Lobbying and campaigning

Lobbying is getting legislators to vote for your bill.  Campaigning is about electing legislators to vote for your bill.  The Task Force has concentrated on lobbying.  We need to campaign.

This is where we can most effectively use Coburn — campaigning, not lobbying.  He needs his own group, to educate the voters, and win support from candidates.  I know!  He can call it the Reagan Project!

I gotta talk to this guy.

The test

UT Rep. Kraig Powell seems to  be an exceptionally earnest young man.  For some reason he seems to hold me in some esteem.  He quickly agreed to set me up to meet not only with the House Republican Caucus on Thursday, but with the Conservative Caucus Wed. morning at 7:00.  So I’ll get my shot at these guys.  The big one, for me, is the Conservative Caucus, because it presumably includes the hard right Birch sympathizers we have to get.  My own politics has always been hard right.  I used to say on my talk show that I was as conservative as you could be without being a nut.  So I should be able to relate to these guys.  My hope is that they’ll open up to me about their concerns of a runaway.  I know I won’t be able to completely disabuse them of this, but I’m hoping, and assuming, that the format of this meeting is informal, give and take.  So I’ll get a chance to show that the truly “hard right” stance is pro Article V.  As Sen. Cowsert (GA) told us on Friday, some of the GA legislators stated in the floor debate on our Reso that they did, in fact, remain concerned about a runaway.  But they were willing to take that risk, because the alternative — to do nothing — is even riskier.  Which is, of course, true.

The Task Force guys, Bill Fruth in particular, have been bearish on UT.  They think we have no chance without rallying Tea Party grass roots support.  They may be right.  But if I could somehow convince enough of these guys to pass the Reso in the House, I will have proved them wrong.  Naturally, I have an exaggerated opinion of my own persuasive skills. 

Utah is my test.

Tennessee and Idaho

Very good reports from TN and ID.   I think, barring something weird, we get TN.  Sen. Marv Hagedorn says everything’s on track in ID, and Typhoon Lew is there this weekend talking to the Tea Party.  This guy is amazing.  A former Navy Petty Officer, he really can relate to the regular folks you find at Tea Party events — normal, concerned, and patriotic Americans.  He speaks their language, is very animated, and knows how to make the case.  Lou Marin, a Great Living American.  By the time he leaves Idaho, the betting is he will have recruited a local to take an official role in the cause.  What a guy.  I look forward to seeing him again, at December’s ALEC meet, if not before.

GA Sen. Bill Cowsert reported on his success.  Two years ago the Tea Party fought him, and he failed.  This year the Tea Party was with him, and the vote in the House was something like 112 to 65.  Last year a political rival of his in the GA House (they were both thinking of running for the same Congressional seat) convinced the Speaker to kill the bill, and deny Bill an issue if he ran.  That’s over (she ran, he didn’t) so the Speaker let it slide.  This shows two things.  1)  We’ve got to get the Tea Party  2)  Obscure legislative rivalries can kill your bill just as easily as open opposition.  For all we know, this may be behind SC Senate Finance Chair Leatherman’s refusal to pass our bill out.  Sometimes it’s hard to get to the bottom of these things.  Only true in siders know what’s going on, and  most of them won’t talk.  Lesson:  if possible, when getting our sponsors in WY, ND, and MT, we should get presiding officers or powerful respected veterans.  Don’t settle for less.

Everybody’s still jacked about GA.

Go Georgia!

Georgia passed our Reso, along with a Delegation Limitation Act.  We’re finally up to 21.  Our main man, Sen. Bill Cowsert, came through.  Thank God.  After an unexpected loss in SD, I think we all needed this win.  It should encourage our sponsors and supporters all over the country.

I think I’ve mentioned wondering about LA.  They don’t go into session until 3-31, so what, me worry?

Not to whine, but sending out these pledge letters is a pain in the butt.  96 to KY House candidates, 195 to WV House and Senate.  It’s more work than I want.  I’ll do OR, ME, WA, and MN, but to go beyond that, I’m going to have to get help.  I need to reach out to local Tea Party people to do some of the grunt stuff.  I definitely want to do MT, WY and ND.  A lot will depend on how many pledge cards are returned.  Here’s hoping.

Talking to my wife, Babbie, brings a different perspective.  She and her friends think the Tea Party is yukkie.  What I’m doing with the task force is fine, as long as it’s not a Tea Party thing.  This is important and I hadn’t really thought it through.  We want all the Tea Party support we can get, but it’s important to maintain a separate identity.  This is going to be something I’ll be sure and keep in mind, moving forward.

My goal in life

Talked today with our WV sponsor, Delegate John Overington.  Talk about a soldier.  Back in ’84 he saw the Lew Uhler Article V BBA campaign at 32 states, with his own WV not among them.  So he ran for the legislature to push it, only to be thwarted by the only pork king in Congress bigger than Alaska’s beloved Ted Stevens:  Robert Byrd.  We won’t get WV until 2016 — we’re outgunned 27 to 10 in the Senate.  But he’s game.  I’m thinking that by 2016 we’ll be on our second Article V campaign — most probably for Congressional term limits.  So it’s worth working WV.  By Monday at the latest I’ll send my Reagan Project letter to every R running for the legislature this year.  John wants me to send letters to D’s, but I’m not going to do it.  We want Republican majorities, then we reach out to D’s.  The letter will also go to all R Kentucky State House candidates.  I’ll include a copy of Rep. DeCesare’s Reso, which, if nothing else, will ingratiate me with him.  Depending on how many pledges we get back, we’ll see where we go with the letter campaign.

Speaking of an Article V term limits movement, it’s what I’ve wanted to do since I “discovered” Article V 30 years ago.  In ’89 I introduced HJR 54 to do just that.  It got nowhere.  The people with money in the term limits movement went with a different strategy, which was declared unconstitutional in a 5-4 decision.  They should have listened to me.  Oh, well.  In involving myself with the Task Force, I’m making contacts, and developing personal relationships, which will be invaluable when we launch the second round of Article V.  I have very good personal rapport developed in SD, ID, UT, OK, OR, NM, CO, AK, ME, KY, LA, and WV,.  I’m actively working on developing rapport in AZ, MN, WA and GA.  This summer I’ll be working ND, WY and MT.  I know people in WI, TN, OH, and SC.  In other words, I’m in a hell of a lot better shape than I was when I was in the AK legislature 25 years ago when I got this idea.  If we pull off the BBA, I will be part of the leadership of a new, Article V, term limits campaign.  In the next couple years all I need to do is find some $.  I should be able to do that.  I’ll get Grover Norquist to help me figure that part out.

Put “Term Limits” on my tombstone.  I’ll settle for that.