Tomorrow the General Assembly votes on legislation for Virginia to call for an Article V Constitutional Convention. They should vote NO.[read_more]
Many of our long-time conservative leaders and rank-and-file activists across Virginia strongly oppose this — Senator Dick Black, Delegate Bob Marshall, Pat McSweeney, Campaign for Liberty, National Association of Gun Rights (NAGR), Phylis Schafly – just to name a few.
But clearly there are some key conservatives supporting the ConCon.
Although I have no doubt those promoting this idea have the best of intentions, I urge you to contact your Delegate and State Senator to encourage them to vote NO.
I am convinced this isn’t just a bad idea – it’s a very bad idea.
Our Problem is political, not legal or constitutional.
All conservatives agree our Republic is in serious trouble, and headed in a very bad direction. We must save it. The question is how.
Let me be clear: our problem is a political one, and the ONLY way we will fix it is winning politically. That means making the Republican Party a true reform party. That means winning Party posts, and nominations and elections with reform candidates committed to bold action to save the Republic.
There is no substitute. There is no silver bullet. It will take time and a lot of effort.
There is no easy, elegant solution that allows us to sit on the sidelines or in ivory towers. (including putting our hopes in a risky ConCon).
Some ConCon advocates argue that the fix for our Republic is revising the language of the Constitution, to stop liberal Federal and Supreme Court rulings, and to roll-back unconstitutional Federal legislation. In their arguments, the Courts and legislators are apparently “confused” by the wording of the Constitution. In ConCon thinking, if we only make the Constitution clearer, Federal judges would be forced to start interpreting the Constitution as the Founders intended, and the President and liberal members of Congress would find their legislation overturned by new judicial fiat (the other way).
It can sound tempting, but …
News Flash: There is nothing wrong with our Constitution. In fact, the left has been seeking to re-write it for the better part of century. They would LOVE the opportunity of a Constitutional Convention to get that chance.
The left sees an Article V Convention as the means to roll back gun rights, and to limit political speech.
The left opposes the Founders’ real intent. They’ve gotten around that pesky Constitution by winning elections – with both Democrats and sadly some weak Republicans – who, over time, have stacked the courts with leftists that routinely distort or outright ignore the strict words of our sacred document.
That won’t change by tightening the wording of the Constitution – because they are ignoring those words now anyway.
The only way we are going to turn this around is replacing Federal legislators, the President and ultimately the judges with strict constitutionalists.
And you can’t do that by changing the Constitution.
Dangers of a Con-Con: GOP-control of State Legislatures Doesn’t Equate to a Con-Con of Federalists.
I’ve heard the election math on this. It goes, “so a majority of the state legislatures are Republican. These Republican legislatures would select the delegates to the ConCon and vote to ratify anything that came out of it. No worries, it takes only 13 states to block anything bad.”
Let’s be honest. Even though we are conservative Republicans, and support the Republican Party as the best vehicle to save the Republic, can we really count on these current bodies to send solid Founder-types to a ConCon?
If our Republican legislatures are all so “limited-Government”, why did so many of those GOP-controlled states accept Federal ObamaCare Medicaid dollars, contributing to a massive Federal debt ? And why did our GOP-controlled Virginia General Assembly just pass the biggest tax hike in the Commonwealth’s history in 2013, expanding our state Government ?
Many of these Republicans unfortunately LIKE big government and the spending that goes with it. There is no guarantee they will send true conservatives as delegates to a Con-Con.
For example, who would Virginia send as it’s ConCon Delegate? House Speaker Bill Howell or Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment (each of whom was elected by majorities of Republicans in their respective caucuses)?
And would these ConCon Delegates and GOP legislators be beyond the influence of a massive George Soros $1B advertising campaign to exert influence on them and their constituents, to get what the left wanted in this or a future ConCon?
In the interest of “fairness,” I can easily see current Congressional Republican leadership capitulating and allowing the ConCon to consider other things.
I hear the pro-ConCon arguments that a Convention Call by Congress to a ConCon could be crafted so that only a specific amendment we conservatives want could be considered. Are we 100% sure about this? I am no lawyer or Constitutional scholar, but I read in Article V language like, “Congress … shall call a convention for proposing amendments which … shall be valid for all intents and purposes.” This sounds pretty broad to me, and I’d think any liberal judge would jump to interpret it that way. Can we really ensure we don’t see from the ConCon floor a proposal to add the words, “except in the case of reasonable state regulation,” after “shall not be infringed” in Amendment 2 of the Constitution?
Political Momentum on our side and Danger of Distraction
I hear frequently from some ConCon advocates this basic argument: “We’ve lost. We’ve tried to win politically. It hasn’t worked. This is the only way we have left.”
That defeatist approach dooms us to perennial minority status.
First, it’s not true. We haven’t really organized the way we are capable of, the way the left has. And there are more conservatives than liberals in this country.
Second, this defeatist thinking is unfortunately infectious. It will discourage conservative activists from PRECISELY the political engagement and organizing we CAN and MUST to do to win, at precisely the time we are starting to win politically as we head into 2016.
Can you imagine what we could accomplish with a President Paul or President Cruz, and a wave of new change-agents in the House and Senate in 2016 ? This is what it will take to roll-back 8 years of Obama.
I realize many of us are discouraged. But the political winds are now on our side if we we work to raise our sails. And our side is learning to organize more effectively than ever.
Last year, Virginia’s 7th Congressional District was a cauldron of revolutionary political change with national implications. First, GOP House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s District Chairman, Linwood Cobb, was upset by little-known Tea Party activist Fred Gruber at the May 10th Convention in a shocking upset. And just 30 days later, building on that momentum, Tea Party favorite Dave Brat toppled Cantor himself in the primary in an even more shocking upset.
I know a little about this, having recruited Gruber, and run his all-volunteer grassroots campaign. I enjoyed putting together a team of grassroots leaders and activists and helping Brat’s historic campaign.
We united and mobilized our entire conservative base – traditional social and fiscal conservative Republicans, new Tea Party-inspired activists, and the liberty movement. I’ve seen the brush-fire this kind of united grass-roots engagement can bring, and the turnabout that is possible.
Dave Brat is now one of our key rising leaders in the fight to restore our Republic.
Yes, we need lots more Dave Brats and efforts like this. But this is the way we will save our Republic: conservatives organizing precinct-by-precinct, and seat-by-seat for state and local offices, the House of Representatives, U.S. Senate seats, and the Presidency. Ultimately, control of the Senate and White House for a prolonged period means establishing a constitutionalist Federal Judiciary. 2016 is our year to do it.
Perhaps the biggest concern with a Con-Con is the division and distraction within our Conservative movement at this critical time when political momentum is on our side. We struggle frequently to get our conservative activists smartly focused on the big-impact things, like organizing to win nominations and elections. Some are easily distracted by policy debates and things that have no practical impact on winning. I see the potential for conservative activists unwittingly being sucked into this ConCon if it passes, losing a Soros-funded nationwide PR battle, while the left’s activists stay focused organizing locally and winning elections.
And just look at the heated debate and division within our conservative ranks in Virginia right now. The rhetoric has reached fever pitch, with some ConCon advocates calling opponents “liars” and threatening primary challenges. Not good.
If I’ve learned anything over the years organizing our conservative ranks: if we are deeply split, it’s probably a bad idea. It’s counter-productive, and the establishment class and left lick their chops.
I hope you’ll join me in calling your Delegate and State Senator to demand they vote NO on this bad idea, however well intentioned.