Chronicle-Telegram Misspells “Revitalization”

spouting shoots of grassWhat may seem like a “Civil War” to some may actually be a healthy discussion for others. Now there is certainly no doubt that conservative Republicans across the country have felt let down by statements, actions, and inactions by leaders of the national GOP. This frustration, brewing since before 2008, led to the birth of the modern Tea Party in 2009. The insurgent vs. establishment lines were drawn, and the dialog began.

On Saturday March 26, the Chronicle-Telegram featured in its top story the “Civil War” occurring within the Lorain County Republican Party. Despite efforts to use violent imagery and characterizations, those directly involved in this particular dialog should consider this a war of civility. The changes that occurred happened at the ballot box. It happened because people came to the polls and made a choice with their vote. There is an enormous opportunity for the Republican Party to be more active throughout the county and to be more engaged with the 44,000 Lorain County voters who pulled a Republican ballot on March 15.

In last week’s Republican primary while everybody else was looking at the Kasich-Trump match-up, over 30 Lorain County Republican Central Committee vacancies were filled. It’s also worth noting that among the 188 precincts available in Lorain County, only 17 had competitive races. There will now be 127 members in the Republican Central Committee which, by the way, is more members than the Democrat Central Committee.

These 127 members are resources for the people in Lorain County to influence and steer the direction of the Lorain County Republican Party. Voters WANT to be engaged by their party. Voters WANT to feel that they’ve been given a fair hearing. Despite the negativity that some people have towards politics, we’ve seen great voter enthusiasm this year as primary turnout is hitting record levels. We witnessed this enthusiasm on March 15 where in the “Democrat” county of Lorain, thousands more people actually came out to vote Republican!

There’s much to do before the next County Central Committee elections in the primary of 2020. First, the GOP Convention in Cleveland will choose, by whatever means necessary, a Republican nominee for President. Then of course, we have the November elections where Lorain County citizens will have a chance to change the makeup of the Ohio Statehouse and County offices and judgeships. 2018 will see a slate of new statewide officeholders.

Returning to the Chronicle-Telegram article, it fairly captures the planning of and reactions to the March 15 election of the Lorain County Republican Central Committee. The term “Civil War” might be a little hyperbolic, and maybe we can forgive the need to grab a good headline. But regardless of personalities and details, the Republican Party of Lorain County will be revitalized. On that, we can all agree.

Where are all the Presidential ads?

I Heart Voting buttonWe’re just one week away from the March 15 primary, and Ohio is somewhat silent when it comes to television advertisements for the GOP presidential candidates. You may hear radio ads and see some bumper stickers or yard signs, but the overall ad reach seems to be subdued.

Why would this be? Ohio is a significantly important swing state in November and if history is any guide, we will be seeing mountains of advertising in the fall. But there are two aspects of the GOP primary that makes this year a bit more unique: John Kasich’s campaign and the move to a winner-take-all primary. This appears to have caused other candidates, specifically Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, to give up the fight for second and concentrate their resources elsewhere.

Polls today will show that Gov. Kasich is close to the lead in Ohio, but this wasn’t always the case. In October, a poll showed him with support only in the teens behind Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. The latest Quinnipiac poll from a couple weeks ago had Trump at 31, Kasich at 26, Cruz at 21, Rubio at 13, then Carson at 5. So Kasich, with the backing of the Ohio GOP machine, is returning to the top tier in Ohio but still behind Trump who is attracting Democrats and independents who will vote as Republicans in Ohio’s open primary. (Read the Vindicator story about the Trump effect in Mahoning County.) There simply appears to be no path for an Ohio victory for Cruz or Rubio and there is no prize for second place.

Of course, this is upsetting for all of the Cruz and Rubio supporters in Ohio. Ohio Conservatives United, the group that has been tracking presidential preferences for the last nine months, has illustrated that a solid number of tea party and liberty-minded activists prefer Ted Cruz. Marco Rubio received the endorsement of Ohio Treasurer John Mandel, who risked his own political capital by not endorsing Gov. Kasich, and Rubio made a number of stops in Ohio during the summer and fall of 2015. What should you do if you support one of these two candidates?

The answer is that these activists and supporters need to go old-school. There was a time when candidates did not need millions of dollars to run a campaign simply to get 30-second spots on TV. If you support Cruz or if you support Rubio, do not be discouraged by the lack of campaign resources coming to this state. You are a resource! Recruit like-minded friends to be resources!

This year has been very volatile and sometimes surprising in presidential politics. Some polls have been close, but some polls and conventional wisdom has underestimated the support a particular candidate may have. Make sure you express the necessary energy to get your candidate as much support as you possibly can.

P.S. Ohioans need to look at this primary, as we do every primary, and see what we can learn from it. For instance, look at early voting. When early voting started on Feb 17, Jeb Bush and Ben Carson were still candidates. Early voting in the November 2012 election began before ANY of the presidential debates. Four weeks before an election is an extremely long time and anyone who is in the least bit undecided should wait as long as possible… like Election Day… before casting a ballot.

Secondly, we should discuss the open vs. closed primary. On the one hand, it allows anybody who has a development of political perspective to vote in the primary with which they feel most aligned. On the other hand, it allows for an “Operation Chaos” where opponents of a party will vote to change the outcome of the competition.

And lastly, the proportional vs winner-take-all primaries need to be reviewed. By June, we will see what effect the winner-take-all states had on the GOP Primary outcome. In the past, the winner-take-all method has allowed a candidate with only 35% of the vote to get 100% of the delegates. The proportional method in the Democrat Party allows Bernie Sanders to continue picking up delegates. In the Republican primary, it had previously allowed Ron Paul to gather delegates even after it was clear he was not going to win.

The candidates for Ohio House and Senate may have a chance to amend the laws for the 2020 primary, and it would be a good question to ask them before they earn your vote.

Become An Informed Voter!

Lorain County Board of ElectionsOhio’s primary is only six weeks away on Tuesday, March 15, and it should prove to be a very important and decisive day for the leading presidential candidates. But there are many other races on the ballot on both the Democrat and the Republican side, and many of us usually feel more and more disconnected as we moved down the ballot. Well, this is the OPPOSITE of how it should be! Those people further down the ballot are the ones who live closest to you and over whom you can have most influence. For this reason, let’s look at the Lorain County races (candidates list here) moving up-ballot!

Political Party

Many cities have wards which are the smallest political unit, but not everybody lives in a ward. Everybody in Lorain County does, however, live in one of 188 precincts.

Precinct Committee Chairmen are elected to office on the primary ballot as they only reflect the opinions of those who choose a political party. Some actually go unfilled, and many are unopposed. Primary challenges do exist this year, especially in Amherst and Elyria and then scattered throughout the county. These individuals make up the committee for the Lorain County Democrat or Republican Party.  It is their job to make sure the party is acting as a positive force within the county, and in a direction that correlates with the views of most voters. The split within the Republican Party has been well-documented can be characterized as conservative vs. establishment.

State Central Committee members make up the committee that directs and leads the statewide party. The Democrats don’t have seats up for election this year, but the Republican party (and Green Party) does. There is one male and one female from the 13th State Senate district, covering Lorain and Huron counties, who represent the party on the state level.

The female candidates are incumbent Joyce Houck and challenger Kirsten Penton Hill. The male candidates include incumbent Matt Cox and challengers David Moore and Michael Witte. Kirsten Penton Hill is the director of Totally Engaged Americans of Lorain County, and Michael Witte is a longtime member and is active with the Convention of States project. All three challengers, Kirsten, Michael, and David Moore, spoke at our candidate’s forum last month. Continue reading

Silencing America

Sign of Islam stamped over the US ConstitutionIt has been 14 years since the 9/11 attacks and when Americans were practically united in the War on Terror. Clearly, segments of radical Islam had been at war with us for some time, but now America was going to full force in attacking those who would attack us. So are we, as Americans, still intent on fighting the War on Terror?

According to Dan Hromada of ACT! for America (Cleveland chapter), there are four opponents of the War on Terror: 1) Al-Qaeda, 2) the Muslim Brotherhood, 3) the OIC, Organization of Islamic States, and 4) political correctness. We are learning that these groups have been staking their ground and inching forward for decades. Add to this a news blackout when it comes to radical Islam and the pacification of the American will, and we have a recipe for those advocating Sharia Law to stake their ground on American soil. And the saddest part of it all – Americans are ridiculed for expressing their concern. Continue reading

Boehner Unplugged!

boehnerJohn Boehner announced his resignation as Speaker and also from the House effective at the end of October. For many in the tea party, this is good news. Despite winning the House of Representatives in 2010 by an overwhelmingly anti-Obama electorate, Boehner did not do enough to put a halt to executive over-reach. The EPA does what it wants. The IRS does what it wants. HHS does what it wants. Even after the Republicans won the Senate by a nine-vote swing in 2014, they still acted like the inferior branch of government rather than an equal to either the executive or the judicial.

During the Jim Jordan town hall on Sept 2, Jordan listed a few important make-or-break items that will come up in September and October. They include the budget, spending caps, the debt ceiling, the Export-Import Bank, and funding for Planned Parenthood. Jordan said these issues would be definitive moments for the GOP Establishment class as well as his own Freedom Caucus. If the Washington insiders win, the Freedom Caucus loses.

Earlier this afternoon, Ben Shapiro wrote for Breitbart exactly what I was about to write: Boehner will pass all of these Establishment bills before falling on his sword. He will be known as “The Martyr of the Metro.”

I hope to be wrong, but I’m afraid we will see bills pass the House with more Democrat support than Republican support. Planned Parenthood will be funded, the Ex-Im Bank will open it’s doors again, the debt ceiling will be lifted, and everybody in DC will get a raise. Again, just the threat of Obama’s pen will keep the GOP Congress in line. Once that business is cleared, then a conservative will be allowed to do whatever possible during the last year of a lame duck presidency.

Today’s events might be a victory for the Freedom Caucus, but only after the GOP Establishment wins first.

Religion: A Constitutional Litmus Test

Ben Carson on NBCWe expect liberals to misconstrue comments made by conservatives. They need to strike fear into anybody giving Republicans a fair shot. Unfortunately we have some in the Republican Party who would rather join the attack on Dr. Ben Carson than understand the valid point he was making. People are shaking their heads wondering why Carson doesn’t understand that the Founders wanted no religious litmus test for office. Carson’s point, for those who choose to understand it, is that some people have a religious ideology that fails the constitutional litmus test

Now we must concede that Republican candidates need to view network interviews not as gentle conversations, but instead as the hostile interrogations that they truly are. We can find interviews on climate change and homosexuality where Carson, for example, will take the bait instead of challenging the premise.

The Meet the Press interview on September 20 is a perfect example of Carson answering a question that he was not asked. Continue reading

Marriage: Do We Now Have More Liberty or Less?

Steve Merkel with chains around his neckSamuel Adams – “If ye love wealth better than liberty,
the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom,
go home from us in peace.
We ask not your counsels or your arms.
Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
May your chains set lightly upon you,
and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.”

Like many members of Totally Engaged Americans and other liberty groups, Steve Merkel (member of the Thomas Jefferson Knowledge Institute) has expressed grave concerns over the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell et al. v. Hodges, better known as the gay marriage ruling.

Marriage lives in two realms, the political and the spiritual. By political, I’m not referring to the common D vs. R battle but to the generic community arrangement that allows society to function. Marriage agreements have been necessary to pass down property and to divide wealth. This was true in England, in early America, and today. Marriage also has roots in the Christian religion and western civilization that heavily influenced the Founders. Within United States history, Christian marriages have been conducted and solemnized by the church.

Historically, Americans have always had limitations set on who can become married. We still have restrictions if a person is too young, if the people are closely related, and if one is currently married to somebody else. For over 200 years in this country and over 2000 years of religious history, we’ve had restrictions on gender. This was true until June of 2015 when Anthony Kennedy and four other individuals decided on behalf of the citizens of this entire nation that gender was not relevant to marriage.

We must remember that the authors and supporters of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights were all within a handful of generations who left England to attain more freedom, including and especially religious freedom. Whether settlers were Protestants, Quakers, Hebrews or Huguenots, people in this country were free to practice the religion of their choice. Quoting Merkel:

The Bill of Rights protects not the freedom to worship as FDR mistakenly thought, not freedom to teach or advocate as the Court’s ruling said, but freedom to EXERCISE your religion. That is waaay different. Exercising one’s religion is something incumbent on every follower 24/7, at all times, in all places, and not just on Sunday morning in church. Our founders thought it so important, they made it the first freedom enumerated in the first amendment. This freedom is under direct attack by this evil ruling. You can have same-sex “marriage” as a civil right enforced by the sword of government or you can have freedom to exercise your religion. You can’t have both. The proposed laws carving out exemptions for pastors or judges attempts to have both. That won’t work! Only full-fledged statewide repudiation will work. Not just pastors, not just judges, but every Ohio citizen needs the unabridged protection of the First Amendment.

Continue reading