And choice in education is the wave of the future because it represents a return to some of our most basic American values. Choice in education is no mere abstraction. Like its economic cousin, free enterprise, and its political cousin, democracy, it affords hope and opportunity. – Ronald Reagan, 1989
This past Sunday, Republicans in Harris County took a step toward the future.
Houston Young Republicans, led by Sandi Steinbacher, the Federation of Hispanic Republicans and the Harris County Republican Party Outreach Committee, of which I am the current Chairman, brought together a group of willing Republican volunteers to help families register their children for charter schools in the areas where they live.
This group spent three hours in the meeting room of a Spring Branch community center, assisting families with applications for various charter schools. Many of the schools have upcoming deadlines, which allowed us to help these families beat the deadlines and our team was equipped with answers to most questions.
Chris Carmona, a Republican State Rep candidate who embraces not only Parental Choice in Education, but also the concept of connecting with the community, was there to talk with families and he assisted several in filling out their applications. Republican precinct chair and former Houston city council candidate Trebor Gordon was there to assist as well, he worked hard for us and was very passionate about getting this job done.
To maximize the effectiveness of our group, we used four laptop computers, two iPads and an iPhone. The task was not easy, don’t be misled there. Various schools had varied deadlines. There was also the obstacle that some families were looking at schools for various age ranges, but we helped find elementary schools, middle schools and high schools for all. We don’t have a final count on the number of applications we filed. Some parents registered multiple children.
Moms and dads know that opportunity through education is the surest way to have a real shot at the American Dream. A good education can help avoid the traps of poverty. A good education can also give a lift-up to those in poverty. Connecting with these families over these principles is important and it is a vital step that our party needs to take on a massive scale. Our party is at a point where words mean nothing, if there is no action, then we are just empty suits.
The outreach committee of Harris County Republican Party will lead the party towards a very new place in activism, highlighting the importance of rebuilding our civic institutions, healing our neighborhoods, and exemplifying what it truly means to be a conservative. We cannot ask voters to simply believe our public policy proposals, we must rebuild the private safety net before others agree with us to scale back the public safety net.
This review was first published at Big Jolly Politics:
Mark Levin’s newest book, The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic, is a different sort of attempt at a national dialogue than any we have seen in recent history.
As national dialogues go, in 2011 President Obama disgraced himself in his attempt at a “dialogue,” which escalated into demagoguery, after the horrific shooting of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. As you will recall, the president spoke that month in Arizona at a mini-DNC rally disguised as a memorial service, where he quickly resorted to typical left-wing tactics, attacking the Second Amendment and calling for tighter gun laws, restrictions and bans. The Presidents attempt at a “national dialogue” was short lived, poorly planned and altogether un-serious.
Former Speaker Newt Gingrich has attempted to initiate a few dialogues, including one in 2010 where he spoke to the Mackinac Policy Conference in Michigan and suggested ways for Michiganders to save Detroit. Gingrich was attacked, as usual, and earlier this year, well, we all know what happened to Detroit.
Congressman Paul Ryan authored the Roadmap to Prosperity, a plan to reform some aspects of government and start to reverse negative trends while providing the chance for individuals to choose an alternative to the failing social security system. As usual, the Left went on the attack, lying their way into history as defenders of the failing status quo. You may recall the commercial where a faux Paul Ryan pushes a senior citizen in a wheelchair over a cliff. Yes, that was “Leftist Dialogue for Dummies” if there ever was such a title.
Fast forward to 2013 and Mark Levin has authored a very important book that since its release two weeks ago has taken me some time to read, comprehend, appreciate, embrace and now fully advocate. This attempt at a national dialogue is more serious and substantive than anything attempted by the permanent campaigner. Levin begins his premise from the United States Constitution, where he takes Article V (not to be confused with the Fifth Amendment) and shines a new light on it. (the underlined portion is the aspect that The Liberty Amendments focuses on).
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.
This look at federalism is refreshing and modern, and Levin is a great writer with a pristine intellect, as he demonstrates here:
Clearly there is much political, social, and economic diversity among the states. Some states respect the individual more than others. Some are downright oppressive in their imposition of regulatory and tax schemes. But people can move from state to state, and often do, to escape one state’s burdens for another state’s opportunities. Federalism is not about any single state or small faction of states imposing their will on the nation. It is about states serving, in the aggregate, as an essential buffer between the central government and the people, safeguarding the citizen from authoritarianism’s consolidated rule, thereby preserving and promoting self-government. After all, self-government is a fundamental feature of a constitutional republic. As Thomas Jefferson wrote, “It was by the sober sense of our citizens that we were safely and steadily conducted from monarchy to republicanism, and it is by the same agency alone we can be kept from falling back.
We can all agree to disagree on the specifics of Levin’s actual proposals (not that I personally disagree with any of these). Things like term limits for members of Congress and the Senate. Term limits for members of the Supreme Court. Having state legislatures, those officials most responsible to the people, go back to selecting the United States Senators. Significantly reducing out of control and unregulated bureaucracy. Calling for a 30 day period between the time a bill is completely written and the time it is voted on. Strengthening voter ID laws. Reforming the tax system.
The bigger issue is this idea, an idea as old as the Constitution itself, that the people can take back power from the federal government and return it to the states when they have had enough of the oppressive, heavy hand.
The founders did not intend that politicians would make a career out of “serving the people.” They reasonably figured someone would be elected from their community, would serve a short time, and would then return back home to their community, and their career. The idea of the career legislator, the professional politician, serving 20, 30 or 40 years, would have been a foreign concept to those great men. As Levin points out though:
“History demonstrates that republics collapse when demagogues present themselves as their guardians to entice the people and cloak their true intentions.”
What Levin is advocating for will not happen overnight. It will not happen in the next election cycle, or the election cycle after that. This will be a long, time-consuming effort. The effort will be frustrating. Is this endeavor worth the effort? Levin offers this thought in Chapter 1, for those not willing to undertake the challenge or even consider doing so:
“Still more may be resigned to a grim future, preferring lamentation to the hard work of purposeful action.”
Let that sink in.
The Liberty Amendments is chock full of notes and references, including much high praise for founders like James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and George Mason. The book is well researched, the writing is very good, it is not hard to understand or comprehend but on the contrary, it is very informative.
Pick up a copy of The Liberty Amendments. Give it a chance. If you agree with the underlying idea, that Article V provides a way out, get involved locally. Take “purposeful action.” Have meetings with small groups. Share ideas and get people thinking and talking. When you meet legislators or candidates, educate them and demand they consider these ideas. Those who refuse to listen, there is always another election cycle. Mark Levin is on to something here, and those ready to take part now have a guide.
As a note on modern politics, campaigns will have to go on as usual. Politics will still exist. We will still debate, argue and converse. This new concept that Levin is promoting will not take hold after 2014, or after 2016. But the slow work, the longer task, is to build up a grassroots army of individuals and legislators willing to take this next step. So, while you are preparing for 2014 and 2016, find a way to also advocate for Article V and a return to federalism. For in the end, it may be the last best hope at controlling Leviathan.
I will end this review with the words Levin used to close out his book, for he can say it much better than I ever will:
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!
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.
In doing a little research recently for the Jack Kemp project we have alluded to before, I read a great passage in Bruce Bartlett’s 1981 book Reaganomics: Supply Side Economics In Action. The passage in question was written by Jude Wanniski for National Observer in 1976. The passage rings particularly true after the “controversy” caused by Rush Limbaugh after the 2012 election because of his reference to “Santa Claus” being Obama and the Democrat Party, and how no one wanted to vote against Santa Claus:
The Democrats, the party of income redistribution, are best suited for the role of Spending Santa Claus. The Republicans, traditionally the party of income growth, should be the Santa Claus of Tax Reduction. It has been the failure of the GOP to stick to this traditional role that has caused much of the nation’s economic misery. . . . It isn’t that Republicans don’t enjoy cutting taxes. They love it. But there is something in the Republican chemistry that causes the GOP to become hypnotized by the prospect of an imbalanced budget. Static analysis tells them taxes can’t be cut or inflation will result. They either argue for a tax hike to dampen inflation when the economy is in a boom or demand spending cuts to balance the budget when the economy is in recession. Either way, of course, they embrace the role of Scrooge, playing into the hands of the Democrats, who know the first rule of successful politics is Never Shoot Santa Claus. The political tension in the market place of ideas must be between tax reduction and spending increases, and as long as Republicans have insisted on balanced budgets, their influence as a party has shriveled, and budgets have been imbalanced. (page 127)
So poignant, and still so true.
I saw something interesting today in the San Antonio Express-News. You can see for yourself below, the “letter to the editor” section features a picture of US Senator Marco Rubio. That picture refers to the letter “Unbalanced” by Frank H. Wians Jr., which begins at the bottom left in the picture.
There are several items in play here. First, sympathizer Bruce Davidson had an op-ed (Castro faces local challenges along with stardom) published on February 17 on the front page of the San Antonio Express-News’ Opinion page. On page 3 in the same issue, Leftist Maria Anglin, also a sympathizer, wrote an op-ed (The peril of the pedestal) knocking Senator Rubio for “the ascent of the earnest young senator from Florida”. And, because she focused her attack on Senator Rubio, I am going to focus today on Maria and her column.
The delusion of Maria Anglin really becomes more evident here:
Time magazine called him “The Republican Savior.” Karl Rove has called him “the best communicator since Ronald Reagan.” And when Rubio was picked to deliver the State of the Union rebuttal, House Speaker John Boehner said he carries the GOP banner of freedom, opportunity and prosperity in a way few others can.
Apparently Maria knows nothing about Rubio or his family story. I’m really not sure why she is confused by any of this. Actually, I do understand. It has to do with the R after his name. Senator Rubio is not one of the fellow travelers like Maria, and therefore, he is to be vilified, destroyed and left on the ash heap. And this is ok since Rubio does have that R after his name. If he had a D after his name, we would be able to call Maria a racist and other clever code words approved by the Left.
Rubio did say that there is only one savior, and that he isn’t it. But, so far, there’s no word about how close he thinks he can come to Dutch or Superman.
That my friends, that may be one of the dumbest sentences ever put on paper. Fortunately, Rubio is not trying to be Dutch or Superman, he is trying to be Senator Marco Rubio, Republican Senator from Florida.
Maria then had to get in some shots on Sarah Palin, for some reason (actually, that reason is simply to bash all Republicans, that’s why Maria writes and why she is published):
Remember Sarah Palin? Once she was the pistol from Alaska, a no-nonsense moose-skinning hockey mom who finally seemed to understand the lives of the average American Republican.
She wasn’t a political monster, but she had enough exposure to run alongside a presidential candidate with an iffy ticker. Today, she’s little more than a fringe figure who can be counted on to deliver regrettable tweets.
Finally, to really get to the point, besides the fact that Marco Rubio is indeed of Cuban descent, and a Republican, Maria tries to point our side in another direction:
Still, if it’s ever going to happen, it needs to get started. So why not Rubio? Then again, why not Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal? He, too, seems to have the same fire, although he reads a little more, well, angry.
Now I’m really starting to think that Marco Rubio might just be the right guy, at the right time. When our candidates start to get shredded, and then more “viable” or alternative candidates are offered up from the Left, you know they are just trying to throw us off. I am inclined not to be interested in advice from the Left.
We all know that if Thursday at 9pm came around and Governor Jindal was the Republican nominee, by 9:20pm Maria and the fellow Left leaning “journalists” would have their stories ready to print about Jindal’s being “too angry” and his lack of experience (Louisiana is a little state, right?). This is a game to these sociopaths. A game I don’t intend to play, and hopefully the lessons of 2008 and 2012 have helped teach our side to stop playing the game on the Left’s turf, and by their rules. For example, look no further than our sides willingness to allow Leftists from ABC, CNN, CNBC, Politico or MSNBC to ask questions of our candidates during Presidential primary debates. That has to stop.
We obviously have a long way to go to get to 2016 and that nominating process. I am not interested in the opinions of those on the Left as to who we should nominate. They will not be fair, they will not be balanced, we know this going in. These articles point to that disparity in fairness and accuracy. Rarely will one shill newspaper show its hand all in one issue, but it happened on February 17; praise the one, denigrate the other.
– – –
I’m not going to delve into Bruce Davidson’s attempts to sympathize with, and begin to make excuses for, Julian Castro. There will be plenty more on that, later. But as Mr. Wians points out in his letter above, the Express-News is one newspaper not hiding its Leftwing tilt very well.
Former Speaker Newt Gingrich has a very good column today in which he takes the old model of political consultants to task, along with a few of those practitioners. The column is very lengthy and I didn’t want to post it in its entirety.
After the column open, Speaker Gingrich begins to hit his stride here:
It is appalling how little some Republican consultants have learned from the 2012 defeat.
It is even more disturbing how arrogant their plans for the future are.
Of course these consultants have made an amazing amount of money asserting an expertise they clearly don’t have.
They have existed in a system in which the candidate was supposed to focus on raising money and the smart consultant would design the strategy, spend the money and do the thinking.
This is a terrible system.
Watch the movie “Lincoln.” This was a politician who thought long and deeply.
Read Craig Shirley’s histories of the 1976 and 1980 campaigns (or watch the documentary Callista and I made, “Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous with Destiny”). Reagan knew what he believed, why he was running, and what he wanted to accomplish.
Republicans need to drop the consultant-centric model and go back to a system in which candidates have to think and consultants are adviser and implementers but understand that the elected official is the one who has to represent the voters and make the key decisions.
This part of Gingrich’s column cannot be ignored (this is Gingrich’s writing, and the STEVENS quote is from a joint tv appearance with Romney consultant Stuart Stevens):
The depth of Republican obsolescence on communications technology was highlighted in this comment:
“STEVENS: Really made — if I had tweeted in this campaign this whole discussion we’ve been having about the second amendment would probably be replaced one about the first amendment and whether it should apply to tweeting.”
Cute but insulting. Republicans will not understand why we are losing younger Americans so badly until we realize how many of our consultants don’t have a clue and don’t intend to change.
Finally, Stevens said something profound but I don’t think he understood how profound it was:
“Listen, I don’t think — it would be a great mistake if we felt that technology in itself is going to save the Republican Party. Technology is something to a large degree you can go out and purchase and if we think there’s an off the shelf solution that you can go out and purchase for the Republican Party it’s wrong.
“You know, we’ve had a lot of chance now since the campaign to spend time with the Obama folks and sometimes they had better technology, some cases we have better technology. We don’t have 140 character problem in the Republican Party. We have a larger problem that we have to look at and be patient about it. And trying to think that there’s one solution like this, I just don’t think…”
I went on to agree with him but I don’t think he understood my agreement. In effect I was repudiating the entire structure, budget and culture of the campaign he dominated:
“GINGRICH: I think the way Stuart just said it is exactly right. The technology problem is a culture problem. I mean the Democrats had 54 data analysts and were hiring Ph.Ds in advanced math because they were using the most advanced decision processes in the country. They were bringing in behavioral scientists. They were trying to figure out how you talk to 311 million people and do so in a way that you can survive 8 percent unemployment and get re-elected and it worked.
“Now, I think it’s actually — he’s right in a sense it’s a cultural problem. None of our consultants would have imagined hiring 54 people in the decision area, none of them would have imagined having 24 people [who] did nothing full time except e-mails and then blind tested the best e-mails to see which ones worked. I mean, this — they are a Super Bowl team that we ought to respect deeply. And we are currently a midlevel college team floundering around and I agree. It’s not just — you can’t just go out and buy this, this is a fundamental rethinking of how you relate to the American people.”
As Reagan biographer Craig Shirley told me, “Commercial radio was a new technology in the early 1930′s and Reagan adapted to it. Talking movies were a new technology in the late 30′s and Reagan adapted to it. Network television was a new technology in the early 1950′s and Reagan adapted to it. If Reagan were alive today, he’d be tweeting.”
That final point about Ronald Reagan is exactly right. Reagan would be tweeting today. We have to get tech or die trying, this current approach is seriously hurting our cause.
As you can well imagine, this closing by Speaker Gingrich made my day:
The debate over Rove-Stevens versus the new 21st century model may be the most important intra-Republican debate since the emergence of Reagan and Kemp to challenge the old order in the 1970s.
Newt Gingrich has long advocated a different model of political consulting from the one that current exists. We at GPH Consulting have striven to be different, it probably doesn’t take much looking around to realize that we are indeed different. Engage us here on the blog, tweet with us or pin with us and discover for yourself.
Morton Kondracke spoke last week in Los Angeles at Occidental College at the first Kemp Scholar lecture, a new program created at the college from which Jack Kemp graduated. We have posted the thoughts of Mr. Kondracke previously, as he has become a bit of an expert on Jack Kemp in his writing a much overdue biography.
Last week’s Kondracke visit is reported here. The best part of the report comes when Kondracke got into specifics about Jack Kemp Conservatism, which he dubbed “Kempism”:
“Jack was the first and chief advocate for a new idea called supply-side economics,” Kondracke said. “He’s the one who sold Reagan on what became Reaganomics.” His new biography will argue that Reagan and Kemp, acting in concert on both domestic and international policy, won the Cold War. The book’s working title, he said, is Jack Kemp: the Quarterback Who Changed the World.
While Kemp was a principled conservative, “he also was an idealist, passionately dedicated to the well-being of all Americans, regardless of race or gender or income,” Kondracke said. “He thought that ideas could change the world, and he fought his battles on that level, even though that cost him during his political campaigns.”
Were he alive today, Kemp would not write off 47 percent of the electorate, as Mitt Romney did during last year’s presidential election, he said. Kemp opposed Proposition 187, the 1994 California initiative aimed at undocumented workers, and believed supply-side incentives could have a powerful positive effect on communities of color.
“As Newt Gingrich once said, Jack has showered with more African-Americans than most Republicans have ever met,” Kondracke said. “Jack honestly believed that the GOP could once again be the party of Lincoln, that if the economy provided jobs that extended into the ghetto, African-Americans would vote Republican.”
In the wake of Romney’s defeat, Kondracke added, “We have seen the beginnings of the emergence of ‘Kempism’” from such figures as Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin (who counted Kemp as a mentor), Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. “What the Republican Party needs is what Jack provided—a conservative message that would appeal to average, ordinary citizens.”
It’s clear that Jack Kemp Conservatism is the definitive remedy for what ails the Republican party today; a solid message that appeals to and benefits every American.
Stay tuned to our efforts, whether here on the blog, via Twitter or via our Jack Kemp project email newsletter. We have some very interesting things in the works and the best way to hear about them will be via one of those three methods. We have made recent additions to the GPH Consulting team and together there will be new things you have not seen from a political consulting firm before.
President Reagan turns 102 today. I don’t have anything new and profound to offer on this day, so instead of getting wordy, I’d like to direct you to some previous posts:
Happy Birthday, Mr. President.
By Steve Parkhurst
Today and several days recently, America is recognizing the 100th birthday of President Richard Nixon. There was a similar celebration in 2011 for President Reagan’s 100th birthday.
I have been to the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, California a number of times over the years. The Library includes both the birthplace of Richard Nixon and his burial place. Every time I stand at the place where a former President rests in peace, I find myself in awe. The picture below is of Richard Nixon’s grave and headstone. Every time I’ve seen it, I have been struck by that quote on it, “The greatest honor history can bestow is the title of peacemaker.”
The Nixon Library blog has an interesting post today recalling Nixon and his legacy. It opens with something I would consider to be classic Nixon.
In June 1983, at the end of more than thirty hours of interviews about his life and times, the conversation, winding down, now turned to “mountaintop” and “legacy” questions. The former President had already indicated his displeasure with touchy feely topics — “psychohistory is for psychos” as he put it. His answer to the question “Do you consider you’ve had a good life?” was: “I don’t get into that kind of crap.”
The entire post can be read here. The later quote is entirely worth reading, I just did not want to include it here and dilute the main point of my writing.
Happy 100th Birthday President Nixon.