When we get to 31 or 32 we expect Maryland to rescind.  There’s nothing we can do to stop them.  The legislature is solidly Democratic, and we’ve been advised that they have every intention of rescinding next year.  This means that in addition to Wisconsin, South Carolina, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Idaho and Arizona we’ll also need Virginia.

Since Virginia is purplish, with some of the northern part of the state a suburb of D. C., this will not be easy.  We think we may have had the votes in the House back in January, but the Senate was split 21 R-19 D, and we couldn’t line up the votes there.  The entire legislature is up for reelection in November, so we’re not even guaranteed Republican majorities.  Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe is a skilled and ruthless political operator who will be pulling out all the stops to get a Democrat legislature.  But if the tide is with us, as it is, we should win this election, and have even stronger majorities.  But until that election takes place we won’t know how realistic our chances are.

Without Maryland we have to run the table next year  — getting eight out of eight.  It certainly can be done, but you have to call it a long shot.   We’ll need a lot of help, help that has not been forthcoming.  And I think we need some breaks as well.  The closer we get to 34, the more likely it is that we get the help we need.

The first meeting of the Federal Assembly will be on July 25th.  If it is a success, we should have a second meeting in December, preferably in Annapolis.  If by this time next year we haven’t hit 34, we should have a third meeting immediately following ALEC’s 2016 summer meeting.  A fourth meeting would be held in December, 2016, after the elections.

I think the 2016 election is the flip side of 1932, and we pick up a couple more states with complete Republican control  — Maine, Washington, Kentucky and Minnesota are the most likely.  With the addition of a couple of these states the December 2016 meeting of the Federal Assembly will, hopefully, be the last that deals with the BBA.  If we get 34 in 2017 no summer meeting of the Federal Assembly would be necessary.  But if the Amendment Convention is held in the summer or fall of 2017, there should be a meeting of the Federal Assembly in December of 2017.

The purpose of the Federal Assembly is for the state legislative leadership of this country to meet and discuss their responsibilities under Article V of the Constitution.  If, in late 2017, the First Amendment Convention has been held, discussions need to take place on the appropriate subject matter of the Second Amendment Convention.  The BBA, when enhanced by the Reagan Initiative, will do a great deal to get this country turned around.  But it is not sufficient.  To get back to constitutional government much more work needs to be done.  A decade’s worth of work.  The Federal Assembly should continue to meet until the job is complete.  Hell, they ought to meet forever.  Somebody’s got to keep an eye on the federales, and the Federal Assembly has the juice to keep them on the reservation.

These meetings should be short and sweet.  In San Diego the principal business meeting will start at 9:00 PDT and be over by 11 or 12.  You can’t expect remote participants to stay with us too much longer than that.  And we’ll stay on point.  No random bullshit.  Stick to business.  If people want to bullshit they can do it in the afternoon session, or the evening, or Sunday morning.

The Federal Assembly is in its infancy.  What it becomes is anyone’s guess.  It has great potential  — in my mind, at least.

It’s a start.

Tax Reform?

It’s easier to balance a budget with growth than with spending cuts.  Cutting spending causes pain.  Growth makes people happy.

Spending needs to be cut, no doubt.  It’s ridiculous.  The federal government pisses away so much money it’s a scandal.  There’s an awful lot of low hanging fruit in the federal budget.  Just not enough to bring spending down to where it equals revenue, if revenue is static.

The Reagan Initiative is a growth agenda grafted on to the traditional BBA.  Because the economic and fiscal  impact of both regulatory reform and of the transfer of federal lands to the states is so obvious and so enormous,  these two easily fit within a reasonable definition of a “Balanced Budget Amendment.”   Does tax reform?

Rand Paul is out with a flat tax proposal, drafted principally by Stephen Moore of Heritage.  It is my cup of tea.  I’d like to think a President Paul, with big Republican majorities in Congress, could get it passed.  I’m a dreamer, I know.  Even if all the corrupt Republicans in Congress (and there are a lot of them) voted for it, there’s the filibuster by Senate Democrats.  How do you get 60 votes in the Senate?

Maybe you don’t have to.  Maybe the flat tax qualifies as germane to a budget bill under the Byrd Rule, and thus can be passed as part of a reconciliation bill.  With 51 votes, not 60.  The Senate Parliamentarian is the one who would make the call (subject to being overridden by a 60 vote majority).

If the flat tax fits under the Byrd Rule it fits within a BBA.  And I would argue it fits.  A flat tax would produce an economic bonanza, as Moore argues convincingly.  The Roaring 20’s aren’t in it.  There would be so much wealth created that the federal government’s cut would balance the budget.  If you combined a flat tax with regulatory reform and transferring federal lands to the states we’d see growth that would put the 80’s to shame.

The nice thing about doing all this through Article V is that it’s in the Constitution.  Tough to change.  One of the criticisms of the flat tax is that Congress could always jack up rates, or impose a VAT, or somehow screw everything up.  If it’s in the Constitution Congress can’t touch it.  Maybe you’d have a provision for wars (only the declared kind) or natural disasters, allowing Congress to make temporary changes with a 2/3 vote.  You have to be a little flexible.

Like every other discussion of Article V, the number 38 pops up.  Forget getting 38 state legislatures to ratify.  Too tough.  But would the people of 38 states elect delegates to ratification conventions who’d vote for a package that contained, say, regulatory reform, land transfers, a flat tax, and spending restraints?  Who knows?  It would be the defining political fight of 21st Century America.

Whenever I think of 38 I see purple, as in Maine, Minnesota, Washington and Kentucky.  Are there majorities in these states for a pro-growth BBA?

Maybe, just maybe, we should find out.  It’s a political call.  I say leave the decision to the delegates.  They’re all politicians.  Let’s leave it up to them.

But let’s give them the option.

There’s no need to talk about all this at the Federal Assembly.  The first meeting, in San Diego, is all about One State, One Vote, One Amendment.

But down the road ……?

If not now, when?

How about 2017?   No one wants to hear that.  The people involved in pushing the Article V BBA are reaching the end of their rope.  But you have to admit we could be a state or two short next year.  Would that be the end of the world, or the end of this campaign?  Of course not.

I don’t pretend to be a numbers guy; I rely on other people.  My sense is that, from a policy standpoint, a delay of another year for the BBA wouldn’t be fatal.  We won’t go bankrupt because of it.

There’s no question in my mind that getting to 34 in 2016 would help Republican candidates.  The BBA has the support of 65% of Democratic voters, but it’s still seen as a Republican issue.  But the fight for a BBA isn’t being waged on behalf of the Republican Party.  It is an unintended beneficiary.  And I don’t think the Republicans will need any help from the BBA in 2016.  Everything is breaking their way.  The ridiculously antidemocratic Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage is just the latest example.  By taking this issue off the table the Court helps Republicans.  Public opinion, especially among the young, has been moving fast on this topic, and the GOP is much better off not talking about it.

If we don’t care about helping Republicans next year, and the economy won’t collapse with another year of fiscal indiscipline, what’s the downside of 2017?  Besides exhaustion.  Will people get tired of talking about it?  Not likely.   The vast majority of people don’t know anything about it.

And that’s been the problem from the beginning.  The great mass of people in this country have never heard of Article V.  They’re completely unaware that if seven solidly Republican states pass our Resolution the first Amendment Convention in our history will be called.  No one realizes that the Constitution was designed with a mechanism to allow the states to control the federal government.  The people of this country have totally had it with the federal government.  It’s the enemy.  It taxes us, spies on us, regulates us and tries to control our lives.  Congress is a laughingstock.  As the Democrats go through the paroxysms of “peak left” normal people will be ready for a new solution  — Article V.

If they know it exists.  We’re counting on Kasich to get the ball rolling in the Presidential debates.  But we need to do more, a lot more.  I talked this morning with Gerald Molen, who won an Academy Award for producing “Schindler’s List”, and also produced both of Dinesh D’Souza’s documentaries.  I explained the Article V BBA and the Federal Assembly to him, and he seemed to get it.  He said Dinesh is in Hawaii with his daughter for the next couple weeks, but that when he gets back he’ll email him and let him know what we’re doing in San Diego.  Molen gave me the impression that he thinks D’Souza might be interested in working on a full scale documentary on what we’re doing.

It’s a start.  Even if it doesn’t work out with D’Souza, the fact that Molen “gets it” on Article V (he’s a big time conservative) means he might be willing to get me a hearing with other potential documentary makers, or maybe some kind of reality TV.  Anything to get the public educated and involved.

With the people behind us we win.  If the people knew about us, they’d be behind us.  There is a way to get through to them.  The message is too powerful, and hopeful, to be hidden much longer.  We will get the word out.

Then we win.

Law and Politics

Politics and law.  What’s the difference?  In upholding Obamacare and Disparate Impact (DI) today the Supreme Court demonstrated that whatever the distinction is, it doesn’t make a difference.

I guess it would be nice if the Supreme Court did our work for us, but they are not so inclined.  Justices and lawyers won’t save this country.  It’s up to us.

What will save us is Article V, and these decisions don’t hurt our cause.  I would argue they’ll help.  If the Supremes had gutted Obamacare all hell would have broken loose.  The R’s running Congress would have been at total war with one another.  Some, probably most, would want to kick the can down the road by temporarily providing the funding to all the federal exchanges.  They would try to get some concessions from Obama, but I doubt he’d give them anything, so they’d cave in the end.  It all would have been very ugly.

Obamacare was the high water mark of progressivism.  When it collapsed in October of 2013 the tide turned, and has been running with us ever since.  In upholding it today the Justices didn’t make it any better.  It’s still a dog’s breakfast.  The alienation from the federales which fuels the Article V movement stems, in part, from Obamacare.  Let it fester.  It will only get worse.  Obamacare is the political gift that will keep on giving.

In my mind you could argue the impact of the Obamacare ruling either way.  You could say a different decision might have helped us.  Not so with Disparate Impact.  This truly atrocious decision could be a godsend, politically.  Affirmative action has never been a political winner.  DI is affirmative action on steroids.  If a policy has some sort of demonstrable negative impact on blacks, it’s illegal.  That’s it!  How cool is that.  I’m exaggerating, but not much.

Blue collar whites in the heartland detest DI.  It impacts them and their sons in a very personal way.  Say your boy wants to be a fireman or a policeman.  You and he know damn well the color of his skin is a major negative.  That pisses guys off.

Will the Republican presidential candidates have the balls to campaign on repealing DI?  We should soon find out.  Sometimes I get New Hampshire envy.  I wish I was in the Granite State so I could ask these people that question directly.  If they’re afraid to take a stand against DI, they’re made of cardboard.

If the Republican candidate for President handles the repeal of DI in the proper way, it can take them to the White House.  I think you win Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan with it.

Kevin Williamson writes at NRO, and he’s got a piece out that nails it.  He says with the coming departure of The One the left is going nutty.  They’ve damaged this country, but they’re a long way from transforming it, and they’re frustrated.  Campus rape, micro-aggressions, transgender naziism, the list goes on.  Kevin says we’ve reached peak leftism and I agree.  They just keep getting nuttier.  Back in Waupun, and West Bend, and Shegoygan Mr. and Mrs. Normal American have got to be looking incredulously at each other.  These people are crazy!  And Hillary is leading the god damn charge.  This deranged harridan is out spouting the latest leftist bullshit at the top of her lungs.

How much better can it get?


John Weaver is apparently Gov. John Kasich’s top campaign strategist.  Part of his job is messaging, and so far, looking in from the outside, he’s falling down on the job.

Wherever he goes, Kasich will be challenged by conservatives opposed to the expansion of Medicaid.  It happened in Helena, Montana, when he was urging adoption of an Article V BBA Resolution.  And, according to news accounts, it’s happening in fund raising meetings.  He gets defensive, combative and self-righteous when the subject comes up.  If that’s his attitude in the debates, he’s toast.

He has an answer, and a good one.  If he’s renowned for anything, it’s as a budget hawk.  He fought like hell to balance the budget when he was in Congress.  He balanced Ohio’s budget.  And, as President, he’s the one who would actually get it done.  Been there, done that  — will do it again.  When he looked at the impact of Medicaid expansion on the State of Ohio’s budget, he decided the state could afford it.  Short term and long term, Medicaid will not bust Ohio’s budget.  There are hundreds of thousands of low income Ohio residents who will benefit from this program.  As Governor, he has a responsibility to them.  They are his constituents, and he wants them to have the best medical care possible.  So he took the money,   knowing full well the State of Ohio will soon be picking up the tab  — but Ohio can afford it.  He would know, of all people.  Would he impose this decision on other states?  Hell no.  If South Carolina doesn’t want to expand Medicaid that’s their business.  He’s the Governor of Ohio, not South Carolina.  His Ohio values led him to this decision.  And as President he would not force Medicaid expansion on any state.  He will not impose Ohio values on the rest of the country.  That call is not up to the feds.  Each state gets to decide.

That’s the story he needs to tell.  He sure as hell doesn’t need to lecture people about their Christian duty, or brag about his cred at the pearly gates.  It’s fine, it’s admirable, to help those in the shadows.  That job is for the states, and local communities, and churches, and all the other charitable institutions in this country.

It is not the job of the federal government.  He knows that.  The feds have a limited role in our system of government.

He could even go off on what those Ohio values are.  Tell the story of Ohio, and why it has always, since it gained statehood over 200 years ago, been the bellwether of the country, striking the balance between north and south.  When it was settled people came from Yankeeland and Virginia, and everything in between.  The people of Ohio mind their own business, but they also feel an obligation to one another.

Any question about Medicaid in Ohio can easily be turned into a discussion of fiscal discipline.  Who has demonstrated it over the course of a thirty year career in politics, at the state and federal level, and is determined to impose that discipline from the White House?  Take it to the bank.  John Kasich will balance the budget.   Period.  But in doing so he will be mindful of all the people on Social Security and Medicare who rely so heavily on those programs.

Weaver needs to sit down with Kasich and work this message out.  And Kasich then needs to show the discipline to repeat it, over and over, any time the subject comes up.  Jeb famously flubbed a question on Iraq that he knew was coming, and he paid a price.  If Kasich gets all riled up every time someone brings up Medicare, Weaver will be out of a job soon enough.

The greatest line in the history of Presidential debates was the Gipper’s, “There you go again.”  He said it with a smile, as though he was a little disappointed with Carter.  Nobody can be Ronald Reagan.

But we can try.