Written by Audrie Zettick on November 1, 2009
If you haven’t already heard, the much ballyhooed NY 23rd district congressional race just became more interesting. Party boss-backed Dede Scozzafava, a moderate to liberal Republican, withdrew from the race with 72 hours to go. (See her note from her campaign site here). GOP Chair Michael Steele is now throwing resources behind Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate who, with Scozzafava in the race, was neck and neck in the polls with Democrat Bill Owens.
In a CYA move, Newt Gingrich has been quoted as saying ““the age of party leaders picking people is over.” Supposedly he’s alluding to the fact that Scozzafava was selected by GOP County party chairmen. Yeah. Like his endorsing her wasn’t more of the same. Newt’s nonsensical endorsement came only after Dede grudgingly agreed to sign a pledge not to raise taxes–and in spite of a record of voting for higher taxes, and being actively against even any small measure to limit abortion, among other issues.
As Ethan Demme of Keystone Conservative points out, Hoffman’s not the strongest candidate. (He has a great recap of the issue and links to other strong articles here). As a former Congressional candidate and former county elected official myself, I’d have to agree. Yet, if I were living in NY, I’d be in the position to have to support Hoffman as well, for reasons that surpass where he is on any one issue.
I support people who have a generally principled approach to decision making that is founded in the rule of law and a commitment toward limited government. My conservative tendencies are often balanced with libertarian ones–thus I have supported people who may not pass the ultimate socially-conservative litmus tests– as long as they are not rabidly liberal, believe in personal responsibility and demonstrate in some way that human life is, let’s say, at least as valuable if not more so than snail darters or polar bears. With the candidacy of Scozzafava, people who are either fiscally or socially conservative were forced to seek another alternative.
If the Democrat wins (or if Hoffman–who still has to prove himself–can’t hold on to the seat past one term) I won’t be blaming either the conservatives who supported him nor Scozzafava. The fault will lie strictly with the GOP power structure in New York, who botched the election by making a backroom candidate selection and, more importantly, watering down GOP values by offering a candidate who almost ran for Congress as a democrat.
Addendum: I originally wrote this blog post on late Saturday night 10/31 and posted after midnight. Now we find that Scozzafava endorsed the Democrat. Why is anyone surprised?
Written by Audrie Zettick on March 31, 2009
PA Leadership Conference recently held in Harrisburg, PA. Congressman Armey is now with Freedomworks and was the kickoff speaker for the PLC’s 20th Anniversary conference. Basically, he asked the question, “How the hell did we get here?”
Over 570 conservatives were in attendance at this year’s conference, the biggest ever. I saw people there I haven’t seen in years. In fact, I’ve been missing in action from this conference though here in spirit. Busy doing my part raising kids, running a business and generally trying to keep ahead of all those daily responsibilities.
I was scared off my duff this past year, as I watched American policy carried along by the rush of popular politics, not deep thought. That’s why I was there and why I’ll be at the Harrisburg Tax Day Tea Party. Tweeting, blogging and Facebook have their place, but elbow to elbow with like-thinkers is invigorating in this time of national stress. And Armey’s message hits home.
He asked: how in the world can you get so many billions of dollars in bad business decisions? Politicians in action have gone beyond sensibility to the absurd. He explained:
- Almost all bad ideas can be worked into a rationale for building bigger government…that ultimately benefits elected officials by allowing them to build a bigger empire.It’s a natural impulse.
- Politicians are drawn to economic issues for power, control, and authority over your life and money.
- Politicians accept bad ideas because they are easy and nonrigorous.
I don’t mean to beat up politicians. I’m a former county-wide elected official (Clerk of Courts), committeewoman, judge of elections, and ran for Congress, among other positions. But I’m a firm believer in term limits, limiting one’s time in office in order to keep connected to the “real world” the rest of us live in. Armey’s message nails the problem.
According to Armey, politics today is form of juvenile delinquency and citizens are living with the consequences. He noted that it’s time to stop accepting this behavior.
I say, let’s perform an intervention. The Tax Day Tea Party protests are a good start (or continuation, for those of you have been to the previous Tea Party protests). See you there.
Written by Audrie Zettick on February 9, 2009
I’ve been spending the day trying to call Arlen Specter’s office to voice my opposition to the stimulus bill, which he supports. Specter (my Senator) is one of 3 Republicans in the Senate who support the package.
Can’t get through on any phone–even tried contacting his remote offices, such as the one in Erie. No go. Apparently the phones are burning–and I doubt it’s with calls of support. Or maybe they are just out to lunch. At 9 a.m. And 11:00 a.m. And 2:00 p.m.
Out to lunch? Did you know that means inattentive? If Specter votes “yes” I’d say he’s out to lunch on the will on his constituents.
Written by Audrie Zettick on January 20, 2009
Actually, I’m staying home but I don’t behoove Obama supporters (except perhaps those in the media) their fun and adoration of “the One.” I avoid fawning over pop culture icons, but admit to being speechless the first time I met Reagan. I wore “Reagan red” in the 1980s—but only because I looked “hot” in the color.
And you’d have to have a heart of granite not to be moved by the inauguration of our first black President, in a town where the Capitol was build by slaves.
Yes, I’m for Hope and Change. Hope that Obama’s inauguration leads to an historic presidency where the first family becomes less a pop culture figure but more an example of a healthy, intact family to emulate. Hope that President Obama’s speech on accountability and responsibility isn’t about government’s responsibility as a nanny state, but our’s as citizens. And I hope that I still have change in my pocket after Nancy Pelosi’s majority gets through with my purse.
But as I watch the inauguration today, I’m still filled with dread. Our local paper drove home why I feel that way with an opening line that reads “Today, America changes course.” With high level officials like Hillary Clinton and Eric Holder at the helm of major policy-making departments, I’m anxious. Lesser known figures such as Cass Sunstein and several at the Justice Department frighten me even more. As regulatory “czar,” Sunstein is in a position to advance his principles, which include designing regulations around how people behave. He definitely doesn’t behave the way the folks in my family do, where we eat meat, have relatives that hunt, and haven’t included our pet fish in our wills.
Last week, I came across many lists about how to survive the inauguration, such as this one that gives the advice not to wear sequins lest you become stuck to another sequin-attired attendee at an inaugural ball. Not what I had in mind. Alas, how do conservatives make it through today, tomorrow and next week without our heads exploding?
- It beats wrapping your head in duct tape.
- You can wear sequins without worrying about getting stuck to folks like Nancy Pelosi.
- You can wear pajamas…or less.
- Some of us from #TCOT (Top Conservatives on Twitter) will be there.
- You can rub “virtual elbows” with people like Saul Anuzis, Chip Saltzman, Amanda Carpenter, and others.
- It’s less calories than chocolate (my personal choice for relieving anxiety)
- You can engage in several tracks of discussion, such as 2012, Taking Back the Congress and more.
- You can turn these discussions into action.
- It’s a hangover-free event and even cheaper than Wild Turkey.
- No worry about how many porta-potties are present.
See you online.
Written by Audrie Zettick on January 15, 2009
I read with interest Michelle Malkin’s recent blog post on “Pelosi: We need more back-scratching Big Govt hacks in skirts like… It reminded me of how tough it is to be a female Republican.
When I ran for Congress (1990, PA-8), I had to put up with comments from both inside and outside the party. On the campaign trail, I had someone shout at me “why aren’t you home having babies” (that was from a democrat woman). I was interviewed for a news article in which I was asked how I’d handle family (I had no kids yet) if elected. Sigh. Instead of the clever retort of “do you ever ask the guys that question” I actually tried to answer. I noted that I’d deal with it, and bring kids to the Capitol if necessary. Then I received flack from some Republicans, who claimed “I’d be using taxpayer money for babysitters.” (Didn’t say the staff would be watching them).
My mom, Elaine Zettick, was the first woman elected County Commissioner in Bucks County, PA. She received flack for the structural changes she made to the Commissioners’ bathroom (the entrance from the back of the 3-commissioner area went only into the men’s room). She wanted to be able to use the shower there. She sometimes slept on her couch when events necessitated a late night stay up-county and she couldn’t make it home.
Even as a county commissioner, Mom sometimes had to sneak onto golf courses disguised as a man (registered as E. Zettick). Often, the only way to network with the “old boys” and big shots was on the golf course. (She’d beat them in the longest drive…proof that there is justice in the world).
Much has changed since the late 1970s and 1980s. But not everything.
As a Republican woman voter, I’d like to help elect more women. But more importantly, I vote for what is right for my country and state, not for gender politics.
One reason I’m involved in Smart Girl Politics is to help build a network of like minded women. Encourage them to be activists. Perhaps even run for office. Grow our “farm team.”
Then maybe my choices on election day could include the “right” woman.
Written by Audrie Zettick on January 12, 2009
The mainstream media are full of headlines touting another “first” with the Obama Administration. As proclaimed by the Presidential Inaugural Committee, Rev. Sharon Watkins will give the sermon at the National Prayer Service on January 21.
I’m glad for her, really. I just hope her theme–“To Believe In Something Bigger Than Ourselves“–isn’t an omen for the bigger and badder Federal Government we’re certain to have under the Obama Administration. Call me an optimist. NOT.
Speaking of firsts, which party had the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress? And who was she? I’ll give you some clues.
- She worked for women’s rights.
- She was a strong advocate for veterans rights.
- Upon her death, she left funds intended to assist “mature, unemployed women workers.”
The first female elected U.S. Congress was Jeannette Rankin. First elected in 1916 in Montana, she was elected after women in that state were given the right to vote, but at a time when few women nationally held that right. In fact, she was the first woman elected to a national legislature in any western democracy. An effective advocate for women’s rights, Jeannette introduced the Susan B. Anthony Amendment in the House (which would later become the 19th Amendment).
Elected in 1916, she was the first woman elected to a national legislature in any western democracy.
Democrat? No, Jeannette was elected as a Republican. She served one term in the 65th Congress, then was gerrymandered out of her congressional district. She then ran unsuccessfully as an independent for U.S. Senate, but was later elected again to Congress, serving in the 77th Congress. (As a side note, she served only one term each time, mostly likely due to the fact that she voted against U.S. entry into both WWI and WWII, proof that ardent pacifists can exist in either party–and that going against the will of the people is never healthy for one’s elected career).
So all the women who had the right to vote for Obama can, in part, thank a Republican woman for that right.
Written by Audrie Zettick on December 4, 2008
I created a Twitter ID last Spring but didn’t understand how to cut through the clutter. Even in 140 characters or less, I didn’t have time to hear that someone was changing the cat’s litter box or had broken up with a boyfriend. I started tweeting again recently and wow…now I “get it.” (Follow me at AudrieZettick).
In a recent column, Hugh Hewitt discussed his adoption of Twitter and why he viewed the medium as important. The first several comments to his column were caustic. Some excerpts here:
“bush lied and boys died” ”if the glove dont fit you must acquit” two good examples of lies that consist of under 140 characters. nice. now we have a convenient mechanism to get out short messages for people with short attention spans.
More likely it is no attention span, no discernment, no intelligence and, as some say, an open mind.
Twitter is ideally suited to marketing campaigns which aim for endless repetition of short, memorable slogans. Its pretty useless for any sort of reasoned argument. Its fine for demonrats who just want to send the talking point of the day to people who can hardly remember back as far as yesterday, but not very good for a political philosophy that requires thought and actual understanding.
You’re A Brain Dead Luddite. OK. Not much I can do for you there.
You don’t think anything worthwhile can be said in 140 words or less. In the last week, via Twitter, I’ve joined with thousands of people in signing petitions to stop EPA regs and in support of a Tax Holiday instead of an auto bailout. I’ve worked with others to get information out on who is running for RNC chair, among other things. Links were sent to me leading to detailed platforms of candidates for RNC chair, useful info on the “fairness doctrine,” the card check initiative and inspiring quotes. Well, I did find out where the Wii Guitar Hero bundle is selling for $69, which is vitally important too. I have a teenager.
You don’t have time. Granted, Twitter can be a massive black hole, sucking away your time. But it needn’t be. You don’t have to be glued to your PC or mobile phone. To start, just fit Twitter in when it seems appropriate–once a day at the very least–and follow some streams of conversation of interest to you and “tweet” on these issues to form relationships. There are numerous tools to help you manage your “followers” and issues you follow, if you choose. You can also subscribe via feed to hashtags for groups you follow.
You have no idea how to set up an account. (check here then)
You’ll never find friends to follow or follow you. With regular use and some time invested up front to research who tweets about conservative politics (and then “follow” them), I am developing an extensive network of people from whom I learn, who respect my opinion and who want to join with me to regain conservative principles and “creds” for the Republican Party. Find someone you like and see who they follow. (Check out Smart Girl Politics where some more people in my network blog).
Everyone’s on equal footing. I’m “following” some of the RNC Chair candidates and some are following me. Saul Anuzis and Katon Dawson are both in my network. So are many state and federal elected officials from around the country, including Bobbi Jindal. (I have to admit, Saul outdoes himself each day. The man is a maniac with letting our conservative twitter network know what’s going on). Most importantly though, is keeping in touch with the “everywoman and everyman” out there who are interested in where our country is going.
You already think you know everything. As I’ve gotten to know some of the people I follow, I’ve come to respect them as sources. One twitter friend regularly posts his research and reading for the day via a Delicious bookmark (Flap’s stuff).
There’s a start at an intervention for the Tweetless. If you are a conservative starting out on Twitter, try following the folks from the Top Conservatives on Twitter. If you’re Al Franken, go stuff eat some ballots.
Written by Audrie Zettick on December 1, 2008
Apparently, Barack Obama’s fundraising from small donors wasn’t up to the hype. But still, what can we learn?
While Obama did indeed set new records for funds raised, a recent study revealed that small donors (defined as those who donated under $200) comprised 26% of Obama’s total donations–only 1% higher than Bush’s small donor percentage (25%) in 2004. This study by the non-partisan Campaign Finance Institute confirmed a suspicion we’ve had–that the Obama campaign’s small donor base was inflated by counting donors multiple times–each time they gave an amount under $200–even if the total was much more than that.
Many pundits might stop there, glorying in the proof of Obamamania hype.
But the lesson here lies in the communication strategy used by Obama—not just the media but how the tools were used. I’ll call it his “Friend-Raising” strategy.
As Soren Dayton wrote, there are ways in which the Republican campaign organization exceeded Obama’s campaign. But the bottom line was that the GOP applied technology to the old way of doing things; the Obama campaign used its “technology tool box” to really move things forward–especially with their advanced use of social networking.
A great insight into social networking is found in a quote by Travis Kalanick on MSNBC. Travis, the Founder and former CEO of Red Swoosh said:
“Social networks are like grease — in some cases, gasoline — for our personal business networking machines. If you aren’t plugged in, you will be out-done by better-connected, hyper-networked colleagues and competitors.”
Obama’s social networking efforts clearly threw gasoline on the fire of Obamamania, empowering onlookers to become invested in the outcome of the election. As Rachel Motte wrote today on EvangelicalOutpost.Com, Republicans have got to “stop treating the internet like just another communications medium and to start using it to spark real-world action.” She goes on to summarize some great conservative activity online this week (kudos to Michael P. Leahy for starting the Top Conservatives on Twitter list).
What we are talking about is Web 2.0–(see my favorite web 2.0 definition)—using the tools of the internet to transform the way we do business.
Deployed well, web 2.0 in the “business” of political advocacy can :
- Creat momentum to recruit volunteers and their natural online activity to make them virtual organizers. This article discusses how the Obama campaign didn’t just USE social networking by encouraging piecemeal social media usage but rather by finding new applications to integrate usage. The Obama campaign implemented an application (turned down by the McCain camp) that integrated the My.Barack.Obama website with Facebook, allowing a feed from the one to the other. So, for example, if someone registered with the Obama site signed up to host an event, it got posted to Facebook. The result was a community that was cultivated, one where lurkers turned into activists. By allowing individuals’ Facebook pages to become a shout out of activity, it essentially turned these Facebook pages into “community organizers” where new constituencies were reached. Cool.
- Turn small donors into repeat donors and leaders-by-example. You might not be able to give $100 to a cause or candidate, but giving $25 several times is doable. And it can be done quickly. And –what if the Facebook feed showed a small giver just donated. Would his or her Facebook friends feel pressure to donate? I have a nonprofit consultant acquaintance I watched raise thousands of dollars quickly by simply asking her Twitter network to go to a website and donate $10 each.
- Keep the blogosphere buzzing. Whether it’s reality checking facts or getting everyone to show for an event, the turn around time is short and breadth of coverage is wide in social media. People can become engaged, not simply talked to (as you might with email).
Lesson here: go beyond just employing the tools; make them work together to nourish (not just create) a community–and use that community to transform the way we “do” politics.
Written by Audrie Zettick on November 22, 2008
We’re interested in several of the conservative and center-right potential 2012 presidential candidates whose names are bandied about, thus I was intrigued by the Gallup Panel Survey released today (a good mental health break from following the Obama appointments).
The released data are grouped into several tables, including one that differentiates between the opinions of Republicans as a whole, those that identify themselves as “conservatives,” and those that are ” moderate/liberal Republicans.”
When asked who they’d like to see run for President in 2012, the results were as follows:
Source: Gallup Panel Survey, Nov. 5-6
It’s no surprise that 47% of Liberal/Moderate Republicans also didn’t want to see Palin run. (My cynical side says the 48% of this category who want her to run might be rooting for the Dems. But I digress…)
I think this is reflective of two things: the focus on Sarah Palin due to the recent campaign (duh) and Mitt Romney’s reputation as a business leader, which resonates because of the economic circumstances.
Proof that it’s too early to take any of these numbers seriously is the absence of Governor Bobby Jindal in the top tier. He’s WAY down the list across the board–at 34% (Republicans), 37% (Conservatives) and 26% (Moderate/Liberal Republicans). His low numbers among conservatives is reflective of his lack of play in the media and knowledge of his credentials.
The more I know about him (this is not an endorsement), the more I am interested (see more in Red County’s Magazine). He’s young, effective and will be around for a long, long while. As the mother of a teen who will be old enough to vote in 2012, I can envision him getting the youth vote….but I can envision Palin and Romney doing the same thing. How Jindal handles Louisiana’s challenges in this economy will determine how far up this list he moves in the coming years. I can’t wait to see.
Written by Bill Schaller on November 17, 2008
At the recent Republican Governors Association meeting in Florida, speculation began about the early contestants for president in 2012. Probably the most familiar name is, of course, Sarah Palin.
A new Rasmussen poll indicates that 69% of GOP voters believe Palin helped John McCain, while 20% thought she hurt the ticket. Incredibly, 91% of Republican voters have a favorable opinion of her, 65% very favorable. While this is partly due to the afterglow of a national campaign, the poll clearly shows Palin has a strong base of support if she entered the 2012 race. A problem for her is that early frontrunners usually don’t succeed partly due to expectations; a clear example of this is Hillary Clinton. The mood of the electorate will also change over the next three years.
Let us take a look at part of the 2008 GOP primary calendar to see how Palin would do in 2012 if she can retain a large part of that favorable support, remembering that this calendar will probably change. I have used David Leip’s website for the schedule and primary results.
First up is the Iowa caucus easily won by Mike Huckabee in 2008. Any doubt that Palin could win this first contest that features many evangelicals, pro-life supporters and rural voters? Pawlenty of Minnesota could do well here; the trap for Palin is the expectations game. Anything less then a clear victory would create doubt about here candidacy. Next is the Wyoming contest handily won by Romney which I believe Palin could also win.
The New Hampshire primary is next and would be the first non-caucus contest and presents the first obstacle to Palin. New Hampshire voters have the knack of going against the incoming frontrunner and it is where McCain resurrected his campaign on two occasions. Nonetheless, the personal campaigning necessary to do well here is suited for Palin and I can see a strong showing for her if not a victory. If she reels off wins in the first three states, she probably winnows the field and starts that snowball effect that propels many candidates to ultimate victory. The Giuliani strategy of skipping all of these early contests and starting the campaign in Florida would be a dangerous precedent to follow for anyone challenging Palin.
If Palin wins the first three contests two of the next three would be where the Palin momentum would have to be stopped or at least curbed to a significant degree. Michigan is a primary state that would have the first large urban and suburban centers. This could present a challenge to Palin especially if Romney is in the race; he won here in 2008 because his family ties to the state. Another potential obstacle for Palin is the Nevada caucus which was held on the same day as the South Carolina primary. Romney carried Nevada in 08 due in part to the large Mormon community there. As a caucus state, this would be an interesting battle between the two; if Romney is not in the race, I believe it goes to Palin. South Carolina is in Palin’s corner unless there is a regional favorite like a Haley Barbour from the South competing against her. This state was about a 3 point win for McCain over Huckabee.
The caucus state of Hawaii is next and frankly I have no idea who wins this. Maybe Hawaiian Republicans would have an affinity for the other out-of-the-way state in the country and vote for Palin. Then again, maybe not.
Next up is the big winner-take-all prize, the Florida primary where McCain was a 5 point winner over Romney. Palin drew some large crowds this past election and would be competitive in this race with a good chance to win pending the possible campaign of Governor Charlie Crist.
Next up is the first of the large primary days with 11 elections. Huckabee carried Alabama, Arkansas and Georgia and Palin should do well in all of these states; competing with a southerner could cause problems but she should prevail in a least one of these states. Alaska and Colorado are caucus states which I believe she will handily carry; Alaska for obvious reasons, Colorado because of the influence of the James Dobson type of voters. Maine, Connecticut, Delaware and Illinois are difficult to determine; Maine as a caucus state could go for the moose-hunting Palin or stick with Romney as in 08. The rest would probably lean to a regional favorite or go with the frontrunner. California and Arizona primaries are the first and fourth largest delegate prizes of this day and could present Palin with the opportunity to slam the door on the rest of the field. The Super Tuesday states would be next but they are beyond my crystal ball’s ability at this time.
The key point about this exercise is that out of the first 8 contests Palin would have a very good opportunity to win between 4-6 of them, depending upon where her competitors are from; and even that may not matter too much. She could very well win the first three, thereby generating a momentum wave that would be hard to stop, while providing the funding she needs to compete in the two national-type primary days. A win in Florida before the first national primary day would just about seal the deal for her. The 2008 GOP primary calendar is favorable to her, it remains to be seen if the 2012 one will.