As promised, this is my followup to Part II, (Selling Tainted Beef), which detailed some possible motivations behind why Article V promoters are so rudely trying to sell their “product”. By scoffing at and pushing aside any disagreement from fellow conservatives about their plan, they leave many important questions about how the plan might work in the real world unanswered, as well as many legislators who have to risk something by voting for this, in the dark.
I covered most of the deadly vices; vanity, pride, arrogance, seeking public acclaim, and even one’s own Wikipedia page, in Part II. Now I want to talk about money…the yearn for it and possibly how this lust might play into the hands of the Left, whose fingerprints are already all over this project anyway, turning the Article V venture not only into failure but one giant left-wing victory. Money has rendered unto history similar results before.
Since I began this series a lot has been unearthed to sharpen my understanding of the broader context about the Washington money chase. Generally, I don’t like going after conservatives for personal foibles if they otherwise do good work for the Cause. I cannot begrudge anyone the money he/she earns from a bestseller, a sweet gig on talk radio, speaker’s fees or a guest shot on Fox. Besides. I’m an ops guy and deal in dead rose bushes and other kinds of pain by a million paper cuts. And I have always directed my work solely toward the Left. I bear no such animosity toward good conservatives. None of them.
But I apply a different standard when that conservative pays his way principally with a DONATE button. I become the immediate skeptic. Sadly, St Laurie tailored suits, briefcases and a begging bowl are all too common these days. So when a dazzling “professional” conservative (versus “professing” conservative, as Mark Twain once noted about Christians) steps into the room, my antennae go up. Although acting legally, my instinct is that they are still acting dishonestly, for much like Twain’s professional Christians, they are dancing to their accountant’s tune, not God’s. For me, the Left is much easier to deal in these circumstances, for they are usually acting illegally, and know it, so therefore fear repercussion commensurate with their crimes if found out. This gives me a distinct advantage in shutting them down.
This is not the case with legal swindles.
For context, I earlier described a war inside Washington as between two competing Parties, and that it is more about money and power than it is ideology. But when the issue becomes about the People, us, out here, the left outs and left behinds, and our attempt to regain control of our political futures and wallets, they become as one and rush to the battlement shoulder-to-shoulder to fight us.
For instance, the GOP has now declared open war on its conservative base, witness Virginia. Only this week it was revealed that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s primary advisor had been paid over a million dollars by the Virginia GOP to orchestrate curtailing grass roots involvement, called “slating”. Another Cantor close advisor had quit the party in 2013 to help elect Terry McAuliffe, a Clinton crony, all because Ken Cuccinelli had received the GOP gubernatorial nomination in by direct nomination from the rank and file GOP membership, without the blessing of the State central committee. They had another candidate in mind, in fact. Silly country club stuff turned mean.
So here we have Eric Cantor, still calling himself a conservative, working in direct concert with Clinton Democrats, which is what real conservatives call “giving aid and comfort to the enemy”. We saw this in 2010 with Christine O’Donnell, in Delaware, who admittedly wasn’t the best conservative Republican in the state, but still head and shoulders better than the Marxist the Delaware GOP actively helped install instead. In 2012, we saw the same thing in Indiana because a sainted GOP senator had been shown the door by his own voters, who then, in a snit, turned around and helped the Democrat steal a Republican senate seat. Likewise in Missouri. Bob Bennett tried it in Utah but failed. In the process the GOP has learned quite a bit about the Dems and how they’ve been stealing votes out from under their noses all those years, only now to become apprentices, and complicit, all because they share a common enemy. The GOP has launched a nationwide campaign against the power of the citizens of America to do anything collectively except to open up their wallets when ordered to do so. Mitch McConnell has made similar moves in Kentucky, where his popularity is below 50% among Republicans, and may lose to the Democrat if he wins in the primary. I get the strong sense that the GOP would rather lose this seat to the Democrat rather than yield it over to an American.
The Article V movement purports to be offering us an end to this outrage, and I have no doubt the majority of its supporters believe this is what it is all about, including a lot of suckers in various state legislators, not to mention a couple of governors who innocently believe they will sign onto what is little more than a grand cavalier gesture, for which Georgia has been famous for in the past (and for which got Atlanta burned to the ground once).
This is why “motive” matter among conservatives, for history bears out that when anyone goes inside the system to fix the system, in a very short time they find themselves rushing to those same battlements, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the bastards they were once dedicated to defeat, to defeat the people who paid their way, but who would now deprive them of their new seat around the Washington dinner table.
I can’t know the Article V promoter’s hearts, but there is plenty of reason to believe they are of this type, all stemming from the way they have attempted to steamroll this project.
All money leads to Washington if you want to be a duck on the Big Pond. But the Founders designed this country so that everyone could be a big duck on a Little Pond, and there would be no Big Pond at all. That was always the Plan. So, the rise of a new crony-capitalist (actually fascist) power base in Washington makes the likelihood of grass roots conservatives and Republicans (and Democrats when they finally wake up and smell the coffee) ever taking over their parties from the bottom-up.
(A personal note to ColdWarrior and his PrecinctProject: While a great deal of lip-service is paid to your idea of taking over the GOP from the precinct-up. I don’t think the GOP, or deep pockets, will allow that to happen easily. You can still do it, but only with a lot of money, so get a really big DONATE button on your site. ) To the rest of you, please Donate to PrecinctProject.us
Under this sort of national duress, a small-time legal heist of a few bucks by a few Article V supporters seems almost insignificant….except each, in their own special way, has pissed me off. Besides the Gold Rush is getting kind of out hand in the Donor-button sector of conservatism activism, for they seem to spending more money raising more money than they are in being active.
Big Tea Party
The general idea of Big Tea Party is that for conservatism to work you have to establish a national base and then start hauling in the dough so you can then spread your vast managerial skills as to how to best beat the Left. This is a proposition about which I don’t generally agree, but still, Freedom Works is very good, spending millions to defeat both wishy-washy Republicans and Democrats. So I wish them well. But as I mentioned about the Precinct Project, I know people who could run rings around them with probably no more than a quarter of Matt Kibbe’s salary, (and ColdWarrior isn’t the sort to squirrel away even a few dollars to buy his wife a new winter coat.)
There’s ethical fiduciary responsibility and then there’s legal fiduciary responsibility. Big money tends to blur that distinction.
But at the “low” end of the Big Tea Party conservative Gold Rush, well, it’s another story. I once referred to Mark Meckler as having “no visible means of support” (from a famous WWII bomber), for his ability to raise money and have so little to show for. But in this current Article V endeavor he is small potatoes compared to www.TheTeaParty.net, an Arizona concern that has extensive fund raising connections, and headed by a guy named Todd Cefaratti. If TTP.net has ever funded a campaign, or did anything particularly conservative (giving interviews at CPAC doesn’t count) I’ve yet to hear of it. But to the extend there is such a thing as “laundering legal money”, so as to keep expenses and the final destination of donated dollars disguised from donors, I think TTP.net is a master. Enough said, this story is still developing.
Which brings us back, circuitously, to Mark Meckler of Article V fame, who in a past life, co-founded TeaPartyPatriots, along with Jenny Beth Martin, who is TPP’s current chief executive after she and Meckler parted ways in 2012. Under Jenny Beth, TPP has gone on to participate in many conservative programs, if you consider the CPAC social set a conservative cause. (I don’t.) Like being a board member at the First Baptist Church in southern city, it is a most elite perch to possess, for you run with only the city’s finest. To insinuate yourself into such rarefied air is quite a feat.
This is not necessarily a bad thing, so don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of people up there gripping palms and slapping backs on our behalf down here by the farm pond. It’s good to have people on your side who know people in high places. (Politicians have gotten rich pretending to be those people.)
But it’s the “on our side’ part I see very little evidence of. Maybe I’m wrong. But since this is already the problem we have with the Republican Establishment, “on our behalf”, a party of status who wouldn’t shake my hand on the street, it’s disconcerting when I see the same sort of status-seeking developing in the tea parties. From what I know of Jenny Beth Martin, she seems a very decent sort, and no libel would ever compare her to Mark Meckler, but I’ve been known to be wrong before. Still, TPP appears to be a status-seeking Big Tea Party organization, like the Board at First Baptist, attending to the loftier mission of the church, in the style to which it is accustomed, but nowhere to be seen at the street-level missionary work; voter get-out, walking the neighborhoods, precincts etc. They could do much better if they ever took a mind to.
Which leads us right back to the Article V thread, only with a left-handed twist.
In 1995 I reviewed a business plan for a Swedish NGO and its agents in Kenya and Tanzania. I knew the Kenya agent from a seminar I gave there in 1993. They were seeking my help to raise USD 2.2m to conduct a national private school survey. I reviewed the plan, which was a 52-page scam, the two agents taking 10% of each phase of the project with various line items inflated twenty times the going rate (e.g, a fleet or Mercedes to go around the Kenyan backcountry and secretaries getting $2ooo/month.).
Why did they allow me to see this plan? I wondered. Point is, today, they wouldn’t have had to with the internet, which possibly explains why modern promoters can omit thosse kinds of details. A 3-minute video filled with pathos, including school kids, a priest, a “Time is of the essence” urgent warning and a DONATE button, and the money just starts flowing in.
I responded to the Swedes that no American would donate $2.2M to accomplish what I could do for under $200K in an old beat-up Land Rover in less than 12 weeks.
So my question here:
Why should it require millions of dollars to promote a process when I can reach each and every one of those legislators with a one-page list of talking points and warnings for less then $200K?
I know the American people want something, but if they really wanted this Article V process, they could have put it out for bid and come up with something much better. I might have even submitted a bid.
In the hands of able facilitators, perhaps Article V could move forward honestly, but politically I’m certain it can never move forward smoothly. Too many bumps in the road. That is the great lie being passed onto the buyers of Article V now; no bumps. As I have often said, this pro-Article V crowd I’ve watched so far doesn’t seem to be able to organize a decent church picnic. If they were organizing the Last Supper they would have finished the arrangements no sooner than two years after the Resurrection. So all that money is going for what?
Sleeping with the enemy
I believe much of the new conservative wave since Obama and the rise of the tea parties in 201o has all been about money. But there is also some possibility that some inside the TP movement is being egged on by the slippery, Wormtongue Left, under their firm belief that people of the capitalist persuasion will do almost anything for it.
As regrettable as it is for me to report this, there is some truth in this estimation about some on our side. Once known, it is only a matter of laying out the right seducements and let Nature take care of itself. A fundamental belief of the Left has always been about the insatiable appetite the Right has for money. Not entirely true, still, they always seem to catch a few when they cast their nets…enough to justify sending more boats out each morning to cast for others. Only in the past generation have the Left been financially able to invest in these sorts of projects, but they have become very adept at it. The Colorado and Secretary of State Projects are evidence of this. Sadly, their secret, unlike our side, is that they invest wholly in defeating their enemies. Most GOP deep pockets think very little of winning as the Left now defines it.
This is not to say the Left has placed handcuffs are on the Article V movement, but there are enough fingerprints to cause an honest man to pause and reflect, and then reconsider the motives of some of its prime “conservative” movers. The internet Cliff’s Notes replacement, Wikipedia, in it’s lead story about the “Convention to Propose Amendments” page, lists four prominent liberal/leftist scholars (one of whom I actually admire); Lawrence Lessig, Sanford Levinson, Larry Sabato, and Jonathan Turley, as the prominent movers of a call for Article V, before finally naming a single conservative, Mark Levin, whose book, The Liberty Amendments, only last year, set off this new Article V wave; from the right. Professor Lessig has direct and active links with both the Goldwater Institute and Meckler and Farris, in what they call “hands across the aisle” ecumenical collaboration. Like Homey, the real Left “don’t play ecumenical”, so no sense in arguing who the useful idiots are here.
Michelle Horstman, a contributor at FreedomOutpost, mentioned this in February, and continues to research the relationships between the Left and the Article V promotion. Publius Huldah has probably been the loudest clarion of what might happen if they are able to open any convention up to several amendment proposals. More troubling, though, based on “erudite commonsense” (you’ll only see me using those two words together) points she made about the Parental Rights Amendment (Michael Farris) and the Balanced Budget Amendment (Nick Dranias), namely that both bequeathe to the Congress a power it does not currently possess; to grant rights to the people that the Constitution considers natural rights, beyond Congress’ power to “mess with”, as my mother would say. The longer-thinking Left, once those powers have been brought down to earth, it’s only for them to begin parsing (a Clinton term, if you’ve forgotten) these concepts in the expectation that some day soon they can have a Court that will consider, then allow, their new meaning of those concepts to become law. Again, I know that is neither Farris’ nor Dranias intent with their wording, but it seems vanity and pride forbids them from improving their draftsmanship today, just as in say 20 years, a nice sinecure in George Will’s old chair at Fox News and WAPO, will preclude either from doing a mea culpa from their new bench. Fait accompli.
This is how it works when caught up in the Washington Gold Rush.