Tag Archives: Conservative Politics

Renewal and Redirection

Everyone and everything goes through cycles and periodic change. It’s what life is all about, Poomba. One bad habit of mine (if it is bad) is to announce these changes in my writings here every time they occur. Well, I’m doing it again.

Although I have faced some difficult challenges over the past few years an honest assessment is that choices I have made, good, bad, and indifferent, have impacted my life in ways I didn’t, and don’t want it to go. Change, as I’m discussing here, has to occur. I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “if nothing changes, nothing changes,” and I believe that is true. A similar saying is, “if you always do what you’ve always done you’ll always get what you’ve always got,” and who wants that?

Like most bloggers, I started bRight & Early to discuss things that interested me and because I thought (accurately or inaccurately, it doesn’t matter which) that I had something to say about those things. That is still true. Even so, there came a point recently when I thought I would just give it all up and close the blog. For some reason I just can’t do that. Even if no one reads what I put here, or when there are weeks (months?) between posts, I enjoy knowing that I still have this outlet available to me. If I’m not going to close shop – and I’m not – I need to make a few changes.

The biggest changes need to be in my life, but they will be reflected in my posts. Let me start by describing where I am so you (and I) can see where I’m going.

Here is a synopsis of my work situation. A little over a year ago I was laid off from a job I enjoyed. My every intention was to work there until I retired. Unfortunately I didn’t get that option. After several months of looking I took a job with Merlin Entertainments. I liked working there, but there was a serious downside. My position was considered “seasonal” and I had seen others have their hours drastically reduced over time. I knew that my fate would have been the same. In anticipation of that fact, and with a hope for more income, I took a job with Hilton Grand Vacations. It was a mistake. I don’t have anything bad to say about the company, in fact the potential was as I saw it. What I failed to calculate correctly was time it was going to take to achieve the income I was looking for (months rather than weeks), and the cost involved in such a long daily commute.

That cost was significant. One day I realized that I didn’t have enough gas money to get to work, and pay day was still several days off. I had no choice but to quit. Either that, or walk 44 miles each way. So, now I am looking again. I have several very good prospects, two in particular, but currently no income.

Naturally having no income impacts your life in a lot of ways. It changes what you can do and have. There’s been a lot of belt tightening. Eating out is a thing of the past, yet God has never let us miss a meal. We have have given up cable (not the greatest loss), and the internet (that hurts a bit more). We also returned a computer we were purchasing on a rent-to-own plan, a stupid and expensive way to purchase such an item. We are left with two computers, a very good one that has several issues making me wonder how long it’s going to last, and the other we purchased for $25 with a Celeron processor, 1024 M RAM, and Windows XP. That’s the one on which I am writing now. Oh, the “B” key is also missing on the keyboard.

For a while I couldn’t even get online at the library due to a years-old, forgotten lost book. Just a few weeks ago I went to pay off that obligation and happened to do so on a day they were offering amnesty for old fines. Now I can get online for an hour or two a day when I can make it to the library, making job hunting and other online activities, including posting here, a lot easier.

What I am doing for bRight & Early, starting with this post, is writing at home, putting it on a thumb drive, and then copying it to the blog at the library. That sure isn’t going to speed up the posting schedule, but at least it will allow me to post something. My plan is to even write a few posts at a time and then schedule them over time. We’ll see. As I said, I started this site to write about things that interest me. Those things change over time. My focus for now will be on the following areas:

I. My Christian Faith

Of all the things I’ve written about, this is the one I have neglected the most. That’s probably due to the fact that I’ve neglected it way too much in my own life as well. I accepted Christ nearly fifty years ago. It has been a constant part of everything I am and do, even when I have neglected it. What I will be writing about will by my continuing journey and the renewal I am praying and striving for.

II. Growing Older

I am only thirteen months away from turning sixty. You youngsters won’t believe it, but growing older changes things. There are many topics related to this that I can touch on – health, finances, retirement, and many others. One that I hope to write about will be getting in shape when you’re older. Let’s see if I can overcome “lazy”.

III. Conservative Politics

While this has been the primary focus here from the start it will move further down the list of importance. I will still write about political subjects, but the frequency and focus may be less. Of course one of the things that is true about politics is that it interacts with nearly every other aspect of our lives.

IV. Whatever else strikes my fancy

As always, there are things that interest me that don’t fit into any other category. Doesn’t mean I can’t write about them. Odd news, sports, and a host a different subjects could find their way in here.

That’s it. My hope, as it always has been, is that you find something interesting to read and comment on here. Unlike the past, I make no promises regarding the frequency of future posts. Just check in from time to time, and let me know if you see anything interesting.

Fighting the Right Fight

In the aftermath of Mitt Romney’s defeat I wrote a post titled While I Wait for the Will to Fight. Like many others I was shocked and dismayed by the results. I can honestly say I don’t ever think I’ve been so dispirited by an election result. In that post I wrote,

When 2016 gets here (if there’s any here still here) I will be sixty. How much fight will I have left? What will be left to fight for? Why should I care any more?

Slowly I’ve gotten out of my funk. I’m still disappointed, but I know that the fight must continue. The thought that’s been bouncing around in my head though is this, are we fighting the right fight?

Millions and millions of dollars were just spent in the Presidential campaign. At the end of the day what really changed? We have a slight Democratic majority in the Senate, a Republican majority in the House, and Barack Obama is President.

The office of the President is the biggest, most visible race every four years, but is it the most important? Of course the country would be much better off if President Obama had been ousted after just one term. There is just too much mischief he can cause in the next 218 weeks. But, there are other battles we can fight.

Limited government conservatism should naturally dovetail with a renewed emphasis on Federalism. As Ronald Reagan said in his first inaugural address, “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” Yet, it is within the framework of government that we must fight for our freedoms. As disappointing as another four-year Obama term is, imagine how much worse it would be with a Democratic super-majority and a shift toward the Democrats in the House.

So, what is the right fight?

Conservatism is just as important at the state and local levels as it is at the national one. We need to support and promote conservative candidates for state and local offices from the Governors mansion to the oft mentioned, but never-seen-on-the-ballot, local dog catcher. Every race is important. Conservative local and state elected officials are our national “bench”. They may not be the people we see on the news, but they are the ones we have to deal with every day – much more than we ever have to interact with national political figures.

On the national stage mid-term elections will be here before we know it. With the current administration those races will be tremendously important. We have two years to find, support, and promote great conservative candidates.

The other thing we can do is continue to speak out and educate. If we believe in conservative principles instead of just “party” we will never stop promoting those principles. That’s the right fight.

To Lessen Your Despair

With the ever present fear-mongering, name-calling, and all around bad news, it is easy to feel a sense of despair. As I talk to co-workers, read blogs, and view the news, it seems like we are heading over Niagara Falls in a cardboard box, and that there is nothing we can do to stop it. The prospect of any possibility of another four years under the current administration is literally (Not DW-S literally, but literally literally) frightening. I fear for me and my loved ones, for their futures, and for the future of our country. I am, at times, afraid that we are reaching the point where more of my fellow citizens are willing to surrender control of their lives to the illusory security of the government providing for every need.

It’s like going up a steep hill on a roller coaster. You know you are getting closer and closer to the peak and your heart is pounding in anticipation of reaching that tipping point. Except at the end of this ride there’s no pleasant worker in a polo shirt and name tag telling you to “exit to the left.” It is an awful feeling, and I don’t like it.

I am, by nature, an optimist. I always think things will turn out for the best. But lately I don’t feel a lot of that when I look at what we face as a nation. Not trying to be funny, but I haven’t felt this way since Jimmy Carter was elected.

And then I hear something like this:

Thank you, Senator Rubio. You’ve proven that there are people, including people in power, who “get it”. There are people who understand that even as we make tough choices we have the potential for a great future. I appreciate your honesty, integrity, and passion. It is an honor to have you as my Senator.

(h/t – Kim Priestap on G+)

All Politics are Local?

Tip O’Neil Said it (actually he said, “All politics is local”, but why quibble?), but is it true in our political discussions today? Perhaps I’m just talking about myself, but do those of us who comment on the national political scene really know what’s going on at the local level? Sure, I know my Senators (Rubio and Nelson), and my Representative (Dennis Ross), but what about State, County, and local representation? Am I the only one who pays far too little attention to the people who are representing me closest to home?

I know that JD Alexander is my Florida State Senator, and Ben Albritton is my representative. I voted for both and they’ve been doing a good job. But I have to admit that I know far less about them, and what they’re doing, than I do about those in the federal government.

But it gets even worse.

Eagle Lake GovernmentI live in a very small town — 1.4 square miles and less than 2500 people. I have to admit I only knew the name of the Mayor (J.R. Sullivan), but I couldn’t pick him or any of the city commissioners out of a lineup.

What point am I trying to make? Maybe none. Maybe just a reminder to myself that the small local stage is as important as the big national one. There is also the question of where can I (or anyone else) have greater direct influence? At Freedom Connector they have a group called the Unified Patriots Precinct Committeeman Strategy which lists this as their mission:

Do you want to become a more informed voter? Want to learn how to GOTV? Want to motivate Republicans-In-Name-Only to start following the Constitution? Want better conservative Republican Party candidates with a chance to win the primary and general elections? Become active in the Republican Party. Take command of your neighborhood and get out the vote. Become a Republican Party precinct committeeman. Precinct committeemen elect the leadership within the Party and vote to endorse the Republicans in the primaries. The more conservatives in the precinct committeemen ranks, the more conservative the leadership and the primary winners will be.

And that’s only one way. At the very least, become informed about local issues, officials, and whatever is going on where you live. Get involved. Find like-minded people near you. Get Local.

Robbing Peter to pay Peter

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy.”

The quote above is often attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville but was used as an unsourced attribution to Alexander Fraser Tytler in “This is the Hard Core of Freedom” by Elmer T. Peterson in The Daily Oklahoman. Whatever the source, the initial portion of the thought certainly appears to be correct. Let me condense the first part down to it’s essence — A democracy can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. I’ve seen it misquoted this way before, but the inaccuracy of the quote doesn’t make an inaccurate observation. We can see example after example in today’s headlines, policy discussions, and political campaigning.

Wisconsin is getting most of the attention, but a nearly identical story is playing out in Ohio, Indiana, and many other states as they are reaching the point (in many cases, already beyond the point) where Peter is willing to let Peter rob him anymore. And it’s not just the public sector unions, an inherently bad idea that continues to get worse, it’s also ideas like “High Speed Rail” (you have to use irony quotes around the title of something that so ill describes what it is). The rail arguments make this clear as they focus on the government money that can be “had” while ignoring the necessity and long term costs. Some of the arguments I’ve heard are so focused on the money Uncle Sam wants to “give away” that they ignore the costs and the other realities of the program.

Picking each other's pocketIn many ways the Federal Government has turned into the largest money laundering scheme in the world. Money is taken from the states and confiscated from the citizens, passed through the “super-efficient” Washington bureaucracy, and finally part of what remains is sent back to the states firmly tethered with many strings attached. Among the many things I don’t get is how anyone can think this is a good system for getting anything done. I’m not a politician, and I don’t think I’ve ever stayed at a Holiday Inn Express, but I’m smart enough to know what remains after you pass all of our money through the federal gastro-intestinal tract.

Of course money is only part of it. Yes, we are Taxed Enough Already as the TEA Party makes clear, but we also need a little a little SUGAR for our TEA. What is SUGAR? I’m glad you asked. It stands for Stop Unnecessary Government And Regulation. OK, I had to work to get the A in there, but it’s true, we don’t suffer from too little government or too little regulation. We have plenty of both. I’m fond of this quote from Ronald Reagan — “Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves”. That quote is closely related to this one, “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it“.

If things are finally moving in our (conservatives) direction it is because there are still enough “John Galts” to point out the issues. More than pointing out, we have to act. Act by voting, supporting candidates that will but the brakes on too much government, running for office if that is what you should do, and generally being informed and involved in containing government to it’s limited role. We must do this. We are too close to the tipping point to stop.

New Poll – How will conservatives do in the mid-term elections?

I have a new poll in the sidebar to the right. The question is: How will conservatives do in the 2010 Mid-terms? Vote, and add your comments here on this post.

2010 is here and, whatever your thoughts on the eventual outcome, it’s time for conservatives to get to work. And to discuss things about the mid-terms and conservativism in general go join the group at The Regiment.

Ingraham and Rubio and Crist. Oh My.

Senate candidates Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio appeared at the Alachua County Republican Party’s 7th Annual Ronald Reagan Black Tie and Blue Jeans BBQ. Laura Ingraham was the keynote speaker.

Rubio gave the event’s invocation, but first made comments along his campaign theme of being the race’s true conservative.

“It’s very simple: We already have a Democratic Party in America,” he said. “We do not need two Democratic parties in America.”

Crist gave a speech running through a long list of positions to prove his conservative bona fides, from support of gun rights to tax cuts. But he received a less enthusiastic greeting than Rubio from the grassroots activists in attendance, even getting a small smattering of boos.

This scenario, minus the candidates, has been playing out at county events all summer. Rubio’s support, at least as indicated in straw polls held among party activists, has been outstanding. On possible reaction to the NY-23 special election may be for the NRSC to stay out of this critical primary.

One can only hope.

Exactly Right – Rubio Gets It

Larry Thornberry writes about the Florida U.S. Senate primary between Governor Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio saying, “Marco Gets It.” He had the opportunity to sit down with Rubio. Here’s a taste:

His answers to my questions give a feel for what kind of a conservative he is.

Larry Thornberry – The American Spectator: Why do you think your campaign is increasingly successful, both in collecting money and in better poll numbers?

Rubio: I think it’s because my candidacy offers Floridians the opportunity to decide that we don’t want to be the party of cap and trade, that we don’t want to be the party of stimulus, that in fact we want to send people to Washington who will stand up to the direction this administration is taking our country and offer a clear alternative. We already have a Democratic Party. We doesn’t need two Democratic parties.

The base is enthusiastic about our candidacy. An authentic center-right message, an authentic limited-government message is where the mainstream of American politics is. The extremists in American politics are the ones who want government to take over our economy. The extremists are the ones who want government to dictate energy policy. The extremists are the ones who want America to become more like the rest of the world and less like the exceptional country that we know and love. Those are the ones who are out of touch with everyday Americans. Those of us who believe government shouldn’t spend money it doesn’t have, who believe the government shouldn’t become so involved in the economy that it becomes impossible to open a business in the spare bedroom of your home, we’re in the mainstream of American thought.

Do read the whole post. The Rubio campaign website is here. You can follow @MarcoRubio on Twitter.

What Does NY23 Mean?

Is the House race in NY district 23 a bellwether of conservative opportunities around the country, or is it merely a local race that will have little meaning at the end of the day? Here’s the story as it was on October 1st:

Republican Dede Scozzafava leads Democrat Bill Owens in the race to fill a vacant House seat in upstate New York, even though the Conservative Party’s Doug Hoffman skims off a chunk of GOP voters.

Scozzafava, a longtime assemblywoman, was backed by 35 percent of likely voters in a Siena College poll conducted Sept. 27-29 — the first independent survey in the hotly contested race to fill the seat of former Rep. John McHugh.

Owens, a Plattsburgh attorney, was favored by 28 percent of those polled, while Hoffman, an accountant and entrepreneur, was the choice of 16 percent.

But that was not, and is not the end of the story.

Club for Growth and Gary Bauer both endorsed Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman.

And it doesn’t end there.

RCP Reported these poll results on October 15th:

Owens 33 (+5 vs. last poll, Oct. 1)
Scozzafava 29 (-6)
Hoffman 23 (+7)

As the polling reflects, Scozzafava’s chances were fading while Democrat Owens took the lead and Hoffman made a serious leap upward. Dana Loesch, writing at BigGovernment.com, looked at the race:

A special election to replace departing Congressman John McHugh features a GOP candidate, Dede Scozzafave, backed by national GOP ‘leaders’, DailyKos and the state teachers’ union, a Democrat, Bill Owens and a Conservative Party Candidate, Doug Hoffman.

National GOP figures claim Dede Scozzafava is the best candidate hold the seat for the GOP. If that is true it begs a question, is it worth holding? Dede Scozzafava has regularly sought the support of ACORN’s Working Families Party, supported higher taxes, increased government spending, the stimulus bill, bailouts, Card Check…oh, lets just stop there.

Loesch created the website www.DumpDede.com

I have the feeling that Scozzafava thought this campaign was going to be a cake walk. John McHugh had won the district by comfortable margins in the past.

As her poll numbers shrank so did good ideas for her campaign. Example 1 — calling the cops on a reporter.

Weekly Standard reporter John McCormack caught up with Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava at a campaign event in Lowville, New York, yesterday. McCormack scared the hell out of Scozzafava by asking her questions on card check, taxes and abortion coverage.

McCormack scared Scozzafava so badly that she called the cops on him. “[Scozzafava] got startled, that’s all,” the officer explained to McCormack. “It’s not like you’re in any trouble.”

McCormack was relieved, but he wonders “if it’s the Scozzafava campaign that’s in trouble–with a candidate who supports card check, who is unwilling to say she’d oppose a health care bill that raises taxes or includes abortion coverage, and who is so reluctant to answer questions that she has someone with her campaign call the cops when she’s questioned by a reporter who is (if I may say so) polite–if a bit persistent.”

Dede Scozzafava Photo-opWhat could be worse than that? Yes, that was a rhetorical question. The answer is holding a press conference in front of your opponents campaign headquarters. It was not a good photo-op.

While Scozzafava enjoys the support of Republicans like Newt Gingrich and the NRCC, in the past few days Hoffman has picked up some serious conservative support. Ken Blackwell said,

Hoffman is a genuine Reagan conservative in a district that generally votes in that direction. Now, some smart people argue that in some districts, only a moderate Republican can get elected. That’s what coalitions are all about. We cannot get all we want all the time. Even the Gipper would campaign for some Republicans I was less than thrilled about. He understood the importance of building a majority in Congress.

That’s not the situation that faces us in New York 23, however. There, the GOP establishment’s nominee for Congress, Dede Scozzafava, is pro-choice and anti-marriage; she supported the failing Obama stimulus, and she has waffled on whether she would back Big Labor’s demand for “card check.”

[...]

Hoffman is a true Reagan conservative. He accepted the Conservative Party’s nomination because he was denied the chance to make his case to the party’s grass-roots voters. If elected, he would caucus with the Republicans. He’d provide unquestionably stronger support for genuine GOP principles than Scozzafava — based on her own liberal record — would provide.

And Rep. Michelle Bachmann:

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) became the first Republican member of Congress to publicly support Conservative Doug Hoffman over the GOP nominee Dede Scozzafava in the upcoming New York special election.

Want more? How about Sarah Palin.

The votes of every member of Congress affect every American, so it’s important for all of us to pay attention to this important Congressional campaign in upstate New York. I am very pleased to announce my support for Doug Hoffman in his fight to be the next Representative from New York’s 23rd Congressional district. It’s my honor to endorse Doug and to do what I can to help him win, including having my political action committee, SarahPAC, donate to his campaign the maximum contribution allowed by law.

Our nation is at a crossroads, and this is once again a “time for choosing.”

The support has also come in financially.

Over the past week, New York House special election candidate Doug Hoffman has doubled the amount of donations he has received for his unusually strong third-party campaign.

Hoffman, the Conservative Party nominee in the Nov. 3 contest for the 23rd District seat, disclosed just more than $300,000 in total receipts in his pre-general election fundraising report, which covers the beginning of the race through Oct. 14. That included a $102,000 loan that Hoffman, an accountant and first-time candidate, made to his campaign from his own funds.

But Hoffman’s campaign also said that since Oct. 14, the candidate — who is in a tight three-way race to fill the seat Republican Rep. John M. McHugh vacated to become secretary of the Army — raised more than $200,000 online.

While this race is coming down to the November 3rd wire, it is far from over.

Hoffman’s campaign website and on Twitter — @dougforcongress