the whitestick papers

looking at politics from a different perspective

A game of inches

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Political campaigns can be compared to a complex game; one with multiple levels of presentation, interaction and involvement, all with the end goal of seeing your guy elected and your opponent losing.  In simple terms, it has three basic layers, and each layer has its own strategies, approaches, ways to win and ways to lose.

The biggest and most expensive is also the most visible – the air war.  This is where the candidate is the most involved; the radio spots, the TV commercials, the interviews, the debates, the rallies and the visits to late night shows are all a part of this.  This is a game of miles and acres, seeking to blanket the electorate with the reasons to vote for your guy and vote against the other guy.   Few people are involved in this process, but they tend to be the folks closest to the inner circle and, except for the candidate, they have little, if any, direct contact with the people casting ballots.

Then there’s the ground game; the lawn signs and bumper stickers, the phone banks and neighborhood walks, the voter-ID and get-out-the-vote operations.  This is a game of feet and meters; putting a human face on the campaign, a local voice on the issues.  This consumes a lot of manpower and volunteer time, and these are the people touching other people, usually for a limited time and with limited contact.  It’s where candidates tend to forget to put time and money as it’s not as flashy or obvious, but it’s probably the most critical element to success as it brings the big effort down to the streets.

Finally, there’s the game of inches.  Many campaigns don’t even bother with it but, if the race is close, it can be the difference between a win and a loss.  It’s not involved with facts but with feelings, not with ideals or issues but with confidence and commitment.  At the same time, it’s something anyone can do and, in fact, it’s almost impossible not to do it if you’re informed and willing.

It’s simply a matter of influencing your friends and family.

This year, the Presidential race is one of the closest in recent memory – easily closer than the 2008 race and possibly closer than 2000, which came down to the difference of less than one vote in each of Florida’s precincts.  Every single vote in this election is critical – and anyone can influence one or two votes, which could make the difference between one candidate or another winning the election.

With the advent of social media – Facebook, Twitter, blogs, texting and the like – that ability to influence others, which used to be limited to lawn signs and bumper stickers, has taken on a whole new level.  So, the challenge is whether you are part of the game of inches or just let the opportunity –and, with it, the election – pass you by.

As the election enters into its final days, you’re probably getting political bits constantly.  To be part of the game of inches, all you have to do is pass them on.  If you get a statement by Reagan or Romney, Rush or Clint or Newt or Glenn that just says it well, whatever “it” is, re-tweet it.  If you get a photo or video that makes the point, “Share” it so your Facebook friends can see it, too.

Interestingly, this works best to undercut the opposition more than promote a candidate, so even those not all that found of Mitt can forward a chart showing Obama’s failure to grow the economy, a video demonstrating Obama’s saying the same things now that he said in 2008, or an article exposing his socialist policies or general disconnect with the American people.  You don’t have to support the Republican candidate; you can support a third-party candidate and still find value in targeting the flaws and failures of Barack Obama.

The amazing thing is anyone can do this.  If you want to add a comment, fine; it often makes the point all the sharper.  But it’s not necessary; all you really need to do is pass on something that comes across your computer screen to influence the vote of one or two other people.  The more that do it the better; the impact of getting the same information from two or three friends can change a vote or, at least, keep someone you know from voting for the wrong person.

The power is in the personal element; that friend knows you and your opinion makes more of an impact than all the fancy TV ads they’ll see during the election.  This election may come down to a game of inches, and anyone can play on that field.

Written by Jeffrey S. Smith

18 September 2012 at 11:57 am

The lesser of two evils…

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It is perhaps the most frustrating of choices; to look on the ballot and try to pick the candidate you dislike the least.  Is there no one you can soundly support or are you forced to vote for one person because you’re determined to vote against their opponent?

The fact is, no matter who you vote for, you’re always voting for the lesser of two evils.

There are a couple of reasons for this, both of which trace back to basic human nature.  The first reality is that everyone is flawed.  Some more than others, of course, but the fact is no one is perfect.  This is true for everyone and seems to be particularly true for those who seek political office.

The second factor flows from this; power corrupts.  Those who seek political office often seek that power and, with it, the inevitable corruption.  Some resist more than others, but it taints everyone.

Taking into account that you will always vote for the person who, to you, is the lesser of two evils, let’s apply that to the current Presidential race.  Either Mitt Romney or Barack Obama will be elected in November.   Sure; there are those who hope others might but, unless you’re completely deluded, even the most loyal follower of one of the “also ran” candidates has to admit that.

Your choice comes down to someone who might be less than what you’d prefer but, in general, agrees with you on many, if not most, points.  Mitt Romney embodies the value of a free market, the necessity of a reduced government and the economic ruin caused by a runaway deficit.  He shows he understands that the country’s greatness has been built by people, not the government.

Or you can vote for a person who has demonstrated a total commitment to Keynesian economics, anti-colonial loathing of America and a willingness to reward some and punish others both domestically and as a foreign policy.  Barack Obama told the Russian President he would do even more in a second term and, since he wouldn’t have to deal with another re-election, he easily could.  Is that what you want?

To vote for someone else or to not vote is to let Obama win by default.  For a person of principle, who wants a restoration of American liberty and rule of law, the only logical choice is to go with the one who could turn things around.  Even though flawed, Romney is more likely to stop the current devolution than to continue, much less accelerate it.

Sure, Romney’s not perfect.

Who is?

Written by Jeffrey S. Smith

13 September 2012 at 8:21 am

Romney: Obama’s “Mini Me”?

with one comment

Repeatedly over the past few months, Liberty Movement members – the name supporters of perennial minority Presidential candidate Dr. Ron Paul give themselves – have derided Republican nominee Mitt Romney as virtually indistinguishable from Barack Hussein Obama.  Pointing to the government health care program instituted on his watch in Massachusetts and quoting his statement that he’d repeal Obamacare and replace it, they claim Romney’s very nearly as progressive as the President, and not someone lovers of liberty should support.

It’s not the intention of this article to defend Mitt Romney; he’s said what he’s said and has to live with the consequences.  It’s also not the intent to convince the Liberty Movement that Romney is something other than what he is.  The intent is to look more closely at the differences between his ideology and that of President Obama, investigating, however briefly, the question of whether Mitt Romney is merely a scaled down version of the current inhabitant of the White House.

Whatever else Wendell Mitt Romney might be, he’s a businessman.  More to the point, he’s a capitalist, familiar with and an advocate of the free market, both in word and deed.  While the Democrats demagogue his connection to Bain Capital, everything about that relationship reflects an understanding and appreciation for letting the market, not government, determine winners and losers.  To paraphrase a line from Game of Thrones, “In the game of business you either win or you go bankrupt.”

This is, at its core, the fundamental fact of American success as a nation; of American economic strength even in the face of progressive efforts to win the hearts (and votes) of the citizenry using snares disguised as safety nets.  And it means that, whatever progressive tendencies Romney has, they are incidental; they’re a political addition, and not necessarily part of his core belief structure – his ideological DNA, if you will.

By contrast, Barack Obama is unquestionably a socialist.  At the same time, he’s not a typical socialist; he’s done and said things that are at odds with most American socialists.  There’s his aversion to the American flag; declining, in that famous photo from the 2008 election, to salute it even as other socialists on the stage did so, and it’s removal from his press room and Oval Office.  There’s his catering to Occupy Wall Street, his bowing to leaders of other countries, his apologizing for America.  There’s no other socialist in the national political spectrum that have gone to this level, and it reveals something key about the man.

The recent documentary book and subsequent movie, 2016: Obama’s America, in turn largely based on Obama’s autobiography, Dreams From My Father, builds a strong case for the President being a different sort of socialist.  It shows that, for the President, socialism is a means to an end; the fulfillment of an ideological commitment to the overturning of the world’s last colonial power.

Rare here in the United States, and even virtually unknown in Europe, anti-colonialism is common in third world nations like Obama’s father’s native Kenya.  It’s prevalent in Indonesia, where “Barry” spent his formative years and in Hawaii, where he lived with his activist grandparents.   Obama’s mother was enamored of his father, an anti-colonialist polygamist, and left her second husband after he began adopting capitalist ideas.

Anti-colonial ideology blames every problem and ill on the colonial masters, and there’s a lot of abuse that’s taken place under colonial rule to justify that point of view.  However, unlike the American Founders, anti-colonialists don’t want just independence from the “mother country”; they want it driven out and all its influences destroyed.  In this scenario, the United States is the last – and, possibly, the most evil – of the colonial powers.

So, America needs to apologize for its past and current colonial efforts.  It needs to recognize and even bow before those who have overthrown their colonial masters and established their own rule.  Its symbols are offensive and shameful, not promoted publically and proudly.  And, most of all, its ability to be a colonial master must be undercut, and the best way to do that is by ruining its economy and increasing its debt.

You don’t have to change your mind about Mitt Romney’s supposed similarity to Barack Obama.  You do, however, need to consider the difference.  You’ll make your own choice as to what’s really important to you; the parallel or the disparity.

See the movie.  Read the book.

Written by Jeffrey S. Smith

4 September 2012 at 11:39 am

Earning respect

with 2 comments

One of the basic rules of life is that respect is earned, not given.  Most teenagers have trouble with this concept; they want credibility and respect, but then do and say things that hamper their getting it.  Eventually, most people learn that the best way to earn respect is by showing respect; not being rude or belittling to others, acting courteously and the like.

So, then, does this email indicate respect?

 

From: “Ian Cioffi”
Sent: Wednesday, August 22, 2012 3:22:40 PM
Subject: Poll Questions for All Ron Paul Delegates – LibertyChat.com

LibertyChat.com is conducting a poll of all Ron Paul delegates

 

You’re being emailed because you are a delegate that will be at the Republican Convention next week

If you have a moment, please answer the following questions

  1. Do you plan to boo Mitt Romney when he speaks?
  2. Do you plan to boo Mike Huckabee when he speaks?
  3. If Rand Paul says anything about voting for Mitt Romney, will you boo Rand?

Your name will not be published

Thank you for your time

 

Ian Cioffi

LibertyChat.com

 

Before you dismiss this as a fraud, you may want to view this podcast by The Washington Times, taped at the Convention site in Tampa August 24th.  The email is discussed in the last three minutes and, in fact, the entire 11:47 interview is revealing.

Whether or not the booing takes place  – and we’ll know that in a few days – the fact that the idea is even presented reflects poorly on the credibility of those who propose it, and does nothing but denigrate Dr. Paul.

Written by Jeffrey S. Smith

26 August 2012 at 6:47 am

Vindication, Round 2

with 8 comments

On Monday, August 20 2012, the Committee on Contests for the Republican National Convention listened to arguments concerning the challenged Alternate Delegate elections from Oregon’s Second, Fourth and Fifth Congressional Districts.  The next morning, ORP Chairman Allen Alley reported on thier findings:

Delegates, Alternate Delegates, ORP Staff and ORP Executive Committee,

We have had lots of good news as we move toward Tampa (actually I am already in Tampa).  

I just left the Contests Committee meeting and they have upheld their previous August 10th ruling on every point.  In case you missed it, the Ron Paul campaign, challenged our Alternate Delegate selection process with the RNC.  The Contests Committee was very clear in their original ruling and today:

  1. Whether the ORP, pursuant to their Party Bylaws and Standing Rules, has the authority to conduct the Convention as one meeting in five locations?  Yes.
  2.  Did the Convention adjourn at 5:00p.m. as stated in the Official Agenda?  Yes.
  3. Were any of the elections of alternate delegates that occurred during any of the meetings after 5:00p.m. valid?  No.
  4. Was the ORP Executive Committee’s action on July 30, 2012, to select and certify alternate delegates to the national convention, authorized and legal?  Yes.

What this means is there are no changes to the list of Delegates and Alternates we previously published and all challenges are disallowed.  On the second challenge regarding alternates voting in our delegation meeting, the RNC ruled that they do not have jurisdiction therefore the elections stand.  

Other good news, I am so very pleased to see our new Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan take the fight directly to President Obama.  He is standing shoulder to shoulder with Governor Romney and standing up against the Chicago style politics of fear and negativity.  

Romney/Ryan also have a great ally in our Chairman Reince Priebus.  His clear unwavering message that we are going to save the American dream and we are not going to sit and take punches resonates with Americans all over our country.  Check out his interview today on Hannity.  It is worth 8 minutes of your time.

And finally, If you recall, there was a lawsuit filed in June, in the central district of California court, on behalf of about 100 delegates naming the RNC, Reince Priebus, the ORP and me (along with every other state chairman) as defendants.  The basic claim of that suit was that these delegates should be released from their pledges binding them to a candidate so they could vote as they wish (not as their primary results or convention results bound them to vote).  This suit made us aware that there was a national effort to elect delegates who had no intention to vote the will of the Republicans in their state.  We entered our State Convention with this lawsuit fresh in our minds and took extraordinary steps to run our Convention by the book.

I am pleased to say that on August 6th the court in the central district of California granted the RNC’s motion to dismiss in the Delegates v. RNC et. al. lawsuit.  In just about every way, the court recognized the unintelligibly and implausibility of the allegations.  

As with all legal type processes, we expect that the Ron Paul campaign and the attorneys representing the delegates who wish to break their pledges will continue appeal these decisions as long as the money to pay their attorneys continues to be available.  We will continue to defend our process but are very much looking forward to focusing on winning our state back and making Oregon the “1” in the Romney/Ryan 3-2-1 path to victory.  Click here to read about 3-2-1 by Karl Rove.

I am really looking forward to the convention.  With the announcement of Paul Ryan as our Vice Presidential nominee, I think we now have a ticket that the entire party, and the country can rally around.

On to Tampa!

Allen Alley
Chairman
Oregon Republican Party
Oregon Delegation RNC

It’s unlikely this will satisfy those who seek to drive a wedge between the Republican Party and Ron Paul supporters.  There will still be rabble-rouser who continue to attack Allen Alley, denounce the ORP Executive Committee, characterize the RNC as corrupt and just generally try to damage the only effective means to counter Barack Hussein Obama.

But here’s the bottom line; the Committee on Contests, in less than 24 hours, decided the ORP followed the rules, and the challengers didn’t.

 

UPDATE: August 23 2012 7:00pm

This writer was under the mistaken impression Monday’s meeting was the final step in the process, and it isn’t.  One more was held and at least one more is scheduled before the entire Convention decides on the issue next week.  During today’s regular Oregon Republican county leadership conference call, Chairman Alley reported ours is not the only challenge being considered, but it’s one that has successfully defended itself.  Louisiana and Maine have lost their challenges, having failed to document a clear audit process, procedures and adherence to the rules.  There are two take-sways from this:

  • The Committee on Contests isn’t a “rubber stamp”.  The evidence for and against the contesting perspectives were reviewed, considered and, at times, fiercely questioned.  If it didn’t meet criteria, the delegation suffered.
  • Oregon played by the rules.  If and only if that were true would the Committee have ruled in favor of the ORP.

 

Written by Jeffrey S. Smith

23 August 2012 at 5:45 am

Smokescreen

with 4 comments

Dr. Ron Paul has a reputation for integrity – for being consistent with his beliefs, with being honest to Congress, the President and the American people, for being above-board in his dealings and a stickler for the rule of law.  Whatever else you might think about his perspectives and political persuasions, even his critics have to admit he’s above reproach.

That, as it turns out, isn’t always the case with the more determined of his supporters.  Even four years ago, they stuffed ballots in straw polls and, disrupted conventions and delayed caucuses in an effort to get Dr. Paul nominated.  The effort continued and expanded this year, culminating in a scheme to elect “false flag” candidates to the Republican National Convention – people committed to Dr. Paul but running as Delegates and Alternates for other candidates.  In Oregon, this effort was frustrated by the adjournment of the District Convention on June 23rd; several of their candidates were elected as Delegates but Alternates were appointed by the ORP Executive Committee.

This blog has, in recent weeks, focused on this event and its ramifications so there’s no point in going over the details; articles and comments cover the differing perspectives well enough we don’t need to bo over the what and how.  The purpose of this article is to peel back the basic debate and talk a bit about the why.  After all, this isn’t the first time the Convention was truncated – it happened in CD3 in 2004 and CD1 in 2008 – but tis the first time there’s been this sort of controversy.  Up to this point, no one has really addressed why it’s such a big deal.

It’s the opinion of this writer that, under all the posturing and protestations, the real reason some Paul supporters in Oregon are so upset is that their plan to scam the system was thwarted.  If you boil down the anger toward Allen Alley, the recriminations and attacks on the ORP and denunciation of the RNC, it all comes back to the fact they didn’t get to elect their “false flag” Alternates.

This, of course, begs the question of why that stratagem was so important to complete.  What is it about having an entire Delegation – Delegates and Alternates both – dominated by Paul devotees that is so important?  A clue can be found, perhaps, in the resistance raised to the Delegates and Alternates voting for Delegation Chair and members of the various National Convention Committees raised by local Paul followers despite an existing Standing Rule demanding both vote for the positions and the fact that, with one exception, Oregon has always allowed both Delegates and Alternates to cast votes.  Is it possible that, had the Paul forces won both Delegate and Alternate majorities from Oregon there would have been no objection to the Standing Rules of the Oregon Republican Party?

Those positions perform key functions during the National Convention – determining credentials of the delegations from the various states and territories, the national Platform, the Rules of the RNC and reporting delegation votes during the nomination process.   A Republican National Convention dominated by Ron Paul would be significantly different from one providing a launching pad for the Presidential candidate endorsed by the majority of Republicans around the country.

So, the protestations and videos released recently intended to mollify the majority that Paul supporters will, in fact, honor their pledge and vote for the candidate they were elected to vote for is simply a smokescreen.  The vote, and the pledge to make it, was never the point.  A local Paul activist and organizer who ran as a Romney Alternate has admitted the Liberty Movement – the name Paul supporter’s give themselves – see Mitt Romney as virtually identical to President Barak Obama.  Why would anyone with a shred of integrity sully himself by nominating a person he considers among the worst the GOP has to offer unless something more important was the real goal?  There’s no question this person is a man of character and integrity, so that nomination, and therefore that pledge, must be relatively meaningless.

It’s not the goal of this article to determine the full extent of the scheme as it was (or is) intended to be played out at the National Convention.  It’s never a good idea for someone who doesn’t have first-hand knowledge of what’s going on to confidently declare the thoughts and intentions of a group or an individual.  In any event, we’ll all see what remains of this plan over the coming couple of weeks.

While we’re on the subject of ends and the means to them, it would be a good idea to take a deeper look at the discussion of the ORP Rule concerning Delegation election and related issues.  It can’t be clearer:

STANDING RULE #11

OREGON DELEGATION TO THE REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION

The persons elected to be Delegates and Alternates to the Republican National Convention shall be bound by the following:

  1. Except to the extent specified by the Republican National Convention rules, all Delegates (special Delegates and regular Delegates) and Alternates are eligible to cast votes on any matter requiring a decision by the Delegation..

The RNC Rules are silent on the issue, so this Rule applies – as was confirmed recently by the RNC.  And yet, the Liberty Movement members of the Oregon Delegation spent quite a bit of time and effort during the Delegation Meeting on July 14th trying to block this Rule from being followed.  This fits a pattern that can be seen during this debate; while quick to denounce Rules and Bylaws that run counter to their goal, occasionally inventing rule interpretations never before encountered and offering opinions on things of which they have no direct knowledge, they seem eager to disregard or dismiss Rules that invalidate their own actions.

In Links in the chain Part 2, the problem regarding Convention Rule 7.1.1 through 7.1.4; that is, that those elected after the Adjournment did so without getting the results from the other Districts – was discussed.  That’s not the only Convention Rule violated but, to preserve some tactical elements until the presentation to the Committee on Credentials, they weren’t publically discussed before.  They include but are not necessarily limited to:

  • CR 7.2, detailing election integrity procedures following each Ballot, could not have been followed in CD4 or CD5.
  • CR 7.3, another election integrity procedure taking place upon adjournment, was not and could not have been followed in CD4 or CD5.
  • There’s no evidence any of the people required by CR 8 – Teller’s committee, Sergeants at Arms, etc. – were in place in any of the elections that followed the adjournment in any District, and even less that those who stepped into those roles were forwarded to the ORP at least a week before the Convention.

The bottom line is this; the issue isn’t really the adjournment; it’s whether the folks who planned so long and so hard to scam the system were thwarted in their efforts.  Even if you accept that the adjourn of the District Convention was invalid – a position most heartily not shared by this writer – there’s still the larger question of why is it so important to certain folks that “false flag” Alternates be elected as well as their Delegate counterparts.  Again, we may get an idea from their actions in Tampa; in any event, we’ll most likely get a better picture when they try again in 2016.

Written by Jeffrey S. Smith

21 August 2012 at 2:17 pm

Vindication!

with 2 comments

Readers of this blog may recall the point of everything that was done in regards to the District Convention was to make sure the Oregon Delegation to the Republican National Convention would be seated (see Links in the chain Part 1 and Part 2).  Some participants and commentators have said they have a different goal in mind, but ORP Chairman Allen Alley, party staff and the Executive Committee were working to accomplish this one thing.  After all, the point of the District Convention is to select that Delegation and, if we failed to do that in a way that met RNC requirements, then it was an exercise in futility; the months of preparation and the votes of those who participated were pointless.

This past weekend, the efforts are vindicated.  On Saturday, August 11 2012, the ORP released the following.

ORP Executive Committee,

This email just went out to all of the Delegates and Alternate Delegates:

All Delegates and Alternate Delegates,

I am pleased to announce that the RNC has ruled on the Alternate Delegate contests.  They were very clear.  The following are their rulings:

  1. Whether the ORP, pursuant to their Party Bylaws and Standing Rules, has the authority to conduct the Convention as one meeting in five locations?  Yes.
  2. Did the Convention adjourn at 5:00p.m. as stated in the Official Agenda?  Yes.
  3. Were any of the elections of alternate delegates that occurred during any of the meetings after 5:00pm valid?  No.
  4. Was the ORP Executive Committee’s action on July 30, 2012, to select and certify alternate delegates to the national convention, authorized and legal?  Yes.

What this means is there are no changes to the list of Delegates and Alternates we previously published and all challenges are disallowed.  On the second challenge regarding alternates voting in our delegation meeting, the RNC ruled that they do not have jurisdiction therefore the elections stand.  There could be an appeal to the decisions but as I said before, the committee was very clear on their rulings.

I want to thank you all for working with us as we go through this process.  I am really looking forward to the convention.  With the announcement of Paul Ryan as our Vice Presidential nominee, I think we now have a ticket that the entire party, and the country can rally around.

On to Tampa!

Allen Alley
Chairman

Oregon Republican Party

Oregon Delegation RNC

It’s unlikely this will mollify the critics and rabble-rousers; they, after all, appearfocused on another objective, and we’ll all just have to wait and see how that plays out.  However, it’s clear the target the ORP was aiming for was hit right in the center.

Written by Jeffrey S. Smith

14 August 2012 at 9:27 am

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