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The One That Got Away:  The Story of the $8.2 Trillion Vote

The One That Got Away: The Story of the $8.2 Trillion Vote

A study of the National debt over the last thirty years proves that our Representatives are not responsible enough to continuing governing without the rules of the game being changed. Though much belabored, it bears repeating that the National Debt did not break the one trillion dollar threshold until the year 1982 and not until the fiscal year 2002 did it break six trillion. From 2002 to 2010 it more than doubled from $6.25 trillion to over $13 trillion dollars.

Changing the rules of the game in this case means the passing of some form of a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. This is far from a new idea and most people, especially newcomers to the world of politics, would be shocked at how close we have come, even recently, to achieving it. In the 90s alone constitutional amendments involving balancing the budget came to serious Congressional votes at least once in six different years—1990, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, and 1997. In ‘92, ‘94, and ‘97 the Balanced Budget Amendment came up only a handful of votes short of achieving the two-thirds majority needed in both Houses.

Without getting too much into the weeds it is significant to note that the amendment in 1992 was sponsored by a Democrat—Charles Stenholm of Texas. In the House it garnered 116 of its 280 yes votes from Democrats with only 3 of its 153 no votes coming from Republicans (2) and Independents (1). One of the two attempts at passage in 1997 (S.J Res.12), though excluding Social Security, was not only sponsored by North Dakota Democrat Byron Dorgan but was shockingly co-sponsored by both Diane Feinstein and Harry Reid. In light of their recent attitudes and votes on spending one can only guess at the numbers of skins each has had to shed to evolve their position from then to now.

As frustrating to the bill’s advocates as these votes were they were dwarfed by the events of 1995. The fate of the 1995 Balanced Budget Amendment, knowing what has transpired since, has to stand as the mother of all “the one that got away” stories. With the addition of just one more Senator’s vote the amendment would have passed, gone to the States for ratification, and the Federal Budget would have, by Constitutional mandate, been forced to be balanced as soon as 1997 and no later than 2002. From 1997 to 2010 our Federal Debt grew from $5.4 to $13.6 trillion dollars. This is an addition of $8.2 trillion that could have been avoided by changing this increase from being merely unconscionable to being unconstitutional. Adding to the agony is that, under intense pressure from President Clinton, six Senators that had voted for a nearly identical amendment in ‘94 switched to a no vote in ‘95. Among the six were Byron Dorgan, Diane Feinstein, and Harry Reid, who all, as noted before, would go on to sponsor and co-sponsor a similarly spirited Constitutional Amendment in 1997.

While the details of this history are ugly there also lies within it a glimmer of hope and perhaps a blueprint for future success. As sad as it is that constitutionally confining our Legislators is needed, it is equally as promising that achieving such a feat was that closely at hand. Resetting the same debate in 2011 includes facing the identical sticking points and opponents that killed the effort in the 90s, namely the inclusion of Social Security and the unions.

Though counter-productive I would favor excluding Social Security if this compromise was the difference between non-passage and passage. This makes strategic sense both because Social Security reform is better achieved as a separate issue and even with it excluded the amendment would make a massive difference. In terms of the union position of opposing due to potential cuts in wages and safety net services, I would not give an inch of concession. Here the truth is that, barring a sustained economic boom, these things will have to be reduced. The fact that the National debt has more than doubled since the last time this issue was hotly debated not only adds to the causes urgency but makes a public showdown with the unions increasingly winnable.

Also different this time around is a new proposal offered up by Representatives Jeb Hensarling of Texas and Mike Pence of Indiana. Like the Balanced Budget Amendments of the 90s, and most common sense solutions, it is very simple and consists of only a few paragraphs. The Spending Limit Amendment states that the total annual outlays of the Federal government shall not exceed 20% of the United States yearly economic output. The two exceptions to this being that Congress could provide for a specific increase with a two-thirds vote in each House and could waive the provision while a declaration of war was in effect.

Every serious thinking Conservative should begin their own investigation and analysis of this and other likeminded proposals. Legally binding pieces of legislation dealing with how Congress spends money will not only be at the forefront of political debate in the coming years, but is the one area that provides the Tea Party movement an opportunity to leave a lasting legacy. Though failing in this effort in the 90s can be called “the one that got away,” coming up short this time around likely will rename the story “the one that broke the camel’s back.”

Iowa’s Gubernatorial Inaugural

Iowa’s Gubernatorial Inaugural

I would have liked to have gotten this posted Friday, but family issues interjected themselves.

As you know, both Governor Terry Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds were sworn in to their respective offices Friday.  The Inauguration ceremony, which is conducted as a joint session of the Iowa House and Iowa Senate, was held at Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines.  There was appropriate pomp and respect in the procession and swearing in of both Reynolds and Branstad, and about 2,000 people were present to witness the event.

The music at the event was awesome, and the selection of songs by the Heartland Youth Choir was wonderful.  I deeply appreciate the pride and respect given to our flags and the servicemen and women conducting during the presentation of the colors.

One can find some thoughtful and insightful thoughts from Shane Vanderhart (and later reflections as well), Kathy Obradovich, and Bleeding Heartland (yes, a liberal perspective shouldn’t hurt now and then).

Both gave speeches that provided an introduction into a kind of new beginning for state government in Iowa, and the foundation of their thoughts on how state government should serve Iowans.

Lieutenant Governor Reynolds offered some thoughts on the values being brought to Iowa government, and emphasized government’s need to listen to its people and focus on key areas like education while encouraging Iowans to proactively reach out to those around them in need.  She use the story of the Pender family in Windsor Heights to help emphasize this.

Governor Branstad more or less kept to his promise of a relatively short speech, but was long on promise.  The core message was that there would be a “new covenant” between government and Iowans.  His presentation focused on 5 main principles:

  1. We have too much government and it must be reduced
  2. Government must serve the people
  3. It is time to restore integrity and transparency to our government decision-making processes
  4. A renewed commitment to provide the best education in the world
  5. We must celebrate success

The Governor’s speech was filled with a substantial amount of passion and emphasis on the areas that need work, and I was intrigued by the number of times the audience rose to their feet in response to his words.  The message itself, a message of the kind of government many have been calling for, a message of Iowans reaching out and helping other Iowans directly instead of waiting for government to act as a proxy, a message of renewing our commitment to education and commerce… this message is a good start for the new administration.

It’s interesting to note that in other countries, a change in leadership is ofter referred to as a “new government”.  We don’t tend to use that expression in the US so much, but it seems an appropriate expression at this time.

It’s worth a read.

That said, I was reminded in a conversation with my dad tonight about the cyclic nature of history and politics.  I’m personally encouraged by what the Governor shared on Friday, and between his administration, Iowa’s new Republican House and growing Republican presence in the Senate.  My hopes are high that we will be able to get our fiscal house in order and move to more careful spending.

However, we have been here before and our tendency has been to start off on the right foot (no pun intended) and end up spending ourselves into a stupor.  It will be difficult, but as citizens we need to be vigilant regarding the work of government and expect, nay, demand scrupulous management of our state’s resources from the beginning to the end of each term of office of our representatives and Governor.  It is a mistake to push the cart in the right direction and hope it reaches its destination unaltered.

The citizens needs to keep the cart straight.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A lot of people worked hard to prepare for this event and the ball later that day.  One person I want to mention whom I noticed in the procession was Mike Cook, who was a member of the Inaugural Committee.  There were clearly a number of great people on the committee, but Mike is someone I have worked with throughout my tenure with Polk County Republicans, and have admired him during that time.

Mike Cook has achieved greatness in my eyes because of his commitment to working as hard as he can to support the goals of our party despite physical challenges that would keep many away from any volunteer activities.  He is reliable, consistent, focused on the goal, and totally supportive of the party’s work.  Rarely do we have a need for volunteers where Mike does not show up. Whether it’s parades, phone calls, office work, manning a booth at an event, helping with setup, speaking before a group, Mike is always ready to step up and do what it takes to make a difference.

We have a lot of hard working volunteers, but Mike Cook shines brightly among them.

The One That Got Away:  The Story of the $8.2 Trillion Vote

Expanded Coverage On TCR

If you’ve followed The Conservative Reader at all over the past few years, you’ve undoubtedly noticed that 2009 and 2010 were a bit light in content.  Although we had started ramping up in 2009, we also got engaged in work with the Polk County Republican Party in Iowa.  That work, along with other priorities, made it very difficult to provide timely commentary and updates on key topics.  Since my term of office has concluded with the party, there is time to provide more frequent updates.

2011 will likely include a number of changes, all for the better I hope.  The first change you should notice right away, especially if you are interested in Iowa politics.  We’ve added a few new sections, and have links to those sections in our sidebar.  They are:

As we receive updates in these topic areas from various sources, we will update the sections as quickly as possible.  The most recent headlines from these sections will appear on the Iowa Section of The Conservative Reader in the sidebar as well.  As the year progresses, we will look at adding other sections as well.

We appreciate you taking the time to visit our site and read some of the commentary from our writers.  As we progress through 2011, we would like to hear your feedback on the changes we are making, your thoughts about our content, style, topics, or anything that makes The Conservative Reader of interest to you.  We want you to visit often, and hope to earn your interest.

Wishing you a bright and fulfilling new year,

Art Smith, Publisher

The One That Got Away:  The Story of the $8.2 Trillion Vote

Violence Can’t Solve America’s Problems

The shooting in at a Tucson political meeting Saturday was abhorrent.  We are praying for the injured and the families of those who died.

And for the young man who thought this was somehow an answer to our nation’s problems.

Gabrielle Giffords did nothing to deserve this or any violent attack.  I don’t know a lot about the Arizona congresswoman, but in briefly reviewing her web site, I’m struck by the fact that she has been driving a campaign for fiscal restraint, including reducing Congressional pay.  At the moment, I see her as one of the good guys.  But even people like Barney Frank and Charlie Rangel do not deserve to be attacked violently.

It seems that the shooter is possibly a deranged conspiracy theorist.  Unfortunately, there are times when the lines blur between some of these folks and legitimate political advocates.  Although I’ve heard that there are some that are already pointing fingers at conservative organizations as if they are promoting this type of violence, I’ve seen little advocacy for violent protest among those I know in the Tea Party, the Republican Party, or other aligned organizations.  Our tendency is to try to find a problem to solve in the midst of a situation like this, but sometimes there is no problem to solve except to incarcerate the person responsible.  Finding other scapegoats is not productive.

In a similar vein, I am hoping that this tragedy does not become a new reason for more government intervention in our lives. While this is a gut-wrenching affair, it should not be seen as justification for further attacking the 2nd Amendement.  Sean McClanahan has some great comments at Des Moines Gun Rights Examiner.

However, for those who advocate that violence is somehow becoming the only answer to solving the problems we see in our government, it simply is not.  It has become easy to try and draw comparisons between our lives today and the lives of those who formed our country.  The comparison is sadly wanting, and cannot be used as an excuse for violent action, nor threatening statements.  The nice thing about our country and form of government is that we can work through our issues intelligently. Unless we suffer from physical subjugation, I cannot conceive of any reason for violence to achieve our agenda.  If we are incapable of making our case before the People, violence cannot be a suitable alternative.

Not now, not ever.

Matt Strawn Gains Second Term

Matt Strawn Gains Second Term

Matt Strawn, Chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa (RPI) for the past two years, ran unopposed this morning and was elected unanimously by RPI’s State Central Committee.  More information can be found here.

Matt has provided very solid leadership these past two years and was no small part in the Republican election victories in 2010.  I’ve had the opportunity to work with him during this time and have found him to be extremely effective at leading his staff and he has a strong sense of what really needs to be done to ensure that Republican priorities are moved forward.  He is a valuable asset to Republicans in Iowa.

It’s also great to see that Jim Kurtenbach will continue as RPI Co-chair.  Congratulations to both Matt and Jim!

The One That Got Away:  The Story of the $8.2 Trillion Vote

A New Year, A New Congress

Out with the old, in with the new, goes the standard cliche every year about this time.  No, this is not a reference to Nancy Pelosi’s age, although incoming House Speaker John Boehner is 9 years younger.  Speaker Boehner does represent a new attitude and the resulting optimism is being reflected in the markets and the broader economy.


  • Retail sales, Christmas sales, were up significantly over 2009
  • Consumer and business confidence for November and December have inched higher
  • Jobless numbers are moving downward, evidenced by today’s ADP employment report that suggested 297,000 new private sector jobs were created in December (this is a big number!)

This is not a coincidence.  This is, however a direct result of increased optimism in the country due to the November election and subsequent Republican control of the House.  It is a direct result of Congress extending the Bush tax cuts in November.  It is a direct result of the repudiation of the Obama/Reid/Pelosi economic agenda.  Republicans have a huge opportunity to make the economy and employment the primary issue in 2011.  In the words of that great philosopher James Carville, “It’s the economy, stupid”.

In addition to repealing the two collosal and horrid pieces of legislation, (ObamaCare and Financial Institutions Reform), Congress needs to deal with several other hangovers from the Pelosi/Reid years.  First, Julian Assange should be tried and convicted of being the cyber-terrorist that he is, and he needs to be treated like any other terrorist.  Second, the federal government needs to be starved into submission.  Follow the model Chris Christie has set in New Jersey.  Get the unions under control (and with it, the unfunded pension liabilities).  Finally, any free trade agreements with valued allies and trading partners, such as Colombia and South Korea, should be ratified and signed as soon as possible.

Movement in these directions will reinforce the current optimism prevailing in the country, promote private sector job growth, encourage banks to lend again, and as a result, generate revenues for not only the federal treasury, but state and local governments as well.  The last two years nearly ruined us as a nation.  We have an opportunity to correct the damage.  2011 is a new year.  Let’s hope the new Congress can build on it.

The One That Got Away:  The Story of the $8.2 Trillion Vote

Steve Scheffler: It’s Time To Replace Steele

Steve SchefflerSteve Scheffler is Iowa’s National Committeeman to the Republican National Committee and serves along with Kim Lehman, Iowa’s National Committeewoman, in representing Iowa Republicans on the National Committee.

Steve provided the following update regarding his thoughts about the upcoming RNC Chair election about a week and a half ago. I had hoped to get it posted earlier, but the holidays have been too enjoyable to focus on other things.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

As your Republican National Committeeman for Iowa, I wanted to give you an update on the race for Chairman of the Republican National Committee. The election will be held on January 14, 2011 and we will be electing a chairman for a 2-year term.

I had the privilege of attending a candidate forum on December 1st and then also a candidate interview process on December 2nd. All the announced or potential candidates for chairman appeared at the interview session except for the current chairman, Michael Steele. Each candidate was given an ample period of time to make their case to be the chairman. Each of these individual interview sessions was followed by a 30 minute Q & A time.

The candidates who made presentations were (Note: All Potential Candidates were invited, and only Michael Steele did not attend):

Gentry Collins, former Political Director of the RNC, for Executive Director of Republican Party of Iowa.

Saul Anuzis, National Committeeman (Michigan), former Michigan State Party Chairman.

Mari Cino. Maria served different stints at the RNC and was the former Executive Director of the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee.

Mike Duncan, former RNC Chairman (who has now announced that he will not be running).

Ann Wagner, former RNC co-chair, former Missouri State Party Chairman, former ambassador to Luxemburg.

Reince Priebus, Wisconsin State Party Chairman, former Legal Counsel of the RNC.

All the candidates made good presentations and made their case as to why they believed they were best suited to be our next chairman. I took extensive notes and asked many questions of the candidates. Questions posed to the candidates by me and other RNC members in attendance focused on fundraising, strategy and voter contact, management, leadership and their personal stance on public policy issues.

I am sure that you know that since the election, I have made it clear that I will not be supporting Michael Steele on any ballot. I like Michael as a person, but the race about the next chairman is about finding the very best person who will have the ability to run a “tight ship” and put us in a competitive position to deny Barak Obama a 2nd term, retain our majority in the U.S. House, take back the U.S. Senate—and above all, put a stop to the march towards Socialism by restoring constitutional principles, and to saving our Republic!

The Steele administration, to say the least, has been an embarrassment and a disservice to the Republican Party and to conservative constitutional principles. I had hoped that Michael Steele would have learned from his early mistakes—but that was not to be. A short list of the embarrassments would have to include:

The $2,000.00 reimbursement to a donor who paid for a group trip to a lesbian bondage-themed strip club.

Steele’s reported interest in buying a private jet.

His giving speeches for pay.

Calling Afghanistan a “war of Obama’s choosing.”

Stating that abortion is an individual choice.

The public ridicule of Rush Limbaugh.

Declaring that the District of Columbia deserved a voting member in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The fiasco over excessive spending in making preparations for the 2012 Republican National Convention.

The disgusting email sent out in Iowa downplaying the danger of the same-sex marriage ruling by the Iowa Supreme Court.

Revelation that the over-paid RNC Coalitions Director is not even a registered Republican. (In fact, voted recently in a Democrat primary)

Cancellation of the 72-hour get-out-the-vote program (lack of finances)

Above all, the RNC Chairman must be an individual who has the willingness and capability to spend endless hours making larger-type donor calls. It has come to light that many of the larger donors from the past were not even asked by Steele.

The Democrat National Committee netted substantially more finances than the RNC in this election cycle. In the political environment that we now have, it should have been the RNC that experienced record fundraising. Statistics seem to point out that as a result of the lackluster fundraising, that we probably lost at least 2 U.S. Senate seats, 20 or more U.S. House races and 3 or 4 governor races that could have been won had Mr. Steele been spending his time making those donor calls.

But now we have an opportunity to set the Republican Party leadership on the right course!  All five announced candidates other than Steele (Cino, Wagner, Anuzis, Collins, Priebus) are all preferable over Steele. I spent many hours stacking up the qualities and strengths of each candidate. I would be more than willing to visit with you one-on-one to give you my evaluation of each candidate. If you wish to visit about this evaluation process, please feel free to call me on my cell at (515)971-7363.

I have made a personal endorsement of Reince Priebus, the current Wisconsin Republican State Party Chairman. I believe that Reince is the person who will bring a sense of order and correctness to our National Party. Reince has shown his leadership abilities! He came into a party in Wisconsin that faced Democrat control in about every aspect of state and federal political representation. Not only did Reince help eliminate a major debt problem in his state, but he also raised record amounts of money—around 14.5 million dollars in 3 ½ years under his watch.

He is a true professional in every way. He recruited solid, conservative candidates at all levels. Reince worked well with the tea party members and outside organizations. He organized one of the best ground operations in the entire country. The result was taking back the Governor’s office, defeating far-left U.S. Senator Russ Feingold with a staunch constitutional conservative Ron Johnson, taking over both branches of the Wisconsin Legislature with victories over the speaker in the House and the majority leader in the Senate and flipping two U.S. Congressional districts. No other state had such a phenomenal turn around!

And last but certainly not least, Reince is a pro-life, pro-family, limited government advocate. He will make us proud, and I am honored to serve on his Kitchen Cabinet in an effort to help get over the finish line at the Winter RNC meeting.

Again, please contact me if you have questions.


Steve Scheffler
National Committeeman, Iowa

Jack Whitver Wins GOP Nomination In Iowa Senate District 35

Jack Whitver Wins GOP Nomination In Iowa Senate District 35

After 5 ballots, Jack Whitver tonight won the Republican Nomination for the special election in Senate District 35 at a nominating convention held at the Kirkendall Public Library in Ankeny.

“I’m honored to be the Party’s nominee and I intend to keep the seat in the Republican column. I promise to keep promoting conservative values in the state of Iowa,” said the local business owner and law student.  Jack, his wife Rachel and their newborn daughter live in Ankeny.

Whitver will face a candidate to be selected by Democrats on Tuesday January 18th. Democrats will select a candidate on Monday of next week (January 3rd) to oppose Whitver.

Highlights from tonight’s convention in Senate District 35.

Meeting opened with full room… standing room only. Jim Kirkenbach convened as was immediately elected as the convention chair. Gopal Krishna was elected secretary.

The rules were presented.  A motion to modify the rules to allow discussion amongst the body after speeches and before voting failed. The rules were then approved as written.

The following people were nominated:

  • Matthew DeVries
  • Larry Voorhees
  • Carol Miller
  • Jim Gocke
  • Kevin Koester
  • Jack Whitver

A delegate asked the candidates to “…not surprise us with something from your past … tell us what you need to tonight.”

Matt DeVries gave a good speech. He covered a number of the expected conservative topics… including the comment that “abortion is an act of violence”.

Jim Gocke talked a lot about his background growing up and how it affected his mindset. Different events “sharpened my pencil”.  No clear message on positions, although he did handout information as well.  Jim is pretty well known in the community through his law practice.

Kevin Koester shared some family background. He said that his positions are well documented… jokingly shared about some family nefariousness.  He made a strong case for using his experience in the House to shepard key legislation through the Senate.  Kevin was reelected in November as the representative for Iowa House District 70, which makes up half of Iowa Senate District 35.

Carol Miller is a farm wife… agriculture is a large part of this district (District 35 is largely rural). She has a history of various roles representing the interest of agriculture and general public policy, including travelling to DC to address policy issues.

Larry Voorhees said he “doesn’t like liberalism and doesn’t like empty ballots”. In 2008 he ran for Iowa House in District 68 against Democrat Rick Olson even though the odds were against him. He “won’t roll over and play dead”. He explained his position on abortion as unwavering with no exceptions.

Jack Whitver gave a very solid speech, covering several key conservative topics, as Matt did, at one point stating that it was “wrong to mislead Iowans by telling them we have a blanced budget”.   Jack wants term-limits.  He said that “voters now see the weakness of big government” and are expecting substantive change.  Below is a video of Jack’s speech, courtesy of The Iowa Republican (Craig Robinson).


Any of these candidates seemed very likely to serve Republicans well.

Ballots were immediately provided.

First ballot:

  • Devries 21.3
  • Gocke 34.1
  • Koester 12.7
  • Miller .7
  • Voorhees 0
  • Whitver 28.7

Larry Voorhees withdrew.

Second bellot:

  • Devries 20.5
  • Gocke 36.2
  • Koester 6.6
  • Miller 0
  • Whitver 36.7

Carol Miller is then dropped since the rules stipulate that after the second ballot, the person with the least votes in each round is dropped.

Third ballot:

  • Devries 20.8
  • Gocke 39.4
  • Koester 3.3
  • Whitver 36.4

Koester drops by rules

Fourth ballot:

  • Devries 16.9
  • Gocke 39.4
  • Whitver 45

DeVries drops by rules

Fifth and final ballot:

  • Gocke 36.4
  • Whitver 63.6

Jim Gocke gave a short speech followed by an equally short acceptance speech from Jack.

Kudos to those running the meeting… very efficient.  And the crowd was very engaged but polite.  A very pleasant experience.

Craig Robinson at The Iowa Republican has a great write-up of the event as well.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I sat through the convention in the back with Craig Robinson, who runs The Iowa Republican web site.  Craig is fun to work with, and he never has his own access to the internet at events like this.  I had my recently acquired cellular hotspot with me and I was happy to share it with Craig, but it would not work properly (still not sure why… I will have to work on it tomorrow).  The wireless at the library was not strong enough to work for us, so we did all of our tweeting from our phones.

Anyhow, Craig predicted that IF the voting went to five ballots, Jack Whitver would be the winner.  Craig Robinson was Nostradamus.

Party Politics and Leadership Restraint

Party Politics and Leadership Restraint

Here in Polk County we have a special election coming up to replace State Senator Larry Noble (R-35), who has been appointed to be the new commissioner of the Iowa Department of Public Safety.  The special election will be held on January 18th, and Republicans will be holding a nominating convention tonight to select a candidate.  Democrats will meet to select their candidate on January 3rd.

A few members of the Republican Party of Iowa’s State Central Committee (SCC) decided to come out in support of one candidate.  That story, and some opinion, is well covered by Craig Robinson of The Iowa Republican.  Also, highlights of all five of the announced candidates for tonight’s convention are found here.

Some of the comments left at The Iowa Republican were from people that don’t see why the public support of a candidate by members of the SCC is a concern.

The answer is hardly black and white on its face.  I have myself worked to remain neutral during the 2010 primary while serving on Polk County’s GOP leadership team (and I am confident that those county leaders are remaining neutral as they did earlier this year) because it seemed most consistent with my own approach to fairness.

I see two principles of leadership at play here:

  1. Leaders should lead, which often means providing guidance to those who are being lead when necessary.  For example, when working through or executing a plan, a leader should be able to articulate what needs to be accomplished, and perhaps how.
  2. In party politics (as in public elections), leaders should allow those who hold the power to elect (in this case, the convention delegates) and those who are competing with each other for a position to do so in a fair and unfettered manner.

Overt support of a candidate by any members of the SCC is not, on its face, in contradiction with the second principle. However, there are some people who will be swayed by the endorsement and will vote without conducting their own due diligence.  This may be a fact of life, but I like to encourage people to do some research on their own when possible.

The endorsement may also give the appearance of favoritism and a sense that perhaps those leaders do not trust the delegates to make a sound decision (or the “right” decision) on their own.  If nothing else, it can “feel” fettered.

Of greatest concern to me is the impact that leadership endorsements have on other candidates, both those running against the endorsee, and those who may want to run in the future.  It is unnecessarily demoralizing to a candidate who, if they win the nomination, may not believe the party fully supports their candidacy.  And those who may consider running in the future could easily believe that they are doomed if they are not hand-picked by party leadership.  It should be clear how these results can impact the success of the party, which needs qualified candidates who are willing to step up and work hard to win.  Putting up internal barriers, whether perceived or real, will limit the party’s opportunities and long-term success in recruiting qualified candidates.

I began by identifying two principles, and have not addressed the first one.  Does the endorsement provide the kind of guidance that, as members of the SCC, is needed by the delegates?  I submit that it does not (I do not have contra-argument, simply no supporting argument comes to mind), and as such it seems the better side of integrity to avoid the appearance of impropriety and act in a way that will help the party in the long run (candidate development) by remaining neutral while the delegates work their way through this decision.

These SCC members have already hurt themselves and the party, perhaps not grossly, by endorsing a single candidate.  They should take some time and think about this before acting in a similar fashion in the future.  They should keep in mind that it’s not about them or their preferred candidate, it’s about the party as a whole.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I’d like to acknowledge an example of someone who took the opposite approach.  My friend David Chung, who runs, was on the SCC when he decided to support Christian Fong for Governor.  He resigned from the SCC in order to ensure he did not create a conflict of interest, and because he felt it was important to provide public support for Christian.  David’s enthusiasm and the opportunities he had to create visibility for Christian, made this a good decision.  His integrity and care for the party make him a valuable asset to Republicans, and I’m glad that after Christian’s campaign ended he was able to be re-elected to the SCC this year.

The One That Got Away:  The Story of the $8.2 Trillion Vote

A Victory For President Obama

Several weeks ago, President Obama made one of the best decisions of his Presidency.

He decided to support South Korea by after North Korea attacked the island of YeonPyeong.  And he did it with the strength of our military by moving them into the area and engaging in military exercises with our friends in the South.

I was afraid at the time that he would turn his back on Seoul, but instead he did the right thing for the region and for the United States.  Well done, Mister President.

This morning, South Korea followed through on its plans to conduct artillery drills on that same island, plans which had brought promises from the North that there would be further attacks due to this new “provocation”.

And the result of it all was… nothing.  The drills proceeded without incident, the North kept quiet (except to say it “did not feel any need to retaliate”, and we can all go on without worrying about yet another messy war to deal with today.

Although the experts don’t seem to know why Pyongyang held back her fury, it seems pretty likely that the North was trying to leverage opportunities for improvements in economic relations, and did not really have the stomach for either an extended conflict or the potential for all out decimation.  The South’s partnership with the United States is, in my opinion, no small part of the successful conclusion to today’s events.  And President Obama deserves credit for that.

Today’s results should provide continued evidence that a strong US military with a demonstrated willingness to follow through on her commitments to her allies will be a keystone to ensuring general peace around the world.  While we are struggling with conflicts that are sometimes hard for us to accept, walking away and disarming our forces will only embolden countries like North Korea to press further than they have a right to.

It may not be perfect, but it works and is necessary.

Please pray for our soldiers and a day when they may never need to fight again.

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