What Now: To The States!

Washington DC is lost, in every way that matters. there’s little to gained now from paying it any attention. The path forward has to be at the state and local level – and not only are we poised for success, we are having success.

First we do need to acknowledge that Progressive efforts to make these United States into one democratic nation ruled from Washington have been quite successful. The change of our educational, cultural, and religious institutions has certainly worked. It took a long time to get here, it will take a long time to get back. Realize it, accept it, and then be free to figure out how to make things the best they can be each step of the way on the way back.

Texas Secession
NOT Secession, just a change in FOCUS!

This nation works best when it’s a Democratic Republic of 50 states joined together. Fifty shades of Red, White, and Blue. Copenhagen doesn’t know what’s best for Madrid any better than NYC knows what’s best for Houston. The election in November was an attempt to have folks in DC who understood that, and who would support the concept of releasing some power and control back to the states. That failed, so the job of taking power and control back will be a bit harder. That’s all. It’s not the end of the world.

So – reality accepted, task understood. The problem is that it’s so much easier to talk about national stuff, that’s what they talk about on the news, and since my social network of friends is all over the place, that’s the political stuff we have in common. All this “work locally” junk means that my social network is useless and I have to abandon my friends and go out in the real world. Definitely not, and probably not.

The great thing about social networks, is that we can share success and ideas, regardless of location. Success with the union stuff in Wisconsin helps the folks fighting that fight in Michigan. What someone learns from a school board meeting in Boca Raton can help the person at the Water District meeting in Topeka. Each one of us can act locally, but with the knowledge and experience of friends all over the nation. THAT can help us win. That’s where we have to win.

Jonah Goldberg has a nice post out this morning about the major victory in Michigan, he’s really talking the same thing – DC is lost, don’t waste your time. The state, county, and school districts are maybe closer to victory than you even know. He makes two good points:

  1. Progressives overreach, and the people don’t like that. Just because Progressivism is everywhere and it’s what the cool kids are doing, and they want to rule the world doesn’t mean they’ve won. It just means that people have been snowed. Progessivism seems great when it’s at medium, or even medium-high, it’s a nice warm feeling. Turn it up to high and people realize they are about to boil, and they jump out of the pot. BE THERE with a solution. The folks in MI were there with a solution, and they won.
  2. FACTS drive public policy, eventually. The people may vote, and the elected officials may make laws based on airy-fairy assumptions, hopes and wishes. But when reality happens, those same people will scramble to fix it. We see it nationally on the crap that they’re now trying to halt or turn around from Obamacare. It happens at state and local level as well. BE THERE with the recommendation, the repeal of the law, the countervailing policy, the local candidate who will do something different. There are state and local think tanks and other organizations ready to jump in.

Pick your pet issue, and go for it – locally. The great news is that the more local you get, the faster and easier you can have an impact.

I haven’t figured it out myself yet either, I haven’t picked a pet issue, I’m still trying to not be dejected and depressed. I’m still trying to decide how to leverage my wonderful G+ friends into action and success for the future. But…I’m beginning to see not just the GOAL, but a bit of the STRATEGY that I want to adopt.

I’d love some ideas, recommendations, and suggestions –

  • What’s the area that would have the best/fastest impact? Taxes? Spending? Regulations?
  • What’s the structure to target first? Neighborhood association? Water District? School District? City Council? State legislature?
  • What examples of success can we draw from?
  • Is it best to work around governmental entities entirely and focus on churches, charities, business groups, etc to increase the positive outcomes from them rather than to decrease the negative impact from the other guys?

News of the Possible

S.E. Cupp for mayor of New York? It’s a possibility. The Daily Caller reports:

S.E. Cupp, the lone conservative voice on MSNBC’s afternoon show “The Cycle,” is being urged to run for mayor of New York City as a Republican, The Daily Caller has learned.

But Cupp tells TheDC that despite the urging from political operatives, she’s not interested in leaving her TV gig for Gracie Mansion.

If Cupp isn’t interested, why is this news? (Note: Hillary wasn’t interested in a Senate run, either. Not that I’m comparing Cupp to Clinton…just throwing it out there.) The Daily Caller’s Jamie Weinstein noted in today’s DC Morning:

If Cupp changes her mind and runs, she wouldn’t be the first conservative pundit to run for the office. The late, great conservative icon William F. Buckley, Jr. made a run for New York mayor in 1965 on the Conservative Party ticket in order to inject conservative ideas into a race that pitted a liberal Democrat against a liberal who called himself a Republican. When asked by a reporter what he would do if he won, Buckley famously quipped: “Demand a recount.”

Meanwhile, a women’s advocacy group by the name of  WAM!, or Women, Action and the Media (we’ve never heard of them either), is auctioning “a one-on-one strategy session with [Sandra] Fluke to help get the bidder’s campaign off the ground.” Among the top bidders so far are The Daily Caller and Breitbart’s Joel Pollak. While TheDC has to my knowledge been quiet about their bid, Breitbart hasn’t, and I love them for it.

Seeing either of these scenarios play out would be wonderful. It’s nice to see conservatives putting the left on the defensive instead of playing the victim. Keep up the good work, friends!

They Hate Us. Now What?

What is it with GQ lately? First there was the Marco Rubio interview, and the ensuing kerfuffle. Here’s the relevant quote:

GQ: How old do you think the Earth is? 

Marco Rubio: I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.

Then came the inevitable media response:

How old is the Earth? Scientists say 4.5 billion years. But Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) isn’t a scientist, so he’s not sure….

…he’s a politician, and a member of a party that long has pandered to biblical fundamentalists, including “young Earth creationists” who insist that the Earth is between 5,700 and 10,000 years old. Dissing Charles Darwin is second nature to Republican politicians who should (and maybe do) know better.

Yup, Rubio is either stupid or he’s a science hating Bible thumping fundamentalist. Or both. Whatever.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, GQ (there they go again) has recently placed Mitt Romney at the very top of their list of the Least Influential People of 2012. Talk about kicking a man while he’s down.

Tony Lee has an excellent post over at Breitbart detailing the Rubio kerfuffle and other recent media tactics aimed at discrediting Republicans (War on Women, etc).  Lee does a good job of detailing the problem, but stops just short of the most important question: So what?

It’s one thing to recognize media bias. Despite claims to the contrary, media bias is a fact. You can’t have a majority of TV executives and employees donating to Obama and the Democrats in 2008 and expect their bias not to creep into their reporting. But what do you do about it?

The first thing the GOP needs to realize about the mainstream media: THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS. I don’t care how nice they are to you at any given time. I don’t care how positively they seem to receive you and your message. I don’t care what they offer you. When it suits them, the media will turn on you. They will try to bury you. The sooner Republicans understand and accept this fact, the better.

Second, STAY ON MESSAGE. This is an area where Democrats excel. Don’t let the person interviewing you pull you down a rabbit hole. How old is the Earth? Do you want to ban contraceptives? How’s your family? Seen any good movies lately? Stay on target. If a particular question doesn’t pertain to the topic at hand, skip it. If it is otherwise irrelevant, call them out for asking something so blatantly ignorant.

Third, DO NOT FEAR THEM. A big part of the GOP’s media problem is the fear of any kind of backlash from a “wrong” answer. Republicans want the media to like them. I got news for you: It ain’t gonna happen. No matter what you do, no matter what you say, they will hate you. Be strong, be solid, be conservative. In short, be everything they don’t want you to be. That message will carry beyond anything the media can throw at you.

(Don’t believe me? Take a look at some recent moderate presidential candidates: George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, John McCain. Know what they have in common? They were all moderates, and they all lost. The media hated Ronald Reagan. He won in two landslides.)

David Wu
Remember me?

Finally, LEARN TO CIRCLE THE WAGONS, NOT THE FIRING SQUADS. For better or worse, Democrats are known for their willingness to defend their own as long as possible. David Wu and Anthony Weiner both eventually resigned in the wake of scandals. Key word: Eventually. They denied everything as long as they could, until their respective scandals grew too big to ignore. More importantly, the Democrat leadership covered for them as long as they could, too. While I am NOT advocating turning a blind eye to any and all wrongdoing, I do believe Republicans are a little too quick to eat their own.

The same concept can be applied to conservatives in the media; Limbaugh, Levin, Hannity, Breitbart, Malkin, etc. These people are very vocal. As a result, they are heavily attacked. All too often, the knee jerk response from Republicans is to distance themselves from these “extremists.” Knock it off. The Old Media hates your guts; you need friends wherever you can find them. The New Media is on your side, if you’ll allow them to be.

The time for being submissive and defensive is over. The GOP must learn how to deal with a media that wants to defeat them. The list above is just a start.

How I Came To Love The Fiscal Cliff

President Barack Obama sent his chief negotiator, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, to Congress yesterday with his glorious plan for deficit control and to avoid the fiscal cliff.

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner presented the House speaker, John A. Boehner, a detailed proposal on Thursday to avert the year-end fiscal crisis with $1.6 trillion in tax increases over 10 years, $50 billion in immediate stimulus spending, home mortgage refinancing and a permanent end to Congressional control over statutory borrowing limits.

What is magical about this?  Note what is missing:  spending cuts.  Basically, Obama wants $1.6 trillion in new taxes, another $1 trillion in new spending, a permanent lifting of the debt limit (a power no President has ever had)…and says he will promise to cut spending later next year.

Heh.

Credit Mitch McConnell…he can be a doofus sometimes, but don’t call him stupid.  He laughed in Geithner’s face…literally.

I am what many conservatives may call a moderate.  I am, reluctantly, willing to give up some tax revenues if we get some real entitlement reform.  I think increasing taxes now is terrible fiscal and economic policy, but the American people gave the White House to Mr. Obama, so I live within that reality.  But, if we take Obama at his word, we should expect $3-$4 of cuts for every $1 of taxes.  That is what he himself promised on the campaign trail, as well as in the Presidential debates against Governor Romney.

This proposal?  At best (and this is an actual stretch) he proposes $1 of spending cuts to $4 of tax increases.  In other words, exactly the opposite of his prior promise.

Liberals applauded Obama’s courage, taking a stand for grand progressive ideology. That is ludicrous.  What Obama did is marginalize the centrists in the Republican party who were willing to at least consider tax revenues, while giving the Right more power to control the debate.  In short…Obama overplayed his hand. Obama does have some political capital here, but not as much as liberals would like to think.  They have argued that he won a huge mandate on November 6th.  And although I am willing to admit he deserves some leeway (one reason I am giving up the huge concession of tax revenues to begin with), defining his electoral victory as a mandate is laughable.  And more to the point, delusional.

So what Obama has done is forced the minority party into a corner.  What possible reason would Republicans have to talk to Obama about a proposal like this?  There frankly is none.  Obama seems set not to get a victory for the American economy, which would include some tax increases but also spending and entitlement reform; instead, he seems to be aiming for a short term political victory by blaming Republicans for going over the fiscal cliff.  Clearly, this is what will occur; the polls are quite clear on who the public will blame if that eventuality occurs.

For me personally, giving up tax revenues in the debate was for a simple reason:  I am deeply concerned about the American economy.  Obama is playing not with fire, but with nuclear fissionable material.  Our economy is languishing, and has been on the precipice of a recession for well over a year, and if anything things are getting worse.  Going over the fiscal cliff could easily push us into a recession.

But Obama simply doesn’t seem to care.  His priority is small minded political victories at this moment in time.  So I say, lets give it to him.

This ends up to be a simple calculation on my part, that has virtually nothing to do with politics; in fact, if I had political goals in mind, I would completely reverse course and surrender to the Democrats.  Is there a compromise that puts American on better footing going forward, looking longterm?  Short term, the tax increases will hurt.  Liberals can fool themselves all they want, but there is NO economic theory in which raising taxes during a recession helps create jobs.  Whether you are from the Austrian School or Keynesian, tax increases during a slow economic period stagnates economic growth.

But long term, if we got some entitlement reform, the tax increases, as painful as they would be, would be worth it.  But right now, Obama has only put the pain on the table, and nothing to gain.  At which point, why even bother?  Democrats’ calculation is that this would be so politically bad for Republicans, they will fold.  I say hell with it.  If the American people want to follow the path of other failed nations (Greece, Spain, Portugal) by raising taxes and spending with no fiscal reforms whatsoever, let them vote the GOP out in 2014.  I would rather go down swinging.

I am not a reactionary at heart.  I am pretty down to earth, look for practical solutions, am willing to compromise for the greater good, even at times it pains me to do so.  I was not the type that would protest in college, would get all riled up at the simplest insults, would be looking for my next cause to get fired up about.  So calling for us to ignore Mr. Obama’s proposal, walk away, and say hell with it?  It is not in my nature.  But at some point, a line is crossed…and that line seems to be hardening in the sand as I speak.  So if liberals really want to follow this path to fiscal ruin, I have only one answer.

Let it burn.

This was cross posted at Neoavatara.

The Basics: Goals, Strategies, Tactics

Ever get lost in a discussion?
Ever end up disagreeing with someone when you thought you were on the same side?
Ever get caught helping someone to achieve something you really didn’t want to help them with?

Sure you have, we all have.

Usually, it’s because we didn’t really start out understanding the basics of the situation we were in. We get into the details and lose the overview.

So let’s start with the basics.

You may be familiar with the goal/strategy/tactic model in business, or in the military. You use the same structure with everything you do, you just haven’t thought about it formally.

Bottom up:

Something you DO is a tactic. Why do you do it?
To accomplish some part of your strategy. Why did you formulate that strategy?
To achieve a goal.

Top down:

Something you WANT is a goal. How do you get it?
Formulate a strategy to achieve that goal. How do you accomplish the strategic objective?
By executing the tactics you defined as part of the strategy.

Same Tactic, Different Strategy, VERY Different Goals

Two people can agree on a tactic, even though they have different strategies, and different ultimate goals.

This is where co-opetition happens, This is where politics makes strange bedfellows.

Leftist and Anarchists work together to create Occupy Wall Street – raising awareness, getting media attention, making “the system” of capitalism out to be the enemy. They shared the same tactics.

Anarchists’ ultimate goal is NO government, the leftists’ goal is top down big central government. They’ll separate at some point, but they worked together quite well. Note that even though they had different GOALS, they actually shared the same STRATEGY in addition to common tactic. The strategy of defeating the right is one they share.

Same Goal, Different Strategy, Different Tactics

Two people can have the same goal, but be executing completely different tactics, and not need to know anything about what the other person is doing.

This is how two people on the same side can work at what may seem to be cross purposes, or, more common, neither know nor care particularly what the other group is doing.

Pro-lifers don’t need to know who Objectvists are. If they took the time to talk they’d realize they agree, but given time constraints, they don’t really need to even be aware of the existence of each other.

If both groups keep executing their tactical plans, they’ll accomplish their strategic objectives, which would be more closely related, and then they’ll reach the goal, which they share.

How is This Insight Helpful?

Awareness of this structure, and the questions that provide the movement and direction (how and why) really will help you understand where you are, where you’re going, who can help you, and who is hurting you.

It can keep you from wasting time on unimportant things.

It can keep you focused.