Sunday, April 22, 2012

Tea Parties Can Produce a Winning Coalition

Chris Matthews doesn't get it.

The MSNBC anchor continues to see the Tea Party as "far right loons from fringe elements of the Republican Party." Perhaps it's time for him to step out of his "Boston bubble" and take a road trip across America!

Not that anyone in the Tea Party truly reveres the opinion of Chris Matthews! There is anger throughout the movement; at the Republican Establishment. It is a general conclusion that these holders of Ivy League diplomas forgot 2008. More conveniently they failed to remember 2010!

Conservatives can blame themselves in part. There were several candidates more acceptable than Mitt Romney. Maybe, too many! Then came the question of "which" Tea Party? And in getting down to the specifics, we realized that there was no clear preference.

To some Tea Parties, Ron Paul was the true conservative. To a lot of Kentuckians, he was the "Gatewood Galbreath" of Presidential elections. It seemed that he was always a candidate; on multiple parties, if my memory serves me correctly. The first one was probably the most accurate. While harboring some Republicans positions, it's fair to conclude that Congressman Paul is a Libertarian.

There are many Republicans who consider Texas Governor, Rick Perry a Democrat. True, Perry's positions were to the right of Mitt Romney's. But his historical involvement in Democrat politics raised some eyebrows. Never mind about his report card as Governor. The important thing to remember is that he was Al Gore's Texas campaign chairmen in 1988. Some have forgotten that the former VP ran for President in '88. Perry's people say that Gore was "different, much more conservative" in 1988!

The die-hard Newt Gingrich supporters must be given a medal; for stubbornness! As great of an orator as he is, Newt was never really electable. He would make a great Secretary of State. But his baggage is considerable.

Michelle Bachmann should have endorsed Perry. Instead, she tried to destroy him. She might have come away with the VP nod. Instead, she is likely going back to her law practice.

Rick Santorum was as unlikely as any candidate. He had no money and an extremist legacy. His 18-point loss in the Pennsylvania Senate race in 2006 signaled the end of his career. Yet he surprised everyone! Today, he is in excellent position for another Presidential run sometime in the future.

Many of us were hoping the Jeb Bush might declare. But he didn't. Now that he is voicing some mild interest in being the Vice President, we're saying, "why now, Jeb?"

April is not yet concluded and it appears that the Republican Establishment has gotten their wish! But what are the implications of a Romney nomination? If he wins, they will note, "we had to defeat Barack Obama." However, if he loses, they will be blamed. And probably divorced!

Ron Paul will make no more attempts at the presidency. His followers will push him for this years nomination. Don't look for it to happen. Still, his message of Constitutional conservatism will live. So will Rick Perry's "states rights, 10th amendment" conservatism. While Perry and Paul don't particularly like each other, their constitutional positions are very similar.

What is interesting is "what will happen to two distinct groups of overlooked and apparently forgotten voters?" They are "blue collar" Democrats and "Disaffecteds."

Who are "Disaffecteds?" Read Henry Olsen's article in the June 20th edition of National Review. They represent 20% of the country. Only 19% identify with the Tea Party. 77% are white. 67% are Independents. The average household income is $30,000 per year. 89% do not hold a college degree.

We frequently reference "blue collar" Democrats. They are often social conservatives. These are the voters Rick Santorum found willing to say "adios" to their party. Why? Because they have concluded that today's Democratic Party is not "the party of John F. Kennedy." West Virginia Senator, Joe Manchin is their idea of a "real Democrat."

These Democrats believe in the second amendment. They opposed both Cap and Trade and Obamacare. They also favor "uncool, politically incorrect ideas" such "prayer in the public schools, photo I.D. cards for voting and a fair tax." Governor Mike Huckabee found these Democrats. So did Ronald Reagan.

Could the Tea Party tent accommodate both groups? This is an important question. If the answer is "yes," we have sufficient numbers to take back America. But we must remember one thing: "These voters are not going to be impressed with "austerity measures" as outlined by some of the "young Tea Party Turks" in Congress! Find a way to cut the budget without compromising their meager entitlements and you win. But the first sign of "austerity measures;" as well as "shared sacrifice," you lose!

Can the Tea Party fill the bill?

We must first find ourselves. Then we need to tailor a platform that meets the needs of these key constituencies, while advancing our standard. But what is our standard? I thought the Tea Party was about restoring fiscal sanity to America. As Senator Rand Paul demonstrated in his plan, there is a way, if we reduce the size and cost of government. We can likewise make our entitlement system more efficient as Congressman Paul Ryan showed in his proposal. But we must do it without compromising our potentially winning coalition. Can this be done?

Yes. The "American English Unification Amendment"("E" Amendment) would bring it all together. And with it, these two groups would become part of a new Constitutional Republican Party. We say "Republic" because those unable to read at a 4th grade level would not participate in elections. Voter fraud would be eliminated. Identity Theft would be greatly reduced because no job that required an Americans' social security number could be outsourced offshore. Throw a real immigration reform plan into the mix and you have something that people can unite behind.

Amazingly the losers would be the Establishment Republicans and the Establishment Democrats. Democrats would lose their backbone. They would be left with Al Gore and the radical "greenies," the oligarchs (Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, George Soros) etc., Hollywood and the "Plebyeih." Please read the passage on this blog "understanding the Plebyeih." They are the "ignorant, illiterate, know nothing masses" spouting slogans who make up a large part of Barack Obama's constituency.
They greatly resemble Joseph Stalin's banner carrying hacks of the 1920's in Soviet Russia.

The Republican Establishment would lose those working but making less than $200,000 per year. It's probable that they would attempt to become more socially liberal in an effort to pick up those "pro business liberals" Paul Tsongas identified in 1992.
But in looking at the map, this party would become more regional in scope. As Mitt Romney proved, they exist. But where and how many remains unanswered.

Meanwhile, the Tea Parties can emerge as the leaders of a new party in American that can dominate from the middle. Job creation through energy exploration, immigration reform, total literacy, a fair and more simplified tax system, a smaller, more efficient government and increased authority for the individual states, will result in a balanced budget. These simple goals can be stressed to this new coalition. Best of all, it need not include eliminating or compromising entitlements.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

"Constitutionalists" versus "Neo-Cons"- The Approaching Train Wreck

Kentucky Senator, Rand Paul identified the divide in his book, "The Tea Party Goes to Washington." Paul described the two sides in this manner:

"Neo-Conservative"- Those who believe that a large, Washington D.C. based government is necessary to facilitate conservative principles."

"Constitutionalist"- Those who believe in a strict constructionist interpretation of the constitution; in essence a "more literal interpretation of the 10th amendment."

Sound complicated? It really isn't! But it does make it possible to hang a label on those competing for leadership in the Republican party. Both sides have their detractors. What complicates the divide is where and to what extent the detractors can ultimately lead the party.

"R.I.N.O."(Republican in name only)is a common label pinned on some "neo-cons." There is constant worry that Republicans who have been elected will crossover and vote with Democrats. Defenders say they "moderate" in order to "bring about a consensus." Critics call them "Republicrats." It comes from their comfort and acceptance of a big central government.

Constitutionalists open themselves up for such labels as "Anarchists" or "Racists." The more genteel descriptions are "Libertarian" or "States rights conservative." Liberal Democrats have contributed to these designations.

Up until recently any political leader who touted the 10th amendment was immediately pigeonholed as a cohort of Lester Maddox and George Wallace. This 1960's carryover related to integration. In 2012, the majority of America sees that correlation as an "anachronism." The 10th amendment is what it is: "A master blueprint for the protection and continuation of America."

Historically, those who defended the 10th amendment were Democrats. Dubbed "Dixiecrats" in the mid-20th century, they even mounted a presidential candidate in a national election in 1948. But they were regional and the part of the country that they represented was too small in population to make a national impact.

Throughout the years, these "Dixiecrats" remained registered Democrats. In the 1964 presidential election the majority cast their votes for Barry Goldwater. This began a trend of voting Republican in national elections. Jimmy Carter temporarily halted the trend in 1976. Then, as his left leaning agenda became fully exposed, these Democrats angrily voted for Ronald Reagan in 1980.

Many sons and daughters of "Dixiecrats" left the Democrats for good. Others continued to be "registered" with their party, voting mostly for Republican candidates. The distinction held with their elected leaders. Called "boll weevils" these politicians continued to hold rank in the Democrat party. However, when the national party nominated Walter Mondale in '84 and Michael Dukakis in '88, holdouts such as Tommy Robinson of Arkansas and Ken Hance of Texas finally bolted. These eighties defectors included Texas Governor, Rick Perry.

The 1980's will always be remembered as the "great party switch." Southern conservatives defied tradition and became Republicans. Suddenly the Republican base was in the south.

To be sure, there continued to be Republicans in the tradition of Thomas Dewey and Nelson Rockefeller. They welcomed the newcomers from the standpoint that it equated to added voting clout. But they maintained their more centrist posture. Richard Nixon was typical. He was a fiscally moderate "Keynesian", a social moderate and a conservative on national defense. Gerald Ford continued that legacy. George Herbert Walker Bush was next in line.

Ronald Reagan reached out and connected with the "new Republicans." He bettered Bush in the primary and went on to set a new bar for Republicans, based on "supply side economics," social conservatism, low taxes, smaller government and a strong national defense. Baby boomers linked Reagan with recovery, success and where America could go if properly governed. Reagan had established a new standard for the party. And he had done it with a new constituency. They were called "Reagan Democrats."

The primary tool of the Reagan recovery was rediscovery of "federalism," or more responsibilities returned to the states. This principle was embraced by those later referred to as "Constitutionalists." While it was a notable success, it carried with it some red flags. The biggest concern was "where would it end?"

A constitutional purist,(some call them 10thers) believes in a systematic abandonment of the New Deal. Which translates to a systematic disassembling of Washington D.C. bureaucracies. In literal form this equates to closing Education, Energy, HUD, Commerce, Environmental Protection and likely FDA, returning the responsibilities to the states, along with block grants that would fund them.

Such a departure from the current system scares career Washingtonians. As Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell explained in his reasoning to oppose term limits, "it takes two terms for any Senator to develop the necessary relationships with key Washington bureaucrats." The Constutionalists say, "this is exactly why we need to move on it."

Neo-Conservatives are quick to point out flaws in the Constitutionalist argument. Two recently came to the forefront. One was the Massachusetts Healthcare law. Perhaps the greatest contrast between a true "Neo-Con," Rick Santorum and true "Constutitionalist," Rick Perry, surfaced in 2011.

Perry said that he opposed the idea of mandated health care coverage but Massachusetts had the right under the 10th amendment to pass such legislation. Santorum argued that mandated health care was un-constitutional under the constitution.

Their argument continued with New York's same sex marriage law. Santorum said that it should be prohibited nationally by law. Perry said that while he "supported a constitutional amendment defining sanctity of marriage," the New York legislature had the right to pass such legislation under the 10th amendment.

Santorum voted with 90 other Senators including the late Edward Kennedy for "No Child Left Behind." Perry used Kaye Bailey Hutchinson's "yes" vote on N.C.L.B. as a violation of states rights and soundly defeated her in the Texas 2010 Governors race.

Which brings us to our clash of perceptions, and probable split in the Republican party. Most Republican conservatives in power are "neo-cons." But most conservative Republicans are "constitutionalists." The real "beef" of the party no longer sits in Cambrige, Ithaca or New Haven. They now reside in Houston, Spartanburg and Provo.

The traditional Dewey-Rockefeller Republicans are more comfortable supporting a "neo-con" position because it is what it is: a position within the current system." The "constitutionalist" position signals a break and eventual destruction of the present norm. To return huge amounts of power(and money) to Austin or Nashville or Indianapolis would be synonymous with transferring control back to those locales! Sharing(in this case relinquishing) authority goes against human nature, unfortunately!

To date, traditional Republicans have suppressed these potential adversaries by saying "they are actually Democrats, not Republicans." Recently on a national Tea Party Blog, a Texas Republican reminded the readers that when Rick Perry switched parties he said "nothing has changed with me other than I now have an "R" by my name and not a "D".

For those who have been paying attention to the last thirty years, that's been the rule across the south! Perry was just being factual. His votes didn't change. They merely became consistent with his party label.

Of equal relevance are the vast numbers of "D.I.N.O.s"(Democrats in name only) who consider themselves "Constitutionalists." They may represent the tie breaker in who controls the conservative movement, especially if the arty splits. Most of these DINOS live in "red" states. While many voted for Clinton in '92(and Ross Perot)and '96, almost all voted for Bush in '00 and '04 and for McCain in '08.

They admit the only reason that they remain "registered Democrats" is a desire to vote in the local primary elections. Some quietly acknowledge their registration is for mere "protection." An unnamed DINO quietly admitted that "Eastern Kentucky Univerity has access through motor vehicles to party affiliation. If an applicant is a registered Republican, they are eliminated from employment consideration."

This kind of intimidation has actually been going on behind the scenes for decades, especially in the public sector. The emergence of a third party would change such practices forever. Expect nothing short of a tidal wave in both Republican and Democrat parties. And with better than 50% of the population claiming to be "Independent," nobody can guess where the lines could ultimately be drawn!

Which brings us to this years general election and 2016. Mitt Romney will face Barack Obama because he had consistent backing of the traditional Dewey-Rockefeller branch of the party. Even though they didn't equal one-third(perhaps not even one-fourth) of the party, it was enough to get him, in staggering fashion to the finish line. Why? Because the conservatives could not decide whether they wanted to be Constitutionalists or Neo-Cons! They will have four years to talk about it. Perhaps eight, if Romney wins.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Why Establishment Fears Rick Santorum

It is not because of his intense moral convictions. Nor, it is because he may alienate women or Independents. Rick Santorum goes against the proverbial Republican flow.

This 53-year old ex-Senator/Congressman has always been in his own way, a marvel. While Pennsylvania has tradionally leaned toward life due to it heavily Roman Catholic influence, it is what it is: A Northeastern, big labor, big union state. Santorum was the rule, never the exception.

When he announced his run for the Presidency everyone, including myself, felt that he would be the " Republican Dennis Kucinich" of the primary. He was a "pro-life, sanctity of marriage" ideologue. He was what Kentucky Senator Rand Paul would have described in his book, "The Tea Party Goes to Washington," a "neo-con."

In short, Senator Santorum always had his admirers. His chances in the GOP primary would have been described as "none and none." However, this was 2012. Nothing went according to script!

When you are seen to be out of the race before the race starts, you do have one advantage: You aren't on the radar. The remaining candidates saw Santorum as a "one and doner." He would quietly make his best pitch to the small towns in Iowa, finish sixth or seventh and be through. As we know, this isn't how it unfolded!

Amazingly, Senator Santorum reaped the most delegates in Iowa. What was even more incredible is that he didn't learn this fact until a week later! When the public finally realized that Mitt Romney had indeed not won Iowa, there was a pause, then the Establishment resumed their plea to call the race. Then, as we know, an aggrieved Newt Gingrich exercised "payback" over the airwaves against Romney. Romney's antics(actually it was his Super Pac)in Iowa were vigorously returned.

Meanwhile, a cash strapped Santorum weighed his options. What may have kept him in the race was the endorsement of some key Evangelical leaders in Texas. This surprised everyone, including Santorum! Most had expected Texas Governor, Rick Perry to be the beneficiary!

Still Santorum looked doomed. Gingrich won handily in South Carolina. Florida was a "brass knucks brawl" with Romney's great war chest ultimately determining the outcome. Santorum briefly returned home to attend to his ailing baby daughter. He looked cooked! Gingrich was throbbing from the millions spent on negative ads by Romney's Super Pac.
The Establishment renewed it's call to end the race. Fred Thompson accurately pointed out that only 10% of the delegates had been determined.

Romney moved on to win Morman friendly Nevada. Then came Santorum's pivotal sweep of Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado. Everything seemed to turn. Contributions began to come in. Gingrich hinted at what many were already secretly thinking: Romney should withdraw from the race, for the sake of party unity.

This was the high water mark for Rick Santorum. Everything had been stacked against him. Suddenly he was polling ahead in Michigan, Ohio and several key states. The "bluebloods" took notice. Romney again opened his warchest. The negative ads began to fly. We know the rest of the story.

The questions became "why" was the party Establishment so afraid of Santorum? Why were they so quick to push Mitt Romney at the conservative base? It was apparent that conservatives never warmed to the former Massachusetts Governor. In fact, most were looking at any option other than Mitt Romney.

We must mention that a large percentage of party faithful were doing their best to "buy" Romney. "Mitt Romney's like a can of beer in the morning." one Tea Party head compared. "In the afternoon, he looks better than he did eight hours earlier."

Santorum's verbal attacks on Romney grew sharper. He pointed out to voters that Romneycare was the preamble to Obamacare. He reminded voters of his own consistent stances on abortion, the bailouts and green energy. Romney continued to outspend him anywhere from 6-1 to 20-1 and in doing so, violated Ronald Reagan's axiom.

Through it all, the Establishment was persistent in it's call for the race to be over. Their propaganda ministry, AKA as Fox News was even accused of "shilling" for Mitt Romney by Santorum.

Then came the endorsements. It started with New Jersey Governor,Chris Christie. That was explainable. He owed California Republican, Carly Fiorina a favor. South Carolina Governor, Nikki Haley obviously was promised something. Ditto for Haley Barbour. Then came Paul Ryan's "Harrumph" and finally Jeb Bush's stamp of approval. Marco Rubio's endorsement and subsequent plea for Santorum to exit was supposed to have ended it.

The question is, "why?"

"Why" is the party so focused on wrapping up the nomination in April? We finished '08 early and as I recall the Democrats took theirs into June. If '08 was an indication, declaring John McCain the winner wasn't the recipe for success! Perhaps it's due to Santorum's being "against the flow."

Santorum's Republican version is, in the minds of Fortune 500 CEO's "an anachromism." He talks about "the family, the job at the factory and the church." That's a different America. It may be what the "angry white male" longs for, but it's the past. In fact, "protection for American industry," while the original hallmark of the party, is now looked upon with suspicion, if not contempt by these corporate heads. There remains the question of where Santorum stands with organized labor.

Rick Santorum has voted against anti-right-to-work measures repeatedly, throughout his career. He is perceived to be a closet protectionist. He proposes bringing manufacturing jobs home. He has hinted that offshore outsourcing might be curbed. He is talking about an America that, according the National Review, doesn't exist anymore.

This could be a problem for Globalists. When you look at the Fortune 500 companies that support Mitt Romney, a Santorum administration could throw a monkey wrench into their plans. Romney has flip flopped on green energy. Santorum is about "going for it." Basically, these "blue collar jobs with high wages, benefits and union protection are what America is all about!" In other words, initiating coal, natural gas and oil exploration at a rate never seen before in this country; in the name of "job creation and national security," trump all other concerns!

Sounds good to "Joe Six Pack." To the "big boys" it could complicate things. It is akin to Governor Huckabee proposing a "fair tax." We're talking about, as they say in Arkansas, "upsetting the apple cart."

At this point some readers may becoming angry. "Why" would our Republican leaders be so willing to get behind an unpopular front runner when his opponent clearly better resonates with the country? Simple. Romney is part of the elite. He is the candidate of Fortune 500 companies, Wall Street and the big banks. He represents the system, the current status quo. Santorum is an outsider. Sure, he has made recent strides and has climbed the ladder nicely. But he is from a Plebeian past. Furthermore, his "working class" ideas are not in step with our leaderships' globalistic agenda.

Okay. "Bluebloods" like other "bluebloods." But what about guys like Marco Rubio. His past mirrors Santorum's to an extent. Two years ago, he was campaigning against the "Arlen Specter wing of the party." Rubio is another discussion for another writing. But he was clearly co-opted by an Establishment who has promised him something. What? That's a million dollar question! But, write it down! It's worth a lot!

Is there any path to the nomination for Santorum? It looks hopeless. But stranger things have happened. On delegate count alone, Romney should be there. But if he falls short, there will be another discussion. It probably won't make a difference BUT, with a party split on the horizon, it's imprudent to rule out the impossible.

A lot will depend on how strong Obama looks in July. If Obamacare is overturned the President will be in an interesting position. As Dick Morris suggested, "his two main achievements were the Stimulus and Obamacare. The Stimulus failed and if Obamacare is ruled unconstitutional, he will have nothing to run on save failure."

How will this impact the Republican convention? Nobody honestly knows! Obamacare's overturn should result in a combination of "relief and anger." The fact that Mitt Romney supported government mandated health care in his home state will not be forgotten. There will be countless arguments over the actual unemployment numbers. Energy exploration will likely be the issue most frequently discussed at the convention.

The stage could finally be set for a third party emergence in 2016. If Romney is the nominee and loses in November, BANK ON IT!