Wednesday, December 31, 2014

McLaughlin: Senator Jack Reed is Best Politician of 2014

Rarely would anyone expect to hear about Rhode Island’s US Senators. Aside from political junkies or conservative hopefuls looking for limited government in the Littlest State in the Union (with some of the biggest problems), no one cares about Rhode Island’s senators. Certainly, mainstream conservative talk shows like Fox News or even the McLaughlin Group wouldn’t give a minute (or a moment’s) notice to the most liberal state
John McLaughlin

Yet on December 26th, in the last program of Year 2014, John McLaughlin (Issue One! Issue Two! Issue Three!) briefly praised Rhode Island’s senior senator, recently reelected by the widest margin of any incumbent in the 2014 election:

MCLAUGHLIN: Best politician, a joint award. The former undersecretary of the defense, Michelle Angelique Flournoy and Senator Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island.

They both turned President Obama's overtures to replace Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense, at stage a senior appointment in the Obama administration would be toxic to a political resume.

First of all, regardless of one’s political persuasion, a West Point Graduate turned US Senator would be the ideal candidate in an elite administration dedicated to “not doing stupid stuff.” Second, for a  politician to turn down any appointment alone indicates a modicum of humility (or at least cynical acceptance).

US Senator Jack Reed


Two months prior, the writer of this article had hoped that Rhode Island’s other US Senator, Sheldon Whitehouse, would consider replacing Attorney General Eric Holder. Of course, the call of climate change most likely made Sheldon cool to the proposal at the outset. Besides, why would any elected official give up a near-certain seat in the US Senate for a two-year executive post? Come to think of it, the same limited, self-serving ambition describes Reed reluctance to become Secretary of Defense.

Still, assessing McLaughlin’s Year End award of “Best Politician”, would Reed truly count as the best politician in the country?

Putting aside any utter loathing about illiberal, progressive policies, plus the abject disgrace which defines (and undermines) one-party Democratic states, one has to acknowledge that Senator Reed has been a smooth (as well as savvy) operator.

First, he got elected in a state where Republicans have embraced key Democratic positions. Plus the long-term legacy of Democratic dominance, Reed was  a cinch for higher office and never worry about losing it, even in the most hostile of political environments. Election 2014 proved to be one of those years, the shellacking to unseat all election waves. Nine senate seats, including five Democratic incumbents, flipped to the GOP. However, Reed remained the least vulnerable, and in spite of hiccups along the way (like a weak commercial touting Reed as “The Defender of Rhode Island”), he defeated his last-minute challenger Mark Zaccaria by forty points. Ouch!
Mark Zaccaria

Of course, there were smatterings of polling taking place in the Ocean State, and a likely challenger, Rhode Island Republican Assembly President Raymond McKay, was prepping to run against him in 2014.

McKay’s biggest obstacle, one which would cost him the change to run, lay in the Warwick City Council, and allegedly with Mayor Scott Avedisian, himself a Republican. Of dubious standing among conservative Republicans, the incumbent successor to Lincoln Chaffee would face a primary challenge of his own (and win). Voices behind the scenes argued (somewhat convincingly) that the mayor stalled on removing an obscure municipal code barring certain employees (including McKay) from seeking office, without first resigning their post.  So much for freedom of speech, the press, and power to petition one’s government for grievances.

It takes a deeply in-tune, in touch politician to bring local leaders to your side, and keep opponents at bay. Further allegations pointed to the jurists in state and federal district court, both of which had ties (and perhaps owed) something to Senior Senator Reed. Judges ruled in Reed’s favor, without thousands of dollars slipped under the door, to boot!
RIRA President
Raymond McKay

Conservative Republican Raymond McKay would have faced an uphill battle from the outset, but with a  sympathetic mayor, a Democratic city council, plus a divided GOP base (thanks, Dr. Dan!), McKay’s campaign as a statewide candidate for federal office in Rhode Island would certainly fail to find a red wave to ride on. Reed made his non-campaign an inevitability. Senator Reed, with his legacy of pork and staunch liberalism in the bluest of Blue States, made extra sure that he faced token opposition.  To add glory to infamy, as well as his easy reelection, Reed turned down a near-certain confirmation to replace Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.

Of course, Obama’s Hagel nomination was a political move (a controversial, moderate Republican to divide the partisan, already divided GOP minority). Reed’s nomination would have been a principled opportunity, since the established progressive Senator would have clicked with Obama’s ideology and temperament, as well as face a relatively conflict-free confirmation process among respectable colleagues.
Jack Reed: The Best Politician of 2014

Yet Reed, having won a fourth US Senate term, solidified by working the ground game with Republicans as well as a field of Democrats and liberal Independents, turns down a nomination from a flailing, lame-duck. A politician’s chief goal is staying elected. For “Best Politician” Reed, that is Mission Accomplished.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Walker v. Bush (at CPAC 2013)

Election 2016 has begun, and Bush dominates the discussion, but for a glimpse into who is running, and who is better suited to win, we can compare two key speeches at CPAC 2013, from John Ellis “Jeb” Bush, and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

Introduced by an old-school politico, the former Florida Governor greeted [@ 58:00] an inattentive, uninterested audience. "Let's close the bar off. That was the greatest intro I ever heard, and I wish that you all had heard it." Yawn.

Bush segued to a tweet of himself from 1970, sporting an old-school Mullet hairdo. Talking up the importance of going from humbling to humiliating, he (not very humbly) analogized his hairdo to the Republican Party: "Party in the front, party in the back." Wrong: a mullet is all about business in the front, party in the back. Of course, Jeb does not want to admit that, since he is all about Big Business, and the Chamber of Commerce.

With a misleading, pessimistic spirit, Bush commented that the Republican Party is once again in the back, ignoring Republican domination the statehouses in 2010, maintained in 2012, now expanded to 70% in 2014 (including New England and Illinois)..

Inevitably, Bush regaled us with his Florida record: "It was a blast. It was a joy". Was it National Lampoon or Spring Break for Bush?

Bush scored some points predicting a US energy boom and food production for the world. He talked about jobs returning, but done by robots. Then came, "If we get immigration right. . ." Immigration is not a problem, when enforced.

Granted, Bush has CPAC street-cred: pro-life, pro-Second amendment, an accomplished record of balanced budgets, tax cuts, defeating boondoggles, and a welcome relationship with Hispanic Americans (He married one). But from Common Core to amnesty, to his namesake, and the Establishment label tied to it, Bush is rehashing the old, like a stale rocker, mullet and grungy jacket, still spouting the empty clichés.

In contrast, another conservative spoke at CPAC 2013: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

Introduced by a young college student, Walker greeted a wild, enthusiastic crowd. He was less Midwestern executive, more like a hit rock star, but not just for the Far Right (as his twice-losing Democratic challenger had snidely called him).Walker had fought and won against special interests, and took the dais, having survived two elections following his sweeping collective bargaining reforms.

Forgetting the selfies, Walker was all about everyone else. He thanked the audience for their support and their prayers.When he ran for office, he described it as "holding a job interview." Not an inheritance, but a goal which he reached. "I was interviewing with the people of my state to be their CEO."

One standout quote from Walker's speech was not even his: "We should all remember that the federal government did not create the states. The states created the federal government." Citing Ronald Reagan (then alluding to Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson), he promoted state sovereignty against federal overreach. Already anti-Establishment and pro-reform, Walker didn't just talk about optimism, relevance, and courage. He accomplished, then explained those values. Reminding everyone of GOP victories at the state level, Walker defined his stance on the issues, and where the Republican Party best stands:

"We're not standing with the big government special interests. We're not even standing with the big businesses in America. We're standing with the hard-working taxpayers."

Not Chamber of Commerce, but We the People.

This distinction is crucial. Reagan did not ride to Washington in the pockets of Big Business while berating Big Government. The Presidency represents the United States, not corporate interests, nor unions, nor bureaucratic bastions, but must standing with you and me.

 About relevance, Walker blasted the hazy Washington rhetoric. He praised individual teachers, including Milwaukee’s Teacher of the Year (who then go a pink slip), then described the necessity for teacher tenure reform.

“We’re the ones who care about fixing things. We care about putting more money into the classrooms.”

“We think with our heard, but we forget to talk with our heart.” Walker shared the story of another woman who wanted employment training, who went from welfare to work, and thrived. The dignity of work is returning to this country, and Walker stood strong for the moral cause of conservatism. Not measuring success by dependence on government, but the other way around.

He talked about breaking people away from government independence to true independence. This message needs to be heard. Getting people from welfare to work should not scare people, but invite them to step out and succeed.

Another refrain in Walker’s speech: “hard-working taxpayers: Walker touted them frequently, for all funding and support for government comes from the individuals who work, create, innovate, and thrive.

CPAC 2013 gives conservatives a glimpse of the 2016 GOP field. Walker told what he was showing already, while Bush was interested in tell, and then hoped for an election win to show. Bush had a record, Walker is expanding his. Walker was the big winner in 2013, and should he get elected in 2016, America will be the better for it.

Marriage Defines the State (Not Vice Versa)

There exist a number of simple ways to settle the marriage debate. Let's start with the marriage vows exchanged by partners on the wedding day:

Till death do us part.

Oftentimes, homosexuals part ways long before death, or they die long before expected, because the lifestyle is not that at all. There is no life when two men or two women are sleeping together. No stable relationship, no family, nothing.

Then one can consider the final pronouncement of the witness, judge, or religious official at the ceremony:

By the power vested in me.

Power vested speaks of authority, and authority means recognizing that certain institutions decide issues, outcomes, and arrangements, regardless of the thoughts, feelings, or inclinations of individual participants or critics. Yet gay marriage proponents are resisting authority on every level to redefine this institution. How then can the pledges of loyalty and respect carry any significance or salience? If two men can get married because of populist pressure, what's to prevent them from dissolving that marriage just as quickly, apart from legal strictures?

Most importantly, marriage is an institution, not just of tradition. Foundational principles based on truth, cannot be brushed aside because of political activism, no matter how loud, incessant, or insistent.

The Biblical Account could not be clearer:

"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. " (Genesis 1: 26-27)

Man was created by God to have dominion. This dominion originates in a greater authority conferring this honor to a lesser  power.

The account of the first marriage follows in the second chapter:

"3And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

24Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 25And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed." (Genesis 2: 23-25)

File:Albrecht Dürer, Adam and Eve, 1504, Engraving.jpg
Adam and EVE
There was marriage between one man and one woman before there was government, before there was even a city. We read about cities afterwards:
"17And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch." (Genesis 4: 17)
Cities are based on families, and families are based on marriage, the joining of one man and one woman.
There is no running away from this revelation: the city, government of communities, came after marriage. Marriage is the preeminent institution, and the state has no business defining or redefining it.
Now, for those who reject the Biblical account, regardless of their reasons, even logic forces individuals to accept that there had to be families before networks of legal governance and restraint. Even the most remote of tribes did not emerge out of nothing, but rather the cooperation of families.
Families come from the couplings of one man and one woman to love and procreate.
No matter one's worldview (Biblical, secular, evolutionary, revolutionary), marriage came before government, the state, and thus before politics, and therefore marriage is preeminent, not subject to submission or transformation.
People who want to make the state preeminent are dedicated to subduing then redefining marriage. No one should be surprised that the illiberal counter-cultural elements invested in gay marriage, polyamory, and other illicit couplings focus such aggressive energy toward this "progressive" agenda. Because marriage came before the state, our governments must change to accommodate true marriage, not the other way around.
For those who believe that marriage should be redefined, they may speak now and forever, but will ultimately have to hold his peace. Before there was government, there was family, and before the family, there is marriage. Marriage comes before the state, and therefore no government has the right, authority, or power to redefine marriage beyond one man and one woman.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Jeb Bush: Not Good, but Better Than Romney

Like a number of national conservative commentators, I am taking Jeb Bush more seriously. He is gaining traction in more polls, not that such numbers matter in the long run. Hillary the Inevitable became the Also-Ran in 2008 to "Hope and Change" Obama.

By taking him seriously, that does not mean I want him to win, let alone run. My number one pick is Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, followed by US Senator Rand Paul. Should Susana Martinez of New Mexico run, I would see her as a third, followed by Ted Cruz.

But I would not take Bush off the table entirely. I have slightly more enthusiasm for Bush as opposed to the 2012 candidate, Mitt Romney.

Jeb Bush

For starters, he is pro-life, and pro Second Amendment. His record in Florida boasts a true record of fiscal conservatism and education reform. He even launched a long-term attack against a public rapid transit boondoggle, and won.

These four strikes have galvanized critics against Bush: Amnesty, Common Core, the Bush legacy, and the Establishment label.

Without revisiting the clearly unpalatable aspects of a Bush campaign (or Presidency), one has to acknowledge that on the Establishment front, he is doing a better job than Romney did, and would be better than the 2012 candidate.

Mitt  Romney during 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics
Unlike the former Governor of Massachusetts, Bush will not have to run from himself to run for President, precisely because of his long record of conservative accomplishments in the Sunshine State.

He just resigned from the board of a company which profited heavily from Obamacare. Romney still had tax shelters all over the Bermuda Islands when he was running for President. Optics matter, and for Romney, they were not good. Bush is not making that mistake.

Bush has not hedged or run away from his views on immigration or Common Core. Aside from those two policy issues, Bush is clearly conservative. No RomneyCare, nor big government waste and fraud. Romney attempted to present himself as a consensus conservative who could appeal across the board to Republicans and Independents. His dismal performance on talk shows, and interviews in the media, demonstrated that he was not  at ease even with Himself, nor willing to articulate a clear message of the Romney administration. He was a legacy project, without much of a legacy.

Then there's the personal drive. Bush wants to be President. He is a clearly ambitious politician, announcing his plans for an exploratory committee about running for President. Romney had been in the campaign mode from 2007, yet he looked weak and ineffective in 2008 against McCain, who tagged him as the real candidate of "change" because of his switch from moderate positions in Massachusetts to pro-life stances for the national context. (McCain was right, by the way). Good presidential candidates, and presidents, should want to win, and not feel dragged into by some ephemeral sense of duty. Of course, ambition is not enough for a good President (witness Barack Obama), but voters are more drawn to someone, to anyone who wants the job.

Jeb Bush can talk to people, even if we do not like what he stands for. Romney, not so much. Anyone could draw from his speeches and declarations as Governor, then juxtapose them with his 2008/2012 aspirations, and find two different people.

Of the three potential Establishment candidates who could run in 2016 (including New Jersey Governor Chris Christie) Bush would be the best of the bunch, and in comparison to Romney, he would be a better candidate. Does this mean I want a Bush Presidency? No. It does mean, however, that the deep GOP bench for 2016 is really good, because even the least desirable candidates are viable, and are learning from the mistakes of their predecessor.

Carly Sucked in 2010 (What About 2016?)

In 2010, the Republicans were riding a wave of renewed popularity, precisely because of the Tea Party Movement, and the national repudiation of Big Government Democrats supporting Obamacare.

In California, the wave crashed, while it sloshed a little in 2014 (state legislative slates benefited).

What happened in 2010, that two well-moneyed statewide contenders failed to budge California from blue to purple?

Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman saturated the airwaves for months, first demonizing Steve Poizner, then trying to slam Jerry Brown as an uber liberal who made Bill Clinton look like a Republican. The best commercial of 2010? Whitman replaying the 1992 Democratic primary debate between Clinton and Brown, with Clinton slamming Brown's attempt to undo then reverse Prop 13.

Carly Fiorina

But the bigger failure in 2010 California politics was US Senate candidate Carly Fiorina. In a three way Republican primary, Assemblyman Chuck DeVore harnessed the Tea Party vote, former Congressman Tom Campbell took in centrist, moderate voters (and was the most likely to beat Boxer based on ideology and connections). Then there was Fiorina. She won the primary, and looked like a strongest candidate to take down Barbara Boxer

I liked Carly. She had worked with Republican Presidential candidate John McCain during the 2008 general election. She was a smart and telegenic business woman,the ideal candidate to coalesce conservatives and business interests, while Campbell and DeVore only appealed to one of those factions.

Yet with all the money, and all the connections, Carly was not ready for prime time. She spent most of her campaign talking about jobs, and the one statewide commercial she put together featured a few minorities talking about the economy, and then Carly. Not effective. Independent Expenditures did a better job hammering Barbara Boxer, and the Republican candidate needed to do more of the same.

On the jobs front, Carly was the female Romney. As the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, she had done more harm than good. She took a huge severance following her dismissal from the company, too. Corporate autopsy experts claimed that Carly had become arrogant and out-of-touch, unwilling to listen to anyone. Those qualities turn of voters, no matter Republican, Democrat or anything in between.

She also led the company during its major transition from America to overseas, and thousands of jobs with it. Not a compelling message. Boxer hammered Fiorina on this disturbing part of her resume, which was supposed to be her strongest asset.

Fiorina lost by ten points, even when Real Clear Politics had listed her as one point down weeks before the election. Was her loss all her fault? Of course not. Republicans are now learning the necessity of playing the background as well as the foreground. The California Republican Party in general was in general disarray, too. No strong outreach, not long-term planning and lots of money will not an election win.

Carly for US Senate sign, symbolic of her campaign:
Thin on details, resources, and viability
Failing to harness national upset with President Obama's policies, while accepting the relatively popularity among California voters for certain "liberal" policies," Carly Fiorina was like a green comic trying to work an audience, which had just listened to Bill Cosby for two hours.

In 2016 California Republicans may have a chance of winning Boxer's US Senate seat, now an increasing possibility, since Boxer will likely announce her retirement. She has little money in her campaign warchest, and Washington insiders as well as her inner circle are affirming this possibility.

Following 2014, California Republicans have achieved strong local victories. They stopped the Democratic supermajority in Sacramento, and they hold the majority of city council seats in the state. Now the party needs a quality candidate at the top of the ticket.

Carly for US Senate? She was a bad candidate in 2010, and according to Debra Saunders' latest column, she is still bad, with outstanding debts to campaign managers. She has millions in the bank, but she won't pay back those who had tried to help her? The arrogance of the former HP CEO reigns supreme.

California Republicans need to face the facts: Carly sucked, but not because she was pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, i.e. because she was conservative. She was ill-trained, poorly-vetted, unprepared, with unforced errors in her background which should have forced her out of the running before the primary.

Which Republican could launch a statewide campaign in 2016 in one of the most expensive media markets in the country? Congressman Darrell Issa certainly could, but he is polarizing, and aside from his outstanding chairmanship on the House Oversight Committee, he does not stand out. There is Steve Poizner, but he lost the 2010 Gov. primary to another loser. Because there are no statewide Republicans in office, the bench is not very deep. Meg Whitman? See Poizner.

If we look away from statewide officials, and put aside Congressional representatives, there are some bright spots, celebrity candidates perhaps, who could launch a bid.

Kevin Faulconer, Mayor of San Diego

Republican mayor of San Diego Kevin Faulconer could start an exploratory committee. He just won a Democratic city following the uproarious disgrace of Filthy Bob Filner (himself a former Congressman). He has strong fiscal credentials, but he is pro-abortion and pro-gay marriage: a big problem for conservatives. He has the backing of statewide, Establishment leaders, and he is strongly opposed to (and by) the public sector unions. A 50% candidate to staunch conservatives, he does have media, money, and messaging to take his San Diego victory to the entire state. Incidentally, he would be following the legacy another Republican mayor of San Diego went from city to US Senate: Pete Wilson.

Another public official, whom many have prompted to run for national preeminence, could go for the California US Senate seat, a name whom I had not considered, precisely because she has not played an overt role in recent California or national politics:

Condoleeza Rice

She is a popular figure, and influential. In the 2014 primary, she released a key endorsement for Kashkari. With strong foreign policy credentials (she is also socially liberal, regarding abortion), plus her connections with expanding education opportunities for all children, Rice could command respect, support, and even financing from national interests as well as state counterparts.

As an African-American, Republicans can play the identity politics game with greater effect, especially if Attorney General Kamala Harris decides to run for US Senate, too.

Rice has enough government experience, but has worked in the private sector extensively, including Provost of Stanford University (conservative, free-market campus). National pundits suggested that she should become the NFL Commissioner at one time.

Why not Condi for US Senate in 2016? Her campaign would be a touch-down of the California Republican Party, firing up the base while also engaging the majority of California voters, both moderate and minority.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Contending for the Faith: John

John the Revelator
In the last two letters of the New Testament before Revelation, a theme of conflict emerges, in which the men of God who believe in Jesus, who receive His grace, resist those who reject the grace of God, trying to turn people back to the law, or teach them that sin is acceptable.

Paul was swift in his judgment against such people. To those who suggested that we should sin so that grace would more abound in our lives:

"7For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner? 8And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just." (Romans 3: 7-8)

and also

"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?" (Romans 6: 1-3)

As for those who said "We must go back to the law to continue to in righteousness":

"1O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? 2This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? 4Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. 5He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?" (Galatians 3: 1-5)

and also

"I would they were even cut off which trouble you." (Galatians 5: 12)

Now, what was the fight about specifically for John, the Beloved disciple of Jesus?

"9I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. 10Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church." (3 John 9-10)

One of the biggest problems in the Body of Christ today is that instead of growing in grace and knowledge of the Lord (2 Peter 3: 18), we are going in works and intellect, learning about ourselves, reading the Bible, but not letting His Word abide in us (1 John 2:12-14).

Like Diotrephes, people in churches are seeking fame, preeminence, lording over their power over others, making themselves better or promoting themselves and provoking others.

We need more of Jesus in our lives, not less. We need Him stepping into every empty place in our lives, working in us and through us, as He has promised to do:

"Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you." (John 16: 7)

If we make nothing of Jesus, we must inevitably make something of ourselves. For this reason, there is a great deal of strife and unrest in churches, where members seek to make themselves great, and provoke others needlessly.

How did John plan to handle it? "I will remember, or I will bring to his remembrance" the things that he has done. He would also confront him about not receiving other believers, and even casting them out of the local church.

It is time for men and women in the Body of Christ to stand up to the Pharisees, the legalists who would bring back the law, when Scripture declares clearly: "Cast out the bondwoman!" (Galatians 4: 3)

Moses was a servant, but the Son abides forever!

"5And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; 6But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end." (Hebrews 3: 4-6)

Paul had little patience for people who wanted to go back the Old Covenant:

"6From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; 7Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm." (1 Timothy 1: 6-7)

In the last days, we who are sons of God by grace through faith, who believe in Jesus now and forever, must stand up and speak forth that grace is what saved, what saves, and will save us. Not our works, not going back to the law, not trusting in our efforts, and certainly not in boasting in our law-keeping at the expense of others.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Rauner v. Kashkari (and Why Rauner Won)

Of all the gubernatorial contests in 2014, only one incumbent Democrat was unseated: Pat Quinn of Illinois, while another incumbent Democrat won big: Jerry Brown of California.

Bruce Rauner (R-Illinois)
Defined by unhinged, unprecedented levels of debt, public union dominance, and special interest pandering, Illinois and California represent everything that is wrong with progressive policy as governing ideology. As two states with large populations and expensive media markets, they featured a locked-up slate of Democratic gains statewide. At the local level, the two state legislatures’ numbers did not change that much, certainly in Illinois, although in California Republicans succeeded at ending the tax-and-spend overbearing of the Democratic supermajority in Sacramento.

Focusing on the states’ gubernatorial contests, one finds two distinct outcomes. In liberal Illinois, Pat Quinn lost his reelection bid, while California's Jerry Brown cruised to victory. Why the different outcomes? Why did Bruce Rauner succeed in the Land of Lincoln, while Kashkari failed in Reagan Country?

First, let us consider the political environment.

California Governor Jerry Brown was very popular, with  a well-known political family name behind him. Despite the smoke and mirrors of balanced budgets, pension reforms, and fiscal discipline, Brown is sitting atop a house of cards, much like Illinois, where environmental alarmists and progressive extremists have squeezed the middle class, complete with failing schools, crumbling infrastructure, and exiting populations. Still, Brown with a fawning media maintained relatively high approval ratings.

In contrast, Illinois' Pat Quinn took over from a convicted felon Democrat, Rod Blagojevich, who had replaced a corrupt Republican governor. After four years of fleeing tax base, failing schools, and skyrocketing crime rates in urban cities, plus unimaginable pension crises, local leaders, both Republican and Democrat, lined up behind Quinn's challenger. The incumbent was not popular to begin with, received no response from local crowds during little league games.

Now, let's consider the candidates.

Neel Kashkari (R-California)

Neel Kashkari never polled above twenty percent during the primary season. "None of the Above" had more name recognition than the Bush Administration TARP administrator. His primary opponent, Tim Donnelly, aroused suspicion, yet amassed a considerable conservative following. Their bitter primary induced national Republicans, as well as famous standard-bearers (since no Republican holds statewide office in California) to endorse Kashkari. California Republicans ended up beating each other, while both sides of the aisle and the media class all but conceded that Brown would win a fourth term.

In Illinois, four Republicans sought their party's nomination, but most of the primary fighting took place between union special interests and private business owner Bruce Rauner. Republicans were not fighting each other, as much as Democrats and their financial supporters were fighting against the most viable, thus most dangerous Republican candidate. In Illinois, the Republican candidates understood the threat posed by one force: the public sector unions. In California, Republicans had not defined a clear problem, nor clean vision for the state.

Kashkari alienated the Republican base with his strong stance on socially liberal issues, like gay marriage and abortion. He even marched in a San Diego gay pride parade, which offended many conservatives. He also failed to reach out and gain support from Democrats, most of whom either really believed that Brown was doing a good job, or were too afraid of the Dem machine backlash. Rauner stood with a large dais of Democratic supporters on the evening when he won the Republican nomination, which included influential leaders in the Chicago area.

Kashkari marching in a San Deigo LGBT parade

Kashkari presented two goals: “Jobs. Education. That's it.” Rauner had a four-point plan, which included term limits. There was something specific about Rauner's platform and campaign. Ignoring Democratic hegemony and capitalizing on Quinn's deep unpopularity, Rauner reached out to all Republicans, including the conservatives. Even though they did not agree on certain issues, he made it very clear that he respected the different opinions of other Republicans, having no intention of shaming or shunning them.

Kashkari wanted to rebrand the entire party, or try to move it left-ward with his campaign. His divisive campaign relied on defaming conservative candidate Tim Donnelly. Furthermore, Kashkari's record and rhetoric were an unconvincing amalgam to potential supporters, many of whom could not determine, or at least understand why Kashkari was running as a Republican in the first place.

Bruce Rauner
Rauner was clear and open about many of his views, and refused to hide or shun discussion on controversies. A private businessman with a public record he could stand on, Rauner connected with all kinds of voters, from both parties, from diverse demographics, focusing on four issues, and one source of conflict. Rauner ran expecting to win, and he won.

What lessons can future Republican candidates learn from Rauner’s victory as well as Kashkari’s defeat?

1. Reach out to all members of one’s party, whether more liberal or conservative. Define the common interests and direct action and resources to consensus-based solutions. Avoid alienating one’s base.

2. Identify clear principles/reforms/mandates to pursue, and engage the voting public, regardless of political or personal background.

3. Define the opposition, and why they must be removed, as opposed to demeaning one’s primary opponents and thus risk wasting time and opportunities in the general election.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Rhode Island: The Next Maryland

While reading about the Twelve Days of Christmas, Rhode Island version, Dee DeQuattro offered the following:
Well you know what they say... Rhode Island.. it's the next Maryland.
That may not sound like good news, perhaps even snide and cynical.
But think about it. The prior Governor of the Old Line State, Martin O’Malley, put the “P” in progressive. He aggressively pursued the Obama health insurance exchange, to the state’s financial detriment. He granted sweeping naturalization status to illegal immigrants with driver’s licenses, then offering “temporary” housing for illegal immigrant youth streaming across the border, all because of President Obama’s extralegal, unconstitutional executive orders. How do you think the ethnic minorities living in Baltimore and the rest of Maryland’s urban core feel about competing for jobs and resources with people who entered the country illegally?
Stain-Glass Window Tribute to
Martin O'Malley
Let’s not forget the draconian gun control laws pushed by the Annapolis legislature. The Second Amendment protests which rallied around the statehouse rivaled demonstrations in other states. Residents in the western part of Maryland were so fed up with their government, they discussed seceding and forming their own state.
With no compunction or sense of conscience, O’Malley also raised taxes and fees to unconscionable heights just to pay for this progressive pipedreams.
How did that work out in Maryland? Not well at all. Washington Post columnist George Will commented that the best inoculation to liberalism is a heavy, unfiltered dose of it, and Marylanders got it in spades. I even remember reading reports about city council leaders losing their offices, then forced to hold office meetings in a tent.
Blue Maryland. . .
People started getting really angry.
But that’s not all.
Election Year 2014 produced the welcome sleeper surprise for conservatives across the country. Forget the nine-seat US Senate win for Republicans. Forget the fact that a Republican won my state assembly seat in California for the first time in twenty-two years. Keep in mind that Republicans doubled their numbers in the Rhode Island General Assembly, but look south to Maryland:
A Republican won the Governor’s seat, by seven points, in a deep blue Democratic state.
becoming Purple?
How did Larry Hogan do it? Is it because his Daddy had experience in politics? Much more than name recognition upsets the political establishment. In an extended piece on Hogan’s GOP win in Deep-Democrat Maryland, I quotes a group of journalist-analysts on the race:
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R-Maryland)
It's not a realignment. It's not turning a blue state red. It's people who are tired of the last eight years.
Republicans, conservatives, and liberty advocates in general should not focus on huge turnovers right away. Can’t be done. Hogan tapped into the eight-year failures of Martin O’Malley. More generally, people get tired of progressivism. They want something better. Maybe not turning a blue state red, Marylanders like Hogan focused on getting a purple hue out of the blue (as did Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker after winning three statewide elections in four years). Rhode Island now has twelve conservatives in Smith Hill, and a restructuring of the Rhode Island Republican Party underway. Concerned citizens can start shifting the Ocean State to the right.
Another analysis of Hogan’s win assessed the Democratic challenger:
The Harvard Law graduate and Iraq War veteran proved to be an uninspiring candidate, tied to an incumbent governor with sinking popularity and a slew of increasingly unpopular tax hikes. In the final month of the election, Democrats admit Brown often seemed to have no message beyond bashing Hogan.
“Sinking popularity” sank RINO-DINO Lincoln Chafee’s reelection bid (he didn’t even bother). You and I can be sure that Gina Raimondo will double-down on unfettered, statist progressivism, but only to her  hurt. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio exhorted the same from his fellow illiberal colleagues. How has that worked for him? Besides, Democrats are now the party of “Let’s do what we have been doing”, and what they are doing hasn’t been working.
The most important aspect of Hogan’s win? His own public interest group: Change Maryland.
Politico describes this organization:
An anti-O’Malley clearinghouse, issuing press releases pestering the administration and organizing conservative Democrats, independents and Republicans frustrated with state government. (The groups has more than 120,000 members on Facebook, compared to just under 60,000 fans for O’Malley.)
This anti-tax, pro-growth organization tracked and attacked the O’Malley regime over the taxes, the spending, the moribund economy. Staying focused on the fiscal issues (neither shaming nor affirming stances on other divisive concerns), Hogan took advantage of a bad candidate, a battered Democratic brand, and offered something better.
And he won.
Is a purple turnaround possible in blue Rhode Island? It’s already happening. Dan Bidondi confronted lame-duck Chafee about unelected official support for private-property grabbing RhodeMap RI. Voters, homeowners, concerned citizens blasted the committee approving this plan. Second Amendment supporters have shaken Smith Hill. Speaker Fox has been outed (of office, that is), and new Speaker Mattiello is playing nice (well, nicer).
Rhode Island State Assembly Speaker
Mike Mattiello
The lessons which Rhode Islanders can learn from Hogan and Change Maryland? Focus on specific benefits (protecting homes, gun ownership), work with well-connected members, and delivering clear-cut benefits to participants.
Blue Rhode Island. . .
Change in Rhode Island? Yes we can!
Becoming Purple?

Jeb Bush (according to George Will)

On the December 21, 2014 edition of Fox News Sunday, Washington Post contributor George Will outlined four problems with Jeb Bush as the prospective GOP nominee for President in 2016.

1. Amnesty

2. Common Core

3. The Bush family name

4. The Establishment label on his backside.

The first three coalesce into the fourth, but even if a candidate carries clear conservative credentials, if he is labeled Establishment, then the conservative base, which defines president contests during the primaries, will be more skeptical of the candidate.

Very likely, Jeb Bush is pro-life, pro-growth, pro lower taxes. Then there are the Big Government aspects of his platform. Tweets about his views and values, combined with the disconcerting opinion which conservative pundits hold of a third Bush running for (or even winning) the White House, and Bush stands less of a chance.

Let's consider the two substantive issues:

Amnesty is a big no-no for the conservative base. Granted, the issue of illegal immigrant children brought to this country when they were two or one year old is a vexing concern, but the fundamental and justified complaints of the Silent Majority, conservatives, middle and working class voters, and anyone who struggles to find a job or maintain property in the face of lax border security and law enforcement.

Jeb Bush at CPAC 2013

Borders and essential to a free society, and respect for the laws of immigration, integration, and naturalization cannot be pushed aside in the name of humanitarian  bonhomie. Bush called illegal immigration by parents "An Act of Love", yet Breitbart routinely exposed the negative, even violent consequences of illegal immigration: attacks on border patrol agents, destruction of private property, and the infiltration of deranged, international drug cartels (and human-trafficking).

Amnesty is meaningless without enforcement of the law, followed by e-Verify, citizenship for public schooling, and the demolition of the welfare state. When Jeb Bush makes those issues a priority, then amnesty will be a non-issues.

Common Core is a mixed bag of concerns, as well as supporters. Not essential a federal program, its federalized interface disturbs limited government advocates, as well as state governments fed up with the predictable results of Washington micromanaging. Common Core implements controversial and prolix methods for instructing children in basic math and reading. Higher levels of reading comprehension have reduced literary and fine arts appreciation for more technical reading and writing. Critical thinking has been abandoned in favor of cut and dried facts and figures. Instead of centralizing, education needs to be localized, and school choice, rather than government reforms, should dominate the discussion of Republican education policy.

Governor Jeb Bush (Florida)

The Bush name, the Bush brand, the Bush legacy -- all of which have become a mixed bag, defined by caving on principles, expanding government despite the party's platform, but a strong foreign policy defined by utmost respect for the United States, plus a strong commitment to life, family, and self-preservation. George Will did point out that a Republican ticket has not won the Presidency without a Bush since 1972 (Nixon-Agnew). Then again, political records are getting broken with rising frequency every year, and there is no reason why conservative Republicans cannot refurbish their party brand and branch out for the win in 2016, without Jeb.

Always a balanced and erudite commentator, Will added that Bush was a smart, well-read former governor, with plenty to offer in the upcoming Presidential vetting process. Putting aside non-partisan review of candidates, Jeb Bush is unappealing to a voters seeking not just partisan, but principled candidates. Voters want a President who is better than "not bad" or "good enough", especially in the face of severe financial strain, government overreach, a culture war heading into a longer haul of fraught conflict and political conflict.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

To the Tea Party Movement: Courage!

I esteem everything that the Tea Party Movement stands for.

I respect, even embrace their frustration with Big Government getting bigger. They demand that the United States federal government live within its means.

Because of conservative enthusiasts, I have a new appreciation for the United States Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the principles which animate both documents.

The recognition of a Benevolent Creator, one who has granted us natural rights, which define who we are, is a novel concept to many young people today.

The fad of defining ourselves based on color, ethic background, legal status, gender wears thin for many young adults.

The Tea Party Movement reminds that this country is one nation under God, and that individual freedom must trump government expansion.

The more time that I spend working in politics, however, the more I realize that in order to effect change against the system, activists have to work in the system. The Occupy Movements failed to learn this lesson. The Tea Party Movement put their feet forward, supported candidates who would stand up to Congressional waste, force the government to cut spending, and start dealing with its long-term debt.

Four years later, and the movement has met its hits and misses. They have scored some amazing wins at the local level, and in Congressional seats. The US Senate races have had more hits and misses, including winnable Republican seats which have fallen into Democratic hands because of resentful infighting.

Overall, the tenure in Washington is frustration and gridlock, and unshakeable necessity with a President who believes that he can write, rewrite, or ignore laws as he pleases.

Yet, at the local level, I also find that aside from demonstrations on street corners, and frequent Facebook posts, that local chapters are not doing anything as engaging as other interest groups.

And therein is the deepest issue: Tea Party groups have been great at amassing individuals who are frustrated with the direction of the country, the squalid, illiberal leadership, the breakdown in respect for eternal values, and the infiltration of academic progressivism into our public schools.

But what do they want to do about it?

I have met individuals who are taking the steps to teach young people about the Founding Fathers and the values on which they framed the federal government. Enthusiastic and prosperous immigrants, now entrenched conservatives seeking  resurgence of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, are stepping out of their comfort zones to educate young people about why America is a great country, one in which individuals and the several states maintain a healthy distrust of the federal government and its encroachment into daily decisions.

Yet to this day, aside from grumbling about the state of the country, or their state, or their city, aside from phone calls and Facebook pages, aside from the echo chamber of passionate, liked-minded individuals agreeing with each other, nothing substantive is taking place as far as policy is concerned.

Whether we want to admit it or not, we cannot look merely to the politicians we want, or whom we get elected into office. The responsibility rests on us to advocate, to campaign on key issues, to make city officials and their associates listen and respond to our concerns.

Where are the Tea Party members to attend city council meetings, to speak with leaders, to form strong relationships, to get answers? Where are the local residents to demand that their city councils curb spending, respect life, and maintain open lines of communication with their city? Not just watchdogs, but more positive and effective than attack dogs, conservatives need to be dogging their leaders.

Interest Groups

Tea Party members need to form specific interest groups which will meet the following criteria:

1. Define focused benefits/goals

2. Maintain a relatively small number

3. Release, offer selective incentives. Members who participate will benefit directly, and only they will benefit.

It's about concentrating and focusing power, and the Tea Party Movement has the energy to do it. Now it's time to focus that energy into specific, conservative goals. It is not enough to shout "We need to go back to the Constitution!" We need to talk about how to get people to do that. We need to make victories little by little to accomplish these goals.

If men and women are worried about  public education, they can form a coalition to deal with curriculum issues. Committees are already in place to allow individuals the time and opportunity to participate, and confront their local leaders.

Now, there is one issue which cannot be ignored. Different members have unique temperaments. Some people have no problem taking to a dais and making their views well-known. Other people are reticent about speaking up, and fear the shame or retaliation of making their views known.

The second part is a key component. People need more than knowledge; they need encouragement. If a concern is engaging enough, I imagine that parents, local leaders, will step up and do something to make their views well-known and intent on doing something about it. If enough people are concerned, and gather together to make their say and take a stance, then more people will likely join them, investing their time and energy. Once again, it all goes back to incentives. Do people sharing their concerns feel that they are getting something for what they are doing?

To the Tea Party Movement, I had wanted to shout "Put up or Shut Up!" Now, I am more inclined to work with concerned individuals, find common interests, and define the selective incentives which accompany them. The key is now encouragement, and getting people to know that they can hope for the better, and that they can have influence in their cities, with their friends and neighbors, and achieve lasting change (or restoration).

Today, I realize that many people who are concerned about their country, their state, their city, their schools, they feel overwhelmed, unsure what to do. The massive protests of "Taxed Enough Already"" were a welcome beginning, but now it's time to put this energy toward focused benefits, clearly defined goals, and political involvement beyond votes and protests.

Why is Torrance Protecting the Southern Tar Plant?

Southern Tarplant

The above plant is an endangered species, according to recent report in the Daily Breeze. It exists primarily in two places: Madrona Marsh, and the soon-to-be developed transit center in North Torrance.

I do support an extension of the Metro Line, as well as a new transit hub for the Torrance Transit metro lines (to replace the one housed near the Del Amo Fashion Center) in the City of Torrance. This project will allow more Measure R funds to be invested in our city. Still, I wonder what to think about two acres of land being take away from development just to preserve a plant.

I contacted one of the city council members, who informed me that the city was not paying more money to preserve the southern tar plant. However, the city is setting aside two acres of land to protect this herb, land which could be used for another purposes. Besides, if Madrona Marsh has enough territory, why not relocate the plants to a plot of land there?

Some passages from the article bear repeating and comment:
That appears to be the main environmental issue with the 15-acre former industrial site at 465 Crenshaw Blvd., which already has been cleaned of any potential contaminants under state supervision.

Two acres out of fifteen is still a lot of land. Since the land has been taken care of, why not do something else with the property?

With no significant environmental problems identified in an initial study, no full-blown environmental analysis is required under state law, officials said.

At least another round of environmental reports will not delay the project any further.

However, the native plant, an herb called the southern tarplant, is listed as rare and endangered by the California Native Plant Society. It exists on two acres of the property, as well as at the city-owned Madrona Marsh Nature Preserve.

The California Native Plant Society? From their website:

The California Native Plant Society is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to protecting California's native plant heritage and preserving it for future generations. Our nearly 10,000 members promote native plant appreciation, research, education, and conservation through our five statewide programs and 34 regional chapters in California.

Why does a non-profit have so much influence over these decisions, enough that two cares of city land is closed off from future development? Why not relocate the plant to the South Coast Botanical Garden? I found the website for the Los Angeles-Santa Monica Mountains chapter, and contacted their president for more information about the southern tarplant.

I also contacted the community development department at:

The article provided information for the next Planning Commission meeting as well as contact information:

A public hearing is scheduled for the Planning Commission meeting on Jan. 7.

Public comments on the project will be accepted through Jan. 2. They should be directed to Planning Manager Gregg D. Lodan, Torrance Community Development Department, 3031 Torrance Blvd., Torrance CA 90503, or via email at
Perhaps city residents should attend this planning commission meeting, and get some answers. I do not see the wisdom or even the legal precedent which requires the city to give up two acres for a plant. City residents deserve every opportunity to know why our city leaders make certain decisions with the land, and why non-profits get to influence the use of city property.

. An acre is a lot of land,  equivalent to 43,560 square feet. That is a lot of property! Two acres for a plant seems more than necessary. Besides, the Madrona Marsh has 43 acres already. Surely there is some land there which could be set aside to preserve California flora. I plan on attending that Jan 7th meeting, and I encourage ore people concerned about projects like the preservation of the southern tarplant to do the same.

Why Gas Prices are Falling in the USA

From coast to coast, the cost of gasoline is tumbling.

For the first time in years, I can fill a tank of gas with a $20 instead of having to get by with half a tank, or none at all.

Why the drop in price?

First, an oil boom is bubbling up in the Gulf Coast.

Second, shale exploration in Canada is yielding more hydrocarbon for fueling.

Third, the demand for oil is decreasing in other countries, particularly Asia and Europe, where a slowing economy is forcing people to budget differently.

However, I have spoken with a number of people, and they are convinced that the oil companies are in cahoots, colluding together to force the prices.

One gentleman, a successful businessman himself, really believes that the companies had arbitrarily pushed the gas prices high so that they could then ease the cost at the last minute so that they could still charge more, yet claim: "We are not asking you to pay as much as you had before!"


The fact is, businesses which are interested in long-term profit (and profit margins) are not interested in faking or forcing prices to some arbitrarily high level. Price levels  rise and fall in response to supply and demand.

Businesses which try to force prices arbitrarily will end up pricing individuals out of the market altogether. If businesses want to turn a profit, they have to offer the best price which individual consumers are willing to pay. If the price is forced down to an arbitrarily low cost, then rationing ensues, since demand will outstrip supply every time.

Businesses do not exist to provide a cheap commodity. They do not exist to give people a job.

Businesses exist to turn a profit, to maintain a profit margin: to make money.

Gas prices are falling now because there is more supply, and the demand is still present. How else to take advantage of the supply but to the lower the price, ensure more purchases, and then increase the profit?

Monday, December 22, 2014

About NYC Police Deaths

The Los Angeles Times argues that the national protests against police brutality following the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner did not cause the execution-style murders of two New York City cops. Protests by themselves did not kill anyone. The anti-authoritarian, illiberal spirit of the current administration in the White House, coupled with the frequent, interventionist investigations of Attorney General Eric Holder, and the systematic defunding or diversion of border security and police resources have cast police officers into a negative light.

Furthermore, demonstrations from Ferguson, Missouri to New York (with Rev. Al Sharpton) have been defined not by peaceful dissent, but civil unrest, violent rhetoric, aggravated assault, and destruction of private property. Furthermore, escalated threats against civilians and police have gone unprosecuted, and a general consensus of accommodation instead of confrontation from city leaders like Mayor Bill de Blasio have increased the likelihood of unprecedented attacks against police.


The Declaration of Independence is for All of Us

The Signing of the Declaration of Independence (John Trumbull, 1819)

Modern statist (though they call themselves "progressive") critics have contended that the Declaration of Independence is a racist, sexist, elitist document which leaves out large groups of people, the majority of minorities, and thus enshrined a different cult of limited democracy, in which a selectively defined few would determine the future of everyone else to their narrow benefit, at the expense of everyone else.

In other words: a group of rich, dead, white, European males made all the rules, and left themselves with the power to rule over everyone else.

Furthermore, these aggravated detractors claim they never envisioned the rights outlined in the Declaration to apply to anyone else but their intricately fashioned physical, social, and cultural class.

Yet like many modern, illiberal critics, these progressive attackers do not bother to read the very documents which they dissect, or rather "deconstruct."

What does the Declaration actually say about human rights, the origins of man, and the extent which these rights exist and thrive in communities, whether in the United States or elsewhere?

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

The sixth word indicates a universal application: human.

Not male or female, nor touching on skin color or ethnic background, the Declaration talks about human events. If you are a human being, then the contents of this charter will apply. Not in the intended audience include animals, objects, or elements of the physical environment.

Another word people stands out, indicating that the concerns of one nation or community is not rigidly defined to exclude male or female. In fact, there can be no people without men and women. Obviously, the necessity to remove certain governments was not designed for men only, but people.

Another word mankind indicates that the planners, drafters, and opinions which formed this Declaration respected the diverse views of mankind, i.e. human beings, not restricted to males, nor to white males with property, status, or power.

Then again, challenges to this argument will point out that these words are taken from the first paragraph of the Declaration, and do not speak to the rights of men. Let us read further:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

One again, this passage refers to mankind not just men, and that governments are formed by "the consent of the governed."

Three of the Declaration's Drafters:
(from the left: Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson)

"Governed" does not discriminate, except to identify those who are not in power. In other words, this charter established a clear distinction, but not based on one's birth, or intrinsic, individual merit. The dichotomy between governed and government posits the power and respect on the governed first, who may change one form of government to create another. These "governed" operate from "all men are created equal."

Why would the governed -- men, women, rich, poor, then decide to discriminate against themselves? Even if they wanted to, the fact remains that the governed remain the primary seat of power and influence, which the government must obey.

Just reading the Founding Charter of the United States of America, just paying attention to the word of the document, one finds that the Declaration of Independence does not discriminate against anyone, nor does it limit the recognition of God-give rights to one class of people. The right of all men, of mankind, are endowed to us by our Creator, and no government can take them away.

Why else would Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. have referenced the Declaration of Independence in his "I Have a Dream" speech, if not to point out that the contents of the document do indeed apply to all men, to all mankind, black as well as white, male as well as female?

Indeed, the modern, progressive critics are wrong, both on the facts, the history, as well as the contents of the Declaration o Independence. The rights recognized in that charter belong to all men, to all people, to all mankind, and there is no limited to their existence, regardless of race, gender, ethnic background, or behavioral dispositions.

File:Martin Luther King, Jr - NARA - 559202.jpg
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.