Monday, March 31, 2008

Who is Paul Baumbach?

Blogger—I began sending emails out to people supporting John Kerry in 2004. Initially, these were focused on how people who help Kerry win in 2004. Even though Delaware was ‘a lock’ in 2004, I provided information on opportunities to help in battleground states, including ‘door-knocking’ in Pennsylvania, and writing to voters in Nevada. In early 2005, I began a blog, to include the periodic emails which I called Progressive Updates. I address national, regional, state, and local issues, all from a progressive/liberal perspective.

Democrat—I joined the 23rd Representative District several years ago (2005?) and have been active on the committee. I have also been involved with the Progressive Democrats of Delaware, and currently serve on its Endorsement Committee, charged with identifying which Democratic candidates in Delaware pass an appropriate 'liberal litmus test'.

Campaigns—I worked for John Kowalko’s successful campaign against Republican incumbent Stephanie Ulbrich in 2006. For John, in addition to door-knocking, I worked on talking points, speech and forum presentation, and other strategy. I have served as the treasurer for two local campaigns. I also helped other candidates in 2006 in speech and forum presentation matters.

Barack Obama—In January I organized a fundraiser for Obama that raised $2,500. I also offered my business for evening phone-banking ahead of the Super Tuesday primary. I attended both the Michelle and Barack Obama speeches in Delaware (was Michelle incredible, or what?).

I have worked to be selected as a delegate to the national convention, where I plan to not only vote for Obama, but also to convince additional delegates (uncommitted, and Clinton-supporters) to vote for Obama. The country needs Barack Obama to be the nominee of the Democratic Party, and I wish to help make this happen in August in Denver.

Social Justice—I helped resurrect the Social Justice committee at my church ( ), which I have led for more than five years. We have a long list of accomplishments, of making the community a better world in the past several years, including:

  • Candidate forums in 2004, 2006, and 2008
  • Voter Registration Drive in 2004
  • Lobbying for Anti-Discrimination Bills (currently SB 10 and SB 141)
  • Code Purple Sanctuary—open our doors on cold winter nights for those without shelter
  • Seminars—We held two wonderful lecture series, including one on Religions of Mankind by Professor Alan Fox
  • Films—We have shown many great films with social justice angles, including An Inconvenient Truth.
  • Service Trips—youth service trip to Central America and West Virginia, Katrina relief trips to the Gulf Coast
  • Partnering with Community Groups—Newark Empowerment Center, Emmaus House, Hope Dining Room, Delaware Food Bank, Sierra Club

Professional—I am a fee-only investment advisor. In 1996 I founded Mallard Advisors (, an independent financial planning firm, in Newark. We help individuals plan towards retirement, and in retirement.

Family—I have been married to Pam since 1985, and have lived in Newark since 1990 with our son who is now a college freshman.

Hobbies—When not working and politicking, I enjoy road bicycling, tennis, jogging/walking/hiking.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Wind Power--03/07/2008

Sent today to the Wilmington News Journal

Skipping Class

How well have our state legislators done in bringing dependably-priced energy to Delaware? They passed a bill two years ago to establish a process of requesting and approving bids, a process won by Bluewater Wind, and yet the contract is held up, on our legislators. Almost half of the state legislators have sponsored House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 38, which will end the delay.

One argument I hear is that the legislators who condone the delay is that they don’t know enough about the contract, since they did not attend the many public hearings in the past year and a half. This excuse doesn’t hold up. If your child misses a class, it is their responsibility to go back and get the notes—if not, they fail. The notes (minutes) from these public hearings are available, but the legislators who refuse to sponsor HCR 38 are too lazy to ‘do their make-up work’. What grade do they deserve?

Ask your representative and senator whether they support HCR 38. If not, ask them what they have done in the past two months to make up for their absences at last year’s contract hearings. If they have done nothing, in November give them a failing grade—they have earned it.

Not sent (too long for the News Journal)

This week brought the latest disgrace to this process, as Senate ‘leaders’ DeLuca and McDowell paid $35,000 of your money to bring a DC attorney as Grand Inquisitor of state employees from departments that ruled in favor of the Bluewater Wind contract, a contract that DeLuca and McDowell are fighting the public and their fellow legislators to kill. ‘Shoot the messenger’, anyone?

McDowell’s kangaroo court is a further waste of precious time and money, and the McCarthy-era grilling of our state employees is reprehensible, lobbyist-scripted politics at its very worst. This waste is largely the result of the 35 legislators’ failure to co-sponsor HCR 38 and demand the immediate end to the contract’s delay.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Progressive Update--03/06/2007

Good/Bad News—The Democratic nominee for Presidential candidate goes on. There are some benefits of this. Some Dems note that the race is news, and there is no such thing as bad media attention. Others note that the country has not decided which Democrat they want to run against McCain, and they need more time to hear more from each candidate.

The other camp sees disadvantages to the continued primary contest. Especially the Ohio contest showed significant negative campaigning, and while some consider this as beneficial to the ultimate candidate (it hardens them), most feel that it shows a bad side of the party. The longer that this goes on, the more analysis and attention will be paid to the ‘superdelegates’ and the issue of how to treat voters/delegates from Michigan and Florida. While drama (of a late August decision on the nominee) is exciting, it certainly seems to make it more difficult for the ultimate nominee to wage a two month campaign against McCain, who has four times as much time. Another issue is that a continued primary contest sucks dollars from Democratic donors, to fund Obama’s and Clinton’s primary campaigns, money that is far better spent against McCain.

The Michigan and Florida issue is tricky—if the national committee tells you that you need to wait until Super Tuesday or later, or else your delegates won’t count, why would you go ahead and hold it in January? Well Michigan and Florida did. Now what? I think that you can not count the delegates that were selected through breaking the rules, as it would reward the rule-breakers (rules which MI and FL agreed to over a year earlier), but MI and FL can hold a new primary/caucus. In a contorted manner, this will accomplish what each state initially wanted to achieve—having their primary matter (but by being late, not early). Regardless, a ‘do-over’ is more complicated than it first sounds … notes “Lurking in the background are the delegations from Michigan and Florida, which will not be seated under party rules because they scheduled their votes before Feb. 5, in clear violation of party rules. The governor of Florida (and Vice Presidential hopeful) Charlie Crist, has said he would not be against having a new Florida primary. Of course when a Republican governor offers the Democrats a tasty treat, one should look at all the details to see exactly what he has in mind. Is he doing this to sow discord among the Democrats? Does he think Clinton would win it and be the weaker candidate? What's the catch? He wants the DNC to pay for it. It is estimated that a primary would cost $25 million. Thus what he is really proposing is draining $25 million from the DNC warchest and probably having the weaker general election candidate win it. Sounds like an excellent plan (if you are a Republican governor hoping to be tapped as Vice President). The Democrats could hold caucuses in Florida and Michigan instead of primaries. Caucuses are paid for by the parties but they are MUCH cheaper. The problem with caucuses is getting both Clinton and Obama to agree. Caucuses are sparsely attended and the candidate with the better organization usually wins them. Obama has won nearly all the caucuses so far, so Clinton would prefer primaries. Politics does not have a What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get interface like modern word processing programs. You have to parse every sentence very carefully and know the context to see what they are up to.”

The super-delegate ‘issue’ is quite touchy—should they follow their heart, their state’s popular vote, their state’s pledge delegates, or what? I believe that they should, in the full light of day (as opposed to in a dark smoke-filled room in Denver) all shift to the campaign with the most delegates when the pledged delegate race is decided (now, after Pennsylvania, after Michigan/Florida—I don’t know when). This will accomplish the goal of ‘ending the madness’, helping the 2nd place candidate see that the gig is up (as Huckabee finally did on Tuesday night), and permitting the whole Democratic party to get behind the clear, cleanly selected nominee.

US Congress—While the Democratic Presidential candidate race has been in the headlines, there has been a very good development in the Congressional races. The Congress has instituted a two-year limit on departing Congressmen, whereby they can’t lobby during their first two years out of Congress—unless they retire by this November. As a result, there is an exodus from the House and Senate, not surprisingly of Republicans. This opens the door wide to strong gains by Democrats in both the House and Senate this year, and that doesn’t even include the Republicans who are leaving due to scandals. January 2008 may not only bring a Democratic White House, it can also bring a far more Democratic Congress (perhaps even enough to break Republican filibusters). Five Republican Senators are retiring, and six incumbent Republican Senators are ‘vulnerable’, according to