Tag Archives: local

[cpac recap] Politics is 75% relationships, 25% policy

First in a series of posts from my time at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC 2010)…

It’s common for me to criticize talk-show hosts who emphasize emotional connection over actual ideas (when I review Glenn Beck’s CPAC speech I heard live, you’ll get another dose.) But according to Ron Nehring, chairman of the Republican Party in California, that’s almost exactly how you win in politics.

His seminar, part of the training track offered by Leadership Institute at CPAC, was peppered with insights that showed how a “people person” will always succeed in politics:

A 30-second visit in person to a voter is 10 times more effective than any phone or direct mail contact

Barack Obama won a majority of both the Jewish vote and Muslim vote. He won majorities of both environmentalists (who want the U.S. to build nothing) and trade unions (desperate for their workers to build anything.) He did it by showing he cared about people’s needs, not by staying 100% pure to a political ideology.

Americans hire drivers, not mechanics.

Nehring, who has helped keep Republicans together in a hostile liberal environment, closed with four principles to win:

  1. Listen: “You have 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason.”
  2. Learn: “Demonstrate that you’ve really been listening.”
  3. Help: “Your candidacy should help local groups like the Chamber of Commerce, TEA Party, etc. achieve their goals.”
  4. Lead: “Build relationship with all stakeholder groups you could possibly influence – folks on your side and those far outside your comfort zone.”

You can still be a conservative purist, as long as publicly you present the right emphasis: winning candidates, campaigners or (I suppose) even media personalities follow this strategy. Nehring’s ideas clearly line up with what I’ve learned — in seven months on Capitol Hill — about how politics works. Your thoughts?

What NOT to believe about Senator Obama

Some questions brought up in recent e-mail forwards…

Will sharia (Islamic law) be instituted under a President Obama?

Is he the antichrist?

What about the gay lovers in his past? (a conspiracy theorist actually said this to me)

Isn’t he really a Muslim?

Will Bill Ayers become Secretary of Education?

Won’t all faith-based adoption agencies close under a President Obama?

To answer all these in one swoop: no. These are entirely UNTRUE claims made by people who want you to vote out of fear. Do 5 minutes of research to disprove any such questions.

As John McCain says, “No Ma’am, he’s not an Arab. He’s a decent family man and citizen whom I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues.”

Make no mistake, there will be consequences to an Obama administration. The results will stem from his policies. Many effects will be long-term, even if the liberal supermajority rule ends in 2010.

But far-right folks are only hurting credibility by spreading outlandish claims.

In so many words: I have a real problem with fear-mongering on the Right. It’s unbiblical (speaking to Christians there) and ultimately not even a useful argument in today’s political debate. It’s just ridiculous, and all Christian conservatives are ridiculous by association.

I also have a problem with dishonesty on the Left. For instance, a recent post by a leader of the Christian Left purports to apologize for the exaggerations and spin of the Obama campaign.

It should be noted that this blog post contains twice as many examples of Republican spin as Democrat spin – and then gives two pro-Obama links.

I agree with the overall sentiments expressed, and I am complaining here that Republicans (in general) have been less than honest and honorable. But following in the example presented, I have an American right to express some thoughts on the election.

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You see, there is a crowd desperately wanting to have their day. They believe that government has the answers. That enough meddling and initiatives and (most of all) money will change the course of our nation. They are called liberals.

Every decade or so, America apparently needs to learn that the bigger the government, the more messed up it is. This was learned under President Lyndon B. Johnson, under President Jimmy Carter, and for some of President Clinton’s term (a Republican Congress blocked many of his proposals.)

If McCain/Palin are elected on November 4, I would hope and expect that administration only to minimize federal government, provide for our nation’s security, and move towards long-term solutions in areas of public need (energy, for instance). I will not likely get my wish, because McCain has not shown himself to be a fiscal conservative. But it’s a hope.

Then churches, families, marriages, NGOs (funny how the really effective ones are all faith-based: American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, Compassion, World Vision…), schools, businesses, and local leaders can get to work on a million small changes needed in a million small communities.

If these institutions are given a little more hands-off from government red-tape, and perhaps some incentives in the right direction (for instance: don’t reinstate the Marriage Tax, Senator Obama), then our future will be decided in those small spaces as each person takes personal responsibility. Not by any politician.

Change is local. There’s a “Change You Can Believe In,” so to speak.

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Ultimately, God is still on His throne. He’s not voting Democrat or Republican. And He laughs as men call this “the most important election ever.”

The election that changes lives and resonates forever throughout human history is the election of grace Jesus Christ chose for His followers 2,000 years ago.

We’ll only know a truly perfect society in Heaven, and God paid the price to secure that for each of His children. No matter who wins the puny 2008 election, that fact doesn’t change

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Your thoughts? I’d like to note that I am somewhat uncomfortable mixing politics and religion without a degree in either, so your biblically based correction to these thoughts is certainly welcome.

It All Comes Down to Your Vote

In the interest of going on the record – and making Colorado voters aware of some important issues – I have scanned and posted my 2008 ballot on Facebook.


You can print the ballot easier at this El Paso County link.

There are few surprises. Sources to check out include the Colorado Blue Book and the El Paso County supplement, which provide detailed Pros and Cons for every ballot issue.

I even stooped so low as to read the Colorado Springs Independent‘s 2008 Election Endorsements. Then chose the opposite. Good ol’ Colorado Springs Gazette does not have any endorsements up yet, despite an informative Election News section that covers local and national issues.

Here’s a listing of how my ballot differs a bit from the others…

President and Vice President: John McCain and Sarah Palin

In the coming week or so, I hope to post something comprehensive on the leadership and vision I see that compel me to choose McCain/Palin.

Congressman: Doug Lamborn

I know he sends out way too much mail to voters. But Lamborn voted against the Bailout, and all Coloradans should recognize his responsibility on that issue.

State of Colorado Initiative: YES on Amendment 48

Even if you don’t care about the rest of the initiatives, vote for this one. It’s a life-or-death issue. http://www.ColoradoForEqualRights.com/

State of Colorado Initiatives: NO on Amendments 53, 55, 56 & 57

Due to a last-minute deal between labor unions and Colorado’s business community, these four amendments have been withdrawn. A “yes” or “no” won’t matter either way. The Wall Street Journal notes, “Taken together, these measures would have turned business-friendly Colorado into one of the most inhospitable work environments in the nation.”

State of Colorado Initiative: NO on Amendment 52

This is about allocating existing $$ to either roads (yes) or water projects (no). Not to get all environmentalist **shudder** but Colorado clearly needs to stay focused on the state water supply.

State of Colorado Issue: NO on Referendum O

There are a ridiculous number of issues for Colorado voters to decide this year: 15, not counting the judges, local issues or the four withdrawn amendments. It would be nice to cut down on the number of ballot issues. But you can’t argue with this: “Big interests would just buy more signatures, so only the volunteer, grassroots efforts will suffer.”

El Paso County Issue: YES on Question 1A

This was a hard one. I believe 100% in being fiscally conservative – do we really need a 1% sales tax increase in this tough economy? First, I respect the county for not jacking up fees or trying to get around the Taxpayer Bill of Rights using other means.

Douglas Bruce almost had me with some of his arguments. But frankly, it’s clear 1A is needed.

All the debates, the spin, the competing ideas… come down to your decision.

How will you vote?

My Vote Counts: A Look at Colorado Springs local issues

So hopefully all you locals out there are registered for the Tuesday, November 7 Election.  If you’re not, it’s actually too late.

At any rate, here are my picks on the issues. I haven’t looked much at the candidates yet… though I am a registered Republican, so that says something.

An excellent way to understand the issues is Colorado’s 2006 Blue Book at

Most of these issues are amendments to the Colorado State Constitution:

Amendment 38: Petitions
We don’t want to make it any easier for people to put issues on this ballot.

Amendment 39: School District Spending Requirements
This version of the “65% School Spending” concept is too tight… doesn’t make room for expenses like food prep, principals and other neccesities.

Amendment 40: Term Limits for Judges
I hate activist judges, but I don’t want the legislative branch to get the chance to switch judges every 4 years. Doesn’t seem like the checks-and-balances system our founders envisioned.

Amendment 41: Standards in Conduct in Govt.
These ethics requirements are already covered in existing law.

Amendment 42: Colorado Minimum Wage
No need to burden CO Springs businesses… and potentially lose jobs for low-income wage-earners.

Amendment 43: Marriage
One man, one woman is the definition of marriage… glad we can put that in law.

Amendment 44: Marijuana Possession
Heavens, NO

Ref. E: Property Tax Reduction for Disabled Veterans
Any break for one group means more taxes for the rest of us…our tax code is already long enough without adding more provisions. I love Army though.

Ref. F: Recall Deadlines

Ref. G: Obsolete Constitutional Provisions
Nice effort to clean up the Colorado Constitution a bit, eliminate old dates etc.

Ref. H: Limiting a State Business Income Tax Deduction

Ref. I: Domestic Partnerships

Ref. J: School District Spending Requirements
This version of the “schools must spend 65% of their $ on essentials” includes food prep, principal salary, and other items not included in Am #39. Great idea, holding school accountable.

Ref. K: Immigration Lawsuit against Federal Govt
This is a joke. See what the Blue Book says about it–no need for taxpayer $ to go to this. Though I’m all for them solving immigration at the federal level.