. If Social Security is "fixed" so that I personally lose out, after all the other losses I've happily suffered for being single, childless, able-bodied, and self-sufficient--well, then I'll NEVER vote Republican. I am a lucky person--I've always been happy to share a little and take a hit when needed, despite mostly living paycheck to paycheck. Don't mess with the promise that money that's been taken to ensure that others are not impoverished in old age will not be returned in some modest way when I am old. I don't expect that social security will make me rich, nor that it should be my only retirement plan, nor that I'll actually get as much or more than what I've put in no matter how long I live--I don't see it as an investment. However, it will probably be the difference between comfort and poverty for me. Don't mess with the implied promise of every paycheck of my working life.

    4. Strong national defense. Self explanatory. Strong national defense--agree; strong national OFFENSE, disagree.

    5. Get out of the gay marriage argument. Agree. Same goes for abortion. Agree. You can't win and it drives people away from the party. Agree. A big part of the reason that we have Obama, Pelosi and Reid leading our country right now. Agree.

    6. Continue the war on Islamic extremism and call it what it is. Disagree. See no. 4 above. I do not believe in "pro-active military defense"--I believe in the soveriegnty of the modern state. I believe in diplomacy and sanction and all sorts of other stuff, however. Stop wasting resources on the "war on drugs". Agree. It is as ridiculous as the left's "war on poverty". Agree. You can't stop people from getting high by trying to shut off their supply any more than you can stop people from being poor by giving them a government check. Agree.

    7. Push to clean up Congress. Earmark reform, hold the thieves and scoundrels in the GOP accountable, push for term limits. Get serious about cutting the pork. Sorry, but some folks just have to take a shot for the team. Agree.

    Most people in the country have basic conservative values. Most people in this country (I hope) still believe in self-sufficiency, hard work, God, free enterprise and the American Dream. Regardless of what you may think of Reagan, he inspired people by speaking about the things that they already believed in. He didn't need "new ideas". He communicated the old ideas that work. We need somebody who can do the same.

    What do you think?
    I usually see myself as either so right, I'm left--or so left, I'm right. Or just plain split.

    Genuinely left elements--I believe in a social safety net, and I believe that in a perfect world, with all else working well, the government of a truly rich and civilized nation would oversee the funding (and only the funding) of a single-payer health care system. I don't worry about it, though, as I think we're sooooooo far from being in a position to be able to do it well that it needs to be left to the private sector for the foreseeable future.

    Genuinely conservative elements--government out of personal lives, strong states rights, strong second amendment. Education funding and curriculum should be handled at the local and state levels. Fiscal conservative with the above exceptions. Somewhat of a protectionist.

    I don't really know that the Republican party wants me. Up to you!
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  3. #3
    Senior Member K.Bullock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hookset View Post
    I was reading some of the posts on the other threads (even that fossil train wreck) and it seems that there are many folks with ideas about what the Republican party should do to get back on track. What do you think? What planks would they have to put in the platform for you to vote Republican? What do they need to toss over the side?
    In my opinion, there are a few key conservative issues that they need to concentrate on:

    1. Fiscal conservatism. Low taxes, limited government, etc. The problem is that they have to walk the walk. So far, they haven't done any better with this than the Dems. In my opinion, every Department needs a total audit and some departments need to just be dismantled (Education, for example).

    2. The FairTax. It is easy to demagogue, but it would change this country for the better.

    3. Fixing Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid. It might be political suicide, but it needs to be done and they aren't winning now anyway. Somebody has to have the 'nads to point out the elephant in the room.

    4. Strong national defense. Self explanatory

    5. Get out of the gay marriage argument. Same goes for abortion. You can't win and it drives people away from the party. A big part of the reason that we have Obama, Pelosi and Reid leading our country right now.

    6. Continue the war on Islamic extremism and call it what it is. Stop wasting resources on the "war on drugs". It is as ridiculous as the left's "war on poverty". You can't stop people from getting high by trying to shut off their supply any more than you can stop people from being poor by giving them a government check.

    7. Push to clean up Congress. Earmark reform, hold the thieves and scoundrels in the GOP accountable, push for term limits. Get serious about cutting the pork. Sorry, but some folks just have to take a shot for the team.

    Most people in the country have basic conservative values. Most people in this country (I hope) still believe in self-sufficiency, hard work, God, free enterprise and the American Dream. Regardless of what you may think of Reagan, he inspired people by speaking about the things that they already believed in. He didn't need "new ideas". He communicated the old ideas that work. We need somebody who can do the same.

    What do you think?
    If I thought Obama beat McCain on the issues and not just hype I might be wringing my hands, I don't believe he did though.

    I certainly wouldn't compromise issues of character or morality to cater to liberals ...that doesn't make sense.
    Why doesn't glue stick to the inside of the bottle?

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    Senior Member YardleyLabs's Avatar
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    In my mind, fiscal conservatism begins with a budget that is balanced over time with deficits only when there is a need for economic stimulus and surpluses when there is a need for economic brakes. Cut expenses to the extent tolerable and raise taxes to pay the balance if you are not willing to cut more. Unfortunately, Republicans have always led with low taxes and failed to follow through with expense reductions to match. Bankrupting the country is not fiscal conservatism; it's onanism. Urgent need does not justify deficits. If money is needed to fight a war, raise taxes to pay for it.

    Small government begins with staying out of people's personal business.

    Competitive market economics: Recognize that the magic of Adam Smith results from competition, not unbridled greed at the expense of competition. Use the economic power of government to limit the ability of economic giants to leverage their size to undermine competition, and recognize that competition is needed on all dimensions: business to business, business to labor, business to consumer. If any player dominates, the value of competition disappears.

    The role of the corporation: Do not give corporations rights that are denied to individuals. Our constitution was written for the people, not for the companies. We have extended almost all personal civil liberties to companies as if they were people. However, we have shielded companies from responsibility and liability for their actions in a manner that we have appropriately denied to individuals. Greater responsibility and accountability is needed both for individuals and companies.

    Champion equal opportunity: As a society, we need to stimulate the energy and creativity of the best of our people without regard to circumstances of birth. It should be as easy to move down the social ladder as it is to move up. Wealth should not shield those born to privilege from having to earn their way and lack of wealth should not prevent our next generation of leaders from reaching their potential.

    If these became the platforms of the Republican Party, I would vote Republican.
    Last edited by YardleyLabs; 07-04-2009 at 05:18 PM.

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    Senior Member Franco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hookset View Post

    What do you think?
    I agree with ALL of it! This is a very level-headed approach.

    Voters are frightened by the out-of-control spending and we need to roll that spending way back. They are also going to have to promise to end the destructive legislation that will be passed like Cap and Trade and Nataionalized Healthcare.

    I'll also add that we need serious Tort Reform. I know doctors that have quit practicing because of all the frevilious lawsuits and outrageous settlements. They feel like they are working to pay insurance premiums.
    Last edited by Franco; 07-04-2009 at 05:54 PM.
    It's time we abandon our party affiliations and rather than being good Dems or good Repubs we all become good Americans. MJH345

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    You should have to work your ass off to get to the top it should not be easy at all...period. Jeff from your talk about taxes in different threads you sound to be fairly well off and I am sure you busted your ass to get there. Someone should not be able to get there easily but once they do what they do with their money is their business. Whether that is give it all to grandchildren so they can live a lavish life and do nothing or buy gay hookers to their hearts content it is not my business. As far as a safety net. make your own. Don't live outside your means and save money in case something happens. You shouldn't be allowed to steal from your neighbors hard earned money (or their not earned inherited money) because you were to irresponsible to save and plan ahead.

    As for everything posted in the original post i would have to agree with. Especially education, IIfeel that if government is going to be in the business of education they should at least provide vouchers for parents to be able to decide where their child goes to school. Why should the government dictate your education

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    Senior Member Matt McKenzie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YardleyLabs View Post
    In my mind, fiscal conservatism begins with a budget that is balanced over time with deficits only when there is a need for economic stimulus and surpluses when there is a need for economic brakes. Cut expenses to the extent tolerable and raise taxes to pay the balance if you are not willing to cut more. Unfortunately, Republicans have always led with low taxes and failed to follow through with expense reductions to match. Bankrupting the country is not fiscal conservatism; it's onanism. Urgent need does not justify deficits. If money is needed to fight a war, raise taxes to pay for it.

    Small government begins with staying out of people's personal business.

    Competitive market economics: Recognize that the magic of Adam Smith results from competition, not unbridled greed at the expense of competition. Use the economic power of government to limit the ability of economic giants to leverage their size to undermine competition, and recognize that competition is needed on all dimensions: business to business, business to labor, business to consumer. If any player dominates, the value of competition disappears.

    The role of the corporation: Do not give corporations rights that are denied to individuals. Our constitution was written for the people, not for the companies. We have extended almost all personal civil liberties to companies as if they were people. However, we have shielded companies from responsibility and liability for their actions in a manner that we have appropriately denied to individuals. Greater responsibility and accountability is needed both for individuals and companies.

    Champion equal opportunity: As a society, we need to stimulate the energy and creativity of the best of our people without regard to circumstances of birth. It should be as easy to move down the social ladder as it is to move up. Wealth should not shield those born to privilege from having to earn their way and lack of wealth should not prevent our next generation of leaders from reaching their potential.

    If these became the platforms of the Republican Party, I would vote Republican.
    Jeff,
    Could you flesh out the paragraphs about equal opportunity and the role of the corporation with some examples of how you would do that? I think I might agree with the concepts, but I need to understand more about the execution.
    Thanks

    K.Bullock,
    I'm not sure what you mean by, "I certainly wouldn't compromise issues of character or morality to cater to liberals ...that doesn't make sense." Could you elaborate? By the way, I'm not interested in catering to anybody, liberal or otherwise.
    Thanks
    Matt McKenzie

    "Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it." Henry Ford

  8. #8
    Senior Member Franco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hookset View Post

    I'm not sure what you mean by, "I certainly wouldn't compromise issues of character or morality to cater to liberals ...that doesn't make sense." Could you elaborate? By the way, I'm not interested in catering to anybody, liberal or otherwise.
    Thanks
    The idea of government legislating morality is a liberal mindset, just look at Iran if one wants to see how far it can go. It is also an issue that will drive moderate voters to the Dems and keep them in power.
    It's time we abandon our party affiliations and rather than being good Dems or good Repubs we all become good Americans. MJH345

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hookset View Post
    1. Fiscal conservatism. Low taxes, limited government, etc. The problem is that they have to walk the walk. So far, they haven't done any better with this than the Dems. In my opinion, every Department needs a total audit and some departments need to just be dismantled (Education, for example).
    If you are saying we need to whittle the total government payroll & get out of areas the Feds have no business being involved? I agree.

    2. The FairTax. It is easy to demagogue, but it would change this country for the better.
    I've tried to get this debate going several times - I will note that most of the proponents run for cover like a Lefty. The only tax should be a FLAT tax, & I am willing to debate that.

    3. Fixing Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid. It might be political suicide, but it needs to be done and they aren't winning now anyway. Somebody has to have the 'nads to point out the elephant in the room.
    I'm involved with SS & Medicare. I didn't ask for the drug program but you have to sign up to protect yourself. In general they work quite well as they are, but I do not want unusual measures taken to keep me going when it's my time. I believe a little tweaking would help, but when you receive care like our congresscritters you don't understand reality. They have also loaded these programs up with many who have not earned the benefit. As for Medicaid - it's welfare & should be treated as such.

    4. Strong national defense. Self explanatory
    Agree - might even favor some requirement for all young folks.

    5. Get out of the gay marriage argument. Same goes for abortion. You can't win and it drives people away from the party. A big part of the reason that we have Obama, Pelosi and Reid leading our country right now.
    Those people already have more rights than a normal person

    6. Continue the war on Islamic extremism and call it what it is. Stop wasting resources on the "war on drugs". It is as ridiculous as the left's "war on poverty". You can't stop people from getting high by trying to shut off their supply any more than you can stop people from being poor by giving them a government check.
    Too many topics - terrorism, Agree. If the cops solve the drug problem there will be less cops - it's that simple. Tax the hell out of them, like liquor & watch it disappear.

    7. Push to clean up Congress. Earmark reform, hold the thieves and scoundrels in the GOP accountable, push for term limits. Get serious about cutting the pork. Sorry, but some folks just have to take a shot for the team.
    As I've posted before, no retirement package for elected officials - they will be gone in a heartbeat.

    That's IMO -
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    Senior Member YardleyLabs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eildydar View Post
    You should have to work your ass off to get to the top it should not be easy at all...period. Jeff from your talk about taxes in different threads you sound to be fairly well off and I am sure you busted your ass to get there. Someone should not be able to get there easily but once they do what they do with their money is their business. Whether that is give it all to grandchildren so they can live a lavish life and do nothing or buy gay hookers to their hearts content it is not my business. As far as a safety net. make your own. Don't live outside your means and save money in case something happens. You shouldn't be allowed to steal from your neighbors hard earned money (or their not earned inherited money) because you were to irresponsible to save and plan ahead.

    ...
    I believe that inherited wealth, when the amounts involved allow a person to undermine the competitive opportunities available to others, will undermine a capitalist economy over time by creating a permanent economic aristocracy. Ultimately that reduces innovation and competition. A non-confiscatory estate tax on large estates promotes competition and competitive opportunity. The biggest problem with the pre-Bush estate tax was that the value of a tax free estate did not go up with inflation over time. If it had, it would have been possible to pass on a substantial estate ($5 million+) without taxes. However, for estates over that amount, I believe a either a 50% tax or a straight income tax on the estate would be appropriate. Note that one of the primary proponents of this type of approach is William Gates Sr. A secondary issue with our estate tax process is that it allows certain gains to go altogether untaxed because they are passed at their current market value without payment of the capital gains taxes by the estate that would have been paid on a sale by the decedent.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hookset View Post
    Jeff,
    Could you flesh out the paragraphs about equal opportunity and the role of the corporation with some examples of how you would do that? I think I might agree with the concepts, but I need to understand more about the execution.
    Thanks

    ...
    My children are bright, responsible, and hard working. Though still young they have been very successful in their chosen endeavors and have been rewarded financially.

    However, the fact that they were able to attend some of the finest secondary schools in the country (both public and private), followed by parent paid stints at NYU and Brown respectively, didn't hurt their chances. Having parents who attended similar schools, had graduate degrees (PhD and MPA), and worked hard to socialize and challenge them to meet their potentials also helped. There were never any health issues in the famly that affected their lives. There were never any financial shortages.

    So my kids have worked hard for what the have and were born with a lot of innate talent. But their successes have been greatly aided by sunny skies and the wind at their backs. Obviously, those are gifts that sometimes create softness, but I believe we avoided that. They were never just given anything and when they graduated, their financial independence was immediate and absolute: no big checks (or even small ones), no new cars, just hugs, kisses, and good wishes.

    However, if either of my kids ever yelled out that they earned every penny they have and shouldn't have to share with others, I would hit them over the head with a 2x4 and suggest they try it again with uneducated, poor parents, family health problems, inner city schools, and no access to college unless they could earn scholarships or pay themselves. Ultimately, equal opportunity has to begin with kids and the opportunities we give them to develop their potential independently of what they receive by accident of birth. Obviously, nothing can create truly equal opportunity, but we can do a lot better than we do now. Today, I see kids all the time whose lives are being squeezed dry by the lack of real opportunities to succeed. Some may be brilliant and driven enough to survive anyway, but they will probably never achieve what they should have. Most will become part of our institutional poor, worn down and broken by homelessness, poverty, schools that are happy to see them leave, drugs, and violence. Today, they are bright, accomplished, articulate and imaginative six and seven year olds. Tomorrow they are so much socil and economic detritus. "No child left behind" was a good slogan, but it was not backed up with programs to make a difference, only tests to prove failure.

    With respect to corporations, there may still be aneed for tort reform, but there is a greater need for improved corporate accountability, including expanded personal liability for actions taken by individuals in connection with their jobs.

    This is a tricky issue. Obviously, one of the problems in or legal system is that there is a tendency to assume that anytime something goes wrong that it must be someone's fault. Obviously, no doctor can perform 300 heart surgeries per year and never make a mistake. At some level, mistakes are part of the inherent risk of the procedure. However, we let malpractice cases go forward with no consideration of this reality. To make it worse, we have actually incorporated such personal liability settlements into our strategies for financing certain forms of medical care. For example, there is now almost an assumption that any non-genetic birth defect should have been prevented by the obstetrician and the hospital and malpractice settlements are the primary source of financing for the care of those affected. However, realistically, almost all of these cases are ineivtable accidents because accidents will happen.

    While we have gone too far in such cases, we have not gone far enough in cases of gross corporate malfeasance. This became apparent to me 30 years ago. A friend was stopped at a traffic light in her Ford. The car behind wasn't paying attention and rear ended her at a speed of 3-5 miles per hour. The car my friend was driving had a forward facing gas fill pipe and a tank that was held to the body of the car with rigid struts. The combination was lethal. The gas tank ruptured and the gas was thrown forward onto my friend. She was an extraordinarily beautiful 23 year old whose husband was a physician. She spent the next two years in hospitals with surgeries every few weeks. Fortunately for her, her face was untouched. The rest of her body was covered with a mass of scars and it was more than a year before she could walk again.

    They sued Ford. Ford denied all responsibility and in an extensive trial put numerous engineers on the stand to indicate that, based on the state of the art of engineering technology when the car was built, that fixed struts and forward facing fill pipes were accepted practice. In the middle of the trial, Jack Anderson published a column mentioning that there were films of low speed crashes with this same vehicle model showing explosions. They were able to obtain copies of the films and prove that Ford was completely aware of the problem and that Ford had considered replacing the fixed struts with flexible ones (similar to ones on other models) but rejected that change because it would have increased costs by less than $10/car. The engineers that had testified as "experts" were actually people in Ford who had that as their sole job. They were shielded from any involvement in product development and were never shown any test results. In the liability case, the jury found Ford guilty of gross negligence.

    Under NJ law, once liability was established they needed to have a completely separate trial on damages to be awarded. In that trial the jury was not permitted to be told about any of the circumstances concerning the case. Ford focused all of its efforts on showing photos of my beautiful friend in her long skirt dress with her physician husband in their Manhattan apartment. The final award was for $50,000. As part of the judgment they were not allowed medical expenses since those were covered by their own insurance.

    Damages aside, some one at Ford should have gone to jail for the design failure involved. Someone else should have gone to jail for structuring the legal defense that was outright fraud. Instead, I suspect that both parties involved received bonuses and promotions for their service.

    In a microcosm, this is an example of how individuals, acting within the limits of their jobs, are allowed to commit crimes as employees of a corporation that would land you or me in jail if we did the same thing to our neighbor. We multiply this senseless immunity over and over with the result that Bernie Madoff's family and employees will still end up rich from Bernie's exploits and Michael Milken was paid so much for his time in jail that I would have been happy to join him for a 5% stake.

    If my perspective seems too populist, understand that my background is as a former Partner in one of the largest accounting firms in the world. I provided litigation support services that were instrumental in helping one of my clients reduce a damage award from $1.8 billion to $37 million. I provided litigation support for one of the major brokerage firms accused of check kiting and of a major electronics importers for illegal dumping. My clients have included the top insurance, communications, brokerage, banking, consumer products, advertising, pharmaceutical, and oil companies as well as numerous governmental agencies. I can't say that I've seen people get away with murder, but they have come very close with impunity.

    The problems grew dramatically worse under the Reagan, Clinton and Bush (W) administrations. I believe it threatens competition and the fabric of our democracy and our economy. The economic collapse we are now witnessing is a symptom of the problem and will get worse if the problem is not addressed.

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