How to Neuter a Crossing Guard

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This is for my conservative friends who are celebrating the healthcare bill’s demise. You’ll want to read it all.

Let’s begin with a little story about a crossing guard.

Imagine you are standing at a dangerous intersection now. Cars whizzing by nonstop in all 4 directions. You feel powerless and frustrated. There are no structural safeguards, no physical barriers, to keep us from getting hit. There is a crossing guard, though.

This crossing guard can get us safely through the intersection if the drivers respect his authority and power. Only if they stop when he raises his hand. That’s all he’s got.

Those drivers take cues from each other. When they see other drivers stop, they stop, too. But when they see one driver run through the crossing guard’s stop sign, they all feel more emboldened to do the same.

Pretty soon, the crossing guard is just another poor slob standing on the side of the road with the rest of us. And none of us can get where we want to go.

In a moment, I’ll talk about the healthcare bill. But, first, I want to talk about breathing.

You Think Like You Breathe

Notice your breath for a moment. Are you breathing fast and shallow or slow and deep? Breathing is so important. Breathing affects our hormones and hormones affect our thinking. We can change our thinking by changing our breathing, and we can change breathing by changing our thinking.

Slow deep breaths cause the body to produce less cortisol. Fast, shallow breathing produces more cortisol. Cortisol causes weight gain, hardening of the arteries, and defensive thinking. The part of the brain where memories and strategy rest, the hippocampus, shuts down when cortisol levels rise. We react to the immediate stimuli without using our most valuable and effective knowledge. We become like animals snared in a trap.

That cortisol hormone does a good job of keeping us alive when we’re in extreme danger. But it does a huge disservice when we’re not under physical attack. In real danger, we don’t want to think deep thoughts. We want to hide, overpower our attacker, or run away.

Now that you’re aware of your breathing, you realize you’re not in physical danger. A tweet can’t really endanger you personally, can it?

The big enemy we all oppose here is big government. And we all know the bill Ryan crafted in the dark did little in that regard. So there was good reason to oppose that bill.

But there is also something larger at play here, and if you breathe slow and deep, you might feel better about a lot of things today.

Actions Have Consequences We Sometimes Don’t Consider

Remember how you felt on November 9? And remember how you felt on January 20. Remember seeing all those violent protesters in Washington and other places? Which team were you on then? Maybe you didn’t say anything, but you were probably on Trump’s team. You were probably a little proud and amazed that he did it. Despite all the doubts and all the MSM 98% certainty that Hillary Clinton would choose Antonin Scalia’s replacement, you were happy to be on the winning team.

You might find yourself breathing even deeper now just thinking about that winning day. We tend to take a deep breath when we win.

That inauguration day was less than 70 days ago, so the memory is still fresh in your mind. Then, you probably expected all kinds of great things. With a Republican House, a Republican Senate, and a Republican President, we could do a lot to realize our dreams of smaller government and a growing economy. Who doesn’t want to make America great again?

And then some Congress people reverted to their old ways. Bills written by lobbyists. But that’s not the worst thing that could happen.

Now imagine this: imagine if Neil Gorsuch gets rejected by the Senate. Imagine one or two squishy Republican Senators like Susan Collins deciding Trump doesn’t have the political power anymore to hold her vote. Imagine if Mitch McConnell decides, after that healthcare vote, that it’s too risky to use the nuclear option on Gorsuch. There’s no going back from that option, really. The next Democrat president will have it, too, just as Trump’s cabinet benefits from the Democrats’ nuclear option.

Many people are saying the health care bill’s failure has greatly reduced Trump’s power. He might already be a lame duck, along with this Congress.

If you’re breathing faster and shallower now, just pay attention to your breathing. You will start to breathe slower and deeper in a moment. And that’s important because you don’t want a lot of cortisol clogging your arteries and shutting down your hippocampus.

Consequences We Might Own

Blocking the healthcare bill was a high stakes gamble. It took a lot of courage to fight against a president in his first 100 days. I can’t remember a newly inaugurated president getting hit so hard so early in his administration. Reagan suffered a few setbacks, but nothing like this.

It’s very likely now that Obamacare will live forever. At least as long as you and I are alive. It’s also possible that there will be no tax reform. Do you think 8 Democrats are so afraid of the White House that they’ll break with their party to vote for cloture on a tax reform package now?  How do you see that happening?

It’s also possible that Gorsuch will be rejected, either because some squishy Republicans bail or because McConnell loses the nerve to change the filibuster rule. That means those Obama and Clinton judges in the appellate courts will decide the law until Trump finds a Supreme Court candidate so “moderate” that 8 Democrats will support them.  How do you think such a justice would rule on abortion, on gun control, and on immigration?

And if this Congress and this Republican president do nothing major between now and 2018, how do you expect voters to keep this Congress in power? Trump won because he recognized that many people think America is in bad shape and going in the wrong direction. They expected Trump and Congress to change the direction of the country. If nothing gets done, won’t they try something new? Remember, most voters are not like you and me. Most voters don’t care about our principles. And in-fighting among Republicans only makes them care less about those principles. To the average American voter, we all sound strange and abstract. To the average voter, we care more about academic theories than we do about their lives. You can probably remember hearing this from people yourself if you think about it.

How’s your breath going? Just take a deep breath and feel your stomach swell out. You’ll want access to your memories soon.

Our Crossing Guard and Our Accountability

Now, remember that crossing guard? The Freedom Caucus and some conservative think tanks drove the first car through the stop sign. If the other drivers—McConnell, Collins, Schumer—see there’s no consequence to ignoring the crossing guard, we’ll all fail to get where we’re going.

Maybe we don’t like the way the crossing guard distributes the stopping and going. Maybe we don’t like the hand signals he uses. But, until Friday, he was at least trying to get a few of us to the other side. He was trying to get some of us a little closer to our destinations safely.

Maybe that crossing guard will get some of his power back. Because principles without power are just platitudes. I hope so. I know of all the great things the Heritage Foundation and the Freedom Caucus have done. But neither Heritage nor the Freedom Caucus can stop that traffic without a strong, respected crossing guard.

You, like me, believe in accountability. And you, like me, recognize that accountability begins with ourselves. When we choose a direction, we must accept the consequences of our choice. Conservatives may have laid the foundation for Democrats retaking Congress in 2018. If that happens, the Freedom Caucus, Heritage, and Club for Growth own at least 40 percent of the blame.

I now return you to your natural breathing.

I am honored to question the GOP candidates for you and Heritage

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This is pretty cool and a little unnerving.

Heritage Action has extended the honor to be one of three Heritage Action Sentinels to question Republican Presidential candidates on Friday, September 17 in Greenville, South Carolina. So far, 12 candidates have confirmed, including Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, Rand Paul, Chris Christie, and Marco Rubio. (Maybe Trump will make fun of my tie.)

I have no idea why Heritage would pick me for this privilege. I just hope I don’t screw it up. To that end, your prayers will be appreciated. (I’m sure many people have already muttered under their breaths, “Please, God, don’t let him screw this up.” I thank you.) I promise not to ramble about national service, okay?

Please check this blog or www.heritageaction.com for details on C-SPAN’s schedule for the event’s airing. (As of this writing, it is not scheduled for live broadcast.)

And, now, please find out why pursuit of happiness is essential to liberty.

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.

Why Ann Wagner Is Wrong to Attack Heritage Action

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Accountability? We don’t need no stinking accountability.

No, Ann Wagner didn’t actually say that. But her comments to a 2nd District Republican committee meeting on Tuesday gave at least one attendee the impression that Mrs. Wagner opposes the idea of conservatives holding Congress accountable.

Ann Wagner Attacks the Conservative Heritage Action

Rep. Ann Wagner accused the conservative Heritage Action for America of “pitting Republican against Republican” and “never attacking Dems” at the Republican meeting.

I’d like to remind Mrs. Wagner that Heritage Action keeps score on all members of Congress, not just Republicans. Also, the reason Heritage Action and its Sentinels focus their activism on Republicans is because we know the Democrats are a lost cause. Yelling at Democrats doesn’t do a damn thing. (I have direct experience on this. I co-founded an organization that did nothing but yell at Democrats from 2009 to 2012.)

We don’t pit Republicans against Republicans, Mrs. Wagner; we pit members of Congress against their own principles. We hold people accountable, not to our standards, but to the principles people like you campaigned on.

Heritage Action Advances the Policies of Reagan’s Favorite Think-Tank

While no single institution is the sole judge of what is conservative, the Heritage Foundation comes close. Heritage’s white papers were the foundation of the Reagan Revolution. Here are some examples:

With the arrival of the Reagan administration, the Heritage Foundation and other conservative foreign policy think tanks saw a political opportunity to significantly expand Carter’s Afghanistan policy into a more global “doctrine”, including U.S. support to anti-communist resistance movements in Soviet-allied nations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. According to political analysts Thomas Bodenheimer and Robert Gould, “it was the Heritage Foundation that translated theory into concrete policy. Heritage targeted nine nations for rollback: Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Iran, Laos, Libya, Nicaragua, and Vietnam“.[5]

— Source: Wikipedia

And from Christian Science Monitor in 1984 writing about Heritage’s 1,100 page “Mandate for Leadership,” which was something like Reagan’s first administration blueprint:

Like a shadow government – but one with considerable clout – the conservative Heritage Foundation is at work throughout the Reagan administration. Its fingerprints can clearly be seen on the administration’s 1986 budget, now emerging from White House deliberations. And its access in recent days to top government officials, including Cabinet secretaries, has been unprecedented for a private organization.

Even the hardest of the hard left found Reagan’s policies looked like legislative or executive execution of Heritage policy papers:

Since the beginning of the Reagan Administration, the Heritage Foundation has had an incredible impact on Republican policies in America. The right-wing think tank founded by Paul Weyrich, Edwin Feulner and Joseph Coors is largely to blame for the conservative state we find the country in today.

And, as Richard Amen wrote on We the People blog:

According to conservative writer William F.Buckley, Jr, Reagan acted upon approximately sixty percent of the three volumes of “Mandates” awaiting him when he took office which is why his Presidency was about sixty percent successful.

It’s safe to say that no other institution or think-tank exercised as much influence over the Reagan Administration as did Heritage. Now why wouldn’t Mrs. Wagner want to touch base with Reagan’s favorite think-tank? That’s exactly the service Heritage Action provides her.

Heritage Action launched in 2010 to help conservative legislators stay true to those first principles. Heritage realized that papers don’t change the world–actions do. But without a leader like Reagan to drive Heritage’s idea into law, its research and policy papers were just Saturday afternoon reading for conservative policy wonks.

Heritage Action’s purpose was to remind self-described conservatives in Washington that we don’t win when we don’t differentiate. And that call to differentiate seems precisely what disturbs Mrs. Wagner about Heritage Action.

Export-Import Bank Is a Silly Hill to Die On

Tell me how Mrs. Wagner differentiates herself from Democrats on Export-Import Bank? Wagner and Democrat Claire McCaskill read from identical talking point memos when they spoke to a St. Louis Public Radio reporter. They both threw out the same laughably false “facts” about Ex-Im and jobs, Ex-Im and “level playing fields.” Ann Wagner asking Heritage to attack Dems on Ex-Im is like a soldier calling for mortar fire on his own position.

Mrs. Wagner continued with some “facts,” like saying Ex-Im “is about 13,000 jobs in district. Jobs in this district. It’s not about Boeing.”

Oh really? Perhaps Mrs. Wagner would show us the research supporting her claim that Ex-Im created 13,000 jobs in her district. Because those would be the only 13,000 jobs Ex-Im created according to a Congressional Research Service report:

A Congressional Research Service report has confirmed that Ex-Im shifts jobs; it does not create them: “Economists generally maintain… that subsidizing export financing does not add to the overall level of economic activity, and subsidizes foreign consumption at the expense of the domestic economy. [Therefore], promoting exports through subsidized financing…will not permanently raise the level of employment in the economy, but alters the composition of employment among various sectors… and performs poorly as a jobs creation mechanism.”

Wagner is also wrong when she tells people, “This is about leveling the playing field in the International arena, and I will always fight for jobs in the district.” Less and 1/3 of Ex-Im’s loans involve competing subsidies from foreign governments. And the largest recipient of Ex-Im loans, Boeing, has stated it doesn’t need Ex-Im.

As I pointed out in an earlier post on the matter, Ex-Im is not a huge program. It is not the worst example of corporate welfare and government interference in free markets. Instead, Ex-Im is an easy win for principled conservatives. A no-brainer that requires no action. It will just go away.

By defending Ex-Im, Mrs. Wagner has telegraphed how she will handle tougher corporate welfare issues. She will always back corporate welfare queens because they will always cry “jobs.” No facts, just slogans. And this is why I am voting for Bill Slantz for Congress on November 4.

I just don’t understand why Mrs. Wagner would choose the Ex-Im hill to die on?

Hey, Kettle: The Pot Is Calling

What’s more disheartening than the made-up facts was Mrs. Wagner’s silly attack on Heritage Action’s motives. Mrs. Wagner told the audience, which included some Heritage donors and Sentinels, “Heritage is just trying to raise money for itself.”

Remarkable.

PSYCHOLOGICAL PROJECTION: A psychoanalytical theory, projection is the process whereby one subject believes they see attributes (both good and bad) in another. The theory views this tendency as a defense mechanism whereby unenviable or unpleasant traits, impulses or ideas are attributed to another. In this way, the projector is able to avoid the unpleasantness in themselves.

— Source: PROJECTION from Psychological Dictionary

 

Psychologists call it projection. In South St. Louis it was simply  “the pot calling the kettle black”.

Mrs. Wagner is one of the best-funded people in the House. She’s raised nearly $2 million in the current cycle despite running unopposed in her primary.

Here’s Ann Wagner’s fundraising vs. the House average:

Ann Wagner raises well more than the House average, yet she accuses a grassroots activist of taking positions for money. Source: OpenSecrets.org

Money doesn’t fall into a politician’s lap. She has to work for that money. And she does. Ann Wagner is known as one of the hardest working fundraisers in town. This one and Washington.

While Heritage Action does accept donations, fundraising is not high on its activity list. Accountability is. On that point, Mrs. Wagner seems as ill-informed as she is on the proper role of government and on the “conservative-ness” of the Export-Import Bank.

I realize that Mrs. Wagner has to defend her positions against critics like me. I wish she should do it without the use of fabricated “facts” and psychological projection.

And that, my friend, is why I am not voting for Ann Wagner this time around.

 

Note: This post has been updated. Poor writing in the earlier version seemed to diminish Ronald Reagan’s presidency. My apologies. It was totally just crappy writing and did not reflect my views. —wth

August 15 Is The Next After Party with Heritage Tavern

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PLEASE  MARK  YOUR  CALENDAR

OUR NEXT BIG AFTER PARTY EVENT!

It is Thursday, August 15, at 7:00 P.M. at Hacienda Mexican Restaurant

http://www.haciendastl.com/

Hacienda Mexican Restaurant

9748 Manchester RD

St Louis, MO  63119

314-962-7100

Russ Vought, Political Director at Heritage Action, will be our guest speaker on Thursday, August 15.  He will discuss his role with Heritage Action. 

From 7pm-8pm, Russ will talk about the Scorecard & what our team does in DC.

Here is a link to the website & Scorecard:

Website: http://heritageaction.com/

Scorecard: http://heritageactionscorecard.com/

There will be appetizers provided.   However, since our local area friends donate their space to our Tea Party we encourage people to enjoy a dinner there before or afterwards. 

Looking forward to seeing you at this special event.

Seducing the States

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You can’t call yourself a conservative and ask for education money from Washington.

Republicans dominate both houses of the Missouri legislature.  You’d think they’d act like republicans (lower case).  But when it comes to education bribes from Washington, many of our Republican legislators show little resistance to political seduction. We can help them.

On BigGovernment. com, Bob McCarty highlights the hypocrisy of blasting ObamaCare from one side of the mouth while begging for federal cash out of the other.  He points to a Heritage Foundation video that features our own education watch dog Gretchen Logue

Ronald Reagan never got around to dismantling the Department of Education. In the year of his 100th birthday, let’s honor him by resisting the seduction of Washington bribes.  The Constitution is clearly silent on the issue, which means the 10th Amendment prohibits appropriations for local schools. 

Here’s What You Can Do

Contact your Missouri State Legislators today and ask them to send Arne Duncan’s bribe back to DC.  Call or email your Missouri State Rep. and Senator. Tell them to send DC’s Education Bribe back where it came from.

Senators Lembke and Nieves are trying to #senditback.  And they need our help.

Call or email now.

Then Do One More Thing

In addition to calling or writing, please do the following:

Don’t Listen to the Liberal Lies

If Missouri takes Arne Duncan’s bribe, it will simply INCREASE general spending, not education spending.  That’s just the way government works. 

By returning this bribe (and its burdensome handcuffs), we’ll send a message–and instill fiscal responsiblity in both Jeff City and Washington.

Please call your state Representative and Senator today.