In Defense of Recalcitrant Conservative Political Power

"One man's guerrilla warfare is another man's fair fight" -- The-Asterisk

Lately I have been observing the unfolding political dress rehearsals leading up to the big show in November. I hear the screeching class on the left talk about how the Tea Party (aka Tea Baggers) is holding up all of the good that the President and Congress have wanted to accomplish since 2010. I watched this new video by Davis Guggenheim and narrated by Tom Hanks. It is a true work of art and a bit of fiction. If you haven't watched it, you must. Those that do not know what is going on, then watch this video may be swayed. Notice Obama's constant pensiveness as he thinks about how he can help the American people. Such sacrifice.



There are quite a few truth benders in this piece. Disingenuous? Yes. Beyond the pale for a political campaign? No, but I would have expected to see something like this in August at the Democrat National Convention, not this early in March. Apparently if you repeat something enough times it become the truth, right?

I have read this piece in the Washington Post about how the Obama team 'negotiated' with Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor last August over the debt ceiling and how the Congressmen were made to look like inconsequential players once the "Gang of Six" rolled into town with a sweeter deal.

Then there is the whole Sandra Fluke kerfuffle which followed the Rush Limbaugh blowout. In the middle of all of this, Bill Maher gives $1 Million to Obama's re-election PAC and there is little more than a whimper from the normally vociferous left to ask the PAC to give the money back. I guess haughty hatred of misogynist media personalities stops at the door to the bank vault, eh ladies? (Props to Kirsten Powers for giving Maher the what-for over his and other's nasty comments about conservative women.)

Sandra Fluke is so "nucularly" (yes, I made up that word) absurd that she will some day get a page in the political playbook right next to Joe "The Plumber" Wurzelbacher. (He is running for Congress in Ohio this year and I will be severely disappointed if she doesn't run for office in the next cycle, representing the Cindy Sheehan wing of the Democrat Party.) Miss Fluke gave non-testimony at a non-hearing in front of a non-committee of Congress. Behind her can be seen people and photographers wandering around which would never happen in a real committee meeting. She was slipped onto the agenda for the real committee hearing at the last minute and was not allowed to speak because there was no time to vet her, nor was there any real reason to hear her. She is a self-described "women's reproductive rights" advocate who burst onto the scene as an 'expert' in how difficult it is to get proper health care from a Catholic school's insurance for contraception. Listen as she describes how she looks other women in the eye and can see the strain they suffer for not having coverage for birth control from their insurance company.

Now, Rosie O'Donnell is lamenting how the right is launching a full scale war on women's reproductive rights! Let's see, was that in Article 1 Section 9, Miss Law School Student, or was it in one of the subsequent Amendments to the Constitution that we find that right? Tom Hanks and Davis Guggenheim take a back seat to this production and it came in WAAAAAAY under budget. (Oh, and remember that 'reproductive rights' wasn't even an issue until George Stephanopolous brought it up in a January debate between Republican Presidential candidates.)

So, back to the premise of this post defending recalcitrant conservative political power. How does one fight back against a storm surge of this magnitude? For forty years, Republicans played second fiddle to the Democrats in Congress until Newt Gingrich came along in 1984 with his Contract With America (called the Contract On America by his detractors. Clever with words, aren't they?) When they pulled the binky out of the mouth of the Dems after 40 years, it REALLY PISSED THEM OFF. Running the show was their birthright. Basically anything they wanted they got... and get, they did.

Newt and the young turks drained the swamp so we could really see the slithering lot of them. That even pissed off a bunch of Republicans who saw their cozy power sharing relationship with the Democrats melt into a fond memory. It is my fervent belief that these same powerful Republicans are the ones who exacted their revenge on Newt almost 30 years later after he won the South Carolina primary earlier this year. To these people, left and right, politics is the ultimate game. Winners and second stringers get the power and the perks. The JV squad gets nothing but bruised and hurt. Does anyone think an elephant forgets?

How does a poor and loosely organized group take power from a larger group? Gum up the gearbox. Lay a couple of metaphorical IEDs along the side of the road. Stir things up a bit and then stand your ground at a pinch point when the mob approaches.

Look, people, Obama's latest budget (can we call it a budget when Harry Reid hasn't passed a budget out of the Senate in three years? THREE YEARS. What if you didn't file your taxes for three years? But I digress.) claimed a $3.2 Trillion savings over 10 years and then a few days later, the CBO scores it at a $3.5 Trillion loss over the same period. I mean, c'mon. These Obama staffers cannot be that dumb. They know that the former gets reported, but the latter shows up on page 13 in the paper, or not at all on MSN or Yahoo.com. I can hear Sasha and Malia saying "Daddy, Daddy, tell us a story." And Barack Obama sits them down and (reading from his TelePrompTer) says "OK, girls, there once was a man with verrrrrry big bag of money and he didn't want to share it with anyone..."

Watch any Congressional hearing on C-SPAN and all you will see is a parade of stakeholders lamenting the slashing of their budgets and how important it is to have electronic whiteboards in elementary schools, or additional radios for first, second and third responders, or additional vegetable inspectors to stop the spread of salmonella (as if...), and on and on it goes. Where do you cut? Everything is important and everything has a constituency.

I vividly remember the waning days of the Clinton Administration. Newt likes to talk about how he balanced the budget for four years in a row. Well, he certainly was the catalyst, but it didn't hurt to have a tsunami of money rushing in from the DotCom bubble. I remember watching my state representatives working feverishly to find ways to spend this windfall and they wanted more. The programmed these receipts into the budgets for the next 10 years and then when the money dried up three years later, they were dumbfounded. "We can't possibly cut X, Y or Z out of the budget. These people are depending upon us to provide A, B and C." when only three years before, there was no X, Y or Z in the budget nor any expectation of having it.

Spending is like a Chinese Finger Trap, you get in it really easy, but you can never pull out.

My last example is one that is near and dear to all of us in the Hampton Roads section of Virginia. We are a group of cities sliced and diced by waterways and connected by bridges and tunnels. The primary roads into and out of our region involve bridge tunnels. These are expensive things to build and the roads that feed them are falling into disrepair. The word bottleneck hardly does justice to a nine mile backup at one of the tunnels on a hot summer day. It makes you want to poke your eyes out while some bad driver nine miles ahead cruises through the tunnel at 40 mph, oblivious to the logjam behind them.

In the early 2000's a referendum was put on the ballot. A ballot referendum is a big deal in Virginia. It is not a frivolous act like it is in California. This referendum proposed to add one cent to the sales tax in Hampton Roads and in the Metro Washington DC area of Virginia to help pay for road construction. The referendum failed to pass. I voted against it, although I really wanted to see our highways improved. Now, that vote has come up again as a point of conjecture in our local newspaper. "Why didn't we just add one penny per dollar to our sales tax in 2002? We would be arguing now about what to build next and not how much the tolls will be on existing, paid-for structures."

I will tell you why it did not pass. It is simple. The politicians would not pledge to keep all new funds in a separate account to be spent ONLY on highway transportation, AND they would not pledge to NOT defund current budgeted money for road construction. In other words, the new money could go for buses, bike trails, light rail as well as for highways. PLUS, it is almost certain that existing money in the budget for highway construction and maintenance would be moved to other items because the highway trust fund was getting fat. (Our state did the same thing with lottery receipts, pouring millions of dollars into education all the while pulling money out of the education section of the General Fund.)

So, how do you fight City Hall? How do you fight Richmond? How do you fight Washington? If you fight fair it is like bringing a knife to a gunfight. There is no such thing as a fair fight. Ask Newt. To have a 'fighting chance' you must implement asymmetric warfare. As Sun Tzu said in the "Art of War" don't attack your enemy where he is strongest and expects to be attacked, find a weak spot and exploit it.

The Democrat's weak spot is control of both houses and the Presidency. We learned from the pissed off Democrats in 1984 how to make the Parliamentary gears of the House and the Senate grind to a halt. We learned how to change the rules in the middle of the game (but admittedly, we don't play that one too well) and we learned how to keep pushing and pushing and never give up. Although Fox News is a breath of fresh air in the mainstream media, it is not a monolith like MSNBC is. But, we hear enough and read enough though 'Faux News' (I just love their play on words) and other sources to know what needs to be done and where we need to be, and believe me, benevolent cooperation is NOT the way to stop the steamroller.

America's best years are ahead of us if we can 'bend the spend curve' down. Hockey stick growth in expenditures is non-sustainable. Even a Communist knows it isn't, but he just doesn't care. Science and technology will provide massively new and exciting discoveries that will make our lives so much better, if we just let them get on with it. Everyone points to the Internet as a great government invention. It was a fluke. I would be willing to bet that the original government designers had no desire to let the general public in on the party, but the genie escaped from the bottle somehow and see what has happened in just 15 years with virtually no government control? Our world has been exponentially transformed because of the Internet.

Even if Mitt Romney gets the nomination, all conservative and right-minded people MUST line up behind him and defeat Obama as well as take the Senate and hold the House. Romney may want to swerve to the left after he wins, but the recalcitrants must employ the same tactics to keep him in line as they would with Obama.

Truth: Some faction will hold the power.Of that there is NO doubt. It may as well be us...

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