the whitestick papers

looking at politics from a different perspective

Posts Tagged ‘campaigns

Of lemonade stands and election 2012

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Even if you haven’t had the experience yourself, you’re aware of it by observation.  On a hot summer day, kids get the great idea to set up a table outside the house and sell lemonade.  Cooperative parents help with making the drink and providing the cups, and the child sits outside, dreaming of the cash they’ll soon have to buy, well, whatever they want.

Except it doesn’t quite work out that way, does it?

Sure, Mom buys a glass, and so does Dad.  Maybe a neighbor or two will help empty the first pitcher, but it doesn’t take very long before it’s obvious all those cars going by aren’t going to stop.  You have a great product (after all, it was made by Mom), an excellent location (see all those cars????) and yet no one’s buying what you’re selling.

The experience, of course, isn’t limited to the elementary school set.  A lot of adults have had great ideas for a wonderful new product or service, or maybe even a new twist on an old idea, only to see the crowds beat a path away from their door.  In many cases, the product is a good one, and the location even excellent; people just aren’t buying what you’re selling.

So, what does this have to do with the 2012 election?  Well, in the two months or so since November, we’ve all seen the political “experts” ruminate on what went wrong.  “The GOP didn’t do a good enough job at _______ (pick your favorite shortcoming)”, or “Mitt wasn’t in it to win it”, or any of a number of blame-pinning faults and failings.  But, stepping back from the finger-pointing and comparing this cycle to the exceptionally successful tidal wave of 2010, it becomes clear there wasn’t a great deal of difference between what the Republican Party and GOP candidates did then and what they did last year.  In fact, in many ways we did better and yet we got taken to the woodshed at nearly every level and in nearly every state.

So, if we can’t really blame our team, who can we blame?

For a clue, check out what US voters are saying since the election was held.  President Obama consistently comes in with an approval rating above 50% – a rate he’s had since about a month before the election and has held on to since.  Most Americans believe the “fiscal cliff” tax hike isn’t enough and the “rich” should pay more and lose deductions.  Most believe that the US economy is unfair to the middle class and – here’s the kicker – see those fighting to keep their taxes from going up as the bad guys in the fiscal debate.

In other words, they’re not buying what we’re selling.

Oh, sure, we could have done a better job doing the basic work of campaigning, and maybe Mitt could have done a better job running.  As a practical matter, it’s always possible and desirable to do more.  Truth be told, however, it’s hard to see how it could have been planned or executed better.  Mitt knocked that first debate out of the park and was spot on in his message.  Okay, so Oregon wasn’t a battleground state and received short shrift from national money and media, but what we did we did as well as we could, and reports from the battleground states indicate they were superlative efforts.

The reality is the voters determine what they want and, by extension, who they think will give it to them.  Oh, sure; there are those who see a conspiracy behind the election process; they can be lumped in with the “truthers” and tin-hat ET sort; evidence against their beliefs are ignored while the slimmest speculation in support is taken as gospel.  The reality is voters pick the nominees and the final victor; it’s as true in US politics as it is in American Idol and, despite clear evidence of election fraud, the end result is based on what the people want.

So why did the majority of voters support those whose policies will bankrupt the city, state and nation, particularly since just two years earlier – and even as late as six months earlier – the wind was in our direction?  First off, voters are incredibly fickle – just ask George HW Bush, who had a 70%+ approval rating a year before he lost handily to an “ah, shucks” country bumpkin.   As a group, they tend to respond emotionally rather than logically, voting for someone because he played saxophone on late-night TV or had an African father.  Appeals to rational arguments, even things as close as family income and buying power, doesn’t result in voter support near as much as a vague feeling that the candidate “gets me” or, better yet, “is like me.”  Try as we might, Republicans can’t seem to create that charisma.

There’s an element of this that also explains why Republicans and conservative ideas did better in 2010 than they did in 2012; the TEA Party put a human face on those ideals and, in a manner unseen since the American Revolution, made liberty popular and populist.  Expressing real emotions (rather than cynically manipulating them, as the left tends to do), they touched the hearts of voters and the latter responded.  Since then, however, the TEA Party has largely disappeared from the national stage (except as cannon fodder for leftist candidates and media hacks) and, without the emotional support, the movement stalled.

This isn’t a call for the TEA Party to get back into the streets, although it would be nice to see them supplant the current crop of Occupiers who have moved the discussion the other direction.  Emotions like that can’t really be manufactured; if the movement is going to revive it will have to be done the same way it happened before; spontaneously.

And then, in 2014 and 2016 we may have a majority of those cars stop for a glass of lemonade.


Written by Jeffrey S. Smith

2 January 2013 at 6:39 am

47 Percent

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There was a time in this country when people were embarrassed to admit they needed help. They wouldn’t accept charity because they believed it was their personal responsibility to provide for themselves and their family and that to accept help from others was to admit failure.

But today, things are different.  If someone points out that a certain political party gets a lot of its support because it promises not only to keep current “entitlements” flowing that certain party cries foul.  Since Mitt Romney has recently done that, the Democrats have decided to use the statements as a way to rally their supporters, as in this recent email direct from the Obama campaign:

From: Stephanie Cutter, []
Sent: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 8:35 PM
Subject: “Personal responsibility”

 If you’d like to receive more emails like this, join the Truth Team.

Yesterday, a leaked video from a closed-door fundraiser showed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney telling a room full of big-money donors that Americans who don’t support him think they’re “victims” who don’t “take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

So rarely over the course of this campaign have we gotten to hear Mitt Romney say what he believes in such a revealing, unfiltered manner. This is one of those moments. It’s important that we make sure that the people in our lives who are just tuning into this election know what disdain and contempt Romney has for half of the citizens of this nation he wants to lead. Take a look at the items in this tipsheet, and then share them with others.

#1 What Americans think of Romney’s comments
The secret video shows that Romney believes nearly half of all Americans won’t take responsibility for their own lives and don’t pay taxes. Watch this video of Americans listening and reacting to Romney’s shocking comments, and make sure others do too:

#2 Who Romney is writing off?
It’s worth taking a second to look at some of the people who make up the nearly half of the country that Romney has so much disdain for. Who exactly are these people that Romney rips for not paying income taxes? The overwhelming majority are seniors, students, people with disabilities, or working families. They pay payroll taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, and more. Those working families include U.S. soldiers in combat, receptionists, firefighters, and clergy, just to name a few. Certainly, those folks aren’t short on personal responsibility. Read this blog post highlighting some of the Americans that Romney has written off, and share it with others:

#3 Romney’s responsibility map
Romney has said that “my job is not to worry about” the people who don’t support him. But America needs a president who will stand up for all Americans, not just the half of the country who agrees with him. Take a look at this graphic about Romney’s idea of “responsibility” and post it to your Facebook wall.



Stephanie Cutter
Deputy Campaign Manager
Obama for America

P.S. — Another way to fight back against Romney and his divisive politics is to chip in and help fund our grassroots campaign. Romney has big-money donors at closed-door fundraisers, President Obama has you. Chip in $25 or more today.

Paid for by Obama for America

Contributions or gifts to Obama for America are not tax deductible.


You should also note Mitt Romney owned up to the statement.  He could have, like President Obama with the murder of the US Ambassador to Libya, try to deflect attention away from the main issue by pointing out the clip ,ay have been obtained  illegally.  Or, again like President Obama with the “you didn’t build that” quote, try to weasel out of the statement and claim it was taken out of context, even though the clip on Mother Jones is clearly edited.  Instead, he stood up, admitted it could have been said better but the statement itself is fundamentally true.  That shows strength of character not seen in many political leaders, and most certainly not from the present Administration.

Founding Father James Madison said, “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents…”.  We’ve wandered from from the principles of the Constitution, and have gotten to the point where many Americans – and 47 percent is not an unreasonable percentage – not only accept the slavery that comes with government benevolence, but crave and demand it.  Many politicians on both sides of the aisle seem content to not rock the boat and, in fact, work to make it ever larger.

Maybe, just maybe, we’ve found one who will not only rock it, but sink the boat.

Written by Jeffrey S. Smith

20 September 2012 at 6:20 am

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”?

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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 – 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


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

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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
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

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