The Guy Who Works At the Dump is Angry

boehner-and-mcconnell-3I haul my own garbage to the dump.  Call me old fashioned.  Or cheap. Or both.

Here in South Carolina we have “waste collection and recycling” centers conveniently located around the county. Instead of sending out an army of men and trucks to pick up trash door-to-door once a week, whether we need it or not, our county lets us take our trash to them.  No charge (other than the small cost of operation added to our property taxes). No wasted miles, no noisy diesel trucks fouling the air, no bloated union driver pensions.  It’s one more example of how refreshingly common-sensible I find our state and local government to be – unlike our federal government.

Yesterday my truck’s radio was tuned in to my favorite political talk show, and as I jumped out at one of the huge trash collection bins, I couldn’t help but notice the caretaker’s radio was on the same station.  “You have a great job,” I kidded him.  “You get to just sit around and listen to Rush all day!”

That started our discussion about the current state of political affairs and, of course, the presidential campaign.  And it reminded me how ignorant the mainstream media and the political elites of both parties are about the voters’ state of mind this time around.  It is unfathomable to me that they still underestimate or totally dismiss the level of discontent out here on the street.

The man at the dump is backing Donald Trump all the way, and he defends his position vigorously with facts and figures about the damage illegal immigration is doing to our country.  He is furious with the corrupt Republican house and senate leaders and the sheepish representatives who abandoned their conservative promises for fear of retribution.  He is pro-life, pro-second amendment, anti-ObamaCare and anti-Iran-agreement.

Just like virtually everybody I meet.

My next-door neighbor is educated, wealthy, and black.  He is raising his three beautiful girls with traditional conservative American values: work hard, have respect, be responsible, and don’t expect to receive anything you don’t earn.  He hasn’t picked a presidential candidate yet, but is watching the race closely and says he will vote for the most conservative one.

The guy that set up my pool table puts in sixty hour weeks, and he loves it.  He enjoys the competition, the financial rewards, and the independence of owning his small business.  He just bought a bigger building and will be hiring more people, but government intrusion makes running his business difficult, and the anti-America agenda of the left just makes him mad.   “I can’t understand these liberals.  They waste so much time and money on things that really aren’t important, and won’t deal with the things that are.”

This week I attended Congressman Jeff Duncan’s “Faith and Freedom” barbecue event.   In addition to some fine barbecued pork, we also got a heaping portion of red meat politics from presidential contenders Governor Scott Walker, Dr. Ben Carson, and Senator Ted Cruz.  These guys know what is on the minds of the common folks, 2000 strong, who sang the national anthem with inspiration and harmony.  The candidates hit every hot button: Planned Parenthood, ISIS, tax reform, energy independence, ObamaCare, Iran, national debt, corporate cronyism, honesty and values.  They know the man and woman on the street are angry at the Republicans they elected and who refuse to represent them.

“If you elect me,” Ted Cruz bellowed, “I will always tell the truth, and I will do what I said I would do!”

Trump’s supporters unanimously appreciate the way he “tells it like it is.”  After initially dismissing Trump as a serious candidate, pollster Frank Luntz finally admitted, “Trump is punishment to a Republican elite that wasn’t listening to their grassroots.”  Charles Krauthammer insisted in a recent editorial that Trump’s nomination would guarantee Hillary Clinton a victory.  Then he added, “Yes, I understand. The anger, the frustration, etc., etc., that Trump is channeling. But how are these alleviated by yelling “I’m mad as hell?”

The guy at the dump is mad as hell, and he doesn’t know what else to do.  Like the rest of us, he studied the issues and voted for people who promised they would be conservatives when they got to Washington.  We thought we elected conservative majorities in both houses, but things keep getting worse.

The DC elites need to put down their martini glasses, cut their Martha’s Vineyard vacations short, and take a good hard look at the guy on the street.  He’s angry, and they had better not ignore him any longer.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

There’s a place in the world for the angry young man
With his working class ties and his radical plans
He refuses to bend, he refuses to crawl
And he’s always at home with his back to the wall.

Angry Young Man – Billy Joel

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