Archive for September, 2010

My Thoughts On The Tea Party Movement

During much of the course of this year, I’ve been asked by many friends and acquaintances what my thoughts are regarding the Tea Party movement. At first, I didn’t have much of an opinion because I didn’t know much about it. However, as 2010 has moved on–so has the Tea Party movement.

It is almost daily now that we see some news media outlet doing some kind of story about the Tea Party. Whether it’s a story about a Tea Party candidate or a story about the movement itself, we just can’t get away from its popularity.

It is certainly a curious movement with names like Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck having thrust themselves into de-facto leadership roles. The Tea Party movement is passionate, thoughtful, colorful, and often entertaining. While many of us now know so much about the Tea Party, there is still so much we do not know.

In particular, we have seen the effectiveness of this movement across the nation in many of the Republican Primary Elections. Sarah Palin backed Tea Party Candidates have won a great number of primary elections across America, and Tea Party backed candidates have also shown the ability to oust the establishment. However, what we still do not know is how these Tea Party Candidates will fare in the November elections.

General Elections are nothing like primaries–folks on both sides often run toward the center on ideological issues. Having said that, the Independent vote will be crucial this year and if a candidate is unable to court this constituency they’ll be in a lot of trouble! With all the important issues facing Americans right now, speaking about real solutions and presenting a plan may be the difference between winning and losing. In addition, a lot of the races across the country will be decided by overall turn-out. If Democrats can rally their base in some of the close races they’ll pull off some wins–if Republicans can energize their supporters and put a great get-out-the-vote effort on; they have a chance.

As a Republican, I can tell you that much of what the Tea Party stands for I support. As an American I love seeing a new breed of citizen become involved in our political process. As a realist however, I wonder if this movement will in the end accomplish what’s its set out to do…whatever that may be? If you read the many Tea Party websites you’ll see things like…“uphold the Constitution, speak out, stop excessive government spending, return government to the people, etc.”

What I find interesting about the movement is that it’s  generated a huge number of supporters–into the many millions! What they haven’t done is come even close to equaling the numbers of dedicated Republicans and Democrats in this nation. I know Republicans and Democrats that both believe in protecting the Constitution of the United States and making government more efficient. Many of these folks are not members of the Tea Party movement, but still serve to make America a better place to live, work, and raise their families.

In Nevada, we have over 16 independent Tea Party organizations. Many of which have no direct communication with each other–in fact, some of these groups are backing different candidates in legislative and judicial races. If not for websites and social media, you wouldn’t even know some of these groups were linked to the Tea Party. In my opinion what’s most disturbing about the movement is that it lacks a leader. Often we are hearing from multiple individuals that speak in conflict with each other on issues linked to the Tea Party cause.

There are some who argue that the Tea Party represents the little guy, the disenfranchised citizen who just wants the old guard out. It’s true that this grassroots organization has brought some new folks into the political mold–people who have never been involved in politics before. However, what I fear as a Republican is a high jacking of our party! I’m one of those Republicans who believes that we as a party can represent all Americans. I believe that we need to be the party of Lincoln and Ronald Reagan. I believe that we must have a big tent and welcome all Americans regardless of race, religion, or gender into the Republican Party.

Only time will tell how effective this Tea Party movement will be. In November we’ll have an answer and history will be made one way or the other. I can only hope as an American and citizen who cares deeply about this nation that folks make the right decision when they go into the ballot box. The status quo isn’t getting the job done anymore, and we face too many challenges to not put the right individuals into public office.

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Monday, September 20th, 2010 Politics No Comments

“Redistricting” What Nevadans Need To Be Talking About!

Before I get into my commentary on this, I’d like to provide you with the definition of “Gerrymandering” as defined on Wikipedia. This word best describes the process following the U.S. Census work; conducted every 10 years

Gerrymandering:

“is a form of boundary delimitation (redistricting) in which electoral district or constituency boundaries are deliberately modified for electoral purposes, thereby producing a contorted or unusual shape. The resulting district is known as a gerrymander; however, that word can also refer to the process.

Gerrymandering may be used to achieve desired electoral results for a particular party, or may be used to help or hinder a particular group of constituents, such as a political, racial, linguistic, religious or class group.

When used to allege that a given party is gaining disproportionate power, the term gerrymandering has negative connotations. However, a gerrymander may also be used for purposes that some perceive as positive, notably in US federal voting district boundaries which produce a proportion of constituencies with an African-American or other minority in the majority (these are thus called “minority-majority districts”).”

Lets rewind to the year 2001, when I participated and worked on the redistricting efforts at the Nevada State Legislature. What many folks may not know is that “Districts” including, but not limited to Legislative Districts, Congressional Districts, City Council Districts, School Board Districts, County Commission Districts, and others are decided by State Lawmakers. This means that your State Senate and State Assembly ultimately decide how each district will look for the next 10 years. Let me tell you that this process is not only complex, cumbersome, and insanely tedious, but it’s VERY political.

Having said that, if you’re a Republican in Nevada right now and you care about where the state is heading–you may want to be looking into how you can help with redistricting efforts next year. In the interim you should be worried about the fact that Republicans will most likely not control the Nevada State Assembly, and though we’ve got an outside shot at taking back the Nevada State Senate and if trends remain the same we’ll have another GOP Governor–our big problem is that Democrats in the State Assembly can do a lot of damage to our redistricting prospects.

Not to bring you doom and gloom, but having been involved in this process 10 years ago I know it’s tough! Having a “balance of power” in Nevada is very important to the citizens of the state. Even if we win the Governor’s race and Brian Sandoval becomes the next Chief Executive of our state–Sandoval may be facing a veto-proof majority of Democrats in the State Assembly. So, if history tells us anything the Democrats may do what they did 10 years ago and “Gerrymander” district boundaries so folks like Shelley Berkley can forever hold onto her Congressional seats, and draw the State Assembly lines as such to not allow a Republican to get elected in much of the Greater Las Vegas area; we’re in trouble!

What do we do?

My advise right now would be to work your neighborhoods, talk to your friends, and do what you can to elect some Republicans in Nevada’s State Assembly Districts. If we can pick-up a few seats in the State Assembly it will give us a much better chance at a fair and equitable redistricting process. If Republicans however, decide to remain complacent and fail to get out the vote this November–we’ll be looking at 10 more years of Legislative Democratic rule.

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Sunday, September 12th, 2010 Nevada, Politics No Comments

“The Man In The Arena”, by Theodore Roosevelt

I was talking with a friend the other day about the rigors of politics and government , and the below quote came to mind. The political process is very brutal and those who seek public office sacrifice so much! I know, because I’ve been there and I’ve seen what the battlefield in politics looks like. It is not easy and sometimes it can be very thanks-less. However, I can tell you that I find so many rewards by being involved in our political process. The ability to make a difference in someones life is why I stay so steadfast in my commitment to activism. We must remember that a silent voice is not a voice at all–saying something is better than saying nothing.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt Speech at the Sorbonne Paris, France April 23, 1910

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010 Politics No Comments
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