Where Should We Go From Here?
There has been a lot of chatter, chock full of recriminations, in the short time since the elections, but in all of it there has been scant attention given to any sort of plan to move forward, and even less to trying to bring social and fiscal conservatives together in any way to present a unified front.
Some of you might wonder why I refer to the "elections" using the plural form. Yes, Obama versus Romney was the election that got most of the press coverage, but the mainstream media was so busy shilling for Obama that they either ignored, or were unable to report on in any meaningful way, the state and local elections. And in keeping with their liberal mindset, what coverage there was seemed to be focused on things like the dustup over idiotic comments by Republican senatorial hopefuls about abortion, or the approval by voters in California for even more taxes, particularly the increase in state income taxes that target the successful. The MSM limited their consumption of paper and ink and devoted their limited air time to only those stories that reinforced their narrative, which were "Conservatives are stupid neanderthals" and "See, ordinary voters in California want their taxes raised, and if that's what they want in California, it must be cool."
There are four areas that Republicans/Conservatives/Tea Party activists need to focus on going forward. There are four keys to restoring America to a nation that admires success and relies on itself. In my view they are education reform, wresting media control from the existing print and broadcast oligopoly, crippling union political power through increasing the number of right to work states and ending the apparently eternal quest for the "perfect" candidate.
The single greatest reform that can be brought to the issue of educating our children is school choice. The monopoly of governmentally directed and union staffed public schools must be brought to an end. Charter schools seem tailor-made for that task.
As long as the nation's public schools are not accountable for results, they will produce kids who have educations resembling those received by children in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Somalia. Do you think that's an exaggeration? Today we have children graduating from high school thinking that government creates jobs. They think that taxes on the "rich" will pay for everything. They apparently don't aspire to becoming one of the "rich" which would explain why they think it's just fine to tax the wealthy. If you need further proof, I would suggest that you view these two YouTube videos. They were produced by a high school student in Washington State who simply asked very basic questions of fellow students here and here. (Warning! Either of these videos will make you want to throw something. Remove anything really valuable that you may own to someplace out of easy reach.)
Public education is controlled by a unionized bureaucracy that spends your tax dollars (indirectly to be sure, but the source of the funds can be found in your school tax bill) to insure that they have sympathetic politicians with whom to negotiate their next contracts. Charter schools would be semi-private and not beholden to the teachers. Teachers would return to being employees, not grandees of some elaborate quasi-aristocracy. The curricula in charter schools would be established based more on what kids need to know to be informed and productive citizens and less on what most liberal/progressive groups want as an emphasis on their agenda. Knowing how to use a condom is fine, and realizing that cutting down every tree is probably not a good idea in the long run is a useful bit of knowledge, but when a high school graduate doesn't know that the Constitution doesn't empower the citizen, but was written to diminish and control the power of the state, then condoms and trees take a distant second place to what is educationally important.
On November 6th about 57,000,000 citizens voted for Mitt Romney. Not to put too fine a point on it, but fifty-seven million is a lot of potential customers to lose for any business. No matter how much crony capitalism finds its source of funding in the current administration, the loss of fifty-seven million customers will always trump a government handout.
Conservatives, Republicans, and Tea Party activists espouse capitalism and the free market. Well, capitalism and the free market are the best tools to use to bring down the New York Times and the three network news organizations (or if you prefer, Democrat propaganda sources). It's not even necessary to attack every advertiser that supports these outlets. If conservatives choose to, they can employ the very same tactics that the United Auto Workers union used for years when General Motors, Chrysler, and Ford shared an oligopoly position in auto manufacturing. The UAW would voice their contract demands and inform the Big Three auto companies that the demands were identical for all three. Then they would strike only one of the three. As the two firms that were not the target of the strike could easily observe the devastation caused by the strike on the firm that drew the short straw determining which company would be struck, they usually moved quickly to capitulate to the union's demands.
So Conservatives, Republicans, and Tea Party activists (known by the MSM and Janet Napolitano as "insurgents") need only identify and isolate the largest advertiser for one of the media sites to be targeted, and attack them ruthlessly. The remaining advertisers should see the writing on the wall fairly quickly. Their message will get through to the media, since even though they criticize "excessive profit", they are for-profit enterprises and they want to make sure they get a little more than their fair share of profit.
Eroding the Power of Labor Unions
Creating a favorable climate of public opinion in the states that are not now Right-to-Work (RTW) states is critical. So how does one alter public opinion? The same way that one counters false and misleading advertising and PR hokum. In this, it would seem better for the Tea Parties to take a leading role. That role should be supported by the Republican party as well as conservative activists who are not Republicans.
A constant stream of press releases that highlight the successes of RTW states in luring new businesses and expansions of already existing businesses out of the target states and into RTW locales. These press releases should stress the number of jobs lost to local people, the amount of tax revenue that could have been used to fix roads, or pay for schools or whatever the local "hot button issue" might be and the fact that the children that grew up in the non-RTW state will have to move away to find a job.
Press information packets debunking union claims that their dominance in a particular state does not convey better pay or benefits. Those information packets can't be a one-time event. The information must be reinforced from time to time.
Stories of the excesses in the salaries and benefits that union leaders have awarded themselves should be steady fodder for not just the larger, regional news outlets, but even down to the local weekly shopper rags that you frequently find in your mailbox. These local, weekly papers are always in need of filler materials, and stories such as these would be perfect grist for their mill.
This is a slow process, admittedly. But a trickle of water can erode granite, and that is the best approach to this task. Erosion of any residual belief in the benefits of union dominance is the key, and a steady flow of stories and news reports, talking points to bring up to neighbors, friends and relatives that ultimately influence the level of skepticism among voters will be the key in this effort.
The "Perfect" Candidate
Was Mitt Romney the perfect candidate? Was he "Pro-Life" enough? Was he not "likeable" enough? Did you just hate the way he combed his hair? Whatever your problem with the candidate might have been, I can offer three words of advice -- get over it! You will never find a perfect candidate. Never. Ever.
If you need further proof of that, you don't need to travel, you don't need to read volumes of boring prose about this or that candidate in the past who became an acceptable president who did almost everything that you were hoping for to a greater or lesser degree. This evidence is a lot easier to find than that and takes remarkably little effort. All you have to do is ask yourself, "Is my spouse (or significant other) perfect?" Or are there areas that disappoint you? Do they have little behaviors that might even drive you completely nuts? If your answer to that key question is "Why yes, as a matter of fact my spouse is perfect" then I have some news for you -- you're dead. I only say that since it seems likely that you must be in heaven. The rest of us would have to answer "No", though. And even with that "no" answer, we are usually pretty content because we rationally conclude that the total good of our spouses far outweighs their little flaws, foibles and peculiarities. That's why not everyone gets divorced.
If we can put up with less-than-perfect for a lifetime, can anyone seriously put forward an argument why they can't possibly put up with less-than-perfect for four or eight years? Seriously?
So there is absolutely no excuse to not vote. Not voting only helped Obama win since it denied Romney those votes. So those citizens who decided that Romney was so "less-than-perfect" that they couldn't bring themselves to vote for him are now stuck with the Guinness Book of Records world champion of "less-than-perfect".
There are undoubtedly voters reading this who are asking "But what about my issues? What about abortion? What about same sex marriage?"
The answer to those questions lies in recognizing that education reform, control of the media, reducing the cost to households that is solely in support of both public and private unions, and selecting and supporting candidates that might not be your picture of ideal are all values issues.
If people can't control the level of indoctrination that our children are exposed to, then what is taught to them at home becomes secondary. So education reform is now, and always has been, a "family value." If what they are being taught is liberal propaganda and does nothing to prepare our children to become independent, self-sufficient and informed citizens, then they will simply be additions to an already too large dependent class. Poverty from whatever cause is clearly a "family value". Those who can't feel the self-respect of being able to pay their bills, support their families, and be somewhat in control of their own destinies have a weak foundation to build any values upon.
If the media is allowed to continue spewing propaganda for their favored agenda, then that is what the vast majority of our citizens will identify with, and the media is not exactly noted for supporting what you consider "family values."
If the public sector labor unions (see education reform above) continue to demand, and actually get, inflated wages, benefits and unsupportable pensions, government at all levels must become more and more rapacious.
So these things are all family values. You might want to think about that before you sit out the next election in a huff over your candidate not being sufficiently pro-values.
Jim Yardley is a retired financial controller for a variety of manufacturing firms, a Vietnam veteran and an independent voter. Jim blogs at http://jimyardley.wordpress.com/, or he can be contacted directly at firstname.lastname@example.org