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

Reading Time: 2 minutes

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.

Rick Stream Probably Didn’t Know I Knew His Old Career Counselor

Reading Time: 3 minutes

When people asked me to get behind Rick Stream, I first wanted to make sure that was the right thing. I remembered that I have a friend who helped Rick a while ago. So I asked her.

Rick Stream is “a quiet leader.”

“I didn’t see him as a politician,” she told me. We were talking about Rick Stream, the candidate for St. Louis County Executive.

Representative Rick Stream (R-Kirkwood) chairs the House Appropriations Committee. (photo courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications) . Clipped from http://www.missourinet.com/

The woman was a transition career counselor a decade ago. She was helping people transition from a Department of Defense organization to the civilian world when their operation shut down.

“I worked with Rick for a month, I think. He was sort of a quiet leader. Some of the guys were a lot more vocal and hard-headed, but even the loud ones would respond to Rick. They all looked up to him.”

I asked her what kind of County Executive Rick might be.

“Rick’s boss told me, ‘If Rick said he’d do it, it got done.’ So did the other people who worked with him. He is quiet with a dry sense of humor. Very detail oriented.”

Why did you not see him as a politician?

“Oh, it’s not that he wouldn’t be a great leader. He was definitely very senior with the government, and everybody looked up to him and followed his lead. But he was quiet and thoughtful. He wasn’t one to just jump up and give a speech like most politicians. And he is such a good man. He wanted to help people. I mean, really wanted to help, not just talk about it.”

Why a good man entered the nasty field of politics.

When the career counselor asked Rick Stream what he’d like to do, he told her “well, I’ve always been a history fan. I think I’d like to go into politics.”

“Why don’t you do that, then?” she asked.

So he did. He became a Representative in the Missouri House. He served as chairman of the House appropriations committee. Then he decided to run for St. Louis County Executive against my friend, Tony Pousosa. You probably know that I endorsed Tony.

It’s not easy to support a guy who beat your friend in a primary. So why am I doing this?

My conversation with someone from Rick Stream’s past mattered to me.

It’s one thing to hear political people talk about a candidate. It’s another to hear a report from a woman who knew the man 10 years ago, before he first ran for office. At the time my friend worked with Rick Stream, Rick was in no position to do anything for her.

Now, I know whatever I do to help elect Rick Stream, I’ll be helping a good man who wants to help people, who is a highly competent manager, detail oriented, and respected by everyone who works with him.

St. Louis County, after a decade of Charlie Dooley, is in danger. St. Louis County is in decline. Wages in St. Louis region are flat. Job growth lags most similar size cities across the country. Municipal courts and small town police departments have intimidated, impoverished, and alienated residents through obnoxious and corrupt courts. Ferguson has become a symbol of government failure. And many county school districts are failing.

Rick Stream may not be a flashy, glib politician like Charlie Dooley and Steve Stenger. Thank God. St. Louis County doesn’t need another corrupt narcissist who uses the power of government to transfer tax dollars to friends.

St. Louis County needs:

  • thriving new businesses,
  • more jobs with climbing wages,
  • more quality school choices for parents,
  • more trust in government, and
  • an end to rampant corruption.

In November, we will choose between  Dooley Light and a respected leader.

This right-leaning libertarian is voting for the respected leader, Rick Stream.

I hope you will, too.

I Will Vote for Libertarian Bill Slantz for Congress

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Libertarians want to take over the world and leave you alone.

What a refreshing ambition!

A couple days ago, I wrote that I will not vote for Ann Wagner’s re-election in 2014. I arrived at that position after realizing that Mrs. Wagner and I share incompatible, mutually exclusive views on the proper relationship between government and people. She believes government should run markets. I believe government should make sure markets are fair.

Because free markets are central to a free people, I find Mrs. Wagner’s position intolerable and dangerous–a threat to free people.

In that post, I also said I was torn between voting for the Libertarian, Bill Slantz, and undervoting the US Congress race. I have decided to vote for Bill Slantz.

I need to point out that I am not a Libertarian. Neither am I a Republican. But I am a libertarian and a republican. (This won’t make sense to VB.NET programmers, but us C#/C++/Java/JavaScript folks will get it.) Some in the Wagner camp will be tempted to (or already have) lost their heads screaming, “Hennessy’s not a Republican! He’a s PROG!!!!!”

Horseshit. I’m the same person I’ve always been–for good or ill. I’m a hockey guy who wants to be left alone. Unless I’m at a bar, then let’s talk. Or if you want to send me a gift. I’m open to gifts. I’m still STRONGLY behind Ed Martin, Tom Schweich, Rick Stream, and Peter Kinder. I have an embarrassing man-crush on John Lamping (which I know will cause him pain and suffering. Sorry, Senator.) My Reagan Ranch calendar sits proudly above my computer–open to July 2014, but, hey, it’s only the 23rd of September. On November 4, I will punch the R on every election except one: US Congress, 2nd District.

Want to know why I decided to vote for Bill Slantz for Congress? I read Bill Slantz’s website pretty closely. The quotes below convinced me to vote for him:

After watching everything I cherish being compromised by big government mismanagement, I can no longer remain on the sidelines. Because I know that I can help solve rather than compound our current problems, I feel it’s my duty as a proud Missourian to do my part and represent my neighbors in Washington, D.C. This country was founded on the premise that our liberty is secured by limiting the size, scope and intrusiveness of government. Small step by small step we have wandered off that path until we can now look back and realize that we have lost our way. I am convinced that both Democrats and Republicans cannot and will not make the fundamental changes we need because they have far too much to gain by maintaining the status quo.

It’s virtuous for people to be compassionate or self-sacrificing when it’s voluntary. All virtue is lost when charity isn’t done voluntarily.

The Libertarian Party is for all who don’t want to push other people around and don’t want to be pushed around themselves. It’s a live and let live philosophy.

Now, Bill’s positions on issues and situations:

Border Security
The United States, like all sovereign nations, has an absolute right to secure its borders and forbid any foreign national to secretly enter or remain in this country. We should not tolerate anyone refusing to obey our laws regarding proper entry into this county. Border security, however, should not be confused with the related but separate issue of legal immigration, my position on which can also be found on here.

Business and Economy
Except for courts to sort out the protection of lives and property, governments should keep their hands out of business. Voluntary economic exchange is the only way; government intervention is not justified. Further, government interference in business on behalf of some citizens at the expense of others is inherently unjust.

Consumer Protection
In principle, federal safety regulation can and should be abolished in favor of market institutions analogous to Underwriters Laboratory certification. I say restrict the FDA oversight to safety, leaving efficacy up to the marketplace.

Criminal Justice
In a free society, crimes would be limited to aggression against persons and property, including fraud. So-called “victimless crime” laws are incompatible with liberty. Drug laws today are among the most destructive, counter-productive and anti-freedom laws on the books.

Drugs
Those who wish wisely or foolishly to use drugs should be free to do so and those who wish to keep drug use off their property should similarly be free to do so. In this regard, the choice to use or not use is should be left up to wisdom in experience, moral ethical, and scientific. [You know where I stand.]

Education
In an increasingly competitive global marketplace, it has never been more important to educate our citizens. Unfortunately, even as education spending has soared, further burdening an already overtaxed populace, our education results continue to disappoint and lag behind those of other countries. To reverse this dangerous trend, we need to liberate our educators from the entrenched governmental bureaucracy that has held back progress for far too long.

Elections and Politics
If the federal and state governments were limited to its few legitimate constitutional functions, politicians would not be able to bestow favors to special interests. Without just election processes, some politicians abuse their power and strip citizens of their inherent rights and liberties.

Environment and Energy
There should be a free market in energy without government subsidies or excessive regulation. If energy production causes demonstrable harm the producers should be subject to civil penalties.

Foreign Policy and National Security
Foreign intervention should only occur when a case can be made that the legitimate defensive and security interests of the United States are directly involved.

Freedom of Religion
Freedom of religion must be total and unqualified in the private sector. Government should not in any way discriminate in its own policies in terms of religion, and it should also get out of areas like education where it only creates needless religious controversies

Freedom of Speech
There should be no restrictions on free speech so long as it does not cause material or physical harm to others.

Gun Rights
The private ownership and use of firearms or other weapons in a non-invasive way is fully legitimate. Government regulation, licensing, and registration of guns should be abolished.

Healthcare
There should be a true free market in healthcare without government restrictions or excessive limitations. Consumers should be able to buy health insurance across state lines, without joining a group, and in a market not distorted by government incentives or subsidies.

Immigration
I believe in open immigration for all who enter peacefully, do not pose a threat and seek to contribute to our society. I oppose any form of welfare benefits to those who entered the country illegally.

Infrastructure
I am a strong believer that one of the government’s primary roles is to promote and support a robust infrastructure. Tax dollars can be appropriately spent on power projects, roadways and highways, telecommunications, water systems and many more of the “big ticket” grand projects that benefit us all.

Marriage and Family
The government should play no role in marriage. Consenting adults should be allowed to enter into a contract of civil union protected by contract law. If some wish to have “gay marriage” and others do not, each should be free to adopt the rules they consider appropriate so long as property rights are respected.

Medicare and Medicaid
Medicare and Medicaid, if needed at all, should be privatized. However, allowing local communities to build a support system to directly meet these needs is a better solution.

Military
The military should be strong and state-of-the-art. It should be adequate to constantly defend against all enemies. All military duty should be voluntary. There should be no military draft.

Minimum Wage and Workers’ Rights
Wages should be set by the market. Workers should have the right to join, or not join, a union they choose without being subject to coercion of any kind. There should be no minimum wage.

Monetary Policy
Monetary policy should be determined by Congress and the issuance of money should be strictly regulated with direct congressional oversight. There is no role for a Federal Reserve. A system of private clearing houses and deposit insurance offers the finest protection and competition for safety against ruinous depressions and inflation.

National Security
Protecting our personal security and defending the nation against aggression and catastrophic incidents is a legitimate constitutional power and the burden of government at all levels.

Privacy
The government should not engage in tracking or surveillance of citizens without a legal warrant. The Patriot Act should be repealed.

Pro-Life
I am personally opposed to abortion and I would fight against any government funding of abortions.

Social Security
Social Security should be phased out entirely. Retirement should be a personal responsibility, not an opportunity for governmental intrusion into private matters.

Taxes
The income tax should be eliminated. The alternative would be national, state and local sales taxes. This change will include mechanisms that will protect lower income families from an excessively burdensome level of taxation.

Trade and Globalization
Unilateral free trade is the best and simplest policy. Free trade, migration, and association are fully legitimate so long as property rights are protected in the process.

Could I tweak some of those positions? Sure. But I could tweak some Ronald Reagan positions and some William F. Buckley positions, too. I disagree with none of Bill’s positions. None. In fact, many of these positions I took in my 1993 book, The Conservative Manifesto. Since then, the conservative position has morphed. In 1993, I was mainstream. (The youngsters wouldn’t understand.)

What I would not tweak about Bill Slantz’s positions is this: he believes government is a tool of the people. His Republican and Democrat opponents seem to believe the people are tools of the government. On that simple difference, I must vote for Bill Slantz. And I hope you will, too. 

Next week, I’ll talk about a longer strategy for rescuing MO-2 from the corporate elite.