Wednesday, March 20, 2013


The hottest session at CPAC last week was the panel discussion entitled “Should we shoot all the consultants?”

Former Democrat pollster Pat Caddell lit up the room with a blistering indictment of the professional campaign consultants who have monopolized GOP strategy for decades.

He called them racketeers, interested only in making money from naïve business moguls, who think that elections can be bought by the highest bidder.

The message then, becomes whatever the campaign professionals tell the candidates they need to say to get elected.

A pretty cynical and inverted way to run for public office.

And an utterly anemic charter for a political party.

There’s lots of hand wringing about the Republican Party these days, not the least of which comes from well meaning citizens who believe a two party system is a good way to run a country.

Doesn’t matter what makes them different. Like a scrub basketball game between the skins and the shirts. Having Red States and Blue States is a good way to smoke out the best leaders.

Competition fosters excellence, they say.

Unhappily, that’s about what Presidential elections have come down to.

It’s National Socialism against National Capitalism.

It’s a choice between government running business or business running government.

Either way, it all happens in Washington, D.C. Either way, the money changers in the temple are the hustlers inside the Beltway.

For more than a hundred years, the Republican Party has been the Party of Abraham Lincoln.

Many historians believe that Lincoln’s successful defense of the Union actually changed the nature of our country from a union of sovereign states to a single national government.

Unfortunately he was assassinated before he could oversee the reconstruction of the South. Lincoln’s magnanimity was replaced by a vengeful Congress’s policies which diminished the sovereignty of the states.

Since then, Movies and mobility, travel and technology, cars and communications have all conspired to blur the boundaries of the fifty states.

Still, human beings may inhabit a planet, a continent or a nation, but they live in communities.

And the Constitution of the United States is premised upon the understanding that our people are citizens of sovereign states as surely as they are citizens of the nation.

It is time for the Republican Party to be inspired as much by Thomas Jefferson as by Abraham Lincoln.

There is no national economy in America. A minimum wage in New York City is different from one in Mississippi.

Kansas and Michigan run on difference economic cycles. The weather is different. The cultures are different. The accents are different.

People trust the government that is closest to home.

There are currently 30 Republican Governors. Not just red states. New Jersey, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin all have Republican governors.

It’s time for the GOP to become the party of popular sovereignty. The party that wants to get the national government out of education, health care, marriage, real estate, criminal law, welfare and local business and return the role of governing to the governors and legislatures of the fifty states.

A good place to start would be to endorse the non partisan Supreme Court Amendment.

More on that later.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


On August 21, 1789, the Congress of the United States, by a two thirds vote in both Houses, proposed twelve amendments to the federal constitution.

Ten of them were promptly ratified by the states. They are known as the Bill of Rights.

The other two were not ratified immediately. One of them, the original second article, was finally ratified on May 7, 1992, almost 203 years after being proposed by Congress. It prohibits Congress from raising their own salaries during their term of office.

That leaves just one piece of unfinished business. The original constitutional amendment proposed by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson that was to assure that the United States would be a ‘more perfect union.’

Officially known as “Article the First,” the amendment established the ratio of Representatives in Congress to the expanding population of the nation.

There was to be one representative for every thirty thousand people until the House of Representatives reached 100 members. Then there would be one representative for every forty thousand people until there were 200 in the House.

After that, the amendment specified that there should one representative for every fifty thousand people, to be adjusted after every decennial census.

The 2010 census counted 308,745,538 people in the United States. That figures out to 6,175 Representatives in Congress.


That’s a lot more than the 435 professional, career politicians who now live and work inside the beltway around our nation’s Capital.

You betcha.

Throwing out 435 entrenched, lobby financed, political office holders and replacing them with 6,175 folks elected by their friends and neighbors is a big deal.

A very big deal.

But it ought to be done, and it can be done. Just like the 27th Amendment.

All it takes is the ratification of 38 state legislatures.

Eleven States are already on board:

Virginia ratified on November 3, 1789

New Jersey Ratified on November 20, 1789

Maryland ratified on December 19, 1789

North Carolina ratified on December 22, 1789

South Carolina ratified on January 19, 1790

New Hampshire ratified on January 25, 1790

New York ratified on March 27, 1790

Rhode Island ratified June 15, 1790

Pennsylvania ratified on September 21, 1791

Vermont ratified on November 3, 1791

Kentucky ratified on June 24, 1792

So here is the question. It’s more important than a balanced budget, more important than immigration reform, more important than gun legislation, gay rights or health care.

Are there twenty-seven more State Legislatures who will ratify Article the First and return the government of the United States to one that is of the people, by the people and for the people?

Thursday, March 7, 2013


It was just like the old days, when Senators spoke with passion and somebody listened.

Yesterday, the whole nation was in the gallery.

We saw a tired, determined, intelligent and principled gentleman from Kentucky standing up in our computers.

Standing up for America.

Standing up for the Constitution.

The Wall Street Journal gave him a haughty negative review. The Washington Post, no fan of conservatives, acknowledged that Rand Paul is a man of principle, concluding that the Senator staked out a stance on the ‘principle principle,’ their cutesy way of saying that you have to admire someone who stands for something, even if you disagree.

Senator Paul was filibustering against the nomination of John Brennan, no kin of this old Judge. His complaint focused on Brennan’s support for the Holder defined authority of the President to dispatch deadly drones domestically.

The issue? When can the President order a hit on an American Citizen on American soil?

That issue ought to be a slam dunk question on a first year law student’s Criminal Law exam.

The President can order a hit when, and only when a police officer would be justified in shooting someone.

You can’t kill a perp for planning a crime. You can’t even kill him for making preparations.

Of course, once he starts to shoot, he is fair game.

But a preemptive strike is always a dicey business, whether the target is a nation or putative criminal.

The catch phrase of the day is “enemy combatant.” That’s what makes it O.K. to kill a guy who is wearing the uniform of the other country.

Even there, you are supposed to play by the Marquis of Queensbury Rules.

When the enemy is a rag tag army, without uniforms and without a fortress, identifying an enemy combatant will depend on what he is doing or attempting to do.

An American citizen who gives aid and comfort to the enemy is guilty of treason and can be sentenced to death upon conviction, provided the conviction is based upon a confession in open court or the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act.

That’s what the constitution says. Nothing there about a “high government official” identifying someone who is thought to present an imminent threat.

What determines the difference between a political enemy and a military enemy? Just when does opposition become combat?

Does hanging the President of the United States in effigy earn someone a place on the executive kill list? Does joining an organization that advocates the overthrow of the federal government forfeit a citizen’s constitutional rights?

No doubt in all of this debate some folks will point to Abraham Lincoln and insist that Old Abe authorized the killing of lots of Americans on American soil.

The Confederates adopted a constitution and elected a President and Congress. They believed that they were a separate nation at war with the United States.

Lincoln never saw it that way. To him, they were rebels. Surely he authorized and sanctioned the killing of those who took up arms against the Union.

But would he have commissioned an assassin to murder Jefferson Davis?

Or would he have authorized a drone attack to level Davis’s home and everyone in it?

I doubt it.