Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Direction of the Michigan Republican Parties (State, County, District)

I'm probably going to be saying this line often in the next year or so. "I'm an elections guy first."

Jason Gillman of Right Michigan and I are having a cross blog philosophy discussion that I think cuts in a way to some of the disconnect between factions within the party.One discussion is here, and  a second discussion is here. A third one is here. I think this is a very important discussion to have, and there are some points on both sides here.  Today, Kevin Rex Heine had his own article here which had the results by district. Districts 1, 2, 3, 5, and 13 went for Courser. Districts 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14 went for Schostak. Courser cleaned up in districts 2 and 3 and won 5 solidly. The other two districts were narrow. Schostak cleaned up in districts 4, 7, 9, and 14 and won 8 solidly. The other districts were narrow.

I'll say this to the change advocates. As someone who has been around 12 years and is probably considered establishment (as a county chair), I'm not your enemy. I wasn't even a Romney primary supporter. Not everyone who has been around over 5 years is your enemy. However, when you use words like "take over", you going to have a problem - and you're going to have people who ideology wise would probably be your ally going against you.

I don't like coronation politics - and "take over" politics is no different than coronation politics except it's a different "team". (I cringe at the term "coronation politics" being co-opted for a different campaign by someone else in a 3-way campaign I was also involved in, but that's another story - I used it in 2011). I didn't like the Romney coronation. I didn't like it for Hoekstra. I didn't like the attempts for it for Ron Paul at RNC convention after losing the primaries or Gary Glenn by MI4CS. The easiest thing to get my opposition is to try "take over" or coronation politics. I don't care which faction or side you are on. I don't have time for Big Fish in Small Ponds. I don't have time for that bullshit, and I'll even pay the quarter for using that term during Lent.

I'm also not going to sugarcoat things. National isn't making things easy for us at all right now. Between Boehner, Rove, Romney's campaign and project Orca, DC consulting class, and cave after cave on all fiscal matters, we're taking hits here for the poor work of others. The gas tax proposal isn't helping us right now either. I'll just say that I'm 100% in agreement with my senator Joe Hune in his opposition to that. Does Joe get the credit for this? He should. If you're going to stay home from voting to send Snyder or DC a message, Joe gets punished as well. That ain't right. A lot of people stayed home in 2012 (and 2008). Let's also remember that Right to Work would not have been passed if it wasn't for Rick Snyder. Give him credit there. Personal property tax (a major killer) is gone. MBT is gone.

A lot of activists are mad right now for a few reasons. I think the Romney coronation - especially in Michigan was extremely harmful for the party. We're still paying for it. Part or it was that the tactic was a short term success in helping Romney get the nomination. This was a Karl Rove playbook type of operation. Be aggressive in the primary, and be passive in the general.  Romney lost, which made it worse. People are taking pages from that Romney playbook for party coronation attempts and take over politics - as a reaction to what was done for Romney. That's what we are dealing with right now. It's putting us at each other's throats.With national's caving on issues, it's making it even worse. I don't like it either.

In Michigan, we have in reality about 100 Republican Parties. There's State Party/MRP, then there's 82 county parties (Wayne Caucuses) and 14 district parties. They are all different in dynamic. As a County Chair and District Treasurer, I have no control on what national does, what Rove does, or even what our elected officials do. I also have limited control on policy at either county or district level - despite setting agendas in county and controlling the money in district. I can't endorse as Chair. I could push for a bunch of resolutions, but that's a waste of time. They have no real effect. Calling our reps has more effect than a resolution. What I can do is publicize the good things our elected are doing. I also make sure our election operations are ready to go. That's my job. Elections. There's other things as well, but everything directly or indirectly goes back to elections - specifically elections impacting the first two words in our party - Livingston County (or 8th District with the other committee).

I am getting tired of people thinking that being a "True Conservative" or a "Constitutional Conservative" automatically qualifies one for a party leadership position. It doesn't. Been there, done that for 12 years, and even swore an oath to the Constitution. That doesn't qualify me either to be county party chair. What qualifies one for that position is the ability to get those "Constitutional Conservatives" elected. That's the key. Constitutional conservative candidates do not help us when they are not elected.

My own philosophy when it comes to supporting people for county, district, and state committees is to support workers. Who shows up and helps? Who has the skill sets to contribute? Who works well with the team? Who is involved in campaigns? Who understands elections? Who shows up in meetings? Who is active in conservative causes?  In Livingston County, that tends to be mostly conservatives across the board so we don't have the ideology battles very often. Any that do happen are either personality based or tactical based.

For those with ideology problems with current GOP elected officials, there's a method that can be used to rectify it. It's an old one which has been around a long time. Primaries. Just remember that if you're going to run a campaign, you have to do it properly or any primary challenge will go nowhere before it gets off the ground, much like these third party runs that always go nowhere. Speaking of third parties, as far as I'm concerned, third party activists are no different than democrats and will be treated accordingly.

It's time for those in so called "establishment" and those with grievances to discuss matters and for all sides to acknowledge the following.

1. There is a fractured party. Denying it doesn't make it untrue. It's hardly a secret.

2. Part of the fracture is due to the coronation politics and take over pushes - on ALL sides. Romney did a TON of damage here. Rove made it worse. Gary Johnson supporters who want to be Republican precinct delegates as well didn't help matters either. Dictatorial demands lead to those demands getting a middle finger in response.

3. The Republican base is extremely frustrated with Washington DC and the caving by national leadership - over and over and over again. This isn't a one time matter. This is all the time. This is as damaging as Romney and Rove.

4. If Republicans do not stand for lower taxes and fiscal responsibility, then what do we stand for?  This is a frustration, at least in spending, that goes back to the Bush years. Today, the Bush years are looked at as almost fiscal responsibility compared to today. Boehner needs to man up and stand up to Obama. The one bad part about Mike Pence becoming Governor of Indiana is that his presence in the House is sorely missed.

5. We need at least 50% +1 to win. There's a lot of things that need to happen in elections for that to happen. Being a "true conservative" is not enough. Saying that you are a true conservative 100 times is counter productive because you're not focused on things that matter to most people. Competence issues. "Doing the job" issues. You can be a strong conservative on both economic and social issues and get moderate and even some liberal votes. You can't do that if you yap about it all the time. Why? Because those voters think that you're not doing your job by focusing on those issues all the time.  On the same note, don't open yourself to a double flanking by not standing for anything and going leftist and caving. Both of those things are a good way to lose.

6. Elections aren't an art. They don't magically happen. They are a process that requires planning, knowledge, time, money, and energy. All wings of the party have had their successes and failures. If you don't know how to win (which is at times different in each race and each area), you shouldn't be running the show. If a plan is not going correctly, it's time to adjust. Good leaders do that. That goes for all sides.

7. It's time to end this "take over" talk. It does not do anything constructive and right on its face puts people at odds. It creates enemies.

We have a problem. Time to fix it. 2014 is on the horizon. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

By all means, leave

Back in 2008, I wrote a piece with the line Be Good or Be Gone. Some city jerk moved from Bay City to Frankenmuth and then tried to dictate how they ran things.

The thing with leftists - especially white leftists - is that they turn their current homes into bad places to live, move out, and arrogantly bring their leftism with them to the new place they move to, demanding that the new community conform to their cult of thinking.

I stood up and cheered at this story out of Wyoming. You move there, and then complain about guns and the energy industry? That's like complaining about lakes in Michigan.

By all means, leave

CHEYENNE -- A Newcastle state lawmaker is refusing to apologize after telling a Cheyenne minister that her and her family should leave the state if she doesn't like Wyoming politics.
The electronic skirmish started Thursday after the Rev. Audette Fulbright sent emails to all legislators stating her opposition to House Bill 105, which would have allowed people with concealed carry permits to carry guns at schools, community colleges, the University of Wyoming and public sporting events.

Fulbright, who lives in Cheyenne, isn’t one of Hunt’s constituents. No other lawmakers responded except for Rep. Mary Throne, D-Cheyenne. Throne told Fulbright that the bill had moved to the Senate Education Committee and to contact committee members.
Fulbright and her family moved to Cheyenne from Virginia in July. They made the cross-country venture because the state had good schools and the landscapes remained intact. Fulbright gives her sermons at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Cheyenne. In her email to lawmakers she said she was shocked at the Legislature’s stance on guns this session.

Here's the letter and response. Some folks don't take kindly to Johnny Come Lately's invading and demanding how things should be. Notice the arrogant holier than thou superior tone in the letter as well.

Fulbright's email

Dear Representative,
I hope you are taking care of yourself during this busy session. I know it is a challenging, compressed time.
I am writing to express my grave concern about House Bill 105. Ample evidence has shown that schools and guns do not mix, and in particular, guns in the hands of amateurs/non-professionals is extremely dangerous, especially in any highly-charged situation. to expose our children to greater risk in their schools by encouraging more guns on campuses is something that we cannot allow.
My husband and I moved to Wyoming not too long ago. We believed it was a good place to raise children. With the recent and reactive expansion of gun laws and the profoundly serious dangers of fracking, we find we are seriously reconsidering our decision, which is wrenching to all of us. However, the safety of our family must come first. We are waiting to see what the legislature does this session. I know of other new-to-Wyoming families in similar contemplation. Your choices matter. It would be sad to see an exodus of educated, childrearing age adults from Wyoming as a result of poor lawmaking.
Rev. Audette Fulbright

Hunt's response

Rev. Fulbright,
I’ll be blunt. If you don’t like the political atmosphere of Wyoming, then by all means, leave. We, who have been here a very long time (I am proudly 4th generation) are quite proud of our independent heritage. I don’t expect a ‘mass exodus’ from our state just because we’re standing up for our rights. As to your comments on fracking, I would point out that you’re basing your statement on ‘dangers’ that have not been scientifically founded or proved as of yet.
It offends me to no end when liberal out-of-staters such as yourself move into Wyoming, trying to get away from where they came from, and then pompously demand that Wyoming conform to their way of thinking. We are, and will continue to be, a state which stands a head above the rest in terms of economic security. Our ability to do that is, in large part, to our ‘live and let live’ mentality when it comes to allowing economic development, and limiting government oversight. So, to conclude, if you’re so worried about what our legislature is working on, then go back home.
Hans Hunt
Representative Hans Hunt
House District 02

If I cross paths with Hans Hunt, I'll buy him a beer for that response. If you don't like the culture of the state, why move there? If you move from an old place to a new place, why demand that it be changed to where you came? That's parasitic and toxic behavior. That's what is going on right now in Oakland County in its slow transition into a new Wayne County. The gold standard of Michigan is no longer the case. It also raises an alarm bell here in Livingston County.

Wyoming is sparsely populated, but fast growing due to the energy based economy growth there. This clown wants to stop that. She doesn't like guns, but goes to arguably the most pro-gun state in the country. GO HOME! If I moved to Detroit, Chicago, or Berkeley, would I demand they accommodate me? No. They are what they are. Leftist areas. I'm not from there. On the same note, I'm not going to sit by and let Detroit values, Chicago values, and Berkeley values invade here either.

Here in Michigan, the fastest growing county in SE Michigan is Livingston County. It's a contrast to Wayne County. Wayne County is democrat and urban. Livingston County is Republican and was (and somewhat still is, at least in character) rural. The tradition of the parties in both places is over 50 years. Livingston County balances its budget. Wayne County is a mess. Livingston County has low key officials who stay out of trouble. Wayne County has Ed McNamara, Bob Ficano, Kwame Kilpatrick, Jennifer Granholm, and Monica Conyers. Livingston County does its job. Wayne County government is featured in Charlie LeDuff's stories. Livingston County is growing. Wayne County is shrinking.

Our challenge here is this. We can not afford Wayne County values to come here. That does not mean we should not welcome Wayne County transplants. There's a big difference. There are a lot of Wayne County transplants who want no part of Wayne County values anymore. We need to welcome those who would like to join us. We should reject those - the flatlanders - who want to change us to Wayne County. That goes for transplants from anywhere, not just Wayne County. Livingston County is a good place to live for a reason. Part of that reason is that it is well run county with lower taxes, balanced budgets, less regulations than its neighbors, and a safe environment (especially by Michigan standards). If it becomes Wayne County and full of leftist democrats, that will no longer be the case.

We need to reject the Fulbright types who arrogantly wish to change us because we are supposedly backwards (while they leave their actual backward lands). We need to welcome those who wish to join us as we move forward and improve on what made us a great place to live to begin with.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Feb 22/23 - Michigan Republican Party Convention

There's always a different perspective at these events as a county chair than there is as a regular delegate. As a delegate, I worry about my vote. As chair, I worry about things going right and not screwing up my part along with my vote. There's always room for improvement.

There's no further conventions this year. I think the next one is after August of 2012. Mackinac isn't a convention, but an open conference to those who pay.

District parties and State Committee were elected on Friday and State Party officers elected on Saturday.

I think the process went fairly well in our caucus (officers unopposed in the end), but I'd like to see if we can move our county caucus to different areas so people can hear. In the 8th caucus, we have three counties in one room. It made it tough for hearing. I stayed out of the Oakland and Ingham County caucus decisions. The process in Livingston for district caucus was fair. The results were what they were. When there's eight good people running for six spots, two good people are going to unfortunately lose. I'm looking forward to working with the new committee that was elected. We have a lot of work to do and be ready for the dems.

 There were several contests for the chairs and vice chairs Saturday. A couple were unopposed. Most were easy decisions for me. Some were not. The runoff for outreach VC was tough since I didn't know the other two running (both from West Michigan). I knew the 3rd place finisher whom I supported back from previous campaigns. The youth VC spot was an extremely tough decision for me. I liked both candidates here. I think we will be in good hands there no matter who wins. The other ones were easy decisions for me. That includes my vote for Schostak as Chair. That was an easy decision for me. 

Change for change sake is not necessarily a good thing. I'll repeat that. Change for change sake is not necessarily a good thing. If you are running for chair. CEO. You need to show me you can do the job. You need to show me how you would be better than Schostak. Schostak has a two year record as finance chair and a two year record as Chair. I don't think he did a bad job considering the situation he was dealt with. Do I agree with every decision made? No. What I do like is that Schostak has done what I haven't seen done by most MIGOP chairs in my experience. Adjust when needed.

  • Boston screwed up with Romney's campaign. That's not on Schostak. 
  • Schostak bought the Romney/Ryan signs after Boston didn't come through. Some said that was a bad thing. I think those who said that do not understand how campaigns work. Ask Joe Hune if signs matter. 
  • Karl Rove ran his mouth and for some reason a lot of big donors follow him. That's not on Schostak. 
  • That delegate vote in the February primary? Part of that was Schostak. That one was bad and on him. Schostak isn't perfect.
  • Straight Ticket voting is BY FAR the number one factor in State Board of Education and University 
  •  Trustee/Regent races. That affects financial support to these candidates. Was that on Schostak? I'd say no. Some disagree. 
  • The technology deficit is known. Schostak understands that, and not just because Courser said so since he ran for chair. 
  • Schostak raised a lot of money. That made the impact of a 9pt loss seem like a 4-5pt loss. This was bad, but it wasn't 1996 bad. We kept the court and state house.
  • The big problems I saw were strategic. Historically, state party defers to the candidates at the top of the ticket no matter who is chair. Schostak joined that last time, but I think won't be so apt to do that this time. Why? Boston incompetence. I'm starting to see some of the changes already - before Courser's campaign.

I personally like Todd Courser. I think he would have been great for State Board of Education. State Chair was another story. Platitudes aren't good enough to get my support. Telling me you are a constitutional conservative means nothing. Everyone claims to be that these days. It also doesn't qualify someone for chair.

Having your main team be the people behind the Gary Glenn coronation attempt is a good way to lose any chance at getting my support. I wasn't impressed with Cindy Gamrat's Michigan 4 Conservative Senate push. Now what I didn't mention in that article was that I knew the pick was going to be Gary Glenn before I wrote that. The attempted coronation backfired. Glenn withdrew from campaigning a few weeks before the election to support Durant (who I voted for when Konetchy was out) and Hoekstra won anyway. The guy they tried to get a coronation for did not make it. The local tea parties here had nothing to do with that.

Todd Courser himself is 0-3 in elections and from what I've heard, was never an officer in his county or district party (compared to my 6+ years as a party officer not even counting as chair).  His campaign was telling me that Schostak sucked. 0-3 sucks. That wasn't all his fault, but if you're putting down someone's work based on elections, you better have something to stand on. The coronation attempt for Gary Glenn who dropped out I think sucked more than the 0-3. It was a disaster, and I called it as such way back when. If Courser won, who was he going to hire for election work? Those people? In addition, how was he going to raise the necessary money?

I'm still open to 'non establishment' candidates. I voted for Santorum and don't regret it. I also don't necessarily back people just because they are running against 'the establishment.' Give me something to work with. A track record. A plan. Results.

The media memo is that the tea party opposed Schostak. That's only partially correct. The people who backed Courser that I noticed were the "It's time for change" folks, homeschool advocates (Courser is one of them - that's pro-Courser more than anything else), Campaign for Liberty (Ron Paul and Gary Johnson), Gary Glenn supporters, and SOME tea parties.
Schostak's supporters were a combination of establishment, some right to work advocates, SOME tea parties, and those who worked with him. He got my support with the signs last election. That got me off the fence.

That all said, there is no doubt we have a divided base. Washington incompetence isn't helping matters at all. Our DC Republicans are once again making things a lot tougher for us. A couple of Snyder vetoes of popular bills on gun safety and insurance matters supported by our Livingston County Republicans upset some people. The gas tax proposal is opposed by Joe Hune and many others. While we are quite appreciative of Right to Work, I'm not going to sugarcoat things and say all is well within the party. There's a lot of work to be done. Some people took out their frustrations on Schostak.

I hear this talk about how we need unity. While I agree, the question is how do we do it. I think we need to concentrate on the first part of our names and differentiate ourselves from DC. Washington is killing us. We're not Washington. I'm going to be making a concerted effort to remember the first two words of my party's name. "Livingston County." Just because Washington sucks doesn't mean we have anything to do with it.

Schostak has a lot of work to do. I think he'll get it done. Everyone has to do their part as well, and that includes me.

On to the next election. For us, that's May/August this year.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Illinois Nazis. I hate Illinois Nazis

Warning - Some language in the Blues Brothers clip.

I got a $100 red light camera ticket from Chicago in the mail today. One problem. I haven't driven in Illinois, let alone Chicago, in at least 12 years. I also have never driven my current wheels there. The vehicle's license plate was off by one letter (Which I can tell even on the red light camera picture sent to me). It was a different vehicle from Michigan. I won't post pictures but you can bet your arse that I'll be sending a nice file to Sh-tcago (gave up swearing for Lent) to contest this piece of trash. They got the wrong car.

I'm even more insulted that they sent a picture of a foreign car to me and claim that it was my car. Anyone that knows me knows I drive Fords, not Scion. My family would disown me otherwise The picture of the vehicle was a Scion XD. I drive a older truck based Ford Explorer. There is a big difference. M and N are different letters. Fords and Scions are different vehicles. One quick license plate cross check should have handled that.

I wouldn't expect anything less than incompetence or a moneygrab attempt from the city that gave us Al Capone, Barack Obama, the Daley family, Dan Rostenkowski, Sam Giancana, Fred Roti (A Mobster who was a city alderman which lead the push for the gun ban), Pat Marcy, Jesse Jackson, Mel Reynolds, Rod Blagojevich, Rahm Emanuel, Daniel Walker, and Otto Kerner. Many of them are or have been jailbirds at some point. It's called C(r)ook County, Illinois(e) for a reason. Half of the pols there seem to end up in the big house.

 That's what democrat run cities get you.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Gun grabbers in Washington State want house to house searches for guns

The left says "Nobody wants to take your guns." That's a bald faced lie of course. I know. You know it. Everybody knows it. Those that say otherwise are lying. 

This new bill is scary. While this is supposedly a mistake, I'm skeptical of how much of a mistake it was. Words mean things. Language inserted into bills is often run by attorneys to double check matters. If this was a mistake, it got past a lot of people.

While Washington State is rather liberal, it like Oregon is not as liberal on guns as many other blue states. It's not like California, Illinois, or most of the Northeast (outside Pennsylvania, Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire).

From Seattle Times

One of the major gun-control efforts in Olympia this session calls for the sheriff to inspect the homes of assault-weapon owners. The bill’s backers say that was a mistake.

Forget police drones flying over your house. How about police coming inside, once a year, to have a look around?
As Orwellian as that sounds, it isn’t hypothetical. The notion of police home inspections was introduced in a bill last week in Olympia.
That it’s part of one of the major gun-control efforts pains me. It seemed in recent weeks lawmakers might be headed toward some common-sense regulation of gun sales. But then last week they went too far. By mistake, they claim. But still too far.
“They always say, we’ll never go house to house to take your guns away. But then you see this, and you have to wonder.”
That’s no gun-rights absolutist talking, but Lance Palmer, a Seattle trial lawyer and self-described liberal who brought the troubling Senate Bill 5737 to my attention. It’s the long-awaited assault-weapons ban, introduced last week by three Seattle Democrats. 
(Note to readers: The link above is to a new version of SB 5737, which no longer contains the disputed provision. The original version of the bill has been erased from the state’s Web site, but here you can see it as it was proposed.)

That's from a media editorial in the paper. As you'd guess, it's leftist, like most newspaper editorials.  Even they have a limit. Provisions like that could cause a lot of problems.

But then, with respect to the thousands of weapons like that already owned by Washington residents, the bill says this:
“In order to continue to possess an assault weapon that was legally possessed on the effective date of this section, the person possessing shall ... safely and securely store the assault weapon. The sheriff of the county may, no more than once per year, conduct an inspection to ensure compliance with this subsection.”
In other words, come into homes without a warrant to poke around. Failure to comply could get you up to a year in jail.
“I’m a liberal Democrat — I’ve voted for only one Republican in my life,” Palmer told me. “But now I understand why my right-wing opponents worry about having to fight a government takeover.”
He added: “It’s exactly this sort of thing that drives people into the arms of the NRA.”
I have been blasting the NRA for its paranoia in the gun-control debate. But Palmer is right — you can’t fully blame them, when cops going door-to-door shows up in legislation.

It's not paranoia if they are really out to get you. I'm not surprised one bit. That's what the left does. That's what big government does. More laws. More regulations. More criminalization. Obamacare makes felons of those who don't comply. Five years in prison. Why wouldn't they support house to house searches? It wouldn't be the first time.

Washington DC was pushing this back in 2008

Bill Clinton and the Butcher of Waco Janet Reno pushed warrantless searches in public housing. Remember the infamous "radical Constitution with a radical Bill of Rights quote?" That was referring to this.

New York State's latest gun grab banned magazines with more than 7 bullets. That covers almost all semi-automatic pistols outside of some 1911's. That also covers the classic Ruger 10/.22 Those who currently own them and don't turn them in or sell them out of state face a misdemeanor charge. What's going to happen there - house to house searches? Andrew Cuomo was part of that same Clinton administration, so it wouldn't shock me a bit.

I haven't read Atlas Shrugged in a long time, and parts I agree with and parts I don't, but one quote struck with me. It's as true as can be.

"There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kinds of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted - and you create a nation of lawbreakers - and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, Mr. Rearden, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with." - Floyd Ferris

But this hasn't been proposed federally, right?

Mr. Speaker, I rise to introduce the Public Health and Safety Act of 1993 on behalf of myself and nine of my colleagues: Mel Reynolds, Bill Clay, Jerry Nadler, Eleanor Holmes Norton, John Lewis, Nydia Velazquez, Ron Dellums, Carrie Meek, and Alcee Hastings. This legislation, first introduced in the Senate by Senator John Chafee, would prohibit the transfer or possession of handguns and handgun ammunition, except in limited circumstances. It would go a long way toward protecting our citizens from violent crime.
The need for a ban on handguns cannot be overstated. Unlike rifles and shotguns, handguns are easily concealable. Consequently, they are the weapons of choice in most murders, accounting for the deaths of 25,000 Americans in 1991.
A 6-month grace period would be established during which time handguns could be turned in to any law enforcement agency with impunity and for reimbursement at the greater of $25 or the fair market value of the handgun . After the grace period's expiration, handguns could be turned in voluntarily with impunity from criminal prosecution, but a civil fine of $500 would be imposed.
Exemptions from the handgun ban would be permitted for Federal, State, or local government agencies, including military and law enforcement; collectors of antique firearms; federally licensed handgun sporting clubs; federally licensed professional security guard services; and federally licensed dealers, importers, or manufacturers.

The Public Health and Safety Act of 1993 represents a moderate, middle-of-the-road approach to handgun control which deserves the support of all members of Congress who want to stop gun murders now.
         --- Hon. Major R. Owens (Rep. NY, Introduction of the Public Health and Safety Act of 1993, Extension of Remarks - September 23, 1993. Congressional Record, 103rd Congress, 1993-1994)

While the 2nd Amendment in SCOTUS did rule against bans, keep in mind it was a 5-4 decision. Twice. If Scalia, Kennedy, Roberts, Thomas, or Alito retire under Obama's term, we are at major risk of the DC and Chicago bans being reversed.

Nobody wants to take the guns, right? We all know the answer to that. These gun grabs need to be stopped. Our checks and balances in our political system need to be respected, and the 2nd Amendment is a major part of that.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Talk is cheap

I gave up swearing for Lent, so I can't say what I'd really like to say here. I skipped the SOTU address. I had more important things to do, like watch the State game. Snark comment aside, after five years of the same old song and dance, what else would I expect.

From the Argus

And this was in the Argus.

The Livingston County Republican Party chairman says there was no need to watch President Barack Obama's State of the Union address because it's just "talk anyway, and talk is cheap."
"I figure watching the State of the Union would be a waste of my time; the reason being, I can't believe what is said anyway because we've had, by this point, five years of Obama," Chairman Dan Wholihan said, noting he instead watched the basketball game between Michigan and Michigan State.
"We know what he supports. We know what he is pushing. There's not a lot of news anyway," he added.

Past performance is usually the best indicator of future performance. We've had massive power grabs, spending increases, regulations, and tax increases. The speech, at least according to the lowlights I've seen, is nothing more than more of the same. Cap and Destroy, gun grabbing, spending.

Perhaps the most emotionally charged issue was Obama's call for passage of gun-control measures.
Daubenmier said Obama is "absolutely right" that victims of gun violence "deserve a vote" on these measures.
"It was another way in which the president sent a signal that he is tired of Republican obstructionism on proposals that are widely supported by the American people," she said.
Wholihan isn't impressed, saying Obama's comments have been the "same talking points proposed" by former President Bill Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore's administration.

What wasn't printed is that we have massive gun control in Chicago. It doesn't work. Mexico has a total ban. El Paso next door with the same ethnic makeup is much safer. I've seen the same talking points about what is known in 2nd Amendment circles as "evil black rifles" that look scary, along with 'gun shows' (all dealers must perform background checks) for 15 years.

Wholihan said Obama needs to talk about spending cuts. He suggested looking back to 2000 and 2001 as a starting point.
"I think both parties have spent too much," he said. "I think Republicans are starting to realize that and are getting back to our traditional views on spending and budget. Livingston County Republicans have had balanced budgets every year. It's not hard to do. It just takes effort."

If you want to see balanced budgets and fiscal responsibility, look at our county government. Lowest taxes, highest bond rating. Balanced budgets every year. Compare that to the feds, or Wayne County for that matter. We don't have to reinvent the wheel. We need to apply the forward thinking of Livingston County to the rest of the country.

It's time for zero based budgeting in DC, and to end both tax and spend, along with borrow and spend. Mr. Obama shattered the Bush records, and then talks about fiscal responsibility. Talk is cheap. Talk from Mr. Obama is worthless.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Don Parker and Mike Tipton file for Commissioner vacancy

We'll have a May/August special election to fill the position by Jay Drick's promotion to magistrate.

From the Argus:

The race to fill an unexpired Livingston County Commission term is set.
Republican Don Parker, who was recently appointed to the seat, and Democrat Michael Tipton, a newly-elected Howell Township trustee, were the only candidates to filed Tuesday for the District 5 commission seat.

That means we probably won't have a real contest in the primary barring an unexpectedly strong write-in. There will be a contested special general election in August. We're going to need to be ready for that as Tipton did win his last race (unopposed). Parker's been there before, so he's not a stranger to elections. Parker was my commissioner when I lived in Howell and I thought he did a good job there.

The Special Primary is MAY 7th. The Special General is AUGUST 6th. Throw out most of the conventional rules with special elections. They are always about turnout. We can not beat ourselves this August.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Karl Kling also announces for the 47th District (HD-47)

I just saw this in the Argus. I knew he had a Bureau of Elections committee up, but I was waiting for a formal announcement before commenting.

Michigan Sports Academy-Livingston owner Karl Kling has announced his candidacy for Michigan’s 47th House District seat, currently filled by state Rep. Cindy Denby, R-Handy Township.
Kling is running as a GOP candidate for the seat, which is open in 2014 because Denby is term-limited.
He owns Michigan Sports Academy-Livingston, 760 McPherson Park Drive in Howell. The business is an indoor baseball and softball training facility. Kling is also a former Milford Times editor.

I don't know Karl Kling and found out what I could quickly. I saw his linkedin profile and saw he was active out in Oakland County politics for awhile and a writer with the South Lyon Herald. He was the chief of staff of Nancy Cassis and the Communications Director and later Executive Director for the OCRP. He lasted over a term as ED after the two years turnover, so he showed something they liked. His wife is/was Joe and Marty Knollenberg's treasurer so there are some strong political connections in the family, probably from the time with OCRP.

He's a relative stranger to Livingston County Politics to a large extent however which is much different and still more small town oriented than Oakland. With his baseball involvement, he's not a stranger to the Howell area community which values athletics. The question is if he can apply what he learned in Oakland to here, and get his baseball folks all behind him this campaign.

I expect Dr Vaupel to use the Joe Hune/Cindy Denby tried and true strategy for the district. If both of these candidates work like they are probably capable of working, it should be a good race. I haven't seen of any other names on the list.

Since I'm County Chair, I won't be making an endorsement in this primary except to say that either Hank Vaupel, Karl Kling, or someone else that wins will have tough shoes to full. Joe and Cindy both did a very good job in the 47th. That won't be easy to replace.

Good luck to both candidates, and I hope it's a good clean primary.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Dr Henry Vaupel announces run for state rep

From WHMI:

2/4/13 - A local official is looking to move into the political arena in 2014. Dr. Henry Vaupel of Fowlerville has officially announced his candidacy for Michigan’s 47th District House of Representatives seat. He is the current Handy Township Supervisor and the founder of a local veterinary clinic. The seat is currently held by Republican Cindy Denby, who is term limited. Dr. Vaupel says he brings extensive knowledge of his community to the race and would look to support legislation that grows the economy of Michigan, and Livingston County. He adds that any polices he would bring to Lansing would reflect his strong family and conservative values. District 47 encompasses Cohoctah, Conway, Deerfield, Handy, Hartland, Howell, Iosco, Marion, Oceola, Tyrone and Unadilla Townships as well as the City of Howell, the Village of Fowlerville and a portion of Fenton City. More information about Vaupel can be found through the link below. 

I think there's a geographic advantage with the Fowlerville area in regards to this district, despite more population in the Hartland/Tyrone area. Western Livingston has a long history for not only voting for their own, but getting out the vote in order to do so. Joe Hune set the standard on this in his 2002 then major upset. He worked hard and got Western Livingston behind him. Cindy Denby was Handy Township Supervisor and was also a staffer for Joe Hune before taking Joe's spot. Dr Hank Vaupel is currently Handy Township Supervisor and is now running for Joe and Cindy's old position.

Vaupel is a good guy and a long time supporter of the party and is probably best known for founding the Kern Road Veterinarian clinic.  He will certainly be a contender for the position. We'll see who else is in.

Karl Rove - Back the Hell off

I really don't understand how Karl Rove is considered a political genius unless it is the Wile E Coyote version of "super genius." He got lucky by 500 votes in Florida in 2000, and got lucky again that John Kerry was the worst candidate the dems could run in 2004 thanks to "The New Soldier" and his 1972 traitor speech (read the whole transcript). The only thing he really got right campaign wise was getting ballot initiatives going that drove conservative turnout. That's the one big thing I'll credit him with. When it comes to candidate strategy and issues, I think he flat out sucks.

Karl Rove was deputy Chief of Staff of Bush from 05 to 07. That is the same time trouble really started brewing for the Bush administration.

Karl Rove was 0-fer in Michigan. Lost the 2000 primary. Lost in 2000 and 2004 (and he shouldn't have lost 04). Crossroads lost here in 2012.  He also ran his mouth and did a 1/2way McCain statement here in the last election. He later said it was competitive in the last two weeks, but the earlier comment did major damage. Major. If he was the genius he claimed he was, he'd keep his mouth shut, stay off of Fox (if he's running crossroads) and do what needs to be done.

Now he's getting involved in primaries. Great. A quote from Coach Bob Knight comes to mind. "You (bleeped) it up to begin with, now just sit there or leave."  Knight was addressing a media person who misrepresented him. Rove embarrassed himself and spent a lot of political capital losing hundreds of millions of dollars from donor money and got bad results. His back is against the wall and he needs to redeem himself and his thought process. The think with these national consultants is that it is of course NEVER their own fault. It's always the fault of others. That's how they keep getting their paycheck and these hanger-ons stay around. It can't be the fault of "super genius" but it is the fault of those "tea party people."

Reality is that this year the only one I can pin on the tea party is Mourdock. Akin wasn't tea party (although some tea party backed him after the fact due to the attacks against him by Rove). Romney wasn't tea party. His election day operations are legendary bad with Project Orca. His sign policy also hurt us badly.  In 2010, you could point to Angle and O'Donnell as tea party, but this year you had establishment candidates lose too. Both sides have their good (Rob Portman, Pat Toomey) and bad (Tommy Thompson, Richard Mourdock).

From the NY Times.

The group, the Conservative Victory Project, is intended to counter other organizations that have helped defeat establishment Republican candidates over the last two election cycles. It is the most robust attempt yet by Republicans to impose a new sense of discipline on the party, particularly in primary races.
“There is a broad concern about having blown a significant number of races because the wrong candidates were selected,” said Steven J. Law, the president of American Crossroads, the “super PAC” creating the new project. “We don’t view ourselves as being in the incumbent protection business, but we want to pick the most conservative candidate who can win.” 

On paper, that sounds great. On paper. The problem is American Crossroads is run by Rove. Rove's track record makes Sarah Palin's look almost perfect. 3 for 20 or 7 for 24 (I've seen different reports.) This wasn't a wave election. The other issue is this. It's not about "most conservative" or "most moderate" if you are looking for electability. That's consultant and pundit BS. It's about the right fit. Rove doesn't get the Midwest. He never has. His record here shows that. Electability starts with candidates who A. Do their job and run on that first, B. Work hard and campaign and don't act like they are talked into running or are entitled to the job. Competence comes first. Where that affect social issues is where you have "far right" or "moderate" candidates play those up to the expense of going away from "doing your job issues."

The effort would put a new twist on the Republican-vs.-Republican warfare that has consumed the party’s primary races in recent years. In effect, the establishment is taking steps to fight back against Tea Party groups and other conservative organizations that have wielded significant influence in backing candidates who ultimately lost seats to Democrats in the general election.  

As someone who is not completely in either camp, I see a major problem here. One good friend of mind who is probably considered establishment said one of the biggest problems was Republicans bashing the hell out of each other in primaries. I'm not completely blameless here, but that was a good point mentioned. "For every attack between Santorum and Romney camps, you had votes going by default to Obama" was almost the exact quote from this individual. This person has a real point, especially after seeing the results. This Rovian stuff ain't helping matters.

As far as the "backing candidates who lose part", usually Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin are cited. Mourdock lost for saying something stupid. Akin wasn't tea party. He was establishment - Huckabee wing. He lost for saying something stupid. Saying something stupid isn't limited to "tea party" candidates. George Allen was very establishment and he lost in 06 for saying something stupid.

Iowa will be ground zero for this. 

The group’s plans, which were outlined for the first time last week in an interview with Mr. Law, call for hard-edge campaign tactics, including television advertising, against candidates whom party leaders see as unelectable and a drag on the efforts to win the Senate. Mr. Law cited Iowa as an example and said Republicans could no longer be squeamish about intervening in primary fights.
“We’re concerned about Steve King’s Todd Akin problem,” Mr. Law said. “This is an example of candidate discipline and how it would play in a general election. All of the things he’s said are going to be hung around his neck.”

King beat Christine Vilsack, a strong candidate with 7 million in backing, by 8% in a slightly R district. Now can King sell in Eastern Iowa? That's why we have primaries. On the same note, would Arlen Specter and Charlie Crist be better as R's in 2010 than Pat Toomey and Marco Rubio? NRSC supported those now democrats. NRSC supported Lincoln Chafee in Rhode Island. He won his primary and got his ass kicked in 2006. He also supported Obama, the 2nd worst resident of the White House in my lifetime outside of Jimmy Carter.

Grover Norquist, who leads Americans for Tax Reform, a fiscally conservative advocacy group that plays a role in Republican primary races, said he welcomed a pragmatic sense of discipline in recruiting candidates. But he said it was incorrect to suggest that candidates backed by Tea Party groups were the only ones to lose, pointing to establishment Republicans in North Dakota and Montana who also lost their races last year.
“People are imagining a problem that doesn’t exist,” Mr. Norquist said. “We’ve had people challenge the establishment guy and do swimmingly.” 

I'm not always in agreement with Norquist, but he's dead on here. Establishment candidates lost in Wisconsin and Michigan this year. Tea party candidates won Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Florida in 2010. Tea party won Texas in 2012. Tea party lost Indiana in 2012 and lost Nevada, Delaware, and Colorado in 2010. Establishment won Nevada  in 2012 and Ohio in 2010. They were generally united in New Hampshire in 2010 and won. Good candidates are good candidates regardless of which wing of the party. Bad is bad regardless of which wing of the party. "Electable candidates" aren't such because of just ideology. That's DC thinking.

Who are the recent winners in a purple state like Wisconsin? Scott Walker and Ron Johnson. I'm sure Rove would consider them too right wing to win a Midwestern state. Tommy Thompson lost. He shouldn't have lost, but he lost, to Tammy Baldwin of all people. Here in Michigan, I personally like Pete Hoekstra. He's a good guy who unfortunately was not a good candidate. He ran for senate like he was talked into running and did so as a favor. He was the establishment pick. He won the primary underwhelmingly and we had Bouchard 2006 all over again in the general. Stabenow has a lot of soft support. There was an opening there, but the window shut quickly and it was all over before it started.

If Steven Law at Crossroads really wants to do this right and be actually pragmatic instead of being another NRSC racket (Chafee, Crist, Specter all over again), he'll need to learn the territory of these areas in depth. He'll need to talk to the experts on the group and learn from them. REAL experts - away from the DC bubble. These experts are those who understand how things work in each individual state - people that live there. If Law tells Rove and DC consultants to back off, this may work. 

If Crossroads follows Rove's lead and pushes in, you're going to see state establishments, tea parties, conservatives, and everyone up and down the line unite - AGAINST Crossroads. Why? Turf wars. Arrogance combined with ignorance. Wasting money. How? Because candidates like Steve King in Iowa will drive up the Western Iowa vote with this line "Washington DC thinks they know what is best for Iowans. Vote for me and teach Washington establishment a lesson that primaries are for Iowans." That can work in every state. 

I encourage all Republican and Conservative donors to ask themselves these things when determining which committee to support:

1. Do these people have a good track record? Take a close look. While there's always many reasons why candidates sometimes lose, if you see the same style of campaign repeatedly with the same results, a pattern emerges.

2. Do I want my money spent on 3rd parties to elect republicans being wasted attacking good republicans in primaries?  If I want that, I'd donate to the candidate itself or an issues PAC.

3. Will this committee spend my money properly? I hate wasting money. Some call me cheap, but I prefer the term frugal. It goes back to running a countywide committee on $1700 against $10K+. We won BTW.

That doesn't apply just to Crossroads and Rove, but any committee. We all need to use due diligence in our decision making in which committees deserve our support, be it establishment, tea party, or all points in between.