Monday, August 31, 2009

There's a lot of press chasing the latest doings of the administration, and the vocal opposition to its agenda. You can't turn on the news without seeing a story about the health care debate, or the economy, or Cap and Trade. The debate is a good thing, and people who never cared about such issues before have suddenly found themselves chest-deep in the intricacies of legislation, discussing the Constitution. That renewed interest can never be bad for our republic.

What concerns me is the image portrayed by our opposition.

First, let's think about the goal here. Is the highest goal to keep a given piece of legislation from being passed? If so, then how do we make that happen? The obvious answer is to amass enough public opposition to render it politically impossible for Congress to pass it. This is why the town hall meetings have been so compelling; people are attending these events in unprecedented numbers to make their opinion known, especially on the health care legislation.

Is it having an effect? A little bit. It might result in a watered-down version of what's currently on offer being passed. But make no mistake, unless there's a radical change in the typical congressvarmint's point of view, this bill, in some form, WILL PASS.

So how do you change the view of Congress? My opinion is that you do it by reaching some of their base who do not currently agree with you. That takes many forms, but a good example is Tracy Miller's attempt to explain the health care legislation at an aborted Sheila Jackson Lee town hall. Sheila moved her town hall, and Tracy ended up at the original location. There she met several people who were supporters of the congresswoman, but who didn't know much about what was in the bill. She spent time that evening talking to those people and giving them facts and excerpts from the bill, and found common ground with them. She gave them something that was in short supply from Sheila Jackson Lee - information. That's a valuable outreach effort.

Would Tracy have had that opportunity to reach these SJL supporters had she charged in with her Obama Joker poster held high? I really don't think so. Would they have been receptive to anything she had to say? Probably not. Tracy knows this, and acted accordingly.

We should all take a page from her book, and learn something about image.

When Houston Tea Party Society hosted tea parties, we did our best to encourage people to focus on Congress as their targets. Putting the focus on the newly-elected, highly popular, still-honeymooning president would only serve to make those supporters dig in their heels and root their support even deeper. Congress was (and is) a much smarter target choice, and as Tracy found in an early SJL town hall, rich with material - as when SJL pretended to listen to Tracy's question and talked on her cell phone at the same time. That video landed the congresswoman, and Tracy, on the Fox News Channel.

The point here is that without the distraction of an altered Obama photo, without the distraction of a Sheila Jackson Lee voodoo doll, the story became Sheila Jackson Lee's behavior. Add those distracting elements into the picture, and the media would be reporting on the poster, on the doll. Is that the story we want to tell? Is that the goal; to get a chuckle out of people who agree with us? Or is the larger goal to prevail, to sway more people on the fence to agree with us, to amass the numbers we need to force Congress to abandon their socialist plans?

You can go for the cheap laugh, or you can go for the win. It's up to you. But if you go for the laugh, don't be surprised if we aren't all laughing along. Some of us would like to keep the focus on the issues.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sacrifice (8/22 Radio Commentary)

Two weeks ago I saw the movie “300” for the first time with Natalie and friends at her birthday celebration. I’d heard the stories of Thermopylae and the Spartans’ stand against the Persian hordes, and writers have used it for centuries as a heroic example of fighting for freedom. But there’s one theme that keeps coming back to me; sacrifice.

In the movie, King Leonidas knows Sparta is threatened by the Persians, and yet the politicians will not act to defend it. And he knows that if he waits until the Persians get to Sparta, they will all be enslaved. So in defiance of the oracle and the politicians, he takes his 300 men and goes to meet the Persians in the most defensible place he can find. For days they fight bravely and hold off the Persians, until they are betrayed when someone shows the Persians another path to outflank the Spartans. Leonidas and all his 300 are finally overcome by the Persian army.

Their sacrifice was not in vain, though. The small but powerful resistance led to a greater number of Greeks standing against Persia, and their resistance eventually convinced the Persians to abandon the battle to conquer all of Greece.

So how does that relate to today?

If the socialist agenda is passed, you’ll pay higher prices for things. Your taxes will go up. You will give up some things you used to be able to afford with ease. You’ll have to choose between things like health care and home repair. Between the light bill and the grocery bill. Between buying gas for your car or tires to stay on the road safely.

And if you decide to fight the socialist onslaught, you’ll sacrifice much more as well. You’ll sacrifice your time, your energy, your peace of mind, your resources, your vacations, your family time, your talent, your free time, and in my case, even your sanity at times.

The question is, are you merely going to sacrifice because the other side won, or are you going to sacrifice to prevent it?

Make no mistake; you are going to sacrifice in some way because of the invasion of socialism. It’s up to you whether you do it involuntarily because they take it from you, or whether you choose to sacrifice for the fight.

Me, I like a good fight.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I am flagging myself because I do not believe the typical spin of the Left when it comes to the current health care legislation, and I understand economics well enough to recognize a plan that defies all economic principles.

I am flagging myself because, as Hillary Clinton said, “I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree with this administration somehow you’re not patriotic. We should stand up and say we are Americans and we have a right to debate and disagree with any administration.”

I am flagging myself because I love and support the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and the country that results from them, and I believe that those documents, not the whims of men, should govern our nation.

I am flagging myself because I believe that government of the people, by the people, and for the people requires us to stand up in opposition whenever we believe it has gone off track.

I am flagging myself because I am not afraid to stand up and say what I believe to anyone, including anyone in power in the administration.

I am flagging myself because if Congress and the Administration will not listen to the voice of the people, we will make our voices louder, starting with me.

I am flagging myself because I don’t get my information solely from the media’s administration-fed talking points, nor do I get it solely from pundits who closet themselves with officials to decide on the best spin on the news of the day.

I am flagging myself because I am an independent thinker, and will not swallow everything without skepticism.

I am flagging myself because I am an American.

I am flagging myself because I believe in this country.

I am flagging myself so that other people will join me in standing up and speaking out.

I am flagging myself because I love this country.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Test Drive the New Health Care Plan

Free! Who doesn’t like the word “free?” I’m a bargain-shopper, I clip coupons and shop the sales, so of course I always notice the word “free.”Well, I have to admit I’m starting to hate it, especially since the resurgence of the government health care debate. And let’s call it what it is: GOVERNMENT health care.

I don’t want to get into the facts, figures and statistics they’ll toss at us to try to sell it. Let’s just look at basic economic principles.

The president says if you like your current health care plan, you can keep it. If you don’t have a health care plan, or are dissatisfied with your current plan, you can opt in to the government plan. They call this the public option. Sounds good so far, right? Sounds fair?

But take the emotion out of the issue. Instead, let’s talk about something simpler, like cars, and restate that premise.

If you like your current car, you can keep driving it. If you don’t have a car, or are dissatisfied with your current car, you can opt for a government car. All of a sudden that doesn’t sound so fair, does it? Cars cost money, and the people who are driving cars they like, people who spent good money for those cars, see other people getting free cars. And what’s worse, the people paying to keep their own cars realize that they must also be paying for the free cars somehow.

What would any reasonably intelligent car owner do in this situation? If he’s looking out for himself, he’s running as fast as he can to the government car handout center.

But suddenly, there’s one less car owner paying his way. Suddenly, the car dealership has one less customer. Suddenly, other people realize this bargain too, and rush off to get their own government car. Everyone gets a “freebie.” YAY!!!!

Except the car dealer goes out of business. And then people discover that the government cars take a while to come in. Sometimes a long while. And people discover the government cars aren’t always the greatest; instead they get whatever cars happen to be on the government lot.

Now go back to health care. As more people sign on to the free health care option, and more businesses stop paying for employees’ health care, private insurance will completely disappear. That’s not promoting health care choices! And consider this: the government pays doctors a lot less for Medicaid patients than insurance companies do. Will doctors even want to continue to practice medicine if they’re only going to be paid by the government? That LIMITS your choices even further. The government has already made a mess of Medicaid and Social Security. Are these the people you’re going to trust with your health care?

The lesson here, just like your mom taught you all those years ago, is this: nothing in life is “FREE.”