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The Top 10 Jobs Barack Obama Should Consider Instead of Being the President

 

With our president AWOL on most every domestic and worldwide issue (with the exception being Michelle Obama’s war against really tasty food), we’ve come up with some potential jobs for the president to consider.   If nothing else, he can file these jobs under the “created” category as he talks about the debacle that is the stimulus.

Furthermore, we will gladly give him all of these ideas because it really is starting to appear as if he does not even want to be president anymore.  It is sort of our way of saying, “Here is the door, Mr. President.  Do not let it hit you on the way out, sir.”

So in the spirit of wanting to help Mr. Obama reach his fullest potential, here is the list of  jobs for the president to do instead of, well, being the president:

10. “Mom Jeans” Model: Yep, this is our mighty president. Be proud, America, be proud.

9. IRS Special Agent in Charge of Healthcare Enforcement: American Citizen! Where are your healthcare papers!?!?

8. Stranded Car Pusher: I’d bet a Slurpee that the car stuck in the ditch is of the Government Motors variety.

7. Boyfriend to United Nations/Foreign Leaders: The term “Escort” or “Gigolo” could easily apply as well.

6. Advocate for All Outdated, Inefficient, and Vastly Too Expensive Technologies: But Green Technology will win the future! Promise!

5. Professional Sports Watcher: What does the American Public need in these troubled times?  A strong and firm leader?  Nope. Distractions, that’s what!

4. Natural Disaster/International Incident Photography Coordinator: International crises in Japan and Libya? I’m so oblivious that I’ll go to Brazil and play soccer with a bunch of kids instead!

3. A Danseur (Which is a male ballet dancer – I had to Google it): Because he is such a dainty and delicate man, beloved the world over.

2. Kenyan Ambassador to the United States: Did you really think we could put a list like this together without a Birther joke?

1. Co-President of China: No words…No words at all.

What did you think of the list?  Any other ideas for us to pass along to him?

The 7 Secrets of Political Consultants

Last month I talked about a few things elected officials would probably rather you didn’t know. And since we here at American Majority are all about stripping the political process down, it’s time to do the same for that modern-day priesthood: political consultants. Now, some of my friends make their living in this arena, but I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you both they and I get pretty disgusted with many aspects of their field. So let’s dig in and suss out 7 of their secrets:

1) It’s said the best trick the devil ever pulled was convincing folks he didn’t exist. This is kind of the reverse of Elected Official Syndrome, where a lawmaker wants you to believe in their godlike qualities. Instead, political consultants tend to vanish like gorillas in the mist between campaigns (especially ones like last year’s—where “insiders” are considered persona non grata). But just like that mosquito you can hear buzzing about in a dark room, you know they’re still there.

2) And not only are they still around, they’re calling most of the shots. Lobbyists get all the bad press, but political consultants have created a cottage industry for themselves. That permanent campaign you’re sick to death of? The negative campaigning you hate? Their baby. A political “military-industrial complex” means endless job security for them. Think of them as those walkers just out of camera sight, directing the gigantic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons around every twist and turn on 34th Street.

3) Which leads me to the money they make. I’d never say you can win anything except the most local, grassroots races without both an air and a ground war, but you can take it to the bank that no political consultant ever got rich off volunteers or door-knocking. Oddly, these free things rarely end up in a consultant’s campaign plan. Hmm. Consultants get cuts of media buys (mail, too), which is why by the time an election rolls around you can’t even walk to your mailbox or watch Jersey Shore without seeing a gazillion political ads. Some firms in Washington or state capitols even seek out longshot candidates against Nancy Pelosi or her equal every two years, raising millions of dollars by nationalizing the contest, but, mysteriously ensuring 99% (I’m not exaggerating here) of the funds raised get spent on “consulting services”. Can you say “Madoff”?

4) Here’s another dirty little one: sometimes politics is rigged. Meaning the possible outcomes are managed by political consultants before an issue ever goes public. Trial balloons floated in the press, hearings where cherry-picked citizens testify…they can all be part of the game, and one great big last Kabuki dance before a gavel gets slammed down just like it was always going to.

5) This next one drives me nuts. It’s the Inverse Theory of Political Consulting. Or what I call “Failing Upward”. Right this second I can name you six to ten talking heads who haven’t won a race in years, if not decades. Mike Murphy and Robert Shrum come to mind. You see them every week on the nightly and Sunday news shows. And as long as they continue to be a go-to source for reporters and endless quote machines, they’ll find work (and appearances on cable TV).

6) Political consultants are also at times much more interested in padding their own personal creative portfolio (and profits) than in actually doing the right thing to win the race. Take the director behind the famous Christine O’Donnell “I’m not a witch” commercial. The absolute last thing that campaign needed at that moment was more attention drawn to something eccentric the candidate had uttered. Yet say it in a 30-second spot she did, because a political consultant was more concerned with making news and raising his profile than in, as Charlie Sheen would say “winning, duh”, the campaign.

7) And finally, the ultimate secret of political consultants: you can win a race without them. We can argue about if politics is more art than a science, whether “cometh the hour, cometh the man” (or woman) is true, or how much time, talent and treasure gets squandered every single election. But American Majority exists so that you too can cut out this middle man of American politics, just like you do in every other area of your current lives (Web M.D. anyone?) And in the end, especially in our Information Age, there’s just no excuse for not getting trained and cracking the political consultants’ code.

Top Ten Things Elected Officials Don’t Want You to Know

American Majority recently announced our new monthly newsletter, aptly titled The Groundswell. Along with traditional updates including upcoming events, news from our alumni and free resources, we aim to offer insights you won’t find from typical organizations inside the beltway. For our inaugural issue National Executive Director Matt Robbins breaks down the top ten things our elected officials don’t want us to know. Check out the full text below.

Top Ten Things Elected Officials Don’t Want You to Know

1.) They Don’t Like Being Watched: They say a watched pot never boils, but boy is that not the case here. Just ask former Senator George Allen. Or former Congressman Bob Etheridge. Or even Congressman Chris Lee (what a hunk, huh?) I can go on. A hundred dollars and a trip to the Wal-Mart camera aisle could be the best investment in changing the status quo an activist ever makes.

2.) Watching Them Matters: And those are just the most public cases, the ones on YouTube. How about blogging to monitor the two things every elected official has? I call these “votes and quotes”. Whether filing FOIA requests, sifting through hours of legislative session coverage, or just showing up at public meetings and hearings for your three minutes of open mike time, you will eventually strike gold.

3.) Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain: This is probably the hardest one for newcomers to politics to grasp. After all, endless handlers, gatekeepers and “body” people strive to maintain a certain mystique about actually meeting your representative. I hate to tell you this, but there is no Great And Powerful Oz. Just the man (or woman) behind the curtain. And they put their pants on one leg at a time, just like you.

4.) Effectively Challenging Them is Not Rocket Science: There are two words in Webster’s dictionary you should never confuse: simple and easy. Winning a political race is a pretty non-complex idea. He with the most votes WINS. Yet every year great, talented people stay out of elections or misapply their energies over the long haul.

5.) The Path to Victory is a Straight Line: I say this because you can draw it on that most basic of all campaign tools: a calendar. Most banks give them out for free. Get yourself one. Then circle the election date (primary or general) and work backwards from it, filling in all the various, labor-intensive, time-consuming things you’ll have to do to get from Point A to Point B. Time flies when you’re walking doors!

6.) Politics is a Game of Musical Chairs: Which is why it’s so vital to have solid, competent conservatives ready to run at all levels—from local to state to federal. There is rarely a year that goes by without an elected official being caught in a scandal, resigning, being appointed to a different office, or just plain keeling over. Somebody’s going to sit in that empty seat—it might as well be you!

7.) Good Old Boys and Gentlemen’s Agreements: Challengers or new blood threaten business-as-usual. Cronyism–crossing the political aisles–secret agreements not to back same-party candidates because one representative has “good working relationships” with bi-partisan colleagues, I’ve seen it all. It’s part of the problem. And us rooting it out is one of the things most terrifying to anyone up for re-election.

8.) Some of Them Hate Their Jobs: Really, you’ll be doing some of them a favor by retiring them. So many elected officials have been “phoning it in” for years. Many don’t even have it in them to campaign with any heart even one last time. Help these poor souls out by letting them know early (and loudly) that they won’t be getting a pass when the next convention or primary takes place.

9.) Entourage Is Not Just a Show on HBO: This is one of the most insidious parts of elected office. How many of us (besides Kramer on Seinfeld) have personal assistants? Schedulers? A muted chorus around us at all times, giving what I call the “golf clap” (a hushed applause at the politician’s brilliance)? Probably one of the most important services you can render a representative is to proclaim that the emperor has no clothes!

10.) Carrots AND Sticks: With all due respect, politicians can be mule-headed much of the time. And all too often, we don’t mind taking them to the woodshed only. But what was it Dale Carnegie wrote? “How to Win Friends and Influence People”? Praising an official when they do something right (preferably publicly) can stick in a politico’s mind just as much as a beating with a switch.

Want to receive the next issue of The Groundswell? Click “Get Involved” at the top.

Blame Dutch and Tracy

This last week, the conservative movement remembered Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday.  Countless documentaries aired, new (and controversial) books were released, and hundreds of quotes were copied and pasted on twitter, Facebook, and countless forwarded emails.  Now, I am not going to expound upon his politics, philosophy, personal life, marriages or children.  What I will tell you, is a little known story in my little family circle.

I can’t count the amount of times I have been asked the question, “Kerry, how did you get into politics?” Typically, I go into the short version of my resume and leave it at that.  However, the story goes back to 1984 and I was a 9 year old little girl.  My first vivid memory of President Reagan was when he was making his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in Dallas, Texas.  All I clearly remember is asking my Mom if she was going to vote for this tall handsome man who clearly had a lot of folks cheering for him.  She quickly told me, “Kerry, that’s none of your business, and you shouldn’t ask adults that.”

Well, my little sister didn’t take that to heart, because she soon after decided that she and the President could become friends and pen pals.  My adorable sister wrote him letters with her sharpened Care Bear pencils on her very own personalized stationary (Mom was a stickler for thank you notes).  Throughout his second term, Tracy diligently sent him Christmas cards, birthday invitations and sweet little notes to let him know he was doing a good job being our President.  She regularly asked him about his dog and kept an open invitation for him to come and visit us in south Arkansas any time he liked.  One of her letters I especially remember because of what the President said in his response.  It went something like “My dear friend Tracy, thank you so much for inviting me to your 7th birthday party.  The clown sounds like fun and I know you will have a nice time.  Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend because of some important meetings, but I do appreciate you offering your back yard for me to land Marine One.”  He literally sent Tracy a letter for each one she sent him, along with pictures of Rex, the presidential pooch, complete with inked paw prints.

It also turns out that Tracy was quite determined and industrious at a very young age and refused to take NO for an answer, even at the ripe old age of seven.  Not happy with the President’s perfectly acceptable written RSVP for her birthday, she decided to take matters in her own hands by picking up the phone.  Tracy actually called the White House numerous times (successfully I might add) to try and convince her hero that he could postpone those meetings and come to her party.  After all, she offered the backyard as a landing platform for his helicopter.  Mom and Dad were unaware of their youngest daughter stalking the President of the United States until the phone bill arrived.  Mom was torn between being angry at Tracy for the long distance phone calls (and potential Secret Service visit) or being proud of her pint sized daughter’s determination and ingenuity.  Somewhere in the depths of moving boxes, is a picture of Tracy grasping the hand of a life-sized cardboard cut-out of the Gipper.  I am not sure which is most humorous, the fact that she is holding the hand of a cardboard president, or the 1980’s bubble dress she is sporting.

In order to come full circle with Tracy’s fondness for President Reagan, this final tidbit must be shared.  After President Reagan departed this life and he was brought to Washington DC for his state funeral, who do you think watched the procession in front of the White House, complete with a riderless horse and his very own boots in reverse?  That little girl, who adored her President, was actually working for the current President at the time of Reagan’s death.  I can only imagine the emotion she was feeling when she watched “her President” ,  depart in Air Force One from Andrews Air Force Base for the final time, taking him home to California.

This “love” for President Reagan truly changed our immediate family’s view of politics.  I never again had to ask Mom who she was voting for because it was quite apparent in our conversations.  Political events were discussed openly and with vigor.  Immediately after college, Tracy got her foot in the door by working on a national campaign, hence our family learned from then on that we were to regularly attend phone banks and go door-to-door.

So, when I am asked how I got involved in politics, I will now only answer, “blame Dutch & Tracy.”

Holding Fast

In the wake of new Republican House leadership, a weak State of the Union, and a looming March 4th deadline for a continuing budget resolution to keep government running and the Capitol’s lights on, conservatives find themselves pressed against an innate system of government largess and go-along mentality.

While campaigning allows candidates to say much of anything without being held yet-accountable, governing is an entirely different animal; taking on the massive leviathan that is Washington DC will take a resolute spine and the tenacity of a junkyard dog protecting his wares. As congressional Republicans move into committee chairmanships an leadership positions,the message from the entrenched establishment is ‘sometimes it’s best to just quietly go along and not raise a fuss.’ Conservatives across the nation fear that this approach will lead to the inevitable ‘Conservative Light:’ someone who professes from high rooftops to be a staunch fiscal advocate of less government and will take the system head-on, however once in office and pressed, folds like a cheap suit and gives-in to base temptations.

Desperate and critical circumstances are often breeding grounds for true leadership to emerge: a divided nation brought Lincoln to hold us through a Civil War; in the face of spreading fascism, Churchill’s resolute stature held Europe together; and in the face of growing inflation, high unemployment, and a losing Cold War, Reagan transformed this country and took us to never-before-seen growth and security. We’re a few steps away from matching Greece in our financial house of cards, unemployment and housing continue to be issues, and now Egypt is a mess, causing more concern for an unstable Middle-East. The new congress must keep to their conservative principles, it is imperative that they force a Democrat Senate and Leftist Administration to reign-in spending across the board, get our economic house in order, and serve as a strong voice on National Security.

Circumstances are not easy, we face a desperate situation on many fronts, our newly elected conservative leaders must hold fast and emerge as the leaders our country needs them to be.

Campaign Friendraising

Here in the great state of Kansas, we are fast approaching the deadline to file to run for local offices like city council and school board. Many active and passionate citizens are currently throwing around or already committed to the idea of running for some of these available positions. They’re tired of seeing their tax dollars go to waste at the hands of the least watched and many times, most corrupt segment of government.  In fact, just this morning I received an email from a man who said he was “…sick of having a city council and mayor that love to spend money on things that have nothing to do with the function of government.”

Running for these local positions is one of the best ways to have an immediate and direct effect on your community.  And the best part is, you don’t need to make a huge financial commitment in order to ensure your success. We don’t all have thousands of dollars to commit to a campaign.  If you do, by all means, utilize it. However, the best way to promote your candidacy for a local office like city council, school board, etc. isn’t by fundraising; it’s by what I like to call “friendraising.”  Be a candidate EVERYWHERE you go. Just the other night, I was talking to a man who had recently filed to run for city council.  He told me that just a few days before, he was at the grocery store getting his prescription filled at the pharmacy and happened to mention to the pharmacist that he was running for city council.  Much to his surprise, the pharmacist invited him to come speak and promote himself at a group meeting she attends on a regular basis.  These kinds of opportunities are everywhere if you just remember to carry your candidacy with you wherever you go.  Attending local meetings like Lions Club, Rotary, etc. in your community is an excellent way to friendraise and make your candidacy known.

Money is a great tool to have access to in terms of purchasing campaign materials. However, money can’t pass out those campaign materials for you.  Money can’t write letters to the editor about why you should be elected. Money can’t put a sign in its yard to promote you. And money can’t knock on a person’s door and inform him/her about your candidacy. But friends can. Fundraising is definitely important in any campaign, but friendraising is just as, if not more effective.  So don’t count yourself out just because you don’t have the funds. Your community needs you.

BATTLEFIELD SENATE

On a hot day in June 1815, standing atop a distant hill facing a red sea of British troops, Napoleon Bonaparte surveyed the military mass before him and realized Arthur Wellesley — the Duke of Wellington — was notably protecting his right flank with heavy amounts of cannon and artillery. Interpreting this to mean the Duke must be shielding a weak and vulnerable point, the Corsican determined he would launch an attack at exactly that spot, practicing his standard modus operandi of divide and conquer: hit your opponent where he is weak, force him to expend valuable reserves to protect the destabilized position therefore dividing his forces, and then aggressively press the middle to decimate a weakened center. Pointing to a farmhouse directly at the heart of this right periphery, Napoleon ordered his generals, “We’ll begin the attack there, at Hougoumont.”

As history would later dictate, this particular dwelling, Château d’Hougoumont, was held by a resolute British force that pushed back repeated advances from a superior-numbered French infantry. In a unique twist of events the strategy backfired on Napoleon: by sending waves of his men to take the Château, he stretched his troops thin and diluted the sum of his total force. This — combined with a late arrival of Blücher and his Prussian brigade — helped secure final defeat and eventual exile of the French Emperor. Despite its pivotal role in determining the battle’s outcome, Hougoumont stands as a subset of the larger conflict known as Waterloo.

As the 112th Congress convenes in Washington, the United States Senate stands as a modern-day Hougoumont, caught between a freshly minted conservative House of Representatives and a White House steadfastly holding to a Leftist ideology.

Legislation is meant to pass easier with much less parliamentary hassle in the People’s House, a simple majority is all that is needed for passage; conversely the Senate has a tradition of slow-going, debating the finer points of government policy and minutiae — one senator can hold up an entire bill single-handedly, and the filibuster serves as a counter-weight to the majority party, allowing the minority to force the party in power to garner 60 votes to end debate and bring a vote to the floor. At the top of the pyramid stands the White House, attempting to influence proposed law, hoping to have approved legislation it can sign into law and exterminate in congress ones the president wishes to avoid altogether.

Notwithstanding her devotion to all-things-bureaucratic, boundless energy to socialize anything that moves, and ubiquitous plastic smile, Nancy Pelosi has exited the stage far Left. In her absence, along with a presence of a solid Republican House majority, it is largely expected that a slew of conservative bills will emerge and pass the lower congressional chamber en masse. It is already viewed as a bold move that by weeks end Speaker Boehner will present a one-page bill to entirely repeal Obamacare — crown jewel of the Obama-Pelosi-Reid triumvirate, not to mention the recipient of the highest number of ‘Likes’ on Obamacare’s Facebook page from members of the New York City Sanitation Union and Humanities Department at New Hampshire State University. But I digress.

Once this revocation of socialized medicine — along with other bills to curtail spending, prevent tax increases, and keep Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his band of merry men out of a United States courtroom — emanates from the House it will most assuredly meet stiff resistance in the Senate, abetted by some string-pulling from White House liaisons to keep such bills away from the president’s desk.

It will be in the Senate where the heavy debating and strategic fighting will take place; where a frustrated public will have to listen to the ‘Gentlewoman from California’ explain why an exploding deficit and threats of hyperinflation are not really a big deal and there is no reason to curtail government spending. Newly elected Senators supported by the growing Tea Party movement will face off with antiquities who have held their seats for time immemorial: will a conservative Rand Paul emerge victorious in a debate with the Leftist relic John Kerry? More voting Americans identify themselves as conservative now than in recent memory, will Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell use this to his advantage, or cut a deal with Senate Democrats? At what lengths, or depths, will Senators go to invoke a filibuster? If the Senate passes a bill and sends it to the White House, under what conditions will Obama sign it into law or further the debate by using his veto pen? Many issues lay just under the surface and are sure to explode in the upcoming session: extending the national debt ceiling, closing Guantanamo, bailing out bankrupt states and cities, addressing illegal immigration, reducing spending levels to previous rates in 2008 or 2006 to mention a few. All of the above and more will have their fate determined in the Senate. And finally, keep in mind how all this will influence the 2012 election.

A lot is out there and much will be on the table, the Senate will serve as the dividing line between Congressional Republicans and President Obama, and that is where the real battle will take place.

Kudos to Arkansas Officials!

“Arkansas House Chief of Staff Bill Stovall says top officials in the chamber won’t commute any more in state vehicles.”How exciting! The decision was evidently made because of the latest brouhahas with the AGFC and AHD.There are only four vehicles in the mix here but this is a wonderful step in the RIGHT direction. Voters should be flooding the office of Mr. Stovall with affirming phone calls, emails and even perhaps a fruit basket!Thank You Bill for making one of the first steps of the new session in Arkansas politics to help Arkansas government become more fiscally responsible!

http://www.kait8.com/Global/story.asp?S=13753392

Bill H. Stovall, III
Chief of Staff
bill.stovall@arkansashouse.org

In Session Phone:
501-682-6211

Out of Session 
Phone:
501-682-7771

Amidst Deficit, Wisconsin Agencies Request Absurd Budget Increase

Despite a Budget Deficit that has been estimated to be around $3 Billion in Wisconsin, State Government Agencies have requested a 6.2% Budget Increase from the prior two year period.  These requests amount to an astromical $4 Billion in increased spending.

Big government begets big government.  These requests demonstrate why the Wisconsin electorate this past November voted overwhemlingly for conservatives who would cut wasteful spending and end the era of big government in Wisconsin.  Listen to the people of Wisconsin:  Cut the wasteful spending!

Grown-Up Conversation Needed

One element of this past election rests in the fact that our elected officials have spent vast amounts of public monies we don’t have and are stretching the financial house of this nation to its limit. Like a family with maxed out credit cards, the piper is due and we have little money to pay up. Many incumbents fell from office due to the growing frustration this held over the electorate.

The debt commission was a good start, a beginning to a much-needed conversation. However in reality, it was only as its name states, a commission, unable to enact law, pass legislation, or guide policy. Many viewed this spectacle with cynicism and felt the Washington establishment was setting up a straw man to blame all tough decisions on and seek political cover, “blame the commission, not me.” When the commission couldn’t even get a supermajority needed to recommend to congress, it was a sign that this was going to be rough going.

This January a new congress will be sworn in and the current administration will have a new team to deal with across town, one issue they’ll have to man-up to is this growing debt: a grown-up conversation will have to take place calling for some form of reduced spending and fiscal sanity. You don’t have to have a graduate degree in finance from an Ivy League institution to know that the path we tread will lead to utter ruin: collapsed dollar, hyperinflation, crashed markets, and the inevitable bogey-man China, looming over this country like the Greek Sword of Damocles, hanging over the throne by a thread, the slightest shift in winds would cause it to fall ending whatever lies below.

The fact is that we need to spend less, tax less, and get an intrusive government to back off our lives, stop feeding the beast. Hopefully the new crop of conservative leaders will step up to the plate and act as grown-ups, make difficult but necessary decisions, and get this country back on the right course for stability and long-term economic growth.

Merit Pay for Wisconsin Teachers?

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had an article in yesterday’s paper discussing merit pay for teachers.  It suggested that Milwaukee and other Wisconsin schools could learn from other school districts like Pittsburgh’s school district, which has successfully implemented a merit pay system.

With school board elections coming up quickly in the spring, it is important that if you support education reforms like merit pay for teachers, that you run for school board.  If we want conservative policies in our schools and local government, we need to have conservatives run for office so they can implement those conservative policies.  The filing deadline for the school board elections is January 4, 2011.

KEEP THE MOMENTUM

Amidst the analyses, opinions, and Monday-morning-quarterbacking post 2010 campaign, the one fact that stands out is that the grassroots conservative movement – i.e. Tea Party organizations – had a profound effect on this election. Helping to frame the debate on issues regarding the national debt and government expansion; increasing voter turnout in targeted races; and holding incumbents across party lines accountable to the point where many lost their primaries to new challengers are just a few examples. One of the most bizarre, and yet prophetic occurrences, was when establishment figure Nancy Pelosi openly said that she “shares some of the views of the Tea Partiers” in an attempt to identify with the upstart movement.

Now that the votes have been cast and newly elected members are making their way to our nation’s capital – and by the way, one of their first items addressed was banning earmarks, thank you Tea Party – many conservative groups across the country are trying to determine their next step. Two immediate items that would keep the momentum and further conservative objectives are to focus on accountability and get involved in local 2011 elections.

One message received loud-and-clear is that no one is above answering to voters back home; the distaste with business as usual caused incumbent politicians, including a few senators, to lose primary races and be removed from politics completely. Now that we have a new crop of elected officials, it is essential that they understand they will be monitored, closely observed, and held accountable to the people who put them in office. Tea Parties need to maintain their vigilance in keeping an eye on legislation, coordinating with members to reach out to politicians either in support or opposition to their votes, and tracking the issues relevant to constituents back home.

In addition to preserving oversight, upcoming local elections are a good vehicle for conservative groups to get involved with and make a difference. School boards, city councils, and county offices are slated for off-year elections; this is where a great deal of government and emanates from and often people in these positions move on to higher offices. Tea Parties need to have a say in these races and get behind conservative candidates that best represent their point of view: less government, lower taxes, and local control. An organized and disciplined organization that has an effect in 2011 races will be primed and ready to go as we roll into 2012 when much more is at stake.

Many underestimated the Tea Party movement, laughed it off as an Astroturf group that need not be taken seriously; what happened this past first Tuesday in November proves these people greatly in error and shows how this was truly a force to reckon with. Now that this election has passed, the momentum must be kept up and the fire-in-the-belly needs to be maintained. Holding elected officials accountable and being active in local elections is an effective way to accomplish this and keep the conservative movement strong and moving forward.

San Francisco’s Final Victory

I am always amazed at the parallels between baseball and politics.  Perhaps it is because I have worked in politics for several years and been a baseball fan far longer.  Or perhaps it is because baseball is quintessentially American (with apologies to places where the sport was exported like Japan and the Caribbean).  It is still America’s pastime, even if it isn’t regarded with the same reverence as it once was.

Like sports, politics has a way of gripping us in its drama.  We are keenly aware of the key figures, events and symbols.  We pull for our ideological “team” and hope that they will have a good year.  Going to the polls, as many Americans are doing today, is a show of support of those candidates that we’ve placed on our team.  We may even have their brand prominently displayed on our lawn, car or chest.

Last night, as the San Francisco Giants clinched their first World Series championship since 1954, ending a 56 year drought, I could not help but draw a parallel between their victory, the 2010 elections and the recent political climate.  In recent years, San Francisco has had their share of successes, specifically political victories, but this San Francisco treat is about to meet its expiration date.

The most obvious parallel between this World Series and politics were the teams themselves.  The Giants had to square off with the Texas Rangers, a team that former President George W. Bush used to co-own before becoming Governor of Texas.  Ironically, the Rangers franchise relocated from, where else, Washington D.C., in 1972 to Arlington, less than 25 miles away from where the George W. Bush Presidential Library is currently being built.

In 2006, President Bush and Republicans, in general, faced severe voter backlash due primarily to handling of the war in Iraq, the response to Hurricane Katrina, and the scandal-ridden Republican Congress.  As a result of the elections, Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), hailing from the same city as the San Francisco Giants, became the first female House Speaker and presided over the first Democratic majority of the House of Representatives since 1993.

2006 was only the beginning of the successes that Pelosi and her ideological partners were to have.  After successfully limiting President Bush’s legislative agenda between 2007 and 2008, after President Barack Obama became President in early 2009, Pelosi and her colleagues were able to pass some of the most controversial bills in history, including, most notably, the Stimulus and the healthcare reform bill

All across the country, legislators and governmental bodies have been following the lead from San Francisco, exponentially increasing public debt, growing the size and scope of government, and passing legislation that becomes more and more intrusive to the daily lives of families and small businesses.

It is fitting, then, the San Francisco Giants won the World Series on November 1st, the day before the public’s reckoning with San Francisco-style policies would come.  When the polls close today in California, some 24 hours the Giants reached the pinnacle of the sports world, San Francisco-style policies will receive the hook and return to the bench, after the hit-parade that the American electorate will place upon them.  The home team is making its comeback.

Transitioning from a National Mindset to a Local One

With the end of mid-term election season quickly approaching, nearly every poll, blog post, and even MSM news story has come to a similar conclusion: at least one house in Congress (and possibly both) is almost guaranteed to flip from one party to another.  And on a larger scale conservative and center/right candidates should also make rather significant gains in statehouses and governorships from sea to shining sea.

Frankly, much good will hopefully come out of this election cycle.

But is our work done on November 2nd?  Have we truly changed our country after the election results are all tallied?  Are we to sit back and simply revel in what we have done before focusing on 2012?

The answer to each of these questions is clearly NO.  The unavoidable truth is that there is MUCH more work to be done.

However, I don’t mean just on a national scale – I mean in our own backyards.

The state I live in, Oklahoma, does something very interesting each fall when people are thinking about holiday plans, the end of the school semester, and anything other than politics: they have school board candidates in every district across the state file to run for office…during the first Monday through Wednesday in December.

Yep, if you want to run for school board in Oklahoma, you have to file at the most random time possible.

What this also means is that a month after the election season finally “ends” for 2010, a new one starts right back up.  And most people don’t even know it.

In fact, a majority of people probably have no clue that people are filing for an office that directly impacts their kids and their communities in some very dramatic ways.  And it is only natural that if they don’t know about school board filings, they surely do not know about the school board elections.

And we wonder why school board elections on the second Tuesday in February across Oklahoma typically see voter turnout anywhere between 3%-5% in each community.

Thus, for many school board candidates ignorance is bliss at the ballot box.

But so what?  Who cares about school boards anyway?  You should.  Why?

Because think about this:

The President of the United States chooses and thus advises the Secretary of Education, who heads the Education Department.  The Education Department is pressured by the National Education Association (a powerful and liberal teachers union) in a variety of ways to impact education legislation in Congress.  Then the same issues being pushed by the NEA at the national level are then also pushed by local chapters – the Oklahoma Education Association in my home state – who also lobby and look to persuade state legislators, the state Department of Education, school administrators, and school board members about issues they deem important.  In turn, the state Department of Education and state legislature then set guidelines and mandates for school district administrators and school board members across the state who in turn pass them on directly to the teachers who spend 8 hours a day inside the classroom with our children.

Thus, our last line of defense in this chain of national impact at the local level in education are school board members who are willing to stand up and fight for fiscal responsibility, authentic educational accountability, school choice, unbiased teaching materials, and unheeded transparency within the education system.

So, sure, it is great that the House is going to change hands in a few weeks, and I am excited as anyone to see folks from across the country stand up in defense of our freedom and liberty over the coming years.

But if you really want to impact your community and the future of your kids, don’t stop after November.  Don’t allow your natural inclination to rest and relax after your victory so that you lose sight of your local community.  Don’t let the strides we have made on the national level get overlooked at the local level – especially with school boards.  Don’t cease working to save and change the country you love so much.

The time is coming to transition from a national mindset to a local one.  The time is coming for conservatives to run for these local and vitally important offices or energetically support those who do run.  The time is coming to get off the sidelines in local elections just like we have in the national ones.

Simply put, the time is coming when we will continue to work for freedom and liberty in our local educational systems.

Reasons Arkansans Need to Get Out The Vote (GOTV)

The vast majority of Arkansans (around 61 percent) are strongly dissatisfied with the direction of our nation and over 51 percent of Arkansans say their economic situation is fair or poor compared to 5 years ago.

Arkansas is ranked 10th worst place to retire . We have amazing people, a good climate and our cost of living is excellent but (and it is one big but) our tax loads are among the most burdensome in the nation. Arkansas’ State/Local Tax Burden is above national average estimated now at 10.0% of income; Arkansas’ state/local tax burden percentage stands at 14th nationally, above the national average of 9.7%. Arkansas taxpayers pay $3,351 per capita in state and local taxes.

Under our current Arkansas leadership- Congressman Mike Ross (D), who receives a 36% from  the Conservative American Union and 26% from Club for Growth and Senator Blanche Lincoln (D), a 19% and 20% (respectively) along with Governor Mike Beebe (D), who consequently receives a “D” on his report card from the Cato Institute in their“Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors: 2010” ,  here are some facts:

  • The State of Arkansas has 2,000 of more than 8,000 state vehicles that are being used for personal use. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has 658 cars for 613 employees to which the commissioner responded “It’s something awfully hard to get rid of. People get used to it.”
  • Arkansas has lost 17,300 jobs since the $814 Billion Stimulus was passed , raising unemployment more from 6.8 to 7.5 percent. .  It should be noted that 5 of the 6 Arkansas delegates voted for this bill. (Congressman John Boozman was the exception).
  • Arkansas children rank third in the nation with 26.9 percent living in poverty in 2009, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. The percentage of Arkansas children living in poverty has risen steadily since 2006, when it was 23.8 percent.
  • From 1998 to 2007 the state government grew by 17%, representing 28,800 new government positions over the past ten years, while population only grew by 8.9%.
  • Although Arkansas has a balanced budget amendment our state is billions in debt. According to Sunshine Review~ Arkansas has a total state debt of $7,899,579,400 when calculated by adding the total of outstanding debt, pension, OPEB (Other Post-Employment Benefit) UAAL’s (Unfunded Actuarial Accrued Liability), unemployment trust funds and the 2010 budget gap. As of June 30, 2008 Arkansas Public School Districts and Education Service Cooperatives had outstanding loans and bonded indebtedness totaling $2,842,716,298 — an increase of $230,838,355 over the previous year.
  • Arkansas’ individual income tax has a top rate of 7% that kicks in at $32,600 income.  The Tax Foundation lowered the state’s Business Tax Climate to 40th in the nation. The corporate tax rate has a top tier of 6.5% that applies when income levels reach $100,000 which placed Arkansas in 39th place among the 50 states. But Arkansas hits near the top of the charts as number 12 of states going into debt.
  • While Arkansas families & businesses teeter on the precipice of uncertainty not knowing if our taxes will increase dramatically in January, Congressman Mike Ross (D) tours our state proclaiming his dedication to Arkansas citizens yet voted to keep us on the edge of economic strife & come home with no answer. As a result, the average middle class family in Arkansas will see a tax hike of $1,418. (“Affect of Expiration of Bush-Era Tax Cuts on Average Middle-Income Family, By State and Congressional District,” Tax Foundation, 8/1/10).
  • While Governor Beebe is in Arkansas working on a state his $86 million “comprehensive health-care program”,  Congressman Ross  cast a vital vote in committee to move Obama care forward and Senator Blanche Lincoln voted against the people of Arkansas when she  cast the deciding vote to pass the government takeover of healthcare.  Now Sixty-four percent (64%) of Arkansas voters favor repeal of the health care bill, including 51% who strongly favor it. Only 30% oppose repeal, with 20% who are Strongly Opposed.
  • The Arkansas Legislature adjourned March 12, 2009 without passing HB 1053, titled the Open Checkbooks in Government Act, sponsored by Dan Greenberg (R-Little Rock). This bill calls for the creation of a searchable website cataloguing all state expenditures and bond proceeds. The website also will include electronic copies of all state grants, contracts, and subcontracts, as well as a listing of all public meetings.

Time, energy and sheer exhaustion are what prohibit me from going on and on and on… ARKANSAS WE CAN DO BETTER!

GET THE FACTS OUT AND VOTE! NOVEMBER 2ND YOU CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE FOR OUR STATE, OUR NATION AND OUR FUTURES~

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