Friday, May 2nd, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Elections
Over the past few weeks, political news outlets have been filled with articles beaming about the masterful strategy of the GOP establishment in crushing grassroots challenges. They smugly celebrate the wily tactics of Senator Mitch McConnell, the Chamber of Commerce, and Crossroads in counterattacking the Tea Party. But when you think past the initial headline, you will find that there is nothing special, clever, or innovative about their strategy. It is quite simple.
Members of the political class, which is comprised of the leaders in both parties, support unconstitutional policies, corporate welfare, amnesty for illegals, consistent debt ceiling increases, federal control of local functions, and anything else demanded by the dominant moneyed interests. In return, they receive unlimited campaign support in the form of direct contributions and independent expenditures that are carefully coordinated with their candidates through McConnell’s network of the Chamber, NRSC, and Karl Rove – as outlined by National Journal.
In comes a grassroots candidate from the country class. Needless to say, unless they are a billionaire, they struggle to collect small donations from patriotic citizens in order to develop a modicum of legitimacy and grow their name ID with the electorate. In fact, it is precisely because these candidates support principle over power that they have a difficult time raising money – at least anywhere near the scale of the political class. There is a clear inverse relationship between principled stances on the issues and raising money.
The campaign finance “inequality” has been further exacerbated by McCain-Soros campaign finance laws that place upstart candidates at a disadvantage. They lack a large network of donors, but might know of a handful of patriots who are willing to fully support the candidate. However, they are hamstrung by caps on individual contributions.
Challenging the political class in both open seats (or Democrat seats) and incumbent seats would be arduous enough if the only inherent problem was the money gap. But there are two more challenges: defining of the candidate and ideological lies.
Defining the Candidates
In most races with grassroots challengers, the incumbent enjoys ubiquitous name ID and has been fully defined in the eyes of the voters for years. As is often the case, the incumbent might have mediocre approval numbers, but given that he is a known quantity, there is no fear that he is a total lunatic.
Contrast that to most of the challengers who are starting out with zero name ID and are completely undefined in the minds of voters. Again, most of these challengers lack the funds to ever pose a threat to the incumbent, but the minute they gain traction, the political class has unlimited funds to define the challenger with their professional hit man opposition attacks. Let’s be clear, some grassroots candidates are better than others, but there is no human being with an impressive background who does not have something in their lives that can be exaggerated or distorted and put into a massive TV buy.
Remember, the first time most voters are hearing about our candidates is through the prism of the oppo hits, and you know what they say about a first impression. That is how they can destroy someone out of the gate — with a dehumanization campaign. Even if they didn’t have the funding advantage it would still be difficult because of the gap in definition. The establishment can completely destroy upstart insurgent candidates because there is no pre-existing definition in the minds of voters. We cannot destroy their candidates, rather merely hope to slowly knock them down a few points. Moreover, we focus on issues; they focus on oppo hits. Guess which one resonates more with voters?
Lies, Lies, Lies
As the National Journal article noted, McConnell and his lieutenants have learned how to pick the lock. Unlike moderate incumbents of the past like Dick Lugar, who, more or less, ran on their records, these members take the McCain/Hatch route. In other words, they lie their way through the primary.
Instead of running on support of bailouts, amnesty, corporate welfare, debt ceiling increases, expansion of the federal government, jettisoning social issues, and tweaking Obamacare (things they support privately or even vote for) they use their superior firepower to portray themselves as rocked-rib conservatives and paint their opponents as liberals. Remember how Mike Simpson ran ads saying he voted to REPEAL the Wall Street bailout and that his opponent was a liberal trial lawyer? Their cowardly allies do the same thing. Just look at Jason Hart’s article about OH-14 to understand how all these factors play together.
Ponder this thought for a moment: political class candidates receive millions of dollars from big government interests precisely because of their support for liberal causes. Then they turn around and use that money to lie to the voters and sell themselves as the antithesis of their funding sources and their opponents as the epitome of their special interests.
Headed into the next few weeks, this strategy might pay off. We pray to God that it doesn’t.
But one thing is clear: there is no skill, merit, or virtue in what they are doing. It is nothing but old-fashioned corruption and lies.
Friday, February 21st, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Elections, Family Values
Yesterday, Matt Bevin posited a basic argument against redefining marriage – one that should be shared by any conservative concerned with the inane effort to change a fixed definition. Bedrock legal definitions are necessary because they have far-reaching ramifications. Once we change the basic definition of marriage to include same-sex relationships, what is the legal rationale for not including any other loving relationship?
For example, a son or daughter might want to collect the Social Security benefits of one parent in place of a spouse. Why can’t they define their relationship as a marriage and be entitled to collect those benefits?
This was the gist of Bevin’s argument in his own words From The Janet Meffered Show:
“If it’s all right to have same-sex marriages, why not define a marriage—because at the end of the day a lot of this ends up being taxes and who can visit who in the hospital and there’s other repercussions and things that come with it—so a person may want to define themselves as being married to one of their children so that they can then in fact pass on certain things to that child financially and otherwise.
Where do you draw the line? And if in fact a person can arbitrarily draw it here why not could someone else draw it arbitrarily somewhere else? There needs to be rule of law. Marriage has for millennia been defined as between a man and a woman universally. And it’s something we should recognize.”
Pretty simple argument – one which the left has declined to answer for years.
Instead of debating Matt on the substance of the argument, the far left has chosen to willfully distort his words to focus on an absurdity. The liberal Talking Points Memo cited an extremist group, Right Wing Watch, suggesting that Bevin was predicting gay marriage could lead to incest. Obviously, anyone with half a brain could see that he was making a legal argument and not suggesting that the social relationship of a gay marriage will lead to incest, especially given the fact that, by definition, same-sex couples can’t procreate.
Yet, amazingly, Mitch McConnell’s Chief of Staff (who also happens to be a top gun at the NRSC) tweeted out the left-wing article and compared Bevin’s comments to those of Todd Akin about rape and pregnancy.
Is there something Team Mitch would like to share with us? Do they think there is anything offensive about pointing out the folly of redefining marriage? Are they that out-of-touch with the mainstream of the very party McConnell seeks to lead?
Well, maybe so.
Remember Mitch’s articulate response to Justice Kennedy’s egregious ruling on DOMA, which in part, led to a Kentucky federal district judge forcing gay marriage on his home state?
“Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell issued no statement at all.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) simply flashed a smile and ignored a reporter’s question about the court’s decision Wednesday. (Politico)
And speaking of the ruling in Kentucky, Judge Heyburn was a McConnell staffer whom he recommended for the judicial appointment. During his confirmation hearing at the Senate Judiciary Committee, McConnell noted that Heyburn was a “progressive Republican” and cited the Louisville Courier Journal calling him “far from a right-wing ideologue.”
Did McConnell know something at the time about Heyburn’s “progressive” jurisprudence?
This is not the first time Heyburn shredded the Constitution in order to inject his progressive views on Kentucky. In 1998, he overturned the state’s law banning partial-birth murder.
Matt Bevin is right to be outraged by this rogue judge appointed by McConnell.
Once again, Team Mitch is making it clear that they are just as fraudulent social conservatives as they are fiscal conservatives.
Wednesday, October 16th, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Elections, Issues, News
Throughout the past few weeks, we witnessed the train wreck of the stupid party colliding with the evil party. The stupid party made sure to tell the evil party that they just need to reject their offer and there will be a new watered-down iteration in a flash. Finally, it got so bad that they couldn’t even draw a line in the sand on delaying just the individual mandate, even at a time when most individuals can’t comply with it if they tried. The irony is that the President will undoubtedly delay it (illegally) himself after the battle is over, making fools of the Republicans.
But amidst all the focus on Speaker John Boehner and House Republicans, we cannot lose focus on Mitch McConnell and the GOP Conference in the Senate. McConnell and his henchmen sabotaged House Republicans at the two most critical points.
Headed into October 1, the House was the only body that had the ability to pass a funding bill. Republicans had enough votes to block Harry Reid from reinserting funding for Obamacare. Instead, McConnell and the gang acted in solidarity with fellow Senate Democrats instead of House Republicans. That dynamic was only accentuated as the showdown dragged on.
Aside for Senators Mike Lee and Ted Cruz, nobody else paid more than lip service to fighting Obamacare. Worse, the overwhelming majority of Republicans in the Senate sabotaged the effort. One after another, they would go on TV and trash House Republicans and echo Harry Reid’s talking points. Reid and Obama just sat back and let Senate Republicans blow up their colleagues. Then in the eleventh hour, instead of at least demanding delay of the individual mandate (which McConnell touted months ago as the alternative to defund), McConnell gave Harry Reid everything he wanted.
House GOP leadership was never going to change, but there was a sense that we got as much unity out of the House conference as we will ever get for battles like this. Some House Republicans might be spineless, but the Senate Republicans are rotten to the core. We will never change the status quo in Washington unless we completely shake up the Senate Republicans. Anyone who thinks that by merely seeking 51 GOP senators next year we will suddenly obtain more leverage is mistaken. Harry Reid will still be the defacto leader unless we get rid of Mitch McConnell and as many of his backbenchers as possible.
It’s time to support Matt Bevin or go home. It’s time to continue plugging for all of the other challengers. In some states there are already multiple candidates. There are also some more impressive challengers that are set to announce soon.
We must also never give up the fight against Obamacare. This is not the farm bill or flood insurance. This will permanently crush the dignity and self-sufficiency of the middle class, destroy the entire healthcare system, and degrade the broader job market in every other field. This cannot stand. We must continue to fight the law at every turn and use every leverage point possible.
But ultimately, this is not just about Washington. The Constitution references three branches of “government.” I’m not referring to the executive, legislature, and judiciary. They have all become incorrigibly malignant. At this juncture, they are beyond repair. I am referring to the federal government, state government, and the individual. We must continue to fight this out in the states and with individuals.
Sadly, some states are completely hopeless until they collapse under their own failed policies. But there are a number of states where we can still protect from the relentless federal tyranny. Yet, in so many of these states, we are underutilizing our potential. We need to elect men and women with courage to state legislatures (a much easier goal than congressional elections) – people who are willing to reassert state powers as prescribed by the Tenth Amendment. We need to start in states like Texas and Oklahoma, and elect governing majorities who will just say no to Obamacare at every possible turn.
Moreover, state legislative elections are the front lines in the battle to restore our Republic through state-directed constitutional amendments, as recommended by Mark Levin. I know some people are skeptical of Article V conventions, but we have no choice. We have hit rock bottom. If the Obamacare tragedy doesn’t expose the failure of our current strategy nothing will change the inevitable march to full tyranny. There is no better long-term solution.
Tuesday, May 28th, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Elections, News
As conservatives, we are constantly lamenting the dearth of leadership in the Republican Party. We are flummoxed by the lack of fortitude on the part of elected Republicans to serve as a counterbalance to the indefatigable forces of statism on the left. But when provided with the opportunity to actually affect change and elect conservatives, how many of us heed the call?
We must remind ourselves that this is our party; that our involvements in congressional primaries will make all the difference between electing another rudderless GOP majority leader and Speaker and new conservative leadership. We have home-field advantage in the primaries. How many rinos do you know who go out and vote in every primary? It’s for this reason that the establishment hacks run all the way to the right during primaries.
Although we are all suffering electoral fatigue from this past election, which never seemed to end, we must realize that some of the congressional primaries will begin in 10-11 months from now. If we plan to mount a serious challenge to any incumbent, recruitment must commence now. And at the Madison Project, we are committed to leaving no stone unturned in finding as many viable committed conservatives to challenge flaccid incumbent members in both the House and the Senate. We have some good prospects, and are prepared to make our first endorsement very soon.
So many of these congressional primaries, especially during off-year elections, are low-turnout events. With some decent fundraising and ground game, we have the ability to put many of these incumbent seats in play. Once these career politicians begin to realize that they are not tenured professors, and that they will need to stand before their constituents every two years in a legitimate race, their attitudes will change very quickly.
Thursday, March 21st, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Elections, Issues
What are conservatives supposed to think when they elect 240 members to Congress who ran as limited government warriors, only to find a few dozen members actually fighting for those values when it counts? Were they all a bunch of frauds?
Undoubtedly, there are many Republicans in Congress who never were conservatives from day one or who never understood the true meaning of conservatism when they ran for Congress. That probably accounts for the majority of the wayward members in varying degrees.
However, there are a number of drifters who genuinely enter their freshman year as insurgent conservatives – members who believe that GOP leadership is just as much of the problem as Democrats. But then something happens. They meet some of these establishment veterans and become part of a conference. Far from being the devil that some conservatives think he is, John Boehner is actually a very decent likable man. Unlike other members of leadership, he is not seeking to remake the party. Heck, you certainly can’t accuse this chain-smoking Ohioan from a family of 12 siblings of being a cocktail circuit country-clubber. He is just too much a part of the status quo and fears confrontation too much to be an effective leader. That does not negate his ability to connect even with the most combative conservatives.
So when this very amicable party leader walks into a freshman’s office and shows himself not to be the enemy, things begin to change. Remember that many of our guys are truly citizen legislators and lack the resources to pump money into their campaigns. Many of them are not prolific fundraisers. Perforce, when the party leader extends that friendly welcome and helps him pay off his campaign debt, he begins to like the guy. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Tuesday, March 19th, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Elections, Obamacare
Amidst the soul-searching being conducted by party leaders in pursuit of the solution to the GOP’s electoral problems, everyone is missing the obvious culprit. Whenever a private entity goes through a period of lethargic growth and management failures, it seeks new leadership. Yet, immediately following the election, Republicans reelected Mitch McConnell and John Boehner to be the face of the GOP in Washington. Talk about stuck on stupid.
In their “autopsy” report, the RNC notes the following: “The GOP today is a tale of two parties. One of them, the gubernatorial wing, is growing and successful. The other, the federal wing, is increasingly marginalizing itself, and unless changes are made, it will be increasingly difficult for Republicans to win another presidential election in the near future.”
Hmmm…maybe that has something to do with the fact that there are some new dynamic leaders on the state level. Where are they on the federal level? Nobody can look you in the eye – even supporters of Boehner and McConnell – and declare with a straight face that these two leaders are eloquent voices for our party’s principles and have a dynamic appeal to a broad populace. Likewise, even those who don’t necessarily share the principles of the Tea Party can easily agree that figures like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio evince a stronger, more persuasive image to voters than the current group of banal bulls.
Yesterday, The Hill published a poll asking respondents which method they preferred in order to balance the budget: slashing spending with no tax increases or a mix of both. A clear majority supported the conservative position. But when the pollster designated the two positions with party identifications, a plurality supported the Democrat approach, even though it was the same path that was soundly rejected without the party label. This is a very vivid example of the need to give the Republican politicians a facelift, not the policies.
In fact, it is the lack of passion and consistency to fight for these policies when it really counts that has gotten us into trouble. Republicans won the 2010 elections in a landslide, primarily with the mandate to get rid of Obamacare. There was no ambiguity about the results of that election. It had nothing to do with ground game, technology, immigration, gay marriage, minorities, etc. It was purely based on ideology of limited government, most notably, disquiet against Obamacare. The Democrats got crushed. Republicans should have taken the first opportunity to defund Obamacare in the CR or debt ceiling when the righteous indignation was still palpable. They failed to do it, opting instead to cut a backroom deal. They failed to inspire anyone. The voters saw through the fakery.
Thursday, December 13th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Elections
Many grassroots conservatives ask us why the supposed conservative party is not conservative at all. Well, look no farther than MO-8 for the answer.
It’s not just in swing districts where we are represented by moderate and unprincipled Republicans. Most of the red district Republicans are not conservative either. That’s why we instituted the Madison Performance Index in 2011 to expose the number of liberal Republicans in very conservative districts (2012 scores to come soon).
One such district is MO-8 in southern Missouri.
MO-8 is conservative heartland territory and the home of Rush Limbaugh, yet it has been represented by Jo Ann Emerson, one of the most liberal Republicans, for a number of years. As egregious as her tenure has been, what’s even more disquieting is the fact that we might not fill her seat with a conservative in this age of the Tea Party.
Jo Ann Emerson shocked everyone by announcing her sudden retirement just after standing for reelection a few weeks ago. So why did she run for reelection when she knew that she’d be taking a new job a few weeks later? Well, behind every moderate congressman is an aspiring moderate congressman as chief of staff. Lloyd Smith was Emerson’s chief before ascending to a leadership position in the Missouri state GOP – one which he performed miserably. Shortly before Emerson’s surprise announcement, Smith resigned as Executive Director of the Missouri GOP. Now the media is touting him as one of the front-runners to fill Emerson’s seat.
It’s unlikely Smith would have a good shot in a fair primary, but this decision will be made by the members of the 8th District GOP Committee, not the voters. By 2014, he will be an incumbent. Sounds like a nice plan.
Wednesday, November 21st, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Elections, News
We are always told by the establishment that conservatives are causing them to lose seats in Congress. The reality is that the ineptitude of GOP leaders is what’s causing us to lose seats.
There is a little noticed pattern that has emerged from redistricting. Almost every state that had a “nonpartisan” commission draw the new district lines eliminated Republican seats. The worst example was in California where Republican activists warned leaders that the commission’s map would cost us 4 seats. It happens to be that Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy is ostensibly the leader of the CA GOP delegation. It turns out that once he saw that his seat was safe, he signed off on the commission’s map, which would inevitably sink many of his colleagues.
John Gizzi at Human Events has done terrific work on redistricting all year, particularly in California. Here is what he has to say about McCarthy’s role in the redistricting disaster.
Tuesday, November 20th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Elections
When the party fails to turn out the vote on Election Day, the consequences reverberated down the ticket. In recent years, we have won a number of ballot questions even during tough years like 2008. Unfortunately, this year is different. We lost many key ballot questions, especially those that were not in deep red states. In many instances the result was a reflection of poor wording on the ballot.
Here are the results of some of the ballot questions we highlighted shortly before the elections:
- Obamacare: Amendment 6 would prohibit any coercion to comply with Obamacare mandates. Passed
- Labor: Amendment 7 would guarantee the right to a secret ballot in union elections. Passed
- Death Penalty: Proposition 34 would end the death penalty in California. Failed
- Taxes: Proposition 30 would uphold Jerry Brown’s motherload of all tax increases; sales tax, income tax, millionaire’s tax…passed
- Campaign Finance: Amendment 65 attempts to end-run the Citizens United decision by urging the state to adopt limits on corporate donations. Passed
- Obamacare: Amendment 1 would prevent any law that forces individuals to purchase health insurance. Failed
- Abortion: Amendment 6 prohibits public funds for abortions. Failed
- School Choice: Amendment 1 gives the state legislature the right to create special schools. Passed
- Guns: Amendment 2 affirms that the right to bear arms includes acquisition, transport, carry, transfer of firearms. It is designed as a preemptive strike against judicial activism infringing on the Second Amendment. Passed
- Gay Marriage – Question 1 would overturn a voter-approved 2009 ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage in the state. Passed
- Dream Act : Maryland will vote on whether to uphold the state law to grant instate tuition to illegal aliens with Question 4. Passed
- Gay Marriage: Questions 6 places the gay marriage law passed by the Maryland legislature before the voters. Passed
- Redistricting: Maryland Democrats passed the most egregious congressional map of all states. It will net them another House seat. Voters will decide whether to uphold the map with Question 5. Passed
- Labor: Proposal 2 would enshrine collective bargaining rights for union into the state constitution. Failed
- Taxes: Proposal 5 would require that increases in state taxes must be approved by either a 2/3 majority in the Legislature or by a statewide vote. Failed
- Cap and Trade: Proposal 3 would mandate that by 2025, 25% of the state’s electricity must come from renewable resources. Failed
- Gay Marriage: Amendment 1 would define marriage in the Minnesota Constitution as between one man and one woman in the state. Failed
- Voter ID: Amendment 2 would require voters to show picture ID before voting in the state. Failed
- Obamacare: Proposition E would prevent the governor from establishing the healthcare exchanges required under Obamacare. Passed
- Taxes: Increase tobacco tax Failed
- Abortion: LR-120 would require parental notification before abortions are performed. Passed
- Illegal Immigration: LR-121 would require proof of citizenship in order for a person to receive certain services provided by the state. Passed
- Obamacare: LR-122 would prohibit any coercion to comply with Obamacare mandates. Passed
- Campaign Finance: I-166 would ban certain corporate contributions and expenditures in state and national elections. This is yet another attempt to circumvent the Citizens United ruling. Passed
- Taxes: CACR 13 would institute a constitutional ban on any implementation of a state income tax. Failed
- Affirmative Action: State Question 759 would ban affirmative action programs in the state, and would prohibit special treatment based on race or sex in public employment, education and contracts. Passed
- Taxes: Measure 84 phases out estate/inheritance tax, tax on death-related property transfers, and tax on property transfers between family members. Failed
- Eminent Domain: Question 1 would prohibit eminent domain from being used for private enterprise. Passed
- Taxes: Initiative 1185 would require either two-thirds legislative approval or a vote by the people in order to raise taxes. Passed
- Gay Marriage: Referendum 74 puts the issue of gay marriage before the voters. Passed
- Obamacare: Constitutional Amendment A would prohibit any coercion to comply with Obamacare mandates. Passed
In addition, the following states will be voting on some form of legalizing marijuana: Arkansas (medical) Failed, Colorado (recreational) Passed, Massachusetts (medical) Passed
Thursday, November 15th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Elections, Issues
Some things just never change. Back in 1976, President Ford ran for president against Jimmy Carter on a pale-pastel platform that was indistinguishable from the Democrats. In fact, based upon the demographics of the electoral map, many conservatives voted for Jimmy Carter.
During the wilderness years of the Ford administration, Reagan issued an ominous warning about the direction of the party. “Our people look for a cause to believe in. Is it a third party we need, or is it a new and revitalized second party, raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people?”
Reagan resoundingly answered his question 4 years later when he became the 40th president. Yet, despite his successful 8 years in office, we have moved backwards instead of building upon his success. Now we find ourselves on the cusp of abrogating every rationale that justifies the existence of the Republican Party. Every elected GOP leader is prepared to offer the Democrats a permanent illegal immigrant voting majority without exacting steep concessions for such a drastic capitulation. They are prepared to raise taxes without a parallel agreement to cut government and close down agencies. They are prepared to throw social issues under the bus. Oh wait, they have already done that. Most importantly, they are prepared to wave the white flag on Obamacare – the worst program ever created.
At some point, we must begin to question the motivations of the current crop of GOP leaders. What is the purpose of seeking power for power’s sake, if we have no intention of fighting back against the radical policies of the left? How in the world are we going to change hearts and minds of swing voters (or even minority voters) by endorsing all of Obama’s policies, albeit with a sour face?