Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘The Leadership Institute’

Currently, five candidates are vying for the Republican nomination for the Senate seat currently held by Jim Webb.  But could a sixth soon join the fray?

As far back as two years ago, I began wondering if Delegate Bob Marshall would seek Virginia’s Senate seat again.  After all, in 2008 he came within a handful of votes of upsetting the establishment favorite, former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore, at the Republican convention.  Along with Corey Stewart, rumors swirled that Marshall would run after he won re-election.

Throughout the past forty-seven or so months, the topic keeps popping up.  On multiple occasions, including The Leadership Institute’s 4th of July Soirée and the Agenda 21 presentation in Verona, I’ve spoken with several folks with very close connections to Delegate Marshall who indicated that he would enter the contest.

Now that his House of Delegates election is over, he can now focus on this race…assuming he chooses to do so.

But what are his chances of success?  Has the race solidified sufficiently to severely hinder any new entrant?  Have the coalition of activists and politicos that rallied behind him back in 2008 already selected a candidate in this race?  Well, it is true that Marshall’s former campaign manager has joined the Allen campaign, many social conservatives are supporting E.W. Jackson, and Jamie Radtke is working her tea party contacts.  Earlier, I argued that waiting until after Election Day 2011 would be too late for any candidate.  But perhaps I was mistaken.  After all, the field still seems pretty divided.

In addition, Delegate Marshall enjoys the highest name recognition of the non-Allen candidates.  For example, the marriage amendment to the Virginia Constitution bears his name as the Marshall/Newman Amendment.  If can gather together his loyal band of activists from the 2008 convention, maybe he can position himself as the best conservative alternative to Allen as he did with Gilmore three years ago.  Then again, perhaps Radtke, Donner, Jackson, or McCormick is already on his or her way to capturing that title.

So will Bob Marshall announce?  I cannot say for certain, but I expect we will have our answer very soon.

Read Full Post »

A few hours ago, I received word from George Allen’s campaign that today he signed The Contract from America.  By doing so, he joins the growing ranks of limited government conservatives like Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Representative Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota.  As Allen states, “To me, signing this pledge is an affirmation of my commitment to protecting individual liberty, limited government and economic freedom.”

But what is The Contract from America, you might ask?  I’m sure most of you remember the GOP’s 1994 Contract with America, but now we are talking about a contract from America?  What an odd name.  Doesn’t it sound like some secessionist ploy?  Well, here’s the contract.  Read it yourself:

The Contract from America

We, the undersigned, call upon those seeking to represent us in public office to sign the Contract from America and by doing so commit to support each of its agenda items, work to bring each agenda item to a vote during the first year, and pledge to advocate on behalf of individual liberty, limited government, and economic freedom.

Individual Liberty

Our moral, political, and economic liberties are inherent, not granted by our government. It is essential to the practice of these liberties that we be free from restriction over our peaceful political expression and free from excessive control over our economic choices.

Limited Government

The purpose of our government is to exercise only those limited powers that have been relinquished to it by the people, chief among these being the protection of our liberties by administering justice and ensuring our safety from threats arising inside or outside our country’s sovereign borders. When our government ventures beyond these functions and attempts to increase its power over the marketplace and the economic decisions of individuals, our liberties are diminished and the probability of corruption, internal strife, economic depression, and poverty increases.

Economic Freedom

The most powerful, proven instrument of material and social progress is the free market. The market economy, driven by the accumulated expressions of individual economic choices, is the only economic system that preserves and enhances individual liberty. Any other economic system, regardless of its intended pragmatic benefits, undermines our fundamental rights as free people.

1. Protect the Constitution

Require each bill to identify the specific provision of the Constitution that gives Congress the power to do what the bill does. (82.03%)

2. Reject Cap & Trade

Stop costly new regulations that would increase unemployment, raise consumer prices, and weaken the nation’s global competitiveness with virtually no impact on global temperatures. (72.20%)

3. Demand a Balanced Budget

Begin the Constitutional amendment process to require a balanced budget with a two-thirds majority needed for any tax hike. (69.69%)

4. Enact Fundamental Tax Reform

Adopt a simple and fair single-rate tax system by scrapping the internal revenue code and replacing it with one that is no longer than 4,543 words—the length of the original Constitution. (64.90%)

5. Restore Fiscal Responsibility & Constitutionally Limited Government in Washington

Create a Blue Ribbon taskforce that engages in a complete audit of federal agencies and programs, assessing their Constitutionality, and identifying duplication, waste, ineffectiveness, and agencies and programs better left for the states or local authorities, or ripe for wholesale reform or elimination due to our efforts to restore limited government consistent with the US Constitution’s meaning. (63.37%)

6. End Runaway Government Spending

Impose a statutory cap limiting the annual growth in total federal spending to the sum of the inflation rate plus the percentage of population growth. (56.57%)

7. Defund, Repeal, & Replace Government-run Health Care

Defund, repeal and replace the recently passed government-run health care with a system that actually makes health care and insurance more affordable by enabling a competitive, open, and transparent free-market health care and health insurance system that isn’t restricted by state boundaries. (56.39%)

8. Pass an ‘All-of-the-Above” Energy Policy

Authorize the exploration of proven energy reserves to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources from unstable countries and reduce regulatory barriers to all other forms of energy creation, lowering prices and creating competition and jobs. (55.51%)

9. Stop the Pork

Place a moratorium on all earmarks until the budget is balanced, and then require a 2/3 majority to pass any earmark. (55.47%)

10. Stop the Tax Hikes

Permanently repeal all tax hikes, including those to the income, capital gains, and death taxes, currently scheduled to begin in 2011. (53.38%)

It certainly sounds promising doesn’t it?  Any effort that seeks to restrain the growing power of the federal government is certainly an idea I can get behind.  It seems, I’m not alone; the concept has the backing of a number of limited government organizations like The Leadership Institute, The Republican Liberty Caucus, and Freedom Works.

However, I do have two questions regarding the contract.  First, what’s with all the percentages after each segment?  Is it a ranking of priority?  Do the number represent folks who sign choosing to accept certain portions of the contract while rejecting others?  Well, after making a few phone calls, I discovered this answer.  In order to gauge public opinion on what are the most important priorities, the organizers held a poll.  The top ten are what are listed here.  The percentages after each are the percent of the vote each won.  “Protecting the Constitution” was labeled the highest priority, while “Stopping the Tax Hikes”, although important, was the lowest concern of the top ten.

Second, I’m not too wild about point number seven.  Sure, I’d like to see federally run health care defunded and repealed, but replaced?  Replaced with what?  Something merely more cost efficient?  I do not believe that the federal government has any constitutional authority when it comes to the health care of its citizens.  Therefore, without additional details, I cannot support this particular plank.

If you will recall, back in 1994, Republicans captured control of Congress by uniting around a list of conservative principles and priorities.  Should they do so again, I would expect them to win a far greater percentage of seats.

Therefore, despite my one particular objection, I believe that this Contract From America is an important step in the right direction.  It may be a funny sounding name, but we need to get Washington under control and we must do so now.  As our former Governor and Senator states, “Only by listening to ‘We the People’ and returning to the foundational principles of freedom, personal responsibility and opportunity for all will America once again be the land of opportunity.”

Although I still need to learn more about this effort,  I certainly do appreciate their motivation and applaud George Allen for signing on to this project.

Read Full Post »

Expanding my reach and audience of this blog has been one of my central focuses these last couple of months.  To rehash, in late December I had my first radio spot on The Schilling Show.  For readers of The Daily News Record, another of my pieces appears in the opinion section of Monday’s newspaper.  But what about television?  With the exception of a brief segment during the 2006 campaign, I’ve never been on TV.  Therefore, I decided that I should take the time to learn more about this medium.

This most recent Friday, January 14, I drove up to Arlington to participate in one of The Leadership Institute’s training sessions.  This particular one was called “Television Workshop, On-camera”.  Unfortunately, due to the more or less complete urbanization of Arlington, parking was proving to be a bit of a challenge until the folks at LI directed me to a public parking garage.  All in all, the workshop lasted a little over three hours.  We did cover quite a bit of material including: what to wear, how to present yourself, and what to say.  I’m not going to address those topics here.  If you want to learn more about those issues, I would highly recommend attending the workshop yourself.

What I do want to talk about, however, is the tone they recommend adopting for TV.  I can only describe the attitude as the worst aspects of political television.  If asked a question that you don’t care to answer, simply steer the conversation in a different direction or ignore the point entirely.  When you debate one or more people, you don’t have to wait your turn to speak.  Just interrupt the other person whenever you feel you can get away with it.   Civility is overrated and can even be a hindrance.  The rules are simple; whoever gets in the most words, and thus the most airtime, wins.

Now whom should we blame for these displays which are quite frankly disrespectful and childish?  I believe it rests primarily with the host or interviewer of the program.  A good host can keep his or her guests in line and on topic.  A poor host doesn’t restrain his or her guests, or, worse yet, treats them with open contempt.  Upon further reflection, there is a strong comparison between the host of a political program and an elementary school teacher.  A worthy host or teacher must be both a taskmaster and disciplinarian, motivated and fair.  If you allow your guests or students to be disrespectful or constantly wander off topic, then no one will learn anything of value.

Of course, these days political TV is not really about education, but instead shouting trivial and meaningless talking points.  The market and the audience have become oversaturated with emotion and devoid of facts.  Without a meaningful exchange of ideas, the American public treats politics as fairly irrelevant.  It is merely another form of entertainment to be spoofed on Comedy Central and Saturday Night Live.  Therefore, we must reject the concept of no holds barred political television.  It is detrimental to our political health and weakens the fabric of society.

In closing, I encourage you to explore the wealth of training options available at The Leadership Institute.  My first experience with their learning opportunities was excellent and last week’s was quite good as well.  I just take exception to one particular technique that they suggested.  Although rudeness and political demagoguery is all the rage on TV these days, that doesn’t mean we should follow down this well-worn path.  I know that I won’t.  If that means I’ll never be successful in the medium, at least I can hold my head high knowing that I didn’t help trash the American experiment for a quick buck and to further my own selfish ambitions.

Read Full Post »

Good afternoon readers.  I hope your week has been going well.

I wanted to alert you all to several upcoming events that the Leadership Institute is hosting.  As you may or may not know, The Leadership Institute runs a number of schools for conservative activists that delve into a number of political topics.  Now many of these educational opportunities take place at their headquarters in Arlington, but for those Virginians outside the beltway, I have good news.  Within the coming months, LI will be running their Campaign School at three locations across the state.  The first will be in Arlington on August 14.  The second is in Virginia Beach on September 11.  The third is taking place in Christiansburg on September 18.  Perhaps you’ve near participated in a campaign before, or maybe you’re a longtime regular like myself.  Either way, I’m sure we can learn a tremendous lot from a great opportunity like this one.  The cost is merely $20, and if you register early on their website you can get in for half off.  Yes, lunch is included.

I would recommend reserving your spot now before all the spaces are gone.  Meet with conservative activists from your area and the experts at the Leadership Institute.  I know that I hope to catch the one in Christiansburg.  Check their website for more details.

You know I’ve been encouraging you to get active and get involved.  So what are you waiting for?

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: