Unknowing Believers

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Big TentI’ll let you in on a little secret.  You ready?

I’m not a “big tent” guy.  To me, “big tent” means we’ll keep adding on beliefs (or abandoning them) until no one disagrees with us.  In other words, “big tent” means pretending to enjoy the beatings we’re given.

“Big tent” is Republican for “surrender.” It’s not for me.

What is for me is broadening and building the base. Let me explain.

Broadening means getting more people involved.  Building means getting the involved to do more. Could it get any simpler?

Actually, it gets more complicated.  That’s because we’ve already tapped out our likeliest allies.  And we did that in September 2009.  By my math, that’s a year and a half since we’ve added new blood to the Tea Party team.

It’s time to start growing again.

In 2009, the first year of the movement, we did two things:  we rallied and we demonstrated.  These public events attracted the people who a) believe what we believe, and b) know it. They told me at Tea Party after Tea Party, “I’m so glad to know I’m not alone.”

So 2009 was the big coming together.  It was all one, long recruitment drive.

Then in 2010, we went into campaign mode.  We took the people had and put candidates into offices.  All tolled, we elected about 800 Tea Party candidates nationwide.  That ain’t bad.
Since the election, we haven’t added to our rosters.  In fact, we might have even lost a few.

It’s time to broaden.

How do we broaden with compromising our values?

Simple.  We act like normal people for a change. We ditch the tri-cornered hats and the fife and drum corps and the 18th century English.  We dress like everyone else, we use modern English with all its ugly colloquialisms, and we smile a lot.

We get happy, because people like being around happy people.  (Just don’t be too happy. As George Carlin said, too happy sounds like a mental condition.)

See, we might have attracted everyone who believes what we believe and knows it; we’ve barely made a dent in the millions upon millions of Americans who believe what we believe but don’t know it yet.

This second group–Unknowing Believers–is the largest political group in the country.  They love liberty, they hate debt, and they like transparency.  They just don’t realize how much they have in common with people of the Tea Party movement.

What they do know is bad for us.  Unknowing Believers know that they don’t like our 18th century shenanigans.  They want to hang out with normal looking people who talk the way they talk.

As long as we keep imitating John Locke’s prose style, the Unknowing Believers will continue to run away from us.

So here’s your mission.  Before Easter, you will:

  • Stop wearing tri-cornered hats
  • Cancel the fife and drum corps you booked
  • Smile at someone who looks like he or she might not be a tea partier
  • Strike up a friendly, non-political conversation if that person smiles back

That’s it.  Don’t hand her a Constitution.  Don’t bad-mouth Obama.  Just smile and talk.  Exchange emails.  Find something in common to bond you.

Eventually, the state of the economy, the national debt, the price of gas, the creepy Big Brotherishness of the Obama administration will come up as your relationship grows.

Pounce.

Until then, just make a friend.

Steve Tilley vs. the Constitution

Reading Time: 2 minutes

And, he’s back.

Missouri House Speaker Steve Tilley (R-Perryville) has signed onto legislation designed to circumvent the Electoral College in presidential elections. Like his position on embryonic stem cell research and the national debt, Tilley seems far out of step with Missouri’s Republican base on this. And this guy wants to be Lt. Governor?  Please.

This might be old news to some.

I see that Big Government’s Josie Wales blogged about the national effort last August. But this is the first I heard of it in Missouri, and the first I’d heard that Tilley’s a co-sponsor (h/t Caroline Mueller). As Josie said:

Under the progressive-statist plan to eliminate the electoral college, a state’s popular will would be rejected for the national will.  I cannot think of anything more un-democratic than changing someone’s vote without his consent!  But this is the plan states like Masachusetts now encourage.

Make no mistake: on this issue, Tilley sides with the hardest of the hard left.

The movement’s goal is to get states to require Electors to vote according to the national popular vote instead of the according to the way residents of a state vote.

For example, in 2008, Missouri’s 11 Electors voted for John McCain and Sarah Palin because they won the majority of votes in the state.  Under HB974, which Tilley co-sponsored, those votes would have gone to Barack Obama because Obama won the popular vote.

If the law passed in all 50 states, the electoral college would always be a unanimous vote for the popular vote winner, making the body meaningless.

Direct democracy fails.

The U.S. Constitution guarantees every state a republican form of government.  And as conservative activist Caroline Mueller pointed out privately, if we’re going to do away with the Electoral College, the way to do it is through a Constitutional Amendment, not legislative slight-of-hand. (Caroline says she opposes such an amendment, btw.)

But let’s not do it at all.

Luckily, conservative floor leader Tim Jones (R-Ballwin) and other conservatives in the House will fight against this measure to make Missouri’s electoral votes meaningless.

Team Tilley strikes out again.

P.S.  On our end of the political spectrum, Ed Martin has a State Sovereignty page up.

Closing the Wealth Gap

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Face it: you don’t have that many friends. Not that you can rely on, anyway.

On the bright side, you don’t really need friends, do you?  You’re a rock star in your own small way. Who made the varsity swim team?  You did.  Who made honor rolls and deans’ lists? You did.  Who landed your job and got the bonus? You did.

With friends like yourself, who needs friends?

If you make 20 times as much as the next guy in line at Target, who cares?  It was his choice to follow a career path that ends at $42,500 a year.

And you’re almost right.  You’re right until you stop to think how much help you’ve had along the way.

What did your dad and mom do for a living?  Didn’t mom go back to work to afford private coaching? Didn’t dad give up better jobs so he’d never have to miss your swim meets?  Your college roommate hounded you to get better grades when you decided to coast. And didn’t your neighbor has his brother-in-law shop your resume around at the company where you’re now a stud?

Human beings are social animals. We don’t just enjoy other people; we need them for survival of the species.  You can’t breed alone.  You can’t thrive alone no matter what you’ve been told. People who understand their need for cooperation and community are not lacking in self-esteem; they’re lacking in hubris.  There’s a difference.

In The Fourth Turning, historians William Strauss and Neill Howe explain:

Where we once thought ourselves collectively strong, we now regard ourselves as individually entitled.

Yet even while we exalt our own personal growth, we realize that millions of self-actualized persons don’t add up to an actualized society.

Our income disparity in America grew, not as a result of unchecked capitalism, but of unchecked government.

From 1970 (actually, long before 1970, but data on income disparity go back only to 1968) onward, the federal government has, through entitlements and services, built walls of separation between American people.  As the Great Society increased dependency on government, it destroyed the fabric of community.

The government, not business, subdivided the United States from a single nation composed of 50 states, into a 300 million nations composed of one lonely human being.

Where CEOs once understood the importance of their employees, they now see only dehumanized “human resources.” Listen in on a conversation in any company today, and you’ll hear the term again and again:  “Do we have enough resources?”  They don’t mean land, capital, and materials; they mean people.

Entitlements are blinders.  They protect the haves from their moral duty to the have-nots.  They protect the have-nots from personal connection to and reliance upon the haves.  And they protect us all from the human responsibility to look out for each other, to take care of ourselves, to graciously accept the kindness of a stranger.

In other words, government dehumanizes.The poor no longer hope for a rich person to lift them up; they demand that government to hand something out. We see each other as obstacles or burdens, not fellow humans trying to get through the best we can.

In 1970, the average CEO made $212,230 while the average worker made $6,540, or 30.6 percent (source: Portfolio.com).

Today, that gap has grown from 30.6 percent to 265 percent in 2009.  And that 2009 number is low because of the economy—CEO compensation includes stock options and other market-sensitive rewards.  Now the CEO makes $8.5 million compared to the worker’s $32,000.

Socialists exploit this gap. The left sees income disparity as an argument against capitalism.  And too many Republicans ignore the problem, claiming one’s legal income is no one else’s business.

On this, the socialists and the Republicans are both wrong. Socialists are wrong about the cause and the solution; Republicans are wrong about the need for change.

If you take away the government’s unconstitutional entitlement programs, you take away the emotional insulation that separates us from each other.  The CEO and the unemployed both become more reliant upon each other.  Emotional, human bonds replace faceless bureaucracy.  CEOs make less because making 265 times as much as his employees is a business risk he will no longer take.

When I talk about entitlements, I’m talking about all the entitlements—those that allow General Electric to earn $13 billion profit and pay no taxes, and those that allow GM to live beyond its means forever.

It took both corporate and individual welfare to rot the fabric of society. It will take a tea party to weave it back together.

Grab your sewing kit. It’s time to get to work.

Steve Tilley vs. Fiscal Responsibility

Reading Time: 1

Four men risked their political lives to help solve the problem of our lifetimes, but they forgot to massage Steve Tilley’s monstrous ego.

When John McCain (R-AZ) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) agree with Michele Bachmann and Rush Limbaugh, you can bet the issue is beyond debate.

In this case, the issue is the massive U.S. debt and what that debt is about to do to America.

McCain compared the U.S. situation to Greece and Spain, saying we should prepare for a “fiscal meltdown.”

Roy Blunt, meanwhile, said raising the debt ceiling without hard measures to cut spending would be “simply reckless.”

Has Missouri House Speaker Steve Tilley gotten the message?  Apparently not.

Tilley is threatening to knee-cap the spending deal struck by Missouri Senators Lembke, Nieves, Schaaf, and Kraus designed to wean Missouri off Washington’s teat.

According to the News-Leader.com:

And Tilley said the House won’t put too much weight on what he believes the Senate wants him to do.

“I’m not going to be held hostage by a few people,” he said.

Of course not.  Not unless the hostage takers are billionaires.

3 Reasons to Run for Lt. Governor

Reading Time: 1

Patrick Tuohey made some good points about the office of Lieutenant Governor.  Based on that, I thought up all the possible reasons someone would run for LooeyG.

1.  Stepping Stone:  Establish state-wide name recognition and give yourself plenty of time to run for that next office, like U.S. Senate or Governor.

2.  Party Reptile:  If the governor is or is likely to be of the opposite party, you get to be the de facto head of your party in the state.

3.  Caretaker: After a long and successful political career, you’re ready for a slower pace. But you want to continue to serve, to be ready in case you’re needed.

Without casting aspersions  on the current or past Lieutenant Governors of Missouri, it’s worth asking LooeyG candidates why they want that office.  And it would be nice to get an honest response.

If a candidate’s reason is reason 1, you can bet that paving the way for the next office is already more important to him than the job he’s got.

P.S.  There might be one more, fun reason to run . . . but that’s a whole different column.