The red tide

J. R. Dunn is the guy who edits my pieces at AT.  He rejected the first one almost two years ago because he thought Congress was in control of the Article V Amendment process.  A couple months ago I started submitting articles on other subjects, and he put all of them up. A couple days ago I put one in which talked a lot about Article V, and he’s not running it because he still thinks Congress is in charge of Article V.  Rob Natelson tells me that he’s had articles rejected as well.  I emailed Dunn with my arguments against his position, and we’ll see what happens.  He may not let anything I write about Article V on their website, which is too bad.  They get almost a million hits a month, so it’s a good way to get the word out into the conservative blogosphere.  I guess I’l have to try to get on some other web site.

I saw a clip of Kasich on Special Report, and it fortified my judgement of him, especially when contrasted with Bush 3.  I’m talking body language, comportment, style.  Bush 3 is defensive.  It’s almost like he’s pleading for understanding and respect.  It’s not the demeanor of a strong man.  In contrast, Kasich was very aggressive today, almost mocking his senatorial rivals for their lack of accomplishment.  He had his chin up and his chest out.  I liked it.  He just looked like he was pissed off at all these blowhards who’ve never done anything in politics except make speeches.  He was totally under control, and his anger was genuine.  And it was justified.

I know I’m reading too much into this, but it’s almost like Kasich is starting the transition from step one  — take out Bush 3  — to step two  — taking out Rubio and Kasich.   Maybe he figures Bush 3 doesn’t need taking out, he’s taking himself out.  In any event, his targets today were clearly the Young Guns, not the media candidates.  About which, all I’ll say is this.  A lot of pundits are going to look real stupid for ever having taken any of them seriously.

Rubio’s the hot ticket of the week.  He’s a natural, and there aren’t too many of them.  But he’s 44, with no executive experience.  The Presidency is always the biggest job in the world. But the challenge for the next President will be especially daunting.  I admire and respect the people who want it.  But it’s no job for a rookie.  This is why the big dogs don’t want to go with Rubio.  They’re not sure he’d be up to the job.

On the Article V side, I’ve had it with all this bipartisan talk.  It’s ridiculous.  If some good Democrats want to help out, great.  But the Democratic Party, and Democrat elected officials, like state legislators, are our opponents.  They will fight us tooth and nail. The stakes are high, and they know it.  We can win without one Democratic vote, and that’s how we’ll have to win.  Dave Guldenschuh was saying that the South Carolina Lieutenant Governor got real interested when they started talking about the political impact this whole BBA project could have on the 2016 race.  He’s a smart guy.  I wish there were a lot more like him.  Because it could have a major impact.  If we wind up one or two short, we’re for real. And if we’re recognized as such, we’re an issue in the fall campaign.  Kasich or Rubio could campaign on their support for the Article V BBA, and ask that Republicans be elected across the country to achieve it.  What’s the Democrat to do?  Oppose the BBA, I guess, even though 80% of the country wants it.

This all might actually happen.  Bill Fruth and the rest of us are going to do our best.  I think we pull it off.

And the tide  —  rolls  —  on.

What a fool believes, he sees

Seeing is believing, but not to a fool.  Cruz believes, and sees what he wants to see.  He’s gone off the deep end on this shutdown business.  Have you ever been at a meeting when a motion failed for lack of a second?  Normally that doesn’t happen.  Someone will always give a guy a second just to avoid embarrassing him.  When no one does, you look like a fool.

That’s what happened to Parson Cruz on the floor of the Senate yesterday.  He made a motion to force a vote opposed by McConnell, and it died for lack of a second.  The rage voters will not hold this against him.  He’s fighting the good fight!  Well, I’m just as enraged as the next guy, but I want people representing me who have some idea of what they’re doing.  The Parson is a grandstanding showboat, who may have one ally in the Senate, Utah’s Mike Lee.  Even Lee wouldn’t back him.

It’s been said that one man with courage is a majority.  Bullshit.  One man shows don’t work in politics.   If you are all alone in a group of 100, you are a political disaster.  This will be lost on rage voters, who will probably rally to the Parson when Trump fades.  He’s a fighter!  And a loser.  I think it’s clear that Cruz has the most potential to make it into the final round as the hard core insurgent candidate.  Either Rubio or Kasich, or both, will be there to meet him.  This won’t happen for five months, and, of course, may not happen at all.  But the Parson’s performance in the Senate, not on the campaign trail, may do him in.  McConnell, and just about every other member of the Senate, would love to knock him on his ass, and these guys know how the game is played.  A tiny example:  Cruz was scheduled to speak to ALEC in San Diego in July.  At the last minute McConnell scheduled a vote that he couldn’t miss, so he cancelled.  Look for Mischievous Mitch to come up with ingenious ways to derail the Cruz campaign.

Rage candidates don’t win elections, at least not for President.  The Gipper always ran with a smile on his face.  When the Parson switches to positive, he’s unconvincing, smarmy.  There’s something offputting about this guy, which is why he’s called the Parson. His sincerity is phony.

In my megalomaniac moments I take credit for the current popularity of  the term “authenticity” among the punditry.  Months ago, describing and excusing a Kasich shortcoming, I said that it had the advantage of lending him authenticity.  Ever since I’ve been seeing this word everywhere.  It explains Hillary’s slide, Biden’s appeal etc. etc.  Now the numbers boys at 538 have weighed in.  Authenticity is unimportant because  it “doesn’t fit into a regression model” and is subject to “attribution error.”  What a crock.  All we mean when we say authentic is not phony.  But phoniness is not subject to mathematical analysis, so we should pay no attention.  Really?  The time to listen to the numbers boys is far in the future.  In politics and poker you play the man, not the cards.

The main reason I’m down on the Parson is his ambivalence on Article V, which he developed when running an insurgent primary campaign in Texas, in order to appease the Birchers et al.  I want Rubio or Kasich, because I think they put us over the top.  I’m hoping that the field winnows after the SEC primary on March 1st, and the Florida showdown on March 15th.  If Rubio and Kasich are both still standing  — and I bet they are  — and they let Bart Davis in Idaho know that they want an Article V BBA, he might relent if one of them is probably the next President.  The same message, a little later, would need to go to Hugh Leatherman in South Carolina and Andy Biggs in Arizona.  How do you say no to the next President of the United States?

Politically I’m closer in my politics to Cruz than any of the others.  I’m pretty hard core.  And everybody’s wrong about something, and maybe I’m wrong about him.  I hope I am, because he cannot be counted out.  There’s a lot of rage out there, and it’s justified.  Immigration is a very hot potato.  If he learns how to channel it in a positive direction he’d be dangerous.

I’ll take him seriously when he stops listening to Mark “I am so pissed off” Levin.  Which raises an interesting question.  Levin fancies himself the godfather of the Convention of States.  I don’t listen to him very often, but I’ve heard him give great soliloquies on Article V.  He gets it.

Why hasn’t he gotten his buddy the Parson to see the light on Article V?

Reagan, the man

We’ll never get a handle on this man.  Edmund Morris is a great writer.  His books on Theodore Roosevelt are brilliant.  So he was made Reagan’s “official” biographer, getting access to Reagan in the White House that was unprecedented and not repeated.  The result, Dutch, was a punt.  He had no idea what made Reagan tick, so he wrote a sort of fictional account of who Reagan was.  A complete bust.  I’ve read half a dozen Reagan biographies, and don’t think I have a lot to learn.  But I did get some insight from the latest, H. W. Brands’ Reagan, The Life.

Brands is not a conservative.  He chides Reagan for saying the states created the federal government.  Uh, sorry, H. W., but the Gipper knew a few things you don’t.  But if he’s a liberal he hides it very well.  He’s quite fair.

If you haven’t read a Reagan biography lately, I’d recommend it.  A good Christmas gift.

One of the things that struck me was how much Reagan cared about people, as individuals, not in the abstract sense.  The whole Iran-Contra thing happened because he felt he had to do everything in his power to get those hostages back.  He couldn’t get them out of his mind.  His subordinates mis-served him, but they were trying to do what he wanted.  If you wanted to get President Reagan’s attention, it always helped if you could put a face on a problem.  He liked people.  He really did.

As a boy, and a young man, Reagan was not a bad ass.  The only way he made it in college football was because he went to a tiny school where everybody made the team, and he was third string.  He loved the ladies, but he didn’t have the kind of masculine sexuality you see in real movie stars.  Nancy picked him out and got her man.  She had to take the initiative.

And he was whipped. I suppose we all are, but it got a little ridiculous when he let Nancy and her astrologer pick the best dates to hold events.  Sorry, Mr. President, that’s a bit much.  He was a little docile around her, let her get a little pushy on personnel.  None of this is a criticism. The Reagans had a ridiculously successful marriage, but her hatred of Reagan’s first wife poisoned the relationship between Reagan and his first two kids by her, Michael and Maureen.  Nancy tried to erect barriers between them and their father, and succeeded.  Reagan agreed to give the commencement speech at Michael’s graduation, and pass out diplomas.  When Michael came up to get his, Reagan didn’t recognize him.  Michael had to identify himself to his own father.

In December of 1979 Reagan came up to Anchorage for a rally and speech.  It was a complete waste of his time.  I was Chairman of his Alaska campaign, and we had it in the bank.  No problemo.  But our national committeeman, Eldon Ulmer, a pharmacist, had extracted a promise from Reagan to campaign in Alaska, and he insisted on making Reagan keep it.  I tried to talk him out of it, but it was a big feather in his cap, so the Reagans and their entourage fly up from Seattle for a one night stand.  Reagan was not happy.  The only thing he agreed to do was go to the hotel, give a speech, and go to bed.  I had the opportunity to ride from the airport with him and Nancy, and I must say I was looking forward to it.  Then Ellis Conklin, the liberal reporter for the Anchorage Times, asked me to let him ride with them instead of me.  It was a big deposit into the favor bank, which I later redeemed in full.  Ellis blew his chance, asking Reagan about things like his hair.  So I didn’t get to spend any time with the Reagans, just very briefly introduced them to the crowd and got off the stage.  Nobody was interested in anything I had to say.

I shook his hand after I introduced him, but he didn’t seem real friendly, at least to me.  I think he blamed me for not getting him out of this stupid trip, or for having to answer dumb questions from Ellis..

He was a great man, but just a man.

All the way with JRK?

Mark Levin’s a smart guy. Like many others, he sees Article V as the only solution to our current political dilemma. So he wrote a book, “The Liberty Amendments”, describing the process and outlining ten excellent amendments. So far, so good. He inspired and has promoted the Convention of States as the political organization to implement his ideas. Rather than propose a series of Article V Amendments, he wanted all or most of his ideas to be considered at a single Convention, which would propose a BBA, term limits, and other separate reforms, as many as could be agreed on.
But Mark is not as smart as he thinks he is. He doesn’t understand politics, except what he reads in books. He doesn’t realize that every time you add a subject matter to a piece of legislation you double your opposition. Term limits and the BBA both poll at 80% approval. But some people support a BBA, and not term limits, and vice versa. Wyoming Speaker Kermit Brown is all in on a BBA. We passed the Wyoming House 44-16 with his help. But he’s adamantly opposed to term limits. No way, Jose. So the Convention of States never got out of committee. The same sort of thing has happened all across the country. It’s why we’ve got 27 and they’ve got three. It’s why we can get to 34 and they can’t. It’s why Mark Levin does not, in fact, know his ass from a hole in the ground.
If Kasich makes a gaffe on the trail it won’t be because of that chip on his shoulder. Quite the contrary. It is the better angels of his nature which pose a threat. He risks looking like a Bush. This could be deadly.
Bush 1 was kinder and gentler, Bush 2 was compassionate, and Bush 3 is kind, gentle, and compassionate all rolled into one. Politicians speak in code. The Bush code is softness, gentility, and moderation. It’s why Jeb! won’t win the nomination. If Kasich starts sounding like a Bush, he’ll go nowhere. He’s not the tin man. He doesn’t have to show us his heart. Everybody’s got a heart, pretty much. Republicans aren’t looking for an Oprah. We want Marshall Dillon. The trouble with talk melding Christian values, good works, and government is that it can sound like conservatism that cares — the politically deadly formulation of Bushism.

I’m working on an article for AT.  I’m arguing that Congress is irredeemable and the federal government beyond repair  — without Article V.  Elect Kasich, or Trump or Cruz  — none of them will be able to bring the beast to its knees  — without Article V.

What I don’t understand about Kasich is his real attitude toward Article V.  I wish I’d gotten a chance to talk to him in Phoenix last year.  I don’t care much for what I have heard.  He talks of using Article V as a prod to Congress, which would produce the actual proposed amendment.  He seems to think a Convention is a necessary backstop, but something which should be avoided, rather than sought.

But that read might be bullshit, just stuff he says to calm people who might be jittery about a runaway.  But I do think he’s not really up to speed on Article V.  I hope I’m wrong, but I have seen no sign that he has really thought it through.  The funny thing is, not that many people have thought it all the way through.  Smart people, like Sen. Nicholas, and Sen. Davis.  Kasich’s a busy guy.  He can’t be expected to know everything.  I saw him give one of his very first pitches in Phoenix last year, and then another one in Cheyenne.  It was all BBA, no Article V.

My hope is that this is all part of the three step.  He hasn’t finished step one  — the establishment guy.  When he goes to step two, (which happens when Bush 3 folds) he’s the Reagan man.  It would be as Reagan man he would talk about the role Article V can play in restoring federalism to our system of government.  Reagan man could also talk about getting federal land back to the states.  That would help in Nevada, Idaho and Wyoming, but Bush 3 will probably be still kicking, so it might be too late, politically, for those caucuses.

A lot seems to be happening.  I screen out any thing to do with the three media candidates, so it makes it easier.  So much of what you read right now is just idle bullshit.  But fish gotta swim, and writers gotta write, but it’s tiresome.

Boehner’s not the problem

This is the article they’ve refused to put up at the American Thinker.  J. R. Dunn is opposed to Article V, and doesn’t appear willing to reconsider.  A shame.  We’ll look for other ways to spread the word.

 

Boehner’s not the problem. It’s Thad Cochran and Don “bridge to nowhere” Young and hundreds of others in Congress; it’s Congress as an institution, not the Republican Party.
Trump won’t be able to fix Congress. Neither will Kasich or Cruz or Rubio. No President can change Congress, and it will not change itself. Reformers — real conservatives — are 190 votes shy of a majority in the House. Ted Cruz needs about 45 more votes to accomplish anything in the Senate. It’s not going to happen.
The Supreme Court has told the country, in upholding Obama care, that it will not prevent even the most flagrant violation of the Constitution. It will not control or reform Congress.
The McConnell Doctrine — which holds that Congress forfeits the power of the purse when the President’s a Democrat — is just one example of the fecklessness of Congress. Not necessarily  of Mitch McConnell, he’s just acknowledging reality. He knows his colleagues. He can count. Even if he wanted to fight, the Thad Cochrans of the Senate would never play along, and there are a lot of them. They are wholly owned agents of the money interests that put them in office. Large, even overwhelming, majorities of Congress answer first and foremost to their contributors, not their constituents. Elect new blood and nothing changes. Only a small minority will stay true.  It is possible to imagine a successful strategy that included a shut down.  But it would only work if there was a unified and determined Republican caucus.  Which we don’t have in either the House or the Senate. Electing new leaders won’t change that.
Aside from chronic overspending and debt, the administrative state is the ultimate demonstration of Congressional uselessness. Rather than legislate, and make the hard choices and do the work, Congress delegates its power and duty to write the law. The EPA is but one arm of the regulatory octopus created and empowered by Congress. These agencies are a law unto themselves. They not only perform legislative functions, but executive and judicial as well, enforcing their “laws” like a parallel government. The entire administrative state is an affront to the Constitution, as ably demonstrated by Philip Hamburger in his book “Is Administrative Law Unlawful?”
The solution to a corrupt and dysfunctional Congress is not a Presidential or a Congressional election. No one, not Donald Trump, Abraham Lincoln or LBJ, is capable of changing Congress. The entire federal government is a captive of entrenched interests.  The greatest threat to our liberties is the federal government.  If George Washington were around we could elect him President, and even he would be unable to bring the federal government under control.  At this point it’s irredeemable. An outside intervention is needed.
The Framers did everything in their power to prevent this from happening. But their Constitution has been so perverted and ignored that it’s almost a dead letter.
Except for Article V, designed for precisely the circumstances we face today. The States can control Congress, the Courts, and the President, if they want to. If 34 of them can agree on the topic of a Constitutional Amendment, they would meet at an Amendment Convention to draft a proposal, and, if 38 ratify, change the Constitution and put this country back on track. This is the last best hope.  There’s no other answer.
We’re not far away. We have 27, and the eight legislatures we need are all under Republican control. The topic chosen is a Balanced Budget Amendment, supported by 80% of voters, including 65% of Democrats. If we don’t control federal spending we’ll go bankrupt. Congress doesn’t care enough to curb it appetites. The country can go off a cliff, as long as the donors are happy.  And if the Amendment Convention decides to include revenue enhancements as part of a BBA, constitutional regulatory reform would do more for the economy than a balanced budget.
If a Convention is called, and a BBA proposed and ratified, it would do more than just save the country from financial ruin. It would demonstrate that Article V works. The States, and the people, acting in concert, can restore the Constitution and preserve our form of government.
Boehner will be gone soon. It won’t make any difference. He’s not the problem. Congress is the problem.
And Article V is the answer.