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Chuck Muth is President and CEO of Citizen Outreach and a professional political consultant. Mr. Muth is a professional campaign trainer, a newsletter publisher and talk-show host who regularly appears on political TV and radio programs.


News & Views, 10/12/04


Some of you have expressed a concern that issuing a “Declaration of Conservative Independence” BEFORE election day this year could tilt the election to John Kerry. That’s certainly understandable. Kerry IS scary. The suggestion is that we wait until AFTER the election to let them know what we expect over the next two-to-four years and that we intend to hold them accountable.

On the other hand, there are others who say forget about putting the Republicans on notice. Let’s simply exact revenge on them NOW for failing to live up to limited government conservatism. They ain’t gonna change anyhow. And fully I understand that sentiment, as well.

I’m still working on working on how to set up this project from a technical standpoint, but let me just address those two issues this morning.

1.) Frankly, waiting until AFTER the election is like closing the barn door AFTER the horse has already gotten out.

If President Bush wins re-election, and the GOP maintains its majorities in both houses of Congress, the Republican Party leadership and elected officials are going to point to that fact and declare a “mandate” to continue following the non-conservative, government-expanding policies of the last four years. If you thought big-government “compassionate conservatism” was too expensive in the president’s first term, wait’ll you see the tab a second term will bring. Cha-ching!

And if you don’t think this White House fully intends to use this election as a mandate to continue their big-government policies in a second term, consider Brendan Miniter’s Wall Street Journal column this morning titled, “Bush's big-government conservatism may be a political winner.”

Miniter notes that George W “sought the presidency so he could change the direction of the nation's domestic policies” and “who united conservatives with the big spenders in his party to push for good government over limited government.” He concludes by noting that “one advantage of being a big spender is that it is hard to be tagged as inattentive to people's needs.”

This is scary stuff, folks. And that closing line brings to mind what Barry Goldwater had to say on this subject some 40-odd years ago: “I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is 'needed' before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents' interests, I shall reply that I was informed their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can.”

George W. Bush is certainly no Barry Goldwater.

That being said, I’m sensitive to the fears of electing The Two Johns on November 2nd. So please understand, I’m NOT talking about seceding from the Republican Party AT THIS TIME (more on the reasoning for this later). Rather, here’s the essence of what I think the Declaration should say...

“Dear President Bush, Majority Leader Frist, Speaker Hastert and RNC Chairman Gillespie: We the undersigned who may be voting for you in November are doing so because of your commitment to killing bad guys before they kill us and reducing taxes; however, we are extremely dissatisfied with your positions on a number of important issues of conservative concern and want you to know, in no uncertain terms, that our vote on November 2 should NOT be construed as a mandate for bigger government. Please be advised that while we may vote for you next month, we will vigorously and actively oppose any new proposals and legislation which run counter to our limited-government conservative principles, regardless of political and partisan considerations.”

Or words to that effect. But I think you get the idea. The objective of the Declaration isn’t for limited government conservatives to stay home THIS election, or vote for a third-party candidate, but to serve notice that our vote is NOT to be construed as an endorsement of the policies of expanding government over the next four years the way Republicans have done over the last four years.

Now, for those of you who think we should look at those last four years and simply declare all-out war or secession from the GOP immediately, let me first say...I feel your pain.

And there is a legitimate point to be made that (a) the republic survived eight years under Clinton and would survive under Kerry, and (b) it was the election of that boob Jimmy Carter which probably made the election of Ronald Reagan possible. Perhaps the disaster of a Kerry presidency is what it’s going to take to get a true limited-government, Reagan-type conservative president into the White House again. Sort of like - if you’ll pardon the Kerryish Vietnam reference - burning the village down to save it.

However, I’m not persuaded to accept that this is the proper thing to do right now, especially in light of the serious threat still posed by Islamic terrorism, especially without first giving adequate notice and warning. Even Moses gave Pharaoh a heads up before unleashing the frogs and locusts on Egypt.

The fact is, we were so desperate to end eight years of Bill, Hillary and Al in 2000 that we accepted George W. Bush with absolutely no pre-conditions whatsoever. Conservatives gave this president a blank check and he filled it in...with a LOT of zeroes on the end. To that extent, we’re as much to blame as the White House and the Congress.

Let me put this another way...

Although attributed to a number of folks, I believe it was Mao Tse-Tung, the former Chinese Grand Imperial Pooh-Bah, who said, “Politics is war without bloodshed.” With that in mind, please consider this very relevant passage from the late great Chinese general Sun Tzu’s book titled, “The Art of War.”

* * *QUOTE* * *

Sun Tzu Wu was a native of the Ch`i State. His Art of War brought him to the notice of Ho Lu, King of Wu. Ho Lu said to him: "I have carefully perused your 13 chapters. May I submit your theory of managing soldiers to a slight test?"

Sun Tzu replied: "You may."

Ho Lu asked: "May the test be applied to women?"

The answer was again in the affirmative, so arrangements were made to bring 180 ladies out of the Palace. Sun Tzu divided them into two companies, and placed one of the King's favorite concubines at the head of each. He then bade them all take spears in their hands, and addressed them thus: "I presume you know the difference between front and back, right hand and left hand?"

The girls replied: "Yes."

Sun Tzu went on: "When I say 'Eyes front', you must look straight ahead. When I say 'Left turn', you must face towards your left hand. When I say 'Right turn', you must face towards your right hand. When I say 'About turn', you must face right round towards your back."

Again the girls assented. The words of command having been thus explained, he set up the halberds and battle-axes in order to begin the drill. Then, to the sound of drums, he gave the order "Right turn". But the girls only burst out laughing. Sun Tzu said: "If words of command are not clear and distinct, if orders are not thoroughly understood, then the general is to blame."

So he started drilling them again, and this time gave the order "Left turn", whereupon the girls once more burst into fits of laughter. Sun Tzu: "If words of command are not clear and distinct, if orders are not thoroughly understood, the general is to blame. But if his orders ARE clear, and the soldiers nevertheless disobey, then it is the fault of their officers."

So saying, he ordered the leaders of the two companies to be beheaded.

Now the king of Wu was watching the scene from the top of a raised pavilion; and when he saw that his favorite concubines were about to be executed, he was greatly alarmed and hurriedly sent down the following message: "We are now quite satisfied as to our general's ability to handle troops. If we are bereft of these two concubines, our meat and drink will lose their savor. It is our wish that they shall not be beheaded."

Sun Tzu replied: "Having once received His Majesty's commission to be the general of his forces, there are certain commands of His Majesty which, acting in that capacity, I am unable to accept."

Accordingly, he had the two leaders beheaded, and straightway installed the pair next in order as leaders in their place. When this had been done, the drum was sounded for the drill once more; and the girls went through all the evolutions, turning to the right or to the left, marching ahead or wheeling back, kneeling or standing, with perfect accuracy and precision, not venturing to utter a sound.

Then Sun Tzu sent a messenger to the King saying: "Your soldiers, Sire, are now properly drilled and disciplined, and ready for your majesty's inspection. They can be put to any use that their sovereign may desire; bid them go through fire and water, and they will not disobey."

* * * UNQUOTE* * *

Now, if you believe, as the Founders did, that “we the people” are the generals in this country and the elected officials are the soldiers, then the question becomes: Were our “orders” in the last election “clear and distinct” and “thoroughly understood”? I think not. In 1994, when Republicans regained control of Congress by running on the Contract with America...yes. But not in 2000. It was “just win, baby!” Whatever it takes. And they did.

The fact is, we conservative generals have not given this White House or any Republican Congress since 1995 “clear and distinct” orders to be followed. Thus, WE are to blame. For that reason, I think NOW is absolutely the right time and place to serve notice to our “officers” as to which direction we expect them to move, BEFORE the election.

If after conveying such orders CLEARLY and DISTINCLTY, those same officers “nevertheless disobey,” then I say off with the political heads of a few of them in 2006 to serve as an example to the rest...AND to the GOP presidential candidates who will be running in 2008.

Now, I fully recognize that some of you have no desire to wait any longer and will be voting to “behead” some Republicans, including the president, this year. I understand your frustration...and maybe you’re correct. But I think it only fair and wise to first fire a warning shot across the bow and at least give them one last opportunity to clean up their act before bringing down upon them the political wrath of the heavens. Hopefully, such a swat on the snout with a rolled-up newspaper will get their attention and cause them to change their evil ways.

But if not, Katie bar the door in 2006. In the immortal words of The Who, “We don’t get fooled again.” And the Republican Party leadership won’t be able to say they weren’t warned.

Anyway, keep thinking about possible content and ideas for the Declaration of Conservative Independence. And while I’m finishing up the technical and organizational side of things, let’s open up the discussion. Weigh in and share your thoughts and suggestions on this idea by surfing over to:


“Government is not the solution, it’s the problem.”

- Ronald Reagan

“Once created, federal programs are nearly impossible to eliminate.”

- Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas)

“Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare but only those specifically enumerated."

- Thomas Jefferson

"I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it."

- Benjamin Franklin

“Society in every state is a blessing, but government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one…”

- Thomas Paine

"Were we directed from Washington when to sow, and when to reap, we should soon want bread."

- Thomas Jefferson

“Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government."

- James Madison

“The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others.”

- Thomas Jefferson

“It is not my intention to do away with government. It is rather to make it work - work with us, not over us; stand by our side, not ride on our back. Government can and must provide opportunity, not smother it; foster productivity, not stifle it.”

- Ronald Reagan

“If some among you fear taking a stand because you are afraid of reprisals...recognize that you are just feeding the crocodile hoping he’ll eat you last.”

- Ronald Reagan

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Published by:
Chuck Muth
1315 Wilson Point Road
Middle River, MD 21220


Blogger Mover Mike said...

Chuck, I like the thought, however I hesitate to do anything that will give "aid and comfort" to the Two Johns. Yes we may survive Kerry. I just don't feel lucky!
Mover Mike

October 12, 2004 at 10:41 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

You wrote, "And there is a legitimate point to be made that (a) the republic survived eight years under Clinton and would survive four under Kerry, and (b) it was the election of that boob Jimmy Carter which probably made the election of Ronald Reagan possible."

Likely so. But the damage that both Carter and Clinton did has not been recovered from even yet. For instance, Carter can be "credited" with (a) losing the Panama Canal and (b) installing the mad mullahs in Iran. And Clinton can be credited with creating EO13166 -- which still hasn't been rescinded -- and with making treason "fashionable" (we still don't know what the end result of THAT will be).

October 12, 2004 at 8:20 PM  
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