Lessons from Philadelphia, What’s Next

On November 13, 2012, in FreedomWorks, by eyeonfreedom

http://www.freedomworks.org/blog/eyeonfreedom/lessons-from-philadelphia-whats-next

Over the past four years, FreedomWorks has helped the conservative and libertarian movements grow and thrive. A million people marched on Capitol Hill in 2009. The GOP won a 60+ seat majority in the House in 2010. Freedomworks’ Super PAC raised over $15 million and spearheaded GOTV efforts in Senate races across the country planting yard signs by the truckload as far as the eye can see. Yet, conservatives lost many of the races we cared about most in 2012. While it has been argued that the top of our ticket did not inspire some, the fact remains that we did not get our voters to the polls in races we cared about most. If conservatives and libertarians are to achieve a Hostile Takeover of the GOP, we need to elect candidates whose loyalty to principle is greater than their loyalty to party. In order to do that, we need to move beyond being a political movement and become a political operation.

There have been many recriminations over the past week as to the cause of the GOP electoral defeat. Some have suggested the GOP is the Leave it to Beaver party that has failed to keep up with ‘shifting demographics’. Others have pointed to the failure of Mitt Romney’s GOTV software known as Project ORCA. While Project ORCA was clearly a technological failure, the greater failure was that Mitt Romney’s GOTV effort was not localized. The same can be said of Mitt Romney’s voter integrity effort. As an election lawyer in Philadelphia, it does not surprise me that Mitt Romney did not receive a single vote in 59 Philadelphia voting divisions.

From the moment poles opened until well into the afternoon, I observed long lines of voters snaking through polling locations in heavily Democrat neighborhoods of Philadelphia where every voter was handed a card instructing them how to vote. These are similar to the cards that were handed out in heavily Democrat neighborhoods in Bridgeport, CT in 2010. No such lines existed in Republican neighborhoods and similar cards were not handed out to voters asking them to vote for Republican or conservative candidates.

From the time that poles opened until the moment they closed, there was a concerted effort by Philadelphia voting officials to weigh their thumbs on the scale of the election. Democrats fought efforts to seat Republican voting inspectors despite being presented with court orders to do so. In one instance, an election judge and the Democrat voting inspectors abandoned their polling location for the entire day, upset at being forced to work alongside Republican inspectors. I observed multiple instances of electioneering inside polling locations and had to return to the same polling locations on multiple occasions to chase electioneers away. I was even forced to instruct an election judge not to ‘pull the lever’ for a voter. When election judges were informed of electioneering inside their polling locations, they often pled ignorance or lack of responsibility notwithstanding instructions to the contrary from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office.

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It is no longer sufficient for conservatives to drive the ideological agenda yet rely on party officials to drive GOTV and voter integrity efforts. Grassroots conservatives and independent groups must fund and organize these initiatives with the same level of urgency that liberal groups do. I observed two union painters asking for a receipt after they voted. When offered an ‘I voted’ sticker, they demurred insisting that the election judge provide them with a written receipt for having voted so their union boss could pay them for their time. Unions and liberal interest groups are reliable Democrat voters because they have significant economic interests at stake. Taxpayers, however, have just as much at stake as they are the ones footing the bills. Yet, taxpayers have not behaved with the same degree of urgency.

In my experience, the Republican party has done a poor job organizing, planning and funding GOTV and election integrity efforts. It is time for grassroots conservatives and independent groups to step in if we are to save our country. Grassroots conservatives cannot merely register at True the Vote and watch polls in their own neighborhood. They must be vigilant in the prevention of fraud in neighborhoods where fraud traditionally occurs in states and elections where the stakes are highest. Grassroots conservatives must staff, fund, plan and organize these efforts with the same level of care and commitment that unions and liberal interest groups do.

Barack Obama needed a 450,000 vote margin in Philadelphia to defeat Mitt Romney by 300,000 votes in Pennsylvania. Barack Obama needed a 240,000 vote margin in Cleveland to defeat Mitt Romney by 100,000 votes in Ohio. If conservatives do not want Cleveland and Philadelphia to continue to decide elections, let this serve as a wake-up call. Otherwise, America is destined to become a nation of Clevelands and Philadelphias.

 

Securing the Vote: Lessons from 2010

On October 26, 2012, in FreedomWorks, by eyeonfreedom

http://www.freedomworks.org/blog/eyeonfreedom/securing-the-vote-lessons-from-2010

I was a poll watcher in Bridgeport, CT in 2010. For those of you not familiar, the Mayor of Bridgeport set off a recent firestorm by promising to swing the 2012 U.S. Senate election for Democrat Chris Murphy. How can he do that? Let me tell you what happened in 2010.

The 2010 Connecticut Governor’s race was a closely fought election. The final result was a Democrat victory by 5000 votes. On the morning after election day, the result showed a different outcome. The Secretary of State ordered an insufficient supply of ballots so in the middle of the afternoon, election precincts across the state began to run out. Extra unnumbered, unaudited copies of ballots were photocopied and handed out to voters during the late afternoon. As they were not printed on special computer readable paper, they were not fed through the scantron machine so they were secured in a special storage bin which began overflowing by the early evening. In fact, so many ballots were cast that they had to be collected in shopping bags. At the end of the evening, after polls were kept open for an additional two hours by a judicial order meant to accommodate voters who were unable to vote during the fifteen minutes that polls were closed mid-afternoon, the ballots were secured and tabulated. A tally was sent to the Registrar of Voters which engaged in a marathon counting session throughout the night. By morning, with the final official tally on the fax machine set to be reported to the Secretary of State in the capital, someone miraculously found a bag of missing ballots and thus set off days of additional counts and recounts which swelled the margin of victory of the Democrat candidate. To paraphrase President Obama, the situation was ‘not optimal’ to say the least.

What can be done?

(1) Volunteer to be a poll watcher with your local campaign and organizations like True the Vote. The primary job of a poll watcher is not to catch fraud but to deter it. Leftist groups attack True the Vote because they know that it is easier to cheat when people are not watching.

(2) Be prepared. Republicans were not adequately prepared in Connecticut in 2010. Election supervisors are not generally lawyers and can be taken aback when their discretion is challenged by a member of the opposition party, sometimes for the first time. Poll watchers need to be able to rely on a team of local lawyers who can escalate issues to a local judge or magistrate. Many disagreements amount to minor misunderstandings of the law and can be handled expeditiously if poll watchers have support from the local campaign. In Connecticut in 2010, all disputes including the decision to keep polls open an additional two hours were litigated in the state capital several hours away. Had anyone asked, the appropriate remedy would have been to keep polls open an additional fifteen minutes as that is how long they had been closed.

(3) Remember that the primary job of the poll watcher is to deter fraud and that can only be accomplished if you are in the room. Within an hour of my arrival at the polling location, the election supervisor asked the Deputy Registrar of Voters, accompanied by two state troopers, to speak with me because I had the temerity to challenge the qualification of voters who did not present proper ID. I could have been intimidated and gone home or I could have been infuriated and gotten arrested. Neither would have accomplished the ultimate goal of deterring fraud as both would have placed me outside the room. If your campaign does not have enough poll watchers to cover every polling location where you anticipate problems, assign teams of roving poll watchers and lawyers to cover them on a random basis and let the election supervisor know you will be checking in periodically.

(4) Assert the power of the provisional ballot! A provisional ballot is a ballot cast by a voter whose eligibility is in question. It allows an independent arbiter to determine the eligibility of the voter after voting is complete. If a voter whose eligibility is in question is allowed to cast a regular ballot, that vote is commingled with those of legitimate voters and it is not possible to remedy the situation if the voter is later determined to be ineligible.

(5) Fight for in-person voter ID laws that require the voter to present a state issued photo id that includes the voter’s address at an in-person voting location. This simple law would obviate much absentee ballot fraud, fraud where voters cast ballots in multiple locations, and fraud advocated by Congressman Moran’s son where criminals impersonate voters living and deceased to cast votes. As an election lawyer in Maine in 2008, I watched a student voter at the state university present a Sports Illustrated magazine label as proof of residence and then sign an affidavit that his girlfriend lived with him as proof of her residence. While both facts may have been true, there is no way to verify either independently or to have determined at the time whether either person had voted absentee in his home district.

Elections will never be without fraud. Too much power and money is at stake. If our sons and daughters are prepared to sacrifice their lives in the most desolate corners of the earth to preserve our freedom and our right to vote, the least we can do is take the proper measures to ensure that elections are conducted as honestly as possible.

 

Freedom To Succeed

On October 10, 2012, in Uncategorized, by eyeonfreedom

 

http://www.freedomworks.org/blog/eyeonfreedom/the-obama-presidency-george-orwells-1984-redux

War is Peace

Freedom is Slavery

Ignorance is Strength

Published during the Soviet Union’s rise as a global superpower, George Orwell’s 1984 offers a prescient window into the soul of the propaganda apparatus of a utopia dictatorship. While Barack Obama has yet to transform the United States from a constitutional republic, his effort to redesign Old Glory notwithstanding, enough similarities have arisen during his presidency and his campaign for re-election that it is worth taking notice. When reality is refracted through the prism of the state propaganda machine, we lose sight of who we are as a society.

Inhabitants of Orwell’s 1984 live in rat infested Victory Mansions and drink Victory Coffee that can generously be described as swill. The Ministry of Plenty allows them to purchase one pair of threadbare pajamas per annum. The Ministry of Truth re-writes historical news events and promulgates Newspeak, a language that seeks to confuse citizens into believing they are not living a dystopian nightmare.

Conservatives have long complained about an unfriendly press. More than ever before, the Obama administration and its sycophants in the media are driving an Orwellian dystopian narrative to distract voters from the true misery of the economy and the dangers that face the United States abroad. Reasonable people can debate whether Mitt Romney or the solutions he proposes offer a superior alternative to the policies of the present administration. In a free country with a free press, the American people are entitled to the unvarnished truth. Our ancestors fought a revolution to free us from imperial rule. The modern day Tea Party movement is a metaphorical revolution against the heavy hand of top down, one size fits all, centrally planned government from both Republicans and Democrats. If the strength of the regime is our ignorance, we will surely lose our freedom.

The Polls

 The Department of Justice sued The Gallup Organization after Gallup expressed an unwillingness to publish polls favorable to the Obama administration. Polls commissioned and released by media organizations should be intended to inform the public on the state of the election. Instead, polls are commissioned to reflect a desired outcome and drive voter perception. Individuals polled should be chosen to reflect an accurate representation of voter sentiment. Instead, pollsters heavily weight their samples with Democrats to give the impression that there is a wave of support for President Obama and Governor Romney is losing the election. In the critical swing state of Ohio, pollsters weight their samples with as many as 10% more Democrats despite evidence that Republicans have requested 40% more absentee ballots than Democrats and Republicans are outpacing their own absentee ballot requests from four years ago. Misrepresenting polling data is significant because many news organizations cite the average of these poll results reported at RealClearPolitics.com. When the website UnskewedPolls.com reports these results without a Democrat polling bias, they report a 7% lead for Mitt Romney as compared to the 4% lead RealClearPolitics reports for Barack Obama as of this writing.

The Economy

While the media continues to criticize Mitt Romney for a comment he made at a fundraiser several months ago, one that is technically accurate, they ignore the fact that the labor participation rate is the lowest it has been in 25 years resulting in a real unemployment rate of over 11%. Since President Obama took office, gasoline prices have more than doubled and one out of every four homes is worth less than the value of its mortgage. Despite the passage of a nearly 3000 page bill President Obama promised would reduce health insurance premiums by $2500, they have risen by nearly 20%. Nearly nine million people are collecting disability payments and the number of food stamp recipients has more than doubled under President Obama’s watch. It is no wonder that median household income is down 8%. With our economy in freefall, the Federal Reserve has been forced to monetize 3/4 of the $6 trillion in new debt President Obama has accumulated. Rather than focusing on the disaster that is President Obama’s economic record, or President Obama’s own remarks acknowledging a desire to see welfare recipients as a ‘majority coalition’, or even President Obama’s outright lies on 60 Minutes about not raising taxes or his admission of lying in his paid advertisements, the media chooses to focus on Mitt Romney’s supposed missteps and other campaign minutia. It is no wonder that only 8% of Americans have a ‘great deal’ of trust in the media.

Terrorism and the Middle East – Libya, Egypt and Iran

A United States consulate is set ablaze and our ambassador is murdered on the anniversary of 9/11 in an act of terrorism White House spokesman Jay Carney referred to as “self-evident“, a characterization the President of Libya and Secretary of State Clinton agree with, and President Obama professes to the United Nations that this was the result of an out of control mob upset with a video that was released months earlier. Since the attack, we have learned that the United States government knew that al-Qaeda was responsible for the attack within 24 hours, that Secretary of State Clinton hired a ‘security’ firm that agreed to send UNARMED! ‘guards’ to ‘protect’ a consulate in one of the most dangerous corners of the world and that United States Marines guarding our embassy in Egypt were not permitted to be armed with live ammunition. When engaging in such reckless behavior, President Obama ignored growing evidence of Arab radicalization in North Africa. In response to these attacks, reports have surfaced that President Obama is considering releasing the convicted mastermind of the first World Trade Center bombing and a plot to bomb the tunnels leading to New York City and a federal building in lower Manhattan. To add insult to injury, President Obama has decided to give $450 million in NEW aid to Egypt despite evidence of Muslim Brotherhood connections to the Libya attack and after proposing a $129 million cut from the embassy security budget. While the Prime Minister of Israel draws literal red lines at the U.N. and his country hands out gas masks as Iran races toward becoming a nuclear power, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta calls ‘little red lines’ a political ploy. Meanwhile, U.S. soldiers continue to be killed in ‘friendly’ fire incidents in Afghanistan where the U.S. suffered the worst single day loss of air power since the Vietnam War as the Taliban destroyed eight Harreir jets while parked at an air base.

Lying has become the new normal among the Obama Administration and its allies. It has gotten so bad that FreedomWorks CEO Matt Kibbe and conservative allies authored a letter expressing their outrage. At a recent Cato Institute Forum, Kibbe wondered rhetorically “how it is possible that so many diverse people can come together and create something that is better than themselves… when Barack Obama stood in front of Solyndra two months before it went bankrupt and said with a certitude that should disturb everyone ‘I know what is better’”. Orwell recognized that ignorance is power because it affords the government greater control. Barack Obama and his liberal allies recognize this too. To paraphrase Kibbe, freedom is the disintermediation of government control. Only with freedom of information is this possible.

 

Barack Obama’s 3AM Call

On September 12, 2012, in Uncategorized, by eyeonfreedom

Remember the 3AM call during the 2008 campaign? The phone rang yesterday on the anniversary of 9/11 when angry mobs stormed U.S. embassies in Egypt and Libya KILLING! our ambassador and desecrating our flag. Americans do not care what the ostensible excuse was for the mob outrage, and it was mob outrage. Citizens in civilized societies learn in elementary school that you cannot hit the teacher because she was not ‘nice’ to you. If breaching an embassy is not an act of war, killing an ambassador certainly is! Quit ‘leading from behind’ Mr. President, at the moment you are the President, and send the message that no matter what your alleged grievance, killing a U.S. ambassador is an act of war that will not stand without SEVERE punishment!

It is ironic that our ambassador was killed in Libya, a country Barack Obama helped liberate, and on the same day that Barack Obama refused to meet with the Prime Minister of the only true democracy in the Middle East, Israel. Those are discussions for another day. In the meantime, quit campaigning and issuing mealy mouthed condemnations, condolence proclamations and apologies and get these bastards!

 

Mitt Romney – ‘It won’t be as bad’

On September 12, 2012, in FreedomWorks, by eyeonfreedom

http://www.freedomworks.org/blog/eyeonfreedom/mitt-romney-it-wont-be-as-bad

If Barack Obama’s campaign slogan is “It could have been worse,” Mitt Romney’s seems to be “It won’t be as bad.” Mitt Romney’s comment on Meet the Press about maintaining ‘guaranteed issue’ in his ‘repeal and replace’ health plan means there will be no repealing and far less replacing. When combined with comments about his opposition to tax cuts which will effectively raise the net tax burden for many, they reinforce an aversion to free market solutions that causes many conservatives to cringe when faced with the prospect of supporting his candidacy.

What Mitt Romney fails to acknowledge or perhaps does not understand is that ‘guaranteed issue’ is the reason why health insurance premiums are dramatically higher in liberal northeastern states like Massachusetts than they are in the rest of the country. “Guaranteed issue’ provides that an insurance company must issue a policy no matter the health of the applicant. What it guarantees is that healthy people wait until they become sick before applying for coverage. Consequently, ‘guaranteed issue’ forces insurance companies to assume that each new policy applicant has cancer and price coverage accordingly in order to ensure that they have sufficient capital to pay anticipated claims. Imagine if insurance companies priced homeowners insurance as if every house was located in a flood zone, or automobile insurance as if every driver had a history of alcohol abuse and reckless driving. While Mitt Romney may feel empathy for people who are born with expensive illnesses, they comprise a sliver of the population and their coverage requirements can be dealt with in much more cost effect ways.

In addition, Mitt Romney expressed an interest in maintaining the provision that children be allowed to stay on their parents’ health insurance policy, as he put it, “up to whatever age they might like.” Does Mitt Romney envision maintaining his 60 year-old children on his health insurance policy when he reaches 80 years of age? This is hardly the warm embrace of free market solutions he spoke of in his convention acceptance speech.

Further, Mitt Romney added,

“I can tell you that people at the high end, high-income taxpayers, are going to have fewer deductions and exemptions. Those numbers are going to come down. Otherwise they’d get a tax break. And I want to make sure people understand, despite what the Democrats said at their convention, I am not reducing taxes on high-income taxpayers.”

During the tax debate that occurred after the 2010 midterm elections, Congressional Republicans proudly reminded us that raising taxes on high-income taxpayers would be raising taxes on the small businesses that are the engine of economic growth in America. Mitt Romney is proposing that Congressional Republicans break their pledge to small business. By reducing federal income tax rates but not by an amount sufficient to account for the  elimination of deductions for state and local taxes as well as mortgage interest, Mitt Romney will ask Congressional Republicans to reverse the pledge they made to small business not to raise their taxes. Further, if Mitt Romney was a true free marketeer, he would join the rest of the Republican party and the conservative movement and endorse a flat tax or at the very least, a significant flattening of the Internal Revenue Code similar to what was proposed in the House budget offered by his running mate.

By reversing course and endorsing parts of Obamacare, Mitt Romney is running the campaign Barack Obama should have run by saying he and Mitt Romney are not so different after all. Barack Obama will become the first American President to preside over a net job loss and yet he is LEADING most swing state polls. This is not because voters mistrust Mitt Romney because he is a rich guy who does not understand their struggles. It is because voters do not trust that Mitt Romney has values that are inviolable. Repealing Obamacare is not an applause line to the conservative movement that manufactured a 60 seat swing in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2010 midterm elections. It is our raison d’etre! We do not want Massachusetts liberalism to infest conservatism and reverse the accomplishments we fought so hard for.

To paraphrase a biblical story, Moses smashed the tablets when he came down from Mt Sinai because his people were not prepared to receive them and were thus relegated to forty years wandering the desert. I worry that unless Mitt Romney reverses course relinquishing his embrace of Obamacare and tax hikes, the American people may be in for four more years of wandering.

 

Conservatives at the Republican National Convention and many of their allies back home have been up in arms the past several days about a proposed rule change that would allow the RNC and a winning Presidential candidate to unseat activist delegates and replace them with party insiders and donors to the winning campaign and the party. They claim this is unfair as a ticket to the convention is their reward for years of hard work. It is and they are correct. However, in making an uproar and threatening a floor fight, they are losing sight of the bigger picture.

Accompanying this rule change is another change specifying that the delegates from a given state must be awarded to candidates in proportion to the result of the primary election. Gone would be the days of ‘beauty contest’ primaries where one candidate was preferred by flesh and blood grassroots voters only to have his opponents be awarded more delegates at a state convention months later. Best I can tell, this injustice happened to all candidates during the 2012 Presidential election cycle.

Further, Republican National Conventions of modern years are largely four day parties where the Presidential candidate has been chosen months before. Attending a national convention has no bearing on the ability of a grassroots candidate to be elected to office at any level. If no Presidential candidate won a plurality of delegates prior to the national convention, this rule would not apply.

I have heard it argued that attendance at the convention is a reward for hard work. Maybe so. The grassoots activists I have heard make this argument have toiled just as hard or harder to elect conservative candidates precisely because these candidates promised to fight crony politics and end the awarding of such perquisites. I understand the desire of local activists to attend the convention. Is it worth sabotaging an opportunity to institute real democratic reform in the Presidential election process in order to attend a quadrennial party?

Personally, I would prefer that the grassroots opposition and the RNC split the difference and drop the offensive delegate change while keeping the change that institutes democratic reform in the election process. I found it offensive when political commentators dismissed the results of primary voters who braved foul winter weather by suggesting that their vote amounted to nothing more than a ‘beauty contest.’ If you are going to ask my opinion as to who should be President of the United States by holding an election, then respect my opinion by respecting the result of the vote win, lose or draw. Don’t change or skew the outcome at a state convention months later by altering the delegate allocation or skewing the result with votes by “super”-delegates. Why should a bunch of party insiders or a vocal minority of committed activists be able to effect a result that they were unable to achieve at the ballot box? If the Democrats had enacted such a rule, it is entirely possible Hillary Clinton would be running for re-election.

In reaction to what a vocal minority of committed activists were able to achieve at some state conventions, the RNC is attempting to implement real democratic reform in the Presidential primary process. Let us not miss this opportunity to enact it.

 

The Obamas Have No Shame

On August 24, 2012, in Uncategorized, by eyeonfreedom

At a fundraiser in New York City, President Obama appeared beside an NBA star who can be seen in a 2007 DVD alongside a Baltimore drug dealer who bragged that he “would take care of snitches by putting a hole in their head.” A YouTube video which includes a portion of the DVD has been seen over 350,000 times as of this writing.

Earlier that day, it was reported that the First “Lady” of the United States would ‘guest edit’ a website that includes sex tips from prostitutes. The website is owned by prominent Obama media advocate NBC Universal. It is nice to be able to read the First Lady’s views on ‘Why we all need our girl time’ alongside ‘Tips from the girls at the Bunny Ranch.’

At a fundraiser several weeks earlier, President Obama thanked ‘gay porn kingpin’ Terry Bean for organizing an event for the President’s re-election. Mr Bean helped raise more than $50,000 for the President Obama’s 2008 campaign. Mr Bean is the proprietor of Falcon Studios, Jock Studios and Mustang Studios, producers of approximately $10 million worth of all-male pornography annually.

In 2000, George W. Bush defeated Al Gore in some measure because Americans were disgusted at the shame President B.J. Clinton had brought upon the Office of the President of the United States. Americans want a President and First Lady that respect the dignity that befits the Office of the President of the United States. President Obama would do well to remember that when he resurrects President Clinton to give the keynote address at the Democrat Convention in Charlotte.