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When does accountability begin?

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Leverage: don’t make deals without it.

–Donald Trump, The Art of the Deal, 1987

It’s tempting to go Machiavellian during primaries. Even during general elections after primaries. But there’s a great danger for the grassroots.

If we don’t hold candidates accountable during the race when we have all the leverage, how can we possibly hold office-holders accountable? 

Check out this paragraph from the Washington Post:

Cruz offered a lawyerly defense of his campaign’s actions, blaming media reporting for the mistake. He also apologized to Carson. But the low-key retired neurosurgeon sliced apart Cruz’s defense with a quiet but deadly response that completely undermined the senator’s argument.

I’ll give you that WaPo is no Cruz fan. But they’re also not Trump fans. And they think Carson’s lost his once-great mind.

But to say the Washington Post is in bed with the GOP establishment would be pretty bold. They’re not. The Washington Post is in bed with the Clinton establishment. And the Clinton establishment thinks Cruz is their most beatable opponent. Hillary would love to see Ted Cruz win the GOP nomination. (Even though you and I know she might regret it.)

So that paragraph from WaPo is probably an honest assessment.

“Lawerly” is not a good sign. But “lawerly” rings true, doesn’t it?

As a Heritage Action Sentinel I’m charged with holding elected officials accountable. To some degree that means getting around their weasel words and lawerly justifications.

I agree that Ted Cruz’s ideological positions are pure. No doubt.

But his campaign’s behavior in Iowa was less than honorable. Just ask Dr. Carson.

I’m not asking Senator Cruz to change any of his positions (although he might want to change the order of precedence). I am asking that he change his tactics. And maybe some of his campaign staff.

And you and I have a lot of options between now and the Missouri primary. That’s our leverage for accountability. I plan to use mine.

Bottom line: if you don’t hold candidates accountable, don’t bother trying to hold elected officials accountable. You’re wasting your time. They know you’ll cave.

3 Top Ways to Clean Up St. Louis County Government

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Meet Chip Tuesday, March 22 from 5:30 to 7:00. Details below.

L.K. Wood for County Assessor - Saint Louis CountyYou can help clean up St. Louis County government. And you can have a good time doing it.  Here’s how.

1.  Like L. K. “Chip” Wood’s Facebook page. It’ll take only a second, and you’ll feel more connected and productive just by doing it.

2.  Visit Chip Wood for Assessor and enter your email address in the email sign-up box on the right.  While you’re there, take a look around and get to know Chip Wood a little better.

3.  Attend a Meet and Greet with L. K. “Chip” Wood this Tuesday, March 22 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.  at the Log Cabin, 3751 S. Lindbergh Blvd.  It’s just $25 per couple.  Please call 314-909-0109 to make reservations. [click for map]

Tuesday’s event is sponsored by Bonhomme Republican Women. 

Do You Hear The People Sing?

Reading Time: 1 minutes It’s been almost two years since we met. At the time, I had no idea where this was going. Or what I was doing.

I still don’t know what I’m doing, but we all know where America is headed.

Beginning Tuesday, because of your passionate, tireless efforts, America is returning to the right course to meet the destiny our founders envisioned.

On Tuesday, your vote, joined with millions of others, will turn the country around.  Or at least arrest the dangers drift we’ve been on.

We will elect national candidates like Ed Martin and Roy Blunt.  We’ll replace the pro-Obama Auditor with Tom Schweich.  And we’ll elect countless qualified State legislators like Paul Curtman, Gary Fuhr, Brian Nieves, and others.

Join us Tuesday evening for a watch party and celebration at 4512 Hampton Avenue, just south of Hampton Village.  We’ll have trolley service to Ed Martin’s and Gary Fuhr’s celebrations.

Thank you for the most amazing journey of my life.  And thank God it’s only the beginning.

A Magical Moment

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On November 5, 1980, ABC News Nightline was devoted to the aftermath of the election.  Ronald Reagan won 51-41 over incumbent Jimmy Carter.  Republicans took the Senate and picked up 30+ seats in the house. 

The YouTube clip below shows us only the beginning of the program.  But it’s a great reminder of what lies ahead for movement conservatives.  Well, what lies ahead IF we continue to focus on moving the conversation toward first principles and away from the class warfare and Balkanization that Democrats love so much.

What Are We For?

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A few weeks back, the Christian Science Monitor asked me to write an op-ed. The subject was, “If the Tea Party ran America, how would things change; and why do you think you’ll win?”

The call was my opportunity to break from the easy, unassailable position that things are bad and getting worse. It meant coming up with a solution or two.  And solutions already find disagreement somewhere.

For over a year I’ve said that the Tea Party movement, begun out of anger, must shift its energy over time from anger to solutions.  Now, I have no idea the exact shape of these slopes, but I’ve always pictured a graph something like this:


By November 2010, when our candidates accept the honor of serving in Congress or state capitols, we better have armed them with solutions to the problems developed over the past decades.

On May 23, the Washington Post carried an op-ed by Senator Bob Bennett. Bennett recently lost his bid to stand for re-election when Utah Tea Partyers targeted him for retirement.  In his op-ed, Senator Bennett correctly challenges Tea Partyers to move beyond negative slogans and to adopt positive reforms.

Their two strongest slogans are “Send a message to Washington” and “Take back America.” I know both very well because they were the main tools used to defeat me in Utah’s Republican convention two weeks ago. They also worked in Kentucky on Tuesday. They are more powerful than most pundits inside the Beltway realize.

More importantly, he points out that, by November or next year, Americans will be ready for sunny optimism again.

We can advance positive ideas, recognize today’s problems, and point to that brighter future all at the same time.  Honestly, that’s what leaders do every day.

No fool would believe that the incoming batch of legislators can solve all the problems generated over fifty years. But we must tackle a few.  I outlined some of the areas for consideration in the CS Monitor piece, but I’d propose just three reforms for the first term: Repeal the healthcare takeover, overhaul the tax code, and set an expiration date on one entitlement program.

Repeal Healthcare Takeover

The first step toward getting out of debt is to stop borrowing money. The easiest way for Washington to stop borrowing money is to stop creating new entitlement programs.

Now, Barack Obama will veto the repeal.  Do it anyway.  The left will claim we have no solution. Let them.  The American people have already decided this, and they came down on our side. The debate is over: ObamaCare lost everywhere except Washington, DC.

The replacement will be to unshackles states from crafting experiments to determine the best solution.  Other states will follow the successful models and shun the failures.  When done at the state level, experimentation works. When Washington experiments, the whole nation is in danger.

Overhaul the Tax Code

The income tax system in the United States is a sham designed to perpetuate itself by breeding succeeding generations of accountants, lawyers, and tax experts who will lobby to sustain an industry.

No more.

We need to begin this overhaul by implementing the system Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp wanted in the 1970s: A flat tax on earnings above a certain threshold.

I don’t know the exact numbers, but I see the new tax form looking like this:


As I said, the exempt amount and the percentage are probably not perfect, but the formula works. The exempted amount would be indexed to inflation to that the government has no incentive to allow inflation to raise your taxes.

This is a formula everyone can understand, with the exception of Washington bureaucrats and politicians.

I know many in the Tea Party movement are fans of the Fair Tax, but I am not, and I’ll explain why: the Fair Tax is impossible to explain and easy to attack.

In Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District race to fill Jack Murtha’s term, the Tea Party candidate, Tim Burns, was portrayed as supporting the Fair Tax.

Most voters didn’t  “get” the Fair Tax idea until Tim’s opponent, Mark Critz, and the DCCC explained it this way: “Tim Burns wants to impose a 25 percent national sales tax on everything you buy.”

Burns lost, and it wasn’t close.

The Fair Tax might represent a much better solution, both economically and Constitutionally, than the Flat Tax.  But if the Fair Tax gets our best candidates defeated and cannot get through Congress, what good is it?  At present, the Fair Tax is simply too complicated to win broad national support.  It involves too many formulas and rebates and repealing the 16th Amendment.

When we get the votes in Congress to repeal the 16th Amendment, I’ll jump onboard the Fair Tax. But let’s do this one step at a time, okay?  Let’s make things better now, then make them best later.  Let’s not make things worse by demanding perfection on day one.

Under the Flat Tax, taxes will go up for some, down for others.  No one will be punished for achieving more.  The deduction of your first $30,000 is more generous than most combined deductions today.

Additionally, there is not marriage penalty because there are no filing statuses other than “Me.”  You worked or didn’t.  You earned or you didn’t.  I don’t care how many kids you have or whether your home is also your office.

Expire One Entitlement

I don’t care which one, but set a formula for eliminating one of the three big entitlements.  I would start with Social Security, which has not only jeopardized our economic future, it encourages otherwise good people to whine and beg for government handouts.

Social Security is a Ponzi scheme that works only if the next generation is much larger than the current one.  When Americans stopped having 4.5 kids per couple, the cookie began to crumble.

There’s a formula for ending Social Security, but it requires we all pay taxes to fund it until its dead. That’s because Congresses have spent all of the Social Security trust fund—and then some.  The SSA hold numerous notes that must be paid out of general revenue.

That’s okay.  If you borrow money, you have to pay it back sometime. And we’re the ones who borrowed this money by refusing to face this monster earlier.  Fine. Let’s get on with it.

First, anyone drawing Social Security or who’s within 15 years of eligibility will receive payments according to the rules in place today.  So I don’t want to hear from Big Old People that I’m stealing their entitlement.  I am not.

Second, those who have already begun paying into Social Security will have a choice: they can receive a tax-free,  lump sum payment equal to their lifetime contribution without interest, or they can leave the money in the SSA until age 65, then receive a lump sum payment including interest equal to the rate of inflation.  Either way, the FICA withholding—the individual’s and the employer’s—stops.

Third, those fortunate souls who are too young to have opened an SSA account never will.  They simply pocket the 16 percent that currently goes to fund a failing system.

States may want to create their own voluntary or even mandatory retirement scheme.  Fine.  That’s how the federalist system works.  I wouldn’t support a mandated state system, but there’s nothing in the Constitution that would prevent a state from adopting such.  The people of the state could always vote out the legislators who created it.


My solutions may not solve all of our problems.  But they will advance four goals of the Tea Party movement:  smaller government, lower taxes, fiscal responsibility, and federalism.

By adopting this list of goals, candidates will move to the right of my chart above, providing solutions instead of just pointing out problems.  Yes, our enemies will throw mud at these ideas: there’s no idea that won’t find critics.

In the end, our mission from day one has been to make America’s future brighter than its brilliant past. We can do that only by moving toward the future we want, not away from the unknowns we’re afraid of.

Please take this poll:

[poll ID=9]

4 Ways to Stop Democrat Sen. Bob Casey From Stealing Your Tax Money to Reimburse SEIU for Bribing Media Matters and Huffington Post

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Dana Loesch and 24th State have revealed the ring of corruption that extends from St. Louis bloggers and local St. Louis leftist rag, through SEIU, to Media Matters and Huffington Post. 

An additional crook in this den of thieves is Democrat Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania. Casey has introduced yet another bailout package.  This time, the bailout is intended to repay corrupt unions like SEIU and AFL-CIO for bankrupting their members’ retirements by bribing the media and politicians.

Here’s what it looks like.

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What You Can Do

  1. Call any SEIU member you know and ask them to quit the corrupt union that beats innocent people for political gain.
  2. Melt Senator Bob Casey’s phone lines and flood his in box (Address and phones below).
  3. Ensure Democrat Bob Casey is a member of the minority following November 2010 elections.
  4. Redistribute, embed the Prezi above everywhere you can.

This is corruption compounded by physical, criminal assault and political intimidation. And Bob Casey want you to fund it at gun point.

Bob Casey’s Contact Info:

393 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: (202) 224-6324
Toll Free: (866) 802-2833
Fax: (202) 228-0604

Poll: Tim Burns Can Take Murtha’s Seat

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The final poll before Tuesday’s special election to fill Jack Murtha’s unexpired seat in the U.S. House shows that Republican Tim Burns is neck and neck with Democrat and pork barrel specialist Mark Critz. (Yes, Critz’s campaign is funded by lobbyists and special interests.)


PPP has it 48 to 47 Burns.

That means GOTV will determine the winner.

If you want to make a difference, here’s the four step plan:

  • Got friends in PA12?  Call them.  Ask them if they intend to vote for Tim Burns on Tuesday*
  • Email friends who live anywhere in western PA, eastern Ohio, or West Virginia asking them to contact their PA12 friends
  • Use twitter, facebook, or any other social networking channels to spread the word
  • Join the nationwide Virtual Phone Bank
  • Pray. For the next two days, let’s set aside One Minute of Prayer at 3:00 p.m. local time. I’ve added a One Minute of Prayer event to our Conservative Calendar.
    (And on Wednesday, we’ll take a moment to thank God for the election, no matter the results. )
    This is a great chance to make a difference and set the tone for 2010.

* Just asking someone if they intend to vote increases the chance that they will vote by 40 percent, according to researcher Dr. Robert Cialdini.

Public Policy Polling

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I realize that most people aren’t reading political insider blogs at 4:30 in the morning. But something in this story bothers me:

But there’s also one big reason why the Democrats may just pull it out- and why Republicans may not have as big an election year as we’re anticipating. And that’s because only 26% of voters in the district have a favorable opinion of Congressional Republicans, with 56% seeing them unfavorably. Voters there aren’t real happy with the Democrats, but the Republican Party hasn’t provided much of an alternative either . . .

Public Policy Polling.

The Republicans have been the minority party in Congress since 2007. Granted, they went berserk from about 2003 until the voters relegated them to the back benches in 2006. The Republicans did a lot to earn that demotion.

But the people running in 2010 are not the same people we fired 2006 and 2008.  Republicans spent irresponsibly the last few years that they ran Congress, but Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid make Tom Delay and Bob Bennett look like skinflints. Let’s look at the actual numbers.

Budget Deficits

The gray lines on the left, except for the last one, belong to Republican Congresses–the deficits and the surpluses.  The 2008 gray and all the red belong to Pelosi and Reid. The trillions and trillions in the future belong to Barack Obama.  Well, the responsibility belongs to Obama; your kids will get stuck with the bill.

You can blame Republicans for a lot of things, but they have not controlled Congress since 2006. A House full of people like Michele Bachmann, Steve King, Todd Akin, and Thaddeus McCotter would make a lot of Americans happy.  And that’s why I joined Ensuring Liberty.