South Carolina Grassroots Conservatives – Something Old, Something New

TedCruz_at_2015SCTPCThe South Carolina Tea Party Coalition gathered last weekend in Myrtle Beach, and there was never a dull moment.  All the leading right-wing organizations were there, including the Tea Party Patriots, Freedom Works, the Heritage Foundation, the Tea Party Leadership Fund, and Americans for Prosperity.  Contenders for the 2016 presidential race made stump speeches.  Senators and congressmen tossed red meat to the hungry throngs.

The event sold out, skewering the notion that the Tea Party is in decline.   Conservative celebrities lined up to participate.  I have been attending events like this for a long time, and let me tell you – these people are more fired up than ever.

Some things haven’t changed.  Barack Obama remains the target of the Tea Party’s ire, and the conservative faithful are more baffled than ever that so many Americans are still oblivious to the damage he continues to inflict on our nation.  And the Tea Party is still an army of mostly gray-haired, fair-skinned grandmas and grandpas.

Yet the Tea Party and the conservative movement continues to evolve.

Lately the grassroots conservatives are as angry at Republicans as they are at arch-rival liberal Democrats.  They stood and cheered as speaker after speaker exhorted them to “hold the Republicans in DC accountable.”  Congressmen Louie Gohmert, Jim Bridenstine and Jeff Duncan got standing O’s specifically to thank them for their anti-Boehner votes.  Still, Rep. Mick Mulvaney came out guns blazing in defense of his vote for the Speaker, and scored some points.

Minorities continue to gain in numbers and in comfort level in Tea Party circles.  While they have always been warmly welcomed by the Tea Party, African American and Hispanic conservatives no longer feel conspicuous and are taking a significant leadership role.

A fairly large contingent of young conservatives also attended.  One of the most compelling presentations came from Lauren Cooley of Turning Point USA.   Cooley, a striking and very hip young lady, is winning high school and college students over to the conservative side at a wholesale clip.  She single-handedly shut down the gender-studies department and its series of obscene programs at Furman University, and handed attendees to a Jesse Jackson event a list of unflattering direct quotes by him, standing her ground in a confrontation with the embarrassed sponsors.  Her charges carry the pithy message, “Big Government Sucks”, and in growing numbers they understand and articulate the abuses heaped on young Americans by their government in recent years.

But the biggest change in the conservative movement is more subtle, and significantly more important.  Grassroots conservatives have learned that they must work within the system to accomplish real reform.  The days of loud complaints but little action are history, as conservative activists now work to reorganize precincts, run for local offices, and learn policy issues in detail, making them formidable citizen leaders and constituents.  And the top conservative organizations all have focused goals with serious action plans in place to accomplish them.

Two larger-than-life issues in South Carolina took center stage at the convention.  A determined group of conservatives led by Greenville activist Diane Hardy contends that primary registration by party would prevent election perversions such as moderate Republican Lyndsey Graham’s narrow win over several conservative primary candidates.  Graham’s name, by the way, was roundly booed whenever uttered at the event.

Another policy issue that caught a lot of attention is the failure of the state to honestly implement its new law that struck down the Common Core standards.  A panel was assigned to write new state standards, but instead they merely copied the Common Core standards and gave it a new name.  An aggressive campaign is underway by Shari Few and her group, South Carolina Parents Involved in Education, to rewrite the standards.

South Carolina is an early primary state, a fact not lost on presidential hopefuls.  Dr. Ben Carson was soft-spoken, but his conservative convictions were rock-hard.  He admitted a lack of experience and expertise in both foreign and domestic affairs, promising to surround himself with smart people.  Senator Ted Cruz made a rock-star entrance and then machine-gunned his well-rehearsed talking points with precision and authority, if not much inspiration.  Cruz knows exactly what buttons to push.  Rick Santorum was sincere, but didn’t show much fire in the belly.  Donald Trump was . . . well, you know.  Arrogant and embarrassingly shallow.  But he was warmly received.

In conversation and informal straw polls, most of the attendees seemed to favor Scott Walker and Dr. Carson for president.

Nobody went home from this event feeling cheated.  I’m sure this group from South Carolina provides a good cross-section of the Tea Party nationwide.  And while the grassroots conservative movement has been consistent over the years in its values and aims, one can’t help but sense the changes underway.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right SideSha la la la la la,
Live for today!
And don’t worry, ’bout tomorrow, hey
Live for today!

Live for Today – the Grass Roots

 

Where Are the Conservatives in Congress? I Don’t Know!

photo courtesy of wallsave.comI don’t know about you, but I am kind of confused right now.

I was furious that the conservatives in Congress did not stand up to remove John Boehner as Speaker of the House.  Boehner had just given the lame-duck Democrats control of federal spending through September 2015 in exchange for withheld funding for DHS. Paraphrased:  “Duh, okay guys, even though the Democrats lost the election, let’s give them control of the budget for 10 more months, and then they can beat us up in the press for slacking on national security.”

It was just the latest in a long list of conservative policy blunders by Speaker Boehner.  I could not understand it at all.  My congressman, Mick Mulvaney, justified his vote for Boehner, saying, This coup today was bound to fail.  And in fact, it failed worse than I expected, falling 11 votes short of deposing the Speaker.”  

Then he said, “and I was joined today by the likes of Jim Jordan, Raul Labrador, Trey Gowdy, Mark Sanford, Trent Franks, Tom McClintock, Matt Salmon, Tom Price, Sam Johnson, and Jeb Hensarling.  If I ‘sold out’ then I did so joined by some of the most tried and tested conservative voices in Washington.”

Hmmm.   They were 11 votes short.  And Mulvaney was joined by 10 conservatives who were also afraid to vote against Boehner.  Seems to me if those ten guys and my guy had voted against Boehner, we would have a new conservative leadership.

I guess maybe these guys learned math via Common Core.  But I don’t know.

Anyway, Boehner was confirmed as Speaker.  And he immediately started making conservative noises.   Then my guy, Mulvaney, made an impassioned speech to Congress in support of his amendment to defund Obama’s executive amnesty – a genuinely conservative act.

I don’t know.

Did Boehner cut a deal behind closed doors to rein in the conservatives?  Will he do an abrupt “about face” and start acting like an adult Republican?  Have the newly elected Republican congressmen caved in already, or do they have a conservative game plan that they are not telling us about?

I just don’t know.

I’m going to the South Carolina Tea Party convention this week to hear a number of leading conservative thinkers and candidates, and the top right-wing organizations – the Tea Party Patriots, Americans for Prosperity, the Tea Party Leadership Fund, Freedomworks, Heritage Action, Dr. Ben Carson, Sen. Ted Cruz, Rep. Louie Gohmert, Rep. Jim Bridenstine, Rick Santorum, Donald Trump, and others – including my guy, Rep. Mick Mulvaney.

Maybe I will get a clearer sense of direction.  Until then, I just don’t know!

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

I don’t know.  I don’t know!
I don’t know where I’m a gonna go
When the volcano blows!

Volcano – Jimmy Buffett

Okay, all you Parrot Heads!  Let’s do a little early spring break with Jimmy Buffett!

God Bless Texas – for Louie Gohmert!

louie_gohmert_APFinally – FINALLY a Republican congressman showed the courage and intelligence to stand up to Speaker of the House John Boehner.  It’s Louie Gohmert, from Texas.

On Fox News today Gohmert said, “I’m putting my name out there today to be another candidate for Speaker.”  He voiced his frustrations with Boehner, the same ones we all share, saying, “’You deceived us when you went to Obama and Pelosi to get your votes for the Cromnibus. You said you’d fight amnesty tooth and nail. You didn’t, you funded it!”

There is considerable discontent with Speaker Boehner among Republicans.  A recent poll showed 60% of voting Republicans want him out.  But more importantly, GOP Congressmen are tired of leaders who only show strength against their own members and never against the opposition.  Many representatives have hidden beneath their desks, fearing loss of committee appointments and campaign funds if they fail to toe Boehner’s line.  Some who opposed him in the past have paid the price.

Now those who have been hiding in the shadows can come out without fear.  A dragon-slayer has stepped up.  Many young conservatives ran for, and won, their seats on the promise of opposition to Boehner and the DC insiders.  Finally, they have veteran leadership.  All that’s needed is for 29 members to vote in the first round for somebody – anybody – other than Boehner, and a real election for Speaker will follow.

The fear of reprisals is so lame and short-sighted – if you are tired of getting bullied around, kick the bully the hell out!  Punch back for a change!  Simple, isn’t it?

So-called “conservative” congressmen who vote for Boehner this time around will have plenty of ‘splainin’ to do!  Let your rep know before Tuesday’s vote that you are watching.

God Bless Texas – for giving us Louie Gohmert!

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right SideGod blessed Texas with His own hand
Brought down angels from the Promised Land
Gave them a place where they could dance
If you wanna see Heaven, brother, here’s your chance
Well, I’ve been sent to spread the message
‘God blessed Texas!’

 

Little Texas – God Blessed Texas

The ‘Leader of the Pack’ Is Out There Somewhere

lead dog

photo credit: (Yuri Yuriev/AFP/Getty Images)

The new year, 2015, will be here in a couple of days.  The ball will drop in Times Square, and almost simultaneously hats will drop into the 2016 presidential election ring as campaigning starts in earnest.  The GOP is on a roll, having won both houses, and fully expects to win the White House by default as President Obama’s approval rating tracks right along with the wind chill in Fairbanks.

I admit I have never understood how the Republican party filters down to its final presidential candidate.  Obviously, whoever would make the best president should be the party’s candidate of choice.  But there doesn’t seem to be any established criteria for what makes a good conservative president.  I’m pretty sure the Republican leadership would say their candidate should be whoever is the most “electable”.

Here’s my simple conservative list of required qualifications for the “leader of the pack”:

Honesty.  What distinguishes conservatives from liberals?  Essentially, it is respect for the truth.  The word “right” means correct.  It also means just.  Maybe it’s no coincidence that it also means conservative.  We Rock on the Right Side because we know that there is right and wrong, and the truth is always right.  Many liberal Democrats openly lie.  They aren’t even embarrassed about it (when will Al Sharpton publicly apologize for the Tawana Brawley lie?).  The liberal playbooks (Saul Alinsky, Cloward and Piven) say “the end justifies the means”, and if you have to lie to the people to get what you want (political power, personal profit, etc.), so be it.  Communist countries embrace dishonesty – lying has been raised to an art form in North Korea – and our current administration seems to operate in “Kim Jong Un” mode.  “You can keep your insurance,” “the Benghazi attack was because of a video,” “all of our hard drives crashed simultaneously”. 

In the age of YouTube, our opponents can be beat to death with their own lies.The best way to differentiate ourselves from our liberal political opponents is to be honest.  That means our conservative presidential candidate had better have a squeaky clean personal and professional history, and be a straight shooter.  A person who will lie to his or her spouse will certainly have no problem lying to anyone else.  We want a leader we can trust.

Economic Savvy.  Our current president has never held a private sector job – never flipped a burger, fixed a tire, or washed a window.  He has never produced wealth for himself or an employer.  While he has been extensively involved in the redistribution of other people’s money, he has never built anything on his own.  Even his short legal career in racial discrimination cases was funded by the government.  To compound the problem, once in office, Obama surrounded himself with academic elites – almost nobody in this administration has ever held a private sector job.  The results were predictable – while the stock market, well-connected corporate cronies, and bureaucrats enjoy record gains, family incomes lag far below pre-Obama levels and the few new jobs that were created went to immigrants.

The US president is the head of the largest economy in the world – it is unthinkable that anyone in that position should not have extensive experience, knowledge, and proven skill in free market economics.  Nothing is more important to every US citizen than economic security and opportunity for our families.  We want a financial guru at the helm.

Leadership.   Our president is referred to as the “leader of the free world.”  This person must have extraordinary qualities that inspire us to follow – qualities like the ability to make difficult decisions firmly and fairly,  the vision and discernment to see alternative solutions that may escape others, and the humanity to care about those in his charge.  A leader is brave.  A leader takes responsibility and doesn’t make excuses.  A leader is optimistic and forward-thinking.  A leader is dedicated and hard-working.  We want a president who knows what leadership is.

We have all known people who have these qualities.  They are out there.  Somewhere between the Atlantic and the Pacific is the person who could get this big ship turned around and headed the “right” way again.  It won’t be easy, with the state of big-money corruption in DC and the embarrassing ineptness of our current party leadership.  But it can be done.

I’ll give you another couple of days off.  And then let’s get to work.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right SideMy folks were always putting him down
They said, he came from the wrong side of town
They told me, he was bad, but I knew he was sad
That’s why I fell for the leader of the pack

Shutdown!

shutdownRepublican congressional leaders, and many of their sheepish members, are all puckered up over ShutDown.

“ShutDown?  ShutDown!  Oh, no, that would be too risky.  Remember when we got blamed for shutting down the government?  Whenever there is a shutdown, we ALWAYS get the blame!”

So the Republican leadership strong-armed their members into passing the CRomnibus (Continuing Resolution / Omnibus) spending bill, giving Obama and Reid everything they wanted in the way of flatulent government spending all the way to September of 2015, the end of the fiscal year.  Never mind that the Republicans won big in the November elections and now hold majorities in both houses.  Now they can take it easy in DC until next football season, when the Redskins will no longer have RG3 to kick around.

“We just couldn’t take the risk,” they said.  Somebody might think we Republicans are MEANIES if we don’t commit to spend another $1.1 TRILLION for such critical programs as a new National Women’s Museum, continuing the corporate crony Import/Export Bank, and other little items like ObamaCare and benefits for illegal immigrants.

John Hayward, in Human Events, succinctly pointed out the lunacy of it all, saying:

There was no reason to give the defeated Democrats anything except a stop-gap bill to fund the government through January, at which point the incoming Republican majorities should have exercised control over everything. If the Democrats don’t like that deal, let them shut down the government in a fit of pique, and tell voters how the party they just threw out of power should be allowed to control their lives for an extra year. Not only would that be smart politics – giving the Republicans more fiscal leverage to stand up for America against Obama’s amnesty, instead of just funding for the Department of Homeland Security – but it would represent more sensible and responsible government. All of this multi-trillion-dollar monstrosity is linked together; all of it should be on the table; the flab should be liposuctioned out of every agency at once in a comprehensive plan for fiscal sanity and increased American liberty.

Why did the Republican leadership do it?  Why did they fritter away a golden opportunity to actually shrink government, as the entire GOP promised in their campaign speeches?  And, simultaneously, giving support to the knuckle-head programs they were elected to stop?

“Shutdown!  OMG, we’ll be accused of SHUUUUUT-DOOOOOOOWN!”

According to Ron Paul, “Most House and Senate members are so terrified of another government shutdown that they would rather vote for a 1,774-page bill they have not read than risk even a one or two-day government shutdown.”  Paul says instead of briefly shutting down 20% of the government offices, better we should permanently close major parts of the federal government – starting with the Federal Reserve, and followed closely by the Internal Revenue Service.

The Democrats aren’t afraid of shutting down the government as a tactic.  Rush Limbaugh pointed out that they voted to do just that when all 212 Democrat representatives in the House voted against the rule that set the stage for passage of the CRomnibus spending bill.  “In other words, 212 Democrats voted against the rule, voted against bringing up the final vote on the omnibus bill. Now, you could say, as I just did, that the Democrats essentially voted to shut down the government, but nowhere would this ever be portrayed as what actually happened,” Rush reported.  They weren’t the least bit worried about being blamed for the big SD.

But Boehner and friends shrink in terror at the very thought.

Frankly, I don’t get it.  I have lived through a number of government shutdowns, without any negative lingering effects.  I know, last time the big SD happened we paid some people double-time-and-a-half to put roadblocks on the highway so tourists could not see Mount Rushmore as they drove through the Black Hills.  And we spent extra money on barriers to keep World War II vets from seeing their monument.  But everybody got their government checks on time, soldiers and sailors still reported for duty, and as far as I know even the government employees who didn’t go to work got full back pay (bonus!) as soon as the SHUTDOWN crisis was over.

Not all Republicans are weak-kneed milktoasts.  67 GOP congressmen, including my rep Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), voted against the CRomnibus.  More Democrats voted against it than for it, but for different reasons.  Sadly, the majority of Republican members acquiesced to their leadership.  You can see how your congressman voted on this and other key issues at the Heritage Action Scorecard.

Personally, I am all for government shut down.  If that’s what it takes to get the budget under control, I say shut ‘er down.  And while we are at it, let’s take a good hard look at replacing the Republican leadership.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

Shut it off, shut it off
Buddy, now I shut you down!

Shut Down – the Beach Boys

 

A repeat, but worth repeating . . .

Who’s Naughty? Who’s Nice?

santa_naughty_or_niceNAUGHTY:

NICE:

  • The principled and honest conservative Congressmen and Senators: Many of our elected officials are actually doing what they promised their constituents they would do – they are working hard to stop the liberal onslaught against our economy and values.
  • Our men and women serving in the military: They put up with ridiculous rules of engagement, social engineering, politicized leadership, unjust pay and benefits, and utter disrespect and scorn from our administration and many of our legislators.  Our soldiers’ Christmas stockings should be STUFFED.
  • The American Taxpayers:  while our federal government forces them to fork over their earnings, and confiscates their property at will, the taxpayers work harder, take care of their families and employees, and find a little extra to give to those who truly need their help.

Rockin' On the Right Side

He’s making a list, checking it twice
Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice
Santa Claus is coming to town!

Santa Claus Is Coming to Town (trad.) – Pentatonix

Best Santa Claus rendition EVER!

 

 

 

GOP Congressmen – Time To Take A Stand!

take-a-standHave you ever had to tell the boss he’s wrong?

One of the stupidest things I ever did is something I am still proud of.  Way back in the day I was a sophomore on the junior varsity basketball team, hoping to move up to the varsity squad.  The first week of practice we were struggling to adjust to our new coach, who operated in Bobby Knight mode with a lot of yelling, cursing, and finger-poking-in-the-chest intimidation, but without as much knowledge and strategy as the famous Hoosier coach.

We were running a drill called the “three-man weave” where three guys pass the ball back and forth while running a weave down the court without dribbling, and the last one shoots a layup.  Only instead of a basketball, we were throwing a huge 15-pound medicine ball.  Coach charged up and down the sidelines, voicing his displeasure with our lack of manhood.  My friend Larry and I were next up, and we charged off the baseline with another guy.  Now, Larry was a great little player.  But he couldn’t have weighed 90 pounds dripping wet wearing clothes, shoes, and a winter coat with bricks in the pockets.  My pass was a little bit too far in front of him, and Larry didn’t have the strength in his sharp-shooting but skinny little arms to haul it in.

Coach lit into Larry like he had just sold his sister to a cannibal tribe, with maximum volume and vigorous finger-poking-in-the-chest.  And I popped.  “Come on coach, he couldn’t catch that!”

You could have heard a pin drop.  Coach walked over to me, red-faced, eyes bugging out.   I can still see that face, but I don’t remember what he said, because my entire life was whizzing before my eyes.  Needless to say, I didn’t make the varsity squad.  Hell, he hardly gave me any playing time on the junior varsity, and nothing I did on the court was going to change that.  But Coach did seem to mellow a little after that episode, and Larry actually was doing pretty well, until his hard-scrabble itinerant family moved on halfway through the season.

I remember that snapshot event like yesterday because for one moment as a geeky kid I stood up and said “hell no” to the boss, knowing I was right and he was wrong, and that it mattered.

Our newly-elected Congress was sent to Washington, DC to stop the damage our nation has endured under the Democrats for the past six years.  Poll after poll shows that the majority of Americans oppose Obamacare, support energy development, and want our southern border secured.  The majority of us think it’s wrong for our government to choose winners and losers based on political party, gender, or race.  We are terrified that our children face a national debt that has grown by $7 trillion dollars under President Obama. 

And now President Obama’s unilateral, illegal and unconstitutional grant of amnesty, featuring work visas and eligibility for taxpayer-paid benefits to tens of millions of illegal immigrants (and millions more who will flood the untended border gates upon hearing the news) will cost the taxpayers another $2 trillion according to the Heritage Foundation.

Sadly, even as Republicans are staged to take majority control of the House and Senate, the party’s leadership does not seem willing to hear or follow the voice of the People.  Next week Congress will vote on funding the government’s budget in the form of either a continuing resolution (CR) or an omnibus spending bill, providing them the leverage they need to defund executive amnesty.   Despite the polls and the landslide election victory, the GOP leadership cites a list of imaginary roadblocks.  “We don’t want to get blamed for ‘shutting down the government'”, they wail, despite the total lack of evidence that this tactic has ever had lasting repercussions.  Another excuse offered is: “We can’t defund an agency that operates on fees rather than funding from our discretionary budget,” a claim which was totally debunked by the Congressional Research Service.

Then, according to Congressman Louie Gohmert, the House Republican leadership pulled a “bait and switch” on its members, making unannounced changes to Congressman Ted Yoho’s defunding bill moments before 216 Republican congressmen voted in favor of it.  The last-minute additions may actually grease the skids for the president’s amnesty.  This is the tactic made famous by Democrat Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi when she said, “We have to pass the (ObamaCare) bill to know what’s in it.”

Conservative firebrand Rush Limbaugh says there is only possible reason for the Republican leadership to oppose the will of the majority of voters and their own members: they must actually support the President’s amnesty plan.

62 Congressmen, including my own South Carolina representative Mick Mulvaney, showed courage and resolve by signing Congressman Matt Salmon’s letter to the house appropriations chairman, Harold Rogers, requesting a defunding rider.  On a Facebook Town Hall meeting on Friday, Mulvaney said, “I have already told my leadership that I will vote against the Omnibus spending bill if it doesn’t contain defunding language.

To those Congressmen and women who refuse to tolerate the bullying and finger-poking-in-the-chest, I say, “Good on ya.”  And I encourage you to demand the same courage from your counterparts on the hill who know it’s the right thing to do.  Sometimes you just have to take a stand when you know the boss is wrong.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right SideIf you are confused check with the sun
Carry a compass to help you along
Your feet are going to be on the ground
Your head is there to move you around

Stand – R.E.M.

 

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