Organizing for Freedom: American Majority and The New Leaders Project



Yesterday, in a bold move that directly addresses the need for unity and a true bottom up leadership approach to the problems facing America, American Majority and American Majority Action unveiled  an ambitious plan to take back America.

"On the heels of an historic mid-term election, and amid speculation about the future of the Tea Party movement, American Majority along with local Tea Party leaders from across the nation, announced today the launch of The New Leaders Project and the drive to identify 10,000 new, credible candidates in advance of the 2011 and 2012 elections.

American Majority believes that this project, when combined with policy education and grassroots infrastructure development, is the surest way to sustain Tea Party momentum across the nation.

This first of its kind national effort will seek to have 1,000 local Tea Party leaders sign onto The New Leaders Project, committing themselves and their groups to identifying 10 new leaders in their local community to run primarily for state or local office in 2012.  Representatives from Texas, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Colorado, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Florida, Virginia, Arkansas, and Ohio on hand at a press conference this morning to be the first signers of The New Leaders Pledge."

American Majority president Ned Ryun delivered a powerful statement about the overall mission of the The New Leader Project:

"At American Majority, we have believed since the Tea Party movement began that in order for it to remain a potent force for real and lasting change, it must grow from the ground up.

American Majority, and the Tea Party movement, are not interested in change for one or two election cycles. It is interested in generational change, but for that to happen, the work must begin as locally as possible.

Today, we are here to send a message – that 2010 was just the beginning.

The next cycle begins now. This year’s elections were just the opening salvo in the long war that will determine who will control America’s future: the American people or a ruling class of elite incumbent politicians who have driven this nation down the road to statism for too long.

The future of our Republic, our democratic process, the free enterprise system and the power of the individual are all dependent on activated citizens committed to accountability."

According to Ryun, over 80% of incumbents at the federal level won -  and over 1,000 state legislators were not even challenged in the 2010 general election. The New Leaders Project takes a page directly from the Left's playbook. Groups like ACORN, SEIU and even Obama's Organizing for America have long realized that all politics is local.

Over the past four decades the left has systematically installed handpicked politicians like Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villagairosa and the ethically challenged Congresswoman Maxine Waters across the country. As noted earlier this year in regards to California, corrupt local politicians can easily become a national problems as they seek higher office.

Not surprisingly, mainstream media outlets like Politico have completely ignored the true significance of this initiative and choose to instead use it as another opportunity to bash Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell:

"No more Christine O’Donnell’s or Sharron Angle’s.

That is the implicit goal of a million-dollar program intended to build a farm team of tea party candidates that was announced Tuesday morning by a pair of linked non-profit groups called American Majority and American Majority Action."

A Tea Party leader tried to set the record straight about the goals of the New Leader project:

“Voters will have the ability to not choose (between) the lesser of two evils, but to champion a genuine candidate who believes like we believe; that is detached from the political class, because they didn’t come from the political class,” said Chris Littleton, co-founder of the Ohio Liberty Council..."

The question remains if our traditional two party system is ready for this new movement. American Majority aims to take the movement away from DC centric orgranizations and place it back in the hands of the local leaders. Power brokers and pay for play politics are not as easy once people realize that change can happen outside of Washington, DC.


Anita MonCrief is the National Spokesperson for American Majority and the Editor-in-Chief of a new website, Emerging Corruption. She is also known as the ACORN/Project Vote Whistleblower. MonCrief attended the University of Alabama where she majored in political science and history. She has worked with the American Bar Association’s Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative; (ABA CEELI), the International Crisis Group, the Grameen Foundation and American Rights at Work. She also partnered with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on their mission to Macedonia as an election observer In 2005, MonCrief joined the Strategic Writing and Research Department of ACORN Political Operations and its affiliate Project Vote. In 2008, MonCrief came forward, first as a confidential source of The New York Times and, after The New York Times backed away, publicly, to expose the damage that ACORN has done to the impoverished and marginalized communities, as well as its rampant voter fraud. She also began to blog and write about corruption within the ACORN/Project Vote network of corporations. In June 2009, Project Vote/ACORN filed a lawsuit against MonCrief in an attempt to silence her. MonCrief has appeared on numerous radio and television programs including, The Laura Ingraham Show, The O’Reilly Factor, The Sean Hannity Radio show and Fox News programs. In March 2010, the ACORN/Project Vote lawsuit was dismissed. MonCrief is a regular contributor to Big Government, Hot Air, NetRight Daily, RedState, and other Conservative news websites. MonCrief and her family live in the Washington, DC metro area. You can follow Anita here on Twitter.




A modest proposal to the federal government

This is a bold idea from Utah Republicans.

We propose a modest experiment. As Utah state leaders, we are greatly concerned about the unprecedented expansion of the federal government over many years, and the enormous debt levels being left to our children and grandchildren. We believe the federal government is attempting to do far more than it has the capacity to execute well. [...]

We'd like to relieve some of their burden. We don't believe that 535 members of Congress and the president can educate our children, provide health care, pave our roads and protect our environment as well as the nation's 8,000 state legislators and tens of thousands of local officials.

So please, let us help. Let's select a few programs -- say, education, transportation and Medicaid -- that are managed mostly by Utah's government, but with significant federal dollars and a plethora of onerous federal interventions and regulations.

Let Utah take over these programs entirely. But let us keep in our state the portion of federal taxes Utah residents pay for these programs. The amount would not be difficult to determine. Rather than send this money through the federal bureaucracy, we would retain it and would take full responsibility for education, transportation and Medicaid -- minus all federal oversight and regulation. [...] [T]oday the federal government operates like an old-fashioned mainframe computer, pushing one-size-fits-all mandates out to the states. We believe there is value in intelligent decentralization.

This would be a great agenda for the Tea Party activists.  It combines limited federal government with increased State, local and personal responsibility.  For that matter, it should be a great experiment for the empiricists and policy wonks - both left and right - who want better data on which systems work and which do not.

Let's hope some Republicans will have the courage of their convictions to put political capital behind this idea.  This would be a good agenda item for Tea Party activists to demand of Republicans.

Using Harry and Roy Reid to highlight federalism's import

This morning's Politico had an article about the potential political situation in which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will be up for re-election while his son Rory will be running for Governor (if he makes it through the primary).

If this happens, the Rory Reid campaign will do the following:  

"Rory Reid campaign manager David Chase Cohen, who served as Barack Obama’s Nevada state director in the 2008 presidential caucus, wouldn’t say exactly how the campaign planned to distinguish between the two Reids. But he was quick to point out that the campaign would highlight the importance of local — as opposed to federal — governance." 

This campaign could give small government supporters the perfect opportunity to show local, regional or even voters accross the country the different roles that the federal government should play versus the role of state governments. 


An important question

I think this question from the RNCdebate site is very important:

Partial Quote:

"A resurgent Republican party needs to turn this around and brand itself as the "ipod" party - the party that gives citizens the most freedom, options, and choice. We need to offer a clear distinction between Democrats top-down, one-size-fits all policies by giving the American people policy choices, the ability to opt out, and policies that recognize state and regional differences. The best way to do this is to resurrect the idea of federalism. Will you commit to making federalism/local choice the key plank of a revitalized Republican Party?" 

Only Federalism Can Unify the Party

"It is one of the happy incidents of the federal system that a single courageous state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country."

- United States Associate Justice Louis Brandeis

Our Founding Fathers understood one truth about political philosophy: To find common ground is sometimes impossible.  When disagreement between political opponents rests on fundamental ideological principles, one side must forfeit its core beliefs in the name of unity, or suffer defeat.  Consequently, to unify a young nation without engaging in an immediate civil war, the framers of the Constitution set up a system of Federalism that has since been abandoned by both political parties to America's detriment.

Federalism is the system of dividing government and political power between the States and the Federal government.  This form of decentralization guaranteed by the 10th Amendment of the Constitution ensures that regardless of which ideology achieves power at the federal level, it would not be granted monopolistic tyranny over minority views.

Although Justice Brandeis' famous quote has been cited several times over the last few decades, the Republican Party, the Party that could benefit the most from its implementation, has abandoned its principles.

Since Ronald Reagan, the Republican Party has doubled down on remaking the federal government in its own image.  It went from a Party that advocated local control over education and accountability, to using Jimmy Carter's Department of Education to create a "conservative" federal program called No Child Left Behind.  It went from a Party that advocated individual states experimenting with social policy to creating its own national healthcare agenda.  It went from a Party that wanted to keep the government off the citizens' backs to one that prevented states from individually legalizing medical marijuana and online gambling.  These are just a few examples.

The greatness of Federalism is that States can freely experiment with public policy without significant political difficulty.  Subsequently, if the ideas prevail, other states in the Union can mimic them.  If the ideas fail, individuals can "vote with their feet" and leave.  Conversely, if ideas crash at the federal level, our entire Country experiences a disaster rather than it being a localized phenomenon.

The liberty offered from Federalism is precisely why it is the only way to save the Republican Party.  The bottom line is that certain ideological factions, libertarians and social conservatives for example, may argue with one another until the end of time without agreement.  While they are struggling for control of a weakened Party, the Democrats will continue to prevail.  This avenue is no solution to our Country's problems.

Instead of continuing down this road, the only way to unify the several factions that have traditionally voted Republican is to allow each other to have local and State control of public policy.

Not only are there political differences between libertarians and social conservatives, but also there are cultural differences between different regions of the Country.

We need to face the facts that people like David Brooks and David Frum, Washington establishment pundits, have virtually nothing in common culturally with Ted Nugent.  Moreover, San Francisco has few cultural similarities to Montgomery, Alabama.  This is not a moral judgment; it is just a reality that we need to accept.

The great irony is that if the Republican Party adopts Federalism as a major goal of its Party platform, it will appeal to people across the political spectrum, even some Democrats.  The reason is obvious: Federalism offers the individual more control over his or her life.  The only tradeoff is that one must allow someone from across the Country to have that same liberty.

Over the last few weeks, numerous pundits have argued over who is going to control the Republican Party, and what type of "rebranding" is necessary.  This is never going to work.  What the Republican Party needs to do is to offer all factions the opportunity to unite around the ideals of Federalism.

Lastly, it must be noted that the term, "States' Rights" has a pejorative connotation gained from the era of Jim Crow Laws.  This may explain why Republicans recently have abandoned the policy for fear of being labeled a racist.  Nevertheless, fear that an ignorant few could engage in an ad hominem attack is no reason to avoid educating the masses of your true laudable intentions.

In fact, those who accuse States' Rights for being code word for racism ignore how Federalism was used to protect slaves.  For example, when the Federal Government passed the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which required the return of runaway slaves to the South, the northern states passed their own "personal liberty laws" to make it extremely difficult for the oppressive federal law being enforced. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fugitive_Slave_Law_of_1850).

It should also be noted that those who charge States' Rights proponents of being racist never have an argument for why many of the northern states outlawed slavery at a time when the majority of the Country as a whole was prejudice against Blacks.

In conclusion, the Republican Party has only one option to avoid being swept into the dustbin of history.  It must offer a solution to empower the masses to take control over their own lives.  For the same reasons that the Founding Fathers did in the past, the Republican Party must unite around Federalism.   Do not forget that unity via a decentralized government is why we are called the United States in the first place.
Devil's Advocate
Copious Dissent - Your Daily Dose of Liberty



The Return of Fred Thompson

Fred Thompson announces the launch of Fred PAC.   I'm very glad to see that.   What I really want to see in Republicans right now is framework-changing rhetoric - a politician who thinks and talks in fundamentally different ways.  Ideals like these are exactly right.

  • The role of the federal government is limited to the powers given to it in our Constitution, and the bigger the government gets, the less competent it is to run our lives, and we must have leaders who understand that the market works best when it regulated and legislated least.
  • A dollar belongs in the pocket of the person who earns it unless the government has a compelling reason why it can use it better
  • We don’t spend money we don’t have or borrow money that our children and grandchildren will have to pay back, and we must have leaders who understand this and will listen to the will of the people.

I supported (and worked for) Fred Thompson precisely because of the way he talked about and thought about government.  Not in the weak, vapid, play-the-Democrats-game manner that most Republicans do, but as somebody who would refocus public attention on the costs and problems of government.   e.g...

September, 2007:

"We've been spending increasing amounts of federal money for decades, with increasing rules, increasing mandates, increasing regulations," Thompson said. "It's not working." [...]  "It's your responsibility," he said. "If you don't like what's going on, don't get in your car and drive by your school board and maybe drive by the capitol and get on an airplane and fly to Washington and say, 'I don't like the way the school down the street is being run.'"

March, 2007:

"Washington overreaches, and by doing so ends up not doing well the basics people really care about." Think Katrina and Walter Reed.

Fred PAC appears to be focused on exactly that sort of thing.  Federalism, limited government, free markets.   It's going to take quite some time and a great deal of effort to build the coalition and popular energy for our story, but those are the unifying ideals that can revitalize the Republican Party.

Abortion: A Discussion

The modern debate about abortion seems to revolve, at heart, around one central principle.  Is it moral? Sure, there are other reasons why we might want to prohibit abortion - that it has negative social externalities, that it encourages irresponsibility among youth, etc...  - but none of these really address the core of the issue.  Abortion being legal or illegal should really be about the philosophical ramifications of the action itself, not the social consequences.  For instance, modern fashion might encourage promiscuity and legalized condoms might encourage premarital sex, but neither of these things are banned despite their social consequences.  The focus of the debate must be on the morality of abortion, not its social implications.  Remember, liberals always argue on the social implication ground, saying that people will start to get back-alley abortions, etc.

Also, for this discussion I want to ignore Roe v Wade.  In my opinion, it was badly decided, but I want to talk about policy rather than constitutionality.  In other words, say that Roe v Wade was overturned.  What abortion policy would you support?

Does a fetus have rights?

To some extent, modern society has accepted that it has less rights than the mother.  When health conflicts, doctors always try to save the mother first.  A fetus has reduced autonomy.  A fetus is unable to express opinions.  If one believes, philosophically, that a human's rights come from a will, then it is impossibled to gauge the will of the fetus.

Does a fetus deserve dignity?

We have accepted that humans deserve dignity.  Good.  A baby, from the moment of its birth, deserves dignity.  Now, it would be a stretch to argue that a baby does not deserve dignity the moment before its birth.  It could be removed and live.  Unless one wants to argue that a baby gains a soul by taking its first breath, we have to accept that the unborn have souls.

When does the soul develop?

It's a hard position to take that a single-celled zygote has a soul.  It gets into religious theory and, quite frankly, despite my own religious beliefs, I think it's hard to make a strong philosophical case for when the soul first exists and thus when the baby is first worthy of protection.

When can the baby first survive on its own?

I believe the current limit is about 22 weeks for any chance of survival (viability).  I think its very hard to argue that a baby should be aborted past the second trimester, when its chances of survival are good outside the womb.  Killing a potentially autonomous life strikes me as indefensible.

What are our options?

In my opinion, there are only three logical positions to take on abortion.

1.  It should be outlawed from the moment of conception.

2.  It should be outlawed past a certain point (probably the point of viability at 22 weeks)

3.  It should be legal, both before and directly after birth.

Position #1 strikes me as one that's hard to philosophically defend.  Does a zygote really have a soul/rights?  Is it given rights based on the potential for rights?  What about a sperm?  what about an egg?  Do we have the right to use condoms and prohibit the creation of something that will soon have rights?

Position #2 is interesting.  Given that the point of viability is shifting closer and closer to birth, we might see that over time Position #2 becomes significantly closer to Position #1.  Fred Thompson, if I recall correctly, supports legalized abortion only during the first trimester.

Position #3 is extreme, but I don't see a compelling argument for why you can abort a baby at the moment before its birth but not the moment afterwards.

- bishop

[Crossblogged at Army of Principles]

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