How to Win Consistently

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If your favorite player hits a home run or scores a goal, but your favorite team loses, what have you accomplished?

If an athlete you despise makes a horrible error but the hated team he plays for wins the championship, how do you feel?

In several races across Missouri, some people seem willing to lose the war if it means they can win their private battles. That’s pretty sad, isn’t it?

In the race for governor and the race for US Senate, I hear people working against their own interests for extremely selfish reasons. But the only way to show you’re a consistent person is to elect Trump, Blunt, and Greitens on Tuesday.

US Senate

Suppose Donald Trump wins but Roy Blunt loses. And a few other Republican Senate candidates lose. It’s possible that President Trump could face a Senate controlled by Democrats. In that case, you won’t get a single piece of legislation you want. You’ll get only what Mitch McConnell compromises with Chuck Schumer. Have fun with that.

Plus, Jason Kander is a far left progressive. He’s opposed to the 2nd Amendment because he will get to keep his assault rifles and side arms. That’s how elitism works, and Kander’s all for different rules for different castes. And Kander loves the lobbyists as much as the lobbyists love Kander. It’s a regular affair with those two.

If Hillary wins, don’t you want every possible Republican Senator to form a firewall?

If you want Trump and Trump’s policies, you have to give Trump a Senate that will enact those policies. Kander won’t do that. Roy Blunt will. So vote for Blunt on Tuesday.

Missouri Governor

Suppose Chris Koster wins. You won’t ever see Right to Work in Missouri. All the good bills that Nixon vetoed, Koster will veto. All the favoritism Nixon showed, Koster will show. Missouri’s embarrassing fall to the bottom of the economic barrel will continue. That fall might even accelerate. Who knows.

In Chris Koster’s Missouri, failing schools and falling bridges will remain the norm. Fortune 1000 companies will continue to flee our state. And rioters will be allowed to control your streets. If Chris Koster was afraid to do something about Ferguson as the state’s chief law enforcement officer, imagine how cowardly he’d act as governor.

Or you can show consistency by voting for Eric Greitens. Greitens started off as a Democrat, but he realized his philosophy was out of sync with that party’s beliefs. So he embraced the GOP and some of the most conservative GOP leaders embrace Greitens.

As governor, Eric Greitens will sign Right to Work. He will lead his party to make Missouri great again by getting us out of the bottom quintile of economic despair. Greitens will confront riots with all the determination and courage you’d expect from a Navy SEAL war veteran. And he’ll elevate our political discourse like no one else.

Consistency

Most people want to be seen as consistent. We want people to think we’ll do the right thing even if it hurts. Maybe it hurts you to vote for Blunt or Greitens, but deep down you probably know voting for Blunt and Greitens is the right thing.

Trump will win Missouri by 15 percentage points if you vote. If Missouri voters do the right thing, Blunt and Greitens will win by 15 points, too. If they don’t, it’s because many Missouri conservatives would rather lose the war for America than lose a skirmish for their pride. And that would be so sad.

How to be inconsistent

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This post is about why you should vote for Eric Greitens. But first, let’s take a stroll down memory lane.

Remember August 2015? It was hot, of course, but everybody was talking about when Trump would fade. For example, here’s the RCP Afternoon Edition from August 7, the day after the first GOP debate:

Whose Party Is It, Anyway? – Molly Ball, The Atlantic
The Republican Debate Was Awesome – David Harsanyi, The Federalist
You Cannot Embarrass Donald Trump – Ezra Klein, Vox
The Beginning of the End for Trump – Ed Rogers, Washington Post
Martin O’Malley, the Dems’ Fallback? – Michelle Cottle, National Journal
The Religion of Climate Change – Nicholas Hahn, Wall Street Journal
Why the Iran Deal Will Work – Ernest Moniz, Chicago Tribune
Schumer’s Iran Deal Statement Is a Game-Changer – Joel Pollak, Breitbart
Don’t Worship Reagan, Learn From Him – Arthur Brooks, Changing Lanes
Is Trump a Clinton Plant? – Brent Budowksy, The Hill
The Post-Debate Power-Rankings – Timothy Carney, Washington Examiner

It’s fun to click a few of those links and reminisce, isn’t it? Like the Post-Debate Power Rankings that listed the candidates chances of winning the nomination. Walker, Bush, and Rubio were ranked 1, 2, and 3. Trump was down with Jim Gilmore and Ben Carson.

Ed Roger of WaPo declared the beginning of the end of Trump. (I did, too.)

At the time, there two basic objections to Trump. One faction felt Trump’s behavior discredited the process. I was in that group. Trump: The Clown is the first section of my book.

The other faction believed Trump a low-information liberal masquerading as a Republican. This group included both strict, orthodox conservatives and hardcore neo-con establishment types. I was part of this group, too. (See this.) The latter group makes up most of NeverTrump.

Those who saw Trump as a clown in August 2015 came quickly to realize he’s actually a perfect reflection of we, the people. And a Master Persuader. I realized this early on, accepting that Trump is probably the candidate we deserve. But I resisted supporting him because of my love of limited government and his history of big government ideas.

To me, the most intellectually honest people in America are those orthodox conservatives who have since embraced Trump. Think of Victor Davis Hanson and Roger Kimball. They know Trump is risky when it comes to conservative ideas, but he’s conservative “enough” and the alternative would be disastrous for America and for conservatives. Therefore, they’re willing to take their chances by endorsing Trump. They’ve put America’s future ahead of their own personal preferences. For that, we should thank them.

I know some NeverTrumpers call us inconsistent sellouts. Some even call us racist, sexist monsters. One prominent NeverTrump believes people like me would use time-machine technology to go back to 1930s Europe to help Hitler and Mussolini defeat the Allies. Then they criticize Trump’s hyperbole.) But we who support Trump see our support as consistent with Reagan’s admonition from the 1960s: America is freedom’s last bastion. If we lose it here, there’s no place to go. Therefore, survival of the American nation and the rule of law trumps a few policy differences. Trump might be a threat to parts of the conservative agenda, but Hillary is a threat to the survival of the country.

Okay. The reason I mention all that Trump stuff is this: Most Missouri conservatives are fully onboard the Trump Train. Even Rep. Ann Wagner changed her mind today and announced she’s voting for Trump. All of my activist friends are onboard the train.

The weird thing is, some of my friends are NOT on the Greitens train. And THAT is wild inconsistency.

I’m not going to tell you you have to vote for Eric Greitens. I’m not even going to tell you that I’ll be mad if you don’t. That’s up to you.

But I will say I cannot figure how any conservative can overcome all of Tump’s flaws to support him but fail to overcome Greiten’s past positions. Greitens is a true American hero and remarkable leader. He’s recognized around the world as a great leader. The Democrats showered him with attention to get him to run as one of them.

But Greitens wanted to be consistent with his core philosophy, and his philosophy aligns better with the conservative faction of the GOP. So he left the party of his youth to become a Republican. And he’s become more conservative even in the two years I’ve known him.

If you want to know what inconsistency looks like, think about these people who support Trump but question Eric Greitens. That’s inconsistency I can’t reconcile.

If you do think about it, you’ll probably expect, like me, that Greitens and Trump will both win Missouri by 12 points or more. If that doesn’t happen, it’ll be because some of us are intellectually inconsistent.

Vote for Eric Greitens. Make Missouri great again.

 

 

Make Missouri Great Again—Greitens for Governor

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As I pointed out last Saturday, a tiny faction of Missouri conservatives prefers Missouri’s pathetic status quo to true leadership and positive change. Those people apparently approve of Missouri’s horrible economy, weak schools, and declining stature in the country. And nowhere does Missouri’s decline stand out like San Diego, California.

Last week, I spent a few days bumming around San Diego with my son. He is stationed there in the US Navy. Almost every block in downtown San Diego has a sidewalk closed for construction. New buildings are going up. Old buildings are being renovated. It’s like a city coming to life.

San Diege—See the cranes?

I saw the same rejuvenation in Chicago and Atlanta in recent weeks. A constant turmoil of growing into the future. A never-ending rebirth of these cities. Signs of life that are completely absent in the greater St. Louis area. Completely absent in St. Louis.

Sure, St. Louis has spots of construction, mostly funded by huge federal government projects. But there’s no competition for space in St. Louis. None. Even in the city’s most exciting neighborhoods, vacancy abounds.

Democrats who’ve run St. Louis since the Depression deserve most of the blame for the city’s ruin. And those Democrats deserve some blame for the state’s decline. But Democrat incompetence alone isn’t enough to destroy a once-great city like St. Louis. Those Democrats needed help from crony Republicans.

Missouri ranks 47th out of 51 (including DC) in economic growth according to Business Insider. Missouri ranks 49th in education. St. Louis is one of the most dangerous cities in the world, especially if you’re black. And that’s not because of police—that crime is because of the destruction of families. And the family is decaying because our government and our society have replaced meaningful work with meaningless subsistence.

Eric Greitens’s formula for renewing Missouri is the same formula he used to renew veterans through The Mission Continues, a charity he founded. That formula can be reduced to two simple ideas as old as philosophy:

  1. Good intentions do not compensate for bad results.
  2. People need meaning and purpose, not just food and shelter.

Intentions vs. Results

In his masterpiece on living, Resilience, Greitens described the problem of our “morality of intentions” perfectly:

The “morality of intentions”— which would measure our goodness in terms of what we hope to accomplish rather than what we actually accomplish— tells us that our thoughts and feelings count for something in their own right. It’s an appealing philosophy to those who exist, or want to exist, in a world of pure thought or feeling.

But it can also be a selfish kind of morality. It elevates the helper above the one who should be helped. It says, “What matters is the fact that I have the right opinions, not what good my opinions do in the world. What matters is what I hope or intend, not what you deserve or receive.” In fact, a morality of intentions— even the best intentions— can distort your view of the world in a way that leads to great harm.

Greitens witnessed the great harm of good intentions with his own eyes. In Bosnia, the United Nations, with the best of intentions, herded orphaned children into large resettlement camps. These camps became magnets for the lowest child-abusers in the region. Plus, these camps encouraged parents to abandon their children, just as Obama’s open borders for children encouraged Central American parents to ship their babies to Texas.

The road to child molestation is paved with good intentions. Greitens knows that, and he’s determined to demand excellent results for Missouri. Greitens, like you, knows that good intentions are never enough.

Meaningful Work

Meaningful work is more important than money. Far more. Money without work leads to every type of social problem, from drug abuse to crime. And this money for nothing is at the heart of St. Louis’s and Missouri’s problems.

Greitens explained  the intrinsic value of work in his book Resilience:

Maybe you’ve heard this saying: What you work on, works on you. People are shaped by what they do. People who do work that hurts understand this: ask a roofer about his forearms; ask a waitress about her feet. But the work we do has an effect on our minds and our souls as well. A good writer will become more finely attuned to the way people use words. A good rabbi will learn to recognize pain before people say a word.

If your “work” involves watching television or swiping through Facebook, what will your work make of you? Many people in Missouri, and especially in St. Louis, are idle. They receive subsistence allowance from our great wealth and generosity. But our generosity ruins them. The work the world does on their souls eats away the meaning and purpose of their lives.

Greitens is a man of great compassion, but he recognizes compassion often demands emotionally painful action. When we increase benefits to able-bodied unemployed people, we hurt those people but we feel better about ourselves. That’s not compassion; it’s selfishness.

Missouri Needs Eric Greitens

That tiny remnant of conservatives who oppose Eric Greitens are selfish. Think about it. We are on the verge of making Missouri great again—with a conservative philosopher and Navy SEAL as governor, Jay Ashcroft as Secretary of State, Josh Hawley as Attorney General, Eric Schmitt as Treasurer, and Republican super-majorities in both Houses of the legislature. Missouri is poised to zoom from 47th to at least 24th. History has conspired with us to Make Missouri Great Again.

Yet these remnants want to keep Missouri miserable? Why? Why would those selfish conservatives do that? Because they’re afraid they won’t get the credit?

Probably.

So let’s fix that.

All the great things that will happen to Missouri when we elect Eric Greitens Governor are the result of hard work by grassroots conservatives for decades. You built that Republican majority. You knocked the doors and made the calls. You donated your hard-earned pay to candidates you believed in. And all that work is about culminate in the kind of state you’ve always wanted to live in.

Now, go support Eric Greitens and the rest of the Republican ticket. Happy days are here again.

If you need to know more about Eric, please read Resilience. And share it with someone you know who needs hope.

Why Are Some Missouri Conservatives Putting Position Before Interest?

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Let’s play a little thought experiment.

Suppose you read that a scientific study proved dark blue socks look best with a gray suit. Then someone known for his remarkable sense of style shows up wearing purple striped socks with a gray suit. What would you do?

Before you answer that, consider this.

You’ve probably heard that a handful of conservative activists are supporting the Democrat running for governor. Those misguided conservatives think the GOP nominee isn’t conservative enough. So they’re supporting someone who isn’t conservative at all. They’re literally working against 90 percent of their own agenda.

I know all those activists. Their hearts are in the right place. Where they’ve put their brains is another matter.

Those activists want candidates like Eric Greitens to agree with them on everything. By everything, I mean critical issues like the best toppings for pizza, the best time of day to shower, and what color socks to wear with a gray suit. A Republican who deviates from their strict list becomes Enemy Numero Uno.

A few of those folks want Eric Greitens to lose because Eric wears the wrong color socks with gray suits. Eric didn’t support a bill in the Missouri legislature last year. Neither did I. My reasons for opposing SJR39 were different from Eric’s, and I like my reasons better than his.

Those pro-Democrat conservative activists, however, not only supported SJR39, they’re willing to sacrifice Right to Work and many other important issues on the altar of perfection. In their narrow minds, a candidate is either perfect or perfectly unacceptable. They live in a Boolean bubble, and they lose a lot.

Those pro-Democrat conservative activists are willing to see more abortions, more anti-police violence, and more economic stagnation for Missouri because Eric Greitens and I disagreed with one point on their very long list of positions. Psychologists will tell you that those activists get a lot of joy out of punishing people, and they’ll take great joy in punishing everyone in Missouri for nominating a guy they don’t like.

Those activists put their positions ahead of their interest and yours, which is also known as cutting off your nose to spite your face.

[Learn how to negotiate better by sorting out positions and interests.]

If you’re like them, you’d vilify that guy with a great sense of style for wearing the wrong socks with a gray suit. You might even disavow anyone who wears gray suits just to prove how committed you are to your positions. Good for you. Your friends will probably respect you for it.

I disavow cutting off your nose to spite your face because sacrificing the greater good for a single position that didn’t matter is akin to doing the Devil’s work. I try not to do the Devil’s work.

Do you?

P.S. SJR39 was meaningless. It was a statement of principle with no teeth. Missouri has too many real problems to waste time with “sense of the Senate” silliness. If the Supreme Court rules that same-sex marriage is a fundamental right and that ministers must perform those ceremonies, state law won’t matter. If you’re worried about this issue, vote for Trump. He’ll choose Supreme Court justices who apply the law well. Don’t waste your energy on helping elect a governor who disagrees with you on nearly everything.

 

How the NRA Picks Candidates

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You might find yourself freaking out that NRA endorsed the Democrat for Missouri Governor instead of Republican Eric Greitens.  If you think about it, though, the endorsement makes perfect sense from the NRA’s perspective.

You realize that the NRA is a lobbying firm, and lobbyists have an easier time working with an established asset like Koster than cultivating an outsider like Greitens. Recruiting and cultivating an asset is to a lobbyist as finding and selling a new customer is to a business. Businesses know it’s easier and more efficient to keep the customers you have than to find new ones. As a former Republican legislator, Koster has a track record as an asset, so the NRA would rather keep him than train a new one. That’s why the NRA endorsed Koster for AG in 2012 instead of Republican Ed Martin. Expect the abortion lobby to endorse Koster, too, because he likes abortion.

You also realize that the NRA is an establishment organization. By “establishment,” I mean the NRA plays the establishment game and horse trades with other establishment organizations. The NRA is part of the Washington cabal that operates like a shadow government. And the establishment prefers known insiders to emerging outsiders. (See the previous paragraph.) Chris Koster is the insider’s insider, having won elections for both major parties. Like a double agent in a spy movie. That makes Koster an easy asset for the NRA and the Farm Bureau and abortionists to manage. The establishment would prefer a predictable politician even if he disagrees with the establishment over an unpredictable outsider who agrees with them.

You probably know I hate the establishment and like the NRA. You might expect me to be mad at the NRA. You must realize, though, that I live in the real world. The NRA supports the Second Amendment by operating within the political establishment. I support the Second Amendment, too, so I’m glad the NRA gets its hands dirty in the establishment cesspool so I don’t have to. I wasn’t surprised by the NRA’s endorsement today. I was surprised it took so long.

Eric Greitens received the NRA’s highest grade possible for someone who’s never held office. Greitens got an AQ grade, the same as John Brunner. Had Brunner won the primary, the NRA still would have endorsed Chris Koster because the NRA always supports the most established candidate who gets a good grade.

I support Eric Greitens because he’s an outsider who hasn’t been conditioned and cultivated by lobbying firms like the NRA. You should, too, because his views of the Second Amendment are at least as good as Koster’s. If you only vote based on the NRA’s endorsement, though, you probably brag to your friends in other states that Missouri’s economy sucks and the future looks dim. Voting for establishment candidates like Koster is the best way to ensure Missouri never climbs higher than 10th from bottom. Sooner or later your kids will move to a state that has jobs, so you can stop worrying about them. They’ll probably like Tennessee better.

Greitens’s Win Was Just a Moment in Time. But a Big Moment

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Navy SEAL Eric Greitens won the first political race of his life. Few first timers win a major party’s nomination for governor of a state. You’ll probably hear just how rare Greitens’s feat was. But not tonight. I want to tell some stories.

Eric Greitens gave up a morning of this campaign to talk to one of my kids. That kid is a man now. He’s in the Navy at a helo combat squadron in San Diego. Sure, his mom and dad and step mom and brother influenced him. But none of us could push him over the top. Eric Greitens did.

My stepson went through a horrible car accident last year. Eric heard about it. Eric again left his campaign to make sure my stepson was comfortable. And my stepson couldn’t do much for Eric. But Eric didn’t care about that. He didn’t expect a return.

A lot of my friendships were strained or broken during this campaign. Good friendships. Every time I took a stand for Eric, he had my back.

Tonight’s remarkable win against a field of candidates with a combined . . . I don’t know, 3,000 years in politics, was amazing. It’s the kind of win you read about, as Panger would say. It was a sweet moment in time, but only a moment,

Most politicians would complain about my writing that. “Just a moment in time, Bill? Come on!” But not Eric. I know this was just a moment in time—a fire to pass through—because Eric Greitens taught me so. I learned that philosophy from him.

We don’t bounce back from wins or loses, we move through them. We emerge different. And our measure is what we do with our different selves.

Eric Greitens and so many remarkable staffers and volunteers walked through a fire and came out the other side. They’re all changed. Forged. Harder. More resilient. And they’re moving on.

This is a moment in time, but you should take a moment to savor it.

When I knocked doors for Eric, I heard one recurring theme. “I won’t vote for anyone who’s held public office before.”

Some will say Greitens won because people are fed up with the status quo. That’s possible. But I’ve been in this political game a little while. I’ve heard “throw the bums out” many times, but the bums never get thrown out.

Until now.

I have an idea about why now. People are willing to cast aside the old establishment because they finally see a leader who can fix the things the establishment broke.

Put another way, the devil you know beats the devil you don’t until an angel comes along.

For the people without a voice, Eric Greitens is our angel.

It’s a moment in time, but it’s one hell of a moment.

Thank you, Eric, for leading so many  of us through that fire. And for walking straight at the next inferno. There’s no one I’d rather follow.

It’s time to move through Koster.

Hooyah!

 Photos by Dortie B