Thursday, August 19, 2010

MIA Conservatives

What in the world is going on in Harris County?

Not much, apparently.

Today was the fifteenth e-mail, phone call or online message (counting all three ways of getting to me) in which someone asked me why they didn't see anything happening on the conservative side for the November election. This is getting so old. I don't blame the person for asking - he just wants to see conservative gains in our area, and doesn't know if he might have missed something somewhere. But there's plenty of blame to go around.


Lord knows I'm not a fan of how the local Republican party leadership has operated in the past, but I must say they're far ahead of where I thought they'd be. That said, that's still LIGHT YEARS BEHIND where they need to be.

Meet and greets every week for conservative candidates? That's great! Also, the leadership has been holding sessions letting the precinct chairs know what they should be doing, and giving them tools with which to do it. Rumor has it that if a chair doesn't actually commit to doing these vital party tasks, the party will recruit another person in the precinct to do the job. THAT is exactly the focus I'd expect to see from a party that is serious about winning.

But the reports coming in from tea party folks suggest not many of the precinct chairs are engaged at all in working the plans, working with candidates in their areas, getting out the vote, or registering new voters. That's disappointing. It doesn't do a bit of good to have great ideas passed around and no one out there executing them. You can be a successful conservative without joining in party politics, but if you ARE engaged in party politics, you really have an obligation to do SOMETHING.


There are some great candidates out there working hard for every vote in their districts. Fernando Herrera, for example, has focused on walking the district (or skating the district!) and meeting people at every opportunity. Fernando has been at it since early this year, and always has energy and excitement in his campaign. John Faulk has probably been to more events than anyone else, asking for help and support with his campaign to unseat Sheila Jackson Lee. Neither of these candidates are depending solely on radio or print or mass mail to get them elected.

Successful candidates have poured their time and energy into doing two main things; meeting voters and recruiting volunteers. Take a look at several campaigns in the area and ask whether that is true of each of them. Just off the cuff, I can look on the east side and see Roy Morales struggling with both of those simple tasks. No campaign office, no noticeable volunteer team (in a city with a candidate that can turn 80 people out for a state house race's block walk, this is a deathknell in a Congressional race), very few candidate signs and zero energy. If they don't turn that campaign around immediately, say hello to another two years of Gene Green.

Not all this is Roy's fault; he also has to contend with things like Eric Story (who Roy defeated in the primary) bashing him at every turn, as well as Dan Patrick, who I understand is going around referring to Roy as "Roy More-or less." And that is who so many conservatives listen to? That's who's holding up the standard for the party? Ultimately the question has to become, who's worse for the district: Gene Green or Roy Morales? We're not going to get everything we want right away. We didn't get in this mess in two years and we certainly can't get out of it in two years. Long game, small steps. Dan can hang on to his grand vision of 100% perfection in conservative candidates all the way to the minority.

Still, energy in a campaign fuels more energy. Asking people to support you in a campaign is a serious endeavor. A candidate who gives voters something to believe in, shows up where they are, listens to them and convinces them he cares about them can count on them to support him all the way. A candidate who doesn't connect with voters won't have energy, and if he can't create and promote and maintain that energy, he probably doesn't really want to win.


Oh, yes, I'm calling you closet conservatives out, too. I get so much e-mail it isn't funny, and a good bit of it centers around "Who do I vote for?" and "When are you going to have another rally?"

Really? So much for helping lead a fiscal and personal responsibility movement. It's a failure if all people want are another set of directions, or another entertainment opportunity. I didn't bleed, sweat and cry eighteen months of my life away to become an unpaid event planner and candidate cheerleader. I did everything I've done to try to get people to STOP OUTSOURCING THEIR DECISION-MAKING, and STOP WORSHIPPING POLITICAL FIGURES.

I've learned a lot these past months, but nothing more disappointing than the fact that most people really just don't care enough to do anything.

My hard-core, die-hard band of tea party allies and I will still be fighting for your freedoms; it's just going to take a lot longer if you sit in your easy chair and wait it out.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Long time..

Obviously, I've been away for too long.

My only excuse for not blogging here is that I've been managing e-mails, writing guest blogs, researching, updating the website at Houston Tea Party Society and generally getting into trouble.

I did some well-received opinion columns at Liberty Juice but didn't make it back here until today. I miss writing as me, rather than crafting communications for an organization. I love words, love putting them together, but sometimes I miss not having a filter.

So, what brings me back is the fact that it's 75 days and counting until the November elections - a project that's been, oh, only my life's work for eighteen months now - and I still don't think people really understand what's at stake. If they do, they certainly aren't acting like they do.

We seem to be awash in rallies in the run-up to the election. Well, I'm sorry, but as much fun as they are, and as much as they look good on television, they don't mean a thing unless people are willing to get out and vote. And that means, in an off-year election where turnout is always low, busting ass to identify unregistered conservatives and get them on the voter rolls, talking to neighbors, friends and coworkers about voting, going door-to-door and educating people. It means long hours in dripping-sweat weather walking up to doors that will likely be slammed in your face or go unanswered.

It's thankless. It's hard labor. It's certainly not glamorous. And it has to be done.

But instead, so many people are flocking to hear politicians speak, or hear a lecture on the Constitution, or attend a rally, or even, as Big Jolly remarks, go halfway across the country to attend a big party.

And you know why? Because none of that actually REQUIRES anything of the person.

Well, you can't win if you don't actually suit up and play the game. And too many people are leaving it to others to do the actual work. That doesn't put points on the scoreboard.

It's like this: rallies make a great news feature, but no one in politics will respect you until you bring one of two things to the table; money or votes. Tea party, in spite of all the media memes to the contrary, hasn't got money. Votes are all we can deliver. And if we aren't willing to do that, well then, we're going to fail. Simple as that.