We Heard From Ann Wagner. Now Let’s Hear From the Clintons’ Victims

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Today, Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO) abandoned her party’s nominee to support a rape accomplice for President. Ann Wagner has lost her moral authority on all matters outside of her own home. I call on Mrs. Wagner to resign from the House of Representatives and to retire gracefully from public life.

Mrs. Wagner seems to believe that being a woman gives her some unique moral vantage point. She forgets that she’s not the only woman in America.

click here to read my take on Trump’s Access Hollywood remarks.

The women who really have a unique moral vantage point on Trump and the Clintons are the many, many women Bill Clinton has raped, molested, and abused. These women were also abused, threatened, belittled, intimidated, and bullied by Mrs. Clinton.

Here’s what a few of these women have to say:

 

Those are some thoughts from Bill and Hillary Clinton’s sexual abuse victims. Compared to their voices, Ann Wagner spews meaningless, selfish babble.

Finally, I see that Senator Roy Blunt is sticking with Trump. Good for Roy. I am glad I endorsed him.

The Strangest Governor Race Ever

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You might be wondering why the Missouri Farm Bureau endorsed Democrat Chris Koster instead of Republican Eric Greitens. The Farm Bureau endorses Republicans about 99% of the time.

If you’re thinking it had to do with policy or personality, you’re thinking wrong. (And, no, it wasn’t because of Koster’s hair, Mark Reardon.) This was all about the establishment vs. the people. It’s about power and control. Greitens threatens the establishment.

Since “the establishment” is vague, I’ll give it a name. In fact, I’ll give it two names. In Missouri, the establishment is Ann Wagner and Roy Blunt. (But mostly Wagner.) And Rex Sinquefield is their financier.

To understand this, let’s look at how Wagner played the Republican gubernatorial race. Remember, Ann is running for Claire McCaskill’s senate seat in 2018.

Think about this:

  • If you’re Ann Wagner and you want a senate seat, wouldn’t you push your friend Catherine Hanaway to run for governor? Win or lose, Catherine’s 2016 run for governor would take her out of the race for U.S. Senate in 2018, would it not? That takes away Wagner’s most formidable rival for money and votes.
  • When Tom Schweich died, why wouldn’t Ann encourage John Brunner to run for governor? John hinted to me that Ann encouraged him to run when we met for coffee in April 2015. (I didn’t secretly tape that conversation, but maybe he did. Ask him.) His wife told people, too, at a Lincoln-Reagan dinner in 2015. People recall that she seemed upset about it at the time. I’m sure Ann had heard that Brunner was thinking about running for Claire’s seat. Plus, John could finance his own campaign for governor. The establishment wanted Brunner to spend his own money to kneecap Eric Greitens. That didn’t work, but, as you know, the establishment sabotaged Brunner in the final weeks of the primary. John has now lost two statewide races in a row, blowing upwards of $30 million of his own money in the process. No wonder Mrs. Brunner was upset.
  • Wagner and Blunt can’t control Greitens making him a threat to the establishment. When Greitens won (by 10 points no less), Ann and Roy went to work for Koster. Publicly, they’ll say they support their party’s nominee for governor. Don’t trust what they say. Believe what you see their friends do. In the shadows, Wagner and Blunt will undercut Greitens and support the Democrat. They’ll tell traditionally Republican organizations and businesses like the Farm Bureau to endorse Koster. That’s just the way the establishment works. As Brunner’s consultant, David Barklage, told me at lunch in 2014, “We can work with Koster.” They’re working with Koster.

Not convinced? Establishment bonds trump party loyalty. Koster used to be a Republican, so it’s not hard for Republicans like Wagner and Blunt to work with him. I have reports that some Missouri business executives are encouraging their employees who supported Greitens in the primary to support Koster because he’ll be good for their businesses. It’s a subtle threat, and it could be illegal. But it’s happening. I’m hearing stories every day. If you work for a company whose senior executives donate to Wagner and Blunt expect some gentle nudges to support Koster.

Look, Eric Greitens is a major threat to the establishment. He has no allegiance to the ownership class. He has no allegiance to the Republican hierarchy. Greitens’ allegiance is to a purpose, and his purpose aligns very well with ordinary people. Firefighters, cops, and teachers love him, so do veterans and their families. And I see huge numbers of young people working for Eric when I go his office in Crestwood. So many young people. The establishment despises these ordinary people.

The Missouri Farm Bureau endorses whoever their highest paid politicians tell them to endorse. You can surmise that the MFB endorsed a Democrat because Ann Wagner and Roy Blunt told them too. They’ll get a pat on the head and some federal money. Expect more organizations with ties to Wagner and Blunt to endorse Koster. It’s just the establishment trying to save its power and control. And it says more about Wagner and Blunt’s power and control than about Greitens’ amazing qualifications.

So don’t sweat it, Greitens fans. Just add the Missouri Farm Bureau to your list of corrupt organizations. And remember: Rex Sinquefield’s donation is pretty much the kiss of death in Missouri elections. (Rex’s $11 million went 0 for 4 Tuesday. I was 5 for 5 and cost me almost nothing.) He’s a smart guy and a DuBourg grad, but Rex Sinquefield couldn’t pick a winner in the hall of fame. We have the numbers.

2016 is the people’s year. Seize it.

 

Whip It. Whip It Good.

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Maybe Ann Wagner’s the problem.

Rep. Ann Wagner (HA-64) is the House Majority Whip. Her job is to know how every GOP member will vote on bills and to cut deals until House leadership gets the numbers it wants.

It’s unfathomable that a majority whip would not have seen the Kevin McCarthy meltdown coming long before the House Republican caucus met to nominate a candidate for speaker. But many accounts suggest that the Republican House leadership thought McCarthy had the votes up to the moment he withdrew.

Wagner vs. The Buchanan Brigades of 1996

In Missouri, Ann built her machine by obeying big donors and bullying conservatives. (I’ve heard great stories about Ann’s brutal attacks on Republicans who supported Pat Buchanan in 1996, defying her dictates to support Bob Dole–the only man in America incapable of defeating Bill Clinton.)

I’m reminded of those “Ann Wagner screamed at me” stories when I read about events leading up to Kevin McCarthy’s decision to withdraw from the race for Speaker because the two events–Missouri’s 1996 presidential caucuses and the Kevin McCarthy nomination–bear remarkable similarities.

In both races, Ann Wagner’s job was to know where key constituents stood and to make sure the establishment had enough votes to win. In both cases, Ann was confident of victory up to the last minute. And in both cases, Ann’s whip count was wrong.

A New Majoritarian Leadership Team

Perhaps the GOP caucus should consider a whip with a better track record of getting the numbers right. More importantly, though, the next House Majority leadership team–from Speaker down–should be a majoritarian leadership team.

As Arthur C. Brooks explains in his awesome book The Conservative Heart:

A key element of majoritarian status is fighting in broad terms for people instead of fighting narrowly against particular evils.

And by “people,” we’re talking all people, not just those who can afford K Street lobbyists and those like Boeing who threaten to move operations to China unless the taxpayers subsidize their business.

The next House leadership won’t completely satisfy Tea Party Congressmen all the time, but by articulating how conservative policy benefits all Americans, especially those who’ve been beaten down by the welfare state, the next Speaker can form a majoritarian coalition that passes important legislation that Obama is likely to sign.

A new House Majoritarian leadership team would preface every bill and policy statement by affirming the most fundamental belief of our philosophy: that every person deserves the dignity of meaningful work and the freedom to pursue happiness; that happiness is not giggling like an idiot at a cotton candy booth, but virtuous excellence of a life well lived; that the $22 trillion welfare denies dignity to the poor by treating poor people as burdens to be efficiently managed rather than as untapped human lives who deserve the richness our society can offer everyone; that to secure these goals, we are willing to deny our rich and powerful friends their immediate demands in order to build a stronger, healthier society where the American Dream lies with reach of all.

That’s the vision of America Ronald Reagan helped us all see in the 1980s. And that’s the only vision of America where conservative principles will achieve majoritarian status.

Let the next Speaker begin that majoritarian conversation, and let the next majority whip whip up good for all, not just her friends in high places.

In the US House, Insider Money Buys Leadership Positions

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The US House of Representatives is not a meritocracy. And that’s a shame.

House “leadership” doesn’t actually have anything to do with leadership. It has everything to do with money.

In a story about the fall from power of Nancy Pelosi, Michael Barone describes how the House leadership process evolved from seniority to raw cash.

For years, liberal Democrats had decried the seniority system, which automatically made conservative Southerners (and/or senile members) committee chairmen. There they could and did block liberal measures from coming to the floor.

After the big Democratic victory in the 1974 election, Democratic leaders conceded that the caucus could vote on chairmanships if a sufficient number of members signed petitions for such a vote.

That was the first move. Before 1974, leadership went, pretty much, by seniority. The way to rise to the top in the House was to hang around a long time.

Then, another change gave us the current system of producing “leaders.”

After their big victory in the 1994 election, House Republicans, led by Newt Gingrich, instituted a similar procedure.

Chairmen would be determined by the Republican Steering Committee, on which party leaders had a major share of the votes, and there would be a six-year term limit (occasionally waived) on chairmen.

Another result: Members compete for elective chairmanships by raising money for colleagues, largely from Washington insiders.

That is, the reforms make the House more accountable to voters than the seniority system, but also more responsive to lobbyists.

If you’re wondering how Ann Wagner rose so quickly to House leadership, now you know. She used her insider status with the biggest donors to buy her place.

One way she did that: Export Import Bank and Boeing. Being in a safe seat, Mrs. Wagner was free to raise money for other Republican House candidates. At the same time, Boeing wanted to rescue its crony Ex-Im Banking system from a conservative attack.

After months of silence on the Export-Import Bank, Ann finally gave Ex-Im a strong endorsement and a commitment to defend the crony operation against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

The GOP could go a long way toward limiting the influence of lobbyists and crony capitalists by reverting back to the post-1974 Democrat rules. Just let the whole caucus vote on leadership.

Whatever Happened to the Party of Ideas?

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From about 1978 until the Monica Lewinsky fiasco, the GOP was called “the party of ideas.” I miss the ideas.

William F. Buckley helped. Buckley liked big ideas and smart people. He liked politicians who gave legs to great ideas and governors with the guts to experiment. Governor Ronald Reagan appeared on Buckley’s Firing Line shortly after the Gipper became California’s governor. Reagan talked about many ideas he was trying or hoping to try. My favorite: allowing states to keep a portion of the federal taxes and fees generated within a state instead of cycling everything through Washington’s bureaucracy.

That idea now exists in the form of Transportation Empowerment Act.

The Idea People

Jack Kemp, the former congressman, HUD secretary, and football quarterback, championed all sorts of ideas. Some of Kemp’s ideas offend a few modern Tea Partiers, but he at least promoted ideas and tests. He gave the Republican Party (and conservatism) an idealistic, enthusiastic, and optimistic face. Buckley called Kemp “America’s leading enthusiast.”

How many of those exciting ideas from the 80s and 90s began with a Heritage Foundation paper? All of them? Most? Well, Heritage is still there, still pumping out ideas. And Heritage has add Heritage Action to help activists push ideas upon their members of Congress.

What Are Ann Wagner’s Big Ideas

I wonder, though, why so many modern Republican politicians avoid ideas like the plague? Take Rep. Ann Wagner. She’s interested in issues, or so she says. I believe her. She’s very interested in issues involving potential donors. Or issues that Republican pollsters discover a demographic for.

Ideas, though, are another matter for politicians like Wagner. Ideas don’t come with checks. Ideas can get you into trouble. Ideas demand hard thinking to plan and explain, and hard work to promote and execute. Why do all that work when you could be raising funds from wealthy donors, instead?

Sometimes, big ideas become the topic of discussion at candidate forums. Jack Kemp loved promoting his ideas with people unlikely to jump aboard, including Democrats. Or communists. Or anyone willing to discuss big ideas. I can’t imagine Kemp ducking a candidate forum or a debate.

Rep. Ann Wagner, on the other hand, avoids idea sharing, future planning, or philosophical discussion. Wagner won’t show up at a candidate forum with her opponents, Libertarian Bill Slantz and Democrat Arthur Lieber. Mrs. Wagner, apparently, will be busy knocking on doors during the candidate forum next Wednesday, October 22. Those doors, according to her official schedule, are in northern Virginia, where Wagner will be raising money for a candidate there.

When I was young and Republican in the 1980s, the ideas attracted me. Jack Kemp’s enthusiasm and William F. Buckley’s brilliance and Ronald Reagan’s lovable charm made my job of attracting other young voters easy. I remember the 1987 Low Country Stump Days in Charleston, SC. I was surrounded by people in their twenties. We were guided by retirees, but we knew we were the stars because we were young and conservative and full of ideas–ideas we borrowed from Heritage and Buckley and Kemp.

Conservative Names | Liberal Names

I’m not so sure the left has any monopoly on ideas today. Democrats mostly just want to keep blacks poor and Hispanics isolated so that government programs look like a good deal. What bothers me is that so many Republicans treat Fortune 500 companies the same way Democrats treat the poor. It’s all about creating dependency. It’s all about addicting people to government largess. It’s all about becoming the arbiter of happiness so people have to grovel.

The left, though, does a good job of pretending to have ideas. They use photoshop, videos, comedians, and actors to make cynicism feel like philosophy. Cynicism sounds original and smart to a kid.

It’s no surprise, then, that lists of the most conservative and most liberal names  present such starkly different images. As Katherine Miller writes on Buzzfeed:

The liberal names generally sound like a group of women in their late 20s; the conservative names sound like the members of a large bluegrass band from the 1930s.

In the 1980s, I was still playing the banjo, so Ms. Miller’s characterization is only 50 years off.

Young people have a life to look forward to. They’re not so interested in holding onto what they’ve got, because don’t have anything except a ton of debt. They want ideas. They expect those of us who’ve lived to provide some of those ideas.

The reason I can’t vote for Ann Wagner isn’t because she doesn’t go to candidate forums; it’s because she wouldn’t have anything to talk about if she did.

The candidate forum will be held at 7 pm, October 22 in the Meramec Community College Student Center, 11333 Big Bend Road. This is a great chance to meet a candidate with ideas, Bill Slantz.

How Can I Possibly Vote for Rick Stream for County Executive?

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Maybe this logic sucks, but this is my logic.  When I vote, I ignore my positions on issues.  Instead, I use my vote to advance two objectives:

  1. I want my vote to improve policy towards liberty.
  2. I want my vote to maximize my political power.

A simple test that I ask myself is this: If I vote for A, do I expect resulting policy to be more or less to my liking?  And how should I vote to maximize my power?

Let’s see how this logic plays out in two races: my Congressional District and St. Louis County Executive.

Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District Race

If I vote for Wagner, I expect policy to be less to my liking.  That’s because I think Ann Wagner will win her 2014 re-elect no matter how I vote.  Therefore, a vote for her will be lost in the sea of votes.  Historically, Wagner should get between 60 percent and 65 percent of the vote.  There will be about 282,000 votes cast in her race, so my vote would count for 1 in 176,250.

If I vote against Wagner, I expect she’ll still win, but I might be able eat into her margin.  If that happens, her power and influence in both Missouri and Washington wane.  More of her considerable campaign funds will go to her own re-elections, which means she’ll have less money to buy influence from other Republicans.

To counter that loss of influence, Wagner has a choice: she can move left and hope to pick up support from Democrat voters or she can move right to regain support from liberty voters.

I expect she will do the latter.

Therefore, by voting against Wagner in 2014, I think I will increase my influence, and policy over the next two years will be more to my liking.

St. Louis County Executive Race

Different dynamics prevail in the St. Louis County Executive race. Rick Stream is likely to lose if I, and people like me, vote against him.  Further, I believe that there is a 100 percent chance that either Rick Stream or Steve Stenger will win. So, if Stream loses, Stenger wins. Therefore, I expect St. Louis County policy to be more to my liking if I vote for Rick Stream and less to my liking if I vote for anyone else. Which is why I’m voting for Rick Stream.

You can argue with my logic, but it’s internally consistent.  I can, in good conscious, vote for Bill Slantz for Congress and for Rick Stream for County Executive.  I believe that this combination of votes maximizes my influence, and will improve policy in Congress and St. Louis County.

That’s how I’m optimizing my power in 2014.