Archive for the ‘2012 Elections’ Category

For those that don’t know, State Representative Ken Wilson has introduced a bill for the recall of County Commissioners. It’s HB 580 and you can read the full text here. This has been at the pushing of local activists that have been involved in the audit movement.

Full disclosure, this bill would give us no ability to recall the two commissioners we’re most frustrated with. The idea arose among many of us that are involved as a way to insure the future.

Last night, I saw Commissioner Ridgeway’s testimony against the bill posted on Facebook. I thought I’d go through her response as there are a couple pertinent points. As usual though, there are multiple things wrong and we learn a little more about her disrespect of the people she represents.

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Commissioner Ridgeway, Representative Wilson doesn’t owe you a thing. He never needed to discuss this legislation with you. He represents a portion of your district in the state house. And most importantly, he represents the people of his specific district. Personally, I hope he represents your full district in a couple years.

Furthermore, I know that you think when you speak just accept what you have to say, but you and Commissioner Owen don’t speak for the full Commission, and the only time the Clay County Commission speaks as one voice is when it passes a resolution that is unanimously supported by all three of your voices. This hasn’t happened, but yet you use that language.

You’ve been asked by Commissioner Nolte to stop doing this. As is usual with your behavior, you demonstrate an outright disrespect of the Commissioner that represents the full democratic voice of all of Clay County. You and Commissioner Owen represent political subdivisions and represent the voice of the democratic body from over two years ago. More importantly, that majority voice just spoke months ago when it told Commissioner Nolte that they were content with his representation, and I’d argue his continual oppostion to you and Commissioner Owen.

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This section of the letter is just an absolute mess. Fundamental proof that just because someone has a law degree, it doesn’t mean they know anything about the principles that founded our country.

An election is not a recall process. It’s a chance for the democratic body of a political subdivision to decide who they want to represent them going forward. A recall gives a strong minority voice of a democratic body the chance to further check the majority.

Sometimes the Democratic winds shift, and not neccessarily at the time of an election. A recall gives those winds a chance to be tempered, but also heard. Tempered by a barrier through a limit on the amount of petition signatures, heard in the form of an election if necessary.

The founders of this country were terrified of the majority voice as they knew that it from time to time makes mistakes. You’re correct in the sense that an election is one place that we can right a majority wrong, but a recall mechanism, rightly constructed, further gives the body politic a chance to correct a mistake. In today’s world, a world that is arguably quicker paced due to various reasons, a recall process makes sense and still pays respect to the construction our representative Republic.

The state constitution currently provides for 3 county commissioners whose terms are staggered. Every four years we allow the full body politic to speak in the form of Presiding Commissioner, then offset by two years, we allow smaller democratic bodies inside of the full body politic to speak.

Since you were last elected we’ve seen a growing movement of a frustrated minority that opposes your actions, the winds have shifted and they blow harder with every news report it seems, but we currently have no check on your actions due to the construction of the Commission.

Commissioner Ridgeway, people often mockingly call you the Queen of Clay County politics. And you’re writing above demonstrates that that sarcastic quip is not completely off the mark.

You’re worried about a minority harming the majority?

You don’t even respect the will of the full democratic body of this County as we just elected Commissioner Nolte for another four years. You and Commissioner Owen seem to care little about what Commissioner Nolte says, and you refuse to listen to the growing minority opposition. If we had a recall option, I suspect your behavior would be markedly different. You’d definitely be listening more than you are. You’d probably be open to compromise. And you’d be acting in ways that you showed you care about the minority criticisms.

I guess that’s maybe what you meant by this sentence:

“The net effect is that every officeholder subject to a potential recall will always be looking over their shoulder for any vocal minority in opposition.”

From your vantage point, I suspect this is terrifying to you based upon your actions of the past years. In my estimation, this should be a feature, not a bug of a well constructed representative democracy.

It was an irate tireless minority that threw off the shackles of the King of England to found this nation. Heck, even the Revolutionary War was supported by a minority of the total population.

You’re just flat wrong here.

In fairness, I always believe that you should give people you vehemently disagree with credit when they are correct. Your following criticisms of the bill are valid and deserve to be listened to.

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I agree. I see no reason to limit this recall bill to just County Commissioners. Let’s put every elected official in the state on notice that if you don’t listen to the people, that you absolutely could face a recall. The natural result of this would be better governance and politicians more in line with the democratic bodies they represent. Yes, action might even be slower, but again, that should be a feature, not a bug. We want quick action only when an overwhelming majority feel it is necessary.

I find the bill language about defining a reason for the recall unnecessary. If you’re going to start a petition, you’re going to define that in your appeal to the public. This shouldn’t be written into law. I don’t think it really matters.

I completely agree that 7.5% is way too low of a barrier for the signatures. I think this bill should be amended, and the amount of signatures increased. She’s right. If we find precedent in statute in Missouri for 25% it’s probably prudent to go with this. I agree with Commissioner Ridgeway in the sense that you don’t want too small of a minority able to do this. A recall should not be a walk in the park and we do not want too small of a minority able to interrupt majority will. The balance is probably debatable, but I think 7.5% tilts way too small.

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I’m not clear on where you’re getting the statement about a recalled Commissioner being banned from being a candidate. If you read the bill in its entirety, you don’t see a clear statement on this. I’d actually agree, I don’t think a recalled Commissioner should not be allowed to run. This would respect the tension that we hold in our form of government between majority will and respecting the minority.

I believe you’re wrong on the last concern. From what I understand, Missouri law provides for solutions to your conerns. You can still have a quorum with 2 commissioners. If you lost 2 commissioners to recall, the Governor can appoint one. If you lost 3 commissioners, decisions of the commission are kicked to the presiding judge of the circuit court.

I agree we need to improve this legislation, but there’s no reason to not support the general goal. I applaud Representative Wilson for being a leader on this bill. I look forward to supporting his primary challenge of Commissioner Ridgeway.

It will truly be for the Best of Clay County.

The 2012 general election was certainly a shock to me. So I thought I would take some time to take a look at what we might take away from it. None of this is meant to be definitive, just meanderings to get your creative juices flowing. Feel free to drop a comment on this one; I would love to hear what you think.

First, before you start buying into the media narrative that conservatism is extinct, you need understand that Obama didn’t win by much and BOTH Romney and Obama under-performed. In 2008 there were 128,895,217 total votes cast for McCain and Obama. In 2012 there were 121,745,725 votes cast for Romney and Obama. Obama received 6,686,747 votes less (almost 10%) this year than he did four years ago. Romney on the other hand only received 463,045 less votes than McCain did. Somehow we are supposed to believe that conservatism is dead? I’m sorry is liberalism dead, too? Do you realize that 330,000 votes in four swing states would have swung the election in favor of Romney?

I do not believe this election was a referendum on any political ideology. When it comes to politics the American people are at best mildly informed and at worst political idiots.

My wife shared an anecdote with me the day of the election. She overheard a coworker of hers stating that she voted for someone for President but was second guessing her vote. Literally hours after voting, this person wasn’t sure that they had voted for the right person for President! I actually think this kind of political ignorance is far more prevalent than you might think.

In our culture there is a strain of civic duty that we all somewhat feel. For modern Americans, I think a lot of people just go through the motions. They go vote because “they should” and they don’t do any homework. They are fed a load of crap by the left wing media and cultural elite and that colors their perceptions. This is anecdotal as well, but I have seen this on my Facebook page. Some people just want politics to “go away.” Well, I hate to break it to you, but in this society politics is really supposed to be a part of your daily life. After all, electing your representatives is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY!

Something Republicans need to accept about Mitt Romney is the fact that he SUCKED as a candidate. You hear the establishment Republicans blaming everything else under the sun, but really it was your establishment candidate that was worthless. I think Mitt Romney is a moral man, I think he is a good man, and I think he would have made an OK President. At least, you can’t get much worse than the Marxist in Chief. But I kept thinking in every debate would you please put this guy away? Instead, he fought like a little twelve-year-old girl who didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. He allowed himself to be framed as a rich white elitist by the Obama campaign and the mainstream media in the swing states. President Obama is a Chicago-style thug. Thugs only speak one language. You have to fight back, and fight back hard. The truth was never once put on display in this election for the average voter to see.

One of the biggest and most important battles we need to wage as conservatives has nothing to do with politics. Conservatives need to begin to focus on the news media and culture. The reason Americans are the way they are is largely because of the lies they have been fed by the mainstream media and pop culture.

Andrew Klavan, conservative author and screen writer, wrote a must-read article on this topic. The whole article is worth reading, but I think the big takeaway is this:

The mainstream news media. Major news outlets, like ABC, NBC, CBS, and the still influential New York Times have now become so ideologically corrupt that they are engaging in the sort of Nixonian cover-ups they once prided themselves on exposing. Their studied creation of non-scandal scandals and non-gaffe gaffes on the right and their active suppression of such true scandals as Fast and Furious and Benghazi on the left amount to journalistic malpractice on behalf of the state. The late Andrew Breitbart understood the depth and extent of the problem better than the cooler establishment heads who wrinkled their noses at him. He declared a guerrilla war on the media in the name of truth.

While Breitbart disciples like John Nolte, Ben Shapiro, and Joel Pollak continue that underground fight, it is long past time for conservative minds and money to take the battle to the mainstream. How is it possible that the mind-boggling success of Fox News has failed to spawn half a dozen imitators at least—especially venues for the libertarian young with their antic sense of political incorrectness? Rupert Murdoch, God love him, can’t live forever. It’s time for others to step up.

The entertainment industry. Conservatives think when they have won an argument in the newspapers, the fight is over. Leftists know their Hippocrates. They know they can rewrite history in novels, on TV, and in the movies, and a generation later, their false versions will be accepted as truth. As former ambassador Joseph Wilson said, when his questionable actions were rendered heroic in the dishonest movie Fair Game: “For people who have short memories or don’t read, this is the only way they will remember the period.” It’s not that conservative ideas don’t make their way into popular entertainment; it’s that they always come in disguise. Even leftists love deeply conservative films like the Lord of the Rings and Dark Knight trilogies, because they recognize good values when they’re not forced to apply them to real life. But conservatives themselves quail when conservatives speak their values plainly in the arts. Too preachy, they cry, too much propaganda, too much . . . too much . . . conservatism! We don’t need more conservative artists. We need an infrastructure to support them: more funding, more distribution, sympathetic review venues, grants and awards for arts that speak the truth out loud.

On the culture front we must promote art that is entertaining FIRST, and educational second. People will not pay attention to it if it is not cool. I’m sorry, as much as I like Lee Greenwood’s “I’m Proud to be an American.” It’s not cool by modern cultural standards, and it will be ignored by the youth.

I am so tired of old, grey-haired Republicans saying that there is nothing they can do to attract the youth of this country. It is an excuse for their incompetence and unwillingness to try. Freedom is as cool as it gets. I have known this since I was in high school. My parents are only moderately political, so my passion for freedom issues is innate and something I tapped into early on. There is a plethora of kids out there that we could harvest for the conservative movement. You actually have to market to them!

One of the reasons we don’t have the youth is because we are losing in the classrooms of this country. I wrote a piece for Conservative Teachers of America that I highly encourage you to read on this topic. Americans end up being the ignorant voters they are because they don’t know anything about economics and history. “It’s history and economics education, stupid!

For decades conservatives have been belly-aching over the state of our public education system. They are always besides themselves about how our kids can’t read, they can’t write, they suck at math, or how some stupid second world country is beating us on the PISA assessment. My response to these cries has always been to roll my eyes. It is not where the problem is!

The reason that 60 million Americans were willing to elect Barack Obama is because they know little to nothing about our country, it’s history, or the principles that created our constitutional republic. Is it any wonder that this has happened? Really since Reagan the focus on the right for education reform has constantly been on science, math, and English.

Well, guess what, science, math, and English are incomplete without the fourth core of history education. I have always viewed history education as the glue that binds all of the contents. It is the “why” of us. Without the why, the other three cores are meaningless.

I was told recently by a fairly prominent Republican that there is nothing we can do about getting blacks to vote for conservative candidates. I have never disagreed with something more. We must seek out and support minority conservatives, especially with the changing demographics in the electorate. I am not saying pander. We do not have to compromise our principles in the process. You start taking away the minority vote, and you destroy the Democrat party. It is that simple.

The following is a short list of minority conservatives and/or their projects that I think you should take a look at:

Kevin Jackson (Author of The Big Black Lie: The Truth About the Democrat Party)

Mia Love

Senator Marco Rubio

African-American Conservatives

Star Parker

Deneen Borelli

Governor Susana Martinez

Runaway Slave, The Documentary with CL Bryant

American Black Conservative Movement on Facebook

Black Tea Patriots

Allen West

Black Conservative Coalition

Larry Elder

BTW, Republicans did make small inroads into the youth African-American vote. Obama lost 8 points in the 18-29 segment in this election.

Finally, if you can’t learn to speak about abortion correctly then shut-up and don’t run for office! Republicans lost two US Senate races because they had candidates that could not speak about this issue. I defended Todd Akin, but no conservative or Republican should ever be placed in a position where they have to defend such an absurd comment. Rape is a disgusting and ugly thing, I have no qualms about supporting abortion in the case of rape or incest. If you do, you are NOT in the mainstream of the American people, and you will lose elections because you give the opposition something that they can use to make you look like a complete idiot.

The final deadline has passed, and Todd Akin is definitely going to be the Republican candidate for US Senate in Missouri. It is time for people that truly understand what we are up against in this country to speak out. Any Missourian that loves their country should support Todd Akin.

I don’t mention this much, but I am an atheist. I tend to stay away from the topic of religion. This is primarily because I have so many friends that are religious. I have ran through the arguments over the years, and it always ends the same way. Neither side moves the other. I am comfortable and happy with my position.

I am not a bully atheist like many on the left. I proudly stand on the right side of the political spectrum with many religious people.I have found that by and large they are more respectful of those they do not agree with. On the big question of God, I just don’t agree, and that is okay. As an atheist, I tend to find that I look at issues on the right with a unique lens. So I thought that I would take on the Todd Akin situation and see if I couldn’t shed some light.

To me, it is amazing that people have really wasted their time getting so bent out of shape about his comments. And of course, the geniuses in the Democrat party have turned it in to an affirmation of the “war on women.” Oh, please, would you shut-up!

Here is what Akin said.

“It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, [pregnancies from rape are] really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”

Some people have made a huge deal out of the “legitimate rape” part. I am often fascinated at how we hold people running for public office to this standard of you never can misspeak. He made the wrong word choice there. Incorrectly using the term “legitimate” was foolish, but no more ignorant than half the stuff that comes out of Joe Biden’s mouth, or some of the gaffes that our President has made Rremember the 57 states remark when he was running in 2008, or how about the recent Letterman appearance where he said he didn’t know what the national debt is?).

Do not get me wrong here, I was displeased with Mr. Akin’s remarks. The second part of his comment is where I strongly disagree. I think that a woman should have the right to choose to abort a fetus in the first trimester when she is raped or it is a result of incest. Rape is one of the most vile attacks a woman can suffer. To then force her to endure a completely unwanted pregnancy as a result of this act is not OK in my eyes.

There is absolutely no science that backs up his “shut the that whole thing down” comment. What many do not seem to realize is that belief was once taught to some nurses and doctors in the 1970s. Today we know it is junk science. Yes, it is laughable that he said it, and it is pretty sad that he still believed it today. In a way it is kind of good. That meme in society has been flushed.

Even though I disagree with him, I will say I respect the man for being consistent on the issue of abortion. If we can get past the emotional stupidity that is often attached to the issue, we can have a grown up intellectual debate about the topic. I know some of you would just as well stand around and scream murder from one side, and “war on women” on the other, but this is not what mature adults do.

Many on the right believe that life begins at the exact point of conception. Because of that perspective, they view all abortion as morally wrong. Strip away the misspeak and the junk science and this is what Mr. Akin is saying. He believes the potential of life is so sacred that a woman should have to carry a child to term no matter how it was conceived. I respectfully disagree with him, but at least he was consistent, and it least he was being honest about what he believes.

Abortion has always been a complicated issue for me. At heart I am a civil libertarian, I do believe that a woman has control of her own body. In my younger and dumber days I used to say that a woman should have the right to an abortion at any point because of that reason. With more maturity and reflection, I realized that this was a dangerous perspective to hold. You can make a solid argument that a fetus at some point is deserved of the same rights as any breathing individual. At what point should this occur? Christian conservatives argue this is from conception, I don’t agree with that.

When is a life a life? We need to turn to medical science here for a little perspective. The youngest known surviving birth is twenty-one weeks and five days. Because of this, I think we should be able to say that at 21 weeks a fetus is a human life. Because of this, I would support a state law that completely bans abortion after the first trimester (12 weeks).

I must admit I can relate to the Christian conservatives more on this issue. At the core of their position is a fundamental respect for human life. They see the potential life worth protecting at all costs. At the core of a pro-choice position is a certain amount of numbness and lack of respect when it comes to human life. Let us not forget, our President and Claire’s buddy, once opposed a bill preventing partial birth abortion in the Illinois Senate. Most Americans agree with me. To make it even worse, Obama once opposed a bill that would protect born-alive failed abortions. No sane person can defend these positions. You can not construct a moral or ethical defense that makes sense.

Shortly after Akin made the comments I did email his campaign asking him to step aside, not for the good of the Republican party, but for the good of Missouri and our country. And I didn’t ask him to resign because of the comment, it was solely because of the silliness that I knew would ensue. We need to have a Republican majority in the Senate. What surprised me was the extent the Republican party and the different PACs would go to attack Akin publicly. Talk about throwing someone under the bus! This was something that should have been done privately. Mr. Akn has decided to stay in the race and face the music. I respect that.

Instead of asking people to be grown-ups and look at the comments intelligently, instead of asking people to judge a man on the content of his character, instead of judging the man by the totality of his record, instead of acknowledging the fact that when a person apologizes for a mistake they might actually be given another chance, everyone decided to just steam roll the guy.

I have had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Akin in person at a small campaign event at a friend’s house in the area. I shook his hand, I looked him in the eye, and I asked him some tough questions on other issues that actually matter right now. Todd Akin will make a good senator. Originally I was going to vote for Mr. Akin in the primary. I always contended there was no bad choice in the Republican primary. I changed my mind late and voted for John Brunner. The main reason I shifted was because of Brunner’s FreedomWorks endorsement. I am a big believer in what they are doing right now. Plus, I am a believer that we need to clean Washington out and start anew. Mr. Akin had been there a while.

There is never a perfect choice in any election. There is often obvious choices. To me it’s pretty simple. Todd Akin is the obvious choice. Senator Claire McCaskill is an embarrassment to representative government. Might I remind you that she is the one that rammed Obamacare down our throats by using a parliamentary procedure? Remember, Obamacare was passed with just 51 votes, not the usual 60. Might I remind you that Claire McCaskill is a big supporter of our Marxist in Chief. Missouri did not support John McCain in 2008, and it won’t in 2012. The next four years are crucial to the survival of this nation. We have tough choices ahead. Are you really going to make your choice over one issue?