(Scripps Howard Syndicate) Just maybe, possibly, conceivably we've come to a non-violent revolutionary moment in America, and here's one reason I think so: A Denver area conference. Called the Western Conservative Summit 2010, it impressed me not just because of the recitation of principles to which I subscribe -- individual liberty, limited government, constitutionalism, strength in the face of our enemies -- but because of the mood conveyed by both the audience of some 600 and more than a dozen speakers. Their disposition struck me as cheerful, positive and informed more by an idea of mission than anger at the other side. Dennis Prager, a radio talk show host, told the crowd that liberals were mostly good people, that many people in his own family were liberals. Don't attack them, he said. It's their fallacious arguments you want to deal with. He spoke of the great slogan on coins, "E Pluribus Unum," meaning of course that out of many different people, we are still one as a nation. Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota talked about self-sacrifice, unity and dedication to one another as Americans. She ended her speech with the true story of four chaplains in World War II, a Jewish rabbi, a Roman Catholic priest and two Protestant pastors. Aboard a ship that was hit by a torpedo, they did everything they could to help the men aboard survive, even taking off their own lifejackets to give to others. They went down with the ship, their arms linked together. Putting such earnestly conveyed feelings of purposes beyond the narrowly partisan together with various acute analyses, I had an image of an emotionally balanced, powerful, alert, energized, morally informed, widely inclusive force awakened from slumber by an overly leftist administration and marching toward something pretty big. I don't mean just possible conservative control of the House after the November election, but rather long-term, significant efforts to subdue the threat of runaway statism while maintaining this country as "the last, best hope of earth," in the words of Abraham Lincoln. Of course, one regional gathering does not a revolution make. In and of itself, it proved nothing, though quite a bit, it seems to me, in the context of the town hall and Tea Party protests, of radio, cable TV and Internet commentary coming on top of what is being said in more traditional media and of polls telling us that increasing numbers of Americans are frightened about the direction of government. It is extraordinary to see the Tea Party rallies involving everyday, middle class Americans. Bashed, of course, as racists -- unlike Prager, many liberals cannot live without the ad hominem slur -- they are nothing of the kind. What set them off as much as anything was a new, ill-conceived, vastly controlling, misrepresented health-care entitlement that will cost hundreds of billions over the years on top of other entitlements that could be economically ruinous all by themselves. If you think the Tea Party represents just a tiny slice of America in its disenchantment with almost all things concerning Barack Obama, check out a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll saying close to six in 10 voters think the president is more apt to be wrong than right in policies. Most would agree with the Tea Party that the president's handling of the economy is better described as a mishandling of the economy. The public has even less use for both parties in Congress, as it should, given the irresponsibility of so many Republican and Democratic members. Some might think conservatives are still too unrepresentative of the whole to have long-term sway. But consider, first, that the latest Gallup poll says 42 percent of Americans call themselves conservatives while only 20 percent say they are liberal. Then consider estimates that no more than 40 to 45 percent of American colonists were clearly behind the independence movement while 20 percent remained steadfastly loyal to Great Britain. Remember who came out on top? (Jay Ambrose, formerly Washington director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard newspapers and the editor of dailies in El Paso and Denver, is a columnist living in Colorado. He can be reached at SpeaktoJay@aol.com.)
Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier, one of several contenders for the Republican nomination in Colorado's 7th congressional district, pledged Tuesday night at CCU that if elected, "I will fight to repeal this health care monstrosity and replace it with free-market reforms."
Frazier spoke on health care, the deficit, and other issues to a packed audience of students and campus neighbors, about 50 in all. The event was sponsored by the Colorado Republicans chapter at Colorado Christian University.
CD-7 takes in much of Jefferson County, including Lakewood where the university is located, as well as parts of other counties in Denver's north and west suburbs.
An invitation to speak at CCU as a guest of the Centennial Institute is pending with Congressman Ed Perlmutter, the Democratic incumbent.
Others seeking the GOP nomination in CD-7, including Mike Sheely and Jimmy Lakey (who has since dropped out) have attended Centennial forums in the past.
CCU student David Keimig, well-experienced with the health care system, listens to candidate Ryan Frazier's policy discussion Tuesday evening.
(Denver Post, Mar. 21) Political inexperience was the gold standard among 30 of my neighbors at a precinct caucus in Centennial last week. Fellow Republicans viewed the 2010 contenders for senator and governor with the hard eyes of swindle victims or jilted lovers. The less involved a candidate had been with our party’s time in state and national office over the past dozen years, the more acceptable he or she seemed for nomination this year.
Caucus night in March was only the first step on a long road to election night in November, 225 days from now. But it dramatized the “once burned, twice shy” distrust of government that will shape the choices made by Colorado voters in GOP, Democratic, and independent ranks. Trust when broken is hard to restore. That’s the penalty box our whole political system is in right now. Unpredictable new forces are in play as this campaign unfolds.
The Tuesday meeting at a school library near our house was older, white, and mostly men. Rainbow America we were not, but we gathered with a love for this land of liberty and a desire to make a difference. Before things started, there was laughter and applause when someone pointed to a presidential book display featuring Barack Obama and George Washington and quipped, “The goal is a government with less of him and more of HIM.
In the precinct straw poll for a nominee to regain the US Senate seat from Democrats Michael Bennet or Andrew Romanoff, Sedalia businessman and former state Sen. Tom Wiens took 40%, followed by former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton with 37% and district attorney Ken Buck with 23%. In the trial heat for governor, Evergreen businessman and rookie candidate Dan Maes got a notable 44%, trailing former congressman Scott McInnis, the prohibitive favorite, who had 56%.
Our tiny sample largely tracked the statewide Republican tallies, though it was Ken Buck who ran close with Jane Norton in the overall count. More striking to me than the percentages was the mood in the room. A burly guy named Larry spoke for many with his warnings of the tax-and-spend taint attaching to an ex-congressman and an ex- lieutenant governor. Countering him with the case for McInnis and Norton was the more youthful and smooth-spoken Cole, but you could see many skeptical frowns.
I’m uncommitted in both races, and cast a secret ballot that night. Any of the GOP contenders, whatever their shortcomings or the party’s past lapses, would obviously work harder for limited government – the imperative right now, before our country goes bankrupt – than would a Sen. Bennet, a Sen. Romanoff, or a Gov. John Hickenlooper as liberal Democrats. That’s why my party must not self-immolate in the 2010 primary as we did in the 2006 gubernatorial bloodbath. The prize is November.
Dems actually face a tougher task with this year’s fed-up electorate than my side does. Their Colorado ticket will be a pair of entitlement-peddling, union-bought insiders by whatever names. Our nominees can definitely take outside position against that. Whether Republicans are ready to use power more responsibly this time, if trusted with it again, is another question. Bluntly acknowledging that question would be a good start; frontrunners take note.
Nothing can be taken for granted. Lent is a far piece from Halloween. What if an autumn house of horrors found America at war with Iran? The incumbent party might benefit decisively from a rally to the flag. Half a year is an eternity in politics, we’ve learned again and again.
“I’m giving the Republicans one more chance,” Doug told our caucus. Bitterly disillusioned by McCain after 2008, he’s back as a delegate this spring. As buyers’ remorse with Obama deepens, will voters similarly gamble and grant the GOP a do-over?
In less than a year well over a thousand independent groups have sprung up around the nation to organize and demonstrate against the attempted government takeover of entire industries, high taxes, crippling debt, and the agenda of President Barack Obama. While many have ridiculed and guffawed about the “teabaggers,” these motivated and angry voters have very quickly shown the ability to raise millions of dollars, target specific political races, grab headlines and media exposure, stage large rallies, and mobilize volunteers.
The Tea (Taxed Enough Already) movement has been defined as populist, conservative, and libertarian in tone. It is a movement diverse in leadership and organization but united in its defense of liberty and the constitution. Its members are technologically savvy and able to mobilize in a moments notice. It is anti-elitist, anti-big government, and anti-big business. It is a revulsion and revolt against perceived corruption and politics as usual. And it the most recent public face of the Liberty Movement that resides on the right side of the ideological spectrum.
It is the winning combination of the common sense principles of less government, fiscal responsibility, lower taxes, state’s rights, and strong national security that is uniting the Tea Party into an effective force to be reckoned with. The mad as hell Teaparticans are the modern-day serfs smashing down the castle gate in an attempt to overthrow their feudal overlords. It is a popular uprising against the political establishment.
The members of the Tea Party first came to national attention when they crashed townhall meetings and held spontaneous rallies and protests around the nation. Couched in terms like “the second Revolution” and “the uprising,” while touting the imagery of the American Revolution, the Tea Party movement is really just a vast amalgamation of factions and independent groups acting outside the old party establishments and organized everywhere from facebook to the fellowship hall in the basement of the church on the corner. But they are mad as hell, and history shows that righteous indignation and the howling mob can definitely threaten entrenched interests and the ruling elite. Whether that energy and drive can be wielded effectively and wisely still remains to be seen.
Those who jeered and poked fun at the 9-12 and Tea party groups just a few months ago now greatly worry about these shock troops of an aroused and angry conservative movement that has dedicated itself to practicing “guerilla conservatism” and challenge the progressive ideology that seeks to regulate, tax, and control nearly every aspect of your daily life. The fainting, worshipful Obamanite crowds of a year ago have been replaced in the street by those who have had enough of a government, and governing party, that is out of control.
With their sea of signs and Revolutionary War flags this particular face of the larger Liberty Movement descended onto Washington D.C. in the hundreds of thousands this past summer (the Million Mob March). It was the announcement to a corrupt establishment that a movement, not a party, was here to contest the agenda, power, and business as usual of the entrenched rich and corrupt that infest both Wall Street and Capitol Hill. It is a movement equally disgusted with corporate bail outs and the socialization of medicine. And in many ways it is not just the Right against the Left, but the little guy against the big guy, the average American against the elite, and the lover of liberty against those who seek to replace it with authoritarian regulation.
The real influence of the Tea Party movement, despite all the media coverage, is yet to be seen. There is a major and nation wide effort to prepare to mount a conservative takeover of the Republican primary and caucus process. Few show up to these important but often neglected grassroots meetings and the fired up and angry rank and file are not just here to oppose the Democratic Party but to make serious inroads into the Republican Party. A third political party is not seen as a viable option at this particular point in time but the takeover of one of the existing ones is seen as possible.
The country club elite and RINO (Republicans In Name Only) who have held sway in the GOP and controlled much of the party apparatus and candidate selection process has no idea how to harness, control, or otherwise exert much pressure on this grassroots uprising against politics as usual. The conservative resurgence is happening despite the GOP, not because of it. Hopefully a rising tide will lift all boats. It was not the conservative movement that lost in November but perceived Bush Republicanism with its poor prosecution of two wars and own policies of big government and big spending. And the Republican presidential nominee was no conservative but in fact the embodiment of traditional party politics and seen as the poster boy of those who sacrifice principle for the sake of expediency and political power.
It will be interesting to see if the momentum fueled by the Tea Party has already peaked or if we are seeing the birth of a long-standing, broad-based, and truly influential phenomenon in the American political process or just a short-lived outburst of frustration with Barack Obama.
The 9-12 Project and Tea Party groups are still in their political infancy but have shown they do have some staying power, the ability to raise millions of dollars to target specific races, and now the attention of both political parties. Not bad for just some ordinary citizens using the internet to organize some rallies and “crash” some townhall meetings on health care. Good for them. I’m glad someone, anyone, is standing up and saying the kind of things that need to be said. One can continue to wallow in ignorance and blind faith in the agenda of the government or one can boldly stand in opposition and declare such things unacceptable for a free people.
There have been complaints that the members of the Tea Party movement are mostly white. Does it matter? Is perceived “diversity” now the only benchmark by which we measure legitimacy of a cause? The movement is an uprising of the ignored middle class. They are the ones who have the most to lose under Obama. All races are welcome in the Liberty movement. You just have to be willing to detach yourself from the teat of government handouts and dependency to be a member.
If anything, the Tea Party rebellion is more about class, not race. In the Great Recession it was the middle class that took a huge hit with severe job losses and foreclosures in the millions. The middle class is the heart and soul of the nation and when it feels ignored and betrayed it will strike out at those who it sees as having abandoned it. It is they who are feeling the greatest effects of both the recession and government policies. The rich will always be rich, and the poor will be poor, (but not too much poorer due to the wide social safety net we have constructed), but it is the middle class who have watched big government bail out big business with their money even as they lost their jobs, their savings, their retirement, and their homes. At the same time they see a massive grab for power by a government who sees them as little more than someone to be taxed and controlled. And occupying the oval office is the most leftist and radical president to every hold the office. It is upon such fertile ground that the message of the Tea Party and 9-12 groups has fallen with amazing results. Their anger at Washington, big business, and big government has provided a third force in politics, at least for the time being, that scares the Left and challenges the political class and politics as usual.
Stunned by the virtual overnight mobilization and organization of an angry, high-tech, middle class, right-wing uprising against Obama’s rapid march towards European socialism, the Left has crashed from its hopey-changey high to find itself faced with some serious problems. Progressivism is an ideology of continual movement and motion. It is protest speeches and gatherings, lesbian brown bag lunches, and marches about “the struggle” for (insert favorite pet cause here – no blood for oil, civil rights, gay rights, animal rights, gender equality, nuclear disarmament, saving the polar bears etc). With the pinnacle finally reached by what they saw as the election of one of their own they seemed to have finally collapsed from exhaustion as they declared a paradigm shift, the exile of anyone to the right of Hillary to wander in the political wilderness for a generation, and the much heralded thousand-year reign of He who would slow the rising of the oceans.
They seemed to have passed the mantle of energy, rebellion against the status quo, and anti-establishment anger to the peasants who had been toiling in the fields and serving as the backbone of the state even while the agitators agitated and the community organizers organized. The Tea Party types have emerged from their “exile” in the political wilderness with a righteous indignation that has frightened the ruling classes and shaken the corrupt cabal that controls the capitol. Armed with tweets and facebook, pitchfork and torch, they are the most visible image of the uprising of the Right against those who would force us down the road to serfdom.
Latecomers, politicians, and opportunists attempt to glob onto any movement but that doesn’t diminish the validity of their anger, the righteousness of their outrage, or the power of their principles. The Tea Party movement is now a vast amalgamation of political novices and virgin activists working side by side with professional opinion setters and grizzled conservative veterans of the culture wars. The question really is whether or not it is all “too little, too late” or a popular outrage and uprising that is “just in nick of time.” That answer is not yet known and remains to be seen.
David Huntwork is a conservative activist and independent columnist in Northern Colorado where he lives with his wife and three young daughters. He is the author of the book No Apologies: In Defense of Common Sense and the Conservative Ideology which can be purchased at http://stores.lulu.com/store.php?fAcctID=3576295.Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions at DaveHuntwork@juno.com. You may also view his bio and past columns at: http://DavidHuntwork.tripod.com.
(Denver Post, Feb. 7) “Both ends of the political spectrum are disgusting,” said reader Bill Hoppe in an email after my Jan. 24 column on bipartisan irresponsibility. “It becomes increasingly difficult to believe in our legislature at any level.”
Deborah Kelly’s letter to the editor, published here on Jan. 31, was equally despairing: “I can’t afford health insurance, and after the Supreme Court decision regarding campaign financing, now I can’t afford to vote either.”
As we watch the messy process of self-government in a free society, disgust and discouragement may tempt us all. While the reaction is only human, the answer is not to drop out. Rather the American way is to pick an entry point and plunge into the process for our own good. Its openness is a marvel, too little understood.
Deborah should consider that she can’t afford not to vote. And maybe with her ability to turn a phrase, she could help fellow dissidents argue down the political ads big business and big labor can now run. Bill should realize that the responsible center is wherever he is. As for “believing in” our legislators, why? They aren’t deities, just people. Motivating them is possible for that very reason, though.
We the people employ every public official in the land. Through our votes we can hire and fire them all – even the judges, who can be removed directly by state retention elections or indirectly by federal impeachment. It happens seldom, only because citizens have been lulled into forgetting our own power. Does last year’s wave of protest signal that this year we’ll finally awaken? The red tide for Brown in blue Massachusetts suggests we may.
Many of the state senators and representatives I served with were easily motivated by reminders of the next election. In some cases, too easily – it was said of Rod the Republican and Don the Democrat (not their real names) that they quaked before a few phone slips from constituents as if it were a full-on lobbying campaign. More’s the pity if good folks like Bill and Deborah yield to discouragement instead of phoning in their concerns.
One of my greatest pleasures since leaving the legislature has been getting to know a constant stream of such patriots-in-the-making who come around seeking either entry into the process or encouragement to plunge. I should have one of those “Doctor Is In” signs like Lucy in the comics. Her nickel fee wasn’t nearly as enriching as the satisfaction this over-the-hill politico gets from nurturing the new crop.
Businessman Tom wanted an introduction to tea-party leaders, which I made – along with arrangements for him to help a congressional candidate. Retired teacher Mel brought an inspirational article about the Constitution that we’ll place with a local blog. Consultant Claire had ideas for small-business activism but no audience; she’s now on the GOP breakfast circuit. Undergrad Kim and executive Joan both aspired to the foreign service, for which I tried to give age-appropriate counsel.
Candidates also come knocking, of course, and doing my bit for them feels good. But it’s the “wanna make a difference” private citizens who inspire me most. If some aim awfully high – such as Cliff from church with his health care agenda, or lawyer Mike with his plan for drafting the next president – all partake of the minuteman spirit that is America at its best. None are bogged in despair.
My friend Francisco, an American by choice and an engineer turned artist in midlife, quotes something Van Gogh wrote when all seemed hopeless: “I shall get over it, I shall pick up my pencil, and I shall draw again.” Our hope for 2010 comes not from the White House, but from citizens of all parties more ready than ever to pick up that pencil and participate.
('76 Editor) Which big speech best expressed the concerns and hopes of most Americans right now, Barack Obama's State of the Union address on Jan. 26, or Sarah Palin's forceful and confident speech at the Tea Party convention tonight? I give it to Palin hands down.
This may be the opening salvo of her presidential campaign for 2012, a campaign that stands a better chance of success with every passing week. It's still very early, but three years from now we just might be getting used to the first woman ever to win the White House -- and recalling that it all got started on Reagan's birthday in Nashville, when American heard its next president give her State of the Palin address.
CNN seems to be the first news organization up with a lengthy text story on the speech (which wrapped up only 45 minutes ago). CSPAN's website is promising a complete video file on the speech shortly.
When praising his own “accomplishments” Barack Obama has an unusual fondness for the word “unprecedented” though invariably his assertions lack any historical validity. In contrast the voters of Massachusetts can now claim an accomplishment that entirely justifies the use of that word. To find an event in American history reasonably comparable in character and impact to the Massachusetts Earthquake we must go all the way back to Franklin Roosevelt’s 1937 attempt to “pack” the Supreme Court. That is the last-perhaps the only- time in our history that a President commanding huge congressional majorities sought with breathtaking arrogance to redesign the constitutional, social and economic foundations of the country and was stunningly defeated by the very people who long had been his party’s staunchest supporters. With a righteousness and sense of invincibility engendered by three consecutive triumphal election cycles that had given him and his party an extraordinary dominance Roosevelt sought to demonize the “nine old men” of the Supreme Court who had the temerity to strike down key elements of the New Deal as unconstitutional. With little consultation outside his inner circle and apparent indifference to how such a radical move would be received in the country Roosevelt advanced sweeping legislation that would increase the membership of the Supreme Court from nine to fifteen and replace lifetime appointment with mandatory retirement ages, moves which would enable him to swiftly “pack” the Court with hand-picked minions. It was at this point that ordinary Americans and several key Democratic leaders like Montana’s Senator Burton K. Wheeler decided that Roosevelt’s radical power grab was going too far and actively threatened the nation’s hallowed Constitutional traditions. The Court “packing” scheme was decisively defeated in the Congress and the final political result was the Democratic Party losing seven Senate and 80 House seats in the 1938 mid-term elections. That was America’s last peacetime election before World War II restored the country’s economy, ended the Great Depression, and redeemed the political fortunes and historical reputation of Franklin Roosevelt. Nonetheless 1937 remains a decisive turning point in American history when the overarching ambition of a well-intended but tone deaf President were dramatically rebuffed by a most unlikely combination of opponents who read the national mood far better than he. The week that saw the unbelievably improbable election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts also witnessed the startling collapse of the recently “inevitable” Obamacare legislation, and the absolute implosion of the Democratic Party in a tawdry spectacle of shock, fear, anger, finger-pointing, pseudo-contrition, confusion, chaos, and general cluelessness. Not in living memory has a dominant political party been so devastated, so quickly by a single wildly unpredictable event. It is easier to search the past for perspective on this American melodrama, than to divine its future conclusion. Much will turn on the choices made by the Democratic Party. Will there be a Clintonesque dash to the center, (“the end of big government and welfare as we know it”) by a President in hot pursuit of re-election?
Or, will the Party in certain knowledge that it will never again enjoy such Congressional dominance heed the frenzied howls of its far left and “double-down” on the strategies of bigger government, redistributionist legislation, and intolerable taxation that have so alienated the public? Rational calculation would seem to demand the former direction, but in critical degree today’s Democratic Party is far more radical than the Party that was dethroned in 1994. The dominant Furies that energize and fund the Democrats are of an ideologically obsessed mindset unlike anything that ever before captured control of a major American political party. President Obama’s utterances since the upheaval are suggestive of self-pity and delusion. Excusing his inattentiveness because he was “so busy getting stuff done” and then claiming that both he and Scott Brown were elected by the same anger at George Bush bespeaks a man quite out of touch with reality. His lame attempt at populism-Let’s punish those greedy bankers- is nothing but the class warfare and general assault on capitalism that has been the thinly disguised agenda of the Obama-Pelosi-Reid Axis from the beginning. What’s new is that now the American people know it and are determined with their votes to decisively defeat it.Centennial Fellow William Moloney was Colorado Education Commissioner, 1997-2007. His columns have appeared in the Wall St. Journal, USA Today, Washington Post, Washington Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Baltimore Sun, Denver Post, and Rocky Mountain News.
(Denver Post, Jan. 24)) Why did Gov. Bill Ritter fold his reelection campaign? Why is Sen. Michael Bennet so far behind in the polls? Why did Scott Brown win in Massachusetts? Why is Barack Obama struggling to save his presidency, one year after taking office in triumph?
Because Americans have completely lost patience with irresponsibility. For years this column has talked of the need for a responsibility movement to challenge both political parties. “We’ll call it Element R and launch it today, right here in Colorado,” I wrote in 2007. What the country has seen in recent months is Element R, in fact if not in name, starting to take charge.
Surveys foretold what elections in Virginia, New Jersey, and now Massachusetts have confirmed: sharp declines in Democratic support, benefiting Republican candidates but not greatly boosting Republican registration. It’s the independent voters whose ranks are growing. Citizens are less inclined to ally with either the donkey or the elephant. Both have forfeited confidence.
People’s aroused insistence for responsibility instead of irresponsibility, on the part of those we entrust with power, best explains the new political landscape. To start with definitions, responsibility means keeping a trust, doing your duty, facing the music. Whereas irresponsibility means shirking, acting in disregard of consequences, behaving as if 2 and 2 don’t make 4. Examples abound.
Ritter’s fatal wound, absent-father guilt aside, seems to have been either fiscal and executive recklessness or an impending legal-ethical scandal. He might have brazened it out, whatever the case, if years of gubernatorial irresponsibility by the likes of Davis in California, Blagojevich in Illinois, and Sanford in South Carolina hadn’t inflamed public disgust. But in 2010 the odds have become prohibitive, so he’s quitting.
The responsibility deficit for Bennet as an interim senator from Colorado matches that of Martha Coakley in her failure to become an interim senator from Massachusetts. Neither grasped that the country’s tolerance for unserious political palaver-as-usual is exhausted. The national BS detector is pegged. Bennet’s phony indignation over corrupt deals in the health care bill, and then over secret negotiations for same, backed up in neither case by his vote, simply spelled game over.
As for our glib young president, Mr. Obama set a trap for himself on inauguration day. After calling for a “new era of responsibility,” he has proved epically irresponsible ever since – weakening us against our enemies, selling out our allies, ballooning the deficit, expanding government, worsening the recession by bullying business, and obsessing over socialized medicine like Ahab with the whale. No wonder his numbers are at record lows.
The irresponsibility epidemic, a contagion long carried by Democrats but often caught by Republicans as well, finally triggered public fury in last year’s tea parties and townhalls. This is the uprising I’ve called Element R. But is it a movement – perhaps even a force capable of remaking the GOP? Or is it merely an electoral mood?
The responsibility backlash will continue taking its healthy toll. Whether it’s durable enough to take charge, time will tell. Though unaffiliated voters hold the balance of power, the coherence of their views is doubtful. Here in Colorado, it would be interesting to see Element R gel and assert itself to the point of asking questions that the established parties shrink from. These might include:
Does the initiative process make government so responsive as to be irresponsible? Is marijuana prohibition working any better than alcohol prohibition did? In legislating away both pregnancy and parenthood, have we signed a demographic suicide pact? Is Muslim sharia law compatible with liberty?
Dems and GOP alike have done none too well with our sacred responsibility for “keeping the republic,” in Franklin’s words. May they both feel the righteous wrath of Element R.
(CCU Faculty) Last November, New Jersey and Virginia, two states with Democratic Governors, elected Republicans to replace them. In Virginia, it was an open seat, while in New Jersey, the incumbent John Corzine was defeated.
As the administrations of Governor Christie of New Jersey and Governor McDonnell of Virginia begin to take shape, there is great hope for education reform from these new Republican governors. Each Governor-elect has picked a supporter of school choice plans to head his department of education.
In Virginia, Gerard Robinson has been selected to serve as the next Secretary of Education. Robinson has been serving as the Director of the nonprofit Black Alliance for Education Options (BAEO). Seeking widespread reforms, the BAEO’s mission statement emphasizes that they seek to: “increase access to high-quality educational options for Black children by actively supporting parental choice policies and programs that empower low-income and working-class Black families.”
In New Jersey, Governor Christie has named former Jersey City Mayor and two-time candidate for Governor Bret Schundler to be his education commissioner. As mayor and candidate, Schundler has been a vocal advocate for education reforms, including support for school vouchers, charter schools and merit pay for public school teachers.
Representatives from the teachers’ unions in New Jersey are quoted in the New York Times, stating that Bret Schundler is “the antithesis of everything we hold sacred about public education.” The nomination of neither Robinson nor Schundler to head these state education departments would have occurred had the democratic candidates succeeded last November. Teachers’ unions have based their support for democratic candidates on opposition to vouchers, charter schools and school choice.
Hopefully, these republican administrations will be able to implement real school reform in these states by allowing citizens to make choices about the schools their children attend. School choice plans that give parents and their children options encourage competition, which in turn demands improvements in quality, while at the same time seek reductions in cost.
After Tuesday's shocker in the Massachusetts Senate race, there was a hilarious contrast between true-believer Democrats with their implausible spin script and the common-sense response of everyone else, Republicans and independent voters alike. It was well illustrated in my TV taping on Channel 12, Jan. 21, for this month's series of "Head On" mini-debates with former Denver city councilwoman Susan Barnes-Gelt. Our exchange went as follows:
John: Massachusetts voters sent a powerful message of discontent to Obama, Pelosi, and Reid by electing Republican Scott Brown to the Senate seat long held by liberal lion Ted Kennedy. Unemployment, terrorism, and the unpopular health care takeover add up to a bad political year for Democrats, Susan.
Susan: Martha Coakley made every mistake a candidate can make. She took a month off, refused to press the flesh and ran as an entitled incumbent. D's and R's can learn from her mistakes. Incumbents and uber-partisans are in trouble on both sides of the aisle.
John: You must be looking at different polls than the ones I see. Republicans are rebounding. Democrats are the ones in trouble, likely to lose big next fall in races for Senate, House, and Governor, Colorado possibly included. Radical overreach by Obama and his party has Americans massively turned off.
Susan: Government has Americans massively turned off. Scott Brown never called himself an R nor called in the big dogs to endorse him. Voters are angry at the status quo in Washington, joblessness, Wall Street and leadership's tin ear. The 2010's - the decade of the independent.