Art of the achievable

“The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics that determines the success of a society.
The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself.”

Tip O’Neill [D, MA], 2nd longest serving Speaker of the House, 1977-1987


In 1964, under President Lyndon Johnson, Democrats had a two-thirds majority in the House of Representatives [295 seats to the Republicans 140] and a two-third majority in the Senate [66 seats to the Republicans 34].  President Johnson, Speaker of the House John McCormack [D,MA] and Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield [D, MT] fundamentally changed the relationship of American citizens to their government. 


Using the memory of the assassinated President John Kennedy the Democrats passed all the Great Society legislation including welfare that punished intact families, Medicare, Medicaid, environmental regulations, the War on Poverty legislation, Head Start, job corps, Public Broadcasting, the Economic Opportunity Act – all reflective of Johnson’s desire to expand federal government and to federalize social welfare programs that had been traditionally administered locally.

While the majority of the country was focused on the draft and the war in South Viet Nam the Democrats in Washington were focused on transferring power and authority from the states to federal control.  In the 45-years from 1964 until 2009 we have seen a steady erosion of the country and government the founders gave us. 

After President Obama signed the second stimulus [American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009] on February 17th in Denver, and in response to Rick Santelli’s remarks made on February 19, 2009, specifically about the Homeowners Affordability and Stability Plan, the Tea Party movement was formed.  

The Cincinnati Tea Party was formed around a kitchen table on February 23rd, and the first rally held on Fountain Square on March 15th.  In the two years since Tea Party and 9/12 community groups have organized, filled hundreds of precinct executive slots, supported conservative candidates running for Congress, State House, State Board of Education, County Commissioner, and various other local, state and federal offices.  Conservative activists have become engaged and educated on election law, activist judges, poll worker responsibilities, and how government works.

Our energy and passion has not always overcome the discipline of the 45-years of liberal collectivism and the manipulation of power.  Conservatives have the added disadvantage of pushing back against a half-century of a culture of entitlement, a culture of “if it feels good do it” and a culture that does not recognize individual effort, accountability or responsibility.  If we were in a strictly political fight, a “fair fight” where everyone played by the same rules and accepted the outcome of elections, conservatives would be well on the way to taking back our country.

Senator Sherrod Brown [D, OH] is one of the most liberal senators in the United States and is up for re-election in 2012.  President Obama will run for re-election in 2012.  All 99-seats in the Ohio House, one-third of the Ohio Senate, all Ohio Congressional representatives, numerous local county commissioners, school boards, township trustees, and fiscal officers will also be running.  Conservatives will not win every campaign and we don’t have the resources to run in every race.  Our strategy must be to engage in the races we can win and to target the races that will have the most impact on the direction of our country.

Unlike liberals who want the candidate that can win and who will support the collective, conservatives look for the “perfect” candidate.  Not strong enough on immigration – nope won’t vote for him.  Supported cap and trade for a brief moment, can’t trust that guy.  A black conservative who joins the Congressional Black Caucus to prove a point, well that’s a disappointment and he can no longer be supported.  Guess what – just like there are no perfect people there are no perfect candidates.  The lesser of two evils is never an attractive option, but sacrificing our future on the altar of “not good enough” is unacceptable.

It is unrealistic to demand 100% agreement, whether it is in our political life or our personal life.  Life, not just politics, is the art of the achievable. 

My father was fond of saying you have to fight the fight that’s in front of you, not the fight you want to fight.  In Ohio, conservatives have to defeat Sherrod Brown, fully support the Republican nominee for President, back conservatives that have a realistic chance to win their race and elect every Republican judicial candidate on the ballot.