Why Libertarian Kids, Not Drones, Scare McCain and Graham

Jennifer Rubin—WaPo’s token conservative—said it perfectly:

McCain lost his cool with Rand Paul and sounded like the old man down the street screaming to the new kids on the block, “Get off my lawn!”

The real reason McCain and Lindsey Graham embarrassed themselves on the floor of Senate had nothing to do with what Rand Paul said. Rand Paul's ideas terrify McCain, Graham, and most of the Republican establishment.

Those Troublesome Libertarian Kids

McCain and Graham sit at the top of the Republican hierarchy that thrives on protection money from crony capitalists. (See more on crony capitalism here.)

Senator John McCain complains about appealing to libertarian kids

Young libertarians are the closest thing to conservatives coming out of the Millennial generation. If the GOP is to play a role in the 2016 election, it must attract every possible Millennial libertarian.

That puts establishment politicians like McCain and Graham in a precarious position between two competing interests: small government libertarians and big money crony capitalists.

The Conflict That Divides The GOP

These crony capitalists aren’t evil. Neither are the Republicans who enable them. They all believe in American exceptionalism. They invest money and time and energy to keep America great. They honestly believe that America’s strength depends on companies producing wealth. On that point, they’re right. Where they go wrong is cause and effect.

Republican crony capitalists believe that corporate profits are the source of American greatness. Libertarians and tea party conservatives believe that corporate profits are the rewards of American greatness.

(Democrats, by the way, believe that government is the source of American greatness . . . if they believe in American greatness at all.)

Republican Crony Capitalism Can’t Survive On Its Own

Crony capitalists feel they must invest in politicians who will protect and promote their business interests. Those business interests, in turn, create jobs for people, donate funds to improve their communities, fund non-profit charities and schools, and guide politicians on good policy. These are noble activities that benefit all of society.

Over the years, though, these civic investments – increasingly through donations to candidates -- have become less noble and more self-serving. With the rise of profit maximization and shareholder value thinking, corporations treat government and politicians like vendors.

Investing in good government should improve business conditions by promoting a stable economy in which free market capitalism flourishes. Crony companies, however, expect a measurable and direct return on investments for their companies and shareholders alone. The rest of the country be damned.

If those profits made it back into the economy through more jobs, higher wages, and capital investment, things would be better. But they don’t. Even conservative Forbes magazine recognizes that businesses today hoard cash rather than reinvest. Blame “uncertainty” if you will, but don’t overlook the shareholder value mentality that dominates business and finance today.

Crony capitalists accept more regulation and taxes because they think it will give them an advantage over their competition. They trade their independence (and risk) for targeted tax breaks and protected markets. This cycle repeats itself election after election, and each time the government comes out more powerful and corporations more dependent.

This cycle has repeated so many times that corporate dependency on government now threatens the balance of power between people and state. The financial collapse of 2008 demonstrated that big government and big business have grown too large to stand on their own. They lean on each other like weary heavyweight boxers in the 15th round of a brutal championship fight. If one falls, they all fall.  And we get crushed.

What Libertarian Kids Want Threatens the Establishment

Libertarians realize that it was never supposed to be this way. More importantly, we’re pretty sure that America would never have become great had he started out like this. This was, after all, how Europe worked in the 18th century, as mercantilists pandered to nobles and royals who, in turn, granted mercantilists permission to do business, protected their businesses from competition, and collected handsome taxes from their profits. Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations was, in part, a criticism of European mercantilism. So was the Boston Tea Party.

A libertarian solution to the mess politicians and corporations have made involves untangling the knots that bind government and business and banking together. It means that each Congress reduce the loopholes in law and taxes meant to coerce business behavior, eliminate regulations designed to change behavior toward some ideal, and reduce tax rates on businesses.

But that solution threatens a lot of people’s jobs.

Republican establishmentarians rose to power through this quasi mercantile system. They didn’t run on the idea of getting government out of people’s ways. They ran on getting government to favor their constituents, sometimes by holding back someone else’s constituents. Freeing business to thrive or die on a level playing would eliminate the skills that lifted McCain and Graham (not to mention Reid, Pelosi, Durbin, McCaskill, and Obama) to the top. And they’ll fight like hell to keep their power.

The Democrats practice crony capitalism more effectively than Republicans. While their constituencies might be different, the process is the same. Taxes and borrowing raise money that government distributes to favored groups and companies. Taxes and regulations coerce people to trade with those favored companies and organizations.Public education and green energy are two prime examples of Democrats driving economic behavior to benefit friends.

Still, McCain and Graham know that libertarians pose a bigger threat to their power than Democrats. The two big parties play the same game. Libertarians don’t.

The Public-Private Partnership Generations Are Dying

Just before the 2012 election, a poll showed that younger Millennials describe themselves as economic conservatives and social liberals. Their older Millennial siblings describe themselves as economic and social liberals. But both groups show a distrust of both government and big business.

If the GOP had convinced these younger voters that the party believed in limited government and economic liberty, in 2012 it might have eaten into Obama’s youth vote of 2008. Instead, the gap between the parties widened. We have to ask why.

The reason, as I’ve pointed out repeatedly, is authenticity. Establishment Republicans don’t really believe in limited government and economic liberty. They say they do, but they act differently. And younger people see the hypocrisy. Given a choice between Democrats who honestly profess their love of unlimited government power and Republicans who talk about limited government and free markets but don’t really live it, kids go with the party that at least says what it believes.

(Yes, I know Democrats lie all the time, and I’ve blogged about that ad nauseam. But on their fundamental belief in the near-miraculous power of government, Democrats speak the truth. You have to give them that.)

At the other end of the age spectrum, older voters vote Republican—not conservative or libertarian. They want government to increase entitlements, for instance.

These older generations include the last of the WWII generation who grew up during the New Deal and raised families during the massive government programs of the Cold War. Behind them is the Silent Generation which revered (and envied) their WWII elders, becoming the bureaucrats and regulators doing the grunt of government’s growth. The Silents implemented the Great Society programs, the War on Poverty, the Korean and Vietnam Wars. They were young teachers who conducted air raid drills, and they were the first to grasp the power of television. They believe in group work.

Then come the Baby Boomers—those too young to remember FDR’s death. They didn’t trust government to tell the truth, but they never complained when government did their bidding. Boomers were less statist than WWII or Silent generations – after all, Bill Clinton signed off on welfare reform – but they believe government can be molded into a force for good.

Generation X—those too young to remember Kennedy’s assassination—rallied to Reagan’s most famous maxim: “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” Gen X is the tip of the libertarian spear, and it’s the generation that’s just reaching the pinnacle of power in business, government, education, information, and entertainment.

As I’ve said, the next generation, Millennials – those too young to remember the Challenger Disaster—are split. As generational historians Strauss and Howe point out, Millennials are much like their WWII great-grandparents. They believe in the power of groups and teamwork. They believe in working together to overcome obstacles. But they may not believe government should force people to do things. We see this in their attitudes toward the war on terror and their increasing drift toward libertarianism. Most compelling, Millennials support federalism when it comes to marijuana laws.

In a nationwide poll that asked whether the federal government should respect state laws on marijuana or enforce more draconian federal law, seventy-four percent of Americans said the feds should respect state law. But 81 percent of Generation X wanted the feds to stay out of states’ business.

With their patriotic embrace of business and careful defense of entitlements, establishment Republicans are the natural allies of WWII and Silent voters. But those generations are dying fast. Nearly 10 million of them died between 2008 and 2012. The 2012 presidential election was the last for 11 million more.

There will be no more Gen Xers or Boomers to swell the ranks of older Republican voters. The last Xer was born during Regan’s first term. The only way the Republican party can grow, then, is by attracting Millennials.

Embracing Libertarian Views Will End the Old Republican Establishment

“The country need more Senators who care about liberty,” Senator McCain said Thursday. “but if Mr. Paul wants to be taken seriously, he needs to do more than pull political stunts that fire up impressionable libertarian kids in their college dorms.”

There it is. Those libertarian kids and their vision of open, honest, limited government that does what it’s supposed to do—what we’ve authorized it to do—and nothing more.

Those damn libertarian kids in their dorm rooms who want to own their own lives instead of borrowing one from the government of Barack H. Obama.

Those libertarian kids with wacko-bird ideas like leaving businesses to compete in a fair and open marketplace where everyone plays by the same rules, faces the same risks, and benefits from the same economy.

Those libertarian kids who want America to go to war only when our liberty is at stake and only when we’re willing to fight for the unconditional surrender of the enemy. (And that’s not very often.)

McCain and Graham and the establishment—Republican and Democrat—fear libertarian kids more than al-Qaeda or Iran.

For a century, but especially beginning with the New Deal in the 1930s, the government has imposed restraints on everyone—some more so than others. Managing those restraints is what the establishment does best. It makes them rich and powerful and supports their fabulous lifestyles.

Those libertarian kids who terrify McCain and Graham want to grant equal liberty to everyone. Libertarians would, over time, remove the government shackles from our ankles.  McCain and Graham, Obama and Pelosi, and all the restraint-keepers will have to find something else to occupy their time.

Rand Paul’s filibuster sparked the imagination in those libertarian kids. Imagination leads to stories, and stories, sometimes, become reality.

If the GOP survives, it must become more libertarian, younger, and authentic. It must look more like Rand Paul and less like John McCain.

And that’s a horror story to McCain and Graham.

Ed Martin’s Grit Overwhelms Establishment’s Power

In a blow to the old guard establishment, the Missouri Republican State Committee elected Ed Martin Jr. as its new party chairman.

Ed Martin Addresses First St. Louis Tea Party 2-27-2009

Roy Blunt and all six Republican members of Congress from Missouri lobbied the new state committee over the past few weeks to block Ed and retain the establishment’s choice, David Cole. Jo Mannies of the St. Louis Beacon wrote:

Cole’s loss appears to be a setback for Missouri’s GOP establishment. U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt and all six Missouri Republicans in the U.S. House had signed a letter backing Cole’s re-election.

Martin’s win was seen as a victory for the Missouri GOP’s more conservative factions, including some tea party groups – notably the St. Louis Tea Party, whose founder Bill Hennessy had endorsed Martin.

The victory demonstrates the power of grit—one of Ed Martin’s most valuable qualities. Ed narrowly lost his bid to unseat former Congressman Russ Carnahan in 2010.  In that race, Ed came closer than any Republican in recent memory to taking Missouri’s old 3rd District away from Democrats. Ed’s gritty campaign solidified his standing with grassroots tea partiers.

Grit is the most important factor in success according to human behavioral scientists. As Jonah Lehrer explains:

After analyzing the data, Duckworth discovered the importance of a psychological trait known as grit. In previous papers, Duckworth has demonstrated that grit can be reliably measured with a short survey that measures consistency of passions (e.g., ‘‘I have been obsessed with a certain idea or project for a short time but later lost interest’’) and consistency of effort (e.g., ‘‘Setbacks don’t discourage me’’) over time using a 5-point scale. Not surprisingly, those with grit are more single-minded about their goals – they tend to get obsessed with certain activities – and also more likely to persist in the face of struggle and failure. Woody Allen famously declared that “Eighty percent of success is showing up”. Grit is what allows you show up again and again.

 Ed put in the 10,000 hours of practice. His dogged campaigns in 2010 and 2012 gave him the courage and earned him the privilege to show up.

After losing his bid to unseat Attorney General Chris Koster last November, a lot people wanted Ed to give up politics. But Ed’s no quitter. Instead, he rallied his considerable charm and tenacity to take on a role that is well suited to Ed Martin’s skill and experience.

Missouri’s Democrats and even some conservatives mockingly said “Ed  finally won an election.” The Democrats should be very worried that a talent as gritty and popular as Ed Martin now chairs the Missouri GOP. Conservative might want to review Abraham Lincoln’s electoral history before mocking the resilience of a man who never gives up.

Congratulations, also, to Trish Vincent, Auditor Tom Schweich’s chief of staff, elected Chairwoman, or co-chair in today’s PC-speak. And a special congratulations and thanks to Frieda Keogh of Missouri Precinct Project and a new member of the Republican State Committee. Frieda’s efforts to advance grassroots causes and candidates is a gift to Missouri and America.

What You Think You Know About Establishment Candidates Is Probably Wrong

I see is all the time. Supporters of Establishment candidates complain that their opponents are establishment, too. We saw it in the Missouri 2nd District.  We see in the GOP Presidential primary.  The last refuge of the Establishment’s candidates is to spread the pain of the Establishment label.

What many people don’t get is what the Establishment label actually means.  It’s time everyone understood this.

The Establishment’s candidate is the candidate the Establishment chooses for us

Got that?  Please repeat it.  Say it out loud.  Write it down if you have to.  Just don’t forget it.  If it helps, add an apostrophe-s to Establishment, as in “Mitt Romney is the Establishment’s candidate.”

Mr. Smith: Establishment's Candidate

Remember the Frank Capra movie, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington? Mr. Smith was the Establishment’s appointment to the US Senate.  (In that case, the Establishment chose the wrong guy for their own narrow interests.) Indeed, the Establishment’s candidate might be as un-establishment or anti-establishment as you can get.

Everyone who works with, for, on behalf of an established political party is part of the establishment. For that matter, anyone who votes in a primary in which he must choose a party’s ballot joins the establishment. Every candidate who runs as a Republican or as a Democrat is a member of the establishment. Libertarian candidate?  Libertarian establishment.

Simply running for a party’s nomination does not make one the Establishment’s candidate, though.  Nor does having been an office holder.  Or an appointee. The Establishment’s candidate one year can be the Establishment’s enemy in another election.

When people reject the Establishment’s candidates, they’re not rejecting party affiliation; they’re rejecting political elites telling them whom to vote for.

If you reject government telling you how to live, you should reject a Party telling you how to vote.

Mitt Romney’s Resume Cover Letter

There are some things you just don’t say in a cover letter—or on the campaign trail. A self-aggrandizing cover letter from an NYU undergrad to some Wall Street banks has the whole financial world laughing. The kid’s naïve hubris and ignorance of what employers look for in a candidate earned him public humiliation on an internet scale.   Here’s just a sample of the kid’s self-promotion:

That semester I achieved a 3.93, and in the same time I managed to bench double my bodyweight and do 35 pull-ups

(Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-a-tenacious-summer-analyst-applicant-got-laughed-at-by-goldman-morgan-and-everyone-else-on-wall-street-2012-2#ixzz1loTZYiIe)

Mitt Romney should be even more embarrassed. He’s a lot older and, theoretically, wiser, you know.

mitt-romney-tsa

After Rick Santorum destroyed the establishment’s plastic candidate of choice, Romney’s spokesman gave a remarkably idiotic reason to support Romney: Money and infrastructure.

The reason Romney won’t beat Obama and shouldn’t win the GOP nomination is his hubris and his inability to think like a human being. Romney is the reason that Republican voter turnout is abysmal and why Democrats are now more enthusiastic about voting than Republicans are.

The republic’s greatest threat since the British army of 1812 now sits in the White House.  In 2009 and 2010, the Tea Party resuscitated a comatose GOP and won back the House.  Since then, the inept, elitist, and self-serving Republican establishment has reasserted its thumb-laden hands, chosen an elitist candidate, and killed enthusiasm among those who actually get out the vote and win elections—the conservative grass roots.

If Romney and his elitist Republican friends manage to give Obama four more years to destroy this country, the GOP, not Obama, will face the angry mobs of America’s 60% conservative base.

New Hampshire Exposes GOP’s Diverse Base

Okay, Santorum and Gingrich didn’t get a bump out of their debates over the weekend.  More like the bump got them.

And Ron Paul did way better than I expected. Congratulations to Dr. Paul and Mitt. mitt-romney-fgr

I still think my Saturday night post accurately reflected the national impressions, though.  That’s backed up by this CBS News poll that shows Republicans believe Santorum most closely shares their values, but—and this is a J Lo but—they believe Romney is more electable.

Romney and Santorum bring different perceived strengths to the race as well. Romney is viewed as most electable (and most likely to be the eventual nominee), while Santorum is seen as the candidate who best represents these voters' values - up 17 points since November. Romney is right behind him on this measure.

I have to disagree with their judgment on Romney. Here’s why.

To win, the Republican nominee must do two things: 1) generate more energy within his base than Obama, and 2) he must attract the people who don’t trust unlimited government, but don’t necessarily care for the conservative base, either

Ronald Reagan did that.  Reagan won the support of many center-right factions:

  • Defense hawks (Cold Warriors)
  • Religious right (Moral Majority)
  • Fiscal conservatives (Supply Siders)
  • Strict constructionists (Constitutionalists)
  • Blue collar families (Reagan Democrats)
  • Independents (independents)

But Romney isn’t Reagan.  Romney is much more like John McCain, Bob Dole, George H.W. Bush, and Gerald Ford—the last four Republicans to lose a presidential election.

The reason those four lost wasn’t because they were bad men.  They were good men.  And it wasn’t really because their policies were out of step with most voters.  In fact, their policies were more reflective of America than those of their opponents.

The reason McCain, Dole, Bush, and Ford lost to Obama, Clinton, Clinton, and Carter was because they failed to pull together that broad conservative coalition. But the biggest reason they lost was that they failed to convince the last two—so-called Reagan Democrats and independents—that they offered a choice. And they failed to inspire the base to spend their vacation pounding the pavement or making calls.

A WSJ story today reveals some crucial facts:

Today's Republican Party has become steadily more blue-collar, more populist and more influenced by voters who act as much like independents as Republicans. All that makes the idea of attacks on capitalist behavior arising from the traditional party of capitalists a little less bizarre.

• Three-quarters of those who voted in the New Hampshire Republican primary had family incomes below $100,000, early exit polls indicated. Almost half had no college degree.

• In a stunning sign of how loose party affiliations have become, almost half of those who turned out to vote in the Republican primary actually identified themselves as independent voters. Big chunks of them went for Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., the least-conventional of the GOP candidates.

• Nationally, when the thousands of interviews conducted in last year's Wall Street Journal/NBC News polls are combined, Americans who call themselves blue-collar workers actually were slightly more likely to identify themselves as Republicans than as Democrats.

• And when the Journal/NBC News poll asked Americans in November who was responsible for the country's current economic problems, Republicans were precisely as likely as Democrats to blame "Wall Street bankers."

When blue collar families and independents see establishment Republicans, they figure they might as well vote the Democrat who will at least throw them some largesse

There a many Americans who want government fixed. They want the Fed managed at least, if not dissolved. They are willing to go through the pain of winding down entitlement programs and realigning powers of the states to Constitutional intent. 

But they won’t go for half measures that create a bunch of pain and confusion but resolve nothing,eliminate no unconstitutional program, shut down no counter-productive cabinet department, and create new layers of bureaucracy through which we all must wade.

Maybe the blue collar voters and independents are wrong about establishment Republicans. Maybe I am, too.  And maybe so many people find Obama dangerous (I do) and anti-American (I do) that they will vote for anyone the GOP nominates. Our desire to avoid bad things is very powerful.

Then again, our desire to move toward good things is important.  If the only choice we on the right offer non-aligned voters is the lesser of two evils, Obama will be win re-election. 

There is no Reagan on the horizon, no Shane character to ride into town and save the day.  We have a choice between Romney, Paul, Santorum, and Gingrich.  Among those last three, I see none with a distinct advantage in gaining the nomination. Unless two quit. Soon.

But the larger problem is with the party itself.  Its establishment seems to have no idea how to inspire, and its insurgents have no idea how to team up.

BREAKING: Santorum Pulls Away with 13-Vote Lead

That’s with 88 percent of the counting complete.

The bigger story: Romney’s underperforming his 2008 results in key counties.  Santorum outperforming Huckabee in 2008. 

iowa-caucus-results

What does it all mean? 

Conservatives and libertarians dominate the caucuses. 

Romney is the choice of the Republican establishment. The cronies poured millions into his campaign even before he declared himself a conservative.  He’s won endorsements from just about every big name general election loser include Bob Dole and George H.W. Bush. (UPDATE: McCain to endorse Romney tomorrow.)

Yet Romney garnered only 25 percent of the Iowa caucuses (as of this posting). Rick Santorum, an afterthought two weeks ago, leads Romney by 13 votes. Ron Paul is in third with 21 percent. The Professor and Mary Ann and the rest, not so good.

So 75 percent want a non-establishment Republican candidate.

Every candidate except Romney is non-establishment in the voters’ eyes, no matter how you might evaluate their ideologies.

All this means that if the race were between Romney and two non-establishment candidates, Romney would lose.

That’s good news for the GOP and for the  country.

For the GOP because establishment Republicans have a weak record against liberal Democrats in the general.

Good for America because the GOP establishment is largely responsible for Republican loses in 2006 and 2008. And, of course, because the most important mission of a generation is changing who occupies the White House this year.

P.S.  You might hear a lot about the 17th Amendment and Cloture between now and South Carolina.

Where’s Bob Dole?

The middle of the road is fine until you have to get somewhere. I voted for Bob Dole in 1996. Yet his nomination drove me away from political activism for years.

middle-of-road

I got out of the Navy in the fall of 1994. I watched the GOP reclaim the House with my nephew, Scott.  I expected the Republicans to nominate a solid conservative who deliver a knock-out blow to the Clinton era two years later.

Instead, they nominated Bob Dole.

I quit. Gave up.  Surrendered.

“If the Republicans want to nominated a ‘me too’ Republican,” I told friends, “there’s no point in my wasting time.”

Yeah, it was a bit petulant of me. Then, again, I’d been through a lot personally. Maybe I needed a break.

But Bob Dole?

In 1996, Bob Dole was the symbol of the GOP establishment. To Reaganites, he was a living reminder of the low-point of the Gipper’s two terms: the 1982 tax increase. As a politician, he was the worst of both worlds: an acerbic, sarcastic humor that turned off moderates and moderate deal-making politics that turned off everybody else.

I caucused, that year, for Pat Buchanan.

Buchanan had and has many flaws.  But he’d have wiped up the stage with Clinton at debates. Even if he’d lost to Clinton, he’d have forced Bill to move ten steps to the right.  Dole, on the other hand, brought a record that closely followed Clinton’s.

The Republican Established told us in 96 that only a moderate could win. We needed to nominate someone who could reach across the aisle and do business with the Democrats. Someone who would appeal to the Generation Xers.

So they nominated deal-maker, aisle-crosser, tax-hiker Bob Dole.

In December of 1996, Clinton was smoking cigars in the Oval Office as Bob Dole was released into the wild.

To those who remember, who were in the trenches with the Buchanan Brigades in our fight against the GOP establishment, 2012 is looking  a lot like 1996.

Once again, we’re coming off historic wins in the off-year election.  Once again, we’re dealing with a GOP field of candidates that lacks a viable, solid conservative. Once again, the establishment wants us to vote for the echo candidate.

In 1996, the echo was Bob “It’s My Turn” Dole.  In 2012, it’s Mitt Romney.

Look, if Romney gets the nomination, I’ll vote for the guy.  I’ll work to help him defeat President Obama, because I believe that Romney would be better than Obama. The Supreme Court, alone, is reason to support any Republican over just about any Democrat.

But Romney won’t stir up the passions of the Tea Party base. He’ll remind older conservatives of Bob Dole, and he’ll remind Millennials of the guy who laid off their dad.

Bob Dole, like Mitt Romney, is too close to the middle of the road.

 

P.S. After I wrote this post, Bob Dole endorsed Mitt Romney.  Surprise!

What’s the Big Deal with the Establishment?

A friend of mine told me this story.

He sat that there bragging about getting a tax cut for friends of his.

I said, ‘you do realize, don’t you, that you’re just like the Democrats, except you’re giving taxpayers money to a different special interest.’

He looked at me and said, ‘but our special interests do good with the money.’

My friend was talking about the second highest-ranking Republican in the Missouri House at the time.

parthenon

That’s Establishment thinking. The idea that legislators can spend . . . I’m sorry, “invest” . . . your money better than you can.

Okay, so maybe I have a fixation with the Establishment.  Just maybe, though, my fixation is justified.

The Establishment does some good.  It has access to lots of money and media.  It has database and training programs to help candidates win.  It throws great parties in really cool hotels, allowing ordinary people to watch drunk Republicans skinny dipping with Dumbo-ear water wings. 

Most importantly, the worst, most corruptible, most cynical, most self-serving of the Republican Establishment is still better for America than the best of the Democrat Establishment.  (Don’t forget when when you’re vilifying a candidate between now and the primary.)

There’s still something wrong with the Establishment.  It’s purpose is to advance and perpetuate the Establishment. 

Our purpose is to advance and perpetuate a uniquely American freedom.

In 2010, our purposes happened to blend very well with the GOP’s. That led to harmony on the right and a big win for Republicans.

After the swearings-in, the Establishment did what the Establishment does: like any organism from a simple protozoan to an advanced primate the GOP started working on self-perpetuation. 

Like Obama, the Republican Establishment believes that people cannot run their own lives.  Instead, other super-people (called politicians and bureaucrats) must run our lives for us.

The GOP Establishment supports subsidies for corporations that should be able to stand on their own. It supports bailouts for company that should be allowed to die their own. It maintains regulations for matters that the market regulates better. It chooses winners and losers, from Government Motors to the failed Aerotropolis here in Missouri.

The Establishment demonstrates its mistrust of people and markets every day.

We utterly reject that notion.

The reason the Tea Party exists is not to end the Establishment.  As I wrote last week, that can’t really happen

Instead, we hope to mold the Establishment into a vessel of liberty and good government, not a tool for social engineering.

The GOP’s Predictable Plan to Destroy the Tea Party

Yes, the establishment wants you to go away. Are you going to obey?

politifact_photos_debate

With a little help from The Atlantic and New York Times (of all places), we can put together a strategy to recognize and deflect the establishment’s tactics. 

Put this in your back pocket. You’ll need it before primary season is over.

Establishment Tactic 1:  Never admit membership in the establishment

How To Handle: Never argue about what he establishment is.  Instead, demand super-specific policies that the establishment would hate.  “Then you must oppose TARP and Stimulus. Could I get a quote from you for my blog?”

Establishment Tactic 2:  Kill the Tea Party with kindness

How To Handle:  Whenever someone praises you, thank them.  But if you suspect an ulterior motive, there probably is. Again, demand specificity:  “What would your legislation to unwind Social Security look like?”

Establishment Tactic 3:  Push Candidates to the Left

How to Handle:  You’ve heard it before—run to the base in the primary and to the middle in the general.  I’m not a fan of strict pledges that opponents can use to bludgeon a candidate. But letting the Billy Longs of the world lie their way to Washington to turn left is no way to save the republic. 

Hold out the third party threat.  Hand wobbly nominees a pair of flip-flops at a meet-and-greet.  They’ll get the message.

Establishment Tactic 4:  Make compromise a moral imperative

How to Handle:  A conservative once lamented that if the Democrats sponsored legislation to burn the capitol to the ground, Republicans would offer an amendment to phase the fire in over three weeks.

To combat  this tactic, point out the folly of the idea. If you’re in debt up to your eyeballs, borrowing half as much as you’d like to doesn’t make you better off.  Sometimes, reversal, not compromise, is the right thing.

Establishment Tactic 5:  Take the GOP ball and go home

As I pointed out in a previous post, the establishment is more prone than activists to defect when it doesn’t get its way.  Let them.  When Republicans say “it’s our party, not yours,” smile and nod.  Then run for low-level party position.  Get your friends to do the same.  Show up at township and central committee meetings.  Reagan’s forces took over the GOP in short order.  Tea Partiers can too.

Bonus Point:  Don’t Become the Establishment

Actually, you can’t really avoid that. But remember—new insurgents are born every day.  Someday you’ll be viewed at the powerful interest seeking to exclude the stamp-licking rabble.  Be careful how you use your power and influence.

 

You might have even better ideas.  Please add them to the comments below.

How the Establishment Wins

A few years ago, Malcolm Gladwell wrote an awesome article for The New Yorker:  How David Beats Goliath.   Read it after you read this. The story encourages and frustrates at the same time.

Encourages because we learn Davids can, occasionally, beat Goliaths.  Frustrates because Goliaths tend to change the rules just before the epic battle.

lucy-football

That’s how the establishment wins—by establishing the rules. And changing them as necessary. Not exactly fair,  but fairness isn’t in the rule book.

Insurgents win by rejecting the establishment’s rules.

The reason conservative insurgents struggle is our good, middle class upbringing.  We believe in established customs, established manners, and even established music.  Then we get upset when the establishment serves itself first, leaving us the leftovers.

If we’re to overcome our manners and execute Gladwell’s strategies for defeating Goliaths, then we we better understand how the establish wins.  And I’m going to tell you. I’ll at least try.

The establishment wins by laying down the rules. And charming us into accepting them.

In Gladwell’s story, an unlikely girls basketball team used the full-court press to disrupt the established basketball giants in Silicon Valley.  Until the championship game.

By then, the establishment had gotten together and convinced the referees to fight against the girls.

The refs called foul after foul.  The insurgent team lost to the establishment.

And the slaves lived happily ever after.

In con games, the con artist gets the mark to accept some rule, some stipulation.  “If I can do x then you will do y.”  The mark always loses his shirt.

Why?  Because the con artist knows the game and creates the rules in his favor.

In elections, the establishment follows the same pattern.

  • Applaud the insurgents
  • Pretend to be an insurgent
  • Lay down the rules for insurgency

Establishment candidates have cash and the power cash brings. They can buy prominent endorsements. They can intimidate potential donors of the opponents.

Because cash, and the power of cash, is their strength, they establish a rule early:

  • Thou shalt not discuss money

When the insurgents stop talking about money, the establishment places the next subject off-limits.  Say the establishment candidate worked to save a RINO.

  • Thou shalt not discuss my endorsements

And so on.

Eventually, the insurgents are left with nothing.  The rules have changed. The game the insurgents thought they were playing is over, and a new game begun.

Down the road, the rules changes that preserved the establishment this time will haunt them. But they’re the establishment; they’ll change the rules again.

The reason the Tea Party happened wasn’t because Barack Obama was elected or because TARP passed.

If the Tea Party is to reassert Constitutional Conservatism, then we cannot live by the establishment’s rules.

The Tea Party happened because the establishment blinked in the presence of the insurgency. Lehman Brothers fell.  TARP failed in the House.  We caught them.  And we’ll never fear them quite the same way again.

Guess Who the Puritans Are?

Some center-right people take their ball and go home. Guess who? puritanical

Since the 2010 election, we’ve heard from the Establishment (GOP, MSM, DNC) that Tea Partiers are too puritanical.

The elitist theory holds that Tea Partiers demand doctrinaire allegiance to some engraved-granite list of principles.  Stray from that list, and the Tea Party will hunt you down like a dog in the street and beat you with a Wiffle Ball bat until you pee blood for a week.

Guess what, though. It’s not the Tea Partiers who defect when their candidates lose.

A recent Rasmussen poll (subscription may be required) found that Establishment Republicans are far more likely to vote Democrat, third party, or not at all if their favored candidate loses a primary.

Interestingly, those outside the Tea Party are more committed to finding a candidate who shares their views--67% of Tea Party members take that approach compared to 75% of non-members. That data contradicts a common story line that Tea Party members are interested in ideological purity while others are more practical in their considerations.

But the divisions get even clearer when the questions get more specific:

Again, those in the Tea Party are more committed to the GOP field than other primary voters. Ninety-one percent (91%) of Tea Party members now plan to vote for the eventual GOP candidate even if their first choice isn’t the nominee, compared to 71% of non-members.

Kidding?  Non-Tea Party Republicans could see a 29 percent defection rate if their favorite candidate isn’t nominated?  Wow.

The next time someone tells you that the Tea Party is too puritanical, tell them, “Perhaps, but we’re not nearly as puritanical as the establishment Republicans.”

Why Can't the Establishment Fix America's Problems?

America has but one political party capable of winning races on a scale large enough to change government practices: the Republican Party. When the GOP takes Washington (or Jefferson City), things don't seem to get better. Wonder why?

Let's take a little stroll down memory lane.

"To secure the nomination, the Dewey forces spent money and made deals and promises that Taft would never make. Offers were made of Federal jobs that Delegates could not resist. Mississippi's delegation was headed by a Taft man, but his Delegates voted the other way. After the vote, one Delegate ran for a train and died of a heart attack on it. He had $1,500 in fresh money on him and the other Delegates claimed it should be divided among them."                                    --Phyllis Schafly, A Choice, Not an Echo

Little has changed since 1948, the year Mrs. Schlafly described above.

In 2012, the Republican machine, in races all across America, will nominate candidates chosen by the Kingmakers.  This year, those kingmakers are making their investments.  Wisely.  They're buying just the right people with just the right promises and just right access to just the right celebrities.

The Grassroots Problem

Kingmakers laugh at grassroots candidates and activists.  We amuse them with our principles and idealism, our willingness to work for free, knocking on doors, sweating in the summer, shivering in the winter.

Kingmakers don't deign to knock doors and meet ordinary people--they have deals to cut. They have staff to do the dirty work of meeting voters.

But the grassroots stress the kingmakers, nonetheless. When a big movement like the tea party rises up and dares to challenge the established powers, the kingmakers scowl. They understand that enough tea partiers with enough time and enough energy and the right candidates could--just might--upset their plans. And then what?

What if another Reagan reached the White House?  Another Taft in the Senate?  Imagine the horror of another Rand Paul or  Paul Ryan stirring up the rabble. What if someone actually ended crony capitalism?

So the Mr. Potters of the GOP crawl into their cobwebby dens and spin their plans. And their plans begin and end with money.

Money Is the Problem

Establishment Republicans operate on a single principle: government is money.  For that matter, Democrats operate on the same principle.  Both parties use government precisely the same way.  They borrow against future generations to buy more power from contemporary friends.

When it comes to Constitutional limits and fiscal responsibility, the only real difference between Democrats and establishment Republicans is who gets the spoils.

Money--and the establishment view of money--is the reason things won't get better just because a Republican wins an election.  The kingmakers don't want fiscal responsibility in Washington.  They just want the debt laundered through their banks and spent on their businesses.

The GOP establishment doesn't want to cut regulations; it wants regulations that favor their donors' businesses.

The GOP establishment doesn't to strengthen America's image in the world, but to make more money overseas.

In 2011, the established Republican Party works overtime to regain the Senate and the White House. If it does, it will reward its friends with our grand-children's fortunes as surely as the Democrats have rewarded their friends.

In short, the establishment can't fix our problems, because the establishment is the problem.

But there is another way.

Anti-Establishment Candidates

In almost every race in America, voters have a choice. A real choice, like the ones Phyllis Schlafly wrote about in 1964.

Candidates like Ed Martin and Todd Akin in Missouri, Richard Mourdock in Indiana, and Rodger Cook in Illinois. These candidates don't have money with which to buy allies. They don't get invitations to royal balls.  Instead, they rely on ordinary men and women to walk neighborhoods, banging doors, and asking relatives to vote.

If these  conservatives are to win their primaries, though, the grassroots must remain strong against the seductions of the establishment.  In tough economic times, those seductions--almost always monetary--will be strong.

But the tea party that carried Rand Paul and Marco Rubio to the Senate can surely win one more for the Gipper, can't we?

Mrs. Schlafly told us how the grassroots prevailed in 1964 against establishment tactics of smears, intimidation, and bribes:

These tactics were not successful because in 1964 the majority of Convention Delegates were independent citizens elected in their districts who sought — not personal advancement or political jobs — but only the nomination and election of a candidate who would end the America Last policies of the past 30 years.

Amen, sister. Amen.

If we're to reverse America's drift toward socialism, away from the Constitution, we must rekindle the spirit of '64 and the Reagan Revolution of 1980.

In both of those years, "independent citizens" rose up and slapped down the Republican establishment.  They said "no" to the jobs and the bailouts the kingmakers offered.  The Goldwater and Reagan delegates stood by their principles, putting America's future before their own egos and wealth.

Yes, Goldwater lost. But Reagan won. And Reagan's victory owed much to the lessons conservatives learned in 1964.

For history to judge us well, we tea partiers must drive a stake through the heart of the establishment.

If not us, who?

If not now, when?

 Note: These views do not necessarily reflect the views of St. Louis Tea Party Coalition. But they should. ;-)

5 Things to Question About Debt Deal

Yes, the Tea Party movement influenced what went on in Washington.  No, the Tea Party is not the winner.  (No one won.)

No, this debt deal won’t guide the government off the road toward bankruptcy.  Here’s why.

1.  No Entitlement Fix:  In fact, it appears that entitlements aren’t touched.  Entitlements are the nation’s spending problem.  Not roads and bridges, not the military.  Entitlements. Until we arrest and reverse growth in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, we’re spitting in the ocean.

2.  Military Spending Won’t Be Cut:  Remember the “peace dividend” after the Berlin Wall fell?  Then Saddam invaded Iraq.  Obama and the Dems know damn well that Republicans will forgive them for ignoring planned military cuts as soon as some threat appears on the horizon.  And there’s always a threat.  These cuts, if implemented, will be quickly reversed.

3.  Cuts Are Someone Else’s Problem:  The cuts don’t start until we have a new Congress and a new President. That’s asking a future generation to fix yesterday’s problems.  That’s cowardice and irresponsibility.  And it’s perfectly Establishment. 

4.  Won’t Save Credit Rating (Unless Moody’s Was Lying):  Moody’s reported on Friday that none of the proposed bills would solve the nation’s long-term debt problem.  If we’re going to lose AAA, why not use that trauma as the impetus for real financial reform?  Instead, we’re kicking the can down the road to save the President and Establishment Republicans.

5.  Favors the Establishment:  Most importantly, this bill demonstrates the problem with Establishment politicians: they’re first duty (they believe) is to their next election.  Boehner abandoned his party’s principled members and crafted a deal to win over some Democrats.  That might protect him and Obama.  The taxpayer—especially Millennials and younger—get screwed.

Question the Establishment, kids.  It is not your friend.