There has been a lot of discussion around the terms “conservative” and “Establishment.”
If you are reading this blog, you are not unaware of the ever increasing divide between the Republican Party bosses and their minions in Washington, DC and those who live in real America. At the center of this fight are ideology and control of the Party of Reagan. Even just as important are the definitions of the words “conservative” and “Establishment.”
In 2014, the team at Madison Project and I corporately wrote a blog titled, “Defining Conservatism.” Having just re-read the post, I believe it still holds up. There are tenets that define the word “conservatism” as a whole, much like the tenets of faith. You either believe in something or you don’t. For those living in our modern age, the thought of actually believing or not believing in something is an antithesis to how recent generations have been taught to think. To sum all that up, it boils down to, “Hey, if it works for you, do it.” There is nothing new under the sun. There was, after all, a time when “every man did what was right in his own eyes.”
Bottom line is that you can define “conservatism” in a very concise way. It is the belief that individuals know best, not the government, in all areas of life. Any attempt to grow the latter and its intrusion into our lives is, well, not conservative. Taxes, ever expanding bureaucracy, more government red tape-these and more fall into the “not conservative” column.
Enter the term “Establishment.” It was with some interest that I noticed Senator John Thune of South Dakota (who I know-my dad and he served in the House of Representatives together) said last week that he was “very offended by being called ‘The Establishment’.”
So what does “Establishment” mean? How do we define it?
The simple answer is: the opposite of conservatism. And if conservatism is the approach that individuals know best, not the government, and therefore seek to constrain the size, scope and intrusion of government into our lives, then being part of the Establishment means that those who are part of it believe government knows best, not individuals, and do nothing to constrain the size, scope and intrusion of it into our lives and, in fact, seek to grow it that they may benefit from its growth. The latter is collusion between Big Business and Big Government.
Can it be that simple, you ask?
But for more clarity, in 2015 alone, Senator Thune voted for the DHS bill that funded amnesty. He voted for the $500 billion Doc Fix, No Child Left Behind Reauthorization, the Continuing Resolution that funds Planned Parenthood and in 2014 for the $956 billion Farm Bill, calling it “a significant win.” Add to all this what the Conservative Review team wrote:
There’s a lot more I could add to this. Things like, “If you are part of the Establishment, you work to maintain the status quo.” Or, “If you are part of the Establishment, you run around talking about all the stand alone bills you voted for that have no chance of becoming law.”
Or, last but not least, your sentences justifying your political existence begin with, “Look, there is no one more conservative (or pro-life) than I am, but. . . ”
While not the definitive post on what “Establishment” means, let’s at least use this as a marker going forward.
Thursday, December 31st, 2015 and is filed under Elections
He’s a successful businessman who has spent one term in the Texas House of Representatives and while there, earned sterling scores from the conservative scorecards in Texas.
More importantly, in his election to the Texas House of Representatives, Steve challenged and knocked off liberal Republican, Rob Eissler, organizing a “from the ground up” kind of campaign to oust Eissler 56.5% to 43.5%.
Now Steve is looking to jump to the big leagues by challenging incumbent Republican Congressman Kevin Brady for the 8th Congressional District of Texas.
In an a conservative R+29 district, Congressman Brady scores a paltry 55% on the Heritage Action scorecard, failing to even meet the average score of House Republicans (and that’s saying something). On our Madison Performance Index, Congressman Brady scores a -24.5. From voting for the Ex-Im Bank to the pork laden $325B Highway Bill, Kevin Brady is a man out of step and out of touch with his Congressional District.
Clearly, it is time for Kevin Brady to go and in Steve Toth we will have an election and legislatively proven conservative. He has been there, done that and it is time to promote him to Congress.
We are excited about this race and for the chance to endorse Steve. This is one of those races that we feel is going to surprise a lot of people in 2016.
Thursday, December 31st, 2015 and is filed under Elections
At 37 years of age, MaryThomas is a rising star in conservative politics. A general counsel inside Governor Rick Scott’s administration in Florida since 2011, Mary has been involved in interviewing the governor’s nominees as well as serving as general counsel for the Department of Elder’s Affairs in Florida. Already having made the repeal of Obamacare a core component of her campaign, Mary impressed us with her deep knowledge of the Constitution. We have seen this a few times before with great Madison Project candidates-the one that comes to mind is Ted Cruz.
Florida’s 2nd Congressional District is currently held by a Democrat but with redistricting it is now a strong Republican district which means whoever wins the Republican primary looks to win this seat comfortably in the general election next November. Though Mary has raised a healthy six figures, she is up against a well funded moderate in the race who, as a lobbyist, fought for the expansion of Medicaid as a part of Obamacare and is on record saying he opposes the repeal of Obamacare because it would “jar the economy and leave many people without care.”
This is an opportunity for us to make history as a team, not only by helping Mary win but by helping elect the first Indian-American female to Congress, one who has promised us her first order of business in Washington, DC will be to join the House Freedom Caucus.
We are thrilled to endorse her and look forward to helping her win both the primary and the general election.
In our first series of podcasts, How To Save Your Country In 5 Minutes, Drew Ryun of the Madison Project discussed practical steps to winning in politics.
In the next few podcasts, our series within a series, Drew discusses the intellectual foundation for conservatism and how our nation began with American History In 5 Minutes. Today’s podcast discusses the origins of the American Revolution and the influence of pamphleteers in the American colonies.
Having launched the Wetumpka Tea Party in Wautumpka, Alabama in 2009 with her husband, Eric, Becky and her group had applied for 501c4 status from the IRS so that they could engage in practical ways in the political arena. Like many tea party groups, they were strung out by the IRS for over a year without any communication. As the IRS scandal unfolded, it was clear they were operating under directives to stymy the tea party movement before the 2012 elections. Things took a turn when the IRS began asking tea party groups for list of their members and donors, however, and Becky Gerritson struck back, joining a suit to sue the IRS for egregious overreach.
Along the way, we intersected with her when she volunteered herself and her tea party for Get Out The Vote efforts in 2012 in Florida to help Ron DeSantis win his House seat (he did). Of all the candidates we have every known, this is one that we have a long standing relationship with and couldn’t be more happy to see her run, especially as she is running against Martha Roby, the current incumbent in Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District. With a paltry 54% on the Heritage Action scorecard and a absolutely terrible -43.5 on the Madison Performance Index, Roby has earned a place in our Hall of Shame with a voting record that is more in line with a Democrat member than a Republican from one of the most conservative districts in the United States.
Not only is it time for Martha Roby to be retired, but we have a legitimate candidate in Becky Gerritson running against her. This is our goal in 2016, to take deeply red districts and make sure the Members that represent them actually represent them and are not lackies for a GOP Establishment gone awry.
This is why we are so excited about Becky’s run for Congress and happy to endorse her today. A full spectrum conservative, she is a leader who knows exactly what is wrong with Washington, DC and why she wants to go to Congress-to change the way things are done there.
In 2010 she ran as a pro-life conservative to replace retiring Senator Judd Gregg in New Hampshire, narrowly squeaking past Ovide Lamontagne in the Republican primary (we endorsed Ovide) before cruising to victory in the general election with 60% of the vote.
Entering the United States Senate with her conservative bone fides, many expected Ayotte to be a transformative force. She has been anything but transformative, quickly falling into the pattern we have seen established by many GOPers. Run as a conservative, govern as a liberal.
Her latest foray into the art of run as a conservative, govern as a liberal, has been to serve as the GOP Establishment’s hatchet man (woman) against Senator Ted Cruz’s efforts to defund Planned Parenthood through the Continuing Resolution process.
Let’s establish the pattern for the Ayotte types. It generally starts with, “There is no one more pro-life than I am (no one!!). I support investigating Planned Parenthood. I voted for the stand alone bill to defund Planned Parenthood.”
Then there is the inevitable “but” thrown in there.
Ayotte’s, predictably, is: we just don’t have the votes because we don’t have the White House. If you think you’ve heard this line before, see Mitch McConnell.
Backing up the first excuse is the alarmist: we can’t shut down the government over this!
Quick question for Senator Ayotte-how pro-life are you that you would surrender before the fight to save hundreds of thousands of babies begins?
But here is where the ignorance of Senator Ayotte shines through.
There is no such thing as a government shutdown. Slowdown, yes. Shutdown, no.
In fact, in the longest government slowdown in history (1995-96, 21 days) all non-essential government employees were furloughed and guess what? Employees defined as those performing duties vital to national defense, public health and safety, or other critical operations kept right on working. It makes you wonder why we have “non-essential” government employees in the first place, doesn’t it?
Bottom line is this. Kelly Ayotte has not come remotely close to fulfilling her promise as a conservative in the United States Senate. Not only has she fallen in with bad company, she is now helping lead their charge.
While she frets that a government shutdown may ruin her chances to re-election, we cast a quick glance at her scorecard averages and performance index numbers and ask, “Why would any voters in New Hampshire vote to re-elect you? If given the choice between a legitimate liberal and a knockoff one parading as a conservative, go with the authentic one.”
We made our 8th endorsement of the 2016 cycle last week and we made it in support of David Gerson in Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District. That means Step #1 in the process is complete. A great candidate has been ID’d and we have endorsed.
Step #2 in the process is now raising as much money for David as possible. That’s where you all come in. With September 30th looming, end of the quarter reports will be due in just 9 days and we want David to have a strong showing at the end of the month.
So here’s what I need you to do today. Go directly to David’s campaign site and donate to his campaign. To do so, just click here.
$5, $10, $25-every dollar counts. So please, go give to David today!
In 2014, he ran a well-organized, self-funded campaign and almost beat a heavily entrenched incumbent.
While many challenger candidates walk away discouraged after a first (and somewhat predictable) loss, David Gerson refused to do so. Instead, he went back to the drawing board and began planning a comprehensive plan on how to beat the incumbent Congressman from Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District, John Kline.
Given the work Gerson has done over the last 18 months and seeing an even tougher primary process looming, Kline did what few expected-he announced his retirement.
As the race now goes into a free-for-all scenario, it is time to rally conservatives around David Gerson.
A mechanical engineer with over two decades of experience in the private sector, David has seen firsthand the effects of a government run amuck with red tape. A comprehensive conservative, David is pro-life and fiscally conservative and during our conversation with him it became abundantly clear he understands the problem in Washington, D.C. – the current leadership of the GOP party. Not only is David committed to winning this race, he is committed to electing new leadership that reflects the party platform and the conservative base.
We are excited to endorse David for Congress and urge other conservatives to rally behind him.
This is a seat we can and must win. To turn the tide in Washington, it starts one race, one seat at a time.
Here at the Madison Project, we have consistently claimed three core competencies:
1) Identifying and supporting good conservatives to run for office
2) Holding the GOP Establishment accountable for their legion of broken promises.
3) Creating and implementing ground game plans to help our (and other) conservatives win.
It is the latter we are engaged in down in Florida right now. As we often tell folks, when it comes to winning a state, you don’t have to win every county. You just have to win the right ones and inside those counties, you have to win the right precincts.
Simple, yes. Easy, no.
There are a lot of folks who talk about doing the necessary work that it takes to win. There are few who will actually take the time to do it, but on August 1st, we launched a comprehensive voter ID project in key counties in Florida and already have thousands of completed surveys. Because of these, we feel confident in saying the following:
1.) High frequency Independent voters are VERY gettable for the right Republican candidate. Among these voters, Hillary Clinton has a relatability problem. When told that Hillary and Bill Clinton made over $165 million between 2001 and 2012, over 60% of these type voters do not think she can relate to them.
2.) A minority demographic is HIGHLY antagonistic to Hillary Clinton’s statement that churches that refusing to change their positions on abortion and same sex marriage should lose their tax exempt status.
3.) 60% of the high frequency Independents feel that ISIS and Islamic terrorism is a rising threat to America and 42% of them believe Hillary will NOT provide the leadership necessary to defeat ISIS.
4.) The Democrats are already ACTIVELY working parts of the state and various demographics where the knowledge of political races is insanely high, the kind seen during the latter stages of an election.
How do we know this?
Because we’re on the ground already, building out data to use for 2016. Free from the static caused by political season, we are having a conversation with the voters right now.