Good News Out of Wisconsin and California

John Fund over at National Review Online has a great recap of some election results from last night.

In Wisconsin, Republicans held a rural assembly seat in central Wisconsin with 67 percent of the vote as expected but also held a highly competitive seat in south Milwaukee County that Barack Obama carried in 2008 and only narrowly lost last year. Republican Jessie Rodriguez, who won 56 percent of the vote yesterday, will become the first female Hispanic Republican to serve in the assembly. She was born in El Salvador but moved to the U.S. in the 1980s to avoid that country’s civil war. She is currently an outreach coordinator for Hispanics for School Choice — a nonprofit organization that helps low-income parents find schools for their children.

– – –

But the biggest surprise yesterday may have been in California, a place where the Republican party has been on life support. But not last night. With provisional and absentee ballots still to be counted, former Democratic congressional staffer Matt Dababneh had only a 173-vote lead over Republican Susan Shelley in a special election for a San Fernando Valley assembly seat near Los Angeles. The district is overwhelmingly Democratic. Barack Obama won it in 2012 with 64 percent of the vote and Republicans make up only a quarter of the registered voters.

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Paul Ryan’s Kemp-Inspired Crusade Against Poverty

By Steve Parkhurst

While I admit to being one of those people that thinks Washington D.C. is incapable of controlling and patrolling itself, and that something like The Liberty Amendments proposed by Mark Levin are in order for us to rein government back in, there is something to be said for the efforts of Congressman Paul Ryan.

This is an interesting story in the Washington Post, or as I prefer to call it, Pravda on the Potomac. Still, this article is pretty well done:

Paul Ryan is ready to move beyond last year’s failed presidential campaign and the budget committee chairmanship that has defined him to embark on an ambitious new project: Steering Republicans away from the angry, nativist inclinations of the tea party movement and toward the more inclusive vision of his mentor, the late Jack Kemp.

Since February, Ryan (R-Wis.) has been quietly visiting inner-city neighborhoods with another old Kemp ally, Bob Woodson, the 76-year-old civil rights activist and anti-poverty crusader, to talk to ex-convicts and recovering addicts about the means of their salvation.

Ryan’s staff, meanwhile, has been trolling center-right think tanks and intellectuals for ideas to replace the “bureaucratic, top-down anti-poverty programs” that Ryan blames for “wrecking families and communities” since Lyndon B. Johnson declared a war on poverty in 1964.

Next year, for the 50th anniversary of that crusade, Ryan hopes to roll out an anti-poverty plan to rival his budgetary Roadmap for America’s Future in scope and ambition. He is also writing a book about what’s next for the GOP, recalling the 1979 tome that detailed Kemp’s vision under the subtitle, “The Brilliant Young Congressman’s Plan for a Return to Prosperity.”

Of course, that “1979 tome” was Jack Kemp’s An American Renaissance. But I digress.

Ryan’s new emphasis on social ills doesn’t imply that he’s willing to compromise with Democrats on spending more government money. His idea of a war on poverty so far relies heavily on promoting volunteerism and encouraging work through existing federal programs, including the tax code. That’s a skewed version of Kempism, which recognizes that “millions of Americans look to government as a lifeline,” said Bruce Bartlett, a historian who worked for Kemp and has become an acerbic critic of the modern GOP.

“They want to care,” Bartlett said of Ryan and modern Republicans. “But they’re so imprisoned by their ideology that they can’t offer anything meaningful.” Ryan has explained the difference by noting that the national debt has grown enormously since Kemp ran for president in 1988, nearly doubling as a percentage of the economy.

Kempism. Stay tuned in future months for more on that.

In the mid-1990s, crime and poverty were hot national issues. Kemp was a font of innovative ideas for reviving inner-city commerce, rebuilding public housing and overhauling the welfare system. He was pro-immigration, pro-equal opportunity and, above all, pro-tax cuts, which he viewed as government’s primary tool for promoting growth.

Unlike other Republicans, Kemp also frequently visited black and Hispanic voters and asked them directly for their votes.

Two days after Ryan was introduced as Romney’s running mate, he pushed to do the same. Advisers recall Ryan in workout clothes in a Des Moines Marriott, telling campaign officials in Boston that he had two requests: First, to meet the staff in person. And second, to travel to urban areas and speak about poverty.

No one said no. But with Romney focused relentlessly on Obama’s failure to improve the economy for middle-class Americans, the idea always seemed off-message. “We struggled to find the right timing to dovetail it into our messaging schedule,” Romney strategist Ed Gillespie said via e-mail.

Ryan adviser Dan Senor said Ryan argued that “47 million people on food stamps is an economic failure.” But Ryan did not get clearance to deliver a speech on poverty, his sole policy address, until two weeks before the election.

Great point: “47 million people on food stamps is an economic failure.”

Ryan had sought Woodson’s help with his poverty speech. The two reconnected after the election and began traveling together in February — once a month, no reporters — to inner-city programs supported by Woodson’s Center for Neighborhood Enterprise. In Milwaukee, Indianapolis and Denver, Woodson said, Ryan asked questions about “the agents of transformation and how this differs from the professional approach” of government social workers.

Like Woodson, the programs share a disdain for handouts and a focus on helping people address their own problems. In Southeast Washington, Ryan met Bishop Shirley Holloway, who gave up a comfortable career in the U.S. Postal Service to minister to drug addicts, ex-offenders, the homeless — people for whom government benefits can serve only to hasten their downfall, Holloway said.

At City of Hope, they are given an apartment and taught life skills and encouraged to confront their psychological wounds. They can stay as long as they’re sober and working, often in a job Holloway has somehow created.

“Paul wants people to dream again,” Holloway said of Ryan. “You don’t dream when you’ve got food stamps.”

Trips to Newark and Texas are slated for later this month. Woodson said Ryan has also asked him to gather community leaders for an event next year, and to help him compare the results of their work with the 78 means-tested programs that have cost the federal government $15 trillion since 1964.

The takeaway for Ryan, a Catholic, has been explicitly religious. “You cure poverty eye to eye, soul to soul,” he said last week at the Heritage forum. “Spiritual redemption: That’s what saves people.”

How to translate spiritual redemption into public policy?

If you don’t have goosebumps at this point, what’s wrong with you?

“There’s definitely a feeling that conservatives need to get in this arena,” Winship said. Otherwise, “the voices on the left are going to have the entire conversation to themselves.”

A point Newt Gingrich has been making for many years now, and something we fight against here at GPH. To paraphrase Gingrich, you can’t get real solutions offered if you have two Leftists debating on stage, and Republicans standing off to the side yelling “no!” Conservatives and Republicans have to get into the less comfortable debates and have real discussions with people; start connecting with the community. As Jack Kemp used to say, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Also worth noting before closing, the swipe at the “angry, nativist inclinations of the tea party movement” is both senseless and pointless. It tells me that the Left is worried that Paul Ryan and those few like him may be on to something here. If they aren’t worried, then this was just another swipe at the tea party. You decide.

DC Deadlock

By Joe Gruters

Nothing like watching malicious ineptitude at a staggering level in Washington, D.C. make us grateful for a responsible, functioning, productive state government in Tallahassee.

And by “functioning,” we mean:

  • A government that gets out of the way of citizens and protects the rights of all its residents to pursue dreams in business, with private property, in religious activity;
  • A government that protects rights rather than continually erodes them;
  • A government that allows its citizens to protect themselves;
  • A government that does not nanny every Floridian as though we are incapable toddlers, but expects a certain degree of personal responsibility;
  • A government that at least tries to keep dangerous criminals off the streets and aggressively goes after pill mills, bath salts, drug dealers, gangs and human traffickers;
  • A government that attempts to ensure only legal voters cast ballots in a democracy instead of pursing policies that will ensure voter fraud on a broad scale;
  • A government that actually is open, transparent and in the sunshine, not one that just blathers on about it but consistently acts in secret;
  • A government that is reducing its onerous drag on the productive and the law-abiding;
  • A government that spends at most only the money that it brings in and lives within its budget!

That is a functioning government.

The non-functioning part of what is going on in D.C. right now is not that there is a government shutdown or a looming debt ceiling. Those are only symptoms that have come about because of a government that is aloof, elitist and not answerable to the American people, aided and abetted by a Beltway media establishment that has lost in watchdog ways.

What should be crystal clear is that this “crisis” has resulted from a government led by Democrats that is incapable of restraining spending. In the sequestration, we are still spending far more than we bring in. Now, in the quasi, kind of, sort of, partial government shutdown and attack on veterans, Democrats refuse to negotiate on anything until they get everything.

That is dysfunctional because it is utterly irresponsible and in opposition to the best interests of the American people, and has been for many years.

Florida can’t save the union, but at least it is doing things right for the state in every measurable category. And the reason is simple: Florida is run on conservative principles led by a competent Gov. Rick Scott. D.C. is run on liberal principles led by a with less-than-competent President Obama.

Thanks for being informed and engaged.

Welcome California GOP Convention Attendees

California Republican Party Convention 2013 Banner

If you’re attending the California Republican Party Fall Convention in Anaheim this weekend and you found one of our cards in your welcome packet…welcome. Jump right in here, the water’s fine. Take a look around our website, you’re sure to find something of interest.

If you know someone thinking about running for office, or someone ready to take that plunge, but they’re not sure where to start, we’re here to help. Let’s take back California, one community, one neighborhood, one precinct, one voter at a time.

Thank you for checking us out, and have a great fall convention.

Democrats Raise Sarasotans Taxes; Deny Self-defense Rights

By Joe Gruters

One thing is now perfectly clear for all to see: Partisan politics are alive and kicking in Sarasota government.

Within a few days, the Sarasota City Commission voted to raise taxes in a weak economy and then to urge the Florida Legislature to repeal the Stand Your Ground law. Those were both 3-2 votes and they were along party lines.

But wait, you say, you thought city elections were nonpartisan? Think again. That’s a ruse by the minority party in our county to try to win elections. You simply cannot get rid of partisanship simply by obfuscating party affiliation with a different label.

Worldviews matter. And the parties roughly represent those world views.

But Democrats want to obscure those worldviews by making county elections “nonpartisan” for one reason: There are 122,000 registered Republicans in Sarasota County and only 89,000 registered Democrats.

So first, the city commission voted 3-2 to increase taxes by 8.5% even though property values are shooting up and putting more money in the city’s coffers without the tax rate increase. The combination will mean a much higher tax bill for city residents.

The three Democrats on the commission said the city was so cash-strapped that it had no choice but to raise taxes on struggling families in the Obama economy, even while increasing property values were already going to raise tax bills.

And yet they found $500,000 for their homeless program — more than one-third of the money the tax rate increase is expected to raise.

And people say there is not a left-right divide on city issues? That’s just not honest.

And then, the same three Democrats were the majority vote to urge the Legislature to repeal Stand Your Ground.

Of course, this comes after George Zimmerman was unanimously acquitted by a jury in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin — a trial in which Stand Your Ground played no role. The trial verdict was merely a whipped-up ruse with which to further erode the rights of law-abiding citizens and tip the scales to the criminals and thugs.

Democrat Commissioner Suzanne Atwell tried to back-peddle after the vote and the public outcry, saying her vote was to have a “conversation about a highly charged issue.” She told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, “I just want to start a conversation.”

Right, because no one had been talking about Stand Your Ground until the city commission brought it up. How disingenuous, and weak.

Newly-elected Democrat Commissioner Susan Chapman also walked it back a bit, saying her vote was to “revisit” the issue.

But here’s the language: “The City Commission requests that the State Legislature repeal the Stand Your Ground statute and establish a more civil approach to governance than afforded under the current statute.”

They voted to have the Legislature repeal the law, not revisit a conversation.

So for the record, the Democrats who voted to raise your taxes and deny your self-defense rights were:

• Vice Mayor Willie Shaw, Willie.Shaw@sarasotagov.com

• Commissioner Suzanne Atwell, Suzanne.Atwell@sarasotagov.com

• Commissioner Susan Chapman, Susan.Chapman@sarasotagov.com

The Republicans who supported lower taxes on hard-working Sarasotans and to maintain self-defense rights were:

• Mayor Shannon Snyder, Shannon.Snyder@sarasotagov.com

• Commissioner Paul Caragiulo, Paul.Caragiulo@sarasotagov.com

Let them know how you feel about their votes. And never forget that our core principles are represented in the Republican Party, and attempts eliminate that is an attempt to eliminate our core principles from triumphing.

Thanks for being informed and engaged.

The Invisible Anti-War Left

By Joe Gruters

Everything is upside down and backwards for Democrats from 2003, and it screams of management incompetence at the top and philosophic corruption on the Left.

Recall that in 2001 and in 2003, President Bush requested and received Congressional approval for the wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq. We did not find the WMD that every nation said was there — which has since colored the Iraq war — but it was 100% constitutional and legal.

Code Pink, Cindy Sheehan, Michael Moore and the rest of the Left cast howled about Bush’s illegal war. U.S. Sen. Barack Obama inveighed against the Iraq surge — which turned out to be wildly successful — and questioned the legality of the war.

Fast forward. President Obama ordered U.S. military forces to attack Libya last year in support of insurgents there wanting to overthrow Col. Muammar Gaddafi. He did so under the NATO umbrella, but without Congressional approval, albiet by “leading from behind,” according to a spokesman.

So far the results have been an apparent Al-Quaida takeover of Libya and the Benghazi slaughter — and following coverup — of our Ambassador to Libya.

The response from the Dixie Chicks anti-war Left that bleated constantly about Bush’s illegal war? Nothing. Quiet as mice.

Now Obama is planning again to order the military to intervene in the Middle East with some sort of strike against Syrian dictator Assad. More than 100,000 people have died in Syria’s civil war and we did not propose acting. But 100 die from a chemical attack and we are planning a military strike. Obama’s reckless comments about a red line put him in the position of using the military to save face, which is just wrong.

And again, Obama feels no compunction to get any approval or consent from Congress. He may back off after Britain’s Prime Minister was rebuffed in a vote of Parliament — yes, the country we broke away from to create our democracy had a vote on their countrymen going to war.

The response from the traditional, college-kid anti-war Left? Nothing. Everything is fine — except forgive all my loans!

Candidate Obama railed against Gitmo and promised to close it because Code Pink and Hollywood the rest of the anti-war left were screaming (laughably) about the abuses and illegalities there. Well, Gitmo is still open because Obama has seen the very obvious need for it. Basically, Bush was right.

And the anti-war Left that heckled Bush relentlessly? Crickets. It’s there guy, so it’s OK. That’s ideological corruption.

What little credibility any of those folks may have had is long gone. They are philosophically weak partisans rooting for their team and against Republicans. And that’s the depth of it. It’s just a shame the media gives them any air time, because they are vacuous.

It’s hard to know what they really believe. Sure, they generally want more government control, higher taxes, weaker laws for criminals, racial strife, welfare dependency, mothers and doctors free to kill unborn babies, a centrally planned economy and making the institution of marriage meaningless. But they will cave anytime for political gain.

This is what most of us conservatives refuse to do. We call our leadership when it travels non-conservative routes and demand an explanation. We make full use of the First Amendment and even go after incumbent officeholders sometimes. If we elect them based on conservative promises and they break those promises, we don’t meekly stay quiet.

It’s why the media thinks it is always seeing division and strife in the Republican Party. It’s because we are full of vibrant ideas and deeply held values and if Mr. Smith goes to Washington and becomes part of the system of destructive, rights-denying big government, we seek someone else to represent the cause of freedom.

This may at times appear to hurt us in a political moment, but it makes us stronger at the core in the long run. Because if we don’t retain our principles…then never mind

It’s obvious, we still do.

Thanks for being informed and engaged.

Mark Levin For President! (or, top speechwriter in 2016)

By Steve Parkhurst

As you know from this website, I have read The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic and I have been advocating the ideas presented within the book. While we must continue to work within the system that exists today, we must begin educating and running candidates that will understand, embrace and advocate for the idea that Levin has presented and even the idea put forth by THE Coolidge Project.

With that in mind, and realizing that 2016 will be here as scheduled, along with a Presidential campaign and election, these final words in The Liberty Amendments…these words should be the closing words for the nominee as he or she accepts the nomination at the Republican National Convention in 2016:

In the end, the people, upon reflection, will decide their own fate once their attention is drawn. As President Reagan stated, “You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope for man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children’s children say of us that we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.”

Let us do all that can be done. Let us be inspired by the example of our forefathers and their courage, strength, and wisdom. Let us be inspired by the genius of the Constitution and its preservation of the individual and the civil society. Let us unleash an American renaissance in which liberty is celebrated and self-government is cherished. Let us, together – we, the people – restore the splendor of the American Republic.

Time is of the essence. Let us get started today!                                                         – p. 208

Yes, I realize Levin does not want to run for President, or be President. But, the conclusion of his book is a tremendous clarion call for action worthy of each and every conservative Presidential candidate in 2016. At the very least, Mark Levin should be consulted by the person writing that nominees speech.

As a final note, Jack Kemp was a huge believer in what he hoped would be an “American renaissance” leading up to and following the Reagan Revolution. I like and appreciate Levin’s reference to “an American renaissance.” We got the Reagan Revolution, but we did not achieve the needed renaissance in the following years, one could even argue we went backward.

This needs to be the mission now. Let us get started today.

Proud Sponsor of Forum This Saturday

We are proud to be sponsoring the grassroots forum in Houston on Saturday being hosted by the Federation of Hispanic Republicans.

We are excited for people to hear the discussions and dialogue that is planned. The Republican party is making gains in connecting with the community locally, but this needs to be a widespread movement. As Jack Kemp used to say, ‘People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.’  The Federation of Hispanic Republicans is leading the way in bridging that gap. And this forum, with its great lineup, should be evidence of that.

If you are in Houston, stop in and enjoy some of the panels, the entire event is free and will include food and drinks.

FHR Grassroots Forum 2013 GPH Consulting

Be sure to also follow @FederationHR on twitter and the hashtag #FHRforum on Saturday for updates.

Mark Levin, The Liberty Amendments, and 41 Minutes

By Steve Parkhurst

You must watch this. Yes, it’s 41 minutes long. So what? Bypass this week’s episode of American Idol or bypass an hour worth of Big Bang Theory re-runs. Invest 41 minutes in the future of your country.

I wish schools across this country would show this 41 minutes to their students during one school day.

We’ll have more to say about this soon enough, but for now, tune in regularly to Mark Levin on the radio (includes free podcasts) and get a copy of The Liberty Amendments.

Be sure to stay in touch with us as we reveal ideas and plans related to the concepts Mark Levin proposes.