WASHINGTON — Senator Mike Lee, (R-UT) started off the first day of CPAC addressing the conservative audience in the main ballroom stating that he is not running for President in 2016. He will be running for office in 2016, but only in Utah, seeking re-election for a second term as Senator. After much applause, Mike Lee asked a big question regarding the upcoming presidential election in 2016. Noting that over the past 6 presidential elections we haven’t elected a conservative since Ronald Reagan. His question then is,
“Are conservatives ready to pick the next president? “
Senator Lee then went on to explain how to identify a conservative candidate. A conservative candidate has specific policy ideas to reform our government. If you and the candidate disagree on an issue, they will not be afraid to tell you so. Lee warned Americans not to fall for platitudes, generalizations and abstracts from politicians seeking their vote. He then invited the audience and all of America to join him as he defined what that conservative candidate looks like. He proposed they will possess three qualifications: Principled, Positive and Proven.
“A principled candidate means being a conservative everyday, not just on the campaign.”
Being principled is something that you carry into every aspect of your life, and that is the first mark of a conservative candidate. Discussing what it means to be positive, Senator Lee said it means telling us more than what you are against, but what you are for. He then shared this concept by using the analogy of a soldier going into battle.
“A soldier doesn’t fight because of what he hates in front of him, his enemy, but because of what he loves behind him.”
The last quality conservatives need to demand from their candidate is that he or she be proven. Proven means 2 things;
Someone who has proven himself by winning big fights on election day. Someone who has proven himself after election day, while in office. Conservatives must demand both. Show he can win elections, and later show that he deserved to win those elections. He must show he will battle against entrenched interest, not just of the other party, but within his own. The conservative candidate who ignores moderates is as misguided as the moderate that ignores conservatives. The candidate we are looking for can attract both.
His comments were met with approval as evidenced by the crowd’s applause. After outlining the resume of what conservatives need to look for if they want to elect the next president of the United States of America, Senator Lee turned the onus onto the citizens of our country.
“Principled, positive and proven isn’t just up to the candidates themselves. It’s up to us as well.”
In his closing thoughts Senator Lee provided more insights for voters to reflect on.
Republican candidates are only going to be as good as conservatives demand them to be in 2015. Let’s demand that these candidates will be extraordinary. Not one candidate will be anything short of that. Imagine if no one donated a dime of their money to those who talk a big game, about limiting big government, but never gets around to talking about how he would fix broken government.
Principled. Positive. Proven.
“That’s the candidate and campaign people are waiting for and the one conservatives can produce, if and only if we stay true to our own high ideals. I’m here to ask for your help to find him!”
– Senator Mike Lee (R-UT)
NOTE: Story has been edited for content after publication.
The “lean forward” channel has fallen on its face. MSNBC‘s ratings in the third quarter of 2014 hit new lows even for established programs like Rachel Maddow.
Since the departure of Keith Olbermann, Maddow is MSNBC‘s biggest draw. But aNY Times review of the station’s third quarter ratings show Maddow posted “her lowest quarterly ratings ever.” An unnamed TV news executive told the NY Times, “In terms of Rachel, everybody knows every night what she’s going to say.”
Maddow was not alone in the race to the bottom. Ratings for Morning Joe were the second lowest ever for that program. And Chris Hayes had his worst quarter since 2009.
MSNBC’s President Phil Griffin blames the slide, in part, on an overall lack of interest in news. “All three cable news channels are drawing a smaller combined audience than they were five years ago,” he tells the Times. That’s true to some degree, with overall viewership at CNN and Fox also down 13% since 2009.
However the slide as MSNBC is especially dramatic. The Times reports thatMSNBC averaged 392,000 key demo viewers per night in the first quarter of 2009. Last quarter that number was down to 125,000, representing a loss of two-thirds of their total audience.
Read more on Breitbart News.
John Hart of OpportunityLives.com has an excellent commentary out this week about why Republicans should be talking about solutions. When I first read it I felt like I had heard a faint echo in the wilderness. I’ve been talking and writing about the need for this type of politics for a long time. Unfortunately, while there has been some agreement, there has been no real action by our political leaders.
Our dialogue here in Mississippi, as in much of the country, continues to be more about rhetoric than reality. I have suggested that a change in the dialogue would do more to solidify a place for the thousands of newly engaged Conservatives than anything else we can do. That led to me being personally attacked online by an anonymous assailant who, obviously, is against changing the dialogue.
I suppose if you’ve got nothing else . . .
We obviously have a long way to go. But just like the song goes, we also have a short time to get there (for those under the age of 40 that’s a Smokey and the Bandit reference. Look it up and enjoy). Demographic data clearly points to the fact that the audience is changing, and the first rule of any good communication is to know your audience.
Hart offers 5 reasons in explaining why Republicans should run on solutions and a positive agenda. It is also applicable to Conservatives, whether my detractors like it or not.
1. Offering solutions is a better political strategy.
Hart writes that the deadly rationalization in todays politics is that in order to “do good things” one first has to win. He writes that this leads candidates to refuse to put forward “bold and risky solutions that can be attacked” during a campaign.
This is very well illustrated by the slow unraveling of the connection between social and fiscal conservatism by the consulting class that have controlled the Republican Party for the past nearly twenty years. Rather than grasp the message and educate the public of how social conservatism is necessary in a free society, GOP leaders chose to downplay social conservatism completely. We see the results of that reflected in our culture today.
When the voices of those Republicans who believed in the importance of character, integrity, family and Faith were quashed, there was no longer a platform to spark discussion.
Fast forward to today and the nation has more people on some form of government welfare than people who are working. We spend more on poverty programs than ever, yet the poverty rate is unchanged. We have a larger number of young people putting off marriage and starting a family. We have a growing chasm between the political class and the working class that is not only economic but also cultural. The economic problems we face today are a direct result of moving away from talking about social conservatism and traditional values that drive work ethic and character.
The perfect political moment never arrives to “do good things”. There is always another election to be worried about. So refusing to discuss solutions for fear of losing only means we never get to the solutions, just the next election.
The restaurant analogy is spot on. Normal people don’t go to a restaurant to read a menu. They go for a meal. Political movements are the same. Voters don’t want opinions; they want answers and specifics.
2. You’ll be defined on your terms rather than someone else’s.
As Hart puts it in his article:
“If you are not defining what you are for, the other side will do that for you. Leaving a blank slate is dangerous. Write your own narrative in the language of specifics.”
This may be the most important for us right now in Mississippi. Back in 2012 I began putting together plans for a group called Generation Mississippi. The idea is simple. We have to start presenting solutions to the audience that will be the next generation of voters. It has garnered a little more interest of late for obvious reasons.
In both Mississippi and the nation the conservative message is not connecting with minorities or young voters. In most cases this is not because of a lack of agreement, but rather a lack of communication. Conservative ideas need not change. The way we communicate and engage about those ideas does. We tend to dismiss those who disagree rather than engaging in the discussion. In order to see a move towards a Constitutionally sound conservatism this lack of engagement must end.
Assuming population growth remains the same in our state, in less than 10 years the non-white to white population will be 50-50. That’s only 2 or 3 election cycles aways. I’m no mathematician, but that sounds like we ought to be getting to work.
With all the gnashing of teeth over the race-baiting ads used in the U.S. Senate race, I’ve yet to hear too many people look past their anger to ask a simple question: “Why do you suppose that worked so well?”
My answer: It’s because Conservatives gave up on communicating solutions with minority groups. We did them a disservice by not offering them solid solutions, they did us one back by being easily manipulated to think conservatism is about hurting minorities and minority communities.
Conservative policies will work for minorities. They work for those who want a good education and a good job. They work for those who want to see their communities prosper. They work for those who recognize there are moral issues society should address. All of these opportunities to communicate exist in minority communities in Mississippi, and beyond, and we should be discussing them in a positive way. We should be defining conservatism as a solution so the shysters don’t get to come in, as they did here in Mississippi, and define it for us.
3. You’ll have a mandate.
Politicians and candidates that talk about generic ideas and refuse to discuss solid solutions inspire a generic following and and audience that is easily distracted by slick advertising and branding. Governance is about solutions. It’s about a system that allows people to work for their dreams and to produce something of value to the community. If people can’t make the connection between a candidate’s message and how that would solve problems and allow opportunity then support is at best blind allegiance, an army without a cause. Don’t tell me what you’re against. Tell me what you are for.
Any politician who wants to be a leader has to lead. That means providing the army of followers with a mission, and it means if one finds themselves elected to office they will have, as Hart puts it, “an army at their back.” This means getting things done. Isn’t that the point?
Messaging today is not linear. It spreads like a fire, capturing the tender around it that is ready to burn and occasionally throwing off a spark that starts a whole new blaze. A solid message built on solutions and substance is the match that ignites the flame.
4. It’s your job.
Most of us who are politically active weren’t drawn into it for the pay and benefits. I understand that some lobbyists campaign for clients and get paid big bucks because of the legislation they get pushed through. But for the most part these are the guys that are just throwing money at candidates. Those of us grunts who work on campaigns will be the first to tell you we aren’t getting rich. We do this because we believe in what we do and why we do it.
Thanks to social media, K-Street has taken a big hit. People and conversations are much more important now than back room deals. The ability of people to pull together an army of outrage over an issue can happen in hours.
But, with that comes some responsibility. Conservatives need to be careful to educate themselves and not to jump on just any bandwagon. We must demand a candidate explain what he or she will do specifically.
The way to remind those who want to run for public office that this is more than a beauty contest is to already be talking about the issues, the problems, the solutions and the specifics. The message should be clear: “We don’t need a savior, we need a representative. This is what we believe. If you believe this too we may consider voting for you. But, get over the self-importance right now and realize, if you win, we expect you to do your job.”
In other words, don’t just say you work for us. Do it.
5. The country needs solutions.
For some, it is apparent that politics is a game, campaigns are something we put into a win/loss column. But for people now struggling with putting food on the table for their kids this is more than a sporting event, its about survival.
Drive through a small town in the Mississippi Delta and tell me the people there care one whit about who won the last election. Join me for coffee at my local diner one morning and see how the working class men who start their day there talk about politicians and government. There is a reason the approval rating of elected officials remains consistently in the cellar and why so few people even bother to vote anymore.
Give me liberty? You bet. But give me a reason to want it and believe in it, and you have a winning message.
Will Chris Christie require voter registration with the purchase of a dozen Krispy Kremes? Will John McCain enjoy his tossed salad? Will Peter King change his name to “Huntsman”? Does Kelly Ayotte’s vajayjay really speak Spanish? And will Candy Crowley gain 10 more pounds by the end of the broadcast? Let’s find out.
Special thanks to John LaRosa for his comedic satire. For more “conserva-snark”, follow him on Twitter @jslconsulting.
On Friday, Senator Mitch McConnell kicked off his “Women for Mitch” coalition in Louisville, Kentucky. The event began like any typical political event but quickly turned into a once in a lifetime kind of event. A side of Mitch that I believe few have seen was showcased at this event. The oppositions campaign would love nothing more than for Mitch to be billed as what they term “anti-woman”. However, it was very clear to the women in this room that Senator McConnell has a heart for mothers and women in general. Women from all 120 counties in Kentucky have signed on to join this coalition.
Speaking at this event, Former U.S Labor Secretary Elaine Chao was quick to defend her husband’s record on issues facing women. A few of the issues she commented on were pushing to increase funding for breast cancer research and mobile health clinics, flexible work schedule legislation for mothers, and the problem of sexual assault on woman soldiers. “I have spent my life breaking through glass ceilings, and I’ve done it with Mitch by my side supporting me 1,000 percent”, she stated.
The event was held at Century Mortgage Co., so it was only fitting that owner Monica Bohn get up and tell her story. Monica started Century Mortgage with her husband who passed away in 2010 and left her to run the business. Her story told how in one of her most trying times Mitch stood with her. She went to him to help stop or change the Dodd-Frank Act, in a time when her personal life and business were falling apart because of the recession. From this relationship, a continued relationship with the Senate has been possible for Century Mortgage. Another notable business leader Allison Ball, an attorney from Prestonsburg, spoke about her feelings toward the “tepid reaction” to the current sexual harassment against state Representative John Arnold. Most notably calling out Alison Grimes for her lack of response to a man that works in the same building as her, while she bills herself as the only choice for women in Kentucky. She also called attention to the fact the Senator McConnell called for former Senator Bob Packwood to be removed from the senate when accused of similar charges.
The most moving moments of the press conference were the speeches of Dr. Noelle Hunter, a professor from Morehead, and Laura Sequeira, McConnell’s campaign finance director. Although these women are professionals, their stories spoke of more personal struggles. Noelle Hunter spoke first discussing her daughter’s abduction to Mali, Africa. She stated that Mitch has stood by her every step of the way. While she was in Mali petitioning the government, Senator McConnell was petitioning the senate and United States government on her behalf. While she was speaking, a somber feeling came over the room and there were very few dry eyes. The feeling continued when Laura Sequeira spoke about her 4 year-old’s cancer diagnosis. She received a phone call from the Senator in which he told her “stay home, focus on what’s important…I’ve got your back”. By the end of her speech, there were no dry eyes in the room. Seeing Senator McConnell and his wife get choked up was an interesting experience for me. Many believe that politicians don’t have a heart but I witnessed a moment where Mitch was just an ordinary caring father. The skeptic in many people would believe this event was staged to showcase the softer side of Senator McConnell that might appeal to women. However, standing in that room seeing him cry with and embrace both women showed me that these women’s issues mean more than votes to Mitch.
The last speech of the press conference was made by Senator McConnell himself. He got up and spoke candidly about two of the most important women in his life, the first being his mother and the second being his wife. McConnell discussed his childhood battle with Polio, which he has remained mostly silent on in the past. “I’ve always felt that the discipline that my mother demonstrated…taught me a very early lesson that, if you work hard, you’re likely to be able to overcome the obstacles,” states McConnell. He went on to express that the voters need to choose the person they see best representing them and Kentucky into the future.
Alison Lundergan Grimes was armed and ready to launch her attack against Mitch’s move to persuade women voters. Blasting Mitch by stating “Simply saying “I’m married to a woman” doesn’t speak loud enough. Senator McConnell’s actions over the course of 28 years show how he has failed to stand up for women”. While Grimes would love for Kentucky women to fall for the fact that this event could very well have been a well orchestrated attempt to gain women voters, anyone who attended this event or has researched Mitch’s record can see that Mitch truly cares about women and Kentuckians.
Many of you across the country have heard of the most hotly contested race this election cycle will be the Virginia Governor’s race between Republican & current VA Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and longtime Democratic fundraiser and former DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe. Not only does this race have national implications for 2014 mid-terms but it has turned into a bloody, mud-slinging event. While McAuliffe is using the usual democrat talking points like “war on women” allegations the Cuccinelli campaign has echoed more serious allegations of wrong doing against McAuliffe first brought up by former VA Gov. Tim Kaine’s office in 2009 about McAuliffe’s former company – Green Tech Automotive or GTA.
In one of his campaign ads Cuccinelli quotes a former Kaine administration office who actually said they feared the company’s investment plan was nothing more than a “VISA for sale” scheme. You have to ask, how is this possible? How can a privately held company sell VISA’s to foreign investors? It turns out there is a legitimate program by the US Government known as the EB-5 program. What this does is allow foreign investors who have invested at least $500,000 in a company in the US and create 10 jobs (over a two-year period) to obtain US VISAs. The government approves approximately 10,000 of these VISAs per year. Like other high dollar government programs, private companies have sprung up around it. One of them, Gulf Coast Funds Management (GTFM), specializes in helping investors obtain EB-5’s and is a major investor in McAuliffe’s GTA.
In a series of emails obtained by Politifact of Virginia through a FOIA request you can see the concern that the Virginia Governor’s office had about GTA and the effort that they put in to bring the company to VA despite McAuliffe’s later claim VA didn’t bid on the project. A claim Politifact VA calls “False”. The emails examined are from a series of emails from October through November of 2009.
In a heavily redacted email on October 6, 2009 the Lead of the Transportation Team at the VA Economic Development Partnership (VA EDP), Mike Lemkuhler, expressed concerns about McAuliffe, GTA President Tony Wang, & GTA COO Gary Tang by saying
- “McAuliffe/Wang’s group has not demonstrated [the] ability to run an automotive company”
- “In our opinion the GCG project (GTA’s Go-Clean-Green project) is not the best reason to support use of an EB-5 center”
- “A failed EB-5 project could be disastrous for VA’s international image, especially if the management team is somehow able to individually profit from it in spite of a bad outcome for investors’
- “Our biggest concern we have at this moment is the possibility that their access to the investors’ money is more important than the viability of the project”
In the above email Lemkuhler and separate emails Jeff Anderson of VA EDP, and Patrick Gottschalk the VA Secretary of Commerce and Trade expressed concerns that former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour did not attend the announcement for GTA’s MS facility. Wondering how much weight this gave to the validity of the project
Lemkuhler seems to have always been skeptical about the project but on October 22, 2009 he expressed greater concern.
And on November 18, 2009 his concerns extended to the owners of GTA major investor GCFM.
This is where the story gets interesting. GCFM, the investor in McAuliffe’s company, the purveyor of EB-5 VISAs, was bought by a company named American Immigration Center or AIC. A Google search for AIC brings up nothing. It wasn’t until seeing news about them on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website I find their website name www.US-immigration.com. A very official looking website the BBB has described as “looking like an US Government website”.
While exploring the BBB website about AIC you see the company has 102 complaints against it for bad business practices for their marketing and billing. In one part you can see the BBB has given AIC a D- rating there. While the company has resolved many of the complaints, you have to wonder how many immigrants don’t know how to post a complaint there and how many don’t know that they were scammed at all. Apparently charging people for a service that is completely free through the US Government’s actual immigration website is their specialty. The company has several other websites in their Google search that describe their poor business practices. All in all I would describe the company as disreputable.
Now, the next part, while not damning by itself, taken in context with the fact AIC is such a dirt-bag company who takes advantage of those immigrants desperate to stay in the US seems, to me, pretty damning. Let’s digress to Gulf Coast Funds Management, whose parent company is AIC, & who is a major investor in Mississippi for GTA (McAuliffe’s company). We’ll look at GCFM’s website again & see who is on their management team. One name that stands out is on their Board of Directors, Kathleen Blanco, the former governor of Louisiana during
Hurricane Katrina who, along with “Mr. Chocolate City” Ray Nagin (facing charges now himself), failed so badly to prepare her state and New Orleans for the impending disaster. Another name is Margaret Richardson the former director of the IRS under President Clinton. But, one name stands out to me above all others. You may not catch it on first glance but here it is:
That’s right, Anthony Rodham, brother to former First Lady, Senator, & Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Former fundraiser for the DNC and aide on every Clinton campaign in the last 30 years (both Clintons) is president and CEO of a company owned by an immigration scamming company. A company heavily invested in Terry McAuliffe’s company Green Tech Automotive. While McAuliffe has stepped down from the company, even recently he admitted to still having a stake in the company.
While it may be viewed as conjecture or may be viewed as being done for shock value of name dropping the possible 2016 democratic frontrunner to show all of this. I view it as something else. The old adage applies, “if you lay down with dogs, you come up with fleas”. I have to wonder if Terry McAuliffe’s company was just what former Democratic VA Governor Tim Kaine’s administration called it. If they are heavily invested and assisted by a company that does EB-5 VISAs and is owned by a company making millions to scam the most vulnerable of our population, those ignorant of our law, culture, language, and that these questionable business practices even exist. I cannot believe that my simple Google search that turned this up in a day got by such savvy operators as Blanco, Richardson, & Anthony Rodham before they accepted such high-ranking positions with the company. I have done enough research on Terry McAuliffe to know what a great fundraiser he was for the DNC and for individual candidates. I cannot believe for a minute that he couldn’t follow this money trail that makes I-81 look like a donkey path. I only hope the voters of Virginia see it as well this November.
In order to read the world news and professional commentary in the local paper, I cannot help but peruse the letters of the local small thinkers who have not the slightest clue about the root of freedom in this country. And they couple that complete unawareness of history with their complete willingness to tear the 2nd Amendment away from the Constitution in the name of being a safer and more secure United States.
Here are some quotes from such dizzy writers in just one day’s issue this past week. A purported Ph.D (meaning anybody can apparently get one) proposed in his letter that the National Rifle Association be declared a terrorist organization, adding, “The NRA aids, abets and enables terrorism . . . encourages and empowers the sale and proliferation of terrorist weaponry.”
He further proposed that “the Department of Justice pursue the prosecution of the NRA and its leadership to the full extent of the law under appropriate acts regarding terrorist organizations” and that elected officials who vote anything that hints of pro-NRA be declared “accessories to terrorism, impeached and banned from further public office.” (I assume the absence of Freedom of Speech was the obvious prerequisite for this former student of higher learning).
Well, why not? The good doctor certainly has the right Attorney General for it. And NRA members, sir? I suppose they had best denounce their association for fear of becoming the new political prisoners destined for Obama-nation concentration camps.
After gritting my teeth through that one, there was the letter from Doug the roach. With great authority and no factual basis, his message was simply “Repeal the 2nd Amendment” as it is “no longer applicable to present day society . . . let’s make our country more safe.”
Factually speaking (if I dare), the Commander of Japan’s Pacific fleet stated long ago that the United States had no fear of his forces ever invading the West Coast after routing our Navy at Pearl Harbor. The reason? There would be “a gun behind every blade of grass” on mainland USA.
And that is the very essence of the 2nd Amendment – keeping our country safe from enemies foreign and domestic. And while there existed after December 7, 1941, the understandable paranoia of such a follow-up offensive, even our most treacherous enemy respected the potential militia that lay in wait from within.
That means nothing in the progressive interpretation of American history, and our nation now invites its enemies into our very midst with countless student visas to virtually any Arab candidate, nationalities that have always been the face of terror around the world since Oklahoma City. And a monumentally inane and unqualified Secretary of Homeland Defense all but guarantees a porous national border and easy passage for members of drug cartels, other violent criminals, and countless dregs who have no place to go once across the US/Mexican border.
But liberals do not consider mid-east terrorists and sadistic cartel members the enemy of the State. That is reserved for the National Rifle Association, its law-abiding members, and the predominantly Republican portion of politicians who respect and cherish Constitutional principle – plus the irrefutable fact that adherence to the Founders’ prescription for this society is tried and true and has timelessly gotten it right.
Some on the left, in a more civil tone, (hey, it can happen) lament that the NRA went from a service organization that was once all about gun and hunting safety to a monster special interest hellbent on filling the streets with unchecked firepower. One letter writer reflected on his childhood in the 1950s, near New York City, when his high school had junior and senior Rod and Gun Clubs, and “we all brought our guns to school” to be checked for safety by NRA personnel who were “always available for those club meetings”. Then he regrets some point in time when the NRA abandoned its safety mission to become the left’s political adversary.
Wait a minute! When “we all brought our guns to school”, near none other than New York City? That once home of the Bloomberg 16-ounce maximum soft drink New York City? And he makes the argument that the NRA changed? This guy, innocently and unwittingly, just made the best argument he possibly could for conservative gun owners across the land.
The role of the NRA, as a lobbying giant, is a natural counter to the hate rhetoric and blame put on it and its membership after every mass assault on human life, a phenomenon that comes in knee jerk fashion from leftist groups who loathe guns in general and gun owners in particular. The NRA has never turned away from its staunch support of gun and hunting safety, nor its continued work towards conservation. Throw in its unalterable campaign for maximum prosecution and punishment for any and all who commit any crime whatsoever with a firearm, and you have a correct perception of the organization.
True, aggressive lobbying is a newer hat for the NRA, but I know of no other Amendment where a nation’s certain citizens must contribute regularly to hold on to what should be left alone as a Right of the people. But in reality, it has become necessary, so as to preserve for free Americans the unalienable right to protect and defend themselves against everything from criminal aggression, which liberals never acknowledge, to socialist tyranny, which they forever embrace.