Cruz, Boehner and the Future of the GOP

For nearly 24 hours spanning two days, Senator Ted Cruz railed against Obamacare from the floor of the United States Senate.  He rightly pointed out the negative effects that the Affordable Care Act will have on healthcare, the economy and the freedom of every citizen.  While Cruz said all the right things and had the right tenor and tone – time will only tell whether he will be able to translate his stated principles and oratory prowess into real results through effective leadership.  History shows that this is often easier said than done.

Consider this quote;   “And we can celebrate when we have a government that has earned back the trust of the people it serves…when we have a government that honors our Constitution and stands up for the values that made America, America: economic freedom, individual liberty and personal responsibility.

or this quote; ” The American people are screaming at the top of their lungs to Washington ‘Stop! Stop the spending, stop the job killing policies.’ And yet, Democrats in Washington refuse to listen to the American People”

These quotes would have fit nicely in Cruz’s full-throated attack on Obamacare and spirited defense of small government, conservative principles. However, these quotes are not from Senator Cruz but rather Speaker John Boehner.  Yes, the same John Boehner who championed and supported the TARP Plan, the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit, the Auto Bailout and No Child Left Behind.  While Boehner clearly knows the words to the popular conservative tunes, he has proven to have little true allegiance to these principles or an absolute absence of the courage needed to truly defend and advance these principles.  It seems, when Boehner is willing to take a stand and to wield his political influence, that it is more often to expand the role of government, to spend more of our money, to restrict individual liberties and to advance the influence of the well-heeled elite. This inconsistency of words and deeds has weakened Boehner as Speaker and left him very unpopular with the grassroots in his own district.

Responding to these frustrations, at least two grassroots conservatives will be challenging Boehner for the Republican primary in the spring.  J.D Winteregg   and Eric Gurr  have decided that it is time for Boehner to go. If one person were to challenge Boehner it would be a Herculean task to defeat him, if both challengers are in the race at the time of the primary it will be an impossible task. If one of these gentlemen are able to gain some traction they could pull off an upset by driving frustrated independent voters to the GOP Primary and energizing the conservative base of the GOP. Boehner has a distinct advantage in that he still retains the influences of personality and finances over the GOP establishment in Southwest Ohio, that combined with the establishments obligation to defend the incumbent makes any challenge to Boehner extremely difficult to say the least.  The test will eventually come for these challengers, when surrounded by cheerleaders will they be committed enough to ousting Boehner to have the wisdom to see that the other challenger is best suited to win this battle and gracefully drop out and offer their support to the other.

House Speakers being challenged in primaries and courageous Senators railing against the timidity of the GOP Establishment from the Senate floor is the short-term future of the GOP.  It is a future they have created themselves. Since 1988, more often than not, the GOP Establishment has chosen moderation and nuance and rejected courage and clarity – it has not served them well.  The GOP has chosen to defend incumbents rather than to defend principles and ideals.  America is a nation facing a political leadership crisis.  Politics has always attracted self-interested scoundrels but now these scoundrels have seized the reins of power across the entire spectrum of the federal government.  To leave such power in their hands will do irreparable harm and it must be stopped. It can be stopped but that will require leadership and that seat has been vacant within the GOP for too long and desperately needs to be filled.


An Open Letter to Congressman John Boehner

Congressman Boehner;

In a recent posting at National Review by Robert Costa he described you as the folksy, humble fellow that conservative Republicans from southwest Ohio sent to Washington, DC to represent them two decades ago.  Of course, this was back in the day when we knew you as Trustee or Congressman rather than Speaker.  Unfortunately, it seems though at times you are more interested in being the House’s Speaker and less interested in being OUR representative.

We recall and used to brag about your promise not to raid the Treasury of the United States to bring pork back to your district. While that stance is still appreciated, you have at the same time stood idly by or implicitly allowed others to raid the Treasury for the selfish benefit of their districts.   Is it too much to ask that you use your influence as Speaker and as a prolific re-election fundraiser to compel others in Congress to end the incessant and wasteful spending in DC.

Costa’s article references your likely efforts to slow and bring some deliberation to the immigration debate.  That too is much appreciated, yet if you had your finger on the pulse of those of us back here in your district it would be clear that we do not want you to slow the Senate bill – we want you to expose it for the senseless monstrosity that it is and leave it in the dust bin of history.  Absolutely no bill should pass out of Congress that does not mandate border security before anything else takes place.  This security should be certified by Congress and border states, not the DHS.

Back here in SW Ohio, in case you haven’t picked up the latest issue of the Cincinnati Enquirer or Pulse Journal at the end of your drive lately, grassroots conservatives have been under siege by the IRS.  While you did not cause this directly, you and your DC cohorts have created the conditions that have allowed the IRS to run rough-shod over the people’s liberties.  This problem will not be solved with Congressional oversight, Inspectors General or legislative tinkering.  It is well past time to essentially abolish the IRS through a flat tax.  Get rid of the laundry list of exemptions, deductions, credits and special preferences that you and others use to wield power and authority over the people.  Without these cutouts to the tax code power is returned to the people and many of the budgetary shenanigans will be curtailed.

Finally, I would like to offer a suggestion.  Promise the folks in your district that you will spend as much time listening to them as you do to listening to lobbyists.  For every K Street reception you go to in DC, come to a meeting  here in the district.  There are Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis, Tea Party and Rotary Club meetings everyday throughout your district.  Come to a meeting and listen to what is important to them.  Perhaps you will then decide what we think and are trying to accomplish here is important enough for you to hold $1000 plate fundraisers for local organizations rather than the RNC.

After serving as President, Harry Truman returned to being a Precinct Captain for the local Republican Party and said it was the greatest job he ever had.  He was humble enough to realize that it is the people who are important and serving everyday folks and their simple interests is what being an elected representative is really all about.

Thanks for your consideration and we look forward to getting our congressman back.

Signed – A Constituent of the 8th District of Ohio








The Soft Tyranny of Arrogance and Indifference

west chester tea

On Wednesday, from Washington, DC to West Chester, Ohio thousands lodged their frustrations with Congress over the recently disclosed abuses of the IRS.  These ordinary Americans sought to convey the message that it is time to rein in the IRS.  Unfortunately, this message will too often fall on deaf ears. to understand why let us revisit the prescient words of C.S. Lewis;

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

This observation of Lewis from more than half a century ago accurately captures the state of political affairs today.  Our government institutions at the state and federal level have become infested with omnipotent moral busybodies who with the approval of their own conscience seek to impose upon us citizens (read; peasants and subjects) their judgement of what is in our best interests.

Recent headlines about the IRS assault upon conservative Tea Party groups or the DOJ’s intimidation of members of the media could easily allow one to lay the blame and responsibility at the feet of Democrats or the political left.  These instances while egregious and recent are not new nor are they limited to the left.  Let us remember that the assault on the 4th Amendment that is the NSA data mining scandal began under Republicans.  It was Speaker John Boehner who has threatened his colleagues with Chairmanships and Committee assignments for not adhering strictly to the party line. It was also Boehner who began the nationalization of Education policy with No Child Left Behind.

Our Declaration of Independence delineated the abuses of a Monarch, yet a tyranny must not be a Monarchy or a Dictatorship.  Today we suffer under the soft tyranny of an elite ruling class fueled by arrogance and omnipotence, with an indifference toward the will of the people and no longer restrained by the restrictions set forth in our Constitution.  We are ruled by oppressive regulations from a nameless and faceless bureaucracy unanswerable to the people, our most intimate communications are seized and cataloged to be used for any imaginable purpose at some point in the future and the integrity of our nations borders is surrendered for the dollars of corporate contributors and the votes of those who ignore our laws.

The IRS protests of Wednesday are good and necessary yet they are not enough.  Americans of every stripe need to begin to look at the people we elect to represent us and choose statesmen over politicians.  We must reaffirm our commitment to liberty and begin dismantling the power structure that serves only to enrich themselves and oppress the people.  We must shake off the comfort of the nanny-state and once again enjoy and exploit the opportunities of freedom and the inherent rewards in taking risks.


An Open Letter to Ohio Tea Partiers, Libertarians, et al;

An article in the Columbus Dispatch on May 6th spoke of the fissures between the libertarian minded, fiscal and social conservatives and the Ohio GOP.  The recent selection of Matt Borges as the Ohio GOP Chairman has exposed these fissures and caused them to grow wider.   The article went on to quote various activists regarding the possibility of creating a third party in Ohio or for right leaning activists to join another party. As someone who is ideologically aligned with folks quoted in the article I urge you in the strongest terms to reconsider those choices.

Historically, the successes of third party movements in the U.S. are at best short-lived.  The key to advancement of our principles is in unity, commitment, clarity of purpose and most importantly – patience.  I would like to offer a different course of action that will allow us to achieve the advancement of our principles by using the existing structure inherent in the well established Ohio GOP.

I suggest that one of the Tea Party leaders or the Ohio Liberty Coalition hold an Ohio Political Leadership Summit. The attendees must be broad enough to include a variety of factions and viewpoints but not so large as to be unmanageable. It must be brief, no longer than two days and it must have a very specific purpose.  The purpose of this summit shall be to draft a Statement of Principles that will be agreed to by all. It should address the most contentious and important issues of the day. Items such as Gay Marriage, Abortion, Education Funding, Tax Policy and the size and scope of state government must be addressed.  Attendees should provide to one another in writing a month or so before the summit their views on these issues so that the Summit can be used for cohesion rather than criticism.

The Statement of Principles derived from The Summit will then be delivered to the Ohio GOP and every county GOP throughout the state.  The message will be simple, that the signers of the statement will only support candidates and GOP officials who adhere to these principles. Furthermore, the signers agree to help one another elect public and party officials who support these principles.

As things stand today, establishment GOP folks view the various factions within the party as dis-joined and capable of only occasional trouble-making.  If the various factions are unable to agree on a Statement of Principles then I suppose the establishment is right. On the other hand, if we are able to unite we become a dominating force that the establishment must acknowledge and seek agreement with if they expect to win elections.

This Leadership Summit is the model used with Martin Luther’s 95 Theses, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitutional Convention and most recently and relevantly – the Sharon Statement. The modern conservative/small government/liberty movement has its roots in the meetings held at the home of William F. Buckley in 1960.  The result of this meeting was the Sharon Statement.  It was a simple statement of guiding principles that ultimately laid the groundwork for the election of Ronald Reagan twenty years later.  Since 1960, our movement has taken a number of steps forward and too many backwards but we must remain firm in our resolve and dedicated to continue this fight every generation.  We will not win this fight next month or next year.  The fight must never end.  We must make a lifelong commitment to advancing our principles and convincing others of the worthiness of our cause.

An Ohio Political Leadership Summit will give us those principles that will provide us the unity, clarity of purpose we need and only time will tell if we have the commitment and patience to carry this fight into the future.      

Winning Battles is Good…Winning the War is Better

In a recent entry I spoke of the number of recent successes liberty minded folks have achieved at the local, state and federal levels.  These achievements are important and they should be celebrated.  But it’s also important to keep in mind that winning battles in no way equates to winning the war.  Unfortunately, politics here in America in many ways resembles war, wherein two opposing factions are fighting to defeat one another with little interest in detente. In the simplest terms, one faction is fighting for more government with its power centralized in DC.  The other side, seeks less government, more freedom with power decentralized to the state, local and individual level.  These two viewpoints are so diametrically opposed that there really is no room for compromise or bargain.  The only ones interested in bargains are those of the political class who in many ways are nothing more than war profiteers, accumulating power and wealth at the expense of both of the warring factions.

If there is no compromise to be had we are left with only two choices; victory or defeat. The path to victory is simple.  Our electorate represents the two factions described above and another more important faction, those self-described independents who often determine victory by choosing to ally themselves with one or the other factions.  We cannot sway these independents by demonizing those with whom we disagree; rather, we must sway those independents to join us by demonstrating the worthiness of our cause.

In the interest of swaying these independents to our cause I am asking the most passionate among us to stop the name calling.  Forget about – ‘libtards’, ‘dumbocrats’ ‘McLame’ and ‘Grahamnesty’.  To my Libertarian friends, stop demonizing the religious among us. And remember, it is always right to stand on principle but keep in mind that someone who agrees with you 80% of the time is not your enemy.  Name calling and mudslinging does not sway independents, it leads them to become dismissive and to quit listening.

Those on the left have been much better at this than those of us on the right.  They speak of ‘investing’ in the future. They are not anti-war rather they purport to achieve peace.  They urge ‘greener’ environmental policies and they have established the idea of political correctness so that whether we like it or not sways opinions and influences policy.

If we are to win the war by swaying independents we must employ words as our weapons.  We must defend the principles of religious freedom, argue for the inherent benefits of individual liberty, champion the marketplace, define and advocate for common-sense healthcare policies. We should celebrate charity and compassion and personal responsibility.  Every critique of policy must be accompanied with an alternative solution consistent with our principles

Reagan was known as the Great Communicator because he understood that people want something to believe in more than they want something to oppose.  He took seemingly complex policy discussions and boiled them down to simple statements of philosophy and worded them in such a way as to make it seem foolish to think differently.

So the next time you go to a rally, write a blog, call a radio station or post comments to an article – leave the vitriol and anger behind.  Give folks who see or hear your words a reason to join you rather than a reason to oppose someone else.

Seeing the Forest Through the Trees

If you love freedom, fiscal responsibility and limited government there are reasons to smile.  If you are active in advocating and defending these principles – stand proud. ( That means you Ann Becker and Chris Littleton).

From this little slice of Heaven we call Southwest Ohio up I-71 to Columbus and then east on I-70 to the dank and fetid swamp that is Washington DC we are able to see the forest through the trees. Let’s call this forest the Woods of Liberty.  It is not populated with oaks, firs or redwoods. Rather, it is populated with folks of even sturdier timber like Trustees Dave Kern and George Lang, State Reps. Amstutz and Maag, and Senators Paul and Cruz.  Add to this list many other state legislators and Governors(certainly not Kasich) across the country and we can begin to see what our future may hold.

This forest can only last if its ground is firm.  It will need strong grassroots to stop its soil from eroding from the torrents of media criticisms and the gales of the ever-shifting political winds.  This new forest is growing everyday, pushing aside and towering over its old-growth(McCain, Graham, Kasich) which has been weakened and hollowed out by the parasites and fungus of establishment politics and lacking the firm roots necessary to withstand the winds of political correctness.

In the last few weeks, local governments have rejected public funding on luxury projects, states have rejected Obamacare and Medicaid expansion, states have stood in defense of the 2nd Amendment and federal attempts to weaken our rights are currently being so watered down as to become null if they are passed at all.

If these woods are going to continue to grow and flourish and provide shelter, shade and safe haven for this great nation from coast to coast it will require the tending, care and feeding of everyday Americans committed to the ideals of freedom, fiscal responsibility and limited government.  Thank you to all of you who do this everyday by contacting your elected officials and sharing your feelings, who stand in opposition to failed policies that weaken our nation and stand firm in support of those efforts that will restore us again to that shining city on a hill.  Keep doing what you are doing and find a way to convince others to do the same.

These efforts succeeded in earnest in the 2010 midterms and suffered a temporary setback in 2012 but each day is a new beginning and a new opportunity to aggressively fight for and steadfastly defend our principles.  Let us each pledge not to let another day pass without doing whatever needs to be done to advance the causes of liberty, freedom and opportunity.

You and I have a rendezvous with destiny.

We’ll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we’ll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.

Ronald Reagan -1964  Click for full text and video “A Time for Choosing”






Abraham Lincoln on Dave Kern and George Lang

Abraham Lincoln once said, “A statesman is he who thinks in the future generations, and a politician is he who thinks in the upcoming elections.”   I rather suspect if ole Abe were around today he would nod in approval of two local elected officials who are behaving as the Statesmen that Lincoln described.

In a recent article from the West Chester Buzz at the Cincinnati Enquirer they reported the following:

Liberty Township will apply for a federal grant to pay for construction and installation of a sidewalk.

But if the township is awarded the grant it is uncertain whether it would be accepted.

Trustee David Kern voted this week against applying for a transportation alternative grant that would help pay for construction of sidewalks from the Liberty Junior School crosswalk at the Yankee Road/Dutchland Boulevard intersection to Cincinnati-Dayton Road, a distance of 3,250 feet.

He joined resident Kathy Dirr in opposing the use of federal dollars for such a project in light of the national debt.

“It is absolutely immoral to take money from the federal government. What we’re doing is taking borrowed money…and putting it on the backs of our children,” Kern said.   “Think of the children who will have to pay the bills. It’s shameful. It’s a disgrace.”

In the not too distant past, West Chester Township Trustee George Lang fought against federal grants for hike/bike trails in West Chester based on the same premise and arguments of Liberty Township Trustee Dave Kern.  These men recognize that just because many other local officials are looking for ways to feed at the public trough it doesn’t make it right for them to do so.  They are choosing to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

These simple acts of principled leadership will not make the Evening News or be splashed across Drudge but they are important nonetheless. If we as a nation are to bring back a degree of responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars we need statesmen such as Kern and Lang at  every level of government who are willing to stand on principle and say enough is enough.

So on behalf of all those who desire fiscal responsibility from our elected officials let me say, “Thank you Dave and George, we appreciate what you do and keep up the good work.”


Kasich and Ohio GOP Feeling the Heat

We have all heard, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen”, but that is where Gov. Kasich and the Ohio GOP Establishment find themselves.  They attempted to strike a bargain that even Faust would have been too wise to accept.  Lured by the seduction of other people’s money they embarked on a fool’s errand of attempting to buy votes by jumping feet first into the snare of Obamacare.

Fortunately, vigilant and tenacious grassroots activists in the Buckeye State have exposed this shameless and short-sighted money grab for the true folly that it is.  The same activists that guided the passage of the Ohio Healthcare Freedom Amendment have been dutifully confronting Ohio’s legislators and reminding them of the power of primary voters and putting these lawmakers on notice that those who choose to support Kasich’s misguided venture do so at their own peril.  Chris Littleton, one of the most influential of these activists has crunched the numbers and shown these elected officials that the votes are there to defeat them in a primary if they choose to follow Kasich and his cronies down this dangerous road.

Medicaid as a whole is a failure.  Reimbursement rates are driving health care providers away from the system in droves, regulations on patients and providers serve as obstacles to good health and Medicare recipients often have poorer health than the completely uninsured.  The short term ‘gain’ of receiving new Medicaid dollars in Ohio not only will come with strings attached but with chains and anchors attached as well that will inevitably drag Ohioans deeper into the morass that is Obamacare.

It is time for voters in Ohio to remind Kasich and his allies that they were sent to Columbus presumably as conservatives committed to the ideals of smaller, limited and efficient government. While many voters are not watching this statehouse drama closely, grassroots activists and primary voters are watching closely and the elected officials should take notice because it is these activists who can decide in the spring who wins in the fall.



Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.