Well, folks, I have to admit my wheel wasn’t the one which squeaked last on the matter since the crap I described last Wednesday continues apace. So hopefully someone with a little law enforcement experience can get this din to a dull roar:
As Republican candidates in a deep-blue state, we have a responsibility to provide you with a quality message and a quality campaign.
The likely nominees for office on the Democratic side will be flush with campaign cash, aided by an accommodating media and, in the case of Democratic candidate for Governor Anthony Brown, operatives from the Obama campaign. These campaigns are not playing games and this is not a joke, they are running to install a permanent tax and spend super-majority which will bankrupt our beautiful state and drive thousands more to flee across our borders.
I write this out of a deep and genuine concern for our state’s future. Some of the parochial spats developing amongst a limited number of campaign staffs are causing unnecessary and damaging rifts within our Party while we struggle for relevancy and the support of the people of Maryland.
It’s time for us to put the games and the nonsense aside and focus on the real fight. As the head of my campaign team I promise you a relentless effort and a quality team and if either I or my team fail to produce, email me immediately at email@example.com. I respectfully request that the remaining candidates on our Party team do the same and start to prune their campaign trees of people who alienate rather than unite.
That’s what Dan wrote on his Facebook page earlier this Tuesday evening, and I (almost) couldn’t agree more. (I think we will get the Obama operatives regardless of who wins that Democratic primary because we have one of the state-run exchange states.)
But we’ve had “unnecessary and damaging rifts” for a long time, well before this campaign began. I’m going to go beyond the whole Lollar aspect for the moment because plenty enough has been said about that over the last week; in fact, the controversy over that has enabled the argument over open primaries to be swept way under the rug. People may need to be reminded we have a convention next week.
In essence, it seems to me the party lost its unity when Bob Ehrlich lost. That so happens to be the time I was elected to my Central Committee – I swear, though, this is not cause and effect – and these are just some of the political slugfests we have endured since:
- The argument over convention voting, which got so bad for a time some small counties boycotted the whole thing
- The vote of no confidence on party Chair Jim Pelura
- The return of Bob Ehrlich, which begat the Rule 11 controversy because Brian Murphy was also in the race (as was a challenger for Andy Harris, who also benefitted)
- Audrey Scott and “party over everything” – her tenure neatly coincided with the rise of the TEA Party and pro-liberty movement
- Speaking of Scott, her battle with Nicolee Ambrose for National Committeewoman
- The ongoing question about whether Delegate Don Dwyer should resign, which one of the current gubernatorial candidates used to score political points
- The referendum battles, including the times we chose not to use it
- Alex Mooney’s resignation and the bitter subsequent election for party Chair
- And now the open primary question
It’s been a constant routine of renegades, rule changes, and rancor for the last eight years – all we’ve been missing is the string of victories we need to make ourselves relevant in Maryland. The math is simple: one governor + one comptroller + 19 Senators + 57 Delegates = relevance. Anything less and we may as well not be there at all. Get that or more and maybe this state can be saved.
Now I will cheerfully admit I’ve had a hand in a couple of these issues I alluded to above; surely I’m not on Audrey Scott’s Christmas card list. But my goal is to help drag the Maryland Republican Party (insofar as it relates to the idea of enhanced liberty and freedom) over the finish line and make this more of a truly “free state.” (I’d like to do the same for all the other states as well.)
So this is why it bugs me that we have this whole power struggle between campaigns, between individuals – and even between websites. I like a good argument as much as anyone, but after awhile it gets pretty pointless. (Although I should take this moment to thank those who have supported me and my efforts – never hurts to acknowledge them! I have a support base I’d stack up to anyone’s.)
Certainly the average person, who may only now be starting to pay attention peripherally to the race (we’re months away from it being foremost in mind to probably 90% or more of Marylanders; this won’t occur until after the primary) would be unaware of what has transpired so far but right now we’re doing a damn fine job of both providing the opposition research Democrats can use in the general election and probably cheap entertainment for them as well. Doug Gansler has to be thanking his lucky stars that word of these shenanigans on our side is starting to get out because people will forget his transgressions long enough for him to rehabilitate his image.
I can surely guarantee, though, that Dan Bongino’s got enough of a struggle on his hands without having to worry about being tarred with these same broad brushstrokes. His is advice which should be heeded.
In 52 weeks from Tuesday, Marylanders will go to the polls to decide the fate of their state government for the next four years. How long that four years will seem to Maryland Republicans will hinge on the results.
But there are a lot of people already pondering the message the party should put across, or even whether they can. Take Richard Falknor at Blue Ridge Forum for example, who wrote today:
Our take: there is a broad culturally conservative base in the Old Line State, as well as a deep reservoir of those who quite rightly believe they are vastly overtaxed and overregulated. Understandably, many of these citizens have found the state Republican Party ineffective. How congenial is the G.O.P. to Blue Collar Maryland of all ethnicities when its chair here and the sole Republican U.S. Representative here flirt with amnesty? And why run the business risks of joining the opposition party in a one-dominant-party state if that opposition party has few fixed principles and won’t make serious trouble for the dominant party anyway?
The Maryland GOP and its politicians fell far short last year on two unusual outreach opportunities: they failed to put full energy and resources behind the referenda against gay marriage and against in-state tuition for illegals. Both these referenda did better here than governor Mitt Romney in 2012 in Maryland.
The state needs an energetic, organized conservative-grass-roots organization drawn from all parties. But the problem is like the one school reformers face: deciding whether to shut down a failing high school and start a new one with a new team, or to try to rehabilitate the failing school.
Whether to rebuild or replace the Beltway-Establishment-linked Maryland GOP is an open question.
Unfortunately, the question is already answered by the rules written for electioneering, as the two principal parties have distinct advantages over attempting to get on the ballot via a third party or as an independent. Few independents make it to the ballot in a statewide race, with failed onetime Republican Rob Sobhani the most recent example.
So the Maryland GOP it is. But which one?
Is it the group which seems content to be the perpetual opposition party, playing the game as best they can hoping for approval from the dominant side so that the state can move forward in a bipartisan manner? Damn, I hope not.
No, I’m more into the bomb throwers; the type who assumes that in order to make an omelet you have to scramble some eggs. Once the TEA Party came into being I hoped it was the impetus which would shake up a moribund state party which saw its lone Republican incumbent governor in two generations shellacked at the polls, losing one of its two Congressional seats two years later when the national elections gave the other party a stranglehold on the federal government. That was the situation we encountered at the dawn of 2009.
Once the TEA Party got rolling, I was hoping the Maryland Republican Party would embrace it. Instead, they decided the retread who had been pounded four years before was good enough to run again. But the upstart campaign of Brian Murphy brought a new element into the MDGOP - particularly once Sarah Palin endorsed him – and the 2010 primary results showed just how significant a portion it was. To get 1/4 of the vote against a candidate the state party all but endorsed was an accomplishment.
But the race for party Chair that fall still showed we had a long way to go, with the most overt TEA Party participant receiving only a smattering of votes. It’s funny, though, how turnover in the state party erodes that which most people thought was conventional wisdom because the TEA Party favorite just missed winning the special election for Chair this spring and ended up as First Vice-Chair. Still, observers like Falknor saw it as a Pyrrhic victory at best, choosing to advocate for a different path.
I bring all that history to the fore because 2014 will be the first state election where the TEA Party is more integrated into the political process. We gained experience with the 2010 campaign, but now the hard work begins. And the question we must answer: how can we make sure those in the political middle receive the conservative message? We know the other side tries to smear and obfuscate it as much as possible.
A lot of people say the way to accomplish this is to focus strictly on pocketbook issues. But to me that misses the point – if we’re going to be painted as extremists, why not explain why we feel the way we do instead of being defensive? For example, I’m pro-life and believe life begins at conception because how else would you define when life begins? How is it logical that a child one centimeter away from exiting the birth canal can be murder but once outside is considered human?
On the other hand, though, I feel that those who commit premeditated murder forfeit the right to life through their action, and in so doing deserve the ultimate punishment of the death penalty.
Life is about far more than money and the size of government. It is also up to us to construct the guard rails for our progeny so they stay on a relatively straight and narrow path. Yes, they will have their period of rumspringa but the idea is not to allow them enough rope to hang themselves with.
Liberals will tell us that delving into social issues will keep us from winning elections, but since when do we solicit counsel from an enemy? It would be like John Harbaugh taking play-calling advice from Troy Polamalu. You know, for as far-left a state as Maryland supposedly is, it took a Presidential election against a weak Republican candidate to get more than 50% of the voters to support gay marriage. As I said at the time, that was their best chance because no one wanted it on the 2014 ballot with them,
So I don’t think all discussion of social issues should be off-limits if we use them as a teachable moment. In order to change Maryland to a “purple” state we need to educate the public on the benefits of conservative thought.
Well, the Republicans caved again. Afraid of what they thought would be dire consequences if they bumped against the debt ceiling, John Boehner violated the Hastert Rule and allowed the Senate deal on the Obama/Reid shutdown to be brought to the floor and passed. All the House Democrats who voted (198 of 200) favored the bill, while Republicans made up all 144 of those who voted no.
Among those voting no was our own Andy Harris, who put out a three-part Tweet explaining his reasoning.
I will be opposing the Senate fiscal plan because it continues the spending that led to $650 billion deficit this year 1/3
— Rep. Andy Harris, MD (@RepAndyHarrisMD) October 16, 2013
I will be opposing the Senate fiscal plan because it continues special treatment for Congress from Obamacare requirements 2/3
— Rep. Andy Harris, MD (@RepAndyHarrisMD) October 16, 2013
I will be opposing the Senate fiscal plan because it continues accounting gimmicks. 3/3
— Rep. Andy Harris, MD (@RepAndyHarrisMD) October 16, 2013
Fairly compelling reasons. Unfortunately, the 87 Republicans who voted in the affirmative were more than enough to pass the bill, once again hanging the TEA Party out to dry and probably assuring themselves primary opponents next year. But Mitch McConnell got his earmark.
But let’s not forget that we were placed in this situation back in 2009, when Congress began what seems like a never-ending series of continuing resolutions to keep the government going, racking up enough red ink that we would eventually run into our debt limit. (Didn’t we cave on that a couple times before?) Even in that year, at a time when Democrats held both houses of government and could pass anything they wanted, including Obamacare, Congress failed to do its Constitutionally-appointed job of holding the power of the purse.
Yet one has to wonder if this was the plan all along. Does anyone really have any idea what the government spends money on? Consider how many millions it took just to get the failing health exchange websites operational – it sure doesn’t seem like we got much bang for the buck, yet someone has pocketed a crapload of federal cash.
All along, the story with this regime is that its friends made out like bandits but future generations will be left holding the IOUs. Last night’s votes just enriched the bandits a little more.
Over the last couple days, a segment of the Maryland Republican Party is scratching its head over the absence of gubernatorial candidate Charles Lollar from several high-profile events: last month’s Andy Harris First District Bull Roast, the Conservative Victory PAC Ken Cuccinelli fundraiser (which was sponsored by several Maryland politicians), the Prince George’s County Lincoln Day Dinner with Lt. Col. Allen West, and most recently the state party’s Oktoberfest gathering in Timonium Saturday night. The conventional wisdom argument is that these were lost opportunities to impress the party brass.
But this may also presuppose Lollar wasn’t out meeting with “regular Joe” voters, and some say a lot of these gatherings would be time better spent knocking on doors or making phone calls. So which is it? I don’t know, but my feeling is that we all need to get back to basics and begin to compare just where each of the three major declared candidates stand on important issues facing the state.
A year and a half before the 2012 Presidential election, I began a process of grading the candidates in the race at the time on a number of issues. I think it’s time to repeat the process, with some different parameters because the issues aren’t always congruent between state and national elections – for example, I don’t have to worry about trade or the Long War but I do have concerns about agricultural issues and necessary changes to the state political system, meanwhile, some issues grow or contract in importance because of recent state developments. But I like the 100-point system so I will adapt it to suit.
So the 2014 monoblogue endorsement will be based on the following formula:
- Election/campaign finance reform (3 points)
- Illegal immigration (5 points)
- Dealing with Obamacare (7 points)
- Energy policy (8 points)
- Education (9 points)
- Second Amendment (11 points)
- War on Rural Maryland (12 points)
- Role of government (13 points)
- Job creation and transportation (14 points)
- Fiscal conservatism/taxation (15 points)
Once I add or subtract three points for various intangibles of my choosing, I’ll come up with the candidate who I think will best serve Maryland. Granted, my endorsement will only be worth the pixels they’re darkening but at least some thought will be put into why this candidate is the best one for Maryland. (Keep in mind that any of these three would be vastly superior to Anthony Brown, Doug Gansler, Heather Mizeur, or anyone else Democrats put up.) Otherwise, I come in with no preconceived notions with the exception that the other declared GOP candidates in the race don’t have the campaign or the presence to achieve any more than a tiny percentage of the vote so they’re not included; also, this is subject to update if/when Larry Hogan enters the race.
So now that you have the basic concepts, how about some specifics of what I’m getting at for each point? These are questions I may be able to find answers for within the candidates’ own websites, but it’s more likely I need further guidance. I have had the chance to hear all three declared candidates speak on at least two occasions apiece so I might have a decent idea where they’ll go, but it never hurts to ask. With that, here goes:
- Election/campaign finance reform: Will you aggressively pursue the redistricting revision case in court; if we succeed can we have 141 single-member districts? Where do you stand on current reporting requirements: too tight, too loose, or just right? What about getting after local boards of elections and telling them to clean up their voter rolls?
- Illegal immigration: Will you take the 287 (g) program used in Frederick County statewide? How about rescinding recent changes to drivers’ license laws in Maryland? And what about in-state tuition – do you revisit this issue? What about withholding a portion of state funds from sanctuary cities? Cooperation with the federal E-Verify program? What about policies allowing status checks such as those in Arizona?
- Dealing with Obamacare: Do we eliminate the state exchange? Would you pursue a waiver for the state if one becomes available? Are you in favor of defunding or letting the law go into effect and watching it collapse? What steps would you take to encourage more insurance competition in the state? What about returning Medicaid limits to minimum levels?
- Energy policy: When can we expect fracking to begin in Western Maryland? And what will you do with the renewable portfolio standard? Will you move to re-regulate Maryland’s electrical utilities? Can Martin O’Malley’s offshore wind scheme work? What about offshore oil drilling – is that an option for you? Will you maintain Maryland’s membership in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative?
- Education: Will Common Core be the law of the land in Maryland, or will you eschew Race to the Top funding? How about school choice, or money following the child regardless of school? How will you protect homeschooling? Instill more local control? What about promoting elected school boards in those counties still without them? Emphasis on vocational education? How do you message against the certain opposition of the teachers’ unions?
- Second Amendment: Will you work to repeal the so-called Firearms Safety Act? What about concealed carry, and making licenses easier to get? If the federal government gets too onerous, will you fight them? What’s your interpretation of the Second Amendment?
- War on Rural Maryland: Can we count on you to repeal the Septic Bill and tier mapping? Will nitrogen-removal systems still be required? Will the Hudson family be made whole by the state, since it was with the state’s assistance they were legally harassed? How will you assist the poultry industry in the state and keep them here? What about cleaning up behind the Conowingo Dam and fighting the mandated burden on rural counties, as well as the rain tax on urban ones?
- Role of Government: Where do you stand on a regulation moratorium, and would you veto new mandates passed through the General Assembly? Are there any agencies you’d work to abolish? What about divestiture of surplus state land? Is a consolidation of primary state government functions in Annapolis on your agenda? Can we count on you to repeal as many laws as you create? Where do you stand on public-private partnerships? Do you support citizen-based petition to referendum for new laws (as opposed to those passed by the General Assembly)? What about the right to recall elected officials?
- Job creation and transportation: We know you’ll lower the corporate tax rate – what about eliminating it entirely? What about reform of unemployment insurance? What other steps will you take to make it easier to do business in Maryland? As far as infrastructure goes, will you kill the Red Line and Purple Line in favor of more useful means for transporting goods, such as expanding the interstate network in Maryland and surrounding states? Will you hold the line on tolls? What about another Bay crossing – where would you put it? What non-tax code incentives would you offer for rural area job creation? What policies would you adopt from other states?
- Fiscal conservatism/taxation: Can Marylanders expect a flatter income tax system? How about eliminating it entirely as some states have done? Or would you prefer a sales tax decrease or elimination? Would you agree to a TABOR, or at least a budget utilizing those principles? Can we get per-capita spending closer to the national norm? And how will you deal with the outcry of the press, such as the old “tax cuts for the rich” saw?
- Intangibles: Positions on abortion, expansion of gambling and/or return to legislative control (as opposed to Constitutional amendment), protection for religious objections to gay marriage, your perception of the TEA Party and pro-liberty movement, and so forth. Mainly social issues.
Yes, that’s a hell of a lot. But somewhere, someone else is asking some of the same questions and if I’m going to make a decision I want it to be informed. And while I’d like to make these issue posts on about a weekly basis, that’s probably a quite aggressive timetable.
But I’m sure that a) people from the respective campaigns read my website, and b) they will bend over backwards for new media. (At least that’s what I’m counting on.) And it’s likely they haven’t even pondered some of these queries, so I don’t expect miracles – but I’ll take them anyhow.
Yet I’m sure that some high-dollar Beltway Republican consultant will tell their candidate that he’d be nuts to get into specifics this far out because all it would provide is fodder for the Democrats and the press (but I repeat myself) to harp upon as the campaign heats up. News flash: they will do that anyway, even if they have to make stuff up (e.g. “a fee is a tax.”) So get it out now and I’ll take those clowns on myself, even as I point out that it’s not like I don’t have a few allies in this fight.
Just let me know you have the balls to stand for something, okay?
At the end of each summer, official Washington winds down and Congress beats it out of town for their annual August recess. (I think in the official parlance of Congress, I think this is known as a “District Work Period.”) This is the time when many members schedule town hall meetings, and I think Barack Obama is concerned about being outworked by the TEA Partiers who rightly oppose his big-government schemes.
That’s why I got this message in my mailbox the other day from Organizing
Against America For Action:
There is only so much I can do on my own.
The special interests know it, and they’re counting on you to be silent on gun violence and climate change. They hope you’re not paying attention to creating jobs or fixing our broken immigration system.
And they plan to make the loudest noise when your members of Congress come home for August recess.
I’m counting on you to be just as vocal — to make sure the agenda that Americans voted for last year is front and center.
Say you’ll do at least one thing as part of OFA’s Action August in your community, no matter where you live.
I know it’s easy to get frustrated by the pace of progress.
But it’s not a reason to sit back and do nothing — our system only works if you play your part.
If you don’t let your representatives know where you stand in August, we risk losing an important battle on your home turf.
So I’m asking you to speak up — commit to do at least one thing in your community during Action August:
Isn’t it nice to be on a first-name basis with the President?
So allow me to let my representative (and anyone else reading this) know just where I stand during “Action August”:
- Barack Obama has done plenty of harm on his own. It’s up to Congress to restore sanity; unfortunately only a small portion of those in Congress are willing to do so. So don’t give me this “only so much I can do on my own” crap.
- I’m not silent on gun violence and I certainly don’t support it. But allow all those who wish to be armed the opportunity to carry in a concealed manner and you’ll find there’s less gun violence. Taking away guns only benefits two groups: the government and the predator criminal class. (Actually, that may be one group.)
- Climate change: I wouldn’t mind warmer winters myself. But until we find an on-off switch for the sun, there’s really nothing we can do about the climate, except use it as an excuse for more overbearing, job-killing regulation.
- Here’s my question about “the agenda Americans voted for last year.” Do you think they’re having second thoughts about now? I do. Otherwise you wouldn’t need to contact me with your note.
But the most important line is this one:
…we risk losing an important battle on your home turf.
A loss in the Obama column is a win for America as far as I’m concerned. Richard Falknor has this figured out on Blue Ridge Forum, and it’s a call to action for the side of good:
For this month we will see how effective are Tea Partiers and the conservative base in bringing many GOP members to a much stronger mind when they return to their districts.
I’m not so much concerned about this First Congressional District – aside from those who grouse about Andy Harris’s votes on issues where Constitutional guarantees meet national security concerns, the district is pretty much set up to be reflective of his voting record. Once the man in the chicken suit failed in his task, we were pretty much assured of a decade or so of Andy Harris, because no liberal will beat him fair and square.
But there are seven other Congressional districts in Maryland (as well as the one comprising the entire state of Delaware, for my friends up that way) where the officeholders will only be under pressure for supporting the failed Obama agenda if people speak out against it. Don’t cede the field to those OAA/OFA special interest Astroturfers, make yourself heard!
It seems like I’ve heard this story before, but now an incident involving Congressman Chris Van Hollen and his recently-redistricted constituency in Carroll County has drawn the attention of law enforcement there.
Van Hollen has scheduled a public townhall meeting at Carroll County Community College (CCCC) for this coming Monday, a fact not lost on Michelle Jefferson of We the People – Carroll County, a nonpartisan local group which states as its purpose:
WTP exists to inform and educate anyone who has a desire to hear and learn about the political goings on in a nonpartisan approach. Every political party is represented in WTP – we believe we are Americans first and foremost and there’s no sunshine between the two major parties.
Locally, however, they’re known for being a group sympathetic to the TEA Party. So when Jefferson said about the CCCC townhall meeting, “I say we give him a WTP welcome to the neighborhood. Bet (Rep. Van Hollen) can’t find Westminster with his GPS,” the sarcastic tone was taken to be a threat by Carroll County Democratic Central Committee member Don West.
Bear in mind that this is a public meeting. Yet, as reported at Frontline State, the threats perceived by West have led to a peace order being slapped on Jefferson, of which a copy can be viewed at FLS. In it, West affirms that he “contend(s) that the respondent has engaged in a malicious course of conduct in which the respondent approached or pursued you with the intent to place you in reasonable fear of serious bodily injury or death?” as a stalker. All this over Jefferson calling West “a weenie & a jackass.” and pointing out that he had previously tried to secure a peace order against her – this was his second try, according to the complaint. It’s worth noting the same document lists Jefferson as being 5′-5″ and 120 pounds, so I don’t see her as an imposing physical presence to Don West, who I have never met so I can’t ascertain his size. Chances are, though, he’s larger than Jefferson.
But Michael, you may argue, she’s inciting a mob to riot at the event!
Please tell me where a TEA Party has gotten out of hand and trashed the venue at which it was held or committed physical violence to someone there. And even if you find an isolated incident I’m not privy to, won’t there be security at the Van Hollen townhall meeting? Certainly the words may be a little bit heated, but if anything one would think those who oppose Van Hollen would be on their best behavior given the knowledge of this so-called threat and the penchant of anyone in the media to assume the TEA Party is a bunch of troublemakers. (This, of course, assumes Van Hollen goes through with the meeting given the political climate created by his Democratic supporter, who believes the TEA Party has “violent tendencies.”)
In the meantime, answering the peace order will cost Jefferson part of her day at work and may serve to exempt Jefferson from the Van Hollen townhall meeting, because attending could be a violation of the order – one could reasonably expect West will be there as a Van Hollen backer. However, he is also an elected official so one would have to question the legal standard used by the court commissioner, Michele L. Keys.
I found the reaction from Sixth District Congessional candidate Dan Bongino interesting, given his background in the Secret Service. In a release, Bongino stated in part:
After a 2012 campaign marred by vehicle and property vandalism and a more recent, brazen display of government intimidation by the IRS, the Democrats are at it again. Now they are attempting to use law enforcement to intimidate and silence one of my former volunteers and a female Conservative activist in Carroll County, Maryland.
As a former law enforcement officer and a Secret Service agent with specific expertise in evaluating political threats, the Maryland Democratic Party should be embarrassed by this shameful attempt at intimidation and the corresponding waste of law enforcement resources. I am calling on the Maryland Democratic Party to issue a public apology to the Carroll County law enforcement officials involved and Mrs. Jefferson, immediately.
Apparently Dan knows Jefferson and didn’t perceive her as a threat; then again, she’s not likely to ask tough questions about Dan’s political views.
But the question of whether this so-called threat as a political weapon remains; on the other hand, it could serve as a call to arms for our side. The newly-christened Citizen Action Network (still MDCAN, but with a new “C”) added:
If you wish to show your support for WTP and demonstrate your displeasure with the Democrat party’s continued harassment of tea party activist groups, you can attend the public “meet and greet” with Congressman Van Hollen.
Given the recent IRS revelations alluded to by Bongino, the real threat may be coming from liberal Democrats. Whether it’s finding a court commissioner easily convinced by flimsy and circumstantial evidence or additional IRS scrutiny for TEA Party groups, our freedom could be at stake. But I would encourage people in every Congressional district to attend town hall meetings, regardless of whether they agree with the Congressman’s politics or not. It’s a very basic step toward an informed public, and should be taken advantage of when the opportunity is presented.
Updated below with a response from Kevin Waterman, who replied on behalf of his mother.
It was President Warren Harding who remarked when asked about the scandal surrounding his tenure, “I have no trouble with my enemies. I can take care of my enemies in a fight. But my friends, my goddamned friends, they’re the ones who keep me walking the floor at nights!” At times I wonder how much sleep Diana Waterman is getting, knowing that her supporters are the ones who seem to be laying the land mines on her path to coronation as elected Maryland Republican Party chair.
Just a few days after Louis Pope fumbled around with his side of the RNC Rules Committee story, another supporter of Diana’s – the venerable two-time gubernatorial candidate Ellen Sauerbrey – perhaps took a little liberty of her own with her insight on Diana’s work with the state’s Campaign for Liberty effort. Jackie Wellfonder took this and ran with this unforced error yesterday, but there was one important part of the story Jackie did not get to.
In my possession I have a letter from Diana dated March 8 and addressed to me as a Central Committee member. (Actually, the “Central Committee Member” is crossed out and replaced with Michael, a old personalization trick. But I digress.)
In the fifth paragraph of the latter Diana writes:
I am also forming an advisory committee composed of individuals from every corner of the State, many of varied groups within our Party like Campaign for Liberty and the Tea Party groups, and hard-working activists. If we aren’t talking to each other, we can’t work together to realize our goals of getting Republicans elected.
In her campaign appeal, Sauerbrey added:
I share the concern that our party has failed to fully embrace groups like the Tea Party and Campaign for Liberty, that are a source of highly motivated, dedicated, and often young volunteers. Diana has committed to me her intent to establish an Advisory Committee that will welcome and involve the vital energy and ideas of these groups.
So here we are a month later, and Ted Patterson of Campaign for Liberty wrote in his remarks yesterday that:
In an email, it was stated that Waterman is forming a Republican Party advisory committee that will include grassroots organizations such as ours. It is implied that Diana Waterman is welcoming the grassroots and Tea Party groups into the Maryland Republican Party.
No outreach to our groups has been reported to me, and I have received no messages to this effect.
If Ms. Waterman would like to set a future goal of engaging the grassroots that is admirable, but to date no such engagement has occurred.
Okay, I understand that running for Chair – or any other statewide party position, for that matter – is pretty hard work and there are a lot of details involved. But that “interim” tag didn’t stop Waterman from placing Louis Pope on the RNC Rules Committee; moreover, it’s worth pointing out that Diana will be on the Executive Committee regardless of what happens – either as Chair or as First Vice-Chair under Collins Bailey or Greg Kline.
Despite the fact Diana’s continued involvement is all but assured, I’d be willing to bet that this outreach has not yet occurred to any of the many conservative groups out there, whether it be Campaign for Liberty, Conservative Victory PAC, Constitutional Conservatives for Maryland. the Maryland Conservative Action Network, various Society of Patriots groups, or any others. (However, I will note that Waterman was in attendance for at least part of the day at Turning the Tides in January, so one could construe that as a little bit of outreach prior to her ascension to Chair.)
My first instinct in writing this piece was to suggest the MDGOP put its money where its mouth is and make a few seats on its Executive Committee available to various groups which apply and can prove sufficient membership and means to show they will be in it for the long haul. (This is in the wake of a proposed bylaws change to give College Republicans and Young Republicans voting status on the Executive Committee.) But I thought better of it because of coordination questions which may come up when the groups spend money on behalf of Republican candidates. So an informal gathering is probably best, along with a sensitive ear to the ground. For example, I haven’t heard in this Chair campaign about overtures we are making to Second Amendment groups – a body of interest to whom insurgent Republicans like Dan Bongino suggested we promote our message heavily.
I think it would have served Diana well to give examples of this outreach rather than just imply it’s going to occur at some unspecified future date in a manner to be named later. The term we tend to give to that is “lip service.” If Maryland Republicans want to motivate their base to victory in 2014, bearing in mind that in gubernatorial years turnout tends to be lower so this effort would be magnified, then we might want to see more outreach done on the state level as opposed to local county efforts.
Update: On behalf of his mother, who is attending the RNC meeting in California, Kevin Waterman “took the liberty” of sharing the following:
Just read your recent blog post about the Campaign for Liberty email.
Just so you know, I’ve actually been working with my mother to connect her to and set up meetings and conversations with organizations and individuals who would be good fits for the proposed advisory committee. Just to cover a few who she’s already reached out to and spoken with there’s been Patrick McGrady as well as Dave Nalle and Dave Kahn (the leaders of the Republican Liberty Caucus at the National and Maryland levels respectively).
She has also reached out to Ted Patterson to clarify and try to rectify the situation. As she noted to him, she had talked to Patrick, who has a lengthy history with C4L and been a leader in it in Harford County, and didn’t mean to imply she’d spoken with all the C4L groups or the national or statewide leader. She also used the opportunity to officially reach out on working together. Ted has responded to that, appreciating the response and the recognition of the group by the state party and that they very much like the idea of working together, they just would have preferred that the statewide leadership have been spoken to before the organization’s name was used in anything.
Just to wanted to clarify that there is work being done on this and it’s not just lip service, real outreach is being done.
Fair enough. Obviously Kevin is well-attuned to state liberty-minded groups given his work with the Gary Johnson campaign (when Johnson was seeking the GOP Presidential nomination.)
The other day I had the chance to chat with a fixture of the pro-liberty movement, Andrew Langer. He’s probably best known locally as an activist and internet radio personality, but he also serves as president of the Institute for Liberty. We touched on a lot of these subjects during a fairly lengthy, in-depth conversation.
monoblogue: Let me get my readers up to speed here. You’ve actually been on my blog a few times in various capacities, I’ve noticed that your name has come up quite a few times. But, really the first time I really got to talk to you a great deal was when the TEA Party all got started.
monoblogue: Now, the question I have – and I know you were there at the beginning - you’re actually the president of Institute for Liberty, which was actually around before the TEA Party…
monoblogue: …but was kind of carried along with the TEA Party, but where do you think, in the four years or so the TEA Party has been in existence, where do you think it’s gone and where do you think it’s going to go. Is it dead like some people say?
Langer: Well, no, I mean insofar as the – the movement existed before the TEA Party, and will continue to exist after the TEA Party. Movements are always changing fundamentally; that’s the nature of them. They go a certain distance, and then they stop, and they transform, that’s what happens. So, before the TEA Party movement was the Don’t Go movement, you had the property rights movement, you had the various taxpayers’ movements that have been out there…the TEA Party movement has just been an outpouring of discontent in which things got jelled together very, very easily and lots of different factors came together.
What killed the TEA Party brand was the media itself, which never really understood what the movement was. It never fit into any of their particular boxes, and what the media doesn’t understand the media will work to destroy – especially if that thing they don’t understand is actively working against the things they have advocated for in the past.
So it’s a brand that has been damaged, but the movement goes on – and the movement, as all movements change as I said – different parts of it will focus on different things. (Part of it) will continue to focus on health care and health care reform. You have folks who focus on electoral issues and will continue to focus on electoral issues; a lot of them will focus on state and local races, some focused on Congressional races, some focused on Presidential races.
A lot of – and probably the most positive thing to come out of the movement – was the proliferation of new media, and the raising of the blogosphere as a legitimate force to be reckoned with. That’s certainly going to continue to go on, and obviously there’s been a certain degree of institutionalization of that in things like the Franklin Center and the various Watchdog Wires, and that cannot help but be a good thing.
Between that and the re-connection of people with their government, there is no going back from that, and that’s why, while the movement itself may not be the same thing as it was before, the forces that were at work will continue to be forces that are at work.
monoblogue: Let me back up one second here. You’re President of the Institute for Liberty, and I guess – I guess it would be good to explain what their role is insofar as the entire movement.
Langer: Sure. Well, I mean, and keep in mind I inherited the Institute for Liberty from a friend of mine who has gone off and become a successful author. IFL had been focused on a lot of defense and tech issues – and we still do a little bit of each – we are a nonprofit advocacy organization, which means that we take issues and we advocate on behalf of a particular side from a free-market, limited government perspective.
As it happens, I’ve got a background in mass movement organization. That’s something that I’ve spent a lot of time studying, something that I’ve had some efforts in growing up, and so when the TEA Party movement itself began to form I found I had an expertise that I could lend to that movement, both in themes, organizational structures, and merely offering, as I saw, logistics – you know, how do you organize a rally? What are the elements of a rally? What goes into putting something together? And so, for me, the Institute for Liberty never had the resources of a FreedomWorks or Americans for Prosperity – we didn’t sort of jump on the moniker in a way that TEA Party Patriots or TEA Party Express were able to, but what we could offer was logistical advice and support to people.
In the very real sense in D.C. where we organized – we were part of the first TEA Party rally in February of ’09, to organizing the D.C. Taxpayer TEA Party, to offering our resources for the 9/12 D.C. march…
monoblogue: Which I was at.
Langer: Yeah, and I spoke, and it was great. And then at the state level offering up advice to various TEA Party events and also speaking at various TEA Party events in the state, so – it’s one of those things where for us, it’s never been about credit, it’s never been about glory, it’s never about making us center stage. When the Annapolis TEA Party was being put together, we were there at the start, sort of offering up our advice, but it was very clear that guys like Aaron Jones and his brother, they were wanting to head it up and they were wanting to put it together. We’re not interested in turf fights so we said whatever you need from the Institute for Liberty that we can give to you to help you put this together, we’ll do that. Whether it was financial support, or whether it was saying, hey, you need to get these permits or you need to get that, here’s how you want to do a press release, or here’s how you ought to put together the program…but beyond that, we were not folks who needed to be at the top of anyone’s list – that’s just not what we’re about. So we were happy to act in a supporting capacity.
monoblogue: That’s all right; the movement needs that, too. But another thing…
Langer: Michael, let me just say – and this is very, very key – I’m a firm believer in the philosophy that’s it not all about me, and it’s not all about IFL. And I think we need more folks to recognize that it’s not about their own personal glory, this is about getting stuff done and making change. And making change means making not about you.
monoblogue: I was going to ask about something else, but the way you answered that question, I’m going to slide into something else here…
monoblogue: …about the Maryland Republican Party. (laughs) And the game of personalities we seem to have in that party right now.
monoblogue: I know you had considered running for the (party Chair) post and you had to back out.
monoblogue: Because of…
Langer: Well, I mean, I make no secret about this, it’s one of those things where I almost ran in ’10, and had actually come very close to pulling the trigger. But at that point it was simply one of my donors said that they couldn’t fund IFL, and one of the great problems with the MDGOP Chairman’s position is that it’s an unpaid, full-time volunteer job – and it really would be the equivalent of a full-time job. And with two kids at home – my wife and I have a very equal partnership in child care – I couldn’t take on a full-time volunteer gig and sacrifice the Institute for Liberty at that point; it just couldn’t happen.
In ’12 the circumstances had changed somewhat. But the real problem is that my wife is an active-duty officer in the Air Force and either there’s a strong likelihood we will get transferred this year, and if we don’t get transferred this year there is 100% certainty that we will be transferred by July of 2014. I am not someone who takes on a job like chairman of the Maryland Republican Party without setting some clear goals and working toward those goals – I certainly couldn’t complete any of those goals in the next five months and there was great question in my mind whether I could complete my goals to my satisfaction in seventeen months and at that point we’d be back where we were before.
monoblogue: With an election to run.
Langer: Which is essentially the chaos of a party chairman’s race in which people confuse criticism with infighting, and all the things that go on with that. I’m not talking about the certain specifics of this race right now, but the reasons why I didn’t run are those very clearly. I’m someone who is incredibly optimistic about the Maryland Republican Party; I do not think that all hope is lost. With the amount of disarray and infighting that we have in our state party – I have seen disarray and infighting in other state parties as well, so Maryland is unfortunately not unique, but certainly there are challenges. And as if there are people who are – who want to work toward overcoming those challenges and there are people who are actively working against overcoming those challenges, and there are people who don’t know how to overcome those challenges. But those challenges can be overcome.
I think it starts with that proposition that the Chairman’s job is too big for one person to do, and anybody who thinks that it is a job that can be done by one person – they are either deluding themselves or they’re simply not capable of handling the job.
monoblogue: Well then that actually brings up a little bit of a different question – this will be more effective in a couple years when we select all new officers – should they run as a slate? Should we have a – instead of doing separate elections for each of the (Vice-) Chairs, would it be better to have a particular slate go up and vote for an entire slate rather…
Langer; No, I firmly believe in the freedom of choice, I believe in building coalitions, in the fact that people ought to try to work together. I think part and parcel of that is having individual elections for the different officers. I do, however, believe that more people ought to be involved in the running of the state party. I do believe that we ought to – we might ought to consider looking at – especially if the state party is going to continue to run with having the Chair being an unpaid volunteer position. I think we ought to consider dividing up that Chair’s responsibilities, maybe among co-chairs, I think there ought to be – and this is a conversation that I’ve had with Greg Kline – is that there ought to be more people involved in that operation. Certainly I think if more folks stepped up and were willing to take on more of the chairman’s responsibilities and work with the chairman to take on those responsibilities, I think that you would find more people willing to run for Chair.
A group of my friends and colleagues, we talked to a lot of folks about running for Chair, about who was going to run for Chair, who might run for chair? And by and large, the number one complaint that people has was it is too big of a job for one person to do as a volunteer gig only. In the near term the state party simply does not have the resources to pay someone to be Chairman, especially if they pay an Executive Director, and they shouldn’t. But the point is, so long as it is this haunting huge responsibility for one person, unpaid, the more discouraging it becomes for somebody to run for Chair. Good, qualified people to run for Chair.
And so I had pledged to Greg (Kline) that if he ran I would help him for as long as I could and as much as I could, as long as I’m in Maryland and probably after I leave Maryland I’ll still continue to help Greg because I have every intention of returning to Maryland down the road. Other folks around Greg have pledged to help him and to make sure that his chairmanship is a success. It’s not just voting for Greg, but voting for folks around Greg who are good people and who want to work – and there are a lot of folks who sort of stepped up there and said, yeah, I’ll help out.
It gets to another of my big themes of this Chairman’s race, which is inclusivity vs. exclusivity. And this idea that, in order to build a party, you need to be solicitous of outside opinion and outside help. One of my great criticisms of Diana Waterman – and this is a criticism, it’s not a knock on Diana Waterman’s personality, I think Diana Waterman is a lovely person, she’s a pleasant person. She is someone who avails herself of opportunities to get active. But I will not say that Diana Waterman is someone who’s incredibly solicitous of inclusivity. Case in point is the job that she’s handled, she has demonstrated a record of someone who has not been someone to bring people into the office to work, or bring people into an organization to work. Diana steps in, and she becomes chairman of something, and people are shut out of the process.
You can talk to folks about the Eastern Shore Republican Alliance, which Diana stepped in there and became Chair, and she had a few folks around her who were regional vice-chairs, and the operation went nowhere quickly because it became bureaucracy. It became another thing for Diana Waterman to become chairman of, and it was very clear that she didn’t want any outside help, and that doesn’t build the party.
monoblogue: But it built her resume.
Langer: Well, it built her resume. And that is something I’ve also talked about, which is an issue of confusing promotion with accomplishment. Which I think is something fundamental – confusing the resume with competence. This gets into the two things that happened last week, which calls into question, and I’ve said this before – anyway, I’m getting too far afield here.
It’s this issue of inclusivity, and I’ll give you a prime example: folks who believe this Chairman’s race is only of interest to Central Committee members, and I’ve heard this from a few people that only Central Committee members ought to be briefed as to what’s going on with the state party and why the Chairman’s race is important. That sends a message to your rank-and-file Republicans, who elect Central Committee members, that their opinions are not needed, that they have no place in advocating who should be Chairman because they’re not Central Committee members, they haven’t been involved to the degree that Central Committee members are. That’s fundamentally the wrong message.
Not only is the Chairman’s race of import to every Republican in Maryland who is trying to vote to bring a different vision of government to the state of Maryland, but it’s important on a national scale, too. Because the Chairman, and what the Chairman can do, has an impact on this rules fight that is going on and is going to happen in the next couple of weeks as the RNC Rules Committee meets. And as you can see by what happened (two weeks ago), the Chairman has an incredible amount of influence as to what happens at that Rules Committee, either by appointing someone who is dedicated to undoing the damage that happened in Tampa over the summer, or by someone who is by all accounts part and parcel of the damage that happened over the summer.
monoblogue: Well, let me – I will say this: in refuting the idea that the race is just of interest to Central Committee members, my readership has just surged as this whole thing has developed. A lot more people come to my website to read about the situation than the 300 Central Committee people.
I am curious about one other thing – this is where I’m going to wrap up. The Red Maryland network and the radio show that you did, how did that all come together? I’ve been kind of curious how that all started.
Langer: I had been wanting to do a podcast for awhile – I experimented with a podcast through a thing called HipCast because a buddy of mine, Phil Kerpen, had said something about doing a HipCast, you could do it by phone. But I didn’t like the audio quality there. And so at CPAC in 2011 I launched LibertyLine, which was an actual semi-slick podcast where I was upping the production values, I got a good microphone, I was doing interviews by phone – and remember, Mark Newgent was, at the time, a neighbor of mine. So Mark came in and sat in with me a couple of times.
(Meanwhile) Greg (Kline) and Brian (Griffiths) had done their Red Maryland show by BlogTalk, and they decided they were going to do – they wanted to create an actual network and they apparently talked to Mark and Mark said, hey neighbor, I know you’re doing this, would you like to instead do a weekly show with me instead of, you’re doing your thing one interview or two interviews three times a week why don’t you change schedules and come on and do this with me? And so that’s how it was born.
Greg and I started doing it, and then he and I started shopping it around – we both had contacts up at (W)BAL, so we’d done some fill-in work on BAL’s ’1090 At Night’, you know, made inroads to the Mike O’Meara Show, helping out, doing some stuff with those guys – so that’s how it is. Greg and Brian wanted to develop an actual sort of podcast political network, understanding how the whole industry is changing, and that’s what they did. They’ve got programming five out of seven nights now.
monoblogue: Yeah, I really think that’s interesting – now I am not a person that does a lot of radio per se, but I can tell you from just checking around that it’s almost like people are getting into multimedia moreso – I mean I started my blog in 2005 and nobody had ever heard of blogging, let alone internet radio. Now you have people that do video, radio – we’re our own little subculture of media here, and it’s kind of interesting to see where it’s going to go in the future.
Langer: Well, this is what I’m saying – this is one of the great things that’s come out of the TEA Party movement. It is that there’s this proliferation of new media – Mark and I, when we were together before Mark moved back to the Western Shore, when he and I would do our show weekly we would do a radio component and a video component. We would get set up over here because Mark’s house was chaos at night and mine was a little more subdued, and so all the folks that broadcast together on the Red Maryland network, they do a video component so they’re on both BlogTalkRadio and UStream, you could watch or listen. It’s a little bit harder now that Mark and I aren’t in the same place, although I’d like to do that – there’s something that’s lost when we’re not able to give each other visual cues about things, but that’s the nature – the nature of media in the future is going to be narrowcasting, which means you go to a subset of the population, so for us it’s Marylanders and conservative Marylanders that we’ve been wanting to branch out a little bit into a little more pop culture so we can bring in a wider audience, and it is all on demand.
So one of the big debates that we have at Red Maryland radio is BlogTalkRadio the platform to use, is live radio – see, for me, live broadcast is overrated because the bulk of our listenership comes from the downloads. I look at podcasts like the Mike O’Meara Show – I don’t know if you’re familiar with it, but Mike was on the radio for almost 25 years. They moved to a podcast format – they get maybe 150-200 listeners who listen or watch live on their live feed, but they get 35,000 downloads a day, because folks like to be able to pick and choose when they will listen to their podcasts. That’s the nature of the future.
And so that is another area where I think Greg has a much superior track record is this embracing of the new media, is this embracing of the blogosphere, in a way that the party simply, for whatever reason, has not done so – not only because they just don’t get it, but also because they confuse criticism with disloyalty. I think Greg knows in the end that some of his biggest critics are going to be his “buddies” at Red Maryland. And we know that guys like Joe Steffen are going to ream him a new one. I don’t think he minds it so much, I think he recognizes – he’s adult enough to recognize that there comes a time when you have to be open to criticism. That maybe one of the other big barriers this party has faced. Dissent is inherently patriotic, and certainly in Maryland it’s a cherished right.
monoblogue: (laughs) Yeah…
Langer: Folks who lead the party have to be more adult about that criticism, and recognize it’s going to come with the territory. And if you’re not taking flak, you’re not over the target.
monoblogue: There you go. I mean, I… (laughs) I’m sitting here chuckling because I’m kind of the rabblerouser on that front for several years.
monoblogue: I know just how – my blog and my political career on the Central Committee started almost the same time, so (laughs) they’re well aware…
Langer: For me, it’s one of those things where I had to step down from my Central Committee for my mental health. I was in a situation in which I had four people on my Central Committee who, if I said the sky was blue, they would swear the sky was pink.
It’s one of those things where at some point you have to make that calculus “is my time going to be better spent doing other things?” For me, it’s my show, obviously, with Mark, and the stuff I do with IFL.
But this Chairman’s race is of import, which is why I’ve gotten involved, and why Greg has my support. I make no bones about that fact.
monoblogue: Well, we appreciate it. That’s going to be a lot to write about.
Indeed it was, as I spent part of my Saturday afternoon and most of Sunday evening transcribing this lengthy interview. Maybe I should look into a podcast.
But I thank Andrew for his time, and look forward to speaking with next week’s guest.
Since I took nearly 100 pictures and 36 made the final cut, I decided to make this a two-part post.
Recently having done a stint at the Turning the Tides Conference, I thought I had a little bit of an idea in what to expect from CPAC. But the entirety of the Gaylord Conference Center and the number of celebrities speaking and milling around tells me that I missed a lot when I missed the first two days of the gathering. Yet the one day I managed to be here was well worth my time in learning from and meeting those who move and shake the conservative world.
Walking into the Potomac ballroom I was blown away by the expanse of the venue. Sure, we have some decently-sized conference rooms for our 300-person gatherings for the Maryland Republican Party, but this room could hold a sporting event. If anything, the stage made the speaker look small.
The first speaker I heard upon my arrival and the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and invocation was TEA Party pioneer Jenny Beth Martin, who repeated the case I’ve been pleading since the most recent incarnation of the pro-liberty movement was born: conservatives are for limited government, fiscal responsibility, and a thriving free market. Instead, Martin said, they are “mocked, marginalized, and maligned.”
She also added that we’re headed to bankruptcy, with an Affordable Care Act which is “unaffordable, callous, and cruel.”
“The reality today is grim and heartbreaking,” Martin added.
She concluded by asserting, in a rising voice, that liberty will endure – if we fight for freedom. “Our Constitution is worth fighting for, because freedom is worth fighting for.”
Rep. Steve King of Iowa followed Jenny Beth to the podium and made the case that “Obamacare has got to go…we can’t let up.” It erodes our vitality and is an “unconstitutional taking,” according to King. He also criticized the immigration initiatives because, as King claimed, 2 out of 3 illegal aliens are Democrats “and the Democrats know this.”
King called on us to “restore the pillars of American exceptionalism…we’ve got a country to rebuild together.”
I should point out that I had pictures of these two speakers and they didn’t make the cut. But this guy made the cut.
Wisconsin is a state which has a leader, said emcee Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA, and Governor Scott Walker detailed a number of ways he’s indeed led.
Harkening back to recent initiatives, Walker noted welfare reform and tax reform originated in the states. And just as the states created the federal government, the 30 states with GOP governors – most of which also have Republican-led legislatures – can improvise with good, conservative ideas. But Walker made the point that “to be successful, we have to be optimistic, relevant, and courageous.” It’s obviously working in Wisconsin, where 93 percent of the state said it was heading in the right direction. “We’re the ones who care about fixing things,” he added.
Walker was ready with a number of examples of poor policy, like the first-year Milwaukee teacher who was selected as their teacher of the year but furloughed because she was at the bottom of the seniority chain. His union reforms eliminated that problem. The overall idea, continued Walker, was to replace the narrative that a successful government was one which created dependents with one which made the case that government works when it assists people to wean themselves off dependence by making it easier to get a job.
“In America, we celebrate the Fourth of July, not April 15,” shouted Walker. “We believe in the people, not the government!”
And then came Newt – a guy who only needs one name to convey who I’m speaking about.
Gingrich addressed the concept of government needing to be pioneers of the future, and get out of being prisoners of the past. As a movement our contrast with President Obama “couldn’t be more vivid.”
But he saved withering criticism for the “Republican establishment class,” which “couldn’t be more wrong.” Holding up a candle and light bulb, Newt chided Washington as “being prisoners of the past…they’re all trapped in the age of candles.” Both parties in Washington are blind to the future, though.
Interestingly enough, Newt promoted a book by a liberal author, the former mayor of San Francisco and now lieutenant governor of California, Gavin Newsom. But Citizenville was a book “every conservative should read” because it promoted a more active citizenry. Gingrich used the analogy of the Facebook game Farmville, with the idea being earning rewards for public-spirited achievement rather than planting virtual crops.
Newt also took a swipe at the establishment wing of the party, saying that since 1976 “the dominant wing (of the GOP) has learned nothing.” Nor should we be strictly the anti-Obama movement, said Newt.
The powerful morning lineup of featured speakers concluded with Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, the 2012 Presidential hopeful whose campaign flamed out after a great summer of 2011.
She explained about the TEA Party movement “we love people in this country…we want everyone to succeed in this country.” As key parts of that success, Michele believed there were a lot of goals we could accomplish “if we put our minds to it” such as cutting the price of gasoline to $2 a gallon, preserving our Second Amendment rights “for your sister and your mother,” and most ambitiously finding a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease in the next decade. The key wasn’t big government, she argued, but “big innovation.”
Bachamnn also chided the inefficiencies of government, pointing out that for every $10 spent on food stamps only $3 goes to recipients while the other $7 goes to bureaucrats. She also dubbed the Obama presidency as “a life of excess.”
In the hardest-hitting portion of her remarks, Michele savaged Barack Obama for the “shameful incident” of Benghazi. “This is a story of not caring,” Bachmann said. Because (Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, the two ex-Navy SEALs killed at Benghazi) cared, they defied orders and they chose to go to the aid of their brothers…they fought for our country.”
As the attack raged on, “they continued to radio their government begging for help,” charged Bachmann, “and that help never came.” This despite the fact President Obama knew of the attack within its first hour, she continued.
“A war was raging in Benghazi for hours, and all we know is that our President went AWOL,” she continued to a chorus of boos and catcalls for Obama. “No one knows to this day where the President was.”
Of all the Saturday speeches I heard, Bachmann’s was perhaps the most critical of Barack Obama.
After she finished, I decided to skip the next panel and head out to explore a little. I hadn’t really had the chance to walk around as I arrived shortly before the proceedings began. It was a crowded lobby to be sure.
This space also featured the famous “Radio Row” I’d only heard about, although on a Saturday morning it wasn’t as busy.
The TEA Party Patriots were busy doing a
radio show, though. (Actually, it may have been just before or just after this video was done. The blond gentleman in the background of my picture is Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit.)
There were a few television broadcasts in various stages of production, such as those of Hot Air.
Also working on content was the TEA Party News Network, who thankfully sponsored the internet access (more on that in part 2.)
Further down Radio Row, another start-up operation was making itself known to the broadcasting world.
Later in the day, it was announced that One America News Network would make its debut July 4 of this year. “We will be the platform for the conservative message,” said OANN’s Graham Ledger. He cautioned, though, that cable systems “will resist putting on a conservative news network.”
Once I made my way down the hall and down a level, I was at the entrance of the exhibit hall. I didn’t count them, but there were probably over 100 groups exhibiting their wares. By the time I was through, the swag bag I received at the entrance was very full (I took the picture when I got home.)
The exhibit hall was fairly expansive as well.
Here was a group I think needs further investigation. Unfortunately, there was no one there to explain the concept to me. From what I gather, it’s a database of conservative companies to support.
Another group I’d love to have seen a representative of was this one. Maybe their volunteer (or intern) had an encounter with some union thugs.
I got to talk with this group, though. They represent an outfit I’ve referenced a lot over the years.
A newer but very nice organization has been referenced on this site since its formation. Unfortunately, in missing Friday I missed a chance to talk with its founder.
Someone else who might be on the 2016 ballot had some unofficial help. These were placed on a side table, but not many were wearing them that I saw.
There was also an area in the exhibit hall for book signings. When I was down there, Newt and Callista Gingrich were signing their tomes with Ellis the Elephant looking on.
Some people simply took the opportunity to relax and take a quick break in the CPAC Lounge. They could watch the action upstairs on the monitors.
Just like them, I’m going to rhetorically relax and take a break, since this seems like a nice dividing point. Part 2 will be up tomorrow morning.
And another offshoot of the conservative movement is born. Former GOP Senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum is making an attempt to localize his Patriot Voices endeavor:
It’s been an exciting 9 months! Since Patriot Voices started last June, we’ve already accomplished so much. We stopped a United Nations treaty that would jeopardize our parental rights. We pushed for passage of the No Budget No Pay bill, which ensures that Congress won’t get paid unless they pass a budget. And Patriot Voices PAC helped elect several strong conservatives to key House and Senate races in last year’s election.
And now, it’s time to get connected at the local level to ensure we can accomplish even more. We are starting local chapters across the country to connect local members with our state and national leadership. The role of local chapters will be to help Patriot Voices advance the first principles of conservatism in local communities across the country. We encourage our local chapter coordinators to recruit members who believe in what we’re doing and who will be ready to activate, engage and support endorsed candidates, projects and activities.
If you are interested in starting a local Patriot Voices chapter, we have an exciting way to kick it off!
We’d like you to host an “Our Sacred Honor” house party. “Our Sacred Honor” is a DVD that I narrated, which explores the meaning of our founding documents, the intentions of those who drafted these documents and the relationship between the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. I was fortunate enough to help tell this story through visits to many of our nation’s historic places that marked our country’s beginning.
We look forward to working with you to make Patriot Voices a tremendous grassroots force across this country so we can impact the issues that will affect our country’s future in the years to come.
I actually found this quite intriguing, but a little worrisome at the same time. Perhaps the idea of the TEA Party as a leaderless institution has its merits, but to some it may seem like too many people are trying to cultivate the same ground here.
While he wasn’t my first choice by any stretch of the imagination, I ended up supporting Rick Santorum in the Maryland primary election because he was the best remaining candidate – overall, the voters in a number of rural Midwestern and Southern states agreed because he swept through those 2012 primaries like a prairie fire. And certainly there is a lot to like about their stances on issues - maybe I don’t fall in foursquare with Patriot Voices on everything, but they definitely fall within my 80 percent rule.
One thing I’ve noticed about the local conservative movement, though, is that it is very localized: we tend to focus on Maryland issues. Granted, many of them are extensions of fights which occur at the national level (Agenda 21 and Second Amendment issues immediately come to mind) but there are issues we don’t consider because we tie ourselves up at the state level.
I think that if you made a Venn diagram with one circle comprised of those who would be the target audience of Patriot Voices and the other being those who are active in the local TEA Party movement, they would intersect but perhaps not as much as one thinks. My thought is that, based on the social issue aspect of Patriot Voices which is not as pronounced in the TEA Party movement with its more libertarian streak, there may be room for both locally as separate groups who can work as allies on specific issues and try not to step on one another’s toes on the rest. Moreover, the national perspective of Patriot Voices may lend itself to greater opportunities for the overall pro-liberty movement at-large to work across state lines and bring together leaders from across Delmarva who may not otherwise be able to compare notes.
It will be interesting to see who steps up and becomes the leader locally – I can think of a couple candidates who may be good for the task and who read here regularly. We’ll see what they do. And I wouldn’t mind watching the movie, either.
After the Republican National Convention last August, liberty-minded party regulars were chagrined about changes in the party rules that they felt enriched the party elite at the expense of the grassroots, not to mention the controversy surrounding their very enactment. That bitterness extended through the campaign and was among the many reasons blamed for the demise of the Mitt Romney effort.
So this news was welcome, and it comes in part from Maryland’s National Committeewoman Nicolee Ambrose:
In response to the concerns expressed by grassroots Republicans surrounding the changes in the rules that govern the party, the RNC today made a decision to bring together the members of The Standing Committee on Rules to revisit the amendments that some believe weaken the GOP.
“Our concern is that these rules will centralize power with the top leadership, and diminish both the influence, and the diversity of ideas and experiences, that the grassroots offers to the party,” said John Noisy Hawk, a member of the elected Maine Delegation to the Republican Convention in Tampa, Florida where the rules were adopted. “The GOP believes in empowering the little guy, and we want to see that happen both in our party, and nation wide.”
At the conclusion of the meeting, Maryland Committeewoman Nicolee Ambrose of Baltimore rose to praise the committee members and their newly reelected Chair Reince Priebus for the move.
“I’m grateful to be both a grassroots activist and a member of the RNC. In our deliberations it’s important to recognize the many questions we’ve received from activists and donors about our Rules passed at this past convention.
“I congratulate our National Committee, our Resolutions Committee, and Chairman Priebus on hearing this message from the grassroots. Today, we unanimously passed a resolution supporting the formation of a Standing Committee on Rules to examine these concerns. This is exactly the kind of work this committee can do to be most effective in partnering with the grassroots in each of our states.
“We are hopeful about the future and grounded in the belief that every mom and dad, son and daughter are the grassroots who make this country and our Republican Party great.”
Chairman Reince Priebus responded, “Perfect. And to that point… we will have a rules committee constituted at the spring meeting. We will have that meeting the earliest than we have ever done it before… We will have a rules committee to hear any and all amendments, any and all suggestions. And then we are also going to have an official meeting of the RNC at our spring meeting, something we have not done in the past. So that if there are matters and business and rules amendments that are passed out of the rules committee, we can hear those amendments and those suggestions, in the formal body to make them formal amendments under Rule 12.”
The resolution reads as follows:
WHEREAS, many people are concerned about the rules process at the Convention Rules Committee;
WHEREAS, Rule 12 allows Rule 1-11 and 13-25 to be amended by a majority vote of the RNC Standing Committee on Rules (“Rules Committee”) and a seventy-five percent (75%) affirmative vote by the members of the RNC; and
WHEREAS, the Standing Committee on Rules of the Republican National Committee has not been constituted and therefore cannot consider proposed amendments under Rule 12 of The Rules of the Republican Party (the “Rules”); therefore, be it
RESOLVED, the Chairman of the Republican National Committee 1) will ask all states to submit their Rules Committee member by March 1 and 2) will call a meeting of the RNC in April of 2013 and conduct a Rules Committee meeting during this meeting for the purpose of considering amendments to Rules 1-11 and 13-25.
However, you should color me skeptical until I see action on these concerns, particularly the high barrier to change required. By my count, it would only take 43 “establishment” Republicans to keep the party rules as they are. (Although 125-43 is an overwhelming consensus, it’s less than 3/4 of the group.) That’s a fairly low hurdle for those who resist change to overcome, and as we saw in the fight for two of Maryland’s three National Committee posts, there is significant inertia in the party which needs to be surmounted. Indeed, some will have to be dragged kicking and screaming into this new paradigm which considers the party as a bottom-up rather than top-down structure; something based more on a TEA Party model but with the significant advantage of easier ballot access.
I will caution readers this post is a work in progress. I’ve played phone tag with Nicolee ever since this issue came up, probably because a) she knows I’m passionate about such things, and b) I’m going to hold her and all my other party leaders accountable. But because I’m working on a deadline – one which is self-imposed, but still tight because I have limited free time – I needed to run with this post today. I would encourage Nicolee, Louis Pope, or any of our Maryland Republican leaders to feel free to add their reactions to the comments section, or I can append as needed.
Today’s guest comes from a perspective which might surprise you. Jonathan Bydlak comes from a political background as the Director of Fundraising for Ron Paul’s 2008 Presidential campaign, but has turned his talents to the lobbying side of politics as President of the Coalition to Reduce Spending. They bill themselves as the only group in Washington with that singular focus.
Since I’ve referred to his group here on several occasions, most recently in this odds and ends post, I thought his national perspective would be good for readers to understand, if only to prove not everyone inside the Beltway wants to spend, spend, spend!
monoblogue: What got me interested in your group in the first place was that you’re looking at things on the spending side, which is where I think the whole ‘fiscal cliff’ solution lies.
monoblogue: But let me back up a second, because your group is relatively new, is it not?
Bydlak: Yes, we formed in February of 2012 and we didn’t become a full-time pursuit until late May or early June.
monoblogue: So you’re actually a very new group. What was the impetus behind getting together as a group and starting it up?
Bydlak: Well, I has the idea of the group for quite some time, literally since I worked in the (Ron) Paul campaign in 2008. The initial idea actually came out of a conversation I had with Peter Schiff, when I was working on the campaign. We used to chat every so often on economics and we got into this discussion one time about, why does no one talk about spending and why is no one as serious about spending as Dr. Paul? That’s what ultimately, personally drew me to Ron Paul, that he was willing to ask the question ‘where are you going to get this money from to pay for the things that you want to do?’ which most of the candidates in both parties tend to not want to do.
Anyway, the thought occurred to me at the time – Grover (Norquist) has been successful at getting – at least Republicans – to not raise taxes. And it struck me that the pledge model is actually a pretty effective one – not just because of Grover’s success, but also if you look at the term limits movement for example in the 1990s spread pretty effectively through groups like US Term Limits by using a pledge mechanism. It struck me as odd that no one had attempted to apply that model to the spending side of the equation, and here we fast-forward five years after the 2008 campaign…the TEA Party movement is talking about the debt and about spending, and it seems to be a more significant awareness and concern about borrowing and the debt, and so on… You have groups that focus on the tax side of the equation and you have groups that talk about spending along with twenty other issues, but there’s no one who has attempted to create an organization that is focused solely on spending…
There was a huge void being missed, particularly in light of the fact that people are seemingly waking up to the notion that spending is ultimately the cause of our financial problems.
monoblogue: Right. And I guess that’s the other side of the equation; as you said, Grover Norquist is very well known for his ‘no new tax’ pledge. The problem that I’m sure people are having a hard time wrapping their head around on the idea of cutting spending is that you can cut spending for anybody except the pet group of the person that’s sitting there saying “we need to cut foreign aid” or “we need to cut welfare” or “we need to cut defense.” Yet there’s other people who say “you can’t cut defense” or “you can’t cut welfare” and you can’t cut all this other spending. If – and maybe this is kind of putting you on the spot – if it were up to Jonathan Bydlak, what would be cut spending-wise?
Bydlak: Let me make a couple comments on that. So the first thing is that everyone wants to get into, exactly what we should cut. The problem I have with that discussion is that it assumes there’s already agreement that there should be cutting going on. As the recent fiscal cliff negotiations show, there’s actually not agreement at all. You had all but eight Senators voting for McConnell’s fiscal cliff compromise, and you had roughly one-third of Republicans and all but 16 Democrats voting in favor of the bill. So, in Washington at least, there isn’t agreement that we even should be cutting in the first place. We haven’t passed a budget in over 3 1/2 years, over a thousand days. So from our group’s perspective there is significant value to be added just by getting people together from both sides of the aisle and getting them to even agree with the premise that we should cut spending. That’s my first comment.
As far as where you cut, the bigger problem isn’t so much that everyone has their pet projects per se, it’s that both parties have not wanted to address significant portions of the budget. The reality is, if you want to balance the budget, you want to curb spending and bring the budget back into balance, you have to address the big-ticket items in the budget, and there are relatively few: entitlement spending and military spending. The interesting thing about those two things is they essentially represent the two sacred cows of the two major parties. On the left you have entitlements, Democrats (will tell you) ‘no, you can’t consider entitlement reform, on the right you have military spending and Republicans say, “no, we can’t really go and address a bloated Pentagon budget.”
So at the end of the day if you care about having a government that lives within its means, it doesn’t really matter what Jonathan Bydlak wants to cut because it’s a mass that you have to reform. Entitlements and military spending make up 75 to 80 percent of the budget, and when we’re talking about borrowing 40 to 45 cents out of every dollar you can’t balance that without…by looking at only 20 to 25 percent of the budget. So the second point I’ll make is that, from our group’s perspective, we’re trying to increase awareness and highlight the fact that ultimately, if you’re serious about spending and serious about having government live within its means, you have to also be serious about reassessing entitlement spending, about reassessing military spending, and about getting both parties to put their sacred cows on the table. The big part of the problem as I see it: Republicans, for a long time, have talked a good game about “we need to cut spending” and then Democrats come back and say, “all right, let’s start with the Pentagon.” Republicans say no, that’s our sacred cow and push it off the table…as a result, Democrats are never forced to put entitlement spending on the table.
To me, the most important line in our pledge is the line that says, “all spending must be on the table.” We can have the debate down the road about how much we can cut from here and how much we can cut from there, but let’s start with an agreement that we shouldn’t claim spending and that everything should be on the chopping block. In my opinion, that’s the only way you’re ever going to get both parties to seriously consider the types of cuts that need to happen.
monoblogue: So you’re looking at it more as a groundswell of support from the outside rather than trying to work from the inside…you’re looking for the people to say, “look, we want you to address this problem – we don’t care exactly how you address this problem, just put everything on the table and let’s address it.”
Bydlak: I think that’s the starting point, right? Then you have to say what can we cut in the Pentagon’s budget, and how can you restructure Social Security and Medicare and other entitlement programs. That’s the sort of debate that has to happen, but instead we see…grandstanding about that we can’t cut this, or can’t cut that, or, in general, an unwillingness to put their own sacred cows on the table. The compromise is always “I’ll vote for your spending if you vote for mine,” rather than “I’ll accept some cuts in my spending if you accept some cuts in yours.”
I think you’re starting to see a pretty significant change…one is that Ted Cruz, for example, he signed the Pledge and has been saying everything should be on the table. That’s something that would be hard to imagine happening five or ten years ago. Another example is Lindsey Graham – now Lindsey Graham and I would probably have disagreements over how much could be cut from the Pentagon’s budget, but Lindsey Graham has said, “you know what, I’d be willing to go and consider military spending on the chopping block if we can get meaningful entitlement reform.” That’s a very big change, so that’s the sort of mindset that we’re trying to promote, to actually get people to realize this problem is ultimately, in my opinion, and if you want to talk about the greatest threat to our national security, it’s our national debt.
So the way that you’ll ultimately get significant reform in these areas is to get everyone to agree that their sacred cow is on the table, too. I wouldn’t characterize it as working from the outside or working from the inside; it’s a combination of both.
monoblogue: Given that you have such an influence from Ron Paul, you would get a reputation as sort of a maverick. That was Ron Paul’s entire gig, so to say – he was not exactly a mainstream Republican (and) he kind of went his own way. That’s fine; I respect him for that. Do you find that the influence – most people know you’re disciples of Ron Paul and such – is that a large obstacle in Washington?
Bydlak: I don’t consider myself a disciple of Ron Paul; I don’t know even what that exactly means. Obviously I’m very supportive of Dr. Paul and I’m generally of the same political persuasion, but I don’t consider myself a disciple of anyone. There have been a couple of articles which came out recently saying that I’m the next Grover Norquist, if you will, (but) my comment is I’m the first Jonathan Bydlak. (laughs) That’s funny, my parents will tell you a story that when I was five years old, maybe I was four, the first book I ever bought was a collection of Ronald Reagan’s speeches, “Speaking My Mind,” which was an autobiography and collection of speeches he wrote shortly after leaving the White House. I paid a dollar for it at a used bookstore and growing up I had a picture of Ronald Reagan on my bedside table. There are plenty of things I would disagree with Ronald Reagan on, so again, to characterize me as a disciple of one or the other, I don’t really know.
I suppose your argument is that simply by having worked for Dr. Paul that somehow that ends up being a disadvantage, but I don’t think so because the focus of our organization is just on the issue. If you think about which organizations in Washington tend to be most effective at accomplishing their objectives, in my opinion the evidence is pretty obvious. And that is organizations that have a laser-like focus on one issue – you think about the NRA, you think about the ACLU – left or right, those groups tend to be the ones that are most effective and ultimately the most feared. So I think this is part of the reason it’s so important to focus only on the issue of spending, because if you start taking positions on twenty different issues the coalition of people that you’re able to bring together becomes increasingly limited. My hope, and I think what we’re proving, is that we’re able to bring together a larger number of people by focusing solely on one issue, regardless of whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, independent, Libertarian, Green, pick your ideological persuasion or party affiliation.
monoblogue; Well, I agree with that. That makes perfect sense to me. Now I know you were also circulating a spending pledge, much like Grover Norquist’s pledge not to raise taxes, and you mentioned Ted Cruz – I assume he’s one of those who has signed that pledge?
Bydlak: Yes, that’s right.
monoblogue: Who else has signed the pledge, and has anyone started to think about 2014 and contacted you and said “I already don’t like the way things are going in this Congress and I wanted to get a early jump on the next Congress so I’d like to sign your pledge now?”
Bydlak: We got started in the middle of the primary cycle, so we got started a little late just by virtue of when the group was formed. We had 24 candidates nationwide who signed the Pledge; of those we had a Democrat running in New York City, we had an independent running in Colorado, we had a handful of Libertarians, and the rest were Republicans. Out of those, I think 12 made it into the general election, and then two were elected: Ted Cruz being one and the most prominent, and the other being Doug Collins, who was elected in Georgia’s Ninth District, which has recently been redrawn because of the Census and Georgia getting an additional seat. Representative Collins has been looking pretty great in terms of what he’s been saying; I think he seems pretty solid on the issue. Of course, we’ll see how that continues to pan out… That’s sort of where we are right now; naturally we are focusing on getting organized ourselves in terms of being able to maximize our impact in 2014, with the idea being that we want to get as many people on the record as possible saying they are committed to the planks of our Pledge.
monoblogue: So your foot is in the door in terms of both the House and the Senate…in the future – and I know you’re basically a one-issue organization – are you planning on getting into financially supporting candidates or do you just want to stay with the advocacy arm of it?
Bydlak: No, we don’t endorse any candidates. Part of what I see our role is to put candidates on the record. For example, in the Texas Senate race Lieutenant Governor (David) Dewhurst, who was running against Cruz, also signed the Pledge within a day after we announced Senator Cruz had signed… We’re not here to endorse anyone.
Pledges have two main benefits, I think. One is that they provide information to voters. When candidates run for office and say they’re serious about tackling the national debt, or that they’re a fiscal conservative, or what have you – it’s one thing to say those things but it’s another thing to be actually willing to put your name on paper and say what that actually means. We are attempting to define very clearly what that means; generally the three planks of our Pledge, which is that you’ll only vote for a balanced budget, you won’t vote for new spending programs that aren’t offset elsewhere in the budget, and they won’t vote to increase borrowing.
The second benefit, of course, is that when they get into office and they renege on the promise they made to voters, well, now there’s a means for the voters, the activists, and the media to hold them accountable. It’s not just that they ran for office and it was some random verbal promise, here you have it in writing and you can say, “wait a minute, this is what you said and you’re not doing that.”
So we see our role as not at all trying to endorse anyone, but actually trying to get as many people as possible to go on the record and say we care about these issues enough that we want to signal to voters that we’re serious enough to say we want to sign on the dotted line. That, in a nutshell – to us, it’s more about changing the incentives of the game. There’s a great Milton Friedman quote where he says something to the effect of the greatest challenge in politics is to create good incentives so that imperfect people do good things. And the idea is if you’re going to rely on politicians to do the right thing, that’s kind of a fool’s errand. But you can start to create incentives for certain behavior – that is something that I think is really valuable, and that’s where I think the Pledge is really valuable that it starts to provide a counterweight to the incentive of the status quo, which is basically bring home the pork to your district and have your campaign financed by special interest groups.
But if you can show that voters care about these issues enough where politicians feel compelled enough to go on the record about them, well, that changes the incentives of the game and perhaps leads to a better opportunity to see meaningful spending cuts.
monoblogue: Certainly I’d like to see, if I’m faced with a primary of ten people, I’d love to see that ten people signed the Pledge, and I definitely want to do my part to spread the word. I know you guys have a website and all that, so take this opportunity to plug yourselves for my readers.
Bydlak: The website is reducespending.org, People can go on our website and download a copy of our Pledge, and get their Representative or Senator to sign, or candidates to sign. There is also a Voter Pledge people can sign, with the goal being the more support we can show for the idea we are promoting the better. We are open to any suggestion, certainly we are heavily into social media, which is probably not surprising given my experience in the Paul campaign, but definitely join our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, and send me an e-mail and get involved that way in terms of, if there are ideas people have, we want to hear any of them.
monoblogue: I have one last thing that just occurred to me. Are you planning on taking this to a state level, or strictly federal?
Bydlak: It’s absolutely something we would like to do, and we’ve already talked to a couple organizations about this. The challenge of the state level is that there are fifty different requirements, as some states have balanced budget requirements, some don’t, there’s various minutia in every different state; frankly, I’m not well-versed in all the minutia in how each state works. So that’s a growth opportunity and something we want to do, but we need to enlist the involvement of people who are experts so what we would likely do is roll them out in a handful of states at a time. That’s definitely something we would like to do in the future.
monoblogue: All right. I appreciate the time; it’s been very enlightening to me and hopefully getting the word out a little at a time will help you in 2014.
I hope you enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed chatting with Jonathan, whose group may someday rival organizations like Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform. Certainly I think they have a sound approach to getting excess spending into the national conversation.
Next week’s guest is yet to be determined, since there’s a possibility of having a “breaking news” personality. Stay tuned.