The White House is Wrong

Figures - President Bush denies House GOP special session.

I doubt this will have any affect on the House GOP leaders who are continuing their efforts this week from the House floor, but it is somewhat disheartening. The White House claims that there is no point in calling Congress back into session for a bill that the Democrats won't allow an up-down vote on.

The White House is wrong.

The point would be to force televised debate on an issue and shine a light on Pelosi's roadblocking. The point would be to support conservatives in Congress when they need it most. The point would be to align this White House with conservatives and give a badly needed boost to sagging conservative confidence in the Republican Party. The point would be to gain momentum for drilling - just serious discussion about drilling has made oil prices drop slightly, putting us on the road to easing the deathgrip high gas prices have on the nation's economy.

We're fooling ourselves if we don't believe that gas prices have been one of the primary causes for economic worry. And as we enter hurricane season in full force, with tropical storms already aiming dead-on at platforms and refineries in the Gulf, we need to do everything possible to give relief before the worst befalls us once again.

Incidentally, John McCain supports bringing Congress back into session.

Using Web Video Effectively: Oregon's Rick Dancer

Best practices from Oregon. -Patrick

Rick Dancer, the Republican nominee for Oregon Secretary of State, has been chronicling his campaign travels across the state via web videos on his campaign site. As a down ballot race for an office most people have no clue about what they do, Dancer is using his web videos to tell people about Oregon, give them exposure to who he is, and weave in campaign issues.

Dancer is also playing to his strengths: He's a former, longtime news anchor/reporter from Eugene.

His opponent is a longtime Democratic politician, State Sen. Kate Brown, who is the Senate Majority Leader. As a blue state, most pundits and insiders think she has it locked up after winning a four-way Democratic primary. She seems to think this as well: she seems to be coasting, her website hasn't been updated since the Primary and Dancer has outraised her significantly since then. 

Newt Gingrich, Bobby Jindal, Michael Steele Named Co-Chairs of GOP Youth Convention


                                                     Media Contact (202)544-7525 Info@GOPYouthConvention.org                    

WASHINGTON, July 30, 2008 - Today GOP Youth Convention.Org announced that Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, and GOPAC Chair and former Md. Lt Governor Michael Steele will serve as Honorary Co-chairs of its campaign to bring young people to the GOP National Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

"We are very excited that these outstanding leaders of the Republican Party will co-chair our campaign to bring a new generation of young leaders and volunteers to the GOP Convention in Minneapolis," said Namrata Idnani, a student co-chairman of the group.

In a special program over Labor Day weekend, GOP Youth Convention.Org will offer opportunities for young people from around the country to meet other young leaders, hear from and interact with elected officials, and learn how to be better grassroots organizers and political communicators. Other programs will extend throughout the week of the National Convention

"The new generation of leaders who join us in Minneapolis will experience a historic event: the nomination of John McCain for President of the United States," said Soren Dayton, Director of the GOP Youth Convention.

The group's education and training program will take place at Concordia University in Minneapolis, MN starting on Labor Day weekend and continuing throughout the week of the National Convention through Friday September 5th. An opening "welcome" party will take place at the Hard Rock cafe in Minneapolis during the evening on Friday, August 29. Other social events will continue throughout the Convention week.

Affordable accommodations are available for group participants.

For more information, interested individuals may call the group's office at (202) 544-7525, or visit our website at  www.gopyouthconvention.org


GOTV: Past, Present & Future

Promoted and bumped. -Patrick

I've been involved with many facets of many different types of campaigns: local school board, city council, state legislature, statewide gubernatorial, congressional, ballot initiative, and in-state presidential organizations. When I occassionally speak at campaign management and organization seminars, I am often asked the question: what is the most important part of the campaign? That question is so hard to answer because (1) campaigns are short-term "fire-fighting" operations as much as they are long-term strategic organziations, and (2) each part of the campaign (or at least a good campaign) is interconnected.

Yes, most of the money that gets spent is on paid media, and some will say that because of this, fundraising is the most important facet. While I don't disagree, something that I focus a lot of my attention on is GOTV efforts, a low-cost and high-importance category that has to be planned from the very beginning of the campaign but is executed in the last 72 hours.

So here are a few items of interest that all deal with GOTV efforts:

Ad Critic: Giving Obama A Big ‘O’ Hug

Check out the pair on Gordon Smith.  His campaign’s new spot directly links him to Barack Obama in what is easily the most ballsy ad by a Senate incumbent so far this cycle.  The ad fits neatly into the excellent air campaign Smith has been running and what’s likely to be a wider trend among blue state Republicans of associating themselves with Obama or his message.  Colorado GOP Senate nominee Bob Schaffer also joined in on the fun this week by parroting Obama’s visuals and logo. 


Ballot Initiative Alert: AK-Measure 3, OR-Measure 25, SD-Measure 10

In response to convictions of former state legislators in Alaska, liberal organizations and labor unions have placed the "Clean Elections Act," Ballot Initiative #3, on the August 26th primary ballot, which would institute public funding for legislative campaigns. Taxpayers in Maine and Arizona, states which have recently approved public financing, are learning that their money, which could be going towards legitimate government priorities like infrastructure improvement and education, are instead financing partisan politics.

Public financing actually decreases competitiveness in elections, which decreases choice for voters in a democracy. Incumbents in Arizona were re-elected at a higher rate after public financing was enacted; the number of candidates fell from 247 to 195 according to the Goldwater Institute. Furthermore, public financing limits a challenger’s ability to communicate with voters. By limiting the amount of money that can be spent in campaigns, it limits the amount of information that voters receive.

Voters in Oregon have a chance to prohibit public financing in November. Ballot Measure #25 would ban the use of public resources for political campaigns. Bill Sizemore, the initiative’s sponsor, tried twice to pass similar measures within the last decade, only to be defeated by labor union money.

If voters want tackle corruption in government, they should look at South Dakota's Open and Clean Government Act, Initiated Measure #10. It would not only prohibit taxpayer funded campaigns and lobbying. It would also create "information on state contracts that would be available for review on a searchable website."

BOTTOM LINE: When it comes to solving corruption and lack of ethics in government, public financing of campaigns is the wrong answer; instead, the conservative movement should support policies that increase transparency in campaigns and in government.

GOP Stabilizing in the House & Senate?

Two days ago, I floated a theory about the awful string of special elections this spring. The specials in IL-14, LA-6, and MS-1 all followed Democratic primaries in those states, while the Democratic nominating contest was going on. Meanwhile, special elections in OH-5, MA-5, and IN-7, ending in mid-February, yielded results well within expectations with slight boomlets for the Republican candidates. All of these primaries occurred well before Democrats had been primed to vote in the Presidential primary in those states.

This theory is bolstered by this chart posted on Open Left a month back:

Forest, Meet Trees


Forest, Meet Trees

“Over the past two hundred years, industrial civilization has been relentlessly undermining the Earth's chemistry, water cycles, atmosphere, soils, oceans and thermal balance. Plainly said, we have been shutting down the major life systems of our planet. Compounding the ecological crisis are decaying economies, ethnic and class conflict, and worldwide warfare.”

--Bill Plotkin, The Wild Human,” Shift Magazine, July-August 2008

Navel-gazing over which flavor of Republican is the authentic one, the correct one, or even the one most likely to win elections will not help the Republican cause, much less the nation or the world. I've read through a number of blog posts here and have yet to see one that addresses the actual challenges we face, both as a nation and a species. If Conservatism is to survive as a philosophy, the real question is how to apply basic Conservative principles to the multiple crises facing us, which are, at their root, environmental. Social, economic, and political structures can only exist in environments that support them. Any philosophy that cannot be applied to the business of living becomes a historical artifact.

Let's pick a random example: The approaching collapse of global fisheries. You may remember the collapse of the California salmon fishery a few months back. (Here in the Pacific Northwest, at least, it made headlines.) I mentioned it to a conservative of my acquaintance, and he blamed sea lions. Well, sea lions have been eating salmon for hundreds of thousands of years without destroying them, so let's take a look at the human side of the problem, the part documented by studies of the actual fisheries: ag and industrial runoff, dams, and overfishing. The standard Republican solution? Individual freedom and a free market, with plenty of competition. In other words, more of the same that created this crisis. Personal responsibility apparently applies only to individuals' sex lives, not their economic lives.

What would an principled conservative alternative to government regulation of fisheries, look like? Could it possibly have something to do with the conservative principle of self-restraint? After all, salmon fishermen would seem to have a vested interest in the preservation of salmon. Would a group composed of members of that industry be able to maintain and enforce limits? In such a group, would the interests of small fishermen be represented, or would it, like most industry groups, eventually become dominated by the biggest and best-connected?

This might be a useful topic of debate on this site, and could be applied to the issues of climate change, pollution, energy generation, anything. So far, the Republican response to environmental issues seems to vacillate between, “What problem?” and “It wouldn't be a problem if it was legal. Damn liberals.”

A major reason that the public is turning away from the Republican Party is the perception that Republicans will always vote for short-term profits for corporate stakeholders with the risks outsourced to the general public. Then, for example, when cancer rates rise due to toxic waste from industry, conservatives demonize liberals for wanting to broaden access to health care. The current public perception of Republicans, particularly Bush-style Republicans, is that they will not vote for anything that would genuinely benefit all or most people, but only what benefits themselves and those who fill their campaign coffers. Increasing numbers of people are driven away by this “heads I win, tails you lose” approach to governance, as well they should. Could the concept of personal responsibility be applied to corporations? How would that work without the force of law behind it, particularly when dealing with corporations that are economically larger than small nations?

Or consider this postulate to the Conservative belief in the sanctity of life and the right to private property: Damage to the environment is, at its root, a public health issue, and a theft from individuals in the form of reduced earnings and increased expenses due to ill health and premature death.

Paul Hawkin, Amory Lovins, and Hunter Lovins, in their book Natural Capitalism, point out that natural systems (carbon/oxygen cycle, hydrologic cycle, etc.) operate free of charge. Damage to these systems is not factored into the cost of goods, meaning that normal accounting procedures ignore them while we all pay the price in diminished resource base, a degraded environment, and consequent ill health. This book-cooking is the basis of classical economics and makes the Enron scandal look like cheating on a third grade math test.

If Conservatism could remember it has a common root with Conservation, acknowledge that environmental problems do exist, and contribute something to the debate other than foot dragging and obfuscation, it just might survive.

Syndicate content