Come on babe, follow me, I’m the Pied Piper

I must follow him, follow him wherever he may go.  He is my destiny.

Lindsey Graham wet his finger, held it high, found which way the wind was blowing, and manfully follows its lead.  Another soldier in the Trump Brigade.  Another politician of iron rectitude, so long as his donors approve.  A realist, Graham follows the money, wherever it goes.  His hero, John McCain, had already fallen in line with the man who mocked his sacrifices in the Hanoi Hilton.  It just comes down to money.

I had a post ready to go on the Libertarian Moment, and decided to submit it to American Thinker instead.  If there ever was a time for the Libertarians to make a difference, this is the year.

The Alaskan Libertarian leaders I’ve been in touch with seem pretty savvy.  U. S. Senate candidate Cean Stevens and Chairman Michael Chambers seem pretty level headed.  If their colleagues gathering in Orlando this weekend are of like minds, they could do some serious damage this year to the elephant/donkey duopoly.  But you never know with these Libertarians.  They could all collectively go on a wild goose chase.  It will be fun to watch.  Hey, it beats golf.

The thing is, the Libertarian Presidential candidate needs to go where the potential votes are.  They’re mainly in the Far West, starting with Alaska.  I served with Rep. Andre Marrou, who later was the 1992 Libertarian candidate for President.  He had been preceded by two other Libertarian House members from Fairbanks.  In 1982 one of them, Dick Randolph, ran a strong campaign for Governor.  Alaska is just fertile ground for Libertarians, as much as any place in the country.  In 2016 the issue of the Transfer of Public Lands could win Alaska’s three electoral votes.  If the Libertarian had won those three EV’s in 2000, the election would have been thrown to the House of Representatives.  Anything can happen, because nobody knows anything.

Andre was an engineer from Homer, a graduate of MIT.  Originally from Texas, he told me the guys on the MIT football team (yes, they actually had one) weren’t used to playing football, Texas style.  I liked giving Andre a hard time, and said the only way he got in to MIT was on a football scholarship.  I was in the House Minority at the time, and we decided to let Andre be a participant in our Minority Caucus meetings.  The only thing about him that rankled me was the hundreds of bills he introduced, none of which would even get a hearing.  But old Andre wanted to abolish pretty much the entire state government of Alaska, and he put the bills in to do it.

Libertarians, of course, are all for the decriminalization of marijuana, and that might help them this year in places like Alaska, Colorado and Washington, where initiatives doing just that have recently passed.  California is a bridge too far for Libertarians, but marijuana is supposed to be on the ballot here in November, and it will help Libertarians in places like Oregon.

According to the polls, everybody hates and fears the federal government, but no one will vote to do anything about it.  Why not go on a blind date with a Libertarian, just once?  At least it would be different.

Voting Libertarian in 2016 doesn’t mean becoming one.  You don’t have to buy in to their whole program, or have much love for their candidate.  It’s a tactical, not a strategic, move.  Whatever defects can be found in any individual Libertarian candidate are dwarfed by the flaws in Clinton and Trump.  It’s time to disenthrall ourselves, as far as I’m concerned.

As Everett Dirksen used to say, I’m a man of principle, and one of my principles is flexibility.  One of my fondest memories is seeing old Ev give the nominating speech for Barry Goldwater at the Cow Palace 52 years ago.  He called it “The Peddler’s Grandson”, and he told the story of Barry’s immigrant German Jewish grandfather, who got his start in America  by peddling goods to the Natives of Arizona in the 19th century.  Now his grandson was the Republican nominee for President.  What a country.

Worth fighting for.




Seceding from the Electoral College

My first vote was in 1966 for the Republican nominee for Governor of California, Ronald Reagan.  I’ve never voted for any other party’s candidate.  I’ve voted for Birchers, RINO’s, and everything in between.  But this year I’m voting Libertarian.

I was 19 when I was elected Chairman of the UC Berkeley Young Republicans, and was active in the Party until 2001, when Babbie and I moved back to California.  Politically, I’m libertarian, but was never interested in the Libertarian Party.  We have a two party system in this country, and the Republican Party and Democrat Party, working as a team, have made third parties a pipe dream, and that’s not going to change.  I was always a libertarian working within the GOP to attain my political goals, and expect to do so again in 2020. But this is the year to vote, just once, for the Libertarian, as a matter of principle.  It may help elect Clinton, but I won’t feel one whit of responsibility.  The Republican Party left me, I didn’t leave it.

If you like long shots, here’s one for you.  The Libertarian makes the central emphasis of his campaign in the Far West the Transfer of Public Lands (TPL), and wins their electoral votes.  That’s all he talks about.  He explains the issue.  Most people, even those who live in urban areas of the Far West, don’t know a thing about it.  And the case, especially when made to the people who live there, is overwhelming.  Politically, it’s a no brainer.

Generally speaking, voters in the Far West don’t like Clinton, at all.  And this was Trump’s weakest part of the country.  Cruz absolutely crushed him in some of these states.  And the issue of TPL was barely raised.

The thing is, a vote for the Libertarian in Alaska, or Utah, or Oregon, isn’t just some protest vote.  You’re voting for something  — your land.  You want your state’s electoral votes to be awarded to the candidate who campaigned on a promise to transfer it to you.  That’s not a protest, that’s a demand.  If you want these electoral votes in a Presidential election, tell us we get our land.  We’ll prove it to you in 2016, and we’ll do it again in 2020 unless we’re told we get our land.

This is a form of secession, Electoral College Secession.  And if enough electoral votes are won by the Libertarian, and the election is thrown into the House, the people of the Far West will demand that their state’s representatives in the House vote only for a candidate who promises to give them their land.

This choice between Clinton and Trump is unacceptable.  But let’s at least try to make an omelet of this dog’s breakfast.  And that’s what’s involved in throwing an election into the House.  It’s only happened once, and the outcome was unexpected.  Anything can happen.  If Clinton wins Wisconsin, what does the five member Republican  majority of the Wisconsin House membership do?  They’re Republicans, but their state voted for Clinton.  Maybe they vote for who they think ought to be President.  Who knows?

It would a fitting finale to a tumultuous year.

So the TPL Electoral College Secession campaign is underway.  I will try to sell this to the Libertarian candidate for Senate in Alaska, who I began a Facebook conversation with today.  I don’t do Facebook a lot, but I guess it’s as good as email.  She seems like a very well informed woman, who thoroughly understands TPL.  The campaign is on!

I remember hearing about these Libertarian Party Conventions, which were crazy.  These people love standing on principle, but only on their principle.  They take a real strong stand on a lot of things, and fight over the least thing.  I think some of them enjoy it all, the arguing  and standing on principle.  It’s a way to get things out of your system, I guess.

After I got elected chairman of the YR’s at Cal, I used to go to the quarterly meetings of the California Young Republican College Federation.  Talk about a mouthful.  We had meetings all over the state.  We all drank more beer than we stood on principle.  We all got together and had a picture taken of us standing behind a big banner that read “Fuck Communism”.

I had a lot of fun in the YR’s.

At this point, what difference does it make?

The next President will fail, spectacularly, and bring their political party down with them.  Neither Clinton nor Trump will be able to persuade Congress, and the American people, that drastic reforms are called for.  It may be that neither of them feels such reforms are even necessary.  Regardless of what they might want, Congress is such a cesspool of corruption that the best they’ll be able to do is continue kicking the can down the road.

Congress can’t do major legislation any more, or when they do they just cock everything up.  Obamacare never made any sense, but in order to get it through Congress it became a Rube Goldberg joke.  Fixing our entitlement programs is beyond the capacity of Congress.  It’s too hard, politically.  Some people would be pissed off at reform, and your typical Congressman is deathly afraid of angering his constituents.  It might hurt his reelection chances, so it’s off the table.  It’s been twenty years since Congress reformed anything.  The dysfunction of the federal government is merely a reflection of the Congress that is responsible for it.

Some Congressman wants to insert a provision in a spending bill that will block Obama from forcing transgenderism on America’s school children.  If Congress was an actual functioning institution, this would be adopted without much problem.  But Congress is dysfunctional, so good luck with that.

Of all the reasons to vote Libertarian for President, this is the one that persuades me.  If elected, Donald Trump would be a second Herbert Hoover, a big time businessman who was used to getting big things done.  He was over his head, screwed the pooch both substantively and politically, and had the Republican Party wandering in the desert for 20 years after he lost reelection in an historic landslide.  With Trump, it could be worse, and conservatism  and the GOP could go the way of the Whigs.

Since Congress is the real problem, the only solution is Article V.  It can be used to not only get Congress in line, but the Supreme Court and the entire federal government as well.  A Clinton election would galvanize the Article V movement, while President Trump would kill or cripple it.

The Tuolumne County Republican Party is having its 10th annual Reagan dinner tonight, featuring Rep. Tom McClintock, one of the 30 or so Congressmen worth keeping.  It will be held just a few miles from the 900,000 acre Stanislaus National Forest.  If I get a chance, I’ll ask McClintock about the Transfer of Public Lands, and the American Lands Council.

I made a mistake in 1988, and ran for reelection to the House.  I was the Minority Leader, and I thought we might get in the majority, and I could be Speaker.  With that as a platform, I’d be able to take Ted Stevens on in the Republican Senate primary of 1990.  But we didn’t win a majority, so I handed the Minority Leader job to my friend Robin Taylor of Wrangell, and spent as little time at the Capitol as I could get away with.  I’d written a novel, Brinkman, about a Cold War incident in which my hero, a part Native U. S. Senator named Herman Merculieff from Alaska, saved the day.  I had a New York literary agent named Jay Garon who thought he could get it published.  He told me I reminded of a writer he was working with from Mississippi, named John Grisham, who was also a former state legislator.  I spent most of my time in Juneau working on finishing up the book, and only showed up for votes.

Then the Berlin Wall came down, and my novel was obsolete.  I remember watching it all happen on TV with my buddy Bob Clarke, who I was staying with.  It was fun to watch, but bittersweet to me.   I explained to Bob the role that Pope John Paul II had played in making it all happen, and he convinced me to write a book about it, which I did, called Triumph of Faith.  Jay Garon went and died on me, and I never could get it published.

I’ve decided to e-publish it, and look forward to putting it out.  It’s a great story, and one which very few millennials are familiar with.

Karol Wojtyla was the greatest man of the 20th Century, and a saint.  God bless him.


Giving up on Reagan

He’s been gone twelve years, and it’s time for me to move on.  I’ll never see another Ronald Reagan, nor will I see the political coalition he led, and I was a small part of.  Anti-communism got me into politics as soon as I was old enough to understand what communism was, which was at Saint Cornelius Elementary.  And Ronald Reagan was the ultimate, and winning, cold warrior.  When the Berlin Wall went down, and the Gipper went home to California, it was all over.

Ted Cruz tried to reassemble the Reagan coalition, and his failure to do so was not because of his flaws as a candidate, or because of Donald Trump.  A lot of people didn’t like Cruz because he came across as a Bible thumping religious zealot.  But it wasn’t these people who cost him the nomination.  It was the very people that persona should most appeal to  — Southern evangelicals  — who on March 1st gave Trump his path to the nomination, and blocked Cruz’s.

The evangelicals have pulled the Republican Party too far to the right on social issues.   Forget about the Hispanic vote, the one that matters for the future is the millennials, and they’re libertarian on the subject.  That’s where the Party needs to go as well.  The evangelicals will not abandon the Party, they might just not vote.  But they weren’t there when we needed them on Super Tuesday, and we’ll have to do without them.

I’m pro-life, but these pro-lifers have got to let it go.  They have to realize that voting for a person who is ambivalent, or even pro-choice, is not the end of the world.  I was reading some conservative on the internet who can’t bring himself to vote for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian, because he’s pro-choice.  Give me a break.   Talk about holier than thou.

There’s only one way for the Republican Party of California to revive itself.  Some smart, pro-choice Republican should fund a ballot drive to put a California Constitutional Amendment on the ballot, enshrining a woman’s right to choose in the California Constitution.  That takes the issue off the table in California.  Even if Roe v. Wade were overturned, California would remain pro-choice.  And it is the abortion issue which makes the GOP toxic to so many people here.  Take that off the table and you can talk to them.  Otherwise, forget it.

We now have a jungle primary in California, which will result in the election to the Senate of a Blue Dog Democrat, Loretta Sanchez, one of the very few in the country.  This is not what the Democrats had in mind when they adopted the jungle primary.  It was designed as a way to replace hard core Republicans with moderates, to move the GOP to the center.  That way they could get the 2/3 they need to pass a State budget, with some moderate Republican votes.  But in practice, it’s not having that effect, instead it’s moving the Democratic Party to the center.  Oh, well.

When I was in the Alaska legislature we created something called the Constitutional Budget Reserve (CBR).  It was a savings account, to be used when the State government really needed it.  This was 30 years ago, and we knew it wouldn’t be used for a long time.  We had so much money coming into Juneau we didn’t know what to do with it all, and there were many fat years ahead.  We wanted to make it hard to get at this money.  This was money you only used in a sort of fiscal emergency, which is exactly what is facing the Alaska Legislature as I type.  Their revenue is only providing about a fourth of what they’re spending.  It’s a true crisis, one that’s been predicted to come since I was in the legislature.

Most people thought requiring a 2/3 vote to spend the CBR was sufficient to assure that a future legislature wouldn’t get to the money before they really needed it.  Not me.  I had 16 members of my Minority Caucus, and if any three of them bailed on me, they’d have their 2/3, and spend that money before they cut the budget.  I wanted that fat, bloated budget cut close to the bone before they got that money.  I insisted on a 3/4 vote, and that’s the problem they’ve got in Juneau right now.  They really need the money, but they can’t get a 3/4  vote.

So, my idea worked, right?  Wrong, emphatically wrong.  The people who won’t give them the votes are the Democrats, and they’re holding out because they want to spend more  money.  Exactly the opposite of what I intended.

Oh, well.  I didn’t know the gun was loaded, and I’m so sorry, my friend.  I didn’t know the gun was loaded, and I’ll never, ever, do it again.


We must think anew, and act anew.

Our case is new.  The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate.  We must disenthrall ourselves if we are to save our country.

Lincoln spoke these words in 1862, when the cause of the Union was still in doubt.  Americans North and South were slaughtering one another.  The country was tearing itself apart over slavery.  Our current divisions pale in comparison, but we are all fighting for our version of what our country stands for.  We dislike each other as much as Johnny Reb and Billy Yank did.  We just haven’t taken up arms.

If you look up “disenthrall” in Webster’s you won’t find it.  Lincoln made it up, because no other word fit what he wanted to say.  One is enthralled when one is spellbound, captivated.  Lincoln knew that to preserve the Union he needed to break the spell that limitations on the power of government were permanent and unbreakable.  He would soon issue his proclamation emancipating the slaves, and he knew he was on shaky constitutional ground. But he felt that it was necessary to win the war, and preserve the Union.  In modern parlance, he wanted people to cut him some slack.

When I got back in the political game in October of 2013 I smelled rebellion in the air, and I am, by nature, a rebellious man.  That’s why, when I was a freshman in ’62, I walked around the campus at Cal in my Goldwater sweatshirt.  A lot of people are uncomfortable in confrontational situations.  I kind of enjoy them.  When I was a junior at Cal I was walking back from work, a long slog before I got my motorcycle, and I walked by a car with a couple guys in it with an American flag on the radio antenna, hung upside down.  I walked over and tore the flag off the antenna.  This guy got out, looked at me, and asked me if he could have his flag back, so I gave it to him.  I was just a rebellious kid.

The rebellion I smelled was real enough, and it’s been building ever since.  But someone else smelled it besides me, and he’s got the Republican nomination.  The Republicanism of the Bush establishment is dead, and will not be revived.  Bush 3 got four delegates.  Ted Cruz was rebellious as hell, just not rebellious enough.  Add Trump and Cruz together and it’s 3/4 of the Republican Party.

Just because I was right to smell rebellion doesn’t mean I know where this one leads us.  What I failed to understand was just how powerful it is, strong enough to induce millions of Americans to rally behind a Manhattan Mussolini.  If this rebellion isn’t properly channeled, it could become dangerous to the Constitution and our liberty.

Trump is a dangerous man.  I underestimated him.  Anyone who can’t see through him is a fool.  He’s drunk with self love, and adored by millions.  He will be stopped, I have no doubt.  The forces aligned against him are too strong.  What I’m concerned about is what happens when he does lose, because in so many ways he’s right.  He’s right about political correctness, and NATO, and not going to war in the Mideast, and the border, and Muslim refugee immigration, and about a number of other things as well.  The American working man is getting screwed, and has been for a long time, and he doesn’t want to take it any more.  And he’s right.

We all need to be ready to pick up the pieces after November, and start over.  And this is where we must think anew, and act anew.  This country’s in trouble, and we don’t have forever.

I want people to think anew about the Constitution.  That’s a tall order in a Kingdom of Tweets.  But we’ve got to get the federal government under control, and we’ve got to use the Constitution to do it.

I wasn’t particularly popular with the ladies back in college.  Part of it was my aggressive attitude.  Between the time I left college and met Babbie, I had a lot of that knocked out of me.  Just in the nick of time.