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Response to PA Gov. Tom Ridge on Conservatives & the Environment

On April 22nd this year, Earth Day, The Atlantic published an opinion piece by former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, about conservatives and the environment (https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/04/environment-gop-out-touch/610333/). The Atlantic solicited responses to Ridge’s essay, and so I submitted one to them, but received back no indication they would publish it. They did not publish it, because liberals like those at The Atlantic accept and publish only liberals, and reject conservatives.  So here it is, my response to Governor Ridge’s essay about conservatives and the environment.

I felt compelled to respond to Governor Ridge’s essay, in part because I worked in his administration, and in part because I have met few Republicans who can articulate a truly conservative view of environmental policy, which Governor Ridge failed to do. I was also afraid of being seen as attacking someone I hold in high esteem, and I need to say that while I may disagree with Governor Ridge’s essay and some of his recent public stances, like supporting PA governor Tom Wolf’s covid19 lockdown, I remain impressed by Governor Ridge’s high character. I am proud to have served in his distinctively excellent administration.

Governor Ridge’s  essay slightly opens a doorway that I am both pleased and also reluctant to push all the way open. But it needs to be opened, all the way, because for far too long establishment Republicans have claimed to be conservatives, while acting like liberals.

Governor Ridge writes his essay “as a conservative,” and despite boldly leading by example in placing highly competent gays, women, and minorities in senior government positions literally decades ago, long before most Democrats followed suit, Governor Ridge was, in fact, a true conservative. His achievements in conservative policy are legion, including Pennsylvania becoming a shall-issue concealed firearm carry state and his administration’s brownfield land recycling program.

Nonetheless, the emphasis today is on he “was.”

Governor Ridge was a conservative, and by today’s standard, he is not. This is not because Governor Ridge has changed, but because what now defines a conservative has changed so dramatically since the time he was governor. The same holds true for liberals, by the way, in their own way (we see the Democrat Party now a totally, openly, violent, racist, anti-America Marxist organization).

And like so many, if not all other political elites, especially Republicans, and most especially establishment Republicans from the hide-bound, bunker-mentality Pennsylvania GOP, Governor Ridge has not changed with the times. Governor Ridge was a conservative, and today he often speaks like a liberal, and sides with liberals on policy disputes. He is not alone in this, but each Republican who does so still causes pain to us conservatives in the political trenches. It is frustrating as hell to experience a former Republican appointee or elected official try to speak with authority as some sort of representative of conservativism, when in fact, they are simply liberals. Or RINOs for short (Republican In Name Only – not conservative).

Probably the biggest indication that Governor Ridge is out of synch with today’s conservatives is how he encourages us to adopt a laundry list of liberal environmental policies in his The Atlantic essay. This means that his solution for conservatives to succeed is for us to adopt liberalism. Even though most of the “environmental” groups are simply employment offices for Democrat Party operatives pushing Marxist, partisan policies. Very few environmental groups today are even seeking solutions, because they are busy dreaming up new problems.

Most of the policies pushed by environmental groups today are by definition Big Coercive Government, Small Defenseless Citizen, anti-Constitution, disregard for private property rights, mountains out of mole hills, and so on. These groups are not about the environment, they simply use the subject of the environment as another avenue to push Marxism and the Big Government necessary to force it down our throats. Governor Ridge should know this, of all people.

What Governor Ridge failed to address is: How can we conservatives embrace the very same failed and inferior liberal policies that drove us to becoming conservatives in the first place? If we adopt liberalism, then we are abandoning conservativism, and failing as conservatives.

Every single environmental policy recommendation that Governor Ridge lists in his essay directly contradicts core conservative principles, like small government, less intrusive government, less spendy government, less activist government, less regulatory government, accountable government and accountable taxpayer-funded government employees. Literally every single policy he lists requires the government to intervene in a big, coercive way, often over trifling differences or demonstrably false premises.

Governor Ridge’s environmental ideas are not conservativism; they are quintessential big government liberalism.

Perhaps the centerpiece of his essay is that conservatives must concede at least a bit on “climate change.” Yet, for conservatives, this particular issue, more than any other, highlights the distinction between us and liberals. For conservatives to agree with the Marxist, disproven, and notoriously phony climate change religion would be to abandon basic, solid, conservative principles altogether….like Capitalism 101, solid math and science, and transparency. Again, we are unpersuaded the climate warming-cooling-change-whatever issue even exists, let alone that a government solution consistent with America’s Constitution could be found.

Governor Ridge writes “The Republican Party has largely abandoned environmental issues.” To which I and a host of other conservatives would respond, No, but many Republicans have abandoned the citizen voters and the forgotten taxpayers of America. Many careerist Republicans have embraced popular culture and its feel-good-now bubblegum policies. For Republicans to respect openly partisan “environmental” groups and embrace liberal nonsense like so-called ‘climate change’ and similar policies would only be one more betrayal in a long line of policy and political betrayals committed by the Republican establishment. Conservatives have perfectly sound environmental policies based on perfectly sound, all-American principles. If you but ask us, we will explain them. We conservatives didn’t abandon environmental issues, nor did we leave the Republican Party. The Republican establishment abandoned us.

Josh First is president of Appalachian Land & Conservation Services, LLC. He has worked at the US EPA in Washington, DC, The Conservation Fund, the Central Pennsylvania Conservancy, and was Director of Environmental Education and Information at the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources in the Governor Tom Ridge administration.

24 hours after election, GOP still asleep while Democrats are at war

America is in trouble, no two ways about it.

Seems like the only person actually fighting for America is Donald Trump, his kids, and a small handful of elected senators and congressmen.

Meanwhile, the Democrat Party has not let down for one minute. They have maintained  a war footing against their political enemies that is both admirable for its forcefulness and disgusting for being anti-America in every way. But the Democrats are playing for all the marbles, all the money, all the power, and so they do not let up. It helps them that they have the mainstream media on their side as their mouthpiece and running interference for them.

But the Republicans could respond. If they had any fight in them to do so.

Here’s a suggestion: US Senate leader Mitch McConnell could tell the Democrats that their un-American sham kangaroo secret court so-called “impeachment” thingy will not be honored in the US Senate. The senate will simply not consider it because it is so obviously flawed, lacking that due process thing and transparency thing and witness cross-examination thing America is known for.

But instead, McConnell says that the fake impeachment hoax will not prevail in the senate, meaning he will honor it despite its flaws. Why should he even buy in to the whole premise in the first place?

Turns out the GOP dropped the state of Virginia, didn’t bother to even field candidates in 30 of the state house and senate seats up for election yesterday. No door-to-door. NO FIGHT. So the Democrats took the governorship and both legislative houses.

Even as the Democrats reveal their party to be a giant crime syndicate that uses government to make billions of dollars and to crush people who get in their way, the Republican Party seems willing to just stand there and do nothing.

So, yes, conservatives have some happy Election Day 2019 results, but there is a cultural revolution that needs to occur within the GOP itself if winning is going to be more than haphazard. The “Flaccid GOP Syndrome” has been an issue for me personally for ten years, as I have previously run for office several times over that period, and have encountered the self-aggrandizing, self-adulating, self-protecting, non-performing RINO career officials and staffers riddling the Harrisburg Capitol building and Washington, DC. These people care about themselves, not you, not me, not Pennsylvania, not America. When they wake up in the morning, the first thing they think about is “How is today going to be good for me?”

So they don’t fight. Fighting makes waves, it’s risky. And they don’t want to risk their comfy careers!

I promise you this is the truth about the vast majority of the elected officials and their staffers here in Harrisburg and Washington. No political party can sustain wins and long term success when it is so inward looking and so self-interested. Politics in democratic societies is a substitute for war and violence. So in order to be truly successful, a political party must use the principles of war.

The Democrats have a screaming mob and lots of violence, and it could be met head-on, to the GOP’s advantage. Instead, the GOP just steps out of the way and hopes the howling mob will keep going and bother someone else along its path, not realizing that the zombies will eventually get them, too.

My “I voted Today” sticker on a Filson vest

Pennsylvanians deserve an open primary

“I don’t want some unaffiliated voter determining the nominee in my political party,” goes the overused and unpersuading assertion for why closed primaries, where voters can only vote for who is in their particular political party, and not across party lines. Independents cannot vote for Republicans or Democrats, only for Independents and so on etc.

Pennsylvania has a closed primary election.

If there is one thing that the two main political parties can agree on, it’s that they do not want to share power with anyone else; certainly not the voters! So many cozy deals between the Democrats and Republicans – dividing up the spoils of elected office – have been revealed over the years (the biggest most recent is the PA Turnpike Commission scandal) that is it any wonder why this happy and very lucrative lovefest between the two political parties is being protected at all costs…

The thing is, both the Republican and the Democrat parties are private organizations. I found this out first hand in 2009 when I ran for congress, against the wishes of the PA Republican Party. I was one of those first-in “Tea Party” candidates who declared after just six months of Obama’s treasonous communism and the GOP’s complacency. Except that neither I nor the other similar grass roots candidates knew that we were in the “Tea Party.” We were just mad as hell at both political parties, neither of which seemed interested in helping us, the working people of America, and were rather devoted to the constellations of money-sucking special interest leeches circling about each of them. Elected officials, party hacks, and party functionaries in both political parties did just fine in that scenario, even if the rest of America was falling apart.

And when we began to push our own GOP, we learned that they were accountable to no one, because they were and remain a private entity.

A couple years ago another independent-minded candidate ran in a Dauphin County Democrat primary, and learned the same lesson from his own party. Nope, no transparency for you, you little peon citizen!

Both political parties answer to absolutely no one in the public, because they are private corporations. They can play all kinds of money games, and rumor whispering games, and endorsement games, and information hiding games, because they can; and no one can do anything about it.

So why are we taxpaying voters footing the enormous annual election bills for these two private entities, so that they can hold on to power and keep us citizens at bay, fending off change and accountability?

Why do the Democrats and the Republicans alone get to determine so many important outcomes in our government, when we taxpayers are the ones who are paying for how these two political parties are elected in the first place, let alone all of the expenditures they feed to themselves and their chums? In other words, we voters pay for everything and are told no, we can get only a small portion of what we should get in return, in terms of determining the political outcomes that affect us.

If the two parties want to remain private, and also want to have closed primaries, then let them pay for all of the election expenses in Pennsylvania. We taxpaying voters owe these two private entities nothing, as they owe us nothing (they tell us).

It is well past time to open up our primaries. That flexibility is the true representation of freedom, the freedom to choose, which is the core of representative government. And in Pennsylvania’s particular case, that freedom to choose is about political parties sharing something with the taxpayers who pay for all of the elections of which the two parties are, so far, the sole beneficiaries. It is not right, it is not good, it is not fair.

Open up and let us in!

Awesome fist courtesy of Lee Vanden Brink

Vote for Rebecca Warren for Superior Court

Rebecca Warren is the most qualified candidate for Superior Court of three candidates for two open seats, and she deserves our vote. In fact, she is the only candidate you should vote for, which ensures she will take her position on the court.

Herself a former District Attorney (and a mom, wife, and community volunteer), Rebecca is a classic high quality, highly educated, highly professionally experienced (27 years), independent-minded grass roots candidate, up against a corrupt political machine whose members want puppets and parrots in political positions so party bosses can pull their strings and make them say and do things the party bosses want, as opposed to doing the things that We, The People need and deserve.

What does it say about the Pennsylvania Republican Party when it takes sides with the politically extreme, anti-conservative Pennsylvania Bar Association? In this race, both the Pennsylvania GOP and the PBA are supporting a grossly unqualified young woman who has almost no professional experience, never held elected office, and who has publicly spoken against our sacred Second Amendment rights, Miss Megan King.

Rebecca Warren has been endorsed and recommended by Firearms Owners Against Crime, the only pro-Second Amendment organization in Pennsylvania we can rely upon for honest analysis of our political candidates. She is also endorsed by the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association.

Rebecca is no one’s parrot puppet. She is too smart for that, and she cares about you, me, the Us that comprises the other 99.99% of Pennsylvanians who are not in the hidden back rooms of the PAGOP or the PBA, who support candidates like Megan King because they will make the two organizations more wealthy and powerful.

Next Tuesday, May 21st, vote only for Rebecca Warren for Superior Court, vote for no other candidate. Vote this way because she is and has been endorsed by actual voters, not by 50 political boss guys in those hidden back rooms who you have never heard of and who never want to hear from you.

Rebecca Warren for Superior Court! Rebecca Warren for you, me, the citizens of Pennsylvania.

Sometimes a threesome just sucks

Welp. Primary Election Day is now behind us. Thank God.

Yesterday’s bright moment was Andrew Lewis running and winning against a large part of the GOP establishment in the 105th State House District.

It lies around out through Harrisburg’s eastern suburbs and could easily swing “RINO,” but yesterday it did not. Proving the power of staying positive and of doing door-to-door, Lewis impressed so many voters that many of them eagerly relayed to us volunteer poll workers their happy experiences meeting him at their home’s front door.

That said, much of yesterday’s political outcomes were unfortunate, for those of us who trust and hope in We, The People and who have learned not to trust the GOP establishment.

Woody Allen once quipped “I believe in relationships. Love between two people is a beautiful thing. Between three, it’s fantastic.”

Well, sometimes that truism just doesn’t hold water, and nowhere was this observation more evident than the results from yesterday’s political threesomes in Pennsylvania.

As we political watchers and participants have seen repeatedly, and as I myself have experienced as a candidate for office, three-way races can and often do allow liberal Republicans to prevail. And in fact, it now seems that the threesome approach is a significant strategy for GOPe candidates.

Yesterday, Dan Meuser won the PA 9th congressional district election (he lives in the 8th District) through the benefit of the two grass roots candidates  (Halcovage and Uehlinger) each siphoning off sufficient votes to allow the establishment candidate to get the plurality. There is some question out there about whether Uehlinger was, in fact, a conservative, or even a Republican; despite getting in the race first, his campaign seemed the least organized. Halcovage was not terribly organized, either, and did not respond to important questionnaires from interest groups. Firearms Owners Against Crime advised voters to select only Meuser of the three candidates.

Actually, Meuser may have obtained more than 50% of the vote, which is an indication that he might have won on his own merits (e.g. he was the only candidate deemed acceptable on Second Amendment rights to FOAC). All his negatives notwithstanding.

One lesson for sure comes out of that particular three-way race: If you cannot present yourself as an organized, credible candidate, then please spare everyone the drama and do not run.

People who wake up on some Thursday morning and say “What the heck, I am gonna run for office” have every right to do so, but recognize that there are consequences to this. Better to have a one-on-one clear choice for the voters. We will almost always have an establishment candidate, so pick the one best grass roots candidate as The People’s champion, and chase off the rest.

In the PA governor’s race, liberal dark horse Laura Ellsworth knew she had no chance of winning. I mean, with liberal policy positions like hers, she should run as a Democrat (she said she would not accept money from the NRA). But run she did, and though she obtained less than 20% of the vote, she siphoned off sufficient votes (especially in Western PA) from true conservative and US Army veteran Paul Mango to get Scott Wagner the plurality.

Mango is from western PA and would have otherwise obtained most of Ellsworth’s votes.

Yesterday I was a volunteer poll worker from 7:00 AM until 7:35PM in the Harrisburg area.

What I heard from GOP voters (and mostly from women over 50 years old) at several different polls was that they were angry at both Mango and Wagner for all the negative ads. They knew Ellsworth was liberal, but they were voting for her as an alternative to the two boys engaged in distasteful roughhousing.

Wasn’t this a variable we were picking up from women voters weeks ago? Yes.

Did someone pay Ellsworth to run? One asks, because she knew her chances were very low to nil, that her liberal ideas and policy positions are way out of synch with the vast majority of Republican voters.

Ellsworth the Spoiler has now burned her bridges with about 40% of the state’s Republican super voters, which even the most obtuse political nerds would expect as a logical outcome.

So why else was she in it? One cannot help but wonder if she was paid to play the spoiler. It was done in the last race I ran in….by someone involved in the race she ran in…so…

When we look at Idaho’s primary yesterday, a similar scene unfolded. The unlikely liberal GOPe candidate beat the conservative, by way of siphoning of votes by a third candidate who himself had no hope of winning.

Folks, the only way these third candidates can run is if they are independently wealthy and just yee-haw running for office; or, they are willing to sacrifice their name in one race by trying to build it up for a future run at some other office; or, most likely, they have “other” sources of income or promises made to reward them for playing the spoiler in the current race.

So, as we move into a more experienced and savvy grass roots political landscape, begun just ten years ago as the “tea party,” we are learning that our own strength can be used against us judo-like by the same corrupt political establishment we are trying to defeat.

Threesome races may look democratic, and it is true that every American has the right to run for office. But sometimes appearances can be deceiving. Sometimes those threesomes are designed to undermine the conservative grass roots candidate, and to help the plain vanilla milquetoast establishment candidate win.

Sometimes political threesomes just plain suck. And not in a good way. They can be designed to exploit the big-hearted nature of so many grass roots activists, so that their enemy, the GOPe, can win.

Lesson learned.

Why I am voting for Paul Mango for governor, and not for Scott Wagner

When I stood out for twelve hours in the freezing weather four years ago, handing out Scott Wagner for Senate brochures at a polling place in York County, I was helping Pennsylvania elect someone to state government who promised to remain independent of political party leaders and the insider dealings that are the despicable hallmark of Pennsylvania Republican party politics.

Within a few months of Wagner’s historic upset win over a creaky establishment, I began to regret his obvious character flaws. And then six months later I had the unfortunate experience of having Wagner lie through omission to my face.

“Yeah, I know John DiSanto,” said Wagner.

What Wagner did not say was that he was aggressively promoting DiSanto as a would-be candidate for state senate. Fast forward another six months, and DiSanto was on track to be the state senator for the 15th district. He has been a huge improvement over the former senator, Rob Teplitz, a political radical out of place here in this region who was also dedicated to his constituents.  I have no real hard feelings about DiSanto now bearing the burden of serving in state government, as it comes with big personal costs that I realize I would not want.

But I saw then that Scott Wagner was not the straight-up guy a lot of us believed he was when we worked hard to get him elected.

Wagner has this habit of ascribing to himself full responsibility for his material and political successes. As a capitalist I applaud anyone who can and does leave to their son or nephew a running business and millions of dollars. And I also applaud those people who are strong enough to take those inheritances and build on them, instead of squandering them, as so many Americans do.

But it upsets me to hear Wagner take credit for these things when he was simply the beneficiary of other people’s hard work.

No, Mr. Wagner, you did not win that special election in York County all by yourself.

Rather, we, the hard working campaign volunteers won it for you, by getting fired up people out to every polling place in the district and demonstrating to the voters that we, the people, wanted you to be elected. Voters saw our passion and responded by handing the GOPe a tough and well-deserved loss.

No, you did not create that trucking business as you constantly claim, you inherited a good portion of it.

Two days ago at a dog-and-pony show press event, Scott Wagner released a phony “internal” poll result saying that he already leads in this primary race by 50.2% to Paul Mango’s 20-something percent.

Flanking Wagner was the chairman and the vice-chair of the Pennsylvania Republican Party, the same GOPe that Wagner once opposed but which he has now shamelessly joined. Wagner’s willingness to trade his political independence for political gain with the same old political insiders is another indication that he is not a straight-up guy. Rather, Wagner is just another aggressive political opportunist willing to sell his grandma and his former supporters to get ahead.

The message of having the two GOP political bosses next to him at the event is simple: “Vote for our insider stooge here.”

But if Wagner is already so far ahead in the polls, then why does he need the personal presence of political bosses at his press event? The whole thing is phony – the supposed poll (two other recent polls show a statistical dead heat between Mango and Wagner, with also-ran Laura Ellsworth in the single digits), the fake political endorsement, his supposed political independence. One thing is for sure, Scott Wagner is now yet just another political insider, trying to use every object around him to gain power and prestige. Just like he used and then discarded us campaign volunteers to get into the state senate.

Wagner’s political views have spanned the full spectrum, from great to crazy left, like his transvestite bathroom bill sponsorship.

Will the real Scott Wagner please stand up? Without screaming at anyone, please.

Contrast this chaotic mess to his primary opponent Paul Mango.

Paul Mango is about as exciting as watching the grass grow.

He is soft-spoken, measured, very smart and articulate on policy, and to me, mostly boring. Though he has gotten better at public presentations as time has gone on.

Is Mango the fiery revolutionary that Scott Wagner was four years ago? Nope.

Neither is Scott Wagner.

Is Mango the political trench warfare conservative that Wagner used to be, and which many of us wish for more each day? Nope.

Neither is Scott Wagner.

Mango is a work horse, not a show horse.

Instead of having all of Wagner’s drama and duplicity, Mango is a simple guy with true blue collar working class roots, who put himself through West Point and became a real-deal warrior in the US Army 101st Rangers, and who went on to build a career for himself that put him at the financial top of American society. Not to mention his all-American family. He is a US Army veteran who served our nation, thank you very much.

Mango is the all-American rags-to-riches story every American politician wishes to be, and which Wagner has tried to falsely claim he is.

This is why I am voting for Paul Mango and not for Scott Wagner.

You make up your own mind on this race, and you should also know I made up my mind through direct experience with both candidates. Sometimes it isn’t just how great a candidate is, but also how awful the other guy is.

Mango is good enough, Wagner is awful.

Some thoughts on the Alabama special election

Judge Roy Moore has probably lost the special election for the vacant US Senate seat in Alabama by just a couple thousand votes.

What this result means to me, and I think to a lot of others who share my values and way of seeing things, is the following:

  1. Moore’s big “crime” was to be a conservative Christian Constitutionalist who bucked the bipartisan big government UniParty, and who openly challenged US Senate leader Mitch “The Squish” McConnell.
  2. Moore’s unwillingness to go along with the GOP’s careful bipartisan management of America’s slow motion death spiral was a direct challenge and affront to the GOP establishment’s grip on power.
  3. This “crime” made Moore a big target, and all through his tough primary election he faced tens of millions of dollars of negative attack ads by, who else, the GOP establishment, including incredible statements by McConnell (and other Republicans) that he’d prefer a liberal Democrat in that seat over an independent-minded conservative Republican like Moore.
  4. Once into the general election against super leftist Democrat Doug Jones, lo and behold!, allegations of sexual impropriety suddenly emerge against Moore. From forty years ago. Surprise! By a couple women who had actual details and another five who basically said he asked them to date him. The media specializes in these assassinations against Republicans and conservatives, and it is a now predictable cycle.

The Washington Post made it a cause célèbre to beat Moore, if not outright destroy his character, so the unproven, empty allegations were repeated and repeated and repeated as if they were fact. When people outside the establishment media began to dig into these “allegations,” one woman’s claims immediately failed under scrutiny. Her stated facts and timeline changed constantly, the other people in the story said she was lying, that she never worked in the places she said she worked, and so on. She appeared to be a political shill with an axe to grind or a hankering for media attention.

The one other woman actually sounded credible, but the bottom line was when she and Moore were alone, and he busted a move on her, she declined and he then took her right home. The fact that she was fourteen at the time adds a big Ooh Icky Gross factor to normal people today, but forty years ago she was of the age of consent in Alabama. Hey, I’m a Yankee, so don’t ask me about that. Bottom line for Moore was that he was operating inside the boundaries, not outside. With one woman; not five or seven or nine.

  1. Moore faced the combined power of both the Democrat and Republican parties, and their collective interest groups. He faced the combined power of the entire establishment media. He had on his side political activist Steve Bannon and some independent-minded conservatives from around America. Against this incredible wave of hate, lies, false vilification, and tens of millions of dollars of negative attack ads, it is amazing that Moore actually came so close to winning.
  2. The take-away from this election result is that the American People now openly face a bipartisan UniParty that believes in all-powerful big government, increasingly limited individual liberty and freedom, mass illegal immigration and cultural conversion (not cultural assimilation), and the fundamental changing of America from a Constitutional Republic to….some sort of European social democracy.

While the Democrat Party has since Obama’s election openly embraced socialism, communism, and national suicide, the Republican Party has quietly hidden its agenda. Over Obama’s eight year reign of terror, the GOP made all sorts of symbolic gestures, but it never fought him. Moore’s kind of special elections have really tested the GOP, and they have showed their hand: They are Democrat Lite.

For the GOP it is not a question of whether or not America will become a socialist dystopia, but simply when. There is no fight left in the GOP, at least not against socialism and national suicide. Instead, the GOP saves its fight for opposing independents and conservatives who threaten its hold on whatever power it can carve out for itself in its power-sharing arrangement with the Democrats. The GOP party functionaries are like little bureaucrats, ready to move into whatever positions of political and government power are handed to them. The GOP and its functionaries are not patriots, they are not on the side of The People. They are our enemy, not our friend.

  1. So, for me it means more resolve to stand and fight for America, the America as it was envisioned in 1776 and constituted in 1787. Wherever that takes me. I can also easily say this: If I lived in a state with an open primary, I would become a registered Independent. The Republican Party left me, or rather has kicked me and people like me aside. Duly noted.

 

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.

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.

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.