Activist versus Establishment: Constant Accountability

Over the past week, there has been a renewed interest in the fight for the heart and soul of the “right.”  We recall the classic split in the movement  in the 1950’s and 60’s with the Rockefeller vs. Goldwater (Reagan versus Ford) fights that broke down by Liberal Republican versus Conservative Republican.   Abortion, War, and Tax divisions defined the debate.  This is why Goldwater, Reagan and Phyllis Schlafly said that we needed a “Choice, not an Echo.”

The Conservative Wing won that fight; we had 12 pro-life candidates vying for the GOP nomination in 2012, no Republican ran on a tax-raising platform or for Nationalization of Housing and note the unified bloc of GOPers all but shouting down a national health insurance scheme called ObamaCare.

The new media-hyped “split” in the party and movement isn’t your grandfather’s schism.  This is a new split that is best observed outside the beltway.  The new split is inside vs outside; or Establishment versus Activist.   

Those on the “inside” want to get re-elected at all costs and don’t mind spending borrowed money, raising taxes (which they occasionally call fees) and increasing government’s reach to do it  As long as they stay to the “right” of the Democratic Party, they know they will stay on the Inside.  Their defense to any criticism seems to be that they are “better than the alternative.”

The worst part is the Establishment Position toward activists:  get out of the way until you are needed at the next election.   Activist conservatives want to have a voice in their government – and not just at election time.

While the Constitution ensures the right to vote our opinions at the ballot box, the First Amendment re-affirms our God-given right to “petition for redress of grievances.”  This doesn’t merely mean that we can circulate a petition for a new highway or against the sewage treatment plant; it means that we have an inalienable right to speak our opinions and directly tell our Representatives what we believe.

Many in Washington thought the Tea Party victories in 2010 was the end of the story.  The Tea Party response was “What, you thought we’d just go away after November?”  It was never enough to claim the majority.  Conservatives expected their newly elected lawmakers to change Washington, not settle into an election-cycle-driven status quo.

The budget deal shows this difference starkly.  Many House Republicans voted for the bill even though they “hate the way it’s written” and “dislike most elements.”  They voted to increase spending because they alone know the only way to skin cats in Washington.  The implication is that voters back home can’t be consulted because they are amateurs and they don’t see the long view.  It was a collective rebuff to the citizens: “We know what we are doing, we are professionals.”  Any criticism of the bill was characterized as an attack and “helping Democrats.”

We have seen what an establishment insider can do, but what can an activist do?

We can speak up, we can score votes, we can tell them that this is not limited government, we can publish our opinions for all to see, we can organize and we can talk to our neighbors.  In short we can hold them accountable, and not just at election time.  Insiders hate constant accountability.

Sure, conservatives always have the choice at election time to vote Democrat or to stay home, but this means that they now take away two Constitutional rights– the right to speak up and be heard; and the right to vote for a clear choice, not an echo.

Please Share Your Thoughts

6 thoughts on “Activist versus Establishment: Constant Accountability

  1. The Senate is fundamentally broken because it no longer represents state governments in the federal legislative process.

    The Senate confirms Cabinet members who administrate federal laws the states must comply with, it confirms federal judges who interpret and overturn state laws, and it ratifies foreign trade agreements and treaties that effect state commerce and revenues.

    In case people have forgotten, the Senate is responsible for “No Child Left Behind” and “Common Core” acts that empowered the DOE to federally “standardize” educational cirriculum. The Senate is responsible for the “Patient Protection & Affordable Health Care” act that empowers HHS to collect, store, and share medical records with other federal departments. The Senate was responsible for the “Patriot” act that has allowed the NSA to spy on virtually everyone.

    The Senate is the single biggest force driving federal domination over American citizens and their state governments. All that the 17th Amendment did was destroy the essential link between the Senate and the state legislatures it was designed to serve and left senators, for the most part, unaccountable and untouchable.

    If the polls are true, 72% of Americans fear federal expansion more than big labor or big business, then this issue MUST be resolved since it is the root cause.

    • Well said, Slammin. Let me add to what you said, that with the 17th Amendment and without the filibuster preserving political minority rights, the Senate serves virtually no purpose, since it is not representative at a level that people have a voice (which you know if you’ve ever contacted your Senator’s office).
      The Liberty Amendments / State Amendment Convention process appears to be the only way to reel in the out of control Senate.

  2. Pingback: Conservatives Fight For Choice, Not An Echo | Nancy J. Thorner

  3. I feel the absence of knowledge of actual “rights” in America is also a big portion of the problem. Many times, citizens are not only not involved with their government, but they don’t even know how to be involved or what they can do. The 17th amendment had established the direct voting of U.S. senators. Why is this important? It is simply because with the power to employ people also comes the power to fire them. The right to recall has been used effectively before as seen by the recall of former Governor Gray Davis of California.

    The rights of the people have long been almost kept secret or circumvented by the political prowess of the government for times. What about in 1830 when President Jackson completely went against the ruling of the Supreme Court with the enactment of his Indian Removal Policy. Or the Supreme Court’s ruling in Plessy vs. Ferguson (1896) where the law made it completely legal to have bias in American society (not that it hadn’t already been present since the conception of America as a uniform country and society). The true change of government and society has come from within… the pioneers if you will.

    We study them in history as “important people”, but we try to narrow them down to those whose contributions were quite prominent and shadowed the others who also pioneered in their respective issues. The Trotskys compared to the Stalins. W.E.B DuBois and Fredrick Douglass are seen as some of the greatest pioneers for abolition and black rights, but why did they over shadow Booker T. Washington or Marcus Garvey. Well simply, even the most well-laid plan means nothing without precise execution. Booker T Washington’s methods of appeasement were rather submissive and later it was clear that it was rather ineffective. Same could be said with Marcus Garvey’s Back to Africa Movement. Although, why? Simply, the empowerment of a people is not through fear, or through appeasing the oppressor, but through breaking oppression. Through the liberation of an individual’s unique thoughts and ideals. To simply credit only a few people with the great achievements or for the long persistence of biases in history is to narrow out a plethora of idealism. This carries over into today. A few senators here, a president there that are ineffective or are limiting or advocating for the limitation of rights does not make a problem.

    The true problem in government isn’t when the government hasn’t been able to effectively or efficiently complete its job as the political and democratic head of a sovereign nation, the true problem is when the people who hold the power to control that government and change it don’t know how to use that power to do so.

    You can quote me on that, after all, my opinion is as good as the next person. What makes me unique is the fact that I have one…

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