an open letter to evan mcmullin

Dear Evan,

It’s not you.  It’s us.  It was always about us and our complete frustration with the failure of the two main political parties. What happened in November between conservatives, hard-core #NeverTrump, and yourself was a marriage of convenience, and it was also the perfect storm for any third-party candidate to take votes away from two deeply flawed candidates such as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.  I’m sure you know this.  You seem to be a smart guy.

You were the last man standing of the third-party candidates I could have voted for as a conservative.  I give you credit for putting yourself out there to be an alternative choice for us.  Thank you for that. But the Hillary / Trump choice made it easier for those of us who got tired of voting for the status quo Republicans to finally reject both horrible candidates. I doubt any of us would regret rejecting this binary choice, and it wouldn’t have happened without the Trump nomination.

Here’s the thing, though.  #NeverTrump ended after President Trump’s election.  It’s time to move on.  I remain just as skeptical of President Trump as you are, but if you’re planning to run for office again in the future, you should know that your current strategy is turning off many conservatives who were willing to give you a shot at being an alternative voice.  Suddenly, we are remembering why this happened, and that your conservative street cred is not exactly the strongest compared to others we trust to speak for us. I’m starting to regret voting for you, even under these unique circumstances.

Senator Lee, Senator Cruz, and Senator Sasse have earned the right to call themselves conservatives, based on their record and their activism in support of conservative values.  You have not. But there’s time here to earn the credit we have given you by our votes last November.  Conservative street cred is merit-based. It’s time to re-direct your energy to fighting battles that matter to the rest of the country – defending religious liberty, committing to the full repeal of Obamacare, and pushing for legit tax reform that reduces the burden on the American people.  Our President will rise and fall on his own merits.  There’s nothing we can do to change that.  Use your new-found platform to do more than snipe at our President.  It would benefit you and the country you love.  Think about it, ok?

With respect,

Me

about last night

Random:

Much credit should be given to RNC Chairman Michael Steele for shutting up and not saying anything stupid during this election cycle that could have doomed the Republicans to certain failure. Well done.

Marco Rubio is a star and future president material. Loved his speech. More on that later.

Congratulations to our next governor Nikki Haley and our new Representative Mick Mulvaney. His win was huge for our district, since it meant the defeat of Nancy Pelosi’s budget chairman John Spratt. This was a long time coming, and we finally found the right guy to get the job done. YAY!!!!!

So, who were those 28% voting for Alvin Greene, anyway?

It would be hard to say that there were many surprises about the election results last night, with Republicans taking control of the House of Representatives and Dems barely retaining control of the Senate. I do think that in some cases, there were missed opportunities for the Republicans — primarily Nevada, Delaware, and Alaska. Of course, we won’t know for several weeks whether Joe Miller or Lisa Murkowski wins in Alaska, but my opinion is still the same about this race. The losses of these Tea Party candidates is not a repudiation of the ideology that the Tea Party candidates represent. These results are based on the weaknesses of these candidates. I’m an ideologue at heart. I’m both fiscally and socially conservative in my belief system, and I want my candidates to share my beliefs. With that said, I still recognize the need to field candidates with political skill in addition to having a sound foundation on the issues we find important. We CAN have both, and the Republicans need to try harder to find this kind of candidate. It’s unrealistic to think that every candidate we put up can have the star power of a Marco Rubio or Jim DeMint, but it’s also unrealistic to believe that the Republican Party can throw up just any candidate and defeat entrenched incumbent Democrats like Harry Reid.

There are lessons to be learned here, and here’s a strategy I would humbly suggest to my Republican friends going forward to future elections.
Both establishment Republicans and Tea Party members have a few takeaways from last night’s results. What establishment Republicans need to understand is that ideology matters, and to some voters it matters enough to toss overboard the sure-thing candidate to send a message to the powers that be in Washington controlling the purse strings of our party. What Tea Party members need to understand is that the priority of the national Republican Party is getting candidates elected, and that sometimes you can’t get everything you want in a candidate who has a better chance to win than the Tea Party choice. What we know, based on what we have seen, is that strong Republican candidates win, and those who try to play both sides have a tougher road to election / re-election. Would it have been better if Mike Castle was the Republican nominee in Delaware instead of Christine O’Donnell? No, but Delaware voters really needed a better primary choice than those two candidates, especially when the attempt is to flip a solid Democrat Senate seat.

This is the difficulty for the national Republican Party because they can’t just randomly kick to the curb any RINOs that may appear in their sights, since electability still matters to them (and it should). So the responsibility here belongs to the Tea Party to provide quality challengers to the establishment Republicans. The responsibility of the national party is to stay out of the way in the primaries and let the voters decide who the candidates should be. Once that’s decided, then both sides must help the candidates prepare for interviews and debates to give them the best chance to win their race.

In some cases, nothing can be done to fix a flawed candidate. We win some. We lose some. The media takes every advantage it can find to hammer our candidates. That’s politics. It doesn’t benefit the Republican Party to engage in the petty infighting we have seen between the national Republican Party — and those like Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove who wish to speak for the establishment Republicans — and the candidates who have been selected by the voters to represent the Republicans in the primary. Sometimes the voters have bad choices. This is definitely true in the 2010 midterm elections. We have to play the cards we are dealt, and work toward a better result next election. Peggy Noonan suggested on Morning Joe that the best candidates should have career experience before they enter politics for the first time. We can’t just pluck any well-meaning person out of their home to take on Harry Reid or an establishment Republican like Lisa Murkowski. No offense intended to Joe Miller and Sharron Angle, but we could have found stronger candidates for Nevada and Alaska. If Sarah Palin was really serious about defeating her nemesis, she should have run for that Senate seat herself rather than endorsing Joe Miller.

careful what you wish for

This is an uncomfortable position conservatives find themselves in as a result of last night’s election results – between electability and the raw passion of the tea party candidates. Not every conservative should be considered electable. For every Nikki Haley – who has shown incredible message discipline and restraint in the face of scurrilous accusations against her – there are several candidates who lack that ability when facing even the smallest challenges. I’ve said this previously, but I think it is important to remember that activists don’t always make the best candidates. They play very different roles in a political party. That’s the thing to remember with some of these winning tea party approved candidates – the transition from one role to the other is sometimes difficult. These populist heroes won’t say the PC thing most of the time and this will get them into trouble with the media. This is what we love about these guys and gals, but it’s an easy way for a nascent campaign to sink before it even leaves the harbor.

I love rebels too, and appreciate the sacrifices those potential candidates have to make to run for office. For that reason, there must be a process of vetting, interviews, and other training to properly prepare them for the challenges they will face. Of course there will always be candidates who are more than a little risky, such as Sharron Angle and Rand Paul, but ultimately the voters in this country win when the average person starts caring enough to take the challenge personally and run for political office. Political parties, and specifically the Republican Party, need to do a better job in nurturing and developing young and unproven talent in their ranks so that they can have a strong farm system for the future and so that we don’t have the same guys running for President every four years.

heading toward the cliff

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is willing to sacrifice the political futures of her fellow House Democrats in order to get the health care bill passed.  That’s generous of her, and the Republicans will absolutely accept that result.  I just wonder how many left-leaning true believers are left in the Democratic Congress.  The answer to that question will determine the future of this health care bill.   Sure, there are a few like Nancy Pelosi who would sacrifice the rest of their political life to get this country-changing reform passed.  But I’m willing to bet that at the core, most Washington politicos value self-preservation over ideology.  They have seen the writing on the wall with the recent Republican victories and are considering future votes more carefully than they would otherwise.

Most Democrats will choose their jobs over following the Speaker over the political cliff.  That’s my prediction.

Even though our side seems to be winning the argument on health care reform, there’s still no reason to be overconfident.   There is still work to be done, and when the current legislation goes down in flames, we need to be ready to take advantage of that failure with our own vision and solutions.

choosing sides

There is nothing guaranteed about a possible Republican recovery in 2010.  In case fellow Republicans get too overconfident about our chances due to some current Democrat chaos over health care,  let me remind them that voters hate us too.   Perhaps that is a slight overstatement of our position, since there are many contributors on both sides to American discontent with our political system as it stands in February 2010.  But our hands aren’t all that clean.   The Republicans also contributed to our own demise by failing to learn the lesssons of the past.  It’s my belief that there have been Republicans who have acknowledged those mistakes and have committed to fix what’s broken.   With all due respect to Glenn Beck and his acolytes, blame should be applied selectively when choosing Republicans to criticize for our recent struggles.  We can’t just declare a pox on both of their houses, and consider starting a third party.    It doesn’t work here in America, because no third party has ever had the popular support or legitimacy to be a threat to the Republicans and Democrats except as a spoiler in contested elections.

About choosing sides– Why did anyone assume that Scott Brown would cast 100% conservative votes when he got to the Senate?   He’s a Republican from Massachusetts.   While he is a significant upgrade from the Democrats Massachusetts voters usually elect, he’s still not going to be a conservative Republican like Senator DeMint.   Time to lower expectations here.   If Brown votes against health care, it’s still important enough to forgive him for voting for the jobs bill, although that was a really stupid decision on his part.

Speaking of Massachusetts Republicans — or is he a Utah / Cali Republican now? —  former Governor Mitt Romney went out of his way to endorse John McCain in his AZ re-election bid.   Romney is choosing to have a short memory here.  He was absolutely trashed by McCain and his silent partner Mike Huckabee during the campaign, and Romney is still endorsing McCain?  Classy move.   Not so smart for his future political ambitions.  This could hurt Romney going forward, since many conservatives still don’t trust him, and this adds to the distrust factor with them.

On the other hand, Sarah Palin will probably get a pass for her endorsement of McCain.   Everybody understands why she felt that she had to do this.   It’s a loyalty thing, and I respect that.   But being stuck with the baggage of McCain is not a desirable position for anyone with future political aspirations.   If you’re anyone other than Sarah Palin, a McCain endorsement doesn’t do you any good anyway.   What could possibly be gained by the favor of a failed presidential candidate with limited future prospects?   I don’t know the answer to that.

can’t we all just get along?

Well..NO.

There are principles worth fighting for in all these debates.  There are battles worth taking on here with health care, the future direction of our military, and how to create a business-friendly climate for the creation of much-needed jobs — all these need to have solid policy prescriptions.  When we feel that our concerns are not being addressed by the President and Congress, it is our responsibility and our obligation as citizens to speak out and demand alternatives.  It’s not about demonizing anyone or name-calling.  It’s about stopping bad policy before it’s too late to change course.   There are those who would say that unity is the ultimate goal and bipartisanship is the ideal objective in our politics.  I believe that America is strong enough to handle differences in opinion, no matter how passionately felt on either side.   We don’t get a stronger America by embracing groupthink merely to get along with our liberal / conservative friends and colleagues.

Some issues cannot be open to compromise if we care about the future of this great country.  Health care is one of those issues.   Giving government more control over that part of the private sector,  whether it is through excessive regulation or partial nationalization,  is a horrible idea.  Our battle is not with our fellow Americans.  The battle, my friends, is with the entrenched Washington insiders playing games with the federal budget and trying to force policies on us that will continue to damage our economy.   If that makes me someone who is mean, evil, and (oh no!) not compassionate, then I wear the badge with honor and distinction, and ask my fellow conservative malcontents to do the same.

Disagree?  Feel free to comment.

flawed concept

Reason’s Jacob Sullum says there should be no fundamental right to health care.

A right to health care thus requires the government to infringe on people’s liberty rights by commandeering their talents, labor, and earnings. And since new subsidies will only exacerbate the disconnect between payment and consumption that drives health care inflation, such interference is bound to increase as the government struggles to control ever-escalating spending. Rising costs will also encourage the government to repeatedly redefine the right to health care, deciding exactly which treatments it includes.

Enforcing this right demands an involuntary contribution from all taxpayers.   Once it is decided by our Congress that health care coverage is mandated for all of us and primarily funded by tax dollars,  then we are in danger of losing more than the ability to buy private health care coverage.  I used to think that the relationship between liberty and the health care debate was tenuous at best,  but it’s becoming clear to me how wrong I was about that.   Expanding the reach of government into health care beyond its current bureaucratic regulations and restrictions is something we need to consider carefully before going forward with such plans.   While I’m proposing all these radical things, how ’bout one more – if we are going to copy another country’s health care system, we might want to copy one that actually does what President Obama promised with expanding choices and competition for the health care consumer, and take steps to make health care more affordable for every American.   That’s not what the Senate and House are doing with their proposed health care legislation.  We need to start over from scratch and try again if we want a health care bill that is truly worthy of the claim of  “health care reform”. 

Read Sullum’s entire argument here.

lighten up scrooge

Now for something a little different and somewhat holiday-themed…

Eventually it would come to this – someone is compelled to attack the lifestyle and behavior of  Santa Claus.   Honestly, there’s just no good excuse for that.

Some “public health expert” in Australia says that Santa is a bad example for children.  The charges against St. Nick include encouraging obesity and drinking alcohol while steering his sleigh through the wide-open sky, where he is endangering no one but himself and the reindeer.  Seriously, dude, if you want to bring a more significant complaint, you might point out the greed it produces in otherwise sweet little children who produce gigantic lists of very expensive gifts which they fully expect to get on December 25th.   And God bless the parents who try to keep up with those expectations out of their own finite pockets, because there will never be enough money to cover that wish list.  This reminds me of a certain group of Americans who expect their fellow citizens to completely finance their health care bills…and believe that the federal government has an endless pot of money to meet their every need.

At some point, there needs to be a reality check for the little kiddies as well as the uninformed chuckleheads in the citizenry of this country  — the money has run out.  The credit cards are maxed.   Time to cut the spending.

Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble – but Santa Claus is totally fictional.  Focusing on his perceived sins is amusing, but unnecessary.  On the other hand, the financial damage this proposed health care “reform” will cause in this country, is quite real — and yet some Americans refuse to wake up to the truth that the federal government doesn’t have the money to do what our Congress has promised us it would do.

a couple quick thoughts

Yes, the wins by Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell were important. I don’t think that the loss by Corzine in NJ was completely surprising. Even in New Jersey, at some point the voters had to say to themselves, “We’ve had enough of Jon Corzine, and his total lack of ability to be a competent governor.” Corzine’s loss can mostly be blamed on Corzine himself. But in this current climate, friendship with President Obama is not a very desirable quality either. Creigh Deeds recognized that, but distancing himself from the President didn’t help him much. He still lost. Before my Democrat friends pounce on the Obama statement, let me clarify a bit here – I’m not saying that the President doesn’t maintain a reasonable amount of popularity on a personal level, but his policies are becoming more and more unpopular. This is a factor, I believe, in some of these Republican wins this evening – that, and the uninspiring candidates the Dems were running with in this election.

Here’s what I think Republicans can take from tonight, regardless of the result of NY-23. It doesn’t mean that conservatives could win everywhere they run a candidate like Hoffman, although I would like to see the attempt. What this says to me is that the idea of abandoning conservatism to follow the moderates / independents wherever it is they are going is deeply flawed, and the national Republican Party needs to reconsider its strategy going forward. I understand why RNC Chairman Michael Steele thought he had to support the decision by the locals of Dede Scozzafava, even though I disagree with it. I also know that, in addition to being moderate / liberal in political ideology, she was also a very flawed candidate. If he was really concerned about letting the locals in NY-23 decide this race, then he should have kept RNC money out of it. This goes for the RNCC as well.

Newt, my man, you have lost so much more credibility with this endorsement. I’ve written you even further off than you were before this endorsement. Congratulations. You will never be President.

One last thing — we don’t need more consultants, focus groups, political hacks, or so-called experts who aren’t looking out for the best interests of the Republican Party and for conservatism specifically telling us what we really want or what we really need. The first thing we must do to fix the Republican Party is to fire all these false prophets and get back to basics.

That is all.