High Noon in Salt Lake

Tomorrow around mid day the Utah House votes on our bill.  The Senate looks wired, so this is it for Utah, up or down.  Kraig Powell thinks he’s got 43, with 38 the magic number.   Eagle Forum is generating 15-20 Utah emails an hour, so he’s nervous.  He’s trying to get to a few fence sitters for insurance.

Last year I got the sense that Eagle Forum was overplaying its hand in the Utah legislature, that they were hectoring, rather than pleading.  They’re self-righteous and overbearing, and I got the sense they were resented.  If that’s true the members who feel that way can give us  a vote to put them in their place.  I know Kraig is doing all he can.  We can come back next year if we come up short, but there’s no denying a loss would be deflating.  When the board begins to light up, red and green, Kraig will know in a matter of seconds whether he’ll win, or lose.

It’s kind of exciting.

This year in Cheyenne

Nicholas’ problem is the possibility that an Amendment Convention would adopt a rule calling for proportional voting, or voting based on the electoral college.  He wants one state one vote, and he thinks the Compact approach would guarantee that.  He did acknowledge that the initial vote at the Convention would be one state one vote.  He fears 26 states getting together and adopting a rule that screws over Wyoming, and other small states.  I argued that a majority of states would be adversely affected by anything other than one state one vote.  This didn’t appeal to him.   I imagine he was thinking of a situation where small liberal states like Rhode Island and Vermont would sacrifice the power of their own state in exchange for empowering New York, Illinois, and, especially, California.

I pointed out that Republican strength in state legislatures is at an historic high  —  31 states under complete Republican control.  I assured him that the leaders of these 31 legislatures were quite similar to the leadership in Wyoming, and would be loath to adopt a rule which gave California 10% of the vote at a Convention.  This seemed to get some traction.

Bill Fruth and I discussed offering a sunset amendment in the Montana Senate, one which self-rescinds the Resolution on December 31, 2016.  It seemed to me that this would appeal to Nicholas, so I made the suggestion.  I said we’d been at this for over thirty years, and if we couldn’t get it done next year, it’s just not going to happen.  Nicholas may accept the argument that, under current conditions, Wyoming would be protected by the other 30 red states.  But for all we know the election of 2016 could reverse the political alignment, and the Democrats could be running the whole show.  So a sunset should appeal to him.

The Rules Committee meets tomorrow morning at 7:30 a.m. to make amendments to the bills.  There are signs that Sen. Eli Bebout will offer a sunset amendment, and that Nicholas will be satisfied.  He was quoted in a Wyoming paper the other day that he was leaning against our bill because it didn’t guarantee one state one vote.  He can tell the media that, with the sunset, and with 30 other red states protecting Wyoming’s equality, he’s satisfied that Wyoming’s interests will be protected.  He could say, if he wanted, that because of his concerns, Wyoming will be the first state to pass the bill with a sunset.  He will have played a leadership role in protecting the interests not just of Wyoming, but of all the other small states as well.

Fruth and Biddulph were trying to get legislative leaders to call Nicholas and assure him that they and all other legislative leaders they know will not have anything to do with anything but one state one vote.  People like Utah Senate President Niederhauser, Ohio Senate President Faber, Georgia Senate Majority Leader Cowsert and a number of others.

I imagine Phil Nicholas will get himself selected as a delegate to the Amendment Convention, and be the delegation’s leader.  As such, he’ll have as much power as anyone at the Convention.  Everybody seems to acknowledge he’s the smartest guy they’ve got.  These calls that he’ll be getting will be from fellow delegates-to-be.  It’s a nice introduction to some people he may be working with, that he would want to build some bonds with.

Phil Nicholas did himself a favor.

Next year in Cheyenne

Natelson thinks Nicholas has a hard on for our bill.  I disagree, but what do I know?  I previously stated that we’d need 20 of 30 Senators to vote to take up our bill in 2016.  I took another look at the Wyoming Constitution.  I was wrong.  You need a 2/3 vote in either chamber, not both.  With our 44-16 margin in the House we could get to 2/3.  Or, alternatively, Gov. Mead could call a special session immediately upon adjournment next year.

Either way, we’d have a shot.  If Wyoming was lined up to be our 32nd, or 33rd, it could happen.  I said we didn’t want to go there.

But you do what you’ve got to do.


Sponsor Rep. Chris Kapenga has told us to let him handle it.  He says it won’t happen until very late in the year because they’ve got as lot of other stuff to do, like the budget.  I read Kapenga as an ambitious kid who was born to scheme, and I wonder if he’s trying to maximize the attention given to the Wisconsin vote by making it the 31st, rather than, say, the 28th state.  We have not received any sign of support from Gov. Walker up to now, which is surprising.  Back in December of ’13 I predicted that either Kasich, Paul or Walker would pick up the BBA ball and run with it.  Walker and Paul chose not to, perhaps because Kasich had already put his brand on it.  After Ohio passed it in November of ’13 Kasich sent a letter to all the Governors of target states, asking them to get behind the effort within their state.  Walker got that letter, and declined to follow Kasich’s lead.  For whatever reason.  Rivalry, whatever.

The Wisconsin legislature is open for business year round, and can pass our Reso whenever they want.  The votes are there this year.  It could really be done any time.  If Walker declares for President this summer, how does he intend to deal with this issue?  I have no idea.  But if Kasich declares he can smoke him out.  He can smoke them all out, challenge Bush et. al. to join him in his ongoing campaign to get Arizona, Oklahoma and Idaho to be the 32nd, 33rd, and 34th states.

Hell, he can smoke Walker out before he decides to declare.  He can go to Wisconsin any time in the next few months and make the case.  I’m not sure, but I believe Kapenga would cooperate.

My flight to Denver was cancelled, so I’m going through Boise with 30 minutes to make the connection to Denver.  Dicey.  I may not get to Cheyenne in time for the hearing.  We should be able to get a continuance of a day or two.  I need to be there, unless Fruth gets a firm commitment from Sen. Nicholas this afternoon, which I doubt.

But, on the other hand, he is the Closer.

Lessons of Montana

(1)    We can’t count on Democrats.  We may have had as many as ten, led by Rep. Ellie Hill.  That would have offset the loss of eighteen Republicans, almost a third of the caucus.  But when the call came from Governor Bullock it was game over.   We can expect the same as we move into other states.  The leadership of the Democratic Party is scared to death of a BBA through Article V.  If this becomes a big issue in 2016 they think it will kill them.

Actually, they’re probably right, as I’ve been saying for months.

(2)    We’ve been noticed.  The Soros funded Center for Budget and Policy Priorities may have a number of different priorities.  I’m betting beating us is number one.  Soros will give them all the money they need.  And we can’t assume they won’t play dirty.  They will, if it comes down to it.  Some on the Task Force have wanted to stay low profile, hoping we wouldn’t be discovered by the left.  I’ve always disagreed.  The left isn’t that stupid.

(3)    We need public support.  People have to know and understand what we’re doing.  They won’t help us if they don’t know who the hell we are.  We want publicity.  When people google Article V I want the Reagan Project popping up #1.  The Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force was a name chosen by a committee of accountants, or something.  It sucks.  The Reagan Project’s got some pop.  Sometimes when I’m wandering around the woods in the evening, having a cold one, I try to think up some kind of publicity stunt, some gimmick, to get earned media.  I’ll keep at it.  I did a show with Glen Biegel in Anchorage, KOAN, a couple days ago.  For me, he was the perfect host.  Gave me this glowing introduction, about how I had introduced him and his wife to conservatism when I was on in the 90’s.  We had almost fifteen minutes of substantive conversation about the Reagan Project, Article V, and the BBA campaign.  I thought it went very well.  But I don’t really know.  If he invites me back is how I’ll know.  Anyway, the point is that I can’t count on talk radio.  It may be too complicated to spring this whole thing all at once on people.

The first thing I’ll do, once we’re set up in about a month, is do an op-ed.  I’ve got some ideas about how to get it noticed.

The other obvious angle is getting donations.  People won’t give us money if we’re hiding in the shadows.  We not only need to do things, we need to be seen doing things.  So once we’re over this hump in Wyoming I’m backing off from this whole lobbying business.  I don’t think I’m really suited to it.  I don’t have a bad attitude or anything, but I think I may arouse some resentment.  It’s hard to explain, just a vibe.  Kind of like, who the f— are you?  Like I say, it’s not my line of work.

It’ll be snowing in Denver tomorrow.  This trip could be a bitch.