Monthly Archives: November 2008

Not The Be-All, End-All

Conservative Republicans tout school choice – school vouchers and charter schools – as the means to liberate low and moderate income families from failing public schools. While I don’t disagree that vouchers and charter school offer an excellent short term solution, the question is, will they hurt more than they help?

School choice, as promoted by conservatives, is likely to draw off the most motivated families and students from our public schools. In other words, it will help students whose family situations already give them the highest likelihood for success, even in below average schools; families who already understand the importance of a good education and doing your homework every day. They inculcate values such as hard work and personal responsibility in their children.

Left behind will be the children who need excellent schools the most; those whose families are broken beyond repair or otherwise dysfunctional, whose parents not only don’t care if their children do their homework…they don’t even know if their children have homework. These are the parents who tell the teachers, “Don’t call me; I don’t want to get involved.”

Once those motivated families leave the public schools how likely is it that those parents will be activists for excellent public schools? How likely is it that the remaining families will step up to fill in the volunteer spots left vacant? How likely is it that the remaining students will step up and be role models and leaders?

Our long term path to educational success is to identify and recruit conservative candidates for school boards. We need school board members who are committed to implementing strong, a traditional curriculum. It’s time to stop using classrooms as laboratories and students as lab rats. If liberal educators want to test untried educational theories, let them ask for volunteers, but keep them out of the public school classrooms.

Our long term path to educational success is to motivate bright, young conservatives to choose careers in education at every level, both K through 12 and at the college level and especially as professors of education at our colleges and universities. We need also to motivate conservatives to choose careers as authors of textbooks in every subject area.

The path back to educational excellence is long. We must be resolved in our determination. We must be prepared to fight and fight hard with every fair means at our disposal, as the liberals now in control of our educational system will fight every step we try to take.  We must start today if we are to save our public schools and secure an informed electorate.

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This Should Do the Trick. Yeah.

I see that RNC Chair Mike Duncan and Co-Chair Jo Ann Davidson are going to be making appearances in Georgia on behalf of Saxby Chambliss.

That’s very kind of them and I’m sure Senator Chambliss appreciates their efforts, but who are they kidding? No disrespect intended, but these are not household names.

We know the importance of this seat is not lost on the RNC and other Republican Senators, Governors and US Reps. Is it really that hard to get someone down there to  help out who could *actually draw a crowd?* And if it is that hard, isn’t there *anyone* in the Republican party who carries a big enough club to force the issue?

I want to see some party unity. I want to see Republicans supporting each other and showing some enthusiasm for each other, rather than talking about each other behind their backs. I want to be part of a party where Senator Chambliss would be forced to turn down offers of visits by high profile Republicans because he just has too many to fit them all in.

Is that too much to ask?

Cross-posted at RedState.

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“Bloggers Beware!”

According to the Seattle Times, “State regulators are wondering whether online political activism amounts to lobbying, which could force Web-based activists to file public reports detailing their finances.” (Can Blogging Be Lobbying?) If it’s determined that blogging can, indeed, be classified as lobbying, bloggers would be required to make public financial disclosures naming their backers. As if most bloggers have financial backers.

Does my husband count? Do I have to make a disclosure?

Doesn’t that just figure? Just as Republicans are realizing that the internet is their best bet to by-pass the mainstream media and reach out directly to voters, some government bureaucrats decide that maybe it’s time for a dose of regulation. I know it’s serious because I actually agree with David Goldstein of, who says they’ll have to take him to court before he’ll register as a lobbyist. Not that it’s likely that anyone would take me to court as I’m sure someone would actually have to read this blog first.

While it appears fairly clear that a blog that simply reports facts or states opinions would be exempt, any call to action, such as encouraging people to write letters or raising money to support a political cause, might not be.

I think I can understand why raising money might be problematic, but writing letters? I must be a little confused about what lobbyists do. I was under the impression that lobbyists tried to influence the outcome of legislation by doing something involving two martini lunches and elected officials, rather than chatting up private citizens. I’m having a hard time seeing how blogging about writing letters to your Congressman about XYZ legislation is any different than talking to your neighbors about XYZ legislation and asking them to write.

Maybe that’s because the only difference is in the potential number of people you can contact and I fail to see why that is an issue. I’ve only just got started with this blog and already I feel like my First Amendment rights are being trampled upon.

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Opportunity Lost – Update

As I mentioned in my post, Opportunity Lost, a few days ago I e-mailed the Snohomish County Republicans in disgust over the sorry state of their website. I was looking for inspiration and an action plan and all I found was pre-election news.

After having received no response, this morning I e-mailed a few people on the Executive Committee individually; one responded. Here’s what I found out.

  1. The county GOP was nearly broke at the beginning of this election cycle. Donations were down and the financial situation is so critical, they may have to close the county office and temporarily disband.
  2. Volunteer turnout was dismal. Due to lack of enthusiasm in the base, only about 35% of the county GOP objectives were achieved.
  3. Ron Paul “libertarian extremists” continue to try to “take over” the county GOP. If that were to happen, traditional donors would cease any support for the party at the county level.
  4. The sorry state of the current website is caused from a hacker attack last summer, which shut down the previous website and sabotaged it to such an extent that it is still not functional. It cannot be repaired due to lack of financial resources. The current website is the best they can do until funds are available to repair the other site.
  5. My prior e-mail went unanswered because their e-mail system is shut down, due to late payments to the internet provider.
  6. The state GOP is in somewhat better condition financially but the Rossi loss may cause a sharp drop off in donations statewide.

Disclaimer: This information comes from a single source who is not personally known to me. Therefore, I can’t vouch for the accuracy of all the statements.

Even if the above is only partially true, the outlook for Republicans in Snohomish County is grim. The person I spoke to feels that the root problem is lack of strong party leadership at every level. How many other county organizations in strongly blue states are in the same condition?

I am at a complete loss on how to proceed. I want to do something and I’m enough of a political neophyte to need someone to tell me what that is.

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Republicans Make Me Tired

First it was the anonymous campaign aides, now it’s the Republican governors. Why is it that everyone feels the need to talk anonymously about Sarah Palin behind her back? Why does everyone find her so threatening?

I started a petition to send to the Republican governors, asking them to please stand together and refrain from backstabbing each other…I tried to say it a little nicer than that:

We the undersigned protest those unnamed governors who anonymously criticized Governor Sarah Palin while speaking to the press after the Republican Governors Association press conference.

Criticizing Governor Palin in this manner reflects poorly on all Republicans and threatens to cripple the party as we undertake to move forward after the 2008 election. Anyone choosing to criticize another anonymously marks him or herself as both cowardly and petty, as well as more interested in self-aggrandizement than in advancing the Republican platform and conservative principles. Furthermore, it calls into question their fitness to serve in higher office should they choose to seek it.

Thank you for your time. We respectfully call on you to stand together in unity and mutual support as it falls upon you to lead the nation in advancing the ideals of the Republican party and conservatism.

If you feel inclined to sign it, you can find it at Support Governor Sarah Palin.

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Language Abuse Alert: US Military to Abandon Iraqi Cities

Abandon: to leave completely and finally; forsake utterly; desert

The AP would have us believe that the US Military is abandoning Iraqi cities to a cruel fate (AP Article). At best, their headline could be considered a gross exaggeration.

Here’s the first sentence of the article:

The U.S. military in Iraq is abandoning — deliberately and with little public notice — a centerpiece of the widely acclaimed strategy it adopted nearly two years ago to turn the tide against the insurgency.

Now consider this snippet:

Now the Americans are reversing direction, consolidating in larger bases outside the cities and leaving security in the hands of the Iraqis while remaining within reach to respond as the Iraqi forces require.

This strategy and the associated timeline was devised in part by General David Petraeus, the man who executed the wildly successful surge in Iraq.  Yeah.  What would he know. So we’re not actually changing our strategy; we’re progressing on a pre-defined timeline. But I digress.

To say that this strategy constitutes abandoning the cities is akin to saying that a parent who runs alongside his child’s bicycle after taking off the training wheels has abandoned his child. It can hardly be considered abandonment when the troops will be close at hand, ready to step in as needed. A less prejudicial headline might have read, US Military Hands Over Cities’ Security to Iraqis.

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Opportunity Lost

I visited the Washington State Republican Party’s website yesterday, eager to see their plan for mobilizing for 2010. I was surprised to find that the site had not been updated since before last Tuesday’s election.

What’s up with that?

I would have expected that a pro-active, net-savvy organization would have had a plan for updating their website post-election whether the results were positive or negative. Silly me. State party leadership is, apparently, neither pro-active nor net-savvy. Lacking that, I would have hoped they would have recognized the opportunity to mobilize those motivated (i.e., pissed off) by the election results.

Anyone visiting the site hoping to see election results – which were not all bad here in Washington; as of this writing, it looks as though Republicans actually picked up a seat in the State House – or to find some fighting words of encouragement is out of luck. All they will find is the depressing reminder of pre-election optimism.

Still hopeful, I visited my county Republican website and encountered the same depressing old news.

I visited these websites hoping to see some sign that the party is ready to move forward…that there’s a plan…that there’s something ordinary people can do to help and get involved. And more importantly, that the party leadership knows what that plan is. Because, realistically, if they don’t know, who does? I was disappointed.

If, in fact, there is a plan, it should have been posted on November 5th. Now is the time to enlist and mobilize everyone who is discouraged about the election results and the direction our country is headed. Next month or next week is not soon enough. When people are motivated to act, they need to be able to do so. It needs to be easy and obvious what they should do next. Now is the time to build a grassroots organization and and the opportunity is lost due to lack of foresight.

I e-mailed both the State and County Chairmen asking for their plans to improve the Republican image and internet presence and, not surprisingly, I haven’t heard back from either. I don’t mean to be overly critical, but if we want improved results in 2010, we needed to have started rebuilding on November 5th.

I understand that the Republican party is an extreme minority in Washington, but that’s no excuse for not trying when the future of our country is at stake and failure is not an option.


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