For Thirty Pieces Of Silver

When it comes to campaign finance, the tea party movement just doesn’t get it

“You can’t save the world if you can’t pay the rent.” – Morton Blackwell

It’s always an interesting academic exercise to attempt to calculate what Judas Iscariot’s 30 pieces of silver would have been worth in contemporary American currency. Depending upon whose calculations you use (and what assumptions they started with), estimates have varied from a few “benjamins” to a quarter-million “eisenhowers.” Almost all of the speculation, however, misses the point. And if you’re wondering how Judas’ epic infamy is connected to Mr. Blackwell’s wisdom, well, we’ll discuss that after the break.



To paint the picture a bit more clearly, let’s think about it this way: Take the time to write down on a scrap piece of paper your total monthly pre-tax income (all sources). Then multiply that number by a factor of 4. Now picture that total sitting in front of you, in cash, to do with as you please. And all you have to do to walk away with that money is this one simple, harmless thing that the fella offering it is asking you to do. Because, in financial terms, that’s what we’re really discussing here; doing something apparently innocent in exchange for whatever amount of money represents four months worth of income to you.

And if the first thought that comes to your mind is that something like that would never tempt you, then I’ll tell you truthfully that you really don’t understand temptation at all (because the only way money doesn’t tempt is if it isn’t your weak point to begin with).

Saul Anuzis once said that it takes a grand total of two things to win an election . . . money and everything else. Say what you will about the man, but he has a point here. Money alone doesn’t win an election, but without it, nothing else happens. Yard signs, mailers, palm cards, radio, television, newspapers, t-shirts, parade floats . . . all of that is advertising (and none of it is free). Driving around the district – let alone the state – to get to speaking events and fundraisers requires gas, road food, and other assorted transportation expenses, emphasis on “expense.” Hell, even dedicated volunteers have to be fed, regardless of whether they’re manning phones or knocking doors, and that isn’t free either.

In Michigan, the partisan campaign cycle for Republicans starts with the biennial Mackinac Conference (typically the third weekend of September of a given odd-numbered year) and runs through the biennial Winter State Convention (typically the final weekend of February of the next odd-numbered year), a total of 75 weeks if I have the math right. (Of those, we tend to think only of the dedicated campaigning that happens during the 28 weeks between the Filing Deadline and Election Day, but that’s only just over 1/3 of the total cycle.) We’re accustomed to candidates, and both state and national party headquarters, routinely asking for money during this time; maybe we donate, maybe we don’t. But if your name has ever been on a public ballot for anything further up the political food chain than Precinct Delegate, then you have some first-hand experience with why candidates often spend at least one day each week begging for money.

Keeping that in mind, how do we expect a candidate to react if someone offers them enough money to bankroll all of their operations from the Filing Deadline through Labor Day? As Tom pointed out a few weeks ago, money is always in play during campaign season, and in politics, strings are always attached. That having been said, when there’s enough money on the table to allow a candidate to get through the primary election by focusing on campaign operations instead of campaign logistics, we who are reasonable can understand why most would have a hard time walking away from that offer. In fact, so far as I know, the only candidate who can turn that offer down without at least thinking about it is either (a) capable of independently bankrolling his own campaign, or (b) knows as a fact that his campaign treasurer has his back financially. Other than that . . .

And the annoying thing is that the constitutionalist insurgency, for as bright as they are generally, just doesn’t seem to understand this concept. The tea party movement and liberty network rightly want platform republicans to run and serve, but refuse to break out their checkbooks during campaign season. As loudly as they decry the corrupting influence of money in politics, they don’t seem to comprehend that an underfrunded candidate is, realistically, more vulnerable than one who is adequately bankrolled. Often, they’re genuinely dismayed and/or surprised when a tea party friendly candidate either gets smoked in their electoral contest (whether primary, convention, or general), or when they go “off the reservation” once in office. Nor is this the limit of their naïveté when it comes to such matters.

Earlier this year, the Michigan Freedom Fund was openly recruiting libertarian democrats to run as republican precinct delegates. (Nor were they being particularly discriminate about it, as they’ve recruited an openly-gay former democrat legislative staffer to run against a sitting member of the MIGOP State Committee.) The stated intent is to remove Dave Agema as Michigan’s Republican National Committeeman, and apparently also to completely shut down the tea party voice going forward. How effective this is going to be is yet an open question, but we should note that the precinct delegates elected in August will decide the state committee makeup in February 2015, and will be the convention delegate pool for the May 2016 convention when Dave has to stand for reelection.

I say that we don’t yet know how effective this is going to be, because I have no clue as to whether the constitutionalist insurgency is adequately prepared to put up any sort of organized resistance to a coordinated purge effort. Though, by every reasonable account, the insurgency outnumbers the establishment by about a 7-to-3 margin within the Michigan Republican delegation pool, it’s a rare occasion when the establishment loses a primary or convention contest worth discussing. This is most likely because the establishment power-brokers know how to work as a team, while of late the insurgency leadership cannot seem to get past inter-factional urinating competitions.

Nor, as I observed earlier, does the insurgency seem to grasp the concept of properly bankrolling their candidates for office. Prime evidence of this is that Dave Agema is struggling to keep his PAC (Top Gun Conservatives) properly funded, yet his supporters in the insurgency seem to insist on sitting on their checkbooks. In contrast, the establishment reelection team in Michigan has bankrolled at least four consulting firms (to the tune of $1,000,000 each, so I’m told) specifically so that they could retain a full time staff (combined total of between 30 and 36) . . . for the sole purpose of recruiting precinct delegate candidates to silence as many grassroots voices as possible at the next three state conventions (specifically including the one at which Dave Agema will have to stand for reelection). Again, underfunded equals vulnerable.

And if you think for one minute that any particular tea party darling, once elected, is immune to the influence of money, then let me direct your attention to a certain libertarian republican currently sitting in the congressional seat once occupied by Jerry Ford, and most recently held by Vern Ehlers. Back in May of 2012, when the grassroots and establishment were headed for a Showdown in Motown, a certain “tea party standard bearer” had endorsed the tea party challenger to an incumbent whose comeuppance was long overdue. In doing so, he joined a list of endorsers that would better than double in the intervening two weeks before the state convention (including a certain other congressional candidate who’s also quite popular with the liberty-minded crowd), and provide rock-solid evidence that the constitutionalist insurgency in Michigan is perfectly capable of working as a cohesive unit.

That was then, this is now. If there have been any similar cohesive operations amongst the insurgency in the intervening two years, then I’ve seen precious little evidence of it. What I have seen, to be frank, is the blueblooded elites in the establishment do a marvelous job of getting the grassroots insurgency to fight itself (when they don’t have them bought-and-paid-for to begin with). If you need a reminder, then let me provide you with a few:

  • What was never made public knowledge regarding the Michigan Healthcare Freedom Initiative (2010 ballot proposal), but which I learned during the spring of 2012, was that the MIGOP used the proposal as a voter-identification data-mining exercise. All of those petition pages that had the state party logo on them? Yeah, T.P.T.B. didn’t turn any of them over to the Michigan Citizens for Healthcare Freedom . . . but rather sat on them as a way to upgrade their contact database. Why secretly kill something that was a rallying point for an active and energized grassroots base? Does Medicaid Expansion ring any bells?
  • In September of 2012, a certain influential tea party leader from Northern Michigan received a phone call from a certain high-ranking elected official, literally the morning of the state convention, offering a deal that was just too good to pass up. All the tea party leader had to do was withdraw as Judge Markey’s nominator. (And I have five witnesses to the convention-floor conversation that said tea party leader had with said judge, who will happily speak on the record, should I decide that I’ve nothing better to do with my time than take down a pawn.) The end result was a chief executive with some political capital to spend, as a result of being fortunate enough to be the one in office when a thirty year public discussion – capped by a four-year, all-grassroots effort – actually paid off.
  • Even though support for the Michigan Tax Limitation Amendment (Proposal 12-5) should have been a housekeeping vote at the September 2012 MIGOP State Convention, T.P.T.B. within the MIGOP couldn’t be bothered to put a resolution supporting the proposal before the convention delegation for a floor vote. Even though initial public support for the proposal was high enough for passage, the lack of political support that the “party of fiscal conservatism” could have provided, coupled with the open assault by the GoverNerd, was enough to kill it at the polls on Election Day. Said open assault included dumping a truckload of red herrings along the campaign trail, enough to bring multiple county parties, district leadership organizations, and tea party leaders onboard the “privately funded bus tour” for the specific purpose of causing enough internal division within the insurgency to take any wind out of the sails the proposal had pre-convention. By the way, after taking a look at Senate Bill 791 and Senate Bill 934, how do you suppose that “no on five” is working out these days?
  • Recall that one of the major themes during 2010, on the old version of this site, was the necessity of killing Proposal 10-1, the state constitution convention question mandated every 16 years by Article XII § 3 of the Michigan Constitution. The matter was serious enough then that the 2010 MIGOP State Convention actually conducted a floor debate on the question (and the floor resolution to oppose passed all but unanimously). Yet, because some radio talk jockey who’s popular with the tea party movement wrote a book, all of a sudden, a sizable chunk of the tea partiers in Michigan are all gaga over Senate Joint Resolution V (2013), as though calling for a convention of the states is going to provide us with any better outcome than a state constitution convention would.
  • I’m not sure why the state’s grassroots seems to be so willing to buy into a narrative that doesn’t survive even a basic fact check, but more than a few tea party leaders in this state have pilloried me for daring to call into question the credibility of an education board candidate who has, by her own admission, an 18-year history on university governing boards in Michigan. The public record associated with that history is, by the way, fair game for honest investigative scrutiny. Yet the board candidate who’s carefully crafted his “one of us” image (though his congressional donation history and campaign finance management raises some questions) has said that he wants her as his running mate, so the tea parties dutifully circle their wagons. (Further, a recent former employer of mine has openly threatened to run a smear campaign against a third candidate for this nomination, apparently because he dares to challenge the “duly anointed” nominees.) To be fair, I’m also drawing fire from the establishment over this, so apparently I’m an equal opportunity nuisance on this one.
  • The Part-Time Legislature Initiative has coordinators in all 83 of Michigan’s counties, but, as we saw last weekend, finances are a bit tight for the initiative committee right now, which threatens the viability of the initiative once it’s on the ballot. I spoke with one of the committee’s leaders earlier this week, and he told me that one of their problems is that they don’t have even one deep-pocket donor committed to helping them fund their campaign, and apparently the chairwoman of the wooden shoe mafia is deliberately chasing away potential deep-pocket donors, for no reason other than that a certain national committeeman is openly lending his credibility to the initiative. (Although, to be fair, the Michigan Campaign for Liberty seems to honestly believe that this can be accomplished through the legislative process, which brings us back to the naïveté that I referenced before.)

. . . and we now come back to that “tea party darling” libertarian republican congressman who was quite comfortable endorsing Agema For RNC a shade over two years ago. Yet earlier this year, in response to a manufactured controversy, he quickly joined the bandwagon of high-profile republicans who were demanding that Dave Agema resign his position.

This begs the question of why. Of the republicans on that aforementioned high-profile list, Justin Amash is the only one who’d actually endorsed Dave Agema’s run at Saul Anuzis; the rest had endorsed the incumbent, if they’d said anything at all, so their actions weren’t exactly surprising. And given that his primary opponent had also weighed in against Agema, Amash could have simply taken the high road, stayed out of it (as Dan Benishek and Kerry Bentivolio did), and let the whole matter go as a free speech issue. So what gives?

I don’t have any way to know if this is so, but I’ll bet I know about how it went down. With the aforementioned manufactured controversy simmering quite nicely, and Agema conveniently ill-positioned to defend himself against the manufactured outrage, the aforementioned chairwoman of the wooden shoe mafia direct dials her congressman (and don’t think for one second that she doesn’t have his personal phone number prominently placed in her Rolodex). She gets him on the line, and after a brief bit of chit-chat, politely informs her congressman that if he doesn’t join the chorus calling for Agema to step down, then she’s going to funnel five “wilsons” over to his primary challenger; and should the good congressman somehow survive that primary bank drop, then she’s got another five “wilsons” to funnel over to his general opponent.

And if so, then the only way that Justin would bite on that is if his primary race is closer than he wants us to know about, and he knows that those bank drops could make the difference. Just to make a follow up observation, about two weeks later a poll had Amash leading Ellis by a freaking huge margin, but another poll conducted just last week shows a more realistic spread. When compared to the February poll, Amash’s share of the May response dropped by about a third, Ellis’ share about doubled, the undecided expanded by about a quarter, and the split shrank from 48 points to 19 points. Thus, it could be said that Brian Ellis has been quietly gaining ground on Justin Amash over the past four months. Would you like to take a wild guess as to who would rather you didn’t notice that shift, and who wants to make sure you don’t miss it?

Will a seemingly innocent, politically correct action have far-reaching negative consequences? I honestly couldn’t tell you at this juncture. The glaring question of “why” may always be left dangling, especially when there was nothing obvious to gain from giving in to an argumentum ad populum in the first place. I can tell you this, though, that should this come back to bite Justin in the keister in a couple of months, the Third District grassroots will be casting blame in sixteen different directions, but never once step back and consider what they could have done to prevent this to begin with.

Would it have helped if the Third District Republican Committee wasn’t a paper tiger, or if there’d been some sort of tea party campaign fund that could have been used to counterbalance the temptation to betray a fellow tea party movement standard bearer? We may never know. What I suspect I do know is that anyone who dares to suggest what the insurgents refuse to consider will be castigated as a traitor to the movement . . . all for daring either to speak the uncomfortable truth or to ask the uncomfortable questions.

You Betcha! (10)Nuh Uh.(3)

  15 comments for “For Thirty Pieces Of Silver

  1. Jason
    June 7, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    Interesting notes Kevin.

    I suppose there are those who have no interest in the Republican party surviving after this cycle. Frankly THAT is a likely outcome of the way the tea types have been disregarded.

    Truth be told, I think the MiGOP likes to be the underdog in the general election cycles. Not sure why, but maybe its easier for the est types to suck up to the other side for the scraps of dignity occasionally parceled out, rather than be challenged for doing so much wrong by conservative supporters.

    A strange version of 'dignity' I guess.

    You Betcha! (4)Nuh Uh.(0)
  2. KG One
    June 8, 2014 at 8:32 am

    Good piece as usual Kevin, but I agree 100% with Jason's assessment: There are simply too many in the grassroots here in Michigan who are totally fed up with establishment republicans who do nothing but pay lip service to conservative values, only to turn around the next second and take a big heaping, steaming dump on them for their own ends.

    If things like Common Core and Obamacare Exchanges hadn't pushed those still sitting on the fence over the edge, last week's Detroit bailout vote (more on that in a post I'm working on) certainly did the trick.

    I've made this warning before and I'll make it again.

    The other side is just chomping at the bit to get back into power in a way that I haven't seen before.

    Not if, but when they do, the wooden shoe mafia and those with a "-r" after their name who enjoy making money lying on their backs will have a reckoning of their own to contend with.

    The first thing the other side wants to do is right all of their perceived wrongs, and they already know who they want to hand the bill to.

    It certainly isn't people in my income bracket.

    It's those in the VanAndel, Taubman, Schostak, DeVos, Boji and VanElslander's tax bracket.

    They have it (or as the other side claims "stolen it"), so they'll make damn sure that they'll get it back (courtesy of the power of the state).

    There is already precedent for this.

    in 2010, Ireland seized about 2.5-billion Euro to pay for "bailouts" in that country

    In 2011, $60-million was "transferred" to the state in Bulgaria for similar reasons.

    In 2013, a levy of almost 50% was placed on bank accounts over 100,000 Euro in Cyprus.

    In 2014, approx. 36-billion Euro was transferred into the state pension system in Poland.

    Gotta look out for those retirees!

    Does that argument sound familiar?

    Want to take a wild guess who will get a new tax slapped on them? Or even better yet, a retroactive tax slapped on them for profits they haven't "earned" from earlier years?

    And if they can't pay those taxes?

    Well, that's just too bad. The state can just come right in and seize all of their assets to pay what they "owe".

    There are those on the other side who support some of these things I have mentioned...and more.

    I've heard it from them first-hand.

    Don't think that it cannot happen here.

    The establishment types can do so at their own peril.

    You Betcha! (5)Nuh Uh.(0)
    • Kevin Rex Heine
      June 9, 2014 at 2:15 pm

      in regard to the point that I think you're making K.G., I don't disagree at all.

      However, the tea party and liberty-minded insurgents have no one to blame but themselves when it comes to failing to unseat the establishment progressives. Yes, the Republican Party rode a Gadsden-fueled wave in 2010, but the establishment was smart enough to rig the post-election party conventions to ensure that the elected officials wouldn't have to actually live up to their campaign rhetoric.

      In other words, the constitutionalist insurgency was played, and I don't think that they quite get that yet.

      You Betcha! (4)Nuh Uh.(0)
  3. JoeGOP
    June 8, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    This bit about Amash is a joke, right? You've got a guy who literally goes up against the President of the United States, Republican leadership, Democratic leadership, the chairmen of the armed services and intelligence committees, the entire intelligence community, the military industrial complex and more in the name of conservative principles and you're essentially calling him a sell out? You even admit you have no proof of anything--because there is none--and yet you'd rather attack arguably the most principled conservative in all of government instead of his opponent. His opponent who, by the way, openly and proudly supports Common Core, expanding Medicaid (aka Obamacare), and hardly even hides the fact that he's ACTUALLY a shill for corporate interests who don't like that Amash won't play ball. Where's your self-righteous blog post about that?

    You "conservatives" who would rather spend your time attacking Amash, who is fighting for actual conservatism on a daily basis, don't deserve him. You deserve the Brian Ellis' of the world who couldn't care less about you or your liberty, which is why outside of the third district, you almost always end up with them.

    You Betcha! (3)Nuh Uh.(6)
    • Jason
      June 9, 2014 at 5:42 am

      I think it is more of a point.

      If I were a voter in the 3rd, I wouldn't touch Ellis with a ten foot pole; for the same reasons you have stated.

      The money part of the equation distorts good sense otherwise stated. Amash is one of the smartest guys in Congress, yet for all his smartness, he has been a prisoner of some deep pockets which fund him. With a ghey activist like Greg McNeilly as a long time family confidant, to the DeVos family, it comes as no surprise that such a smart feller would take a position that is anathema to freedom.

      And if you don't believe that see THIS: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/06/03/baker-forced-to-make-gay-wedding-cakes-undergo-sensitivity-training-after/

      Justin's position on this is in opposition to the freedom of religion. Indeed it is clear that homosexuality is the new radical Islam.

      You Betcha! (6)Nuh Uh.(0)
      • Corinthian Scales
        June 9, 2014 at 6:28 am

        Frankly, it's a damn tragedy that Bill Hardiman, has not thrown his hat in the District 3 ring this year. Your "one of the smartest guys" is a convoluted "conservative" mess, which is toeing the line of what can be openly called a bullshit artist.

        You Betcha! (10)Nuh Uh.(1)
        • Kevin Rex Heine
          June 9, 2014 at 6:33 am

          Except that Bill Hardiman is a Kentwood resident, which places him in the 2nd District. I realize that actually living in the district isn't a requirement, but it's rare that someone's going to cross that line if they don't have to.

          You Betcha! (2)Nuh Uh.(0)
    • Kevin Rex Heine
      June 9, 2014 at 6:31 am

      Joe (Mr. Sierawski, I presume), let me lay this out for you regarding Congressman Amash:

      I don't contend that Justin has probably the most constitutional record within the 113th Congress. However, his notorious weak spots are on military issues and social issues. We can speculate all day as to why that's so, but that speculation won't change the fact that it is so. Also, the reason that I can't publish my evidence that Amash is a sell-out to the DeVos checkbook is because the two people who relayed the information to me refuse to do so on the record.

      Military Veterans talk with each other, and that video is going to get a great deal of discussion time amongst the 3rd District veteran population over the next couple of months. Attack the messenger all you want, but it doesn't change the truth that the message is supported by facts. And regarding the veterans who have a beef with Congressman Amash, that video is just the tip of a sizeable iceberg (and the veterans with that information don't have a problem speaking on the record); the problem is that Brian Ellis doesn't have the balls to use that information to his campaign's advantage.

      It's precisely because of this that the Amash vs. Ellis primary contest is going to be a much closer finish than it needs to be. And I can guarantee you that the tea party and liberty types will never admit as to why.

      You Betcha! (3)Nuh Uh.(0)
    • Republican Michigander
      June 9, 2014 at 4:31 pm

      I'm not into cults of personality. They are one of the biggest problems in politics. I've seen it with Romney among establishment types, Amash with some tea party types, Ben Carson, Ron Paul, Paul Ryan to a lesser extent. It reminds me of Obama on the left, frankly. We need to stop putting individuals up on pedestals.

      Amash is human. He has his good votes and his bad votes. His Obamacare votes are very good. His budget votes are good. His votes on planned parenthood and national reciprocity are piss poor. I don't know enough about Ellis to have an opinion one way or the other so I can't comment on who I'd support if I lived in the 3rd.

      I don't vote in that district anyway, so it doesn't matter.

      You Betcha! (5)Nuh Uh.(3)
  4. American 73
    June 9, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    A VOTING TACTIC TO CHANGE CONGRESS
    It is said that we need to remove career politicians from Congress. The states tried to institute Federal Term limits but the Supreme Court said that such an
    action was not constitutional. Trust in the print and television media is essentially non-existent so that a voter really has no way to know that our vote is the best vote. We are reduced to vote what we believe, not know, but only believing and voting with insufficient data is a recipe for disaster. Is there a tactic that voters can use that is independent of what the media is saying and still will make the needed changes in Congress? I suggest the following: If in every election, especially the primaries, we always vote for the challenger and not vote for the incumbent, we have essentially changed Congress, by making the incumbent unable to even be considered for re-election. This tactic has the following results.
    1. Our vote will be an American vote, not an automatic Democrat or Republican vote.
    2. The Special Interests who give millions of dollars for the re-election of their
    bought and paid for candidate will have wasted all of the money that they spent trying to re-elect their candidate. They will be risking their money in every election that is held. The power of the special interests to control Congress will be much less because the voters will again vote for the challenger in the next election.
    3. If the challenger is elected to office, we give the challenger one term to show that he deserves to be re-elected. Doing nothing or not enough will result in our vote for the new challenger.
    4. We keep voting for the challenger in each race until we find a Representative or Senator who meets our requirements. We do not need any input from the media to do this and it will make the media much less powerful in controlling who gets elected.
    5. This tactic, if used enough, will tend to make the elected person unable to make politics a career or a road to becoming rich at the public’s expense.
    6. This tactic does not require the voter to do a lot of research on the
    candidate’s political history. Just vote for the challenger and then watch how he performs.
    7. The evaluation of the elected one’s performance becomes important and the Tea Party and Conservative Talk Radio will be important in evaluating the performance.
    8. The political power structure will try to defeat the vote for the challenger tactic, probably by trying to defeat the validity of the election voting.
    9. We have a responsibility to give our posterity the same chance to live in an America that we were given.

    WHAT DOES HISTORY SHOW WHEN VOTING
    FOR CHALLENGERS BUT NOT VOTING FOR INCUMBENTS

    1. In Congress, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Hillary Clinton would be long gone.
    2. 2012 Presidential Election; Obama would be out of office and Romney would be our president.

    You Betcha! (0)Nuh Uh.(0)
  5. Dalene
    June 9, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    Thank You JoeGOP. I've had differences with Heine in the past, but this article goes beyond the pale. It's intention is for what? As far as opening up checkbooks, what I got out of the entire thread is he isn't getting his "piece" of the pie....and am wondering just who it is he is selling his own soul for that 30 sheckels of silver. For those working hard, there is great hope and Justin is one of them. For his sinister writing, he'd do well working for the other side, or perhaps he is already. For not opening up their checkbooks, most have put aside their families, spent their hard earned dollars for years on the campaign trails, and still have the passion and love for state and country Heine has totally missed.

    Believe me, there are plenty that DO stand for Liberty, without bowing to the almighty dollar. He is wrong on this, but then that will bow down for the dollar cannot understand those who will simply never do so.

    Sounds like Heine is on the Ellis payroll.

    You Betcha! (2)Nuh Uh.(7)
  6. Republican Michigander
    June 9, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    Interesting article.

    The big GOP battle I see is that the establishment thinks they ARE the base. The tea party thinks they ARE the base. The truth I see is that they are both PART of the base that don't like part of the base. The other truth is that a lot of us aren't 100 percent in any camp. The other truth is that 80% of the Republican primary voters don't know, nor care who Dave Agema is, and 80% of the Republican primary voters are disconnected from these infights and don't like them period. They care about politics election time, then go back to their daily lives.

    We're the 20% that really follow this stuff. The most vocal are not the majority. The most vocal also alienate the most people. Everyone SAYS they are principled. Everyone SAYS they are constitutionalists. Everyone SAYS they are conservative. Everyone SAYS they are for liberty. Many that say it are for those things. Many that say it, aren't. Even among those who are, have strong tactical disagreements that become personal at times. Many also only mention their disagreements behind closed doors.

    I think the bigger issue than money (which is important) is lack of organization, effort, working hard and smart, volunteers, and campaign knowledge (both nuts and bolts and messaging). Money is important, and most people can't raise it effectively.

    Organization - The good campaigns have a plan, stick to it, and execute it. Adapt when needed.

    Effort - Times get tough in campaigns. Who sticks it out. Not many. Most think typing behind a computer or going to a tea party/GOP meeting is activism. It's a small part of it.

    Working hard and smart - Know who votes, who votes in which type of election, the sign locations, etc. People have to work hard, but also work smart and use the time wisely.

    Volunteers - Joe Hune's campaign circa 2002 was the best I've seen when it comes to volunteers. Not much comes close. Mike Cox 02 was real good. 04 Bush. 2010 nationally.
    What I mean by campaign is at any level. That includes conventions and precinct delegate campaigns. I have my first contest for precinct delegate. I don't intend to lose it. I can't control what others do, but I can control what I do.

    Campaign Knowledge - When I had one month to find a way to beat the Genoa Township tax millage in an odd number year, I had to go through my bag of tricks on a limited budget. Eventually we raised slightly less than $3000. While we had the reflexive anti-tax vote among people than knew about it, we had to flip those open for taxes as long as it went to roads, and had to get the word out that there was an election. We also had to target those most likely to vote. That millage failed 3-1 on August Primary level turnout. It was the best political work of my career (and it was pro-bono helping my parents). We took advantage of free media. We sent out 1800 postcards with pictures of the roads that were going to be widened and paved. The voters didn't want the tax increase, nor the money wasted on stupid stuff. Organization, volunteers, effort, working hard/smart, and messaging.

    For a convention, we have to know the voting pool, try and get good people elected to Precinct delegate in the first place. (In my case I have an interest in good workers and people showing up getting elected), and work to sway the independent delegates who march to their own drum and don't fall for the buzzwords and talking points.

    The messaging is different for every subset of voter and is dependent on the voting pool.

    As far as some of the items mentioned.

    1. Unfortunately Michigan Citizens for Healthcare Freedom didn't have the funding required. That was a shoestring for statewide. I know. I was in the middle of that.

    2. Lana had a two front battle regarding Prop 5.

    3. The con-con Article V goes back to Cults of Personality. "If Mark Levin says it's good......"

    4. I'm not against a part time legislature if it's done right, but the ballot question lost me for two reasons. A. It puts too much power in the hands of the executive branch, which is a problem already. B. It limits the staff, which is the contact for most people on business matters to the representatives. Even as someone with direct lines to my reps, I still contact their staffers about issues. The issues get to the reps and sometimes those calls work, especially if it's not based on those mass emailed talking points.

    You Betcha! (6)Nuh Uh.(3)
    • Jason
      June 9, 2014 at 7:47 pm

      Agree with much and then there is the rest.

      First off, I must ask what this full time legislature has done with Snyder's bridge boondoggle go-around? What of the DNR overreach with regard to the small farms and domesticated swine?

      Hell they never answered the veto of the transparency bill he vetoed! And THAT was a unanimous vote in both houses.

      Executive power worries?

      No not so much.

      You Betcha! (6)Nuh Uh.(0)

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