The people inside the Beltway and on Wall Street have no understanding of what is going on with Main Street USA today. Karl Rove, the legendary Republican strategist, is outraged and critical of the primary victory of Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell over the incumbent Republican, Mike Castle. The reason that this primary is so significant is that, for the first time in my lifetime, Main Street USA, you and me, average citizens and entrepreneurs, the people who generate the jobs in the country, the people who pay their taxes every year, the innovators and creators of products and services that are valuable in the worldwide marketplace, are angry. We are angry because we don’t believe that more government is better. We don’t believe that sending more tax dollars to Washington is a good thing, and we don’t believe that they will spend those tax dollars responsibly. In fact, it is an absolute certainty that they won’t. They never have!
We are fed up with the Democrats and the Republicans, and with the establishment of big government. And we are not asking anymore – we are demanding. We are demanding with our voices and with our votes. We want smaller government. We want the debt slashed. We want Washington to stop this crazy spending.
We, as individuals and as small business owners, have made sacrifices and cutbacks because we have had to. The US government has not cut one program. There has been no reduction of expenses and not one sacrifice, and yet they want to raise taxes on the top 2% income earners. This will have very little impact on the mega-billionaires and mega-millionaires, but the majority of people in that 2% are small business entrepreneurs, people like you and me, who already pay taxes in the 50-60% range.
We are tired of supporting the government’s waste. The Tea Party movement’s phenomenon is driven by the small business entrepreneur, and it will knock out Republicans as well as Democrats. We need our voices to be heard. We need to stand together and demand that our government get back on track. We must hold our government accountable for their actions, and work towards a fairer tax system for every citizen. These are problems that cannot be fixed with Band-Aids. We need to elect candidates who share our values and our belief in smaller government and less taxation. And we need it now!
This election in November is our time to make our voices heard. We cannot sit on the sidelines any longer. Change is only ever possible with a sense of desperation, and that change is happening because people finally have had enough. We are desperate for our leaders to represent the will of the people, not the Republican or Democratic agenda, but the principles of America.
The engine that built America is obviously the private sector. We provide the jobs, we provide the innovation and creativity, and we provide the products and services that have value in the marketplace all over the world. In history, there has never been such a job creating, revenue creating engine.
The world is both excited and troubled by the rapid growth of China’s economy. By the way, this growth is not coming from a communist inspired nation but by a nation that has embraced our example of free market capitalism. In other words, they were smart enough to copy us! They are on an annual run rate for their GDP at $5 trillion, passing Japan in the process.
This is a tremendous achievement by a country that just a few years ago was a communist run, communist inspired nation. However, even in a time in America when we are economically in the tank, and our financial system is near collapse, our run rate for our GDP is $15 trillion, three times that of China, and still bigger than China, Japan and Germany combined.
Our economy today, by all calculations and according to most every economist you ask, will most likely have a paltry growth rate of one to two percent for the conceivable future. That being the case, the private sector understands that the only way that we can survive and keep people employed is to operate our businesses more efficiently, and cut out the fat. And believe me, there is fat in every business, large and small, that serves no productive purpose. We understand that revenue is important, but profit is more important. A prime example of that is Wal-Mart.
Wal-Mart recently reported flat growth in revenue, but an increase of 7% in profitability. That’s because Wal-Mart, and every other business, looks at their expenses every single day to make sure that we are spending our money wisely, and investing our money to bring the best return so we can keep our businesses robust.
A rule of thumb is this – the more money you have, the more money you are going to waste. And no one has or wastes more money than the United States government. When is the last time you heard of any politician cutting any program that did not work, or eliminating any earmark from any bill, or stopped any pork project that built a bridge to nowhere that served no one? The answer to that question would be never!
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is trying to cut fat from our military budget, and make it operate more efficiently, but he is running into stiff opposition. There are Republicans and Democrats who are not interested in streamlining the military and eliminating inefficient operations. They are primarily concerned with losing programs, as bad as they may be, that provide income for their constituencies. These politicians need to go! These are not political issues. They are not Republican or Democratic issues. These are American issues. If we are going to make changes in our government and demand that they stop the waste and cut the deficit, we are going to have to have the same resolve—as a country – as our forefathers had in fighting World War II. President Roosevelt did not commit the United States to the war until he was sure that this country had the resolve to stand together, committed to end the tyranny of Nazi control. Pearl Harbor served as the catalyst.
We, as Americans, have had a wake-up call in the last two years with the near collapse of our financial system and the ongoing problems of our brothers and sisters losing their jobs and facing months, even years, of unemployment and seeing their benefits exhausted. Tim Geithner and Ben Bernanke, and other “financial geniuses” cannot solve these problems, and government hand-outs will not be the silver bullet to solve these problems. There isn’t one silver bullet in the world that will be the solution to the financial crisis we find ourselves in. But the first thing we must do as Americans is find the resolve to stop the craziness in Washington, which did not start with the current administration or with the current Congress. This started a long time ago. But we – the American people – have let it go on long enough. We – the private sector, private citizens –are the customers of the United States government. We make the United States government possible. Our tax dollars run the country.
We have to demand accountability and results from whoever is in Washington, and we have to do it now.
If you agree with this message, please pass it on to everyone you can. We need to take our country back and make it great once more.
I have a very diverse group of friends. I love them all, and I relish their diversity. I am hearing strange rumblings from my liberal friends lately that they, and their liberal friends, are beginning to abandon Obama.
One such friend was on vacation for the summer, and he told me that he and his friends, who were main financial supporters of Obama, were now feeling embarrassed that they had put their support and money behind Obama. I’m quoting here – he said, “Tell all of your friends to go vote in this election!”
My friends come from all walks of life – all religions, all economic levels, different political parties. I talk to all of them, and I listen to all of them. And I am now hearing a panic in my liberal friends about the direction that this country is going in. It is a panic I expect to hear from my conservative friends, but from my liberal friends, I find it shocking.
But I also find it hopeful, that maybe the tide is turning, and people are finally seeing the signs. If that is the case, then maybe this country has a chance
I just got back from a week in Pebble Beach. There’s no place in the world more beautiful, and it is America! We played golf at Pebble Beach, and stayed right there at the Inn at Spanish Bay, but within a 30 mile radius, there is so much more to do than just play the greatest golf course in the world. The high temperature was 62, low about 52.
One of my favorite lunch spots was the Stillwater Café at the Pebble Beach Lodge, which overlooks the 18th green and the Stillwater Cove on the Pacific Ocean. It is an amazing place, but the food and wine is even more amazing. In Carmel, my favorite restaurants are Christopher’s, Bouchee, and Flaherty’s.
If you are visiting Monterey Wharf, don’t miss Café Fina. My Italian friend, Dominick, who is partners with John Madden, is a longtime owner of restaurants on the Monterey Wharf. It’s fabulous, and the food is so fresh! Carmel Valley has a wonderful inn and outdoor restaurant called Bernardus. It sits right in the middle of their own vineyard, and they make a great, great chardonnay. There is no place in Europe that is any more beautiful than Bernardus, and the food and wine is world class!
We also had drinks at Clint Eastwood’s Mission Ranch Inn. The place is about 150 years old and sits in a marsh-type area that opens up to the Pacific Ocean. You can eat, have drinks, it’s very old fashioned, very charming and different.
We went to Big Sur twice while we were there – once for lunch and once for dinner. We left Pebble Beach in the fog and 60 degrees, and arrived in Big Sur to 80 degrees and bright sunshine! We had lunch at the Post Ranch Inn, which sits about 1,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean, with the most stunning views I’ve ever seen.
While our lunch was five-star, the ambience and view were 10-star! We went back to Big Sur a couple of days later for dinner at Ventana, which is something I have been doing for 30 years. We eat outside in front of their big fireplace, and watch the sun set over the Pacific. Behind us to the east, so close it seems like we can touch them, are the golden hills that are so unique to California. It’s a spectacular place to spend an evening with friends.
I hope this gives you a notion of the diversity you can find in a 20 or 30 mile radius of the Monterey Peninsula, the Carmel Valley, Carmel Beach, and Big Sur. Again, all part of America. I have no need to travel anywhere else!
If you have the opportunity to visit the Monterey peninsula, I hope you’ll explore it and enjoy it like we do.
Yesterday, Peyton Manning tied my record of touchdown passes of 342 touchdown passes in his career. I set that record a lot of years ago. It stayed for about 15 or 16 years and it was broken later by Dan Marino and then Brett Favre broke Marino’s record. Peyton Manning, one of my very favorites, tied it yesterday.
I wrote Peyton a note today, and I congratulated him on 342 touchdown passes and told him he’ll go on to set the record of touchdown passes and I believe Peyton Manning will go on to be known as the greatest quarterback that ever lived. And I think he deserves it. He has absolutely handled himself as good as a person can handle it. This year he’s off to his best start. He’s got a new coach. He’s got new receivers. It makes no difference because Peyton Manning is all about team. He’s just a consummate professional, handles himself great but he comes from great stock.
His dad, Archie Manning, I played against in pro football, and Archie also played at Ole Miss. Archie was certainly one of the greatest — if not the greatest — college quarterbacks that ever played. He was s big strapping tall guy 6′ 4″. He could throw it on the run. He could run. Different kind of quarterback than Peyton and Eli. He really had great great running ability as well as could throw the ball. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t play on a good team in pro football.
He played for the old New Orleans Saints. It kind of speaks to something that’s important for all quarterbacks. We cannot be great quarterbacks if we don’t have great teammates, great coaches and stable organizations. He just didn’t have that in New Orleans. And so he couldn’t set the records that his sons are setting but he was every bit as good. But he’s been a great father and a great role model and a great mentor to Peyton and to Eli and now in this family that’s just amazing.
You’ve got Eli who’s now, I think, coming to the top rung of pro quarterbacks. He is now matured. He is a great great player. And he compares with the great ones playing today and he’ll probably go after Peyton’s records too.
What an extraordinary family and the rock of it is their mother who has been the solid foundation for the boys and for Archie and she’s just a wonderful lady. As I told Peyton in the note I wrote to him that your mom, Olivia, has just been the rock.
A toast to the great Manning family: Boy, they just do it right. Great great production from the sons and the father in his day and they just are thorough professionals and they handle themselves well and they are great role models for everybody.
For all of you who come to the blog, I have just published an autobiography. It’s called Every Day is Game Day. It’s not just about the wins and losses of football, the agony of defeat and the thrill of victory. It’s about the people and the lesson I’ve learned in my entire life. It’s about the notion that life is about relationships. The secret to happiness in life is relationships that come from caring about your people. It’s on the football field caring about your teammates and in business caring about your customers and your partners.
It’s in all the bookstores. It’s on Amazon.com. I hope you go find it, read it. I think there’s something in it that will serve you well and be an inspiration to you. Thanks for coming to the blog.
[Note: An autographed copy of Fran's latest book can be ordered for $16 + shipping at TarkentonSports.com. Click here to go there now.]
The eagle has landed for Michael Vick. He’s just signed up with the Philadelphia Eagles, and I think that’s great. This young man deserves another chance. He’s a talented talented athlete. Like so many of us we have all made mistakes.
No professional athlete in the history of time has ever had to spend two years in prison to pay for their mistakes. He did. He served his time. He deserves the chance to come out. He doesn’t need to burn in purgatory for the rest of his life. He’s paid his debt to society. He made a mistake. He admitted the mistake and he served his time more so than than anyone else that’s ever lived in the sports world. I think he will do great. I am pulling for him. I want him to knock the cover off the ball.
He’s going to the right organization. He’s going to a stable team the Philadelphia Eagles. Their ownership is stable. Their coach Andy Reid is stable. He’s going with a quarterback that’s already there. Donovan McNabb, who’s the epitome of stability. A quality quality person who I’m sure they talked to about bringing Michael Vick in and said bring it on.
Michael Vick is going to be a great asset to the Eagles because I would think they’d put a package of plays for him in that spread wildcat offense that Miami did last year. It’s a very effective offense. Just think if you have Brian Westbrook and Michael Vick in the same backfield. A package of 15 plays or so every game. It’s going to make Donovan McNabb better. It’s going to add to that football team and make them an offensive challenge for all the defensive coordinators.
Now I know that people are going to criticize the PETA people and the animal rights people. I love animals. I’ve had German Shepherds all my life. Up until three weeks ago I had four dogs. I had three German Shepherds: one 13-year old, two 1-year olds and I have a little tea-cup long haired Chihuahua weighing 2.5 lbs. I love my dogs unconditionally. They talk about dogs love to their master being unconditional love. It’s right back to me. I lost my 13-year old Shepard, Turbo, about 4 weeks ago. It was devastating to me. I cried and grieved for a week. I still miss him. I have a passion and love for my animals.
I understand the mistakes that Michael Vick made but I also understand he deserves anther chance. He paid his debt to society. And Michael Vick, go for it buddy! Go and show the people your skills. Show the people the quality of person that you are. I really believe that this will be a transforming experience for you. And I hope that everybody, everybody pulls for you and supports you because you deserve it.
Why would anybody want to go to Europe when you can go to the Monterey Peninsula? And more specifically, when you can go to Pebble Beach and stay at The Inn at Spanish Bay, and enjoy all of Pebble Beach – the great golf, the great lodges, and shops? But also to be able to enjoy Carmel, Carmel Valley, and Big Sur.
It is the most beautiful area that I have ever visited anywhere in the world. I have been going to Pebble Beach in August for the last 10-12 years because in Atlanta it is so hot and so humid in August that I go to Pebble Beach. The high at Pebble Beach during the week that I was there last week was 70 degrees. The low was 52 degrees. We were never hot, it was always cool – a great temperature for the trip, and great for golf.
On Wednesday, June 18th Tim Russert was laid to rest. A lot of significant things happened at his memorial service. A lot of great words were spoken, people expressing their feelings, telling stories, and having a really grand Irish funeral. But the most impressive part of the funeral to me was Tim’s 22 year old son, Luke Russert, who gave the eulogy. His uniqueness showed up before the eulogy was even given when Luke Russert asked the presidential candidates, Barack Obama and John McCain, to sit side by side in a show of unity as they move towards the presidential election in November. I thought that was more than symbolic, because I think we have the chance this year to show the heartfelt feelings and greatness of our country, which should not be steeped in hatred just because one is liberal or one is conservative, one is Democrat or one is Republican. We’ve had far too much of that.
I played football in the National Football League for 18 years, four years of football at the University of Georgia and four years of football at Athens High School. I had a couple of coaches in high school – Waymon Sellers and Billy Henderson. They were instrumental in my understanding of life, as well as developing as a football player.
They worked us hard. They made us practice the fundamentals over and over again. Those were important, but they were not nearly as important as this lesson: They instilled in me that in playing the team sport of football – it wasn’t about me. It wasn’t about my accomplishments or how many passes I could complete or how many runs I could make. It was about my teammates. My mission was supposed to be about my teammates. My job in a team sport was to make my teammates better. If I had that understanding and that attitude, and my teammates had that attitude, we had a much better chance of winning. My mission then, not only in high school and college and pro football was just that – it wasn’t about selfish ME. My focus and my mission had to be about making my teammates better, and if I made my teammates better, then our team had a much better chance to win.