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My impression of Paul Mango, candidate for PA Guv

Three weeks ago I spent half an hour on the phone with Paul Mango, newly declared candidate for Pennsylvania governor.

We talked about his candidacy, his background, political issues, economics, hopes and challenges, etc. We then followed up with several back and forth emails, each one of his expressing specific appreciation and thanks for how the exchange had benefited him in a certain way. He is a new candidate, new to politics (other than as a very generous donor to Republican candidates), and he is digesting a lot of new information and ideas, new ways of thinking.

Last week I met Mango at his formal campaign announcement at the Twin Ponds sports and fitness center in Camp Hill\Mechanicsburg.

Twin Ponds previously served as the region’s HQ for primary and general election candidate Donald Trump, who won Pennsylvania’s Electoral College votes by a margin probably accounted for just by the simple dedication of Central PA’s “normal Americans” in both political parties. The big facility is run by a pretty, petite firebrand of a woman, Mrs. Patton aka General Patton.

Here are my impressions of Mango (and yes, I know, he’s just getting started):

He is impressive in several key ways: His family background and values, his education and military service, and his high level professional work experience.

Paul Mango is a very smart, confident, and empathetic man, who comes across as a reserved, reflective, nice person, and a responsive, good listener.  He is positive and genuine.

I questioned him in person about how he will compete against candidate Scott Wagner, who has spent years battling in the trenches with a lot of conservative voters and activists, against entrenched establishment political hacks in politics for personal financial gain, and who has thereby built up credibility with many politically active citizens who value bravery and honesty.

When I pointed out that Wagner has also alienated a lot of people (including many of his former supporters) in that process (because Wagner seems selfish, arrogant, and unappreciative), Mango responded that he will not say anything negative because he has never seen valuable leadership succeed except through “inspiring people.”

That is a very high bar to set for one’s self, much less one’s political competitors, but it is worthy because it says Mango has integrity. The Wagner campaign has already criticized Mango for supporting Cruz first, and then Trump later, though I got the impression that is what Scott Wagner did, too, like a lot of us did in last year’s Republican primary. Here we go, the mud is already flying!

Well, to start, if Mango is going to inspire voters, then he needs to increase his positive speaking energy, his intensity, his passion. The other night he came across as a little nervous, and definitely way too deliberative, almost plodding, at his formal announcement. His prepared speech was long and the delivery was very, very slow.

Recall that Abraham Lincoln’s speech at Gettysburg is so hard hitting because it was not long and plodding, but brief and hard hitting.

Despite serving in the 82nd Airborne and actually being a warrior, Mango’s even-keeled demeanor does not seem warrior-like, while his main competitor, Wagner, did not do military service and yet is a proven culture and fiscal political warrior.

Though he wore jeans, work boots, and an Oxford shirt, Mango is the very definition and personification of “corporate,” which will probably look or smell like moderate RINO to the trench warfare grass roots conservatives. Time will tell if that first impression is accurate.

His approach to fixing government is his approach to fixing businesses, about which it is best to just quote my activist friend Ron:

The problem with these guys [corporate/business/ Chamber of Commerce GOP candidates who compare running government to running business] is they all have plans to fix government by running it like a business. This is not a unique viewpoint and it has never worked. This is politics, not business. Took me a while to accept that.  He can have the greatest plan ever but it won’t matter because politicians don’t care [about people, policy, economy etc.].  They care about themselves and getting re-elected.”

It is a fact that careerist politicians in BOTH PARTIES do not act like corporate employees, because there is almost no accountability in politics. The old quip about the only accountability in politics resulting from being “found in bed with a dead girl or a live boy” probably doesn’t even apply today.

Like him or not, candidate Scott Wagner goes right to the key policy battles: Corrupt blood-sucking unions, ridiculous regulations that violate our federal and state constitutions, wasted and stolen taxpayer money.

That is where the rubber meets the road in the culture war for America’s soul and the war for a middle-income economy.

This is the battle front between America as it was founded and as we knew it, and America as a bastion of totalitarian socialism and politically correct thought police, envisioned by the Left.

Candidate Mango will probably arrive here at the same battle front, eventually, because the leftists’ violent street battles across America tell us that nice words alone don’t work, and Trump’s improbable win says it all (JEB! was also the quintessential corporate nice guy, and GOP voters utterly rejected him).

Mango’s steady personality seems to avoid conflict, which though commendable and reassuring in so many other settings, can send the message to some voters that he may be like a zillion other mainstream RINOs who are unwilling to dive into the bar room brawl that needs to happen for America to be set right. These careerist RINOs don’t want to get their hands dirty waging political war, which tells voters that they really just don’t care very much about political or cultural outcomes.

Mango is smart enough to see these facts and voter trends. Whether he arrives at that messy policy battle front sooner or later is the question. If he finds a way to comfortably voice his quiet intensity, his passion, his compassion for working Pennsylvanians, then he will overcome the potential impression that he is another empty GOP suit (I was told that PA GOP kingmaker Bob Asher has NOT supported Mango, which appeals to the conservative, independent-minded base).

I like the guy and I am looking forward to seeing him develop over the next six months, because, again, he is new to politics and just getting started.

Dangerous RINOs Ahead

Around the world, both the leading and moderately successful democracies  are unsustainably absorbing huge numbers of illegal immigrants who both refuse to integrate and probably could not integrate, even if they wanted.

In most places they show no signs of integrating, and are instead associated with lawlessness and chaos.

Europe, Israel, and America are where this is happening.

The faux “victim” status of the invaders has given them access to publicly funded health and education benefits, against the will of the people paying for them.

This invasion-in-fact puts increasing economic and social pressure on existing populations, the people who built their societies from the ground up. You know, the “natives.”

These European natives live in the very places against which the invaders are entitled to “resist occupation.” Why and how it is “occupation” when Europeans and Americans move to other countries, but it is a morally required population shift when everyone moves to Europe and America, is one of those mysteries that can probably only be explained by being steeped in the ‘deep thinking’ of Marxism.

This presently unarmed invasion is made possible by ruling elites who either benefit financially from the cheap labor influx, or who personally enjoy signalling their great virtues and thus willfully ignore the huge problems descending upon the natives.

While you would think leaders from opposite sides of the aisle would collide on this civilization-ending invasion, the truth is that huge collaboration between left and right party establishments is what has enabled this in the first place. Most of the left and the right are run by ruling class elites.

Among the world’s ruling class elite, the RINO is the most dangerous animal. This is because the RINO says it is a watch dog, when in fact it is a guide dog for the invaders while the American family lies asleep inside the cozy home.

Living in its own cushy, posh, comfy little corner, insulated from the reality around it, the careerist RINO just has to successfully pretend to be a watch dog and occasionally bark like a watch dog. That keeps most of the rabble away. Never mind that the rabble are the citizens the RINO is supposed to be watching.

Aside from a small group of conservatives in Congress and in state houses, the GOPe is not protecting America. The GOPe is not standing guard. Sure some of the GOPe members make a few noises about standing up for the citizens they represent, but just like with the GOPe recent unwillingness to eliminate ObamaCare, these RINOs cannot bring themselves to make a principled stand when the time has arrived. It might upset someone and threaten their cozy elected job.

Around here in central Pennsylvania, career congressman Charlie Dent is probably the greatest example of the most worthless of RINOs in Congress, and state senator Jake Corman is the best example in the PA legislature.  Won’t a couple patriots please challenge Dent and Corman in their upcoming primaries?

It is time to make these RINOs an endangered species. Otherwise, America will become an endangered specie itself.

Cruz Quixote

Ted Cruz was my candidate until he was clear he’d rather be used by the GOPe to block Trump than stand on his principles, do or die.

Now with another Super Tuesday primary election behind us and boosting Trump, with zero chance of a Cruz win, Ted Cruz has decided to go on a Quixotic anti Trump jihad.

Cruz has made damaging Trump his top principle. Not defeating Hillary. Not promoting an overhaul of the GOP. Nope. Hurting Trump is now Cruz’s raison d’etre.

Pathetic. And unpatriotic.

At this point, a real American would step aside and cheer on the front runner. A real American would consider the national interest before his own.

Not Cruz. Being an obstructionist is now his highest and best use. This is sad to me, as I had thought he was bigger than this juvenile behavior.

It’s so bad that some Pennsylvania Cruz -aligned delegates are talking openly of going to the Republican convention just to work against Trump.

Donald Trump still does not represent my values very well, nor do I trust him to be the warrior in office he is now.  But Trump is a damn sight better than Benghazi Billary, and he’s now our standard barer, for better or worse.

Time to let go of personal ambitions in the greater interest of America. Or maybe move to Canada and just get out of our way.

Our Future Belongs to the Young

After spending years running for office and fighting many political battles on behalf of the common citizen, I was excited to run for State Senate in 2015-2016. It was supposed to be “our time.”

Enter Andrew Lewis, a young guy newly back in the area after a ten year period of service in the US Army.

Some already know the story: In late November hunting season I fell, injured my left knee, and headed in to surgery.

Competing against wealthy land developer John DiSanto was going to be a battle royale I nonetheless felt confident of winning. But with Andrew undermining our campaign base in rural, wonderful Perry County, and with him making up for a lack of money with an abundance of energy and hard work in the door to door arena, it made sense to cut my losses and see if Andrew could get my own agenda done.

After all, I did not relish the prospect of a 33/33/33 result decided by a couple hundred votes in the end.  Our family time and money was worth more at home than on that uncertain kind of a campaign trail.

Andrew had already adopted a great deal of our campaign platform, and when he agreed to term limits and not taking unconstitutional perquisites, I endorsed him.

Here we are, a day out from Election Day.

I am asking you to vote for Andrew Lewis in the Pennsylvania State Senate 15th District race.

Andrew Lewis is a young conservative who represents the future of American leadership.

John DiSanto is a fine man I’ve enjoyed getting to know on the campaign trail, but he has two liabilities: First, his business by its nature has left a trail of unhappy people. That’s not a great selling point in an election where the same people’s votes are needed.

Second, John’s toughness may be an asset in the land development field, but it’s not a great skill set in politics. John’s performance during and after debates demonstrates he is uncomfortable being challenged. If he easily gets testy among a friendly Republican forum, how’s he going to come off in a death match with sitting senator Rob Teplitz?

The 15th senate district should be in traditional American hands, and Andrew has the charm, background, and articulate policy interest necessary to demonstrate to citizens of all political leanings that he has their interests at heart first and foremost.

Please vote for Andrew Lewis on Tuesday.

If it smells bad, it’s bad

Donald Trump wasn’t my candidate. Lacking a political or social track record appealing to my values, he was going to be enjoyed for having mixed it up with the corrupt political establishment.

But then Ted Cruz began behaving in ways inconsistent with my values, too, and I began second guessing my loyalty to his campaign.

American voters across the country have increasingly complained about voterless primaries run by insiders. Actual voters, public opinion, have been shunted aside in Colorado, Wyoming, Indiana, and elsewhere.

We are then lectured about “the rules,” and how if people want to win, they need to play by the rules.

Well, in Georgia there were no rules. It was Lord of the Flies, anarchy, where voter sentiment was tossed out and insiders voted themselves into delegate roles inconsistent with the actual vote outcome.

Rules? The rules here are meaningless. They change with the wind. They’re open to interpretation. They apparently don’t mean much at the end of the Election Day, and across America actual voters are complaining that something smells bad. They’re saying they are being disenfranchised.

If our voters say it smells bad, then it’s bad.

On Facebook some people I know and respect assert that Trump is “whining” about losing, that he’s disorganized, that he doesn’t care about or want to learn the various state rules. That he doesn’t want to play by the rules.

Problem with this thinking is, Trump is merely giving voice to the hundreds of thousands of fellow citizens feeling shut out from their political process. When our fellow citizens express these concerns, we must listen. When they say they’re being ripped off by insiders playing by rules that are by their nature fast and loose, we should listen.

When voting fails, the fabric of society is tearing.

Real conservatives are principled. First and above all else, conservatives follow our Constitution and the basic, essential principles devolving from it. Like one citizen, one vote as the basis of our republic.

People who say they don’t care about these claims, who say they don’t care about Trump or his supporters, are really saying they just want to win and they don’t care how they do that.  And that right there is as unprincipled as it gets.

Cruz’s character is being tested here. In my sad opinion, this candidate I donated to, campaigned for, lined up endorsements for in Pennsylvania, is demonstrating poor character. He should be disavowing the voterless primaries he has “won,” as well as the delegates he has “turned,” despite the will of the voters who created those delegates in the first place.

No question, Cruz better represented my values early on. But now, his actions say that my perception of his values was wrong. And thus, I’m not voting for that, or him. I’m voting for the voters and their voice, their best advocate, Donald Trump.

Farewell Senate Campaign Page, Hello ol’ Blog!

With the Pennsylvania Primary election just eleven days away, the time has arrived to go back to the blog and leave the campaign policies and pledges to candidates Andrew Lewis and John DiSanto.

The last blog post was in June 2015. How surprising it was back then to see the amount of traffic the blog received, and from all corners of the world. Most of our readers were from Harrisburg and Washington, DC, two government hot spots and centers for policy development. Wonks galore in those two locations. But then there were the places like Washington STATE, Louisiana, Upstate New York, and California, where many fewer dedicated policy weenies reside. Even recently a bearded Democrat said he missed this blog, “Even though I don’t agree with you a lot of the time, you are a good writer and you have interesting subjects.”

So we begin again. However, with the election just days away, you can expect some politicking to occur here. Welcome back, dear reader.

Risk & Sacrifice separate grass roots activists from insulated party professionals

In 2009, like many other citizens shocked at the sudden, dramatic changes and corruption re-shaping America, I greatly increased my political activity.

Part of a grass-roots wave of citizen activists that year, I ran in a four-way US Congressional primary.  It’s a long story, and in short I ended up liking one of my opponents so much I hoped he would win.  Along the way, several people closely affiliated with the Republican Party tried to dissuade me from running, assuring me that a certain sitting state senator would beat the incumbent Democrat, congressman Tim Holden.

Our campaign still netted about 25% of the vote in a four-way race, which is solid performance, especially considering that one of the candidates had run before, one was a sitting state senator, one was a well-known political activist, and we had gotten a late start and spent little money.

In the general election, Holden crushed the Republican state senator who won that primary race by 400 votes.

Fast forward to January 2012, and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejects a new, heavily gerrymandered Republican redistricting plan.  At the heart of the court’s decision was the “egregious” and grossly unnatural shape of the 15th state senate district, where I happened to then reside, and still do now, too.

The PA Supreme Court called the new district “the iron cross,” and indeed it looked like a cross shape and was iron clad against upstart citizens asserting themselves in political races reserved for establishment members only.

(My current congressional district is the same, with only about ten blocks of Harrisburg City included in what is otherwise a large, rural district reaching the Maryland state line. Guess who lives in that ten-block area. Yes. Me. )

Given my previous public interest in running for the 15th senate seat, it was obvious that excluding our family’s home from that district was purposeful: It was an attempt by political bosses to artificially silence and thwart an otherwise good candidate who does not see his job as serving political bosses.

The court’s ruling allowed a handful of us to wage a tremendous grass roots 11th hour campaign for that senate seat, getting our start two days into the three-week ballot petition process.

Although we did not win, we did give the political bosses a hell of a challenge by winning a huge number of votes with only pennies spent.

A year later, York businessman Scott Wagner beat those same political bosses for his state senate seat, in a historic write-in campaign against a million dollars of party money. The race, and its remarkable result, drew national attention.  Clearly the voters responded to Wagner’s grass roots campaign in the face of a party juggernaut.

This evening I spent some time speaking with an NRA staffer.  We met at the Great American Outdoor Show, which is the former Eastern Outdoors Show and now NRA-run at the PA Farm Show complex, and he gave me an opportunity to vent a bit and explain my frustration with the NRA.

To wit: An increasing number of grass roots activists now perceive the NRA as merely an arm of the Republican Party establishment political bosses.  The same bosses who oppose conservative/ independent candidates like me and Wagner.

See, back in 2012, I was the only NRA member in that three-way primary race (to be fair, one candidate had been an NRA member for several months, which could never, ever be construed as a political move, even though he was the candidate selected by the same political bosses who created a safe district for him to run in), but the NRA refused to get involved.

If there was any endorsement that was deserved in that race, it would have been the NRA endorsing their one and only member, and a decades-long member at that – Me. (Firearm Owners Against Crime did endorse the one pro-Second Amendment candidate, thank you very much, Kim Stolfer)

And then tonight it dawned on me on the way home from the Farm Show complex…two basic but defining experiences separate grass roots activists and candidates from the party establishment: Risk taking and making sacrifices.

By definition, grass roots candidates take many risks and make many sacrifices, both of which are seen as signs of weakness by the establishment.

Self-starters motivated by principle and passion for good government, the grass roots candidates and activists have to reach into their own pockets to get any traction, and they often risk their jobs and businesses in challenging the establishment power structure.  To get invitations to events, they have to reach out and ask, knock on doors, make phone calls.  They have to cobble together campaigns made of volunteers and pennies, and they usually are grossly under-funded now matter how successful they are.

On the other hand, party establishment candidates have the ready-made party machine in their sails from the get-go.  Money, experienced volunteers, paid staffers, refined walking lists, the establishment can muster a tremendous force in a relatively short time.  Establishment candidates also enjoy artificial party endorsements (formal or informal) that give them access to huge pots of party campaign funds or a leg-up in other ways.

Establishment groups like NRA view grass roots candidates the same way as the party establishment views them- trouble makers.

In short, few if any establishment candidates put in their own money to drive their campaigns, take risks, or make sacrifices in their pursuit of elected office. Everything is done for them by other people.

So long as party establishment staff and officials and groups like NRA maintain this artificial lifestyle and view, this alternate reality, this disconnect between the grass roots voters and the party that needs their votes will continue and deepen.

So long as the voters see grass roots activists and candidates struggling against an unfair arrangement that is created solely for the preservation of political power and profit, they will continue to migrate away from the party and support people they can relate to the most.

An elder in my family once told me that taking risks and making sacrifices build character and lead to success, and although a 26-year career full of both risks and sacrifices has often left me wondering at the truth of that claim, I increasingly see it bearing out in electoral politics.

The voters are not dumb; they can see the pure American earnestness in their fellow citizen fighting City Hall.  They respect risk-taking and sacrifices made in the pursuit of saving America.  That is a strong character which no establishment candidate can or ever will have.

Those political parties and groups that ignore that strong American character do so at their own risk, because they will lose the supporters they need to be successful.

 

Time to primary challenge Rep. John Boehner

John Boehner used every trick, threat, and bribe possible to hold on to his role as Speaker of the US House. The man is a disaster, policy-wise. He says one thing to appease the people, then does whatever he wants to appease his political chums. That is not leadership, it is corrupt behavior, failed governance, and it is exactly everything that is wrong with politics and Washington, DC, a place I worked for seven years.

It is time that the fight was carried to Boehner directly. It is now time for a challenger to take him on in a primary race in his own district.

Cantor loss is shocking only to those who are not paying attention

Yes, yes, yes, Congressman Eric Cantor (R-VA) was an important man, high up, famous, powerful…blah blah blah.  And he lost his five-million dollar primary campaign to a grass roots candidate who spent a couple hundred thousand dollars.

Hey, Republican establishment folks, are you now paying attention?

Do you maybe now understand what so many of your own voters have been telling you for years?

To wit: America is worth saving, and it can only be saved by breaking from the creeping Big Government identity of “moderate” Republicans.  That means No on amnesty, No on gun control, No on universal background checks aka gun owners database, No on ObamaDon’tCare.

In other words, Hell Yes on freedom and liberty.

Cantor failed on these issues, and his voters punished him for it.

While the NRA lost out to Gun Owners of America in this race, probably no group was more closely identified with Cantor, and the Republican establishment around him, than the Republican Jewish Coalition, a nice group I have had some exposure to.  Sadly, RJC mishandled Cantor’s loss in a gargantuan way that may spell the organization’s descent or even demise.  In many ways, Tuesday night’s RJC is emblematic of the larger Republican establishment, which also seems determined to drive itself over a cliff.

Late Tuesday night, 11:26 PM, to be exact, the RJC issued a brief lamentation about Cantor’s electoral loss and how great Cantor was and blah blah blah.

Did RJC acknowledge that REPUBLICAN voters had spoken?  Nope.  Did RJC congratulate the winner, economics professor David Brat?  Nope.  Did RJC publicly stake out hopes for Brat to follow closely in Cantor’s pro-Israel shoes?  Nope.

Instead, RJC came across as soundly rejecting the wisdom of REPUBLICAN voters in Cantor’s former district, and failing to acknowledge the Big Government issues of a) gun (citizen) control and b) illegal aliens, who are destroying American democracy, disenfranchising American voters, and robbing American taxpayers.

RJC may be a small group with great intentions, but Tuesday night, they were the lost voice for the entire Republican Establishment.  And it shows just how out of touch the establishment is with the American citizen.  Every conservative activist who reads the RJC statement will wonder what the hell is in the DC Beltway water, because it sure isn’t anything they’d want to drink.

The folks who ran and funded Cantor’s campaign, who issued public statements for him, who stood by him when he wafted in the wind on critical issues, and who bewailed his loss, are incredibly out of touch with the actual voters, taxpayers, citizens, moms, dads, students, and out-of-work-car-won’t-run Americans who are slowly, surely, awakening to the crisis we are in, and who are not not shocked that Cantor lost.

But the experts…they are shocked.

What does this portend or mean to Pennsylvanians? Here is one suggestion: Political parties are supposed to represent the voters and stand for principles. Once the PA GOP returns to that model, winning elections will be easy.

Corbett’s Ten Percent challenge

Looking at the statewide vote results (votes Corbett received compared to votes Jim Cawley received) and at counties where Bob Guzzardi appeared on the ballot opposite governor Tom Corbett, it appears there’s about ten percent of Republican voters who are seriously disaffected with Corbett.

These are the voters who could not bring themselves to vote for Corbett, even while voting for other Republicans, or who actively wrote in alternative names.  York County has a surprisingly high number of about 25%.

Are these the angry Penn Staters, whose murky ghost has been hovering in Corbett’s background since the fictional Louis Freeh report sank the beloved institution known as Joe Paterno, and took down his creation (PSU), too?  Corbett seemed to join in the blaming of Paterno for the predations of Jerry Sandusky, or at least his actions and statements left many Penn Staters wondering if he did. 

Or are these voters associated with some of Corbett’s better known “Oopsy” moments, like personally standing at a lectern, reading glasses and pencil in hand, roll-call strong arming the Republican State Committee into reluctantly endorsing Steve Welch for US Senate. Republican voters later overwhelmingly rejected the very urban, effete Welch, and embraced muddy boots, down to earth coal miner Tom Smith.

Maybe these are voters affiliated with people who were once close to Corbett, but who did not see ‘promises kept’ at the personal level.

It’s impossible now to know exactly who these voters are, and whether or not they can be brought back into the Republican fold in time for November’s general election.  Plenty of polls, voter surveys, and canvassing are going to occur in the coming weeks, in search of the necessary mix of voters to get Corbett into his second term.

One thing is for sure: In Democrat-heavy Pennsylvania, Corbett wins only with a fully unified Republican party behind him. Right now, he’s got real work to do to achieve that.