The Revolution of the States

Once we reach 34, and a Convention of States is convened, its only official function will be to propose a balanced budget amendment.  But, once this is accomplished, and the Convention officially adjourns, the assembled delegates from the 50 states can meet unofficially.  They can debate, and recommend, what comes next.  An amendment to limit Congressional terms?  The Madison Amendment, making it easier for the states to amend the Constitution?  The Federalism amendment, allowing 3/5 of the states to repeal federal laws or regulations?  Mark Levin’s “The Liberty Amendments” has ten separate amendments which could be considered.

While a recommendation from the delegates to the Convention would be non-binding, it would give impetus to one or more of the possible amendments.  It seems to me that once the state legislators of this country have successfully exercised the power given to them by Article V, they’re going to want to do it again.  Collectively, they have the power to fundamentally change the direction of this country.  If the election of 2014 has put the Republicans in control of Washington, Oregon, Minnesota, Kentucky, and Maine, they will have a rare window of opportunity to do things that might seem, to some, as radical.

I’m talking about repealing the 16th Amendment, which gave us the income tax.  Congress has used this power to control our lives.  It’s how they raise all their campaign cash.  It’s incredibly wasteful and inefficient, creating all kinds of perverse incentives.  It’s a major drag on  the economy.  And it’s the ultimate infringement of our liberty.

To replace the revenue, a consumption tax, or value-added tax, would be needed.  If Congress botches it, their product could be repealed and replaced by an Article V  amendment.

Repealing the 16th Amendment may be a bridge too far.  The country may not be ready for such a massive disruption.  It’s hard to say, this far out.  But maybe, just maybe, the appetite for reform will be strong enough to make it doable.  If so, this whole Article V movement will need a name.

Like the Revolution of the States.



Corporate conservatism vs. popular libertarians

One of the few clouds on the political horizon is the growing schism in the Republican Party between the Tea Party and Chamber of Commerce “moderates.”  It will play out in 2014 in Republican primaries all over the country.  The Tea Party will back insurgent candidates, the Chamber pragmatists.  The same thing happened in 2012, with mixed results.  The Tea Party gave us stars like Cruz and Lee, and duds like Angle in Nevada and Akin in Missouri.

I’m with the Tea Party, up to a point.  The Buckley Rule says you nominate the most conservative candidate who can win.  The Tea Party doesn’t seem to pay much attention to the “can win” part.  Hopefully some of these folks will have learned their lesson from the last election, when we lost seats we should have won.  A good test case will be Alaska, where Joe Miller is trying to be the Tea Party candidate for Senate.  He’s trying to repeat his victory over incumbent moderate Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the 2012 primary.  After he got the nomination he proceeded to lose in the general to her write-in campaign, which is virtually unheard of.  He made some truly goofball mistakes, and carried some baggage that didn’t come out in the primary.

Since I spent 27 years up there, most of it in Republican politics, I have a pretty good feel for Tea Party thinking there.  And I don’t have an answer.  Some of these folks are so hardcore you can’t even talk to them .  Others will listen to reason.  But they’ll only listen to those they trust.  And they don’t trust too many people.

I got a lot of them to trust me.  I earned that trust.  Too bad I’m not in Alaska, I could be of help.  As best I can tell, Miller’s got a shot at the nomination, and if he gets it he’ll probably lose to Begich.  And that could cost us the majority.

Oh, well.  I don’t really care that much about the Senate.  I care about state legislatures, and, from what I can tell, the Tea Party is an unalloyed good in these contests.  The wave I’m expecting wouldn’t b e nearly as big without them

And I’ll trade a state legislature for a U. S. Senator any day.

Presidential stuff

An encouraging sign for a BBA through Article V is its embrace by Govs. Kasich and Pence.  As our Resolution moves through the Wisconsin legislature I have very little doubt that Gov. Walker will join them.  IMHO the 2016 Presidential nominee of the Republican Party will be one of these three.  They’re all solid conservatives with long and impressive resumes.

Sen. Ted Cruz is more dynamic than any of them, but I bet that his thin resume, similar in many respects to Obama’s when he won the nomination, will be a serious problem for him.  And there is a widespread feeling, and not just among “moderates”, that he made a major error in leading the government shutdown.  He had no end game, he may have cost Ken Cuccinelli the governorship of Virginia, and his goal — delaying Obamacare — was actually against the political interest of the Republican Party.  Letting Obamacare go into effect has been the greatest boon to the Republicans since the epic failure of the Carter Presidency.  The shutdown, in retrospect, looks to  be a self-serving rookie mistake. 

Sen. Rand Paul doesn’t look ready, and he seems to know it.

All the talk about NJ Gov. Christie is crap.  He’s an East Coaster to his bones, and it won’t sell in the South and West.  The NRA will take him out without breaking a sweat.

LA Gov. Bobby Jindal has a great deal going for him, but he hasn’t managed to be as successful a Governor as the other three mentioned above.  He’s made a lot of enemies in the Republican legislature, and, in all candor, he’s exotic.  It shouldn’t be a liability, but it is.  I think Republicans will want to play it safe, and not break new ground by nominating an Indian -American.

So the big three are Kasich, Pence, and Walker.  Assuming Walker comes aboard behind our Resolution, all three backers of our cause.  And, as we begin to get closer to 34, and we start showing up on the radar, it sure as hell seems to me that they will begin to bang the drum for Article V.  Right now, with Washington so widely despised, it’s kind of a no-brainer. 

Article V will become a de facto part of the Republican nomination process, embraced by all — part of the Republican consensus.  We hope to get to 34 early in 2015, but if we run into headwinds, and are forced to fight into 2016, this could be big.

End game

In this holiday hiatus, it’s natural to look beyond the legislative battles that will be fought this winter and spring.  Come summer it will be time to focus on Nov. 4th.  The Reagan Project is predicated on a large Republican wave, so there’s no point in worrying about defending legislative majorities we already have.  Riding a wave means capturing new territory, not defending what you have.

Which means that from June on our energy is concentrated in Washington, Oregon, Minnesota, Kentucky, and Maine.  For starters we want to send the IAmAmerican road show into each of these states.  Ideally, it would be in conjunction with some local event, like a state fair.  The goal of these appearances is to rally tea party support for state legislative candidates.  We’ll hopefully be working with CoS by then, so Mike Farris will be unleashing the homeschoolers to the cause.  We will get college YR’s and the young libertarians of Young Americans for Liberty on the case.  Independent PACs will be set up in each state as a receptacle of whatever dollars we can raise.  And, beginning now, I will be on local talk radio in each of them as well, propagandizing.

This is all very much local politics, but we will try to nationalize these elections.  We want Article V to be an issue, and that necessarily means federalism and reining in a federal government run amok.  And we are tightly focused not on just electing legislators who support Article V, but on electing those who will organize behind legislative leaders who will bring Article V Resolutions to the floor for a vote.  Which means voting out the current Speakers and Senate Presidents — Democrats all.  I don’t give a rat’s ass about getting Democrat legislative candidates behind Article V.  They may talk a good game, but when it comes time to organize they’ll stick with leadership that will never allow a vote.

This all ties in with the previous post, about public awareness of what we’re doing.  We’ll beat Article V over people’s heads, drive the issue into these elections.  As Obamacare continues to implode, and federal fecklessness is on full display, it’s a natural.  For political animals like me, this is all good fun. 

Secondary targets will be Montana, North Dakota, Wyoming, and any state where we have been unsuccessful, such as, possibly, Utah.  If we lose in Virginia, we’re SOL, since their legislature won’t be up until 2015. The idea in these states is to grease the wheels for quick and easy passage of the Resolution early in 2015.

I’ve always loved watching election results come in on election night. My first wedding anniversary was Nov. 7, 1972. My new bride was a bit disappointed when we spent it watching the Nixon landslide. I can’t wait to watch the returns come in from state legislative campaigns ten months from now.

Showing up on the radar

Despite some inroads, the Article V movement is off the radar.  Only a tiny number of people understand the significance of what we’re doing, the progress we’ve made, and the path to victory we’re on.  Glen Beck had Mark Meckler on his national show, and has become a big proponent of Article V.  But because Meckler was there to promote CoS, I’m sure no mention was made of  the BBA Task Force and the 20 Resolutions we have in hand.  I’m sure it’s discussed here and there on talk radio, but nobody pays it much mind.

This is understandable.  Whenever I come across an article touting a constitutional amendment as the solution to our problems, I move on.  Passing a constitutional amendment is hard.  Getting 2/3 of the House, and then 2/3 of the Senate, to vote to propose an amendment is tough.  There needs to be a bipartisan consensus on something, and in the polarized world of Washington it’s laughable to see John Boehner and Harry Reed agreeing on anything, much less a constitutional amendment.

In 2014 I think we show up on the radar.  Getting to 21 in January, with Michigan, will be a start, but not enough.  I actually have no idea at what point people start to take this seriously, but if we manage to have a series of victories this spring it seems to me the story will be compelling.  I’m certainly not predicting the sequence, but if 2014 sees South Dakota as 22, Georgia as 23, Idaho as 24, South Carolina as 25, Tennessee as 26, Arizona as 27, Oklahoma as 28, Louisiana as 29, and then, a big one, Wisconsin as 30 – if all that happens over the space of four months or so, this has got to become a story!

On balance, that’s a good thing.  Because the logic of Article V is so airtight, the more people know about it, the easier things should get.  The big question is the response of the left.  If they took us seriously they would be mobilizing against us now, so our low profile has been advantageous.  That’s got to change, it seems to me.  Any intelligent leftist who saw where we’re going with Article V would be outraged.  The left wing interest groups rely on the federal government to advance their causes, and we’re all about taking power away from the feds, and restoring it to the states, and the people.  That’s gotta piss these people off.

Feminists, race hustlers, public broadcasters, trial lawyers, corporate rent seekers, teacher’s unions, Washington lobbyists, environmentalists, public employee unions, the academic community  —  we’re a threat to them all.  Once awakened, they will fight, and they are formidable.  They could very well beat us in Virginia.  But in Utah?  Hell, their opposition there could be a boon.  Likewise in the states that don’t go into session until 2015: Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming.  In other words, by the time they wake up it may well be too late.  We’ll be fighting on our ground.  And we have reinforcements coming in Oregon, Washington, Kentucky, Minnesota, and Maine.

My son Darren created this web site, and has set me up with Facebook, Twitter, GoDaddy, and all the rest.  We’re 50/50 on this thing.  He may be going to Europe this fall, and needs someone to take care of his dog.  So my wife and I may be in Bozeman, Montana for the last three weeks or so leading up to November 4.  I may be able to somehow involve myself in the state legislative races not only in Montana, but neighboring North Dakota and Wyoming, as well.  This could give me a leg up when I lobby these legislatures in December and January.  And one of them could be number 34.

It would be very cool if the left tried to stop us in those three states.  It would be their last hope.  I can see these people descending on Helena, Cheyenne, and Bismarck in a panic.

I’ll be waiting for them.